When you’re ready to pack up the car and enjoy a weekend away, check out one of these 10 incredible fall destinations. From California to Canada, these are the top weekend trips on the west coast.
The big city of Vancouver is busy in the summer and a great gateway to ski resorts in the winter, but the time in between is often overlooked. The fall is arguably the best time to visit, as there’s still a lot going on, but the prices and crowds aren’t at their peak. Visit the Vancouver Art Gallery, stroll the night market in Chinatown and explore the outdoors in Stanley Park. The city isn’t too far from Seattle or Portland, making it a perfect trip for a long weekend.
Another incredible destination popular in the summer and winter, but largely forgotten about in the fall, Lake Tahoe is one of the highest (and best preserved) alpine lakes in the country. The area is a haven for outdoor recreation—water sports attract visitors in the summer and the mountains that surround the lake are a huge draw for skiers and snowboarders in the winter—but fall is a great time to enjoy beautiful hikes, fall foliage and wildlife that’s getting ready for winter. Just a short ride from Sacramento, San Francisco and Reno, Lake Tahoe is easily accessible for a long weekend trip, but it’s well-preserved natural land will have you feeling like you’re hundreds of miles away.
This desert city is an oasis with something for every type of traveler and fall is the best season most travelers are missing. From visitors who want to be pampered to rugged outdoor adventurers, everyone will find their niche in Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley. Visit in the fall for perfect weather—if you’re coming from Los Angeles or San Diego it won’t be a long ride.
Few cities are as tough to describe or as worthy of exploration as ever-changing Seattle. With each neighborhood carving out its own slice of culture, there is no shortage of things to do or see, no matter where your interests lie. Revel in the rich art and music scene, dine in incredible new restaurants or check out nearby outdoor adventure and hike the North Cascades or paddle Puget Sound. As the crowds of summer leave and while the pleasant weather lingers, there’s no better time to explore the city.
This once-obscure adventure travel mecca is a must-visit mountain town for anyone who loves the great outdoors. A great weekend escape for fall, Bend is set in the middle of Oregon, making it accessible for travelers around the state. Hiking, biking, fishing, rafting, rock climbing—you name it, you’ll likely find it in Bend. Head up into the Cascades for some incredible mountain biking (almost 300 miles of singletrack) or dip your paddle into the Deschutes River for a refreshing ride. After your adventures, enjoy the thriving food and drink scene in town or check out one of the many local art galleries.
Upon mention of this infamous city, most people think of gambling, partying, and general debauchery, but that warped reputation overlooks a lot of what Vegas has to offer. Sure, Sin City lives up to its name, but travelers can also take a trip back in time by heading downtown to “old Vegas” or, just a few minutes off the strip, outdoor enthusiasts can find tons of adventure. A four-hour car ride will get you from L.A. to Vegas, but the city is easily accessible by plane from much of the west coast.
Best known for its world-famous wine and stunning scenery, Napa Valley is a place you need to visit at least once and fall is a great time to go. After your initial trip dining in Michelin-starred restaurants, biking picturesque paths and tasting some of the best wine in the world, your subsequent return to Napa will be practically guaranteed. Napa Valley’s proximity to San Francisco and Sacramento make it an easy choice for a weekend getaway.
Perched on the breathtaking Oregon coast, this area is the perfect low key setting for outdoor adventurers this fall. Explore the Tillamook State Forest, watch whales breaching at Cape Lookout and climb dunes at Cape Kiwanda—there’s no shortage of things to do. Don’t miss your chance to paddle the coast and be sure to go crabbing, it’s a local treat. With close proximity to Portland and Seattle, this coastal getaway isn’t far off.
Less than 50 miles off the coast of California, Catalina Island is a picture perfect escape that’s just a short boat or plane or helicopter ride from Los Angeles. Adventurous travelers will enjoy kayaking off the coast, hiking or zip lining, while travelers looking to relax will find spas, beautiful beaches and fine dining at one of the many great spots in Avalon or Two Harbors. The rugged island is a popular summer escape, so visit in late fall for sparse crowds and pleasant weather.
Celebrated for “coolness” and non-conformity, this city may be the biggest in all of Oregon, but it’s laid back vibe, walkability and access to the great outdoors make it feel more like a big town. As people hear about Portland, it’s been attracting more visitors and there’s no time to visit like the fall. Wander the beautiful neighborhoods full of falling leaves, explore local trails and satisfy your sweet tooth at their famous doughnut shop—Voodoo Doughnut.