Big Sur, California from The 15 Best Fall Weekend Trips on the West Coast
The 15 Best Fall Weekend Trips on the West Coast
The 15 Best Fall Weekend Trips on the West Coast
The coastlines of California, Oregon and Washington boast some of the most stunning landscapes in the world. Beaches, vineyards, mountains and parks make the region irresistible for a long weekend getaway if you living within driving distance. Pack your bag and hit the road. See why the West Coast is one of the most beautiful and diverse places in the country.
Hood River, Oregon
This small adventure town and “recreational boomtown,” as National Geographic calls it, is perfect for a weekend getaway. Kayak off Celestial Falls for a thrilling experience, explore the jaw-dropping scenery, valleys and Columbia River Gorge while mountain biking, which has become very popular in the area. Hood River is just about an hour away from Portland.
Napa Valley, California
Try the world-famous wine and get your fix of stunning fall foliage. 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. The Valley’s proximity to San Francisco and Sacramento make it an easy choice for a weekend getaway.
Walla Walla, Washington
This is another great destination for wine tasting – there are more than 100 wineries – and stunning nature because the region is surrounded by mountains and rivers. Imagine them with bursting bright fall colors…People go for the many hiking, rafting, kayaking and mountain biking opportunities. The city has many chic restaurants, vintage stores and art galleries.
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, fishing, rafting, rock climbing—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.
Mill Valley, California
City-dwellers used to go to Mill Valley, just about five miles from San Francisco, to relax and recharge over the weekend. The charming village at the base of Mount Tamalpais is a like paradise on Earth for hikers and people who love the outdoors. Go on walking and nature tours. Visit the Muir Woods National Monument and have fun in the Mount Tamalpais State Park. The city has an abundance of local urban parks and indoor entertainment facilities where kids can surf, skate, and even take music lessons.
With a lively nightlife scene and several cultural attractions, the outdoor adventure opportunities in Scottsdale are sometimes overlooked. In the fall, you can easily find hotels for under $90 per night, according to Hotels.com. Go on a half-day mountain bike tour through the Sonoran Desert, home to some of the Southwest’s best mountain-biking trails, or kayak through the desert’s Salt River, a lush oasis surrounded by red cliffs and wondrous wildlife.
Lake Tahoe is largely forgotten about in the fall. It’s one of the highest (and best preserved) alpine lakes in the country. Go for a chance to witness its sheer beauty. 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. Also, it is one of the best places to ride a hot air balloon in the fall. Soar high above America’s largest alpine lake.
The Dalles, Oregon
Located on the shores of the Columbia River near the Deschutes River, The Dalles is the eastern gateway to the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area, with plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, fishing and paddling, according to Travel Oregon. Explore the town’s rich history at one of their impressive museums, or get a taste of the region at a fruit farm or winery.
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. 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.
Big Sur, California
The rocky stretch of California’s central coast between Carmel and San Simeon is a stunning place to visit. Make it a part of a once in a lifetime road trip if you have an extra day. Drive Big Sur’s length via twisting Highway One. The Bixby Bridge is a favorite spot for photos. Artists and writers often go there for inspiration. The small village, surrounded by redwood-filled parks has a few charming restaurants and galleries.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Most people think of gambling, partying, and general debauchery, but that warped reputation overlooks a lot of what Vegas has to offer. The 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.
This is the newest beach village to grace Washington's coastline, according to Experience WA, established in 2004. It’s quickly becoming a favorite seaside weekend retreat. Try to stay at the Dorothy Anderson Cottage, one of the oldest on the state’s coast. Seabrook’s perfect location makes it ideal for water sports and mountain adventures such as hiking and climbing. Visit the Lake Quinault Rain Forest for fabulous scenery.
For a chance to see the waters of the deepest lake in the U.S., with a measured depth of 1,949 feet, in their bluest and clearest state, go in the fall. The water is so blue because there is hardly anything else in it - just water, according to the NPS. Boat tours, swimming, fishing, ranger talks, evening programs, camping, and other activities are offered. Explore old-growth forests or wildflower meadows, and climb mountains for great views of the lake.
Catalina Island, California
Less than 50 miles off the coast of California, Catalina Island is a 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 nice weather.
Vancouver, B.C., Canada
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.