The air is crisp, the leaves are bright and outdoor adventures await.
It’s the perfect time for a fall weekend getaway! Whether you’re home and need a quick escape or want to discover other attractions near your next destination, here are some of our favorite fall weekend getaways.
Headed to Johannesburg? Catch one of the short, daily flights to Victoria Falls Airport (VFA) and check out Devil’s Pool. From September to December, swimmers can jump into the pool and swim right to the edge of the 300 foot drop! A natural rock wall just below the surface keeps swimmers from being swept down Victoria Falls, the largest sheet of falling water in the world.
Visiting the northern Italian city of Torino? Take a quick (one hour) train ride over to the medieval town of Alba. If you’re there on a weekend from early October to mid-November (Oct. 6 – Nov. 18 in 2012), you can catch the festival that honors the local delicacy and the world’s most prized truffle, the Alba International White Truffle Fair (Fiera Internazionale del Tartufo Bianco d’Alba). The festival kicks off with a donkey race (Paglio Degli Asini) and a 1,000-participant parade of locals dressed in traditional medieval costumes.
Zion National Park, Utah
Visiting Salt Lake City? Take a quick flight to Cedar City and a short drive over to Zion National Park. You’ll catch warm, sunny fall days even in late October – perfect for hiking The Narrows; it’s a spectacular section of the canyon as narrow as 20 feet wide and up t0 2,000 feet high. Check out the Weeping Rock, an arch-shaped overhang where spring water seeps down through the rock and centuries later emerges as a perpetual “rain.” Or hike to the Emerald Pools and enjoy views of sparkling waterfalls and crystal pools. Plan ahead and get a permit to explore the slot canyon known as The Subway.
Visiting Queenstown or Tauranga? Take a quick trip by car or plane to the glacier-carved fjord of Milford Sound. Rudyard Kipling described it as the “eighth wonder of the world.” Spectacular scenic drives along Milford Road await travelers arriving by land. Once there, whether it’s from the deck of a cruise boat or from a kayak, visitors will be treated to amazing views of vertical cliffs with hanging rain forests, mirrored waters, waterfalls and an abundance of wildlife including dolphins, sea lions, penguins and seals. Travelers from the Northern Hemisphere can escape the colder autumn months, as their fall is spring in New Zealand.
A short drive from NYC, and just a few hours’ drive from Boston, the Hudson Valley is at its most colorful at the end of October. From charming waterfront villages to picturesque farms, the valley’s a paradise for fans of wineries, artisanal cheese shops, farmers markets, historic sights and fall foliage. Admirers of the Gilded Age can take a tour of the Vanderbilt Mansion and fans of Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow can visit the setting for the tale of the Headless Horseman. A number of fall festivals include the Hudson Valley Wine & Food Fest (Sep. 8th & 9th), the Rhinebeck Antiques Fair (Oct. 13th & 14th) and the NYS Sheep and Wool Festival (Oct. 20th & 21st).
Napa Valley is a popular weekend getaway for locals and visitors to the San Francisco area year-round. But the fall is an especially lovely time to visit. The weather is sunny and warm, and the grape leaves put on a striking display of fall colors. Known as the Crush, the grape harvest season begins in August and is at its peak from mid-September to mid-October. Many Crush-oriented activities take place, including Crush parties and even Crush camps, where visitors are given hands-on training in the basics of wine making.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the U.S.
With 130 species of trees, the park puts on one of the most colorful foliage shows in the country. The most popular route to explore the park is the 11-mile Cades Cove loop, which offers breathtaking views of vast valleys, foliage,streams, waterfalls and majestic mountains. Along the way, visitors will encounter 19th-century log cabins, churches and barns, all open for exploration. In addition, visitors are likely to see wildlife, including wild turkeys, black bears and white-tailed deer. For visitors who prefer it, hiking, biking and horseback riding are also options for exploring the park.
Heading to Taipei? October and November are great months to visit, as temperatures are warm (mid-70s) and there is little rain. Just a short bus ride away from Taipei, you’ll find Sun Moon Lake. It’s the largest lake in Taiwan and is so named because the tiny island it surrounds divides it so the east side looks like a sun and the west side like a moon. Visitors can take a scenic cable car ride up to an aboriginal village (of the Thao tribe), explore the many hiking trails surrounding the lake, tour the impressive Wen Wu Temple or simply soak in the lovely scenery.
What’s your favorite fall weekend getaway? Let us know in the comments!
And wherever you Trip this fall, you can be sure to find the perfect place to stay on Tripping.
Zion National Park: Image I (The Narrows – via Wikepedia) and Image II ( the Subway via National Geographic)
Napa Valley: Image I (photo by John_Taylor) and Image 2
Great Smoky Mountains: Image I and Image 2 (NC Tourism/Bill Russ)
Sun Moon Lake: Image I (via Wikipedia) and Image 2 (photo by Lauren of neverendingvoyage.com)
Alba (links shortened)
Zion National Park
Napa Valley (links shortened):
Post by Anis Salvesen