Is there anything better than escaping the city on a crisp autumn day? From harvest season activities like apple picking and pumpkin patch visiting, to the ideal California surf swell, to national parks without summer crowds, there are so many reasons for fall to be your favorite time for road trips.
With all of these autumn options, where do you start? Here are the cities, parks, and classic activities you won’t want to miss this fall.
The Can't-Miss Classics
Squeezing in all the fall favorites can be a challenge, but with the right route you can fit a few of these staples into a short trip.
Orchards and pumpkin patches
From freshly made apple cider donuts to picking your season’s pumpkin, fall is the time for visiting farms. Sip a cider and snag a fall-themed photo while you’re at it.
Harvest season is the ideal time for wine tasting, and there are so many wine valleys for sipping and enjoying the scenery. Start with our Washington Wine recommendations!
Wineries don’t have all the fun! Throw on your flannel and head to an Oktoberfest inspired celebration.
Follow your favorite NFL team or visit your alma mater and show your support. It’s time for tailgating!
Have the National Parks to Yourself
Beyond the iconic harvest destinations, fall is a great time to hit some summer spots without the crowds (or the heat!). Here are the national parks to add to your fall road trip bucket list.
While most national parks are going into low season come fall, Death Valley National Park is just getting started. As the hottest place on Earth, it’s no wonder Death Valley sees low visitation in the summer months. The most popular time to visit the park is in spring, but late autumn has cool temperatures, clear skies, and few crowds.
State Route 20 through the North Cascades closes around late November. Head to the park in October for vibrant leaves before the snow starts. The golden larches are a Washington favorite.
Yellowstone is a highly popular summer destination that can be enjoyed just as well in early autumn. Pack warmly, as the weather cools early in the season up here. Still, the changing leaves and the quiet of the park make it a must.
Stop in a City
For a mix of nature and civilization, here are some cities that really hit their stride come fall.
Between the beer scene and the iconic golden larches, Leavenworth makes perfect sense for fall. With the summer crowds dispersed, you’ll be able to enjoy this Bavarian town with a little more calm. It’s also a good stopping point on your way to wine tasting in Chelan or while following the Cascade Loop.
If you’re not quite ready to give up on the sun, the weather is pretty perfect in Sedona come fall. Visit a vineyard, hike through the red rocks, or rent ATVs to explore.
Santa Cruz, CA
If you’re not much of a surfer, you might see summer as the prime surf time. However, the pros know that the swell on California’s coast improves as the seasons change. When the summer beach goers head home, grab a board and get out there! Although winter would probably be considered the best time to surf here, fall has the right balance of good waves and warm weather.
Looking forward to fall? Book your Cabana for the ultimate convenience on the road and start checking off your fall bucket list!