Special Report

34 Fall Weekend Trips You Should Plan Now

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21. Mackinac Island, Michigan

A fall trip to Mackinac Island promises the “best seats on ferries, prime lakeside restaurant tables, wonderfully deserted hiking trails and bargain hotel rates.” This national landmark boasts no cars and no chain hotels, for a tranquil vacation. Visitors can experience the island’s natural beauty in many ways, from walking and biking to kayaking, horseback riding, and even tours by air. You can also see the island with a narrated historic and scenic horse carriage tour through the island. If you’re looking for somewhere to rest after all of this activity, then try the Grand Hotel, with views overlooking the Straits of Mackinac from the world’s longest porch. The hotel also has fall weekend special offers and a Murder Mystery Weekend in October.

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22. Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

Take in the milder weather during what is described as one of the most beautiful times of year in the Smoky Mountains. The perfect time to see all of the fall colors is usually early to mid-November, when the foliage is at its peak. Beyond the foliage, this area also boasts plenty of activities, including Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, NASCAR SpeedPark, Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, miniature golf courses, indoor skydiving, museums, and more.

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23. Nashville, Tennessee

The fall is considered Nashville’s festival season. In early October, visitors can check out Taste of Nashville. This year’s theme is Tacos and Tequila, where the top taco restaurants will compete for the “Best Taco in Nashville” title. Also during this time, there is Celebrate Nashville, featuring 30 internationally inspired food vendors, performances, and a world market, and Nashville Oktoberfest in Germantown, with its 5K Bier Run, Bratwurst Eating Contest, and Beer Slide Championship. Later in the month, enjoy more brews at the Tennessee Beer + Wine Festival. November features the Crafty Nashville arts and crafts fair, which brings together 80 artisans and crafters with food trucks, live music, and family-friendly activities.

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24. New Ulm, Minnesota

Known as the “most German city in America” New Ulm has one of the best Oktoberfest celebrations in the nation. If you attend the festival, you will be sure to meet New Ulm’s “ambassadors” – costumed gnomes. And even if you miss Oktoberfest (October 4-5 and 11-12), you can sample a handcrafted beer at August Schell Brewery, For more sober activities, try shopping at one of New Ulm’s speciality shops, like the cuckoo clock store, or take in the views from Hermann Monument.

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25. St. Louis, Missouri

For comfortable weather, festivals. and a botanical garden outdoor market, check out St. Louis in the fall. Visitors will never run out of special events during the season, starting with the St. Louis Renaissance Festival, the Augusta Bottoms Beer Festival, and the Great Godfrey Maze — a seven-acre corn maze at Glazebrook Park. Or check out one of the city’s many haunted houses in October, or take the opportunity to shoot zombies at a haunted paintball park.