When autumn arrives, the east coast is truly the best place to be. From the vibrant sweep of fall foliage and the warm apple cider to the picturesque towns and cities, the North American east coast has unparalleled autumn attractions.
Here are some of the most beautiful autumn travel destinations to consider when planning your next fall vacation.
1. Stowe, Vermont
This quaint town in Vermont offers visitors breathtaking views, authentic Vermont cuisine, and a charming stroll down an old-fashioned Main Street. Visiting Stowe will give you a real taste of northeast New England in the autumn.
Go for a day hike on Mount Mansfield to see the vividly colorful fall leaves. If you’re a fan of The Sound of Music, you can visit or stay at the Trapp Family Lodge, the once home of the von Trapp’s themselves! Also, try out some of the outdoor activities including ziplining, sailboat rides, skiing, and more.
2. Acadia National Park, Maine
Autumn is the best time to visit Acadia National Park: the weather is cool, the crowds of hikers have eased, and the vibrant foliage is a wondrous sight to behold. It is the perfect autumn destination for nature-lovers.
Visit Acadia National Park for the gorgeous views of the ocean and forest. The Ocean Path and the Gorham Mountain Loop Trail, in particular, have breathtaking scenery. There are easier trails for families and everyone to enjoy, as well as more difficult treks for the expert hikers.
3. Savannah, Georgia
Autumn is the best time of year to escape to Savannah. Located on the coast of Georgia, this sparkling town is full of cobblestone squares, horse-drawn carriages, antebellum architecture, and quaint, elegant parks. At its center stands an ornate historic cathedral, the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist, one of the top historic sites in the country.
Savannah has dozens of festivals in the fall, including the Savannah Jazz Festival, the Savannah Greek Festival, the Tybee Island Pirate Fest, Oktoberfest, and more. You can also take a Ghosts & Gravestones tour, which will lead you through the cities most haunted sites.
4. Boston, Massachusetts
If you love a city visit in the fall, Boston is the best choice by far. Located near Massachusetts Bay, this historical metropolis has a lot to offer travelers: vibrant culture and delicious food galore. From museums and strolls in the park to food festivals, Boston is definitely worth adding to your list of autumn travel destinations.
Visit the famous Quincy Market and enjoy tasty food from vendors. Go whale watching, tour Fenway Park, or take a trip to the New England Aquarium. If you love live music, Boston has many concert venues, large and small, and dozens of fall music festivals you can attend.
5. Portland, Maine
Located on a peninsula in Maine, Portland is a picturesque city blending modern and historical New England culture. Explore the downtown on foot or rent bikes to see Portland at large. Portland has delicious local cuisine: from Bam Bam Bakery to Eventide Oyster Co.
Hike the one-mile Prouts Neck Cliff Walk for gorgeous views. Make sure to stop by the Portland Head Light, the oldest operating lighthouse in Maine. Portland also has plenty of breweries where you can try excellent craft beers.
6. Newport, Rhode Island
The beautiful beachside town of Newport is the perfect fall destination. In the autumn, the crowds have dwindled, the weather is pristine, and the seascape is spectacular. Make sure to take a jaunt through the quaint downtown and stock up on souvenirs. Also, the famous Cliff Walk has breathtaking views of the ocean (and the infamous mansions too.) Check out some other Newport activities you can partake in here.
7. Cape May, New Jersey
Cape May, also known as the Jersey Cape, is best enjoyed in the autumn: the days are warm and calm and the evenings are cool and crisp.
You will never be bored while on the Jersey Cape. During the day, you can take a trip to one of the many shopping centers, check out the Jersey Cape Wine Trail, and visit dozens of historical sites and museums. In the evening, go to a show at a professional theater or take casual stroll on one of the many beautiful beaches.
8. Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville is an excellent choice if you want to see vibrant fall foliage. Located in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, a trip to Asheville is ideal for nature-lovers. Asheville has 17 farmers’ markets where you can grab seasonal produce. It also has dozens of microbreweries selling craft beer. If you love the outdoors, check out this list of the best Blue Ridge Parkways hikes. Also, explore the downtown!
9. Nantucket, Massachusetts
Nantucket is a beautiful, small island off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. While it is a wildly popular summer tourist destination, it is an underrated fall vacation spot. So, if you prefer a quiet peaceful venture into a winsome historic town with gorgeous scenery, autumn is the best time of year to pay Nantucket a visit.
Visit all the historic sites, open until October 15: the Whaling Museum, the Oldest House, the Old Mill, the Fire Hose Cart House, and more. Make sure to check out the Sankaty Lighthouse and the Great Point Lighthouse as well.
Also, Nantucket has a variety of fall festivals to partake in, including the Nantucket Fall Arts Festival, the Cranberry Festival, the NantucketGrown Food Festival, and The Nantucket Island Fair. (FYI, these events are not held every year and plans may change due to COVID-19.)
10. Prince Edward Island, Canada
Take a trip to Prince Edward Island between mid-September and late-October to see autumn leaves at their brilliant best. From the blazing reds of cherry, sumac, and red maple to the dazzling yellows of poplar and birch contrasting with the glistening evergreens, the gorgeous foliage of Prince Edward Island is worth the visit alone.
The trails are incredible. The diversity of terrain — from woodlands and grassy plains to rivers and beaches — will keep you busy for days. The full island hike, which is around 270 miles in length, will let you experience the full beauty of Prince Edward Island. There are also dozens of lighthouses worth checking out. Other activities include the Fall Flavours Festival, Anne of Green Gables attractions, live music, theatre, and more.