5 Unforgettable Fall Getaways for 2022

With parts of Florida, Texas, and even the arid Southwest beginning to dip into the 50s Fahrenheit (or even lower) during the evenings of late, there’s no denying that fall is officially in the air. Along with it are the many sensory spoils of the season. There’s the crisp chill in the air, the crackling sounds of fallen leaves and burning firewood, and the vibrant autumnal palette that blankets the landscape. And, the unmistakable fragrance of apples, cinnamon, and pumpkin is seemingly all around. 

Of course, some places show off their fall flavors a bit better than others, which is why it’s the perfect time of year to plan a long weekend away. When it comes to fall getaways, New England seems to get most of the glory year after year—and for good reason. With stunning fall foliage, scenic drives, and a variety of hiking trails that wind throughout the colorful rolling hills, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine are ideal vacation destinations for leaf peeping this time of year. 

But the truth is, North America is teeming with brilliant places to get away and spot the spectacular fall colors besides New England. Here, we’ve rounded up five of our favorite unexpected and truly unforgettable places to take a fall vacation this year. 

Mackinac Island, Michigan

A favorite spot for Midwesterners and other travelers in-the-know, Mackinac Island (pronounced  ma-kuh-naw) draws crowds of vacationers to the shores of Lake Huron in the summer months. But fall is when the tiny island—just under 3.8 square miles in total size—truly shines. Situated between the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan, the island was first founded in 1780 when it became home to the coastal Fort Mackinac. 

Today, more than 80 percent of the island is designated as a state park, offering a variety of trails and outdoor adventures beyond its central small town. In fact, Mackinac Island is known to hold its fall colors of rich copper, gold, ruby, and plum well into late October and even early November. So it isn’t too late to plan a quick trip to take in the colorful fall foliage this year. 

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Many travelers like to visit this incredible and expansive national park in the summer months. This is particularly the case between May and September, when the park’s natural water features afford ample kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, fishing, and swimming opportunities. We never turn down a chance to get in the water, but it turns out that fall is a surprisingly sensational time of year to visit the park, too. 

While you may find some high-elevation trails and lakefront activities closed (or closing soon), the autumn holds other treasures in this 485-square-mile park, from fewer crowds to unspoiled vistas bursting with vibrant colors. Map out a few routes that you can explore by car first—then you can determine the most colorful hiking trails to explore for a bit more up-close leaf peeping on foot. 

New York City, New York

There may be no better time of year to visit the Big Apple than in the fall. While summers can be sweltering, New York City comes alive in the autumn months—and it typically offers surprisingly mild weather to boot. In fact, average temperatures range between the low 50s to the low 70s Fahrenheit. You can explore the city comfortably by day, then throw on a light jacket to experience the city lights and many seasonal delights come nightfall. 

Pack layers of clothing so you can easily transition from day to night, and be sure to bring your appetite. Being a major global city, you’ll find no shortage of things to see, eat, and do. From fall festivals and pumpkin patches, to special tasting menus and outdoor fairs, you’ll also have access to all the usual metropolitan attractions. 

Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia

Located at the far eastern tip of mainland Nova Scotia, a province of Canada, Cape Breton Island is a stunner that offers all the spoils of New England fall—with a fraction of the foot traffic. The island is just over 3,980 square miles in size (about twice the size of Delaware, which occupies 1,955 square miles). Yet despite its petite size, it packs in big views and jaw-dropping scenery. 

The Cabot Trail that encircles the island is an attraction in itself, giving visitors the chance to road-trip their way around the island while checking out the unspoiled coastline. Fall is a particularly inspired time to take the trip, with tapered tourism numbers meaning lower rates at the hotels, inns, and bed and breakfasts that dot the coast. You’ll also have a chance to experience all the same pomp and flash of New Hampshire’s colorful White Mountains—just a bit to the north, with fewer crowds. 

Blue Ridge Mountains, Eastern U.S. 

Arguably among the best places to spot the fall colors outside of New England, the Blue Ridge Mountains burst with an explosion of color every autumn. And since this expansive mountain range (part of the even larger Appalachian Mountains) spans an incredible 550 miles and eight states, there are plenty of ways you can see it each year. 

The Blue Ridge Mountains span southern Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, and even parts of northern Georgia. This brilliant range lights up with rich reds and golds, along with shades of pumpkin, daffodil, cinnamon, and smoke. One of the easiest ways to spot the leaves here is from the Blue Ridge Parkway, which spans the entirety of the mountain range. You’ll find a wide selection of small towns that are perfect for your next fall getaway, no matter where you may be coming from. 

Time to Pack Your Bags

With cooling temperatures, lively fall fests spilling onto the streets, and bursts of radiant autumn color all around, fall is a breathtaking time of year to plan an escape. Better hurry, though. While the season technically goes through December 21 this year (the Winter Solstice always falls on either the 21st or 22nd of that month each year), the turning leaves are already peaking in many parts of the country. And soon, that lovely chill in the air will turn to the frost of winter. Pack a weekend bag and hit the road—and don’t forget to pack your favorite sun care products so you can maximize your time spent outside enjoying the sensational season.