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Where to Find the Most Spectacular Autumn in the U.S.

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We take Fall seriously.

So, while a lot of places will tell you that now’s the time to take the perfect Fall vacation to some beach or distant locale because it’s out of season and currently affordable, we’re not going to do that. That’s not Fall. I don’t want to take a “Fall vacation” to a beach–I’m sick to death of those. I want a regular Fall, and I want it now. Summer is over. Get that water away from me. It’s time for some foliage, baby. These places are ranked for their Falls, based on how Fall-ish they are. We’re talking leaves (orange and red), cold weather, and… everything else that Fall means. Here is Fall: Ranked.

 

1 OF 12

NO FALL

WHERE: Phoenix, Arizona

Sure, you can drive to Flagstaff or Prescott or another Northern area two hours away, but Phoenix? Nope. There is no Fall. It’s hot as hell and no sign of cool weather until literally Halloween night (usually on the dot–think you’re going to be able to wear a Halloween costume without a jacket on Halloween in Phoenix just because it’s Phoenix? We’ll you’re not. This is the night the weather changes exactly on that night every damn year. You lose.). Fall activities in Phoenix include: buying a flannel shirt at Urban Outfitters because you want to pretend it’s going to be cooler in September/October, and that’s it. You can dress a cactus up in a Halloween costume all you want. You’re not fooling me–Fall is not here.

Fall-Ranked-LA
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2 OF 12

VERY LITTLE FALL

WHERE: Los Angeles, California

L.A. doesn’t really have Fall, either. If you’re lucky, you see some brown leaves at some point in November… maybe? Otherwise, people just walk around with pumpkin flavored drinks in 80 degree September weather, before it finally gets to be kind of cooler in October. Fall is two weeks long, at most. It beats Phoenix because of the nice, cool Fall(ish) evenings. One other good thing is that L.A. is in close proximity to places that are Fall-ish (the mountains… I guess). So that’s nice. Go to Big Bear. It’s close.

3 OF 12

LITTLE TO MOSTLY NO FALL

WHERE: F*ck it. The Rest of the Southwest.

Let’s just get this out of the way. While there are little pockets of Fall in these states, the southwest loses for Fall. Moving on.

4 OF 12

IT’S FALL TIME, BABY

WHERE: New York City, New York

That’s right, it’s Fall time. Time for some leaves. There are not any actual forests in New York City, but Central Park is there, and it does have trees, with leaves, and they do change colors. There are also lots of department stores that sell coats and sweaters, and you can buy them, and wear them outside, for Fall. They got cold weather. They got the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. They got… tons of other stuff. It’s New York City. Go sit on a bench in Central Park and wear a scarf and smile up at the sky and be cold. Sounds like a dream. If you’re looking for a big city with a good Fall, you cannot do better than NYC.

5 OF 12

QUITE FALL, INDEED, BUT MOSTLY BECAUSE HALLOWEEN (PART 1)

WHERE: Sleepy Hollow, New York

Sorry, but we haven’t left New York yet. Sleepy Hollow is, supposedly, one of the most haunted places in the world. This is obviously the locale where the Headless Horseman roamed about in “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” and also where a Johnny Depp movie took place, and they are, supposedly, also the same story, apparently. For this reason, it’s very, very Fall.

6 OF 12

VERY FALL, MOSTLY BECAUSE HALLOWEEN, THOUGH, AS WELL (PART 2)

WHERE: Salem, Massachusetts

All of Massachusetts is pretty Fall-ish, but Salem holds a special place in our hearts–but like Sleepy Hollow, mostly because of Halloween, though. The whole month of October is dedicated to Halloween in Salem, as it’s the famous setting of the Salem Witch Trials. Everyone knows those! That said, they’ve got Autumn/Halloween themed events happening every single day here.

 

Book a Hotel

7 OF 12

VERY FALL, MANY WOODS

WHERE: The Whole State of Connecticut

The whole state of Connecticut is a big winner as far as Fall goes. We’re putting the whole state on this list. It’s pretty small, so that’s fine for us to do. The state of Connecticut looks like if you opened up an October issue of Better Homes & Garden magazine and a whole place suddenly climbed out of the magazine and existed. Probably. Anyways, it’s gorgeous.

Fall-Ranked-HudsonRiverValley
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8 OF 12

VERY, VERY FALL

WHERE: Hudson River Valley, New York

That’s right, we’re back in New York. Just about an hour outside of Manhattan is the 18-mile-long Seven Lakes Drive, a scenic drive through the Autumn of your god damned dreams. This drive has everything: antique shops, rivers, trees, lakes, orchards, you name a Fall thing and it’s probably on there. The Hudson River Valley is one of the best places to experience Fall, and you only have to drive an hour out of the city to do it (if you live in Manhattan that is–if you don’t, you will have to drive farther. Look, I don’t know where you live, man). Check out the photo of that lake up there. It’s called Lake Welch and it is Fall to the largest and most aggressive (in a good way) degree. It’s leaf time, baby.

9 OF 12

EXTREME FALL

WHERE: Literally All of Delaware

Delaware, like Connecticut, is a small state, and therefore it is fine that we are listing the entire state of Delaware. Delaware just sounds like a Fall name. Anyways, look at Delaware. That’s a nice Fall right there.

10 OF 12

IT'S NEVER NOT FALL HERE, PROBABLY

WHERE: Montpelier, Vermont

I’m sorry, can you just look at Vermont for a moment? Vermont is aggressively Fall. What’re those, red buildings with steeples, also flanked by fall foliage? F*ck.

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11 OF 12

OKAY FINE, YOU CAUGHT US

WHERE: Pretty Much Anywhere On the East Coast With A Bunch of Trees

Listen, I don’t want to leave anybody out, so we’re just going to give a special honorary shout out to most of the East Coast. The East Coast does Fall right, and there’s a ton of trees most places. And everyone knows that trees have leaves and leaves are Fall as hell. Places with trees of note: most forests, Central Park, regular parks (trees are usually found there).

12 OF 12

ULTIMATE FALL TIME

WHERE: Boston, Massachusetts

New England wins hands down for Fall. Obviously, New England wins for Fall. It is Fall Headquarters. If Fall was a store, its flagship would be here. However, Boston is the New England city that takes the prize because of both how supremely Fall it is, and also how close it is in proximity to other Fall areas (Cape Cod! New Hampshire! Other… places!) Plus, you got Harvard Square, Commonwealth Avenue, tons of leaves, woodsy areas, and places that have sports games (also a big thing for Fall–people love Fall sports), with the college teams as well as the professional ones. Don’t make me name them. I’m not the expert on those–I just know they exist. Football.