With cooler weather, fewer crowds and some of leaves beginning to change early in the month, September is one of the easier and most beautiful times to travel around the USA. From cozy mountain retreats to visiting breweries and farmers markets in a trendy city, here are the best places to visit in September in the USA…
North Cascades National Park, Washington – a gorgeous wilderness to explore in September
North Cascades National Park is a vast wilderness area in northwestern Washington. The park region, commonly referred to as the North American Alps, covers scenic mountains, snowfields, glaciers, alpine meadows, cascading waterfalls, and other unique natural features in the North Cascade Range. The park has two units extending to the Canadian border in the north and Lake Chelan in the south. North Cascades is home to diverse and abundant wildlife such as the mule deer, black-tailed deer, black bars, rodents like marmots, pikas, and squirrels, several species of bats, elk, and mountain goats.
With rain from the Pacific in spring and fall, summer months from mid-June to mid-September are prime visiting times. September is a good time to explore because the temperatures are still warm, with less chances of rain and most of all, fewer crowds after the peak of summer.
Kenai Fjords, Alaska – for gorgeous scenery and wonderful wildlife
Kenai Fjords National Park is known for maintaining the Harding Icefield, with its iconic 40 outflowing glaciers, and coastal fjords and islands. In September, the temperatures are not yet too cold, and the days are still long, and most of all, nature is in full bloom. Amidst the crisp air, filled with energy, in the icy waters and lush forests, the park’s diverse wildlife thrives.
The icy waters are home to seals, whales, puffins, and activities include whale-watching, hiking the icefield, kayaking, and boat tours and cruises. It is one of Alaska’s most popular wildlife and glacier cruises known for its abundant wildlife, extraordinary mountains, and tidewater glaciers.
Seattle – a fantastic US city to visit in September
The seaport city of Seattle is well-known for its chilly weather and incredible food. The best way to enjoy its typical weather without being too cold to explore its array of attractions is to visit Seattle in September or October. Summer does offer warmer temperatures but comes with higher prices and limited availability.
Prime attractions include Pioneer Square (its oldest neighborhood), Space Needle, Pike Place Market (its most visited landmark), Museum of Art and Pop Music, Seattle Great Wheel, Seward Park, and more. Fun experiences include coffee classes at the Barista Academy, catching a show at the entertaining part-cabaret, Teatro Zinzanni, trying fusion food at the popular Marination Ma Kai food truck, taking the intriguing beneath the streets tour or future of aviation Boeing tour, going to a professional baseball game, etc.
Home to a magnitude of breweries and farmers’ markets, the city’s culture attracts locals and tourists alike. Additionally, the city’s gorgeous natural beauty can be seen at its Japanese Garden or through its exquisite fall color display at the Washington Park Arboretum.
Lake Placid and the Adirondack Mountains – for a September cozy mountain retreat
The Adirondacks offer a spectacular natural backdrop, perfect for any occasion — from family vacations, to romantic getaways and outdoor excursions – throughout the seasons. However, a visit in September is ideal for those avoiding the black fly season crowds and looking for breathtaking foliage. As the autumn begins, the rolling hills, high peaks, serene nature look like a painting in fall colors. And it is truly mesmerizing to view the Lake Placid amongst this beautiful autumn foliage.
Lake Placid offers fresh mountain air and majestic views. It’s known as a Winter Olympics venue and a hub for snow sports and other outdoor pursuits. While September may be too early for some snow activities, the plethora of other adventures, restaurants, and shops make its nearby town a popular attraction in September.
Colorado Springs – a place to visit in the US in September for outdoor lovers
Based at the eastern foot of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado Springs and its nearby glacier-carved Pikes Peak, are magical in the fall. In September, temperatures are pleasantly cool, crowds are fewer, and rates are better (cheaper). Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region is covered in vibrant autumn-colored leaves. Every year, visitors and locals alike set out into the wilderness to experience the natural beauty and serenity of the changing aspen leaves.
The Pikes Peak region features scenic hiking trails and a cog railway through the national forest to its 14,000 ft-summit. The Garden of the Gods park hosts iconic red-sandstone formations and mountain views. Besides trails and railway, there are Segway tours, bike rides, and jeep tours to explore and appreciate the magnificent autumn foliage.
Zion National Park, Utah – one of the best national parks to visit in September
One of the most spectacular parks in the US, Zion National Park is located in southern Utah. Known for its natural beauty and contrasting colors, Zion in the most scenic season, fall, is a dream come true. There’s nothing quite like the vividly colored leaves around Zion’s red sandstone cliffs. The brilliant reds, bright yellows and blazing oranges of the foliage offers the most picturesque views.
September is the best time to visit because of its sunny days and comfortable mild temperatures fluctuating between 50-90 degrees on average. Moreover, the crowds are fewer, the scenery is less saturated by sunlight and the contrast in the leaves and cliffs really catches your eye. Famous hikes in this Park include Angels Landing, Observation Point, and Emerald Pools and the park offers numerous other outdoor activities.
Asheville, North Carolina – make a wonderful early fall US break
The best time to visit Asheville, NC is either spring (March to May) or fall (September to early November) because of its amicable temperatures between 50-70 degrees. My most favorite time to visit Asheville is September as you get to witness the start of the leaves changing and view its lovely autumn foliage. Asheville is home to several scenic fall drives such as the Blue Ridge Parkway that winds around some of the highest peaks in this region and passes through patches of wildflowers of goldenrod, witch hazel, aster and mountain ash. Extreme elevations, and over 100 species of deciduous trees lend the Blue Ridge Mountains one of the longest and most vibrant leaf seasons.
Along with the one of the most dramatic foliage displays, Hendersonville, known as the “Apple Alley”, with its seasonal apple orchards, Sky Top steaming donuts and bamboo forests, corn mazes, and spiced cider, pumpkin patches, open their doors. Besides nature, this town with its restaurants, bars, music and art culture has some serious big city vibes.
Charleston, South Carolina – a gorgeous city to visit in September
The beautiful Charleston is home to five of the happiest seaside towns in America. The sandy beaches are ideal for relaxing, scenic strolls or splashing in the waves. The region is known for its avenue of ancient oaks and fall season is filled with interesting activities and events. From Charleston’s garden gates and seasonal farmers markets, fall in Charleston includes festive corn mazes, hot air balloon festivals, fall tours, and more. The Gibbes Museum of Arts, Netherworld First Theatre and Freshfields Village Cars & Coffee are some other amazing sites in this rich historic city.
The best time to visit Charleston is from March to May (spring) or from September to November (fall), when temperatures are mild and inviting. We prefer fall to spring, because hotel rates, in spring, especially around Easter are quite high.
Acadia National Park, Maine
Home to some of the most picturesque landscapes and diverse wildlife on the coast of Maine, Acadia National Park is an all-year-round destination, but particularly attractive in September, because of the ideal weather conditions and relatively less busy time just after Labor Day and just before the leaf-peeping crowds arrive.
Explore this 47,000-acre park through its renowned Hulls Cove Visitor Center or its less-crowded Welcome Center at Rockefeller Hall. The park stretches across Mount Desert Island, which is home to the first rays of daylight to touch the United States for half the year, making it the perfect place to catch a scenic sunrise. The magnitude and serenity of this majestic mountain is a major attraction of the park. Activities like hiking, biking, animal and bird spotting, guided tours and camping are offered in the park.
New England – visit to see the early fall leaves change
New England in northeastern U.S, comprising the states of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, is known for its Colonial past, Atlantic coastline, forested mountains, and changing autumn foliage. September marks the start of the leaf changing season and the region showcases peak autumn colors by the end of the month.
The region’s forests and mountains display a riot of colors and its charming towns are filled with a fall-themed atmosphere. The countryside offers various scenic trails for hiking, biking, and cozy lodges for camping. Seasonal farms and farmers’ markets, fresh cider donuts, apple orchards and apple picking, pumpkin patches, corn mazes are commonly found during this season in the nearby towns. Also, check out our best places to visit in Vermont.
Santa Fe, New Mexico – makes a great alternative September US break
The best time to visit Santa Fe is between September and November when the temperatures range from 20 to 70 degrees. While summer is probably the busiest and spring possibly offers similar weather conditions, the fall-time festivals make Santa Fe especially attractive in the autumn months.
Festivals include Fiestas de Santa, Wine and Chile Fiesta and the eye-catching Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, and the harvest festival at El Rancho De Las Golondrinas. The historic harvest festival features a pumpkin patch, a chance to make cider, live animals, music, and entertainment. With fewer crowds and plenty of adventure activities, music and art festivals, food, and drinks, visiting Santa Fe in the fall is a great destination!
Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada – for cooler temperatures and wonderful views
Carmel, North California – for a quaint and charming September break
This postcard-like village of Carmel-by-the-Sea is made up of tree-lined streets, charming buildings, boutique stores, gourmet restaurants, and a beautiful beach at the end of town. Calm and picturesque, Carmel is known for its amazing sunsets overlooking the Pacific Ocean, rolling sand dunes that lead to the ocean, and huge Monterey Pine and cypress trees.
Fall is surprisingly the sunniest time of the year, bringing warm clear days and cool breezy nights. September offers refreshing weather conditions and is ideal for sunbathing, strolling, relaxing on the soft beach. Besides the beach, Carmel has world-class shopping and dining, exquisite wine tasting rooms, art galleries, quaint inns, and a natural historic landmark, a historic California mission, called Mission San Carlos Borromeo del río Carmelo. The town also has a 18-mile bike path that passes through some breathtaking views and beautifully landscaped gardens and reaches Carmel Point, for spectacular views.
Yellowstone National Park – September is a great time to visit this famous US park
Arguably the most popular national park is the US, Yellowstone is known for its scenic natural beauty, remarkably diverse wildlife and its fall foliage. Though summers are most popular, fall is a better time to visit the national park because of the colorful foliage, thinning crowds, and better chances of spotting iconic animals that tend to move to lower elevations in cooler temperatures. In the fall, Yellowstone bears can often be spotted from the road, as they forage for food in preparation for hibernation.
In the sky, it is common to see the annual fall migration of hawks and other raptors from the Hayden Valley. At Mammoth Hot Springs, you can find bull elk bugling and competing for female attention with elk mating season in full swing in the fall. Yellowstone’s landscape showcases golden aspens, honeyed grasses, and orange-red shrubs. The vibrant foliage is at its peak in the end of September and Yellowstone has several hiking and biking trails to enjoy panoramic views of the fall foliage. Popular spots include the Lamar Valley, Blacktail Plateau Drive, and Lewis River falls, and Lewis River Canyon.
Ozarks – for a beautiful and rustic September vacation
Known for its summer fun, Lake of the Ozarks is just as popular in the fall. As summer ends and temperatures cool, the region offers unique attractions and fun opportunities. With clear skies and rainless days, September is a popular time to visit Lake of Ozarks. Its Cave pumpkin patch includes wagon rides, children’s’ play areas, corn cribs, miniature pumpkin painting and water balloon shooting.
Ha Ha Tonka State Park comprises 300 step wooden stairway from its castle that leads to alluring blue springs. The State Park has several trails across its varying terrain. The region is filled with numerous wineries, that look simply stunning in vivid autumn colors. The foliage against the lake offers spectacular landscape views.
Big Bend National Park, Texas – one of the best places to visit in Septemeber in the USA
Big Bend National Park, situated in the southwestern Texas, preserves the largest tracts of Chihuahuan Desert topography and ecology in the United States. The park’s geological structures date back millions of years, and it is home to 1200 species of plants and 450 species of birds. Offering plenty of activities, the park boasts 150 miles of hiking trails through its mountain desert terrain as well as along its rivers, scenic driving routes, park rangers’ programs and stargazing opportunities.
This 1250 sq. mile park consists of vegetation belts of Rio Grande, sparseness of Chihuahuan Desert, the peaks of the Chisos Mountains, and the limestone outcrops of Persimmon Gap and Boquillas Canyon. Being a desert land of extremes, summer’s heat up to 100 degrees and winters dip below 30s, making fall and spring the best times to visit. September’s mild warm days and cool nights are perfect for outdoor adventures like hikes, treks, and camping.
Wallace, Idaho – for spectacular September sceney
One of the best places to visit in Idaho, The Wild West mining town of Wallace is situated in the legendary Silver Valley of North Idaho. Wallace boasts spectacular mountain views, natural beauty and a beautifully preserved downtown of Queen Anne buildings. Wallace truly is what America West once was.
Surrounded by towering mountains, thick pines and huckleberry bushes, Wallace makes an optimal base camp to explore the wondrous Silver Valley and amazing Bitterroot Mountains. These uniquely scenic spots not only offer attractive views but also various one-of-a-kind trails and experiences. Months from July to September have limited rainfall and pleasant temperatures.
Bend, Oregon – mild weather and beautiful natural scenery
Based on the Deschutes River, the small city of Bend is surrounded by the lakes and peaks of the Cascade Mountains. A trail from the town leads up to Pilot Butte, an extinct volcano. Other attractions include hiking to Tumalo Falls, visiting the local Fall Festival, trying out locally grown seasonal dishes, stargazing on a canoe trip by night, and witnessing the lovely fall colors at Drake Park.
The town’s High Desert Museum exhibits the local history, environment, and live wildlife. Fall (September and October) is the time of year in Bend as you can enjoy the best of summer and winter weather conditions. Moreover, crowds are smaller, prices are lower, and the weather is still mild.
Hamptons – September makes a great alternative month to visit this summer retreat
While the Hamptons is popular for summer weekend getaways, and filled with tourists on Memorial Day, Labor Day or Fourth of July weekends, we think it’s a great destination in the fall. The region is not yet as cold as the winter, but also not as crowded as in the summer.
Besides enjoying the town’s exclusive charm, you can relax and take in the last rays of sun at the Flying Point Beach, visit the Channing Daughters Vineyard for wine tasting and people watching, check out some popular attractions like the scenic Wölffer Estate Vineyard, the impressive Montauk Lighthouse and the Parrish Museum. Hamptons also has boating, pumpkin patches, luxury boutique shops and fine dining establishments.
Na Pali Coast, Hawaii – for a warm US September getaway
The ruggedly scenic coastline of Na Pali has one of the most beautiful views in all of Hawaii. Historians believe this beautiful coast was the first area of Kauai where ancient Hawaiians settled. The Na Pali Coast comprises dramatic cliffs, pristine beaches, rocky hiking trails and extensive archaeological sites.
Exploring the undisturbed terrain of Na Pali is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You can fly over, boat around or hike this region. It’s difficult to reach, Hanakapiai Falls are truly mesmerizing. The region offers numerous hiking paths, with “Hanakapiai Trail” leading to this famous waterfall.
The best time to visit Hawaii is between March and September, when it sees the least rain and enjoys the highest temperatures, ideal to enjoy its clear sea waters and soft sandy beaches. September temperatures are not as hot as the summer, making it a more comfortable time to explore the region.
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