Road Trip Time: The 8 Best Places to Check Out This Fall

You've got to take advantage of those low gas prices, you know?

best fall road trip destinations
Getty Images

You keep saying you will, but isn't it about time you actually go on that road trip you and your friends have been talking about since college? If you need a little nudge, here are some theoretical agendas, from beer festivals to beautiful fall hikes. You've got to take advantage of those , you know?

1 of 8
fall road trip destinations: black hills, south dakota
Getty Images
The Black Hills, South Dakota

Head to Keystone — the home of Mount Rushmore — and you can say hi to George, Abe, Teddy and Thomas while taking in some pretty mind-blowing views. In fact, this year marks the 75th anniversary of completion! Travel 15 miles to Custer State Park, where you can peruse an art festival (September 29 – October 1) or even watch the annual Buffalo Roundup (September 30), where cowboys and cowgirls round up and drive a herd of approximately 1,300 buffalo. No reservations are required, but definitely plan in advance — the event draws roughly 14,000 visitors each year.

2 of 8
fall road trip destinations: santa fe, new mexico
Getty Images
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe temps are pretty much perfect in the fall, and a slew of festivals are on the horizon: the Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta (September), the Native Treasures Indian Arts Festival (September), the Santa Fe Film Festival (September) and the Albuquerque International Hot Balloon Fiesta (October). 

3 of 8
fall road trip destinations: san francisco, california
Getty Images
San Francisco, California

Although San Francisco summers can be gloom, the fall is prime time for this city, with plenty of sunshine and balmy temps. There's a Ghiradelli Chocolate Festival in September, and the Fringe Festival also hits at that time. The annual jazz festival runs September through November, and because the fall is the off season for San Francisco vacations, there will be fewer crowds and more room for you.

4 of 8
fall road trip destinations: yellowstone national park
Getty Images
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho

After all the summer tourists have taken their photos, you can have a quieter experience basking in the beauty of Yellowstone. The only drawback? Some amenities might not be available — but don't let that stop you. 

5 of 8
fall road trip destinations: denver, colorado
Getty Images
Denver, Colorado

Beer and pretty scenery. Need we say more? Okay, we will: Take a hike along the High Line Canal or hit the Cherry Creek Bike Trail, then make a date with many (and we mean many) of the city's beer events during the season.

6 of 8
fall road trip destinations: portland, maine
Getty Images
Portland, Maine

Beautiful foliage is on full display in the fall in Maine, and Portland offers one of the best cities to see it. Head up to Bradbury Mountain State Park, just a 25-minute drive away from the city, to hike and enjoy the scenery. Be sure to stay in Portland for a myriad of fall festivals, including in October and Portland Beer Week in November.

7 of 8
fall road trip destinations: savannah, georgia
Getty Images
Savannah, Georgia

, and when the fall temps bring some relief from summer's occasionally insanely muggy days, you can expect music and film festivals, daytime strolls and even better/more timely haunted tours. (It is one of the most haunted cities, after all.)

8 of 8
fall road trip destinations: louisville, kentucky
Getty Images
Louisville, Kentucky

Louisville isn't just a great place to visit during the  — it's a veritable treasure of cool architecture, a great local food scene and (obviously) amazing whiskey and bourbon. (Fun fact: A third of the world's bourbon whiskey comes from this city.) September is a celebration of National Bourbon Heritage Month, and October boasts an annual Jack -O'-Lantern Spectacular.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
More From Travel Ideas