The 15 Best Weekend Trips on the East Coast This Fall from The 15 Best Weekend Trips on the East Coast This Fall
The 15 Best Weekend Trips on the East Coast This Fall
As the seasons change, the adventurous places you can go are practically endless. Traveling in the fall is even better in two significant ways — fewer crowds, which ultimately means better deals and cheaper accommodations. The stunning fall foliage, one of nature’s best color displays, is just a bonus, and vacationing somewhere in the Northeast is a classic trip.
No matter where you go on the East Coast, particularly in New England, or how you choose to spend your time, you can’t go wrong as long as it’s outdoors. Take a beachside trip or go deep in the countryside. The places on the list offer plenty of adventures; visitors probably need at least a week to make the most of all the opportunities presented to them.
Whether it’s an issue of budget, time, or simply having too much on your plate, however, big trips aren’t always feasible — but that doesn’t mean you can’t go for a short weekend trip. Take to the road for a convenient and undiscovered getaway, enjoying the autumn air and one of the best seasons for travel in one of these great East Coast weekend trips.
Acadia National Park
Located in Maine, Acadia is easily one of the most scenic spots on the East Coast, especially in the fall. The park has a little bit of everything — from mountains to forest and the coast. With views from high peaks overlooking dramatic rocky coastline and dense forest, which changes color rapidly in October, you won’t be disappointed. Stay at Bar Harbor Inn, located on the waterfront near the historic town. You’ll love the opportunities to go hiking, trail running, camping, and rock climbing.
A Southern gem hidden between the Blue Ridge Mountains and Great Smoky Mountains, Asheville has variously been described as the “Paris of the South” and the “San Francisco of the East.” There are four distinct seasons, but fall in Asheville is particularly breathtaking due to the color of the surrounding hills. Bearing the most complete collection of Art Deco structures in America, the city’s man-made sights are gorgeous as well. The most notable landmark of Asheville, however, is actually just a few minutes outside the city and an absolute must for your American travel bucket list: the Biltmore Estate.
Visit the Berkshires in Massachusetts in the fall for the awesome festivals, notable art, and thriving culture. The hues of the trees make for a spectacular scenic backdrop. Stay at the Wheatleigh Inn, which is just 2.5 hours from New York or Boston. Eat delicious food at farm-to-table restaurants, hike Mount Greylock, the highest natural point in Massachusetts at 3,489 feet, and have a spa day at the Canyon Ranch.
Great Smoky Mountains
This is a destination along the border of North Carolina and Tennessee with a dazzling fall foliage display. The park’s old-growth forest explodes with vibrant fall color, which can be seen either from scenic roadways or on foot — from more than 900 miles of incredible hiking trails. When you’re all worn out from exploring wilderness, stay at Blackberry Farm. Take cooking classes (farm-to-table), enjoy a wine tasting, and go horseback riding for a unique perspective of the park’s stunning beauty.
Greenville, South Carolina
Surrounded by Blue Ridge Mountains, Greenville is an emerging destination, so go now before more people learn about it. See the city’s one-of-a-kind Liberty Bridge, and stay at Hotel Domestique. Make the most of the chance to visit its world-class collection of museums and theaters. If you want a more active vacation, Greenville will accommodate you as well. There are a lot of lakes, rivers, and mountain hills to explore while biking, hiking, trail running, and leaf peeping.
One of the most charming spots in New England, Kennebunkport, Maine, is known for being the summer home of the Bush family. Its trademarked slogan is “The Place to Be All Year,” however, and fall here is particularly enchanting. Visit the Franciscan monastery’s beautifully maintained grounds and get a gorgeous view of the harbor. Visit its many antique shops or enjoy classic New England fare at one of the many restaurants overlooking the beach and fishing ports.
Lake George has long been a popular vacation spot for fans of the outdoors. Commonly referred to as the “Queen of American Lakes,” it easily fits in among the country’s top lake towns. Water activities include everything from swimming and fishing to boating, jet skiing, tubing, and even diving. Stay at the Sagamore for an exceptional trip. martha's vineyard fallThe resort’s 70-acre island offers the quintessential Lake George experience — boat outings, guided hikes, picnic lunches, and family tournaments.
The Adirondack region boasts one of the longest fall foliage seasons in the country. The trees burst into different shades of red, orange, yellow, and green. For a thrilling adventure, you can take a hot-air balloon ride. Thanks to the stunning golden colors that contrast against the gleaming blue waters, New York’s Adirondacks is considered one of the country’s best spots for leaf-peeping. Stay at Mirror Lake Inn, swim and sup on Mirror Lake, and hike or bike Whiteface — or any of the other 46 peaks. Visiting the Olympic Village is a must.
The perfect place to visit now that the summer crowds have left, Martha’s Vineyard is made up of six towns and often known as “Hollywood East” due to its favor among the rich and famous. Visit the area’s multiple lighthouses, serene beaches, or one of the many fine dining establishments. Popular endeavors here include horseback riding, hiking, art gallery hopping, golfing, and more.
Also great for a weekend trip in the summer, Nantucket is an island off the coast of Massachusetts that’s just 3.5 miles wide and 14 miles long. The Nantucket Conservation Foundation preserves 36 percent of the island, as well as local wildlife, and its dedication definitely pays off in the autumn when the surrounding scenery is truly breathtaking. It’s also an extremely safe destination; families have been known to allow their children to wander Nantucket on their own.
The most photogenic spot in the state, Pennsylvania’s Poconos are gorgeous year-round but downright magical in the fall. A popular honeymoon destination, it’s also a favorite for families and adventurers, serving as one of the best regions in the country for hiking and camping. Amusement parks and ski resorts provide all kinds of entertainment, and the local lakes – some man-made and some natural – are perfect for boating and fishing.
Roanoke is one of the best mountain destinations for summer, but it’s also a great fall getaway. Roanoke’s City Market is the largest continuously running open-air market on the East Coast with great finds year-round. The Appalachian Trail runs through here, perfect for hiking, and visitors can also go camping, boating, and fishing. Roanoke also has plenty of clubs, restaurants, shops, and theaters. Located in the Roanoke Valley, the town of Roanoke is nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Appalachian Plateau, making it a prime spot for scenic drives and fall foliage.
Shenandoah National Park
Cyclists will find themselves right at home in this Virginia park full of trails, leaves, and a festival dedicated to fall cycling. The Shenandoah Fall Foliage Bike Festival, taking place from October 19 to 21 this year, brings together hundreds of cyclists of all skill levels. The more than 500 miles of trails will keep any hiker or cyclist busy all fall. Stay at Skyland Lodge, bike the Skyline Drive, and hike the Old Rag Mountain. The classic trek features eight miles with panoramic views of dramatic fall colors and a tough rock scramble.
You can never go wrong with Vermont in the fall. Late-changing maples are just starting to turn red, but the forest canopy in the Killington basin area is dominated by the yellow and gold of birch and poplar trees, according to Vermont Fall Foliage reports. Make sure you take a trip to Jenne Farm, one of the most photographed farms in the world and the most scenic spot in the entire state.
Wadsworth Falls State Park
Wadsworth Falls is a state park in Connecticut with 285 acres of beautiful landscapes, trails, picnic areas, and opportunities to fish and swim, as well as enjoy its two main waterfalls. You can easily hike to them via the park’s trails for a great photo op, and the fall season makes it indisputably the most beautiful spot in the state.