The only problem with summer travel is there seem to be crowds no matter where you go. Want to plan your vacation for somewhere a little less packed with people? Fall is a great time to travel if you want to save on your vacation budget and avoid the crowds. Here are five under-the-radar vacation destinations in the U.S. that are perfect for an autumn getaway.
North of the more well-known town of Kennebunk, Camden offers the same charm without the crowds or the price tag. Calling itself the "Jewel of the Maine coast," visiting Camden in fall offers the perfect East Coast experience. Bundle up in your wool sweater as you enjoy clam chowder and watch the fishing boats come in. Or take part in this arts-focused community by visiting one of its many art galleries or the opera house that's open year-round. Fall temps are surprisingly warm, with September seeing an average of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Wait until October if you want to pull on that fisherman's sweater in front of a fire when temps drop to an average of 55 degrees.
Why You Should Visit in Fall: If you love autumn colors, you'll love Camden in the fall. The trees in the area are ablaze with reds, yellows, and oranges as soon as autumn arrives. In fact, The Hawthorn Inn in Camden says that autumn is the best time to visit their town.
Cannon Beach, Oregon
Cannon Beach is about 90-minutes from Portland, Oregon, making it an easy destination to get to via plane or car. And it's worth the travel time. National Geographic named the beach one of the best in the world in 2017. The rugged rocks cap the sandy coast, making it a picturesque walk for nature lovers and great surfing for those who want to get on their board. There are quaint seaside towns dotted along the coast, where it feels like time stopped in the 1950s. Visit the old-fashioned arcades and explore the boardwalks to find all sorts of hidden gems. Fall doesn't do anything to diminish the beauty of the area, either. Temperatures dip, but the rainy season doesn't start until November. Bring a warm jacket and you'll be able to enjoy everything the area has to offer.
Why You Should Visit in Fall: Fall is actually one of the warmest seasons in this area of the West Coast. The water along the Oregon coast stays warm until October, so it's great if you plan on doing one of the many water-based activities offered in the area. Locals call it the Second Summer.
Park City, Utah
Park City is best known for its ski slopes, making it a popular destination in the winter. It's also the home of the Sundance Film Festival, happening every January. But fall is a great time to visit this mountain town because you'll skip the cold temperatures and the crowds but still get all the chic style the town has to offer. You'll also be able to cash in on cheaper accommodations since, according to US News, hotels are most expensive during the winter ski season. October temperatures are a comfortable 62 degrees Fahrenheit, so you'll be able to take in the beautiful scenery with just a jacket. Park City has a great main street that's easily walkable. It's filled with adorable independent stores where you can get a jump start on your Christmas shopping. There is even free public transportation to get you around.
Why You Should Visit in Fall: There are events happening in Park City year-round, but the annual Park City Wine Festival is a great excuse for a visit in the fall. The festival brings together more than 100 food and wine merchants. They offer wine tasting sessions and cooking classes, too, perfect for taking your foodie knowledge to the next level.
Located a short drive from Washington, D.C., Alexandria is a perfect base for exploring the nation's capital. But it's a great vacation destination in its own right, too. Established in 1749, the city offers more than 250 years of American history to explore. Discover the rich history of Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington, or take a sightseeing tour down the Potomac on a riverboat. With school back in session, you'll have fewer young visitors to contend with on these historic sites. It's a great location for leaf-peeping, too.
Why You Should Visit in Fall: If you love Halloween and all things spooky, Alexandria is the place for you in October. Take one of the late-night ghost tours through the Old Town and learn where the spirits are still haunting residents today. There is even an annual Halloween parade, great for visitors of all ages.
Rapid City, South Dakota
Fall is the perfect time of the year to visit Rapid City, earning it the top spot on this fall must-visit list. By the time Labor Day arrives, the summer road trippers have all left Rapid City. The city is packed in the warmer summer months, and crowds take over the natural areas around the city. Once they are gone, though, the area gets a lot quieter and a lot easier on your wallet. So what makes Rapid City so great? It's the perfect base for visiting Mount Rushmore, located 30 minutes away by car. There is a lot more to this western town than that famous monument. Rapid City is an outdoor enthusiasts dream. Badlands National Park, Custer State Park, and the Crazy Horse Memorial are all within a short driving distance. And thanks to a lack of crowds, you'll be able to hike to your heart's content without battling for space on the trails. Plus, AccuWeather reports the average temperatures in the fall hovers at a comfortable 60 degrees. That's the perfect weather to get outside and explore.