There are lots of perks that come with the onset of autumn: eating all the squash (oh, and do we have fall squash recipes), wearing new scarf trends and, of course (for better or worse), pumpkin spice everything. But some of the best things about fall are all fun festivals and stunning travel experiences that really get you in the spirit of the season. Here are nine fall-inspired destinations to add to your fall travel bucket list RN.
1. Go see the leaves change. If you don’t live in an area where the foliage shows off its gorgeous transition from green to a stunning mashup of gold, red and yellow, then you’ve gotta go see it, for REALS. A few of the best places to enjoy this gorg autumnal display are Aspen (CO), the Catskills (NY), the Berkshires (MA), Green Mountain Byway (VT) and the Great Smoky Mountains (NC). Bring your nice camera — you won’t want to forget these colors.
2. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, NM: The sky suddenly becomes far more fascinating when Albuquerque’s annual Balloon Fiesta takes flight. From October 1-9, over 500 colorful (and often whimsical) balloons will take to the air in the world’s largest hot air balloon festival. If you don’t have your own hot air balloon (and really, who does), you can join in the fun by hitching a ride with the Rainbow Ryders.
3. 20th Annual Trailing of the Sheep Festival, Ketchum to Hailey, ID: Sheep are soooo cute and we really don’t give them enough credit for all they provide to us humans. For a deep appreciation for ranchers and those fluffy Lamb Chop look-a-likes, head to the Trailing of the Sheep Festival from October 5-9. They’ll have lamb cooking demos, a folklife fair and sheep dog competitions, as well as traditional crafts like knitting, weaving and felting. They also offer all sorts of cool workshops and classes, so you can really get your fall creative on. But the big draw is the sheep parade, with 1,500 of them parading down Ketchum’s Main Street. (Photo via Trailing of the Sheep Festival)
4. Go apple picking. Forget heading to your local market and grabbing a bag of apples. Go out to an orchard and pick ’em yourself! From Northern California to New Hampshire there are charming farms and orchards that offer apple picking. Plus there are often fun side activities, like hay mazes, apple cider tasting, hay rides and more. The best part? You end up with a whole bunch of freshly picked, delicious apples. Just think about that intoxicating apple pie smell that’ll be wafting through your apartment.
5. National Apple Harvest Festival, Ardentsville, PA: If you did number five, then you already know you’re into apples. Indulge in some serious apple appreciation at this classic American celebration of the mighty apple in Adams County, PA. Hosting apple-lovers for the 52nd year, the festival runs from October 1-2 and October 8-9. There’ll be apple pancakes, apple syrup, apple art, apple pie and caramel apples. Oh, and lots of bluegrass bands. (Photo via Apple Harvest Festival)
6. Autumn at the Arboretum, Dallas, TX: Every year, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens create gorgeous gourd magic. For their annual Autumn at the Arboretum, they transform 90,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash into buildings, pathways and seasonal sculptures. To see it for yourself (you really should), head to the Arboretum before November 23. (Photo via Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens)
7. Celebrate Diwali, Jaipur, India: For an unforgettable experience, jet off to Jaipur, India for Diwali, the “Festival of Lights,” and the biggest holiday of the year. Diwali celebrates the victory of good over evil and is a time to spend with friends and family during five very festive days. In Rajasthan, to celebrate Diwali, stores string a gazillion lights outside making it like mini Las Vegas. Expect lots of candles and fireworks too. This year, Diwali runs from October 28 to November 1.
8. Circleville Pumpkin Festival, Circleville, OH: From October 19-22, it’s ALLLLLL about the pumpkin at the famous annual pumpkin festival in Circleville, Ohio. The streets are filled with over 10,000 pounds of pumpkins, squash and gourds, complete with pumpkin contests, pumpkin treats and even a Little Miss Pumpkin competition (awww). (Photo via Circleville Pumpkin Festival)
9. Rent a cabin in the woods. The summer can be too hot, the winter too cold and the spring has too much pollen. Fall is the PERFECT time to book a romantic cabin in the woods. You have a slew of choices, from one nestled in the trees near Lake Tahoe to a cozy cabin in the Adirondack Mountains. It really depends on how far you want to travel. Bring your slow cooker, board games and your fave rustic fall fashions to really get into the spirit of the season with your S.O. or your crew.
Where are you vacationing this fall? Tweet us @BritandCo.
(Photos via Getty)