Fall Bucket List


Fall is slowly pushing aside the heat of summer. Sweaters and boots and long walks are all part of the cooler months. Activities abound this time of year, and you don’t want to miss out. This fall bucket list is sure to spark your imagination and give you plenty to do weekends and weekdays alike.


Traditional Activities

There are just certain things that are naturally associated with autumn weather. Warm drinks, campfires, and football are just a few. Here are a few ideas to get you into the spirit of the season.

·      Tailgating: It’s football season!

·      Apple Picking: Grab your basket and start picking crisp fall apples for the whole family. There are several apple farms across the country that allow guests to come pick a variety of fresh apples.

·      Pumpkin Patch: Trips to pumpkin patches make carving pumpkins, serving up pumpkin pie, and munching on pumpkin seeds so much more rewarding.

·      Great Smoky Mountain Railroad: Really experience fall with a themed train ride!


Fall Colors

Fall foliage never gets old. It makes everyday drives a little bit more beautiful. Trees aflame with fiery reds and oranges and yellows line the roads drawing the eye to gaze upon their natural beauty. These four locations offer some of the best colors in the U.S. Look for fall color reports to find the best times for visits. Each season is a little different.

·      Shenandoah National Park, VA:  The Shenandoah area has something that will appeal to travelers of all interests: scenic drives, winery tours, and hiking trails. Usually the season starts towards the end of September and continues through early November.

·      Eastern Shore, MD:  Maryland offers cooler weather and beautiful colors while providing plenty of opportunities for fall themed entertainment. The peak season for fall foliage in Maryland falls between late October and early November

·      Columbia River Gorge, OR:  Oregon boasts remote areas with lush landscapes populated by bigleaf oaks and maples that offer a range of beautiful fall colors. Colors come alive in Oregon starting in September and lasting until early November.

·      Door County, WI: Late-September to mid-October is the best time to enjoy this enchanting area of Wisconsin. To see the best colors in Door County, visit sometime between late-September and mid-October.

·      Blue Ridge Parkway, VA and NC: One of the most iconic scenic drives in America is the Blue Ridge Parkway. There is no better time to visit than in the fall. The long-range vistas and mountain views are made breathtaking in the Autumn months. The leaves often begin changing colors at the higher elevations and work their way down. October is the best time to meander along the parkway and enjoy fall’s beauty.


Outdoor Adventure

Autumn is the perfect time for outdoor adventures. The weather is cool but not cold. It is prime time for hiking, biking, rock climbing and beyond.

·      Hiking: Hitting the trail is, hands down, one of the best ways to experience all the lovely things about fall. Strap on your boots, don your flannel, and fill your thermos with a warm beverage, and get outside and breath in some cool autumn air. Whether you are hiking in the Catskills of New York, Acadia of Maine, or the Appalachian Trail spanning across the eastern United States, this is the time of year to do it.

·      Rock climbing: In the south especially, climbing during the summer months is unbearable. The heat saps your energy and your hands are constantly covered in sweat. But Autumn … Autumn is prime climbing season. The top spots include Horse Pens 40 in Alabama; Leavenworth, Washington; Red River Gorge, Kentucky; Boulder Canyon, Colorado; Yosemite Valley, California; and Red Rock, Nevada.

·      Biking: Experiencing a place at bike speed is incredible. You have the ability to cover miles while going slow enough to appreciate the landscape. South Dakota’s Black Hills are wonderful this time of year as well as the Delaware Canal Towpath, Colorado’s Vail Mountain, the deserts of Moab in Utah, the Natchez Trace Parkway through Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee, and Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia and North Carolina.

·      Camping: Sitting around a campfire after a perfect day of adrenaline pumping outdoor activities is the essence of fall. Roasting marshmallows and talking of life’s adventures is the perfect way to prepare to rest your weary bones in the depths of a warm sleeping bag. Pitch your tent or park your traveling home at Cheaha Mountain, the Great Smoky Mountains, Joshua Tree, or Ozark National Forest for some of the best camping.

·      Skiing and Snowboarding: By the time autumn rolls around, most skiers and snowboarders are itching to find some early snow. Fall winter sports aren’t always reliable. Your best bet to find early snow in the U.S. is up north or out west. November will definitely show more consistent coverage than October.


Autumn Destinations

The kids are back in school and everyone is settling into a routine. Prices drop across the country as autumn ushers in off-season pricing. It is the best time to travel. As prices drop off from their summer highs, so do the tourists. This is the best time to visit all those places on your bucket list without fighting crowds and dolling out wads of your hard-earned money.

·      National Parks: Off-season prices and fewer tourists.

·      Outer Banks, North Carolina: Still warm enough to enjoy the beaches.

·      San Francisco: Easier navigation without the crowds.

·      Big Sur: Great time to go whale watching.

Pumpkin spice lattes are not all that this beautiful season has to offer. Get outside and enjoy the weather in a way that appeals to you. Adventure awaits in splashes of color this time of year!

Authur: Amy Gravlee of amygrvl.com