Fall is one of the best times of year to travel. It's shoulder season, meaning the summer rush is over, but peak winter tourism hasn't kicked up yet. The weather is usually temperate in most places, and hotel prices are at some of their lowest. But here's the dilemma—you've probably used up all your vacation time over summer and are saving what may be left of it for the holidays. International travel might be limited, but that doesn't mean trips are off the table entirely. These are the best spots in the U.S. to book a weekend getaway—maybe you can sneak a Friday or Monday off and make it a long one.
The Albuquerque International Balloon Festival happens every October, and it needs to be on your fall bucket list. Hundreds of hot air balloons take light over the Sandia Mountains, creating one of the most photo-worthy skies we've ever seen.
BOOK NOW Hotel Parq Central
You have to see the fall foliage at least once in your life, and New England is the spot. You can pick a state and stay put, or do a road trip across several to watch the leaves change as well as the landscape.
BOOK NOW Twin Farms
When it's starting to get cold in most places around the country, you can always count on Southern California for beach days that last well beyond summer. The coastal town also offers horseback riding, art galleries, shops and restaurants, wine tasting in nearby vineyards, and sunsets that are completely awe-inspiring.
BOOK NOW Belmond El Encanto
Jackson Hole is downright picturesque in the fall when the leaves start changing and the weather is pristine. Check out the fall festivals and hike Grand Teton National Park.
BOOK NOW Amangani
The summer humidity is gone, so jump at your chance to visit the picturesque Southern city. Wander rainbow row, explore the area's plantations, and sip on plenty of sweet tea. On a porch, because of course.
BOOK NOW Zero George Street
Visit Napa in the late fall to avoid summer/harvest crowds. It'll be more idyllic and calm, restaurants and wineries are easier to get into, and the leaves changing on the vines is a seriously stunning sight.
BOOK NOW Meadowood
Cooler temperatures, fewer crowds. Need we say more? Just make sure you travel by mid-October, because the popular North Rim Trail closes soon afterward.
BOOK NOW El Tovar Hotel
Central Park is just as magical as anywhere in rural New England when the leaves start changing. And of course, there's no end to sights to see, restaurants to try, and museums to visit in NYC, no matter what time of year you visit.
BOOK NOW The New York Edition
A drop in temperature in the southern city of Savannah, GA, means a drop in hotel rates with still plenty to do and see. Spend the afternoon in Forsyth park, explore the one-of-a-kind boutiques, and stroll the historic district.
BOOK NOW The Kehoe House
October marks the last month of Maui's dry season, so if you want the most reliable weather, now's the time. Since it's not peak tourist season, you'll also score lower rates. No more convincing needed.
BOOK NOW Four Seaons Maui
If you want to hit the Windy City before the blistering cold sets in, October may be your last chance. The skyline decked out in fall foliage is the stuff your travel 'gram dreams are made of.
BOOK NOW Ritz-Carlton Chicago
Let's be real—it's never not a good time to visit New Orleans, but October has some of the best weather undoubtedly. It's warm and sunny, but without any of the sticky humidity. Good riddance.
BOOK NOW Hotel Monteleone
All the foliage feels. In addition to a vibrant restaurant scene, there's also plenty of opportunity for outdoor activities, like hiking.
BOOK NOW The Lion and The Rose Bed & Breakfast
Take a weekend to enjoy all the live music you could ever desire. During the day, there's plenty of restaurants, distilleries, and outdoor activities to keep you occupied.
BOOK NOW The Hermitage Hotel
History buffs, this one's for you. Williamsburg seems even more quaint with all the leaves changing on the trees.
BOOK NOW Williamsburg Inn
Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween party is a GO, and we aren't even going to try to play it cool. We're so in. October also ushers in cooler weather, so hitting the parks won't be as unbearably warm.
BOOK NOW Grand Floridian
When summer ends, the tourists empty out, so fall is the perfect time to hit up all the museums without lines. There's also tons of festivals going on in the fall, so you'll have no lack of historical and cultural activities to keep you occupied.
BOOK NOW Four Seasons Washington D.C.
You might be inclined to wait until ski season to visit Aspen, but there's a serious case to be made for checking it out in the fall. Prices will be lower, and the hiking views—where you'll get a mix of foliage and snow—are to die for.
BOOK NOW St. Regis Aspen
If you want to experience summer in San Francisco, visit in October, not August. While fog permeates the city through much of the summer, fall gives way to a warm, Indian summer—and zero fog.
BOOK NOW Fairmont San Francisco
Hiking, mountain biking, fly fishing, hot air ballooning—there's literally no end to the outdoor activities to do in the fall. But if relaxing is more your speed, you can take a scenic drive through the foliage, or hit the spa at the Montage Deer Valley—the area's premier luxury resort.
Will you spot the headless horseman? The October happenings in Sleepy Hollow will make any Halloween lover's head spin.
BOOK NOW Castle Hotel & Spa
The Pacific Northwest is beautiful in the fall, and there's tons going on, from festivals to Halloween parties. If you want to take it easy, there's plenty of hiking and biking nearby, too.
BOOK NOW Inn at The Market
Visit the country's oldest national park in the fall to see the stunning canyons and geysers surrounded by fiery foliage. There's still plenty of light in your day to get all your outdoor activities in, but the weather will be cooler and more pleasant.
BOOK NOW Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel & Cabins
Beach weather is still in full swing in the fall. Whether you want to catch a wave or just catch some rays on the sand, San Diego is the spot.
BOOK NOW Hotel Del Coronado
The city offers plenty to do at any time of year, but fall has some particularly cool activities. Check out the corn maize on Sauvie Island, or watch the West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta. It's as hilarious as it sounds.
BOOK NOW Kimpton Hotel Monaco Portland