50 Charming Small Towns to Visit in Autumn from 50 Charming Small Towns to Visit in Autumn

50 Charming Small Towns to Visit in Autumn

50 Charming Small Towns to Visit in Autumn

50 Charming Small Towns to Visit in Autumn
KenWiedemann / iStock

The U.S. has a lot to offer every season of the year. But the fall brings out something else, especially on small towns. Places with few inhabitants are worth putting on one’s radar not only because big crowds are a foreign concept. The lack of tourists means these towns are still authentic. Add that to the fact that it’s fall, and you get an exciting combination of picturesque foliage and a cheerful spirit.

Camden, Maine

Camden, Maine
iStock

Population: 4,835

Camden is a classic seaside town at the foot of Camden Hills. It has a small town sensibility with friendly people, gorgeous views and preserved buildings and historic structures.

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
Dreamstime

Population: 291

This affordable city sits in the middle of the Appalachian Trail and offers both casual nature-lovers and die-hard sportsmen hiking, fishing and whitewater rafting opportunities.

Breckenridge, Colorado

Breckenridge, Colorado
Shutterstock

Population: 4,896

Breckenridge serves as a perfectly picturesque destination for exploring Colorado’s rugged mountain landscape as it’s highlighted with a wide array of changing fall colors.

Cooperstown, New York

Cooperstown, New York
Dreamstime

Population: 1,770

The town is proud of its transformation in the fall. Fewer crowds (who doesn’t like that?), stunning and colorful foliage, and festivals that celebrate the fall in style. For an unforgettable leaf peeping experience, get on the Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley Railroad and catch a Fall Foliage Train.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Gatlinburg, Tennessee
iStock

Population: 4,206

Gatlinburg offers access to the Great Smoky Mountains (read: Absolutely gorgeous vibrant fall colors everywhere) Cycling in the Smokies, zip lining and mountain golf are some of tourists’ favorite activities.

Lake Placid, New York

Lake Placid, New York
iStock

Population: 2,438

The town bursts into different shades of reds, orange, yellow and green. For a thrilling adventure, you can see foliage atop ski jumps or driving up Whiteface Mountain. There are other exciting ways to see the fall foliage there, including whitewater rafting, biking, and even wine tours by boat.

Blowing Rock, North Carolina

Blowing Rock, North Carolina
Dreamstime

Population: 1,288

This is North Carolina's oldest travel attraction, and actually one of the state’s most underrated places. Enjoy the stunning fall displays while on walks that offer magical views of Grandfather Mountain, Table Rock, and Hawksbill.

Munising, Michigan

Munising, Michigan
Shutterstock

Population: 2,917

The best time to go to experience the most of the peak fall color season is usually between the last week of September and the first two weeks of October. Hike to the gorgeous Munising Falls - it’s quite the easy walk. The trail is actually really picturesque as you follow the stream up to the falls.

Stowe, Vermont

Stowe, Vermont
iStock

Population: 4,423

Stowe is one of the most incredible mountain towns in the country. If you are looking for a low key getaway with some outdoor access, this charming place, situated in a valley between peaks of the Green Mountains, is your destination.

Wellsboro, Pennsylvania

Wellsboro, Pennsylvania
aimintang / iStock

Population: 3,275

Those of you looking for peace and quiet may be pleased to find out that the closest city is about 50 miles away. Horse-drawn carriage tours are preferred in the fall.

Hood River, Oregon

Hood River, Oregon
iStock

Population: 7,702

Located about an hour away from popular Portland, this small town is a perfect little 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.

Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts

Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts
iStock

Population: 1,731

The Bridge of Flowers is the most popular attraction in this picturesque small town. It is actually a former trolley bridge that has now become a flower garden blazing with color. Make time to visit the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum and ride trolley car No. 10. It was built in 1896 and it has never left the valley.

Calistoga, California

Calistoga, California
Shutterstock

Population: 5,311

What better reason to go than the fact that this small town is located in the Napa Valley region. Between the world-class wine and stunning views, you’re never going to want to go back home.

North Conway, New Hampshire

North Conway, New Hampshire
Rhona Wise / Shutterstock.com

Population: 2,349

The village in eastern Carroll County is magical in the fall. Go on a serene trip and walk around quaint street, relax in charming cafes, hike in a beautiful park and visit the historic train station, Cranmore Mountain.

Mystic, Connecticut

Mystic, Connecticut
Dreamstime

Population: 4,205

For an authentic New England charm between New York and Boston consider visiting the relaxed but also fairly well-known vacation destination of Mystic Country. Mystic Seaport, the nation’s leading maritime museum, is a must-see.

Saranac Lake, New York

Saranac Lake, New York
iStock

Population: 5,288

The village nestled in the Adirondack Mountains in far upstate New York is a hidden gem in the fall. Lately Saranac has been referred to as New York’s “healing town.”

Perham, Minnesota

Perham, Minnesota
Thea Romann / Shutterstock.com

Population: 3,300

Perham has a great location. It’s right in the heart of Minnesota's lakes country at the center of 1,000 lakes. Can you imagine the amount of recreational activities people get to enjoy? The colorful fall displays only enhance the amazing experience.

Leavenworth, Washington

Leavenworth, Washington
Dreamstime

Population: 1,994

Washington may be The Evergreen State, but it is also home to magnificent trees with leaves that turn intense shades of yellow, orange and red every fall. Go to Leavenworth and see why that is.

Park City, Utah

Park City, Utah
Dreamstime

Population: 8,299

Park City is a gem in the fall, not just in the winter. Check out the mountains on bike or on foot. The ski lift is one of the best spots for leaf-peeping. You can do a high-speed descent though the fall colors via an alpine slide, one of the longest slides in the world.

Kent, Connecticut

Kent, Connecticut
Dreamstime

Population: 2,819

Nestled in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains, Kent is a friendly place with an abundance of adventure opportunities for kids and parents. Biking or camping at the Kent Falls State Park is what a lot of locals love to do.

McCall, Idaho

McCall, Idaho
Dreamstime

Population: 3,278

Fall is seriously underrated in this town known mostly for being a gem in the winter. Enjoy a leisurely cruise on Payette Lake, go biking around town or picnic and swim at North Beach or Ponderosa Park.

Sugar Hill, New Hampshire

Sugar Hill, New Hampshire
Dreamstime

Population: 570

As if you need to know anything else other than the location of this beautiful town – in New Hampshire. Overlooking the White Mountain National Forest, the views from Sugar Hill are mesmerizing. Why only 570 people live there is a mystery.

Keene, New York

Keene, New York
iStock

Population: 1,085

Keene is home to Mt. Marcy, which is the highest point in all the Adirondacks – a must-see region in the fall – and New York State. Some of the absolute best and most gorgeous views of the mountain are seen from Keene.

Fayetteville, West Virginia

Fayetteville, West Virginia
Shutterstock

Population: 2,852

It’s very close to the New River Gorge National River, which is a true paradise for outdoor adventurers. Go hiking along the rim of the New River Gorge, try mountain biking and see why it’s so popular, and do some antiquing.

Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania

Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania
Dreamstime

Population: 4,607

Whatever you choose to do, you will not be disappointed doing it in the fall. The scenery is simply spectacular – from hiking to Glen Onoko Falls to camping and canoeing at Mauch Chunk Lake Park.

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Dreamstime

Population: 6,199

With the most visited, and one of the absolute best national parks in the country, the Great Smoky Mountains, in its “backyard, it’s easy to see why pigeon Forge is the place to be in the fall. The fact that it’s one of the most romantic small towns in the country is just a bonus.

Manchester, Vermont

Manchester, Vermont
Dreamstime

Population: 4,312

You’re going to fall in love with everything here – from the flavorful food to the rolling hills in and around town. The massive amount of land that becomes magical in the fall makes people flock to this place.

Houghton, Michigan

Houghton, Michigan
iStock

Population: 7,987

Take a ride along the “Covered Road,” which is located west of Houghton, off the Houghton Canal Road. This is a picturesque dirt road with a tunnel of trees that in the fall look like a page from a fairytale book. This is off the beaten path, so don’t expect to see big crowds. Even better!

Clinton, New Jersey

Clinton, New Jersey
Dreamstime

Population: 2,697

The gorgeous small towns looks like it’s coming straight out of a painting. Charming Clinton shows off its antique iron bridge, built in 1870, and the Raritan River. Perched on either side of the bridge are classic grist mills. The landmark 10-acre Red Mill Museum Village is home to the Hunterdon Historical Museum, which has a collection of more than 40,000 historic artifacts, according to Visit NJ.

Ouray, Colorado

Ouray, Colorado

Flickr / Larry Lamsa / CC BY 2.0

Population: 1,033

Nestled in some of the most rugged and towering peaks of the Rockies, Ouray is actually an ideal adventure spot every season of the year. Relax in hot springs, go on an amazing road trip and drive the San Juan Highway, and go river tubing on the Uncompahgre River in the fall.

Homer, Alaska

Homer, Alaska
Dreamstime

Population: 5,631

The stunning seaside city overlooks Kachemak Bay and the Kenai Mountains. Go glacier skiing or sign up for guided kayak tours. And make time to see the Halibut Cove, which is an artists' enclave where the roads are made of water.

Ephraim, Wisconsin

Ephraim, Wisconsin

Flickr / Richie Diesterheft/ CC BY 2.0

Population: 285

This is a small picturesque village located in the heart of the Door County Peninsula on the serene shores of Eagle Harbor. The more adventurous of you will like exploring Eagle Harbor from a Jet Ski or kayaking. Enjoy the panoramic view of the nearby Peninsula State Park on a sailboat.

Aspen, Colorado

Aspen, Colorado
Dreamstime

Population: 6,871

You probably think this is a big town because you hear all about it in the winter, and this is also went it’s really buzzing with people. Snuggled between the Rockies, this charming small mountain town is a favorite fall destination as well. With summits higher than 14,000 feet, there is always something to see and explore.

New Hope, Pennsylvania

New Hope, Pennsylvania
Shutterstock

Population: 2,497

Go for a walk on one of the trails at the Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve. Or, for something a little more adventurous, Board the New Hope and Ivyland Railroad for its annual Fall Foliage Excursion Train. The 1920s vintage passenger coach will take you on a 2.5-hour journey through the scenic country.

Grand Marais, Minnesota

Grand Marais, Minnesota
Dreamstime

Population: 1,339

This quaint, friendly harbor village should be on you “fall adventures” bucket list. Biking, kayaking, fishing and whale watching are popular activities. You may even see the Northern Lights from the Lighthouse.

Whitefish, Montana

Whitefish, Montana
Shutterstock

Population: 7,279

This small charming city is right at the bottom of Big Mountain and Glacier National Park. Not that you’ll need it, but just in case, for a change of scenery, visit the Santi World Art Museum to see bronze sculptures by the famous sculptor, Sunti, commemorating Native American chiefs and historic legends – a stunning display of art.

Ruidoso, New Mexico

Ruidoso, New Mexico
Shutterstock

Population: 7,770

Located high in the Rocky Mountains of southeastern New Mexico, this village is the ultimate escape from the city. Sierra Blanca is towering above at 11,981 feet.

Rhinebeck, New York

Rhinebeck, New York
Dreamstime

Population: 7,777

Famous for bring the town of America's oldest operating inn, Beekman Arms Inn, this charming small town, nestled in the Northern New York Hudson Valley, is worth visiting for its adventure opportunities as well. Go to see part of the regal Catskill Mountains and the mighty Hudson River.

Chagrin Falls, Ohio

Chagrin Falls, Ohio
Lynne Neuman / Shutterstock.com

Population: 4,115

The small town is all about preserving its history and uniqueness. Take the Chagrin Falls Historic Home & Garden Tour to spend a day see homes that part of the important architectural heritage of the village and to see its beauty.

Woodstock, Vermont

Woodstock, Vermont
iStock

Population: 2,952

This charming, year-round destination on the banks of the Ottauquechee River and the Crossroad of Vermont Scenic Byway is located in the Green Mountains of Windsor County. The town boasts the only national park in Vermont, agricultural landscapes and many unique lodging cabins.

Jasper, Arkansas

Jasper, Arkansas
iStock

Population: 450

The Little Buffalo River, the first national river actually, is located just a few miles from Jasper, and it rushes right by town. It makes for a beautiful and picturesque backdrop for camping, hiking and horseback riding in the fall.

West Glacier, Montana

West Glacier, Montana
Dreamstime

Population: 227

Its allure is its proximity to Glacier National Park. Hiking, biking or cruising nearby Lake McDonald on a boat tours are some of the favorite activities for visitors. Rugged mountains frame the town, so you’re always looking at mountain splendor.

Snowmass Village, Colorado

Snowmass Village, Colorado
Dreamstime

Population: 2,900

The aspen trees there are changing from green to gold and orange between mid-September and early October, making for a mountain valley that is bright and colorful. This is the best time to see astonishing fall foliage while hiking, biking, golfing, or even fishing.

Kennebunkport, Maine

Kennebunkport, Maine
Dreamstime

Population: 3,585

The town has a classic New England fare anywhere you turn with its antique shops, small quite restaurants overlooking the beach and fishing ports. For a unique experience, go on a whale watching and sailing excursion.

Oakland, Maryland

Oakland, Maryland
Shutterstock

Population: 1,873

The town hosts its annual Autumn Glory Festival and a Halloween hayride along the lake every October. Enjoy the turning of the leaves at Swallow Falls State Park where the Youghiogheny River offers a lovely backdrop to hundreds of oaks, aspen, pine and hickory trees.

Abingdon, Virginia

Abingdon, Virginia
Dreamstime

Population: 8,083

Creep along the Virginia Creeper Trailer to do some incredible leaf peeping. The 35-mile trail runs from Abingdon to Whitetop through national forest and crossing the Appalachian Trail. As you bike past the glistening river views wave hello to all of the grazing llamas.

Bar Harbor, Maine

Bar Harbor, Maine
Shutterstock

Population: 5,394

With its easy access to Acadia National Park, the town is the perfect long-weekend getaway from any big city. Located at the edge of the sea, Bar Harbor has the perfect combination of adventure or romance opportunities.

Stockbridge, Massachusetts

Stockbridge, Massachusetts
Dreamstime

Population: 1,923

The town in the Berkshires, in western Massachusetts, attracts many urbanites in the fall because of its world-class foliage viewing opportunities, as well as rich art and culture. Hike along the narrow winding roads that connect mountain villages and enjoy the surrounding forests covered in crimson, yellow, and every hue in between.

Meredith, New Hampshire

Meredith, New Hampshire
Bob Pool / Shutterstock.com

Population: 6,366

With a location right beside Lake Winnipesaukee, you know you’re going to have a good and relaxing time. Some of the more visited attractions are the Moulton Farm, American Police Motorcycle Museum, Hermit Woods Winery, and, of course, the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad.

Friday Harbor, Washington

Friday Harbor, Washington
iStock

Population: 2,338

You won’t be bored in Friday Harbor during the fall season. The Friday Harbor Film Festival is just one reason to go; the museums and rotating exhibitions are another. Don’t leave without trying the popular local fall cocktail, “Fall Fashioned.”