The fall season is truly a magical time of year. After a long, hot summer, there’s nothing better than breathing in the brisk fresh air and admiring the stunning fall foliage. This fall, treat yourself to a quick getaway or a day trip to a natural wonder. Whether you’re looking for spectacular natural sites in your own backyard or are ready to hop on a plane for your weekend away, we’ve got a list of perfect destinations for you to visit in late September through early November.
Escape to Yosemite
When it comes to national parks, Yosemite is at the top of many people’s lists. While the park is a favorite for summer adventures, there’s still plenty to do and see here in the fall. As one of the most beautiful places on earth, Yosemite is the perfect place to immerse yourself in nature and experience all that this big blue planet has to offer.
Whether you’re dropping in for the day or planning to stay for a short vacation, you’ll find endless activities to spark your interest.
- Hiking – One of the things Yosemite is best known for is its hiking. Whether you’re an experienced backpacker or just someone who wants to casually stroll in a natural setting, there are trails to fit what you’re looking for. With over 800 miles of hiking trails, you’re sure to find something to fit your experience level and schedule.
- Intro Rock Climbing Class – If you’re feeling adventurous, try out a rock climbing class at the Yosemite Mountaineering School. Welcome to the Rock is a beginner course where you’ll learn the basics and do some rock climbing up to 60 feet high!
- Where to Stay – Yosemite Valley Lodge is a fan favorite when it comes to families and large groups. This lodge is the perfect base camp for exploring Yosemite National Park with its close proximity to Yosemite Falls.
Spend the Day on Lake Tahoe
With crystal clear waters, beautiful scenery, nearby nightlife, and convenient lake access, Lake Tahoe is a perfect location for a day trip or quick overnight getaway. As the temperatures start to dip, the sun stays out, making this a fantastic getaway for the fall.
While you might not want to swim in Lake Tahoe during the fall, the weather stays warm enough for boating adventures. From late September-October temperatures stay in the 60s and 70s during the day, with dips into the 40s at night. Most days are rain-free, so you’ll have the sun to keep you warm.
- Hit the Water – If you’re planning a trip to Lake Tahoe, you’ll want to spend as much time near the water as possible. Choose from beach activities like volleyball or hit the water with parasailing and watercraft rentals. Check out the full list of activities here.
- Get Dinner on the Water – As the sun goes down, grab a change of clothes and a sweater and get ready for an evening on the water. Board the M.S. Dixie II for a dining experience you won’t soon forget. As the classic paddle wheeler moves around the lake, you can enjoy the stunning Tahoe sunset and dine on local cuisine.
Weekend Getaway in the Forests of Olympic National Park
Nestled in the Pacific Northwest, you’ll find the only temperate rainforest in the contiguous United States. Olympic National Park is home to a number of different biomes, but the forest is a must-see on a weekend getaway.
- Learn About the Rainforest – Get to know this unique environment better by joining the Lake Quinault Rainforest Tour. The 4-hour tour takes you through the forest on a tour shuttle with guided narration. Along the way, you’ll get to see the only example of a rainforest in the contiguous U.S.
- Relax at Lake Crescent – Nestled among giant trees, Lake Crescent Lodge offers simple elegance and spectacular views. Our lakefront dining room offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Relax with a beverage from Singer Tavern Lounge and overlook the lake on our cozy sun porch.
- Where to Stay: Lake Quinault Lodge – This lodge was built 1915 on the Olympic Peninsula in northwest Washington and is the perfect basecamp for exploring Olympic National Park. The cozy, spacious guest rooms are nestled among the giant fir and hemlock trees on the shores of beautiful Lake Quinault. Enjoy the simple elegance in the antique-furnished lobby as you unwind by the stone fireplace.
Located in southern Utah, Bryce Canyon National Park is known for its spire-shaped, crimson-colored rock formations known as hoodoos. While many mistake the desert for being dry and lacking in life — you’re sure to fall in love with Bryce Canyon.
- Hit the Trail with a Horse – One of the best ways to see Bryce Canyon and all the scenery it has to offer is on horseback. Join a guided trail ride for either a half-day or full-day tour and get an up-close look at all of the hoodoos and extraordinary rock formations.
- Take a Hike – One of the best hikes in Bryce Canyon combines the Navajo Loop and Queens Garden trails to create a 2.6-mile loop trail. While you can take the trail in either direction, start at Sunset Point for a slightly gentler hike. The trail takes you through slot canyons and gets you up close to some amazing rock formations.
If you’re looking for a getaway this fall to breathe in the fresh, cool air of the season change, you’re in luck. Whether you’re looking for a quick weekend getaway or to simply explore something in your own backyard, the national parks offer the perfect place to escape.