With fall nearly over and winter just around the corner, the shoulder month of November offers both fewer crowds, less expensive prices, cooler temperatures, but still some truly beautiful scenery. From famously cool cities to incredible national parks here is my choice for the best places to visit in November in the USA…
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Telluride – makes a fantastic November destination
Get to Telluride at the beginning of the ski season that starts in November if you want to beat the crowds. This jewel in Colorado’s crown is nestled in the San Juan mountains which makes it the ideal place for both downhill and cross country skiing. Telluride has been popular with outdoor types since the 1970s, yet has its roots in the gold rush and all manner of precious metals have been mined here.
Those who don’t want to break a sweat can take the gondola journey from the town to the European-style mountain village that sits at the beginning of the Uncompahgre National Forest At the end of the day, unwind with a beer from the Telluride Brewing Co, one of the biggest microbreweries in the whole of the United States.
New York – the best city to visit on the run-up to Christmas
We all know that New York City is magical at Christmas, whether it’s the incredible window dressings in the shops on Fifth Avenue or the festive decorations that make it even more vibrant than it was before. November is the perfect time to soak up the atmosphere as there are so many iconic things happening in NYC this month, from the New York Marathon on the 1st, to the famous ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center.
This makes November the fun before the chaotic month of December, with events galore including the New York Comedy Festival, the Radio City Rockettes Show, the Craft Beer Festival, and the unmissable Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
San Antonio – cooler temperatures and great crowds
Historic San Antonio is a Texan city on the rise and November is the perfect time to visit, when temperatures are cool and hotels are much cheaper after the busy summer season. Combining UNESCO-listed missions with impeccable waterside strolls along walkways lined with bars and restaurants, San Antonio is a cosmopolitan mix of the old and the new.
In November, the Christmas lights go up and the Nutcracker is performed by the Children’s Ballet, the multicultural makeup means Diwali, and Dia de los Muertos are big here too. The harvest season also gives visitors the opportunity to get lost in the South Texas Maize, an elaborate puzzle carved into a local maize field.
Kauai – for a warm November USA vacation
The emerald green island of Kauai is the fourth-largest in Hawaii and one of the best-loved. November is a great time for the weather and a cheaper time for accommodation and flights.
It really is impossible not to love Kauai, and with beautiful coastlines, epic surfing opportunities, delectable local food, tranquil waterfalls, and red canyons, why would you want to share all this with other tourists at peak season?
Charleston, South Carolina – for a charming November trip in the USA
Charleston is South Carolina’s most charming port city, known for romantic horse carriage rides, sunset boat rides in the ocean, beaches, luxury spas and bars, dreamy courtyards and a fascinating history.
The word is out about Charleston which has seen an influx in tourists over the last few years, so this makes November a great time to enjoy its relaxed vibe to yourself. It’s also a nice temperature during this month, so you won’t get too hot while walking around.
Things to enjoy in Charleston include museums, galleries, beaches, boutique shops, rooftop bars, browsing the markets, kayaking, and outdoor concerts, and strolling in the parks. If you make the trip to the coast then look out for the dolphins and manatees that pass by here. Events to join in with in November include the Scottish Games, the Charleston Literary Festival, Harvest Festival, South Carolina Underground Film Festival, the Festival of Lights, and the holiday markets start to mark the run-up to Christmas.
Florida Keys – amazing weather and scenery
Avoid hurricanes, bad weather, and busy beaches by visiting the popular archipelago of the Florida Keys in November. Grab a canoe and explore the 113 islands, made from mud, mangroves, and sand, they are the ultimate way to get back to nature!
At this time of year, you won’t get too hot and the strips of land are the perfect place to create your own adventure, to snorkel, sail, dive, paddle, or just watch the sunset over the ocean.
Flagstaff, Arizona – November is a great time to visit this popular US city
The natural setting for the city of Flagstaff means it is stunning in November time when the trees start to change their color from green to reds and purples. As the weather is so cool and clear, it’s the perfect time to view the ponderosa pine forest in all its glory.
Flagstaff is a laid-back college city, making it a great place to relax after a day hiking with tasty eateries, coffee shops, wine bars, and breweries serving craft beer.
Great Smoky Mountains, Carolina – one of the best places to visit in November in the USA
Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains of Carolina is a dream in the crisp air of November, when the foliage turns shades of red, orange and yellow.
The Smokies make up 500,000 acres of Southern Appalachian range that peek out of the early mists just as the name suggests. It’s not surprising that it’s the most visited park in the U.S., but this is a wonderful time to have it to yourself.
San Diego – for a warm November USA city trip
While San Diego has much to offer all year round, November is the time to get great deals on what can be an expensive and popular city mid-season. Autumn is a great time to explore the 70 miles of coastline and enjoy outdoor activities like surfing, biking or gliding as the trees change color.
It’s another place to enjoy Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations, as well as the craft beer festival and Fleet Week Boat Parade this month.
Death Valley – a much safer month to explore this famous place
While Death Valley can be famously hot enough to fry an egg in the summertime, temperatures become (almost) pleasant in November.
Not only that, but you can expect clear skies to enjoy every inch of this stark yet alluring lunar landscape. From sand dunes to volcanoes, giant boulders to canyons, all kinds of geological drama can be found here.
If you visit on Veterans Day in November, entrance to the park is free.
Big Bend National Park, Texas – a USA beauty spot even in Novemeber
November at the Big Bend National Park is the ideal time between the hot summer and chilly winter to find the ideal hiking temperature.
Big Bend is almost the same size as Rhodesia Island which makes it easy to get away from it all here. One of the most famous treks is the glorious Santa Elena Canyon, there are also hot springs to bathe in and scenic drives if you get tired from hiking.
Bayou Country, Louisiana – November is great time to explore this swampy paradise
The inspiration for the Creedence Clearwater Revival album of the same name, bayou country is the tranquil swampy area near New Orleans in Louisiana.
Swamps and creeks are wonderful places to spot wildlife and November is prime time for watching the alligators here. You may even see the brown pelican which is the state’s national bird. The first two weeks of November are dedicated to celebrating the bayou’s Lafourche heritage and National Louisiana Day is celebrated here on the 9th do you can take in the culture too.
Capitol Reef National Park, Utah – explore this desert destination when the temperatures are cooler
The stunning Capitol Reef National Park is located in the south-central Utah desert, filled with unexpected geology just waiting to be explored. November sees cool yet dry weather and there are less crowds to share the incredible vistas.
This is true red rock country that surrounds a ‘wrinkle’ in the earth called Waterpocket Fold. While the park is named after the white sandstone domes that create the Capitol Reef, it’s also home to the Chimney Rock pillar, the Hickman Bridge arch, and the monoliths of Cathedral Valley in the north.
Pittsburgh – makes a cool city break in November
While Pittsburgh might not be the most picturesque city, this Pennsylvania highlight has more than enough to charm a casual visitor in November time.
The city comes alive during this period because as well as the beautiful autumn colors, there is a Light Up Night to celebrate the start of the Christmas season.
As Pittsburgh has so much history and culture, now is the perfect time to enjoy it by visiting tourist spots like the Maxo Vanka murals, the Bayernhof museum, the Andy Warhol museum, and Kentuck Knob at their least crowded.
Jekyll Island, Georgia – a beautiful destination to explore in the month of November
Once upon a time, Georgia’s Jekyll Island was a hunting club for uber-rich American families like the Rockefeller’s and the Pulitzers. Nowadays, Jekyll Island is a place to relax with 10 miles of coastline, driftwood-covered beaches, and Georgia’s sea turtle rehabilitation center.
November sees much fewer day-trippers and you’re unlikely to experience rain, giving you more opportunities to watch wildlife, shop for souvenirs, and taste fresh seafood. Sports lovers will also be thrilled by the golfing, tennis, and biking on offer if you want to work up a sweat in between.
Gulf Shores, Alabama
The city of Gulf Shores is ideally located on Alabama’s coastline and has so much to do, even for a relaxed day trip. Naturally, this means it gets expensive and crowded during the slightly stuffy summertime season, but it is positively balmy in November.
Gulf Shores has all the family-friendly attractions of golfing, beaches, trails, and even a zipline to take you over the sand dunes. History lovers will love the 19th century Fort Morgan on Mobile Bay and animal aficionados will be fascinated by the flora and fauna of Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. It’s also a great place to let your hair down as the party is in swing here all year round.
If you really want to make it a holiday, then jump in the sea as the Gulf of Mexico is still lovely and warm in November. Don’t forget to look out for sea turtles when you’re in there!
Albuquerque, New Mexico – much more bearable temperatures but still plenty to do
Home to much more than the spirit of Walter White, Albuquerque is an electric mix of urban life juxtaposed with the profound emptiness of the desert and the mountains. While the heat can be overwhelming in summer, it’s ideal in November, a time when the whole city comes alive with celebrations on the cool evenings.
This month take your pick from the Albuquerque Tango Festival, Dia de los Muertos, the Doggie Dash and Dawdle pet carnival, Scandinavian Festival, craft festival and the River of Lights at the botanical gardens.
November is also an auspicious time to reenact iconic scenes from Breaking Bad, as the roads are less busy. For those that love hiking, it’s a lovely time to stroll the Paseo del Bosque trail.
Los Angeles, California – for a quieter LA experience
While Los Angeles is naturally one of the most famous and visited cities in the US, it’s a whole different place to discover once the camera-clicking throngs have left, which is why November is the time to come.
Out of all the U.S. cities, Los Angeles is one of the warmest in November, and sun-worshippers can still sunbathe in the parks and beaches at this time of year. It’s also a great time to dine al fresco in the balmy evenings when it’s quieter and there are more locals around to befriend.
Outdoor lovers will still enjoy hiking in Griffith Park and the Santa Monica mountains and may even spot a celebrity along the way.
Padre Island National Seashore – no crowds but still warm enough to swim in November
Texas’ Padre Island is the world’s longest barrier island and this undeveloped stretch separates the Gulf of Mexico and the saline lagoon of Laguna Madre. It’s a wonderful place to kayak, spot sea turtles, go birdwatching, camp or just relax on the beach.
November is the ideal time to miss the summer crowds while the water is still warm enough to swim in. It’s also out of hurricane season so you won’t need to worry about bad weather or poor sea conditions.
Adirondack Mountains – for a super cozy mountain retreat
The Adirondack Mountains are a massive range in northeastern New York. This impressive swathe of high peaks offers thousands of miles of trails to hike, with plenty of rivers to paddle along at the bottom of the valleys.
Once you’ve taken in thanksgiving and the Christmas build-up in New York City, the mountains here are the perfect place to escape in November. It’s a peaceful time to come and hire a cabin for cozy evenings watching night fall over this stunning wilderness.
We also posts on…
- The best places to visit in October in the USA
- The best places to visit in August in the USA
- The best places to visit in September in the USA
- The best places to visit in December in the USA
- The best places to visit in February in the USA
- The best places to visit in January in the USA
Written by blogger Jen Sizeland.