White Dome Geyser, Yellowstone
Courtesy of chuckyeager / Flickr
Fall is typically the time when kids go back to school and we get back to work. And because most of us have that mindset, autumn is also a spectacular shoulder season with discounts that few people utilize. Now is actually the time to visit a few popular summer destinations, since their prices, crowds and temperatures have dropped. This season also distinguishes those cities with particularly beautiful fall foliage and fun festivals. Here, we've pulled together a list of ideal travel spots for fall.
Why go: Now void of camera-toting tourists, Yellowstone is ready for you to watch its gorgeous transition from summer to fall without interruption (except by maybe a buffalo or two). And just because temperatures are dropping doesn't mean this park is any less impressive; Old Faithful is sure to impress anytime of the year. However, be aware that fewer crowds can mean fewer available park amenities.
Fort Pulaski National Monument
Courtesy of Bruce Tuten / Flickr
#9 Savannah, GA
Why go: Beautiful architecture, amazing comfort food and a distinct sense of Southern hospitality are Savannah's major draws. But you can enjoy the fall-time jazz and film festivals if you plan a trip for this season. You'll also find a few vacancies in the city's romantic bed and breakfasts and historical inns.
Courtesy of coleong / iStockphoto.com
#8 Boston, MA
Why go: A stroll down the Freedom Trail, through Boston Common and around the Boston Public Garden feels oh so nice with a little fall chill in the air. Fall weekends are perfect for leaf-peeping, so rent a car and head west along Route 2 toward Concord and Fitchburg for some first-rate peeks at the foliage. And if you have some cash to burn, you could splurge on some Red Sox playoff action.
#7 Austin, TX
Why go: Austin has a lot going for it -- beautiful parks, relaxing coffeehouses and excellent nightlife. But the city is truly at its best when students return for the fall semester. Living up to its reputation as the "Live Music Capital of the World," you'll find the Austin City Limits Music Festival here every September. And fans of college football will want to make a pilgrimage to see the Longhorns play at the historic Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.
H.R. MacMillan Space Centre
Courtesy of Qole Pejorian / Flickr
Why go: The leaves and temps aren't the only thing falling; Vancouver's hotel rates also take a dive this season. And as the leaves turn, Vancouverites flock to Granville Island for September's International Comedy Festival and October's International Writers & Readers Festival. Plus some of the city's top things to do are still enjoyable in the crisp weather, like a brisk walk through Stanley Park or a strenuous hike up Grouse Mountain.
Courtesy of Lordcolus / Flickr
Why go: Really, when can't you go to New York? It's the city of all seasons. But if you plan your trip for autumn, you can catch the true splendor of Central Park's trees and get a head start on your holiday shopping in trendy SoHo. You can also cheer on the New York City Marathon runners or watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in November. And be sure to pack your very best as you might just visit during Fall Fashion Week.
Fremont Street is known for its dazzling overhead light show.
Courtesy of Deacon Steve / Flickr
Why go: Las Vegas is America's playground every day of the year, but it is especially appealing in the fall. Temperatures are comfortable, airfare is affordable and rooms are downright cheap. You'll often be able to save even more with online hotel and flight package deals. And as anyone who has walked the Strip here in the blistering summer will tell you: Coming to Vegas in the fall is a great idea.
Chicago's famous Cloud Gate sculpture can be found in Millennium Park.
Courtesy of Jay Galvin / Flickr
#3 Chicago, IL
Why go: While summer brings large crowds and expensive hotel rooms, winter here is only for those that have a serious tolerance for brutally cold climates. A trip to Chicago during the more-temperate fall can be done on the cheap, with inexpensive flights and affordable rooms in abundant supply. Also, if you're looking to test your stamina, the Chicago Marathon is held every October (just make sure to register early, as it tends to fill up).
The Golden Gate Bridge is the ninth-longest suspension bridge in the world.
Courtesy of Kevin Cole / Flickr
Why go: San Fran is ideal for a quick getaway. With the tourists long gone, the off-peak season allows for easier navigating down the crooked Lombard Street and across the Golden Gate Bridge. If you're with kids, take the cable cars over the citys steep hills to Ghirardelli Square for some chocolate. Or tour the Japanese Tea Garden and then relax in Golden Gate Park with a picnic while the kids burn off some energy.
The Louvre Palace and Pyramid
Courtesy of re-ality / Flickr
Why go: As the weather begins to cool and the crowds begin to thin, Paris is an even more tempting getaway. You'll feel as though you have the city to yourself: no long lines, no inflated hotel prices and no fighting for that perfect café table. Also, deals on hotels and airfare run amok, leaving your bank account much more at ease. And don't forget Montmartre's annual wine festival in October, to crown a perfect vacation.
See more of the Best Fall Getaways