Texas Hill Country
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38 Spots for a Cheap Fall Weekend Getaway

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Texas Hill Country
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Love It and Leaf It

Fall is a wonderful time to squeeze in a weekend getaway that doesn't have to cost a fortune. With insight from travel industry leaders at GoSeek, Travelzoo, and more, as well as our own research, we found enough appealing places across the country that there's likely to be one within driving distance. Some destinations are romantic and some are family-oriented, but all offer a welcome break before the onset of winter, with low prices as of late August. 


(Don't forget to check sites like Hotels.com, Booking.com, and even Tripadvisor for deals on lodging. Or consider a cheap, private rental from Airbnb or Vrbo.)


Prices and availability are subject to change.


Related: 16 Places With Spectacular Fall Foliage

Williamsburg, Virginia
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Williamsburg, Virginia

Ideal for those who love history and the outdoors, Williamsburg has free activities including hiking the Greensprings Interpretive Trail, biking the 52-mile Virginia Capital Trail, and visiting the York County Historical Museum, which features 400 years of artifacts. Self-guided tours of the College of William and Mary (the second-oldest in the country and Thomas Jefferson's alma mater) are free. The Best Western Williamsburg Historic District can gets you right in the heart of things for $93 a night.


Related: The 40 Best Places in America to Travel Back in Time

Snow Mountain Ranch, Colorado
©TripAdvisor

Snow Mountain Ranch, Colorado

Fall fest weekends at the ranch feature hayrides, leaf-peeping hikes, campfires (with s'mores), and square dancing. There's also hiking, mountain biking, zip lining, and archery. Nearly all activities are free with the cost of lodging. Yurt rentals at the ranch start at $119 a night and can sleep up to six people.

Taos, New Mexico
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Taos, New Mexico

Stunning Taos offers arts and outdoor activities amid a backdrop of multicolored aspens. Hiking toward the 13,161-foot summit of Wheeler Peak via the Bull of the Woods or Williams Lake trails shows the beauty of the mountains and occasional wildlife. September's free Taos Arts Festival showcases performance, installation, and projection art among historic adobe buildings. Rooms at the Sagebrush Inn & Suites, a historic landmark opened in 1931 and under some construction and COVID limitations, are $118.


Related: 50 Best Small Towns to Visit in Winter

Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania
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Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania

Ohiopyle, in the Youghiogheny River Valley of the Alleghenies just an hour southeast of Pittsburgh, is an outdoor paradise with camping, whitewater rafting, biking on rail trails, and hiking. Yurts within Ohiopyle State Park — Pennsylvania's largest — rent for $23 and up per night. Log cabins that sleep five are also available at Benner's Meadow Run starting at $141 a night.

The Catskills, New York
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The Catskills, New York

Autumn in the Catskills is legendary, Travelzoo senior editor Gabe Saglie says. The region is bursting with fall festivals, harvest events, and antiquing. Drive winding roadways through mountain towns and river valleys, following the historic routes of the Hudson River to the four-weekend Hunter Mountain Oktoberfest, which is free and features a variety of beers and food. Rooms at the Inn at Lake Joseph, which dates back to the 1890s, start at around $234 a night, including breakfast.

White Mountains, New Hampshire
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White Mountains, New Hampshire

The 100-mile White Mountains Trail passes through a 800,000-acre national forest and past many of the region's attractions, including Windy Ridge Orchard, where you can pick blueberries and eight types of apples, feast at the Cider House Café, and pet farm animals. Rooms at the Nordic Village Resort in Bartlett, New Hampshire, start at $112 a night.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee
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Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is renowned for its diversity of plants and animals — and is free. Autumn leaf season is several weeks long and makes for good hiking, including on kid-friendly trails. The Tennessee Heritage Arts & Crafts Trail is an eight-mile loop of shops, galleries, and cafes dating back to 1937. Rooms downtown at Greystone's Lodge on the River average $106 nightly and include breakfast.

Columbia, South Carolina
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Columbia, South Carolina

Columbia is an ideal base for exploring fall festivals, parks, and more. The free Palmetto Peanut Boil and Irmo Okra Strut both attract thousands with food (including an okra eating contest), live music, rides, and kids' entertainment. Skip the crowds at Congaree National Park with peak foliage viewing in October and November. The Baymont Inn & Suites offers rooms starting at about $99 a night, including breakfast.

Plymouth, Massachusetts
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Plymouth, Massachusetts

Plymouth is associated with the first Pilgrim settlement and first Thanksgiving, so there's no better time to visit. Plimoth Patuxet ($42.50 for adults, $27.50 for children) is a living history museum that brings the story of Thanksgiving to life. Every September and October brings King Richard's Faire, showcasing medieval life and entertainment such as acrobats, aerialists, jugglers, and minstrels, to nearby Carver. Rooms at By the Sea Bed & Breakfast, the only private home overlooking Plymouth Harbor, start at $190 a night.

Cooperstown, New York
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Cooperstown, New York

Best known for the Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown also offers arts, culture, and culinary offerings in the heart of apple country. In addition to pick-your-own apples and leaf-peeping, Cooperstown village hosts the Fenimore Art Museum and the Farmers' Museum, one of the oldest U.S. rural life museums. The August Lodge is a timber-frame country hotel in a wildflower meadow that's just five minutes from the hall of fame and rates starting at $149.

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
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Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

In addition to being home to the famous battlefield, Gettysburg has thousands of acres of apple orchards, dozens of farm markets, and a hard apple cider scene. The first two weekends in October, Gettysburg hosts the National Apple Harvest Festival ($10 for adults, free for children 12 and under), with apple butter, apple pancakes, and apple jelly (keep an eye out for apple pizza, too). There's also magic, dance, and vendors selling crafts. Rooms at the generally well-reviewed Days Inrn by Wyndham Gettysburg start at $101 a night.

Lexington, Kentucky
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Lexington, Kentucky

Kentucky's vast expanses of forest are a spectacular place to view the fiery colors of fall. Lexington has horse farms, a burgeoning culinary scene, and famous sites including the Mary Todd Lincoln House, the childhood home of Abraham Lincoln's wife ($15 for adults, $6 for children), and Ashland, the 19th-century mansion built by politician Henry Clay. The Campbell House Inn has rooms for about $151 a night.

Colorful curves
Colorful curves by Steve Grundy (None)

Alpharetta, Georgia

Alpharetta hosts festivals including a European Market, Scarecrow Harvest (when downtown is lined by more than 120 scarecrows), and Alpharetta Brew Moon Fest. It is also home to numerous music and entertainment venues, including the 12,000-seat Verizon Amphitheater, which sometime hosts the Grammy-winning Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Rooms in the area can be found as low as $70 a night on deal sites like Hotels.com.

Oz Beech Mountain, NC
Oz Beech Mountain, NC by Rachel Noel (None)

Beech Mountain, North Carolina

The town with the highest elevation east of the Rockies, Beech Mountain offers hiking, mountain biking, and fall foliage along the 7-mile Emerald Outback adventure trail system — and some superior wine tastings. Also not to be missed: sipping a cocktail at the 5506' Skybar, a glass roundhouse named for its location above sea level. The Beech Mountain Visitors Center's $159 Hike & Wine Getaway special includes two nights of lodging and a wine tasting for two.

Texas Hill Country
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Texas Hill Country

It may not be Vermont, but there's plenty of stunning foliage amid Texas Hill Country's live music and stellar wine offerings. (The area was named one of the "Ten Best Wine Travel Destinations" by Wine Enthusiast magazine in 2015.) Top locations for leaf peeping include Lost Maples State Natural Area and Garner State Park, recommended by GoSeek CEO Clem Bason. Rooms at the Peach Tree Inn & Suites in Fredericksburg can be had for $174 a night.

Iberia Parish, Louisiana
City of New Iberia

Iberia Parish, Louisiana

Cajun country in September and October hosts a slew of food festivals, such as the World Championship Gumbo Cookoff. (Others, including the Louisiana Sugar Cane Festival, Lydia Cajun Food Fest, and the Southern Soul Food Showdown are waiting to be clear of coronavirus.) Some are free; others charge a nominal fee for food tickets. Rooms at the Hampton Inn & Suites in New Iberia start at around $111 a night.

Newport, Rhode Island
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Newport, Rhode Island

This city of Gilded Age "summer cottages" built by some of this country's wealthiest families also has simple pleasures, including apple picking, hayrides, and festivals showcasing food, wine, and seafood. (Though the Harvest Fair at Norman Bird Sanctuary has been moved to 2022.) The free Cliff Walk, a 3.5-mile path, showcases coastline and century-old mansions. Hotels in the area tend to be pricey … or lower-rated by customers; the best bet for a stay that won't break the bank but often gets good reviews from those who stay is the Red Roof Inn & Suites in Middletown, where a night can be had for around $189.

Canaan Valley Restort
Canaan Valley Restort by Timber Gooding (None)

Canaan Valley, West Virginia

Canaan Valley, 3,200 feet above sea level in West Virginia's Alleghenies, is awash in shades of red, orange, and yellow in autumn. Take it in at Canaan Valley Resort State Park, where there's hiking, biking, geocaching, and golf. A Leaf Peepers Festival traditionally includes a parade, craft fair, car show, live music, and golf tournament, though coronavirus conditions has changed the scope of the event for 2021. Canaan Valley Resort & Conference Center has rooms starting at $200.

Chincoteague Island, Virginia
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Chincoteague Islands, Virginia

Calling all oyster lovers: Each October these picturesque islands host an Oyster Festival ($50), with the namesake food served every way imaginable. The Marina Bay Hotel & Suites, between Main Street and a marina, offers rooms starting at about $183 a night by booking now.

Estes Park, Colorado
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Estes Park, Colorado

Mid-September to the beginning of October is a stunning time in Denver-adjacent Estes Park, GoSeek's Bason says. Events include the free Autumn Gold and Pumpkins & Pilsners festivals and the Whiskey Warm Up (the only one of the three canceled for 2021 by coronavirus concerns). The Blue Door Inn gets rave reviews by Tripadvisor users; rooms start around $120 a night.

2008 622
2008 622 by Possum1500 (None)

Clayton, Georgia

Southerners get off the grid in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Clayton. Travelzoo's Saglie recommends a weekend at the Kingwood Resort & Winery, surrounded by more than 148,600 acres of national forest. Kingwood offers golf, tennis, a luxe European spa, fishing, whitewater rafting, hiking, and fine dining. Rooms start around $99 a night via booking sites.

Minneapolis
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Minneapolis

Minneapolis offers an artsy autumn escape of fall weekends biking around the city, gallery hopping, and taking in the latest shows. Shows at the Acme Comedy Co. where Tuesday open mics are free. Stay at the elegant Saint Paul Hotel downtown, next to the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts and RiverCentre and within easy walking distance of the Mississippi River. Rooms start at about $136 a night by booking well in advance.

St. Louis
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St. Louis

Visitors can immerse themselves in all things Cardinals with a day at Saint Louis Ballpark Village, a dining and entertainment district next to Busch Stadium that includes the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum. For a more outdoorsy experience, Forest Park is a sprawling, 1,300-acre green space considered one of the nation's greatest urban parks — museums and a zoo included. In this sports, culinary, and cultural smorgasbord, accommodation costs are well under the national average. The Central West End Bed & Breakfast offers rooms starting at $125 a night.

Cape May, New Jersey
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Cape May, New Jersey

The biggest crowds come in summer, but fall is magical in Cape May, with monarch butterflies descending for a few weeks during their annual migration, shops open along Washington Street, and cool bike rides to Beach Plum Farm, a 62-acre working farm with a market and kitchen featuring more than 100 varieties of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers. The Star, less than a block from the ocean, has rooms in October starting at $139 a night.

Moonshine Festival, Dawsonville, Georgia
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Dawsonville, Georgia

Dawson County is home to the Mountain Moonshine Festival. The fest provides a glimpse into the Prohibition- and Depression-era history of the Georgia foothills — particularly the moonshine runs. Legend has it that men transporting moonshine would drive their cars at top speeds, often racing each other. That heady competition eventually evolved into Nascar racing. Understandably, cars are a big part of the festival. The event runs the fourth weekend in October and includes a parade, a swap meet, live entertainment, and a car show featuring moonshine-hauling and vintage race cars. The Holiday Inn Express Dahlonega has nightly rates starting at $132.

Mendocino, California
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Mendocino, California

As fall arrives in this Northern California coastal town, so do the rains, producing a bumper crop of mushrooms (some of which grow only on the Mendocino Coast). Some believe the mushrooms have amatory qualities, making this an ideal destination for couples. But don't go picking on your own. Go on an edible wild mushroom tour or wait for the next the annual Mendocino Mushroom, Wine, and Beer Festival, which take place in November. The Beach House Inn on Pudding Creek will put you up for about $159 a night.

Mesquite, Nevada
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Mesquite, Nevada

Bask in the sun with a golf deal at CasaBlanca Resort. A one-night stay for two and 18 holes of golf for one cost $99. Another $55 (depending on the date) entitles the second person to try out the links. That brings the total cost of lodging and a day of outdoor activity to less than $155.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas
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Eureka Springs, Arkansas

For a fun weekend getaway, Arkansas locals recommend Eureka Springs. The central downtown area, full of Victorian buildings and lots of shops, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The town hosts the Ozark Folk Festival, which runs Nov. 11-14 — the longest continuously running folk extravaganza in the nation. Look for rooms at The Country Mountain Inn to cost between $65 and $85 a night. 


Fulton, Missouri
Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri

Fulton, Missouri

A visit to Fulton, Missouri, combines history and small-town charm. The brick streets of downtown are lined with shops and restaurants. The site of Winston Churchill's Iron Curtain speech, Fulton is home to the National Churchill Museum and a piece of the Berlin Wall. Museum admission is free for children under 5, then ranges from $6.50 to $12, depending on age. The town is 90 minutes from Ha Ha Tonka State Park, which features hiking trails and castle ruins. The Baymont by Wyndham Fulton will put you up starting at $110 a night when booked well in advance.

Common Ground Country Fair, Unity, Maine
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Unity, Maine

For those who love organic produce and fall foliage, the Common Ground Country Fair in Maine offers a tasty and colorful diversion. It runs Sept. 24-26 and usually draws about 60,000 visitors. Admission is $16 for adults at the gate or $14 in advance, with discounts for seniors 65 and older; children 12 and under get in free. The Canaan Motel is modest but gets generally good reviews for as little as $80 a night. For those who want to forgo a hotel, there are several campsites and guesthouses near the fairgrounds.

Richmond, Indiana
Visit Richmond Indiana

Richmond, Indiana

There's a reason Richmond is known locally as Antique Alley. The town is the starting point for two antique trails that lead buyers and browsers to different shops in the Wayne County area and into parts of west-central Ohio. Each routes features about 30 different stores. The area is also home to an Amish community, and there's an Amish market in nearby Fountain City. Stay at the Holiday Inn Richmond and you can have two beds for $132 a night.

Hampshire County, Massachusetts
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Hampshire County, Massachusetts

Western Massachusetts is known for its fall foliage and outdoor recreation, and a quick getaway to Hampshire County is cheaper than a trip to Boston. There are numerous opportunities for biking, hiking, and kayaking. Mount Tom State Reservation in Holyoke boasts 22 miles of trails and views of the Connecticut Valley, Berkshire Mountains, and Pelham hills. Parking is just $5 for Massachusetts vehicles and $20 for cars with out-of-state plates. Weekend warriors with a taste for culture could visit Amherst, the home of poet Emily Dickinson. The Comfort Inn & Suites Springfield will put you up for as little as $90 when booked well in advance.

Milwaukee
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Milwaukee

There's an arena open downtown that's home to both the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks and the city's annual Oktoberfest, held the first weekend in October. Brass bands, folk dancing, and yodeling are among the entertainment, and there's no shortage of authentic German food, including a brat-eating contest. Rooms at the Hilton Garden Inn Milwaukee Northwest Conference Center start at $102 a night.

fall, Amana Colonies, Iowa
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Amana Colonies, Iowa

The seven villages of the Amana Colonies offer a break from the bustle of modern life. This National Historic Landmark was settled by German Pietists in 1855. Now, tourists visit the town for its historic charm, restaurants, and craft shops. There are several festivals throughout the year, including Oktoberfest, Oct. 2, with admission between $8 and $15. Lodging is available at nearby bed and breakfasts, hotels, campgrounds, and RV parks. The Guest House Motel has rooms as low as $111 a night.

Oktoberfest, New Ulm, Minnesota
Explore Minnesota Tourism

New Ulm, Minnesota

New Ulm, Minnesota, is known for its German heritage — and was touting itself as "the most German city in America" based on data from the 2000 U.S. Census. (We'll see what happens from 2020 data.) Along with German restaurants and shops, the town is home to a glockenspiel, a tall bell tower with figurines that make an appearance three times every afternoon. Its Oktoberfest has been ranked among the top 10 in the country by several media outlets, including Condé Nast Traveler. The festivities take place the first two weekends in October. The Best Western Plus New Ulm has rooms starting at $122 a night.

Sheridan, Wyoming
Sheridan, Wyoming by Atkach24 (CC BY)

Sheridan, Wyoming

This Western town near Bighorn National Forest is home to several historic spots and a lot of outdoor recreation. Historic sites in the area include Connor Battlefield, Fort Phil Kearny, and the Trail End State Historic Site, a mansion that gives visitors a window into the lifestyle of a successful rancher and politician during the early decades of the 20th century. King's Saddlery and Museum is full of cowboy memorabilia, and the Sheridan County Museum gives a history of the area. Get a glimpse of buffalo and elk in the wildlife area next to Kendrick Park. Head to the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Sheridan for rooms starting at $119 a night. 

Grande Ronde River, Umatilla National Forest
Grande Ronde River, Umatilla National Forest by U.S. Forest Service- Pacific Northwest Region (None)

Umatilla National Forest, Oregon

Avoid the crowds swarming through the national parks and escape into the scenic mountains of Umatilla National Forest. Visitors can stay in a historic Forest Service cabin or fire lookout, each with a unique story. There are traditional camping opportunities, as well. (There's also the circa-1950s Rugged Country Lodge in Pendleton for $75 a night.) Along with hiking, biking, and fishing, visitors can enjoy several scenic driving routes. The forest also is home to sites for geocaching and letterboxing.

Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California
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Humboldt County, California

Take a weekend day trip through the Avenue of the Giants, a 31-mile stretch of old Highway 101. Winding through Humboldt Redwoods State Park, this part of the road boasts some of California's most magnificent redwoods. There are three trees you can actually drive through (for a small fee). Beyond marveling at the enormous redwoods, there are plenty of things to do along the way. Enjoy a picnic, explore a trail, or visit the small-town shops. Convenient stays are available at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Arcata/Eureka starting at $149 a night.