Fall is one of the most beautiful times of year to take a vacation. The crisp air, gorgeous foliage, and sense of coziness make it perfect for couples looking for a romantic getaway. There are many excellent destinations around the United States that provide enchanting environments for an autumn couples vacation.
Why Take a Fall Vacation
There are several reasons why fall is an ideal time for a vacation for couples:
Scenic beauty - The fall foliage in many parts of the country provides a stunning backdrop. The red, orange, and yellow leaves make for dramatic scenery. Cooler weather means the leaves stay at their peak color for longer.
Fewer crowds - Summer crowds have dwindled after Labor Day. Popular destinations are less crowded which means more availability for couples to enjoy activities together.
Cozy ambiance - Cooler temperatures, blankets, warm sweaters, crackling fires, and steaming mugs of cider create a perfect cozy mood.
Special events - Many locations have autumn food, beer, and wine festivals. Plus there are small-town harvest celebrations.
Lower prices - Fall room rates and airfares are often lower outside of peak periods. There are more deals and packages available.
Best Fall Vacation Destinations for Couples
Here are some of the top romantic autumn vacations in the United States for couples:
New England is the quintessential fall destination. Charming colonial towns combined with brilliant fall vistas make New England ideal for couples.
The Berkshires, Massachusetts - Hike mountain trails past colorful maples and oaks. Visit art museums and galleries in Lenox and Williamstown. Stay at romantic inns with views of the fall foliage.
Vermont - Small towns like Woodstock and Stowe are incredibly picturesque in autumn. Take country drives past covered bridges, orchards, and farms. Go leaf-peeping on the gondolas up Killington Peak.
Maine - The rocky coastline and Acadia National Park are beautiful in the fall. Enjoy lobster bakes, lighthouses, whale watching, and peaceful walks along the dramatic shoreline.
New Hampshire - the White Mountains provide excellent hiking among the fall foliage. Tour the Castle in the Clouds mansion with panoramic views of Lake Winnipesaukee.
In addition to New England, some other excellent East Coast destinations for couples are:
Shenandoah Valley, Virginia - Take in vivid views driving along Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. Stay in a cozy cabin and cuddle by the fireplace.
Finger Lakes, New York - Tour and taste at wineries overlooking stunning fall foliage over the lakes. Hike through Letchworth State Park.
Poconos, Pennsylvania - The Pocono Mountains are a drivable escape from Philadelphia and New York City. Enjoy waterfall hikes, scenic chairlift rides, and mountain lodges.
The Southeast United States provides mild fall weather and southern charm.
Charleston, South Carolina - Take romantic carriage rides past historic homes draped in Spanish moss. Explore gardens, and art galleries, and dine at excellent restaurants.
Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina - Drive this scenic roadway looking out over the Blue Ridge mountains ablaze with fall color. Visit charming places like Asheville and Boone.
Nashville, Tennessee - Explore the city's live music scene, trendy restaurants, and historic attractions like the Ryman Auditorium and the Hermitage.
The Midwest has excellent destinations for fall vacations too:
Mackinac Island, Michigan - Reach this car-free island by ferry to step back in time. Take in the fall foliage while riding bikes or horses around the island.
Door County, Wisconsin - Stay at a cozy bed and breakfast, hike through forests, sample cider and donuts, and take in the dramatic fall sunsets over Lake Michigan.
Brown County, Indiana - This area has rolling hills perfect for viewing fall colors. Hike and tour Nashville, Indiana's art colony.
Santa Fe, New Mexico - Admire colorful adobe architecture and visit art galleries. Go on drives to see desert canyons and mountains with golden fall foliage.
Mt. Hood, Oregon - Enjoy the fall days hiking and mountain biking. Visit fruit orchards and sip wine at nearby wineries while taking in views of the snow-dusted volcanic peak.
Rocky Mountains - Colorado towns like Aspen, Boulder, and Vail make excellent bases for leaf-peeping drives through stunning mountain scenery.
When to Visit for Fall Colors
In northern states, foliage peaks in October. By late September, colors start changing in northern New England. Mid-October is the peak for most of the northern US.
Fall colors arrive later the farther south you go. Peak season is late October to early November in the Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge Parkway.
In higher elevations like mountain peaks and plateaus, the fall foliage season arrives sooner, while lower elevations change later into the season.
Each year can vary in timing depending on the weather. Longer warmer autumns delay the change, while early cool snaps can hasten it.
For the most precise timing, check foliage forecasts. State tourism boards and websites like SmokyMountains.com provide weekly reports on the status of fall colors.
Types of Things to Do on a Fall Couples Vacation
There are many romantic activities and attractions to enjoy during cozy autumn getaways:
Take scenic drives and go leaf peeping - stop at roadside farm stands and scenic overlooks
Hiking and biking - parks and mountain trails provide epic fall vistas
Take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage through fall foliage
Go on a hot air balloon ride for bird's eye views over fall landscapes
Pack a picnic lunch and have it at a scenic spot in a park or vineyard
Take a train ride - Amtrak routes and excursion lines provide panoramic fall views
Visit pumpkin patches and orchards - pick apples and sample cider donuts
Schedule couples massages at a spa surrounded by fall scenery
Soak in an outdoor hot tub overlooking autumn hues
Relax fireside at your cabin or inn after a day of hiking
Try meditative activities like doing a guided imagery practice together
Food & Drink
Have a romantic dinner at a restaurant with panoramic views
Sample fall flavors like maple syrup, caramel apples, and pumpkin dishes
Take a cooking class focused on fall recipes - learn to make soup or bake bread
Culture & Entertainment
Peruse art galleries - check if any have fall exhibitions
Take in live music - look for fall music festivals
Go to an outdoor festival - many feature fall foods and crafts
Visit historic homes decked out for autumn
Go to an outdoor concert at an amphitheater surrounded by fall scenery
Shop at farmer's markets and farm stands - buy fresh produce, breads, and preserves
Browse local stores and artisan boutiques - look for fall decorations or gifts
Visit bookstores and get cozy reading together after selecting books
Shop local handmade crafts - many areas have authentic artisan goods
Getting Deals on Fall Vacations
Taking a fall vacation can often be cheaper for couples who can take advantage of lower rates. Here are some tips:
Be flexible - trips midweek are often less expensive
Look for packages and deals - these are commonly promoted in fall
Use rewards points and miles to book flights or hotels
Consider lesser-known but just as scenic destinations
Travel just before or after peak dates to take advantage of lower shoulder season pricing
Rent private vacation homes for a multi-day stay - these can be very cost-effective
Romantic Fall Getaway Ideas
Some favorite romantic activities and unique experiences for an autumn couples vacation:
Watch the sunrise or sunset together somewhere scenic
Go stargazing - fall's earlier nightfall makes it easier
Take a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride
Charter a sailboat for a sunset cruise for two
Book an intimate breakfast in bed at your accommodation
Treat yourselves to a couples spa day
Cozy up by the fireplace with hot cider after a day out enjoying fall beauty
Have a picnic lunch or gourmet meal at unique places like a winery, waterfall, mountain peak, or gardens
Toast marshmallows together over a fire pit
Dance under the stars - take a ballroom or line dancing lesson
Take romantic photos together amidst gorgeous fall backdrops
Fall offers the perfect ingredients for an idyllic couples' getaway - beautiful scenery, cozy ambiance, fewer crowds, and abundant romantic activities. From the incredible fall foliage displays in New England to the charming towns of the Southeast to the dramatic autumn mountain scenery out West, the United States is filled with wonderful destinations for an unforgettable autumn couples vacation.