September is one of our favorite months to travel. If you have the opportunity for a fall colors drive, a weekend getaway, or a full-on vacation, consider any one of these destinations we have featured here. These are some of the best places to visit in the U.S. in September.
Best Places to Visit in The USA In September
Let’s start off our adventure across the United States with a few locations that definitely deserve a spot on your bucket list. You’ll find out why as soon as you hear what they have to offer.
1. Grand Rapids, Michigan Location: Grand Rapids, MI Why Visit In September: Visiting Grand Rapids in September is a treat because it is apple season! As one of the top producers of apples in the nation, you will be delighted with harvest festivals, cideries, and farmer's markets. Where To Stay Nearby: This lovely four-bedroom home in West Grand Rapids is located in a charming neighborhood close to parks, walking trails, and the John Ball Zoo.
As one of the most walkable big cities in the nation, Grand Rapids is a delightful place to explore in September. With numerous loop trails winding in and around the city and the popular Grand River Edges Trail that follows the scenic Grand River that cuts through the city, you will be treated to many options for exploring the city. With 40-plus breweries in the city, you can create your own walking brewery tour accompanied by lovely fall colors.
2. Oregon Coast
Oregon Coast, OR 97439, USA
Location: Oregon Coast, OR Why Visit In September: Visiting the Oregon Coast in September is a joy if you love sweater weather. The skies are blue, the air is crisp, and the hikes along the beach are incredible. Where To Stay Nearby: A stay at Annie's House in Bayshore is an absolute dream. Crank up the stone wood-burning fireplace and enjoy your beach views, go for an early morning stroll on the beach right out your back door, or, head to "the point" to watch sea lions bask in the sun.
The Oregon Coast is beautiful any time of year, but there is something special about the salty ocean air in September. Throw on an extra layer or two in the morning for a sunrise walk on the beach to see Haystack Rock. Hop in the car and enjoy a scenic drive along the coast on the
iconic Route 101
. Or, spend a day exploring all of the charming coastal towns up and down the coast.
3. Ocean City, Maryland Location: Ocean City, MD Why Visit In September: Visiting Ocean City in September is perfect if you want to avoid big summer crowds. It is the end of the summer season, so the Ocean City Boardwalk is less crowded. The weather is still warm, too, with averages in the mid-70s with less humidity. Where To Stay Nearby: This light and bright oceanfront condo is a dream Ocean City vacation spot for up to ten people. Hop right on the beach and the boardwalk and enjoy all that Ocean City has to offer.
Ocean City is a beautiful beach town. It's one of those towns you see in the movies with a
carnival on the beach
, families playing in the ocean, and music streaming from local restaurants up and down the beach on a crisp fall evening. September will treat you to fun events like Sundaes in the Park, fireworks displays, wineries holding beachside events, movies on the beach, end-of-the-season beach parties, farmer's markets, and a whole lot more.
Best Attractions To Visit In The USA In September To Avoid Crowds
If your idea of a great vacation is avoiding the tourist traps, these next few destinations will be a delight. Visiting in September gives you the added bonus of avoiding the busiest time of year while being rewarded with an extra special visit.
4. Adirondack Mountains, New York
Adirondack Mountains, 44FJ+V7, Keene Valley, NY 12943, USA
Location: Adirondack Mountains, NY Why Visit In September: Visiting the Adirondack Mountains in September is the beginning of the peak fall color season. For a really spectacular show away from the crowds, book a hot air balloon ride over the Adirondacks. Where To Stay Nearby: For an epic family vacation to Lake Placid and the Adirondacks, stay at this resort-style cabin that sleeps 10. Hiking, biking, swimming in Lake Placid (which is a short walk to the beach), golf, tennis, kayaking - you pretty much have access to any outdoor activity you can imagine.
Pack your favorite fleece or sweater and head to the Adirondacks in the fall for a stunning leaf-peeper road trip. This region of New York is unbelievable when the fall colors start to glow in the early morning sun.
is a delightful town to explore on a crisp September day, but you can't go wrong with any number of other small towns in the area because the Adirondack Mountains area is one of the best September vacations in the US for fall colors.
5. Outer Banks, North Carolina
Outer Banks, North Carolina, USA
Location: Outer Banks, NC Why Visit In September: A vacation to the Outer Banks in September gives you the chance to catch surfing championships held at Nags Head, seafood festivals up and down the cost, windsurfing shows, kayak fishing tournaments, wine festivals, art shows, and so much more. Where To Stay Nearby: You can really blow your budget quickly with house rentals in the OBX. But this delightfully decorated condo is reasonably priced and sleeps up to five guests in two bedrooms. Plus, it's right on the beach! Head to Jockey’s Ridge State Park for the annual kite festival at the beginning of September. Or, hit the beach in mid-September for the ESA Easterns Surfing Championships.
You really can't beat an
OBX beach vacation
. While most consider the summertime the best time to hit the beach, visiting the Outer Banks in September still gives you balmy temps in the 80s with way fewer crowds. The cooler evening temps allow you to enjoy a beach bonfire - one of the most romantic and enchanting experiences you can have in the OBX.
6. Chicago, Illinois Location: Chicago, IL Why Visit In September: Visiting Chicago in September brings all sorts of music concerts and perhaps a little surprisingly Oktoberfest celebrations. Whether you enjoy a little music in the park or a major show at United Center or even Wrigley's Field, Chicago in September can get pretty festive. Where To Stay Nearby: The Lake House is a charming two-bedroom apartment in Rogers Park, only steps from the beach on beautiful Lake Michigan. It's also close to Wrigley Field and the Lincoln Park Zoo.
September is usually a little early for fall colors in Chicago, but the city offers many reasons to plan your vacation in September. From cooler weather walks along the river, to musicals and music festivals, lake or river cruises, and fishing and
Ferris wheel rides on Navy Pier
. The Windy City is also a little less windy in September. You'll still need to pack layers for early morning and evening temps in the 50s, but it warms up nicely during the day in the upper 60s and low 70s. Summer crowds start to disperse in September, so you can enjoy the city with a little less hustle and bustle.
Best Places To Visit In The US In September For Outdoor Adventure
If an outdoor adventure is what you crave, these next couple of destinations have that in spades. They may be at opposite ends of the country, but they share a vibe that draws outdoor lovers like a mosquito to a big juicy thigh. Visit these beautiful areas in September because the mosquitos start to get a little sleepy.
7. Pinnacles National Park, California
Pinnacles National Park, California 95043, USA
Location: Pinnacles National Park, CA Why Visit In September: Take the Condor Gulch Overlook trail to see incredible views from the high peaks. If you are lucky, you'll spot wildflowers left over from a spring super bloom as you gaze out toward Paicines, California. Condors can also be seen occasionally, usually in the early morning as they catch thermals, or in the evening as they head to their roosts. Where To Stay Nearby: The Pinnacles Ranch is located on a working ranch only a couple miles from the east entrance to the park. It makes the perfect home base for exploring everything Pinnacles National Park has to offer. Pinnacles National Park
is a unique and beautiful area of Central California. From rare California condor sightings in the High Peaks to fascinating caves to explore in Bear Gulch, The Pinnacles are always ready to treat you to outdoor adventures and unique experiences. Visiting Pinnacles National Park in September is wonderful because the excruciating temps in the 100s you'll find in the summer taper off to the low to mid-80s in September. The cooler weather makes hiking in the region very pleasant. Camping near the east entrance to the park is a popular base camp for exploring the area.
8. Acadia National Park, Maine
Acadia National Park, Maine, USA
Location: Acadia National Park, ME Why Visit In September: As the leaves begin to turn, the summer crowds depart, and you are left with a serene landscape of beauty all to yourself. Visiting Acadia National Park in September is a bit on the cooler side, with temps in the mid-60s, but the hiking, kayaking, and opportunities to catch sight of a whale returning to warmer waters in the south make the trip well worth it. Where To Stay Nearby: This charming cottage in Otter Creek near Bar Harbor is a short walk to Acadia National Park. Walk or bike anywhere you need to go to enjoy cute restaurants, hiking trails, and boat tours.
Acadia National Park is one of the best places to travel in September in the USA for those that enjoy incredible views, hiking, and rocky beaches. The Maine shoreline is a picturesque oasis of blue-green water, lush forests, sandy beaches, and outcroppings of rock - perfect for the explorer in you. Some of the key points in the
Acadia National Park
area include Sand Beach, the Great Head Trail, and Ocean Path near Bar Harbor. Of course, a trip to this part of Maine wouldn't be complete without stopping at several local seafood restaurants for the best lobster rolls and clam chowder.
Discover more of Acadia's natural beauty in this video from the
OnlyInYourState YouTube channel
VIDEO Best Places To Visit In September For Events
Not that you need a reason to take a vacation in September, but fall festival season is a great time to travel. Find out what is in store for you at these wonderful locations.
9. Cape May, New Jersey Location: Cape May, NJ Why Visit In September: Visiting Cape May in September brings mild weather, fewer crowds, and plenty of fall celebrations. From fall beer festivals to harvest festivals, and even Monarch butterfly festivals, Cape May is a delightful town to enjoy a weekend getaway. Where To Stay Nearby: This cute Cape May Bungalow is near the iconic Washington Street and is a short bike ride to the beach. If you plan to visit during mid-September, hit up the Harvest Brew Fest on Washington Street with local craft beer, music, and food vendors.
If you are looking for places to go in September in the USA with a festive atmosphere, add Cape May to your bucket list. This
charming town in New Jersey
is well known as a seaside gem. It is located on the southern tip of the Cape May Peninsula in one of the most historic parts of New Jersey. If you are a treasure hunter, legend has it Captain William Kidd left his buried treasure somewhere in Cape May. Keep an eye out while strolling down the popular Washington Street Mall at all of the cute shops, local restaurants, and Victorian-style architecture - you just never know where you might spot a clue to find this missing treasure.
10. Fort Davis, Texas
Fort Davis, TX 79734, USA
Location: Fort Davis, TX Why Visit In September: Visiting Fort Davis in September allows you to take part in the annual Fort Davis Cyclefest. Load up your road bike and hit the streets of Fort Davis for a 27, 55, or 76-mile bike ride through the canyons and valleys of the Davis Mountains. Where To Stay Nearby: The Blue Agave Bungalow is a charming two-bedroom home in Fort Davis hidden behind enclosed adobe walls. Enjoy the beautiful desert landscape complete with pecan trees, yucca, and ocotillo plants, a towering blue agave plant, and mountain views.
Fort Davis, Texas, was an active frontier town from 1854 until 1891 and is currently one of the best-preserved frontier forts in the USA. Visiting Fort Davis is like stepping back in time to the Wild West, with more than 100 buildings having been preserved to show how the fort looked in the late 1800s. Be sure to stop by the iconic Fort Davis Drug Store, which is now a restaurant, gift shop, and hotel.
Best Hidden Gems to Visit in the US in September
Rounding out our best cities to visit in September in the USA list are a few hidden gems that you may not have heard about yet. Each of these locations takes on a whole new vibe in the fall. Let’s see why these destinations should be on your September travel list.
11. Lincoln, New Hampshire Location: Lincoln, NH Why Visit In September: Visiting Lincoln, New Hampshire, in September is an outdoor lover's candy store of scenic views. The Flume Gorge in Franconia Notch State Park is a gorgeous hike made even better when the trees dazzle you with changing colors. Where To Stay Nearby: This cool Adirondack-style cottage is a delightful four-bedroom home in the western White Mountains.
New Hampshire in the fall is a dreamlike landscape of colors, scents, and sounds that remind you how good it feels to cozy up in a thick sweater and enjoy a crisp fall afternoon. Lincoln, New Hampshire, in particular, is a hidden gem of a town filled with cute shops, nourishing local restaurants, and beautiful sights to add to your scrapbook. As the gateway to the scenic Kancamagus Highway, Lincoln is the perfect home base for a
fall-colors road trip
through New England. The White Mountain National Forest and Cannon Mountain need to be on your to-do list as well.
12. Chattanooga, Tennessee Location: Chattanooga, TN Why Visit In September: Chattanooga, Tennessee, is a vibrant city with a beautiful downtown along the Tennessee River. When visiting in September, keep an eye out for fall festivals at one of its many local parks. Music, food, beer, and wine festivals are a few to add to your to-do list. Where To Stay Nearby: The Skyuka Chalet is a beautiful unique home not far from the Chattanooga Riverfront, where all the action is in the city. The rental overlooks the Tennessee River near Ruby Falls and Lookout Mountain. Chattanooga, Tennessee
is another wonderful fall colors road trip destination. This lovely southern town is nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, so you know the hiking is incredible. Visiting Chattanooga, Tennessee in September allows you to hike without overheating, yet still gives you the opportunity to round the bend into a sun-filled open area, and feel the glow of the hot sun on your skin.
13. Flagstaff, Arizona Location: Flagstaff, AZ Why Visit In September: Flagstaff was designated as the first Dark Sky City, which means it is one of the best places in the world to admire the night sky. When visiting Flagstaff, Arizona, in September, make sure you head to Lowell Observatory's Mars Hill on any Saturday to "Meet an Astronomer" as they show you some of the natural wonders high above the Earth. Where To Stay Nearby: This beautiful mountain home in Flagstaff set against the Elden Mountains is the perfect multi-family vacation rental. With four bedrooms and room for up to 15, you'll be treated to high-end amenities in the heart of Flagstaff.
Flagstaff, Arizona, is a mecca of natural wonders. It is surrounded by some of the most iconic and beautiful land in the southwest. The most popular, of course, is the Grand Canyon, but the San Francisco Peaks, Sunset Crater National Monument, Oak Creek Canyon, Walnut Canyon, and Wupatki National Monument all contribute to Flagstaff being called "The City of Seven Wonders." With all of that land to explore, the town itself is easy to overlook - but you shouldn't. Flagstaff is a charming town known for its wonderful art scene, delicious restaurants, cute coffee shops, the Flagstaff Brewery Trail, and boutique shops with native and local goods.
14. Mount Baker National Forest, Washington
Mount Baker National Forest, Washington, USA
Location: Mount Baker National Forest, WA Why Visit In September: Visiting Mount Baker National Forest in September is a gift for leaf-peppers when the Cascade mountains and Mount Baker stand above a bountiful cornucopia of colors. Where To Stay Nearby: This romantic A-Frame chalet is the perfect getaway on the Skykomish River and the southern edge of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
The Pacific Northwest has some of the most beautiful scenery in the entire world. And the gem that is Mount Baker National Forest contains some of the PNW's more iconic mountain ranges and national parks. The glacial peaks in Mount Rainier National Park and the Cascade mountain range are picture-perfect examples. If you are wondering where to visit in September in the USA for fall colors, this area should be high on your list. Take the
Mount Baker Scenic Byway
for an epic fall color tour.
15. Branson, Missouri Location: Branson, MO Why Visit In September: Visiting Branson, Missouri, in September allows you to attend the Country Music Days at Silver Dollar City. Boot scoot on over to the Echo Hollow Amphitheatre for some of the best country music entertainment in Missouri. If blues music is more your style, hit up the Blues, Brews & BBQ Festival at the Branson Landing. Where To Stay Nearby: This cozy cabin in Branson's Theater District is perfectly located for all of the action in town.
The active entertainment capital of Missouri, Branson is a huge summer attraction. That's why we recommend you plan your
for the fall. September in Missouri is still plenty warm, but you have the added bonus of fall colors rolling over the Ozarks. When the evening air cools, Branson is a lovely town to walk the main drag stopping at your favorite shows. And you'll enjoy a more peaceful vibe as the crowds head home until next summer.
Alas, our featured fall travel list has come to a close. Now all you have to do is decide where to go first. If you had to pick only one of these best places to visit in the U.S. in September, which would it be? Tell us what you are most excited about with a comment.
Then, check out our list of some of the
best road trips you can take in the US. Perhaps you can combine one with your chosen destination above.
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