Enjoy fewer crowds, better airfare and attraction ticket prices, mild weather, seasonal food, and festival season when traveling to different American states during September. If you’re longing for a restful getaway to escape a busy summer schedule, book yourself a vacation rental in the United States based in one of these scenic cities.
1. Burlington, Vermont
For beautiful displays of fall foliage and comfortable temperatures, Burlington is the place to go for your September getaway. Celebrate at the Bavarian-themed Oktoberfest with toe-tapping oompah music, traditional German food, tons of games and contests, and plenty of beer. Get a head start on holiday shopping at the Church Street Marketplace, the heart of Burlington, in small bookstores such as Crow Bookshop or Earth Prime Comics. Foodies love the farm-to-table two-hour edible history tour, a story-telling tradition about Burlington when it was just a village.
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2. San Francisco, California
A visit to San Francisco in September keeps you hopping, not only with traditional activities such as walking across the Golden Gate Bridge or sightseeing via the iconic trolley but also with a profusion of festivals from which to choose. If you are wondering where to go for your chocolate fix, head for the Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival and sample world-class confections along with premium samples from local wineries. Art lovers flock to the 65-year-old Sausalito Arts Festival. Enjoy the art, music, food, and wine at this prestigious event. There’s plenty of free entertainment in town, including the Dragon Boat Festival, the 37th annual Comedy Day at Golden Gate Park, and the Bay Area Blues Festival in historic downtown Martinez, just 40 minutes north of San Francisco.
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3. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
September, with its mild daytime temperatures and sweater-weather nights, is an ideal time to take in the staggering beauty of the Grand Canyon and its astounding geology. You can see the dramatic viewpoints from the air via helicopter or check out the best views, especially at sunrise and sunset, from Hopi, Mohave, or Powell Points. Descend into the canyon or ride the rims on a surefooted mule, or hike through scenery that ranges from cool pine forests to narrow slot canyons. Don’t miss the September kick-off of the Grand Canyon Celebration of Art, which opens with a ‘plein air’ painting session – open-air painting. You can help fund an art venue at the Grand Canyon when you purchase one of these paintings.
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4. Washington, D.C.
Aside from the iconic things to see in the nation’s capital, such as the Washington Monument, the National Mall, and the White House, as a vacation destination in September, Washington D.C. rocks with festivals, fairs, and music. Enjoy a free concert on Labor Day weekend at the U.S. Capitol, or meet more than 100 award-winning authors, illustrators, and poets at the National Book Festival. Celebrate Alexandria’s Scottish heritage at the Scottish Games, and let your feet tap and your head bob to piping, drumming, highland dancing, and fiddling competitions. The Rosslyn Jazz Festival at Gateway celebrates 37 years of free entertainment, and there is plenty to eat and drink on site.
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5. San Diego, California
There’s nothing more exciting than a San Diego getaway in September, where you can enjoy warm weather, cool beaches, and stately tall ships hugging the bay waters. Visitors love the four-day U.S. sand sculpting challenge, where many of the world’s finest artists create 3D works of art. The North Embarcadero becomes a nautical theme park over Labor Day weekend. During the Festival of Sail, you can walk aboard the tall ships, visit the crew, and take a 30-minute bay cruise. SeaWorld offers up a nighttime spectacular with glowing colors, music, and special effects, and you can have a ton of fun at the San Diego Zoo’s nighttime zoo with toe-tapping, body-moving music and lots of surprises.
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6. Las Vegas, Nevada
Get away from the Las Vegas casinos in September, and enjoy the surrounding countryside. Choose from one of 25 scenic hiking trails at the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area, or visit the beautiful sky-lit atrium filled with seasonal plants, flowers, and trees at the Conservatory and Botanical Gardens at Bellagio. Take a road trip across the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge on the Hoover Dam Bypass, then hike along the walking path for spectacular photographic views of the magnificent dam, Lake Mead, and the high walls of the Black Canyon. For an authentic insider’s view of the relationship between organized crime in America and the law enforcement community, don’t miss The Mob Museum.
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7. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
September in Grand Teton National Park offers visitors festivals that only nature can provide. Large stands of deciduous trees blaze with leaves clothed in brilliant yellow, orange, and red, while you can literally hear the gentle, yellow-glad aspen quaking as you walk nearby. Many deer species partake in their annual breeding rituals in the park, and you can hear the male elk bugle to attract females, an uncanny sound that pierces the early evening. You may even witness a sparring match between two dominant males or spot bears searching for berries to tide them over during hibernation.
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8. Telluride, Colorado
Nestled in a box canyon in southwestern Colorado along the San Miguel River, Telluride began as a humble silver-mining camp but is now home to a 12-hour downhill biking event and host to the 24th Telluride Blues and Brews Fest. Recent performers include Bonnie Raitt, Steve Winwood, and TaiMo, and it’s easy to party hearty to genres from legacy folk to funk rock. Plan on a full-day excursion to nearby Mesa Verde, a well-preserved Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwelling, and take the Telluride Mountain gondola for spectacular panoramic landscapes.
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9. Boulder, Colorado
Enjoy Indian summer days and crisp fall evenings when you vacation in Boulder, Colorado. This beautiful college town is a great hub for your Rocky Mountain expeditions to the ‘hills’ for a hike along the Royal Arch Trail or the Green Mountain Loop. Start your holiday shopping early on the brick-lined walks of the Pearl Street pedestrian mall, then grab a bite to eat at farm-to-table restaurants, such as the Black Cat. In September, Boulder celebrates its 30th annual Fall Fest on Pearl Street, and this is a wonderful time to sample some local brews in the large beer garden or shop for handmade wares, including organic bath and body products, at the Firefly Handmade Market.
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10. San Antonio, Texas
In addition to visiting the Alamo, strolling along the River Walk, and touring the awe-inspiring Natural Bridge Caverns, plan on attending some of the free, family-friendly September festivals in San Antonio. The 10th annual SchertzFest has a boatload of carnival fun in The Family Zone and a Texas-style BBQ Cook-off. If jazz is your thing, head over to the 34th annual two-day Jazz’SAlive festival that features artists such as Dirty River Dixie Band and Aaron Prado Saxet. Plan on some pumpkin picking at the Texas A&M Fall Fest as well as live entertainment from the Electric Circus Band, a bounce house, and games.
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11. Taos, New Mexico
Mild September temperatures in the high desert make Taos a comfortable vacation destination. Long known as an artist colony, Taos boasts some beautiful landscapes as well as historic adobe buildings inhabited for centuries by Native Americans. While it’s too early to ski at the local resort, you can visit the Kit Carson Home and Museum, where the Old West frontier comes to life. Stroll through the lovely, serene outdoor garden, then visit the nearby grave of the iconic frontiersman. In September, Taos hosts the Paseo Outdoor Art Festival for national and international artists and the Taos Fall Festival, which showcases emerging and established area artists.
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