best fall vacations east coast fall foliage

27 BEST Fall Vacations: East Coast Edition (2024)

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Are you looking for the perfect fall vacation, East Coast edition?

With its stunning autumnal landscapes, vibrant culture and wide variety of activities, there’s something for everyone on the Eastern seaboard. From beach towns to big cities, these are some of our favorite destinations for a memorable fall vacation east coast side.

Whether you want to explore history-rich sites or just relax in nature’s beauty, we have your guide to some of the best spots along North America’s East Coast. So grab your bags and let’s go!

27 Best Fall Vacations: East Coast

Pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable experience as we take you on a journey through some of the best fall vacation spots along North America’s East Coast.

1. Halifax, Nova Scotia

Halifax is one of the best fall vacations east coast

Halifax, Nova Scotia is a great city to head to for a fall vacation. The weather is still warm and often sunny. This means you can enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, and also take advantage of dining on patios.

During October, you’ll get to see Nova Scotia’s beautiful fall colors, and have the added benefit that fall is much less busy with tourists – so you’ll experience far fewer crowds.

Start your  trip to Halifax with a visit to Halifax Citadel Hill, which is a large, stone early 19th-century British fortification. Every hour the Citadel, is open you can watch the sentry guard change at the front gate.

It’s also possible to pop in for one of their guided tours of the citadel and grounds, or go on their spooky ghost tour.  

Go for a walk along Halifax’s 4.4 km long waterfront boardwalk. You’ll see sailboats, ferries, and ships out on the ocean. Along the boardwalk there are local artisans, seasonal vendors, and year-round businesses.

You can stop to relax in one of the boardwalk’s public hammocks, or pop into one of the waterfront restaurants. 

October is the perfect time to day trip to Peggy’s Cove. Peggy’s Cove is a picturesque village on the coast of Nova Scotia. There, you’ll find an old lighthouse – it’s the subject of many Nova Scotia postcards!

Peggy’s Cove is less than an hour drive from Halifax. The drive is beautiful, especially during the fall, and visiting this quaint village is especially nice in October because there are fewer crowds and tour buses. 

While in Halifax, stay in The Halliburton. This hotel has three converted heritage townhomes that are located in the heart of Halifax’s downtown area. It’s a boutique hotel, with only 29 rooms.The hotel has a gorgeous courtyard, and on-site restaurant. 

Erin, Pina Travels

2. Stowe, Vermont

Stowe, Vermont fall foliage

If you’re seeking a picturesque fall vacation in the Green Mountains, Stowe is the ultimate destination to immerse yourself in the beauty of the season. 

This charming New England town shows a stunning transformation of rolling hills and mountains into a mesmerizing mix of fiery reds, burnt oranges, and golden yellows.

There are plenty of fun things to do in Stowe, Vermont in the fall! Start by going on the Gondola SkyRide at Stowe Mountain Resort.

This scenic journey will immerse you in the colorful foliage, offering a 3D postcard view of Mount Mansfield and its breathtaking display.

For a leisurely outdoor experience, take a bike tour or go for a walk on the Stowe Recreation Path. This popular paved 5.3-mile trail winds through the town along the Mountain Road, passing behind local businesses, restaurants, and shops.

You can take a break along the way to refuel, grab a local beer or lunch, or explore the offerings of the area.

To add a touch of romance, consider a horse-drawn adventure with Gentle Giants Sleigh and Carriage Rides. Snuggle up under a cozy blanket and admire the fall ambiance while taking in the charming views.

There are numerous exceptional accommodations in Stowe but the Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa offers a blend of luxury, comfort, and proximity to local attractions.

Take advantage of the resort’s amenities, such as the spa, pools, fitness center, and dining options, to unwind after a day of exploring the vibrant fall colors.

So, pack your flannels, indulge in a maple syrup-infused treat or hot cider, and plan a fall vacation in Stowe that promises warm memories!

Heather, This Noshtalgic Life

3. Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls, Canada

One of the most famous landmarks in North America – Niagara Falls – is also one of the best places to vacation on the east coast in fall.

While Niagara Falls is spectacular to see at any time of year, the addition of the surrounding red, yellow, and orange colors makes it a truly special place to visit in the fall.

To get the full view of the falls and surrounding landscape, you should aim to visit both the US and Canadian sides, which are connected by the Rainbow Bridge.

And it’s not just the majestic waterfalls which are worth seeing. The whole Niagara region is particularly beautiful at this time of year.

On the Canadian side of the Niagara River, you can drive the scenic Niagara Parkway, which takes you past several picturesque towns, key historical sites, vineyards and stunning natural landscapes which are full of vibrant fall colors.

And at the northern end of the parkway, you will find the charming town of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Here you can take in views of the changing colors along Lake Ontario, visit a local winery, explore boutiques and galleries, and sip on a pumpkin spiced latte at one of the town’s cute cafes.

To make the most of the spectacular views during your visit, you can even book a night at a hotel overlooking the Canadian side of the falls!

The Marriott Fallsview Hotel and Spa has some of the best views of Niagara Falls from its restaurant, lounge bar and fallsview rooms.

Chanelle, Chasing Chanelle

4. Key West, Florida

southernmost point of continental USA buoy in Key West

Key West, Florida is a great destination for a fall vacation, offering mild temperatures and plenty of sunny days.

Located at the southern tip of the state closest to Cuba, Key West’s natural beauty and relaxed atmosphere make it an ideal spot to relax and take in the sights.

While it cools down. a bit in fall the temperature remains hot enough to enjoy outdoor activities such as swimming, snorkeling, kayaking and exploring the island.

Start your vacation in Key West by visiting Mallory Square, a popular spot to watch the sunset with live music performances every night.

You can also take a guided tour of Ernest Hemingway’s former home – now known as Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum – which still contains the author’s original furnishings.

Explore Key West’s history on an Old Town Trolley Tour, a hop-on, hop-off tour that takes you around the island for 12 stops. Visit the Southernmost Point of the continental USA to take your picture at the world famous buoy.

There’s no shortage of ways to enjoy this idyllic place in the fall, because Key West is worth visiting any time of year!

While in town, you can’t go wrong with a stay at The Perry Hotel and Marina for a luxurious experience.

Nausheen, Globe Gazers

5. Amelia Island, Florida

Amelia Island is one of the best fall vacations east coast side

When it comes to the best East Coast vacation destinations in the fall, Amelia Island is not only a great place to visit but also one of the best places to live on the East Coast.

Located off the northeastern coast of Florida, this charming island offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, historic charm and a mild autumn climate that is ideal for a memorable vacation.

One of the reasons why Amelia Island is a great place to visit in the fall is its stunning natural landscapes.

The island boasts pristine beaches, lush maritime forests and scenic marshlands that are adorned with vibrant hues of red, orange and yellow during the autumn months.

Exploring the island’s nature trails, such as the Amelia Island Trail or Egan’s Creek Greenway, allows visitors to immerse themselves in the beauty of fall foliage while enjoying the crisp ocean breeze.

For those seeking cultural experiences, Amelia Island offers a rich history and a vibrant arts scene. Take a stroll through the historic district of Fernandina Beach and admire the well-preserved Victorian architecture.

The Amelia Island Museum of History is also worth a visit to delve into the island’s intriguing past. Additionally, art enthusiasts can explore the local galleries and attend the Amelia Island Jazz Festival, which takes place annually in October.

When it comes to accommodation, The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island stands out as an exceptional choice. This luxury hotel offers breathtaking ocean views, elegant rooms and impeccable service.

With direct access to the beach, a championship golf course, and a world-class spa, it provides a perfect retreat for relaxation and indulgence during a fall getaway.

Trijit, Budget Travel Buff

6. Miami, Florida

Miami

Miami is a fantastic destination for vacations in the fall. The weather is still warm but not as hot and humid as in the summer, and the crowds are smaller.

Miami is known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife and multicultural cuisine, making it an excellent place to visit in the fall.

One of the best things to do in Miami in the fall is to visit the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. This historic estate features stunning gardens, fountains, sculptures, and a museum showcasing art and artifacts from the early 20th century.

Another great activity to do in Miami in the fall is to take a sunset cruise. The city has many boat tours that offer stunning views of the skyline and the ocean, and the cooler temperatures make it more enjoyable.

For accommodation, Miami offers plenty of options. The Fontainebleau Miami Beach is an excellent choice. This iconic hotel has been a staple of Miami since the 1950s and has recently undergone a multi-million dollar renovation.

It offers luxurious accommodations, multiple restaurants and bars and a beautiful pool area.

In conclusion, Miami is a great place to visit in the fall for its warm weather, beautiful beaches and cultural diversity. Whether you’re interested in art, nightlife, or just relaxing on the beach, Miami has something to offer everyone.

Odo, Caribe Vibes

7. Everglades National Park, Florida

Everglades

The Everglades National Park, located in southern Florida, offers a unique and captivating experience for a fall vacation. The park boasts a diverse ecosystem, comprising wetlands, marshes and mangrove forests teeming with wildlife.

During the fall season, the temperatures are milder, making it a pleasant time to explore the park without the scorching heat and humidity of the summer months.

Additionally, the fall is considered the dry season in Florida, resulting in fewer mosquitoes and a more comfortable outdoor experience.

For a fall vacation in the Everglades, here are a few recommendations of things to do:

Take an exhilarating airboat tour through the vast expanse of the Everglades. Glide across the shallow waters while spotting alligators, turtles and various bird species.

This exciting adventure allows you to immerse yourself in the unique ecosystem and learn about the park’s conservation efforts.

Explore the park’s trails on foot and discover the beauty of the Everglades up close.

The Anhinga Trail and the Gumbo Limbo Trail are popular options, offering opportunities to observe wildlife – such as herons, egrets and alligators – in their natural habitat.

As migratory birds enter the region, fall is an excellent time for birdwatching.

Enjoy a peaceful and scenic paddle through the tranquil waterways of the Everglades. Rent a canoe or kayak and navigate the mangrove tunnels, observing the abundant wildlife and soaking in the serenity of the surroundings.

The Nine Mile Pond Canoe Trail and the Turner River Canoe Trail are highly recommended for a leisurely paddling experience.

For accommodation, I recommend staying at the Everglades City Motel. This cozy and affordable motel is located in Everglades City, which serves as a gateway to the Everglades National Park.

It offers comfortable rooms, friendly service, and convenient access to various attractions and tour operators in the area.

Its central location allows you to explore the Gulf Coast and the Everglades, making it an ideal base for your fall vacation in the region.

Victoria, Guide Your Travel

8. Savannah, Georgia

Savannah Georgia is one of the best fall vacations east coast North America

If you’re looking for something a little different for your next getaway, consider a trip to Savannah, Georgia in October.

The mild fall weather brings low humidity and plenty of sunshine to the city, and Savannah’s spook factor during the month is top notch!

Since it’s such a popular time to visit, you’ll want to book your hotel at least a few months in advance. The Marshall House is an excellent all-around choice due to its central location and friendly staff, or choose Perry Lane Hotel for a luxury option.

One of the best things to do during the fall season in Savannah is to stroll around as much as possible to take in all the sights.

You’ll see beautiful architecture throughout the Victorian District, incredible old oaks dripping in Spanish Moss in Forsyth Park, the stunning Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist in the Historic District, and giant container ships sailing into port along River Street.

There are 22 beautiful squares throughout the city where you can stop to rest on a bench (Forrest Gump-style) while enjoying the shade and some people watching. (Savannah is known for its eccentric characters!).

When you get hungry, you can easily stroll to one of the city’s award-winning restaurants, such as Common Thread or The Grey.

If you’re interested in taking a guided tour, Bonaventure Don’s cemetery tour is one of the best in the city. You can also do a trolley tour or opt for the always-popular ghost tours.

Erin, Savannah First Timer

9. White Mountains of New Hampshire  

White Mountains

The White Mountains of New Hampshire come alive in the fall and are one of the top places on the east coast to see the fall colors. 

Set against a backdrop of rocky mountain peaks and winding rivers, the fall colors of NH put on a show of reds, yellows and oranges. 

Add to this a place that embraces fall with apple cider donuts, small breweries and gorgeous hikes and you have an incredible fall destination.  

If you are visiting the White Mountains in the fall for the first time, there are a few things you can’t miss. 

Start your visit with a scenic drive down the Kancamagus Highway, stopping at the different scenic overlooks or take a ride on the Cog Railway. Along the way explore some of the many fall hiking trails. 

Some of the best short fall hiking trails in the White Mountains include: Artists Bluff, Mt Willard and the Boulder Loop Trail. 

End your visit with a stop in one of the small mountain towns and stop in North Conway to grab a bite to eat or check out the shops.  

To make the most of your time in the White Mountains, consider staying at the Omni Mount Washington Resort. This classic New Hampshire hotel is set among the mountains and offers a unique mountain experience.

To plan your trip to the White Mountains in the fall, see a complete White Mountains of NH Guide.

Gretchen, Chasing Advntr

10. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia vegetarian restaurant

When looking for a fabulous fall adventure in a fun east coast city, there’s no better place than Philadelphia!

The lush, green trees that line the historic Old Town turn into a vibrant orange, red and yellow kaleidoscope and blanket the cobblestone streets — there’s no better place for a picture-perfect fall shot.

While enjoying the beautiful scenery in the crisp autumn air, don’t miss taking a break at one of Philly’s festive beer gardens.

A couple of noteworthy spots include Walnut Garden, Spruce Street Harbor Park, and Parks on Tap (this is a traveling beer garden, so the drinking locations change weekly).

For those who love the season’s spooky side, head to the infamous Eastern State Penitentiary for their special Halloween Nights.

The event features multiple themed haunted houses, live music, ghostly bars and a unique audio tour (in the past, it was narrated by Steve Buscemi) — there’s something for everyone.

When you’re ready to grab a bite to eat, slide into one of Philadelphia’s hippest plant-based restaurants and bars, Charlie Was a Sinner.

Whether you’re a veggie connoisseur or not, you’ll fall head over heels for their house-made cheese board, and of course, don’t miss their specialty cocktails!

A great budget-friendly place to stay to enjoy all that Philadelphia has to offer is Motto by Hilton Philadelphia Rittenhouse Square.

Rebecca, Veggies Abroad

11. Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville is one of the best fall getaways on the east coast

Asheville, North Carolina is an ideal destination for a perfect fall getaway. With its unique features and stunning natural beauty, the city and its surroundings offer an array of exciting autumn activities.

One of the most popular attractions in Asheville is the Biltmore Mansion, built by George Vanderbilt in 1895.

This 8000-acre estate located in the Blue Ridge Mountains is America’s largest home and provides visitors with a glimpse into its rich history and culture. The fall colors you can see just by walking the estate are breathtaking!

Or simply take a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which offers amazing views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The Parkway has many overlooks, so be sure to find a spot and take in all the colors and vistas.

For those looking to experience nature at its finest, Pisgah National Forest is a must-visit spot. With over 500,000 acres of land to explore, this forest offers plenty of hiking trails with spectacular fall foliage.

From cascading waterfalls to lush woodlands and meadows, there’s something for everyone here!

When it comes to accommodation in Asheville during the fall season, The Inn on Biltmore Estate is an excellent choice.

Located just minutes away from downtown Asheville, this hotel mirrors the actual Biltmore House and provides guests with all the amenities they need for a comfortable stay.

It also offers special fall-related services such as guided tours of Biltmore Estate or wine tastings at its winery!

Brodi, Our Offbeat Life

12. Blue Ridge Parkway in Asheville

Blue Ridge Parkway

If you’re looking for the best east coast vacation destinations in the fall then you can’t beat a scenic drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway

After all, this incredible road stretches out for 489 miles from North Virginia, near Charlottesville, to Asheville, North Carolina. 

Plus, in early October the trees on the Blue Ridge Mountains come alive with vibrant colors that are well worth seeing. You’ll also love that the fall weather is relatively mild and doesn’t get too cold. 

Additionally, try to spend at least four days doing this road trip since there are so many great things to do along the way. 

Highlights include a stop at Rough Ridge Overlook before doing the Rough Ridge Trail at milepost 302.8. It’s a great 1.8-mile out-and-back hike near Blowing Rock, where you can admire the foliage and get a great view of Linn Cove Viaduct from atop the ridge. 

You can also do the hike to Linville Falls at Milepost 316.4 before strolling through the stunning assortment of exposed rocks that make Craggy Gardens famous.

Finally, after you arrive in Asheville spend the night at The Restoration Asheville. It’s a great modern hotel that is known for its stunning rooftop bar and exceptional service.

Victoria, Southern Trippers

13. Williamsburg, Virginia

williamsburg

If you are looking for one of the best East Coast vacations in the fall consider Williamsburg,VA. It is a beautiful area with fall foliage and plenty of fun things to do.

Williamsburg is home to Colonial Williamsburg. During the fall the historic capitol has many harvesting activities and ghost tours

Both the historic sites and museums of Jamestown and Yorktown are perfect to visit during the fall. The weather is mild and many of the activities are located outside. You can also jump on the Jamestown – Scotland Ferry for a fun adventure. 

Busch Gardens is another fun thing to add to your itinerary. If you love amusement parks Busch Gardens has some of the best on the East Coast. There are lots of Halloween activities during October as well.

There are many amazing resorts in the Williamsburg area but I highly recommend the Marriott’s Manor Club at Ford Colony. The rooms are huge, with amazing amenities including a kids club and a small movie theater.  

Another great place to stay is the Great Wolf Lodge. If you have younger kids, there is a huge indoor waterpark. There are also fun activities throughout the resort.  

Williamsburg is amazing and worth a visit!

Lisa, Planning Away

14. Bar Harbor, Maine

Bar Harbor

Bar Harbor is one of the most beautiful places to visit on the East Coast in the fall.

With Acadia — New England’s only National Park — overlooking the town, visiting Bar Harbor at this time of year means comfortable weather for hiking, beautiful leaf peeping and waterfront fun for visitors.

There are tons of things to do in Bar Harbor in the fall, but one of the most iconic is watching the sunrise from the top of Cadillac Mountain — it’s one of the first spots on the continent to witness it! You can hike or drive to the peak.

Other great hiking trails include the Beehive, Bubbles, or Jordan Pond Path.

Alternatively, you could cycle or walk the carriage roads for flat terrain while enjoying the lovely scenery in the fall.

If you visit in September or even into October, you can still catch some of the extraordinary wildlife in this area before they migrate. Take a whale-watching cruise for gorgeous views of the shoreline even if you don’t see any whales.

Fall is also the perfect time for a ghost story. Crunchy leaves underfoot set the tone as you walk through Bar Harbor listening to the spooky tales of former residents…

If you get unlucky with bad weather, stop into Sherman’s original location in Bar Harbor — this is Maine’s oldest bookstore!

Check out the lovely Little Fig Hotel for a fabulous fall visit. With on-site parking and walkability to everything in Bar Harbor, you’ll get to relax and enjoy the best of the whole Mount Desert Island area.

Amanda, Hey! East Coast USA 

15. Portland, Maine

Consider Portland Maine for a fall vacation destination on the east coast

If you’re looking for a great fall getaway, Portland, Maine is the place to visit. The city is situated on the coast, and when fall rolls around, it comes alive with vibrant colors. You’ll find lots of charming shops, great places to eat and fascinating historical sites.

To experience the full beauty of fall, it’s ideal to visit Portland, Maine in October. During this time, the average high temperature is 56°F (13.5°C) and the average low is 47.5°F (8.6°C). The leaves reach their maximum color between the 10th and 15th of the month.

To begin your fall getaway in Portland, Maine, visit the Old Port for coffee and a donut before heading to the Portland Head Light, the famous lighthouse in Maine. The surrounding area is stunning, and the autumn foliage adds to its charm.

After you finish visiting the lighthouse, make your way to Portland’s Old Port where you will find charming cobblestone streets lined with unique boutiques and delicious restaurants. Take your time to indulge in a relaxed afternoon by exploring these charming shops.

Don’t forget to look out for events, especially during the last week of October. Portland has Halloween events scheduled every night that week. Among these events, Harvest on the Harbor is a must-see, showcasing the best food from Portland’s top chefs.

There are many great places to stay in Portland, Maine, including the Chadwick Bed and Breakfast. The rooms at this B&B are romantic and the breakfast is delicious, making it a great place to enhance your experience in the city.

Kelsea, Out of Office Mindset

16. Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore in fall

Baltimore, MD is a beautiful city to explore during the fall season. With its colorful foliage, cool temperatures and festive activities, there’s plenty to do in the city.

From exploring historic sites and taking in breathtaking views of the harbor to catching a professional game or enjoying an outdoor festival, you can experience it all in Baltimore during the fall season.

One popular activity is visiting one of the many corn mazes around the state. Corn mazes can range from small family-friendly ones with easy paths to more challenging ones that require careful navigation and problem solving skills.

Most corn mazes often provide other activities like hayrides, pumpkin patches, petting zoos and more.

Another great fall activity in Baltimore is to attend the Baltimore Ravens’ opening day game at M&T Bank Stadium. It usually takes place in September and is a fun experience for both family and kids. 

A perfect outdoor activity during the fall is hiking. There are plenty of trails to explore throughout the city, ranging from easy strolls to strenuous hikes.

Plus, there are many scenic spots along the way that offer stunning views of the changing fall leaves and wildlife.

While in Baltimore, a great hotel to stay is the Four Seasons Baltimore. It is located just steps away from the Inner Harbor and offers stunning views of the city.

Guests can enjoy a variety of amenities including an outdoor pool, fitness center, spa services, an infinity pool and on-site dining options ranging from casual to fine cuisine. 

Lola, Deyewa

17. Assateague Island, Maryland

assateague-horse

Assateague Island off the coast of Maryland is the perfect fall vacation for nature lovers. This barrier island is a National Seashore famous for its wild horses that wander freely on the beaches, roads, trails and marshes.

You can access the barrier island via the Verrazano Bridge from the resort town of Ocean City. In fact, if you don’t like camping, you’ll want to stay in a hotel there as none exist on the island.

The Park Place Hotel faces the Atlantic and in the fall the rates drop for an ocean view room. 

You’ll also find a plethora of seafood and crab restaurants in Ocean City. Even if you do camp on Assateague, you should taste some famous Maryland Blue Crabs and walk the iconic boardwalk. You’ll appreciate the serene island even more afterwards. 

In addition to horses you may see deer, foxes and seabirds. Birdwatchers, bring your binoculars as herons, egrets and even bald eagles can be found.

Your best chance to see the over 200 species of birds are the trails through the sea grass on the bay side: the Marsh Nature Trail and the Forest Nature Trail. 

The white sand beaches are beautiful anytime of year and in autumn you don’t have all the tourists.

Temperatures in September will still be warm enough to swim and surf (70s), but later in the fall you’ll probably want to stick to kayaking, hiking and biking.

Denise, Chef Denise

18. New York City

NYC

NYC is an exciting destination at any time of year, but Fall is a particularly good time to visit because of the relatively mild weather and how the leaves on the trees change to gorgeous warm tones arounds the city.

One of the best things to do in New York City in fall include taking a walking tour of Manhattan.

Whilst the summer months can be rather hot, the cooler temperatures in fall mean the city is very walkable. So, do get out into the avenues and streets to explore the city by foot.

Take your time and wander the streets of Greenwich Village, the Lower East Side, Little Italy and Chinatown, taking in the different personalities of these historic neighborhoods. Just remember to wear comfortable footwear!

Any New York City itinerary will include some of the iconic landmarks in Manhattan, including the Empire State Building, The Chrysler Building, New York Public Library and Top Of The Rock, all of which are great to see in fall. You might also want to visit the 911 Memorial and Museum.

You should also definitely explore the city parks. In September, Central Park can still feel fairly green and warm, which is lovely for picnicking or boating on the lake (or watching other people do that!).

And as the leaves turn to red, orange and yellow, the park is transformed into an autumnal wonderland.

Finally, even as the temperatures cool, it’s not necessarily too late to enjoy New York’s rooftop bars, as some open year-round and amend their menus to include seasonal drinks like cider and hot Irish coffees. 

For an amazing view of Manhattan, check out Westlight, the rooftop bar at the top of the William Vale Hotel in Brooklyn, which is also a very comfortable place to stay.

Whether you visit New York solo or with good company, you’re sure to enjoy it in fall.

Martha, May Cause Wanderlust

19. Montauk, New York

Montauk Lighthouse

Montauk is often overlooked as a USA fall travel destination, but this beach town is far from mediocre. 

Located on Long Island in New York, Montauk is the perfect holiday destination for traveling in September and October. The weather starts to cool down, which makes the activities much more enjoyable.

Plus, the summer crowds start to disperse. Furthermore, Montauk is easily one of the best places to visit on Long Island!

While here, spend time at Deep Hollow Ranch and ride a horse across the coastline, hit the waves and go surfing, or head to the Montauk Lighthouse – known as the end of the world.

For specific fall activities, there are tons of farms to explore. You will find apple picking at a handful of orchards nearby, pumpkin pathces and even vineyards. These areas are often tourist hot spots, so it’s nice to experience them with fewer crowds. 

Montauk is also home to many highly-rated restaurants. The Navy Beach is a local favorite. They offer delicious seafood with an unbelievable ocean view.

When looking for a place to stay, there are a multitude of hotels, resorts and B&Bs, each with its own unique charm.

Montauk Manor is a spectacular place to stay and has glowing reviews online. They even have a spa and wellness center that offers relaxing treatments.

Sam, Find Love & Travel

20. Hudson Valley, New York

Hudson Valley

New York’s Hudson Valley is the perfect fall destination because there are so many amazing fall activities to do

The Hudson Valley is one of the best places on the east coast for leaf peeping. Starting in September in the north and continuing to early November in the south, the entire area bursts into bright orange, red and yellow colors.

Just driving along the country roads is a treat, but to really enjoy the spectacular fall foliage, it’s best to hit the hiking trails.

The Minnewaska Lake Loop in Minnewaska State Park is truly stunning, with a beautiful lake surrounded by fall color, and panoramic views over the forested valley in the other direction. 

Fall is also the time to enjoy fruit picking. There are plenty of picturesque orchards that offer u-pick apples and pears.  Some even have wood oven pizza for sale and others are connected to cideries where you can sample their wares.  

Several farms also have corn mazes, hay rides and farm stands.  Apple cider donuts, anyone? There are also pumpkin patches where you can pick your perfect Halloween Jack o’Lantern. 

There are lots of other Halloween activities to do, too. A highlight is the Great Jack o’Lantern Blaze in Croton on Hudson. About 7,000 hand-carved pumpkins are arranged in elaborate displays and tableaux. 

It’s an amazing experience the whole family will love. There are also haunted houses and even the original headless horseman.

A popular fall hotel is the magical Mohonk Mountain House. It looks like something out of Harry Potter, offers plenty of all-inclusive activities, and is surrounded by fall color. 

James, Travel Collecting

21. Washington DC

Washington DC

Washington DC has international airport (IAD) and it’s well connected with all major destinations from around the world.

It’s easily connected by road and train from popular cities like New York and New Jersey.

Washington DC, the capital of the United States is the perfect destination to visit during the fall season. The temperatures remain mild and autumn colors make the surroundings come to life.

There are so many places to visit in Washington DC including Capitol Hill Building and the White House which are the two most prominent places to visit in DC.

But if you are visiting the DC during the fall season, you can also see the stunning fall display at Rock Creek Park, The National Mall and Tidal Basin area.

Also, your Washington DC Itinerary is incomplete without visiting the Smithsonian Museums which are free to visit.

Spend a day exploring the National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of Natural History, and other fascinating institutions to earn history, science and culture.

I highly recommend visiting DC’s vibrant neighborhoods, like Georgetown and Dupont Circle.

These areas are known for their architecture, shops, cafes and restaurants. Take a stroll along tree-lined streets and soak up the autumnal atmosphere.

As fall is all about the colors and outdoors, I recommend renting a bike and exploring the trails along the Potomac River, going for a walk around the Tidal Basin and taking a boat tour along the waterfront for amazing sunset colors.

You can also rent a car or take a guided tour to drive the Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park and to explore Luray Caverns.

Washington DC’s major sightseeing attractions are located around the National Mall area, so staying near the area will be the most convenient. Hyatt Place Washington DC/US Capitol is the best hotel to stay in the center!

Mayuri, Fehrnwehrahee

22. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Shenandoah-National-Park-And-Vicinity

There’s no better place to spend a fall weekend than in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park. At only 50 miles from Washington D.C., and an easy weekend trip from New York and Philadelphia, Shenandoah is the East Coast’s playground.

With over 200,000 acres of protected wilderness, it’s the perfect escape for families, couples and solo travelers, but the best time of year to visit is fall.

While Shenandoah is beautiful year-round, it’s most famous for the bright hues of orange, red and yellow during peak leaf-changing season in the fall.

In October and November, the mountain slopes are transformed from their normal green to every shade of autumnal foliage.

The air is crisp and the normal Virginia humidity levels are low. Hikers can enjoy the fall colors from any of the park’s 500+ miles of trails.

Others can cruise along the famous Skyline Drive, which travels along the ridgeline of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and take in the park’s beauty from the comfort of their car.

Either way, Shenandoah is the perfect place to enjoy the leaf-changing season.

The best and most convenient place to stay is at Shenandoah’s Skyland Resort. There are hotel style-rooms, cabins and even campgrounds to choose from (but if you are planning an October trip, you’ll need to book your room a year in advance!)

If you’re looking for an east coast fall vacation, be sure to check out Shenandoah National Park.

Maggie, Pink Caddy Travelogue

23. Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

Martha's Vineyard is one of the best fall vacations east coast side

The island of Martha’s Vineyard is an ideal destination for a fall vacation on the east coast.

September brings perfect weather, smaller crowds, a relaxed pace and the start of the Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby. This has been an annual tradition for over 80 years and all are welcome to try their hand at landing the biggest catch.

In October, the temperatures remain very comfortable and the 4-day Martha’s Vineyard Food and Wine festival takes place in Edgartown village.

If you have ever wanted to sample produce from all the island’s best vendors, the Food and Wine Festival is the place to be.

In November, Oak Bluffs marks the beginning of the holiday season with a Thanksgiving weekend festival featuring tree-lighting, hot chocolate and carols and photos with Santa.

There are pop-up holiday markets at this time of year and some island hotels offer Thanksgiving vacation packages

As seasonal restrictions are lifted in September, visitors can explore stunning beaches like Lambert’s Cove and Lucy Vincent.

Access to these beaches is largely restricted to local residents during the summer months so this season is your chance to visit these exclusive locations.

The Harbor View Hotel is my top choice for where to stay in the fall on Martha’s Vineyard. The lobby fireplace is an ideal spot to warm up after a bike ride or beach walk in the crisp fall air.

This luxury hotel offers elegant rooms, upscale dining and breathtaking views of Edgartown Lighthouse and the Harbor.

Maria, Love That Place Travel

24. Boston, Massachusetts

Boston

The city of Boston in Massachusetts is one of the best east coast vacation destinations in the fall because the city has many events that take place during this season. Plus, there are beautiful parks in Boston featuring spectacular fall foliage.

Checking out the Oktoberfest festivities that take place in Boston is one of the best fall activities. For example, there are many craft breweries in the city where you can celebrate the German festival with performances, live music, parades and other festivities.

The South Boston Street Festival is another great festival during fall. During this festival, which takes place in September, you can enjoy live entertainment and food. There are more than 100 vendors selling all kinds of unique local products, as well.

Also, a great activity in Boston is to go for a walk because of the incredible fall foliage all around the city. One of the best parks for this is Boston Common as it is a large park with many trees and walking paths.

Another good place to see fall foliage in Boston is the Rose Kennedy Fitzgerald Greenway.

A good hotel to stay in during the fall is The Verb Hotel, which is a boutique hotel with a fun music theme!

Daniel, North Carolina Travel Guides

25. Plymouth, Massachusetts

Plymouth Thanksgiving Celebration

The city of Plymouth, located by Plymouth Bay in Massachusetts, is the best east coast fall vacation destination.

Its proximity to water makes the weather cool and breezy during fall, making it ideal for observing the natural beauty of Plymouth while on a hike or stroll.

Plymouth has great historical significance. It’s the place of the first English settlement in New England. The famous Plymouth Rock symbolizes the Pilgrims’ arrival and the Mayflower’s journey.

Autumn is when Plymouth is at its most beautiful and many Garden Centers and Nurseries are found in the area.

A walk by Plymouth Bay or in the Myles Standish State Forest will provide the most picturesque views of the town. In addition to taking in the gorgeous vies, indulge in a relaxing wine tasting.

There are also several festivals and events to enjoy. The Cranberry Harvest Celebration at nearby Warham is quite famous. Here you can help with cranberry harvest in cranberry bogs and learn about the process in detail.

You’ll also enjoy live music, food stalls and arts and crafts vendors selling indigenous products. Plymouth Thanksgiving Celebration and Thanksgiving Day Parade is another popular annual event in Plymouth in the fall.

Plymouth has plenty of accommodation options, from resorts to bed and breakfasts and vacation rentals. Mirbeau Inn & Spa is a well-known resort that offers all modern amenities.

Ruma, New England Cities

26. Salem, Massachusetts

Salem Massachusetts

Salem, MA is one of the best destinations on the east coast to visit in the fall. 

Known as “Witch City,” Salem is famous for the witch trials that took place in 1692, ultimately killing 19 innocent victims. This spooky history inspired the classic Halloween movie, Hocus Pocus, to be filmed in Salem.

Visitors who wish to journey through Salem’s Witch Trials history should start at the Witch Museum for a 45-minute show to get into the Salem spirit. 

Afterwards, take a walk over to the Witch House for a look inside this 17th century structure. The house once belonged to Judge John Corwin, who presided over the witch trials. It is the only building in the city with a direct connection to those dark events.

Fans of the movie Hocus Pocus will find a handful of filming sites around the city, although many of them are closed to the public. Sites open for touring include the Ropes Mansion (weekends only), Pioneer Village (weekends only) and Old Town Hall (during a show). 

Other attractions to check out in Salem include the Witch Trials Memorial and the shops and museums on Essex Street. It is also possible to see actual artifacts from the time of the Witch Trials at the Peabody Essex Museum.

Coming to Salem, MA for a weekend? Stay at the Hawthorne Hotel, which is named after the famous author, Nathaniel Hawthorne, who was born in this city. This hotel is located in easy walking distance of all the top sights in Salem.

Theresa, Fueled By Wanderlust

27. Newport, Rhode Island

Newport Rhode Island

Newport, Rhode Island is a popular destination on the east coast in the fall. It is located on Aquidneck Island and is recognized for its tranquil beaches, beautiful cliffs and sailing culture.

With fewer crowds in autumn than in summer, it’s an ideal time to visit for outdoor activities, cultural and historical experiences, as well as culinary delights. 

One of the best things to do in Newport is the beautiful Cliff Walk. The Cliff Walk is a 3.5 mile path that showcases local history. Visitors can view sea cliffs, beaches and the famous Newport mansions along the way.

The walk can be done in parts or as a whole, but it’s recommended that you start at the Breakers mansion. A wind-resistant jacket is recommended as the water’s wind can be chilly in the fall.

Be sure to head to the Jailhouse Inn which hosts ghost tours – perfect in October to get into the spooky season. Families can enjoy hayrides at nearby farms around the city.

Foodies will enjoy the fall edition of Newport Restaurant Week in early November. Fresh seafood, including lobster, can always be found in Newport restaurants.

The White Horse Tavern is the oldest tavern in America and a great place to warm up and unwind after exploring. 

The Marriott Newport is located in the city center of Newport and is in close proximity to Bannister’s Wharf and Bown’s Wharf.

These areas offer opportunities for souvenir shopping and viewing sailboats out on the water. It’s a very convenient location to explore Newport.

Pamela, The Directionally Challenged Traveler

FAQ: Best Fall Vacations East Coast

As you plan your East Coast fall vacation, you might also be wondering:

What destinations are popular in the fall?

This all depends on whether you’re looking to lean into fall, or escape it.

If you love to see and feel the seasonal changes fall brings with it then you likely prefer cooler destinations, like those of the Northeast coast, that fully experience the different seasons.

If you prefer a warm weather getaway, consider the more southern east coast cities.

What is the best fall activity?

If you prefer cozy vibes, the best fall activities for you include curling up in front of a fire surrounded by the changing colors of nature.

If you prefer the spookier aspects of fall, consider visiting a haunted house. Visiting a pumpkin patch or apple orchard are other favorite fall activities to enjoy.

Is fall the best time to travel?

If you prefer cooler temperatures, fall foliage and the more affordable rates this shoulder season can offer then fall could be your best time to travel.

In Conclusion: Best Fall Vacations East Coast

No matter your budget or desired activities, there is a perfect fall vacation spot on the East Coast for you. From charming coastal towns to world-renowned cities and lush woodlands, each of these destinations offers something unique that will make it an unforgettable experience.

Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure, cultural exploration, or just some rest and relaxation in beautiful surroundings—you can find it all here along the coast this autumn season.