September 14, 2018 4 min read

Hey there, OTBT wanderers!

As the fall season approaches, so grows our desire to take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and take a true off-the-beaten-track adventure. If your seasonal wanderlust is in high gear and you’re ready to book an autumn excursion like none other, you’ll definitely want to pick a location that’s ideal for enjoying scenic fall landscapes. Luckily, there’s several absolutely breathtaking destinations right here in the U.S., perfect for getting your fall travel fix.

So if you’re ready to breathe in some crisp autumn air and take in the colorful fall foliage, here’s five of the best U.S. travel destinations you’ll want to consider for your next off-the-beaten-track getaway.

Lake Placid, NY

We’ve already talked quite a bit about the beauties of a fall vacation to Lake Placid in a previous blog post, but this destination is so gorgeous that we just had to make mention of it a second time. Located in upstate New York, the town of Lake Placid is situated right on Mirror Lake, with dozens of local shops, restaurants and beautiful, cozy inns. Late September and early October are great times to make the trek upstate, as the vibrant fall colors will already be starting to emerge. If you’re an active adventurer, then you’ll love taking a boat out on the lake, or going for a scenic hike on one of the many Adironack mountain trails. Be sure to also take some time to enjoy the Winter Olympic Museum, which commemorates 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics held right on Lake Placid, and is a fun way to spend the day. For more information on Lake Placid, be sure to check out this travel guide.

Gatlinburg, TN

Looking to head down south for your fall getaway? Gatlinburg, Tennessee may be just the destination for you! Located just north of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this mountain resort city is best experienced in mid to late October, when the fall colors have reached their peak. (Time your visit right and you may be able to take part in the city’s many harvest festivals!) For a true rustic experience, we recommend renting a cozy cabin with a beautiful mountain view – an especially romantic pick if you’re traveling with your significant other. Spend the day exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, shopping in Downtown Gatlinburg, or even taking a ride over to Dollywood Amusement Park for an fun-filled afternoon. Whatever you’re into or who you’re traveling, Gatlinburg has a little bit of everything for everyone, and is an absolute must-see destination for fall travel.

Upper Peninsula, MI

Here’s another lakeside location that’s perfect for fall travel: the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Bordered on the north by Lake Superior, the south by Lake Michigan and the east by Lake Huron, Michigan’s upper peninsula guarantees a nearby lakeside view no matter where you end up staying. Accommodations include everything from quaint cottages to luxury resorts, so you’re sure to find something that suits your desires and budget. With over 40 different lighthouses to explore and nearly 300 breathtaking waterfalls to discover, Michigan’s upper peninsula has no shortage of scenic locations to satisfy any off-the-beaten-track traveler. Plan on traveling during early October in order to take advantage of the vibrant fall foliage and experience this scenic location during its off-season, for fewer crowds and lower prices. This beautiful destination is an absolute must for budget travelers and nature-loving wanderers alike, so you’ll definitely not want to miss out on a trip to Michigan this fall!

Aspen, CO

Are the Rocky Mountains calling your name? Head on over to Aspen, Colorado in mid-September and early October and you’ll be sure to see the brilliant yellows of the changing aspen trees, as well as some of the most colorful and scenic views that this ski resort city has to offer. Hike up to Cathedral Lake for an especially gorgeous view of the golden aspen forest and Castle Creek Valley. For all you adventurous types, Aspen is an especially great place to do some biking, paragliding, rafting or kayaking in a truly breathtaking mountainous location. You can also spend a lazy Saturday morning admiring local crafts, listening to live music, or grabbing a bite to eat at the Aspen Saturday Market, a 19 year-old farmer’s market which sells the finest Colorado-made produce and crafts. Book a stay at a local bed and breakfast or opt for a luxury lodge, and enjoy a week of fun and adventure in Aspen, Colorado.

Lake Tahoe, CA

Last but not least, another absolutely breathtaking fall lakeside locale can be found all the way out West. Stradding the border of California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe is the ideal getaway for any off-the-beaten-track wanderer. Visit in the fall to avoid the big crowds and enjoy the beautiful fall scenery. It’s also the perfect time if you’re a wildlife enthusiast, as kokanee salmon swim upstream to spawn – so you’ll be sure to catch a glimpse of them if you visit in the fall. Aside from the gorgeous fall colors, beautiful mountainous hikes and lakeside scenery, Lake Tahoe also offers daytime and sunset cruises on the Tahoe Queen and M.S. Dixie II paddlewheel boats, if you’re looking for a more leisurely way to tour the largest alpine lake in North America. So if you’re looking to immerse yourself in all that nature has to offer, you can’t go wrong with a vacation to Lake Tahoe in the fall.

So there you have it – five absolutely beautiful U.S. destinations, perfect for any fall getaway! We hope this list inspires you to carve out some time for a truly remarkable autumn adventure, filled with scenic mountain views, colorful fall foliage, and lovely lakeside landscapes. So get out there and explore in true OTBT style!

Happy travels!

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