Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site.

Fall is one of the best times of year to travel. The season arrives after the busy summer travel months and before the holiday travel rush. Moreover, much of the U.S. is swathed in breathtaking landscapes about now. So if you’re itching to hit the road, here are some tips for fun and cheap fall getaways.

Fall Getaway: Travel Cheap.

When searching for a cheap getaway, location is the first consideration. It’s far less costly to drive a few hours to your destination than it is to fly. Brainstorm some locations that are within a half day’s drive.

You can further save on a fall getaway by traveling with a group or another couple. You’ll be able to split the cost of gas and maybe even a cabin or hotel room.

Cheap Weekend Getaway: Visit the City.

Visiting a big city comes with some perks in the fall. First, cooler weather and fewer crowds make fall the perfect time to see the sights. Plus, you may have the opportunity to do some early holiday shopping at venues that offer merchandise different from what you find at home. Here are some good cities to visit for a cheap fall getaway.

  • Chicago, IL:

    According to U.S. News Travel, a quick getaway to Chicago can be very affordable. Even if you fly, flights aren’t too expensive and budget hotel rooms do exist. And, there’s a lot to do in the Windy City, from architectural sightseeing to museum hopping to shopping the famous Magnificent Mile.
  • New York, NY:

    Central Park is a sight to behold in the fall and worth more than a drive-by during a weekend getaway. Again, flights in and out of New York are often modestly priced and bargain-priced hotel rooms often pop up in online searches. The Big Apple has much to offer in the way of shows, dining, art, music, and of course, shopping.
  • San Francisco, CA:

    The big tourist season is over and done for now, which is good news for frugal travelers. You’ll find cheaper travel arrangements, accommodating hosts, and less hustle and bustle around major tourist attractions if you choose San Francisco as a cheap fall getaway.

Fall Getaway: Relax in Mother Nature.

If hiking or biking is your thing, you’re in luck. Many U.S. cities are within a short drive of beautiful fall foliage. Here are some ideas to help you plan an outdoors fall getaway.

  • Great Lakes Region:

    The areas surrounding the five Great Lakes on the U.S. and Canadian sides offer plenty of sightseeing treats during the fall. Trees are ablaze with red, gold, and yellow hues and between fall festivals, wine tastings, corn mazes, and pumpkin patches, there’s certainly plenty to keep you busy.
  • Gatlinburg, TN:

    Hike during the day and snuggle up at night when visiting Gatlinburg for a cheap weekend getaway. Affordable cabins nestle in the Great Smoky Mountains and the leaves seem to change color right before your eyes. Peak fall foliage season lasts a full seven weeks here.
  • Colorado:

    The slopes aren’t open yet, but you can still enjoy the Colorado Mountains for a fall getaway. Take in the scenery while hiking, biking, canoeing, or fishing. There are also tons of festivals during the fall, including horror festivals, apple festivals, harvest festivals, and even a craft spirits festival that you’re sure to find entertaining.

Cheap Getaways: Check out Deal Sites.

Remember to check deal sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial when planning a fall getaway. Cheap weekend getaways are advertised on these sites for much less than you’d otherwise spend. Just be sure you can travel within the dates and parameters specified.

Cheapism in the News