Fall Vacation Packing List

Autumn Weather Brings New Adventures

For many people, fall signals the time for back to school and snuggling down at home. But, for those without kids or who are retired, fall can be a great time to travel when there are fewer crowds and cooler temperatures.

South Lake Tahoe / Zephyr Cove

Zephyr Cove in the fall is a dream.

Lake Tahoe is a favored summer destination where visitors hop aboard boats and spend the day on the water. But, there’s so much more to Lake Tahoe than just the summer season. While the temperature starts to dip in September, the water temperature stays tolerable into mid-October — especially when the sun is shining.

Lake Tahoe’s high temperatures in September rest in the mid-70s and in the 50s by November. Low temperatures can hover around freezing. About half of the fall days feature clear skies and sun. Lake Tahoe maintains low humidity and wind throughout the year.

What to Pack:

Be sure to pack a sweater or light jacket for chilly days!

South Lake Tahoe is the perfect place to start your Lake Tahoe Adventures. But, it’s important to pack the right gear!

With fall temperatures ranging from freezing to mid-70s, your packing list should feature a number of layering options. This is especially true if you plan on packing your days with outdoor adventures such as hiking and horseback riding. While the day may start off cool and you’ll want a sweater, as the sun gets high in the sky and the exertion warms you up, you’ll want to take off that sweater and exchange it for a cool underlayer.

If you’re planning to spend time on the water, it’s important to remember that the temperatures on the water are often cooler than on land. Combine that with the wind off the boat and you’ll want something cozy and warm to bundle up in on deck. If you’re planning to take a dinner cruise, consider a warm wrap and scarf to accompany your ensemble.

If the weather gets too cold to be comfortable outside, don’t worry, there are plenty of indoor activities in South Lake Tahoe. Stop by Stateline, Nevada to enjoy the casinos and nightlife.

Where to Stay:

Cozy up at Zephyr Cove Resort.

Located in South Lake Tahoe, Zephyr Cove Resort offers guests beach and marina access within walking distance of their private cabin or resort room. The resort’s private cabins offer the perfect place to maintain social distance while also having a relaxed stay. Each cabin comes with a private bathroom, cable TV, fully equipped kitchen, and coffee maker.

End a cool fall day with warm and gooey s’mores!

To grab a bite to eat or something to drink, stop in at the Sunset Bar and Grille (closes after September). For more information on what activities are available during this time of social distancing, check out the Zephyr Cove COVID-19 guest updates.

Yosemite National Park

Behold the beauty of Yosemite in the autumn.

Yosemite is a favorite among national park visitors who come for the waterfalls, hiking, and the giant sequoias. Fall weather in Yosemite is generally mild, but there is the possibility of an early snowfall. While the fall average temperatures can be a guide for your packing list, be sure to check the weather right before you arrive and adjust your packing list as required.

In September, Yosemite temperatures range from 50 to 84 degrees. October sees temperatures dip down into the 40s and has highs in the mid- to low-70s. November temperatures are when the cold sets in, with lows at or below freezing and highs in the mid- to high-50s.

What you need to watch out for in Yosemite during the fall is the possibility of an early season snow event. High areas in the park can see snow starting in mid-October, which can cause road closures. Lower areas typically remain dry and snow-free until November. The National Park Service provides up-to-date information about road closures and snowfall, so be sure to check before you venture out. Fall sometimes also brings hazy conditions to Yosemite due to forest fires around California.

During COVID-19, the National Park Service has limited the number of visitors who are allowed into the park. All overnight guests are allowed in while day visitors must reserve a spot to gain entry. Overnight guests must show a copy of their reservation to gain entry to the park.

What to Pack:

Bring layers for a varied climate.

Temperatures can vary greatly throughout the day and depending on the elevation, if you’re venturing out for a full-day excursion, you’ll need to pack multiple layers. If you’re planning to hike in Yosemite, be sure to review their safety suggestions and guidelines when packing your day bag.

For less strenuous, shorter hikes, it’s important to stay on the trail and still come prepared with a small bag to carry essentials such as water and warm clothing. While the sun is up, the weather can feel almost like summer, but a chill can creep in quickly as the sun goes down.

If you’re planning any special outings, such as fishing or biking, be sure to bring any gear you might need.

Where to Stay:

Many activities and businesses are adjusting hours and offerings during this time, so be sure to review website updates and call ahead of time before arriving. During this time, visitors to Yosemite can stay at Yosemite Valley Lodge or The Ahwahnee Hotel. Early fall visitors can stay at Curry Village through mid-October.

Yosemite Valley Lodge is serving all the rustic vibes.

Yosemite Valley Lodge is located within the heart of Yosemite National Park and gives visitors quick access to all the park has to offer. The lodge offers traditional hotel rooms as well as family rooms. Guests can get a bite to eat nearby at the Base Camp Eatery, which is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for takeout and outdoor dining. Yosemite Valley Lodge is open all year.

The Ahwahnee is known for its stunning design.

With beautiful landmarks nearby such as Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, and Glacier Point, there is no doubt why The Ahwahnee is a must stay. The lodge offers great dining, a heated pool, a comfortable bar/lounge, and a unique gift shop featuring local artisans. The Ahwahnee is also open year-round.

Wind down at Curry Village.

Curry Village features standard hotel rooms, wood cabins, and canvas tens accommodations. Nearby, guests will find the Meadow Grill which is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There’s also a temporary food truck park which is open for lunch and dinner. Curry Village closes for the season on October 20, 2020.

Lake Powell

A temperate climate is great for an autumn trip.

Fall is a wonderful time to visit Lake Powell. While the water remains warm and swimmable, there are fewer visitors. September high temperatures remain in the mid- to upper 80s while the lows are in the 60s in the evening. During the day in October, you can still see temperatures in the high 70s while lows start to dip into the 40s. November sees even cooler temperatures with highs in the low 60s and lows dipping towards freezing.

With warm temperatures and fewer visitors, September is the ideal month for traveling around Lake Powell. The water is still warm enough for on-the-water activities such as boating and fishing. And, the air temperature and sun keep it warm enough for hiking, and with a warm sweater, you can still enjoy stargazing at night.

What to Pack:

Pack both daytime and nighttime clothing options for Lake Powell.

While the water and air temperatures remain warm through September, you’ll still want to pack a few warm items of clothing, especially if you plan to spend a lot of your time in the water. Be sure to pack a towel for drying off and a change of clothes and sweater if you plan to be on the water all day.

During the day, the warm temperature and sun make hiking pleasant, but if you plan to be out for most of the day, make sure to pack comfortable layers so you can add or remove layers as the weather changes throughout the day.

For nighttime activities, such as stargazing, you’ll definitely need something warm and cozy, so consider packing a lightweight, waterproof jacket that you can layer on top of whatever else you’re wearing.

Where to Stay:

Take in on the views from a houseboat.

While COVID-19 has affected what you can do and where you can stay at Lake Powell, there are still plenty of options. For a truly unique and socially distant stay, consider renting a houseboat at Wahweap or Bullfrog Marinas. Lake Powell also features a number of RV and campground options at Halls Crossing, Wahweap, and Bullfrog Marinas.

If you’re looking to dine out, there are a number of restaurants open nearby each marina for takeout and outside dining.

Located in Page, AZ, Lake Powell Resort offers comfortable lodging and suites to take refuge after a long day out on the lake. The resort is at the Wahweap Marina. Be sure to double-check availability for rentals and activities here before booking.

Crater Lake National Park

Take in Crater Lake before the winter chill takes over.

Fall is one of the most beautiful times to visit Crater Lake. While the temperatures remain warm and the roads clear, you’ll see the waters of Crater Lake at their bluest. While the winter can be long and snowy in the area, Crater Lake is wonderful during the early fall. That being said, winter comes early to Crater Lake.

When the snow starts to fall in mid-October, it means a shift in what activities are available and what roads are open to visitors. Winter brings around 44 feet of snow to the area, but it also means there are great options for skiing and snowshoeing. While the temperatures remain warm, be sure to take in the scenic views of Crater Lake from the many available hikes and consider saving time for fishing.

What to Pack:

Layers in the fall are key for Crater Lake.

Because winter comes early to the Crater Lake area, be sure to review the weather before your trip and make adjustments to your packing list. It’s important to also be aware that the rapid elevation changes throughout the park can make a marked difference in the weather. While the weather may remain warm at the lower park elevation of 4500 feet, it can be downright cold at the peak elevation of 9000 feet.

When packing for your visit to Crater Lake, be sure to get the most up-to-date weather report you can. Pack your bag with a number of options so you can layer clothes and be ready for weather changes as you move up and down in elevation. If you’re visiting Crater Lake in the late fall, you’ll want to pack options in case it snows. You’ll want to have warm gloves, scarves, hats, and a waterproof jacket.

Where to Stay:

While the fall and winter weather change what activities are available at Crater Lake, there’s also been changes to what’s open due to COVID-19. Be sure to look for seasonal and safety updates from all local businesses before your arrival.

The charming and historic Crater Lake Lodge.

For those who want a more traditional stay at Crater Lake, there’s nowhere better than Crater Lake Lodge. The lodge has a variety of room options, including standard, loft, lakeside, and deluxe. The last night overnight accommodations available at Crater Lake Lodge are on October 11.

Crater Lake Lodge guests can grab breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the Crater Lake Lodge Dining Room which closes for the season on October 12.

Other Things To Do