Skip to Content

32 Best Places to Visit in September in USA (Unique and Cool Ideas You’ll Love)

Traveling in the fall feels a little bit like magic. The summer crowds are dwindling away and prices drop to entice eager fall travelers. Amazing destinations await: these are the very best places to visit in September in the USA!

Best places to visit in September in USA view of mountains with green trees purple haze at orange sunset
Incredible sunset views in one of the best places to visit in September in USA (see #16)

This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, see my disclosures.

From majestic mountain peaks to swoon-worthy beaches and some underrated destinations in between, there are some pretty spectacular September vacations in the US!

Whether you’re looking for amazing hiking spots, a weekend away in the city or destinations that shine with fall foliage, there’s something for everyone on this list! Get ready for some awesome places you’re familiar with, and even that you haven’t heard of!

view of the million dollar highway mountainside with snow and orange red yellow fall foliage with road
Colorado in the fall: #11 and #26 (best places to visit in September in USA)

Oh, and by the way, since I haven’t been everywhere yet, I asked my fellow travel writers to help create the perfect list of best places to visit September.

Let’s dive in!

Map of the best places to visit in September

From the national parks in the west to the fall foliage in the east and some perfect spots in between, this list covers a lot of the US!

Use this map as a visual as you plan your fall getaway.

Must-see video: best September vacations

Best places to visit in September in USA

September is a fantastic time to travel, and these are some of the best spots in the United States. Starting this list off with a bang…

1. Moab, Utah

sunrise through an arch in Canyonlands NP best place to vacation in September
Watching the sunset at Canyonlands National Park

Average temp: high 88, low 54

If you want one of the best places to visit in the USA in September then you can’t beat Moab, Utah. Not only is this amazing place home to Arches, Canyonlands and Dead Horse State Park, but September is an ideal time to visit since the area as a whole is less crowded.

The temperatures also start to cool down at this time of year with daily highs of 88F and lows of 54F. 
You’ll also love that the area is in full bloom, with fall foliage peaking around late Septmeber in the Manti-La Sal National Forest area. 

Go for a scenic, 2-hour drive on the La Sal Mountain Loop Road before visiting Delicate Arch, Devil’s Garden trail and Fiery Furnace at Arches National Park. 

Next, make your way to Canyonlands and be sure to explore both the Needles and Island in the Sky districts. 

In particular, go for a stunning, scenic drive through Island in the Sky. After all, this section of the park is home to no less than ten mesmerizing viewpoints, including the Shafer Canyon Viewpoint, the Greenriver View Point and Buck Canyon Overlook. 

Along the way, you can also stop at the awesome Mesa Arch and do a 1 mile hike here just in time for sunrise. It’s popular though so try to get here at least 1 or 2 hours before sunrise.

Recommended by Jamie of Photo Jeepers

2. Mackinac Island, Michigan (one of my favorite places to visit in September in USA)

view of Mackinac Island in September with boats and houses along bay with trees and church steeple
Perhaps the perfect fall getaway: Mackinac Island, MI

Average temp: high 66, low 50

One of the most darling spots you’ll ever visit is Mackinac Island in Michigan. Located on the Great Lakes at the edge of Lake Huron, just before it meets with Lake Michigan, this destination is fabulous for fall.

September is a great time to visit Mackinac Island. Considering it’s northern location, this island is extremely popular in summer. The droves of tourists are dissipating by September, leaving you with the island to explore in a much more relaxing pace.

Go shopping on the quaint Main Street. Enjoy a day at one of the many spas on Mackinac Island. Take a carriage tour or explore the island by foot or bike to see the sights. Enjoy a sunset cruise tour, with beautiful views of the Mackinaw City shore.

Have an adventure on the water and kayak to see awesome views of the shore while getting a bit of exercise. You’ll want to make sure to see Arch Rock, which towers 50 feet above the water and is one of the top attractions for visitors to the island. It can also be seen by land, while walking really close to it.

There are just a few hotels and vacation rentals on the island, but be sure to book early as space is limited.

It’s easy to see why Mackinac Island is one of the best places to visit in September. With so much variety, it has a bit of something for everyone!

Recommended by me – Nikki of Inspired Routes – follow on Pinterest

3. Stanley, Idaho

Best place to vacation in September alpine lake with mountains and trees in distance in Idaho
Stunning sights near Stanley, Idaho😍

Average temp: high 69, low 27

Stanley, Idaho, the gateway to the epic Sawtooth Mountains, is an awesome outdoor playground for your next September getaway. During the day, the temperature will be in the high 60s and the skies are sunny and clear, perfect for exploring Stanley’s alpine wonderland.

September is the perfect time to explore the Sawtooth Wilderness on foot by any of Stanley’s countless amazing hikes.

For example, there’s a number of trails that will lead you past any of Stanley’s 300 glacial lakes, like the Alice Lakes trail. This bucket list-worthy trail can either be hiked as a 12.5 mile day hike or a 21.3 mile backpacking trip and will take you past a crystal clear green lake, dramatically jagged mountain peaks, and sweeping views of the Ponderosa pine tree forests below. 

If you’re looking to dip your toe into white water rafting, September is a perfect time to try out Stanley’s rapids, given that the water level is at its lowest of the year. While you may not be able to take on Class IV rapids in September, you’ll still be able to get a feel for the rushing water, while taking in Stanley’s beautiful scenery. 

After all that physical activity, what could be better than relaxing those aching muscles in any of the area’s gorgeous hot springs? Some of the best ones to check out are Kirkham Hot Springs, which offers a thermal waterfall. Or try Pine Flat Hot Springs, where you can overlook the Payette River and the rafters floating down it, from your very own natural hot tub.

Stanley, Idaho is one of the best places to visit September for outdoor adventures!

Recommended by Jessica of Uprooted Traveler – follow on Instagram

4. Smoky Mountains

Average temp: high 74, low 50

If you’re looking for the best place to travel in September, then consider the Smoky Mountains. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park spans the Tennessee and North Carolina border.

September is the perfect time to visit the Smoky Mountains due to the mild weather and limited crowds. Summer vacationers have really dwindled and the leaf peeping visitors haven’t started rolling in, as October and November are the best times for fall foliage.

You’ll experience fewer crowds on the trails and roads, making your experience much more pleasant than most other times in the year.

Visit Clingman’s Dome, which provides 360-degree views of the Smoky Mountains. For the best waterfall hikes, be sure to hike the Laurel Falls Trail and Grotto Falls Smoky Mountains.

If you like camping, be sure to reserve your campsite early as the park spots fill up fast. Alternatively, Gatlinburg, Tennessee is a great home base for your Smoky Mountain adventures. With plenty of hotels and vacation properties to choose from, you’ll find something to fit your needs and budget!

Recommended by me – Nikki of Inspired Routes

5. Burlington, Vermont

best places to visit in September in USA view of small town with orange and red trees
Perfect for leaf peeping: Burlington in September

Average temp: high 71, low 51

Burlington, Vermont is a particularly beautiful destination and one of the best places to visit in September in USA. The foliage reaches its peak late in the month and the weather is still warm and sunny in September. 

Any visit to Burlington should first start out in Waterfront Park. The views across Lake Champlain to the Adirondack Mountains are spectacular. Stroll along the waterfront with a maple creemee, an iconic Vermont ice cream treat.

You can also take a cruise on the Spirit of Ethan Allen on the lake. Narration on the boat ride will give you interesting information about the natural and cultural history of the area. The scenery is superb as you’ll see the mountains around Lake Champlain in fall colors.

Rent a bike and explore the Burlington Bike Path. You’ll cruise past beaches and breath-taking views as you pedal north. Or enjoy one of the many hiking areas within the city limits.

For a bit less active pursuit, visit the Echo Center, a science and nature museum on the Burlington waterfront. Kids of all ages will love the interactive exhibits.

Leave time to wander along Church Street, a pedestrian mall in the heart of Burlington. Enjoy street performers, cute shops and unique dining choices. City chefs specialize in farm to table dishes. And with more breweries per capita than any state, a stop for a craft beer won’t disappoint. 

Just make sure you get back to the waterfront for one of Burlington’s amazing sunsets! Watch the reds and oranges spread across the sky for a perfect ending to the day.

Recommended by Karen of Outdoor Adventure Sampler – follow on Facebook

6. Glacier National Park, Montana

September vacations view in Glacier National Park with mountain peaks and lush greenery on sunny day
Epic views at Glacier National Park, Montana

Average temp: high 60, low 38

It’s one of the very best places to visit in September, without a doubt. Nicknamed the ‘Crown of the Continent’ for its majestic beauty, you’ll easily see why in your first visit to Glacier National Park.

September is an especially delightful time of year to visit Glacier. The massive crowds of tourists have vanished, making the countless hiking trails, alpine lakes and stunning waterfalls more enjoyable.

While in the park, you’ll want to experience the stunning Lake McDonald, home to nature’s skittles – multicolored rocks that are vividly beautiful and unique. Also plan to hike the Avalanche Lake Trail, which takes you to the most amazing lake scene.

The shining star of the park is the Going-to-the-Sun Road. It’s 50 miles of incredibly beautiful views of the jagged mountain peaks, roadside waterfalls and plenty of overlooks to soak in the sights.

Through early September you’ll need a vehicle reservation through the National Park Service. Mid to late September the road is free reign and perfect for exploring.

By mid-September the leaves are typically starting to turn for fall, providing a stunning assortment of fall colors to enjoy. They continue through mid-October when most leaves are gone and winter really starts to set in with falling snow.

Be sure to pack layers in September. The mornings and evenings are cold in the park but the sun warms up nicely during the day, especially in the higher altitudes. Good hiking shoes with traction and trekking poles will come in handy if you plan to hike this park.

Recommended by me – Nikki of Inspired Routes

7. Siesta Key, Florida (best beach and best place to travel in September)

September vacation view of yellow lifeguard stand with teal ocean in distance in Florida
Enjoy the beach in September at Siesta Key FL

Average temp: high 89, low 74

If you’re a beach lover, then head to this gem on the Florida peninsula’s west coast. It’s one of the best places to visit in September in the USA because pricing is low, crowds are reduced the weather is still great enough to enjoy the water temperature in the Gulf.

Prices are generally lower in September than in the peak season of summer, winter break or spring break. But it’s also because hurricane season can sometimes be a nuisance. It may be a little more rainy, and be sure to use travel insurance in case you have to reschedule due to an actual hurricane.

Those are obviously not the norm on a daily basis, and it shouldn’t persuade you not to book a trip to this beautiful part of the country.

With sugar-fine white sand beaches, Siesta Key Beach has been rated one of the best beaches in the US over and over again.

You’ll love all the fun things to do in Siesta Key, too. Rent bikes, go kayaking through the nearby mangroves, find some live music, go shopping or dining until your heart is content.

If you’re up for adventure, try kiteboarding or parasailing. Take a day trip to Anna Maria Island or take a dolphin tour.

Siesta Key is truly a spectacular destination and one worth visiting in September!

Recommended by me – Nikki of Inspired Routes

8. Mendocino, California

best places to travel in the US in September Mendocino CA teal colored lake with greenery surrounding and houses in distance
Northern California town of Mendocino

Average temp: high 66, low 49

If you’re looking for the best place to visit in September, then consider Mendocino, California.

The September weather in Mendocino is pretty comparable to its “warm” summer months. This is northern, coastal California, so it’s cool year-round.

With temperatures ranging from the mid 50s to highs in the 60s, you can still kayak, canoe and hike in September and rainfall is typically minimal (averages 1 day/month) compared to the rest of fall and winter.

The advantage to September over the summer is that you’ll find less tourists, and get a better deal on a place to stay. Lodging in Mendocino is geared more towards charming inns and bed and breakfasts rather than big hotels. 

Downtown Mendocino is filled with quaint boutiques, galleries and restaurants housed in historic Victorian buildings. You can easily walk this pretty little village in a few hours, but you’ll want at least a couple of days to soak in the beauty of the Mendocino Coast. 

Across from the town itself are the trails of the Headlands State Park. Meander along the cliffs and discover crystal clear coves in every shade of blue.

Nearby is Van Damme State Park with an accessible beach on one side of Highway 1 and trails through the Pygmy Forest on the other. This area is teaming with trails and forests, so, if that’s your thing, you could easily spend a week in Mendocino.

Recommended by Denise of Chef Denise – follow on Pinterest

Best place to visit in September

Can you believe these destinations? With so many incredible places to see in the US in the fall, it’s going to be difficult to decide.

Let’s keep going!

9. Mt Rainier National Park, Washington

Average temp: high 58, low 39

If you’re looking for the best destination September, look no further than Mount Rainier National Park in Washington. The incredible Mount Rainier is one of the most prominent features in Washington and the Pacific Northwest, and for good reason.

You can see it from Seattle on a clear day, and it’s even more gorgeous up close! There are so many incredible things to do in Mt Rainier. Drive the scenic south side of the park from the Nisqually Enrance to the Stevens Canyon Entrance with roadside waterfalls and scenic overlooks.

Visit Paradise Mt Rainier, where you’ll be as close to the mountain as possible and get stunning views! There are a variety of hiking trails to explore in Paradise, including the Myrtle Falls, Bench and Snow Lake, Narada Falls and Skyline Loop Trail.

September is a great time to visit Mt Rainier because the fall colors are just starting to peek out. Mid September to Mid October the mountain really shines with yellows, reds and oranges.

You’ll also experience far less crowds than in the summertime, which is a bonus!

Be sure to pack layers for a September visit. Good hiking shoes, trekking poles and a hiking backpack will make your time on the trails much more comfortable and enjoyable, too.

Recommended by me – Nikki of Inspired Routes

10. Puerto Rico (another favorite on this list of best places to visit in September in the USA)

Average temp: high 86, low 75

Puerto Rico has to be on this list of best vacations in September! It’s an adventure destination perfect for excellent beaches, history and plenty of nature activities.

September is one of the best times of year to visit Puerto Rico because it’s the shoulder season. Summertime crowds are gone and holiday travelers haven’t yet arrived, so the pricing is lower. You won’t have to wait as long in lines at restaurants or on tours, either.

Spend a day or two exploring all the incredible things to do in Old San Juan. Go hiking or chasing waterfalls in El Yunque, the USA’s only national rainforest.

If you have a few extra days, be sure to hop over to Culebra Puerto Rico, a tiny island off the eastern coast. It’s home to one of the best beaches in the world, the stunning Flamenco Beach.

Be sure to pack your water shoes, snorkel gear and flip flops for this vacation to Puerto Rico. You’ll love the variety this island has to offer!

Recommended by me – Nikki of Inspired Routes

11. Telluride, Colorado

town nestled in mountain valley brightly colored greenery and white mountain caps
Telluride, CO – what a scenic backdrop!

Average temp: high 68, low 34

One of the best September vacations in the USA is Telluride, Colorado. Specifically, the late part of September is when the peak fall foliage is out on full display and it’s stunning!

Downtown Telluride is darling and is the quintessential mountain town. With plenty of shops and restaurants, you’ll love walking around here.

If you’re looking more scenic views, be sure to hike Bridal Veil Falls and Power House trail, one of the most popular in the area. Or drive the incredible San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway (including Million Dollar Highway), which is a day trip from Telluride and one of the best scenic drives in Colorado.

Back in Telluride, you can also take a Gondola ride from Ridge Trail to Mountain Villa for more stunning fall scenery. Or hit up a local brewery, one of the best things about Colorado!

Recommended by me – Nikki of Inspired Routes

12. White Mountains of New Hampshire

Places to visit in September in USA view of New Hampshire mountains with lake and road
Views at Artist’s Bluff, NH

Average temp: high 57, low 46

If you love adventure, the outdoors, and waterfalls, you’ll love the White Mountains of New Hampshire! This region in northern New Hampshire is home to spectacular natural scenery and picture-perfect small towns.

North Conway is one of the most popular towns to use as a base. Here you can take the old-fashioned Conway Scenic Railroad through the mountains, visit Diana’s Baths, a collection of waterfall-strewn pools in the woods, or even drive to the top of Mount Washington, the Northeast’s highest peak!

From North Conway, you can drive the Kancamagus Highway, a beautiful American scenic byway packed with natural attractions, and arrive close to Franconia Notch State Park.

This part of the White Mountains is home to the Flume Gorge, a spectacular natural wonder and one of the prettiest easy hikes around, and Lost River Gorge, filled with caves you can squeeze into along the way.

If you like visiting breweries and distilleries, you’re in luck! This region does stupendously on both counts.

Schilling Beer Company in Littleton serves up small batch European-style beers, a nice contrast to typical New England brewing, and Cathedral Ledge Distillery is the Granite State’s lone organic distillery that makes a fabulous maple liqueur.

The White Mountains are fabulous to visit year-round, but September is a special sweet spot. The White Mountains of New Hampshire make for one of the greatest September vacations in the US!

In September, the foliage is just beginning to turn, but the bright shades that draw leaf peepers don’t arrive until early October. Temperatures still feel like summer during the day, with cool crisp sweater weather after the sun goes down.

September days bring lots of clear blue skies. Kids are back in school, so it’s far less crowded. It might just be the best month to visit of all. 

Recommended by Kate of New Hampshire Way

13. Alaska road trip (best place to vacation in September)

mountain scene in Alaska with purple flowers lake and mountains in distance
Stunning sights in Alaska 😍

Average temp: high 45, low 33

If you’re looking for the best place to vacation in September, consider Alaska! Home to 5 national parks and even more preserves, this state has unparelled beauty within the USA.

Of course, weather is a big factor when considering a vacation in Alaska! The earlier in the month you’ll get more pleasant temperatures for travel and touring.

September is the shoulder season and many businesses are starting to shut down. There aren’t as many tour companies or restaurants operating in September in Alaska. So have a plan B when road tripping in Alaska!

Road tripping through Alaska can be done in a week, but you’ll see more if you can stay 10 to 14 days. There’s a lot of space between destinations, and the map can be deceiving!

Fly into Anchorage for this epic road trip. From there, you’ll want to see Denali National Park. Home to bear, moose, caribou and so many more amazing animals!

Alternatively, you could head south to see glaciers in Seward, Alaska at Kenai Fjords National Park. Feed reindeer at Eklutna Lake, see ice breaking off the Columbia Glacier or travel the Alaska Marine Highway to the Kenai Peninsula.

An Alaska road trip is an incredible adventure, and one to consider for a September vacation.

Recommended by me – Nikki of Inspired Routes

14. Gulf Shores, Alabama

Average temp: high 87, low 67

The Gulf Coast of Alabama is home to 32 miles of white sand beaches, and a perfect spot for a fall getaway!

Gulf Shores is one of the best places to visit in September in USA because the summer crowds are back home and prices are lower than most of the rest of the year.

There’s plenty of things to do in Gulf Shores with kids (or those young at heart), like riding go-karts, mini golf, trampoline park and taking a Ferris wheel ride at The Wharf at Orange Beach.

It’s a premier destination for couples and friends trips, too. Go hiking or biking at Gulf State Park, hunt for sand crabs at night or have a legendary milkshake at The Yard.

Gulf Shores, Alabama is a fantastic fall getaway and one you’ll fall in love with!

Recommended by me – Nikki of Inspired Routes

15. Mammoth Lakes, California (such a scenic spot on this list of best places to visit in September in USA)

Best places to visit in September in USA mountain scene with rocks lake trees and cloudy sky
Perfect fall destination: Mammoth Lakes, CA

Average temp: high 77, low 39

Mammoth Lakes, a charming mountain town located in the Eastern Sierra Nevadas, makes for a wonderful destination in September. The crowds that have been bustling all summer in Mammoth Lakes begin to trickle out in September just as the aspens, cottonwoods and willows start to change into their vibrant fall colors in this sub-alpine setting.

Hike through the gorgeous fall foliage on one of the awesome trails in Mammoth Lakes, such as the trail to Sherman Lakes which winds through a forest of fall colors. The hike to Heart Lake is another good option featuring the fall foliage in Mammoth Lakes Basin.

Driving along Mammoth Lakes Scenic Drive also showcases the spectacular hues of autumn and offers lots of fantastic leaf-peeping opportunities. Be sure to catch a sunset from the viewpoint at Minaret Vista, where you can watch the sky light up in crimson hues that match the changing leaves against a backdrop of the Minaret mountain peaks.

The weather in Mammoth Lakes in September is still warm enough that it’s a good time to visit nearby Mono Lake. This saltwater lake features unique tufa rock formations to marvel at, and you can even take a dip in the water that’s denser than the ocean to keep you afloat.

You definitely don’t want to miss a visit to Mammoth Lakes, one of the best destinations in September!

Recommended by Allison of She Dreams of Alpine – follow on Instagram

16. Asheville, North Carolina

Best places to visit in September in USA view of mountains with green trees purple haze at orange sunset
Sunset along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville😍

Average temp: high 75, low 58

One of the greatest September vacations in the US is visiting Asheville. This gem in North Carolina has so much to offer visitors! The fall festivities are starting but the foliage isn’t at peak yet, so you’ll experience fewer crowds, mild temperatures and a lot to see and do!

Take a road trip down the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway. With gorgeous overlooks, waterfall hikes and tunnels, it can’t be beat.

Another must-see is the Biltmore Estate. It’s 8000 acres shows off it’s impressive gardens, horse stable, not to mention it’s 175,000 square foot residence!

Asheville in the fall has a plethora of fall festivals to enjoy. Apple picking, wineries and craft brewery events are popular in September. If you want to stretch your legs, go hiking in DuPont State Forest where you’ll find the famous Bridal Veil Falls.

Whether you’re looking for a family vacation, couples getaway or solo trip in September, be sure to add Asheville to your short list!

Recommended by me – Nikki of Inspired Routes

More of the best places to visit September

Okay, we’re half way done with this epic list! One of my favorite spots is up next…I’ve been there in September twice it’s so nice! 😉

17. Maui, Hawaii

Average temp: high 77, low 60

Maui is on the top of many traveler’s vacation list. But Maui is also one of the best places to visit in September in the USA.

Similar to other locations on this list, September is the shoulder season in Maui. You won’t experience long wait lines in restaurants, on tours or in the airport like you will during summer or winter break.

Whether you are a fan of beaches, hiking or epic road trips, Maui has an incredible variety of things to do, you won’t get bored! For sunshine and gentle waves, visit the famous Kaanapali Beach in west Maui. Hike the incredible Waihee Ridge Trail for epic views of the West Maui Mountains.

Go boogie boarding at DT Fleming Beach on the north shore, or watch the sunset on Haleakala for a spectacular show unlike anything you’ve ever seen! Visit a lavender farm or see the largest tree in the USA – the Lahaina Banyan Tree.

If you love scenic drives, be sure to spend a day or 2 exploring the Road to Hana. And if you’re up for more thrills, try the adrenaline-inducing Kahekili Highway.

No matter how you spend it, a Maui vacation is a destination that’s sure to please!

Recommended by me – Nikki of Inspired Routes

18. Chicago, Illinois

best places to travel in the US in September aerial view of Chicago skyline with river roads and skyscrapers
One of the best cities to visit in the fall: Chicago!

Average temp: high 74, low 62

Chicago is definitely a must on this list for the best place to travel in September. The summertime heat is gone and the windy city’s winter misery hasn’t yet set in. Fall in Chicago is perfect!

Take a stroll down the Navy Pier, enjoying carnival rides and views of Lake Michigan. Or stand high at 103 floors up on a glass ledge looking over the city at the Willis Tower Skydeck.

Chicago is an art lover’s dream destination. Visit the Art Institute of Chicago, National Museum of Mexican Art or the DuSable Museum of African American History. Catch a show at the Mount Dance Theatre of Chicago, Chicago Shakespeare Theater or the Chicago Magic Lounge.

Get outdoors in September and walk Millennium Park and see the Bean. Visit Maggie Daley Park or the Chicago Riverwalk.

Chicago is full of endless shops and restaurants, too. Be sure to try a Chicago-style deep dish pizza before you leave the city! As someone who’s been to Chicago many times, this city never gets old!

Recommended by me – Nikki of Inspired Routes

19. Big Sur, California (another favorite on this list of best places to visit in September USA)

california coast view of teal ocean rocks waterfall in distance
McWay Falls, Big Sur, California😍

Average temp: high 77, low 50

One of the most underrated spots in the country is Big Sur, California. It’s on this list of excellent places to visit in September in USA because of it’s moderate weather and reduction in visitors. Lower pricing accompanies the end of the peak season, so that’s a bonus!

Big Sur is one of the main stops on a San Francisco to San Diego road trip. Located just south of Monterey, California on US Highway 101. It’s an incredibly scenic spot where the mountain cliffs dive straight into the sea, creating a dramatic coastline.

There are so many things to do in Big Sur, you could spend a day driving through it or a week exploring each of the state parks and small towns in the area.

The iconic Bixby Creek Bridge is one of the most popular spots along the drive, and one that must be seen! You’ll love the hikes in Big Sur, including the trail to McWay Falls in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and visiting the purple sand on Pfeiffer Beach.

Don’t miss Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, where the hiking trails are endless and emerald green water meets the most naturally beautiful beaches! Take the 17 Mile Drive along the coast and do some window shopping in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

September is such a wonderful time to explore the area. You may see some marine fog in the mornings while in Big Sur, but it typically burns off by noon!

Recommended by me – Nikki of Inspired Routes

20. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

blue orange giant hot spring with green trees beyond
Unbelievable views at Yellowstone National Park

Average temp: high 61, low 26

Yellowstone; the first National Park and one of the best and most visited.

While you can visit the park all year round, there are definitely difficulties visiting in certain seasons. For those in the know, the best time to visit Yellowstone is September.

Early September is one of the best times to visit for weather and crowds. With most kids having returned to school, the sweet spot for visiting the two weeks after labor day. However, late September is one of the busiest times in the park.

Although, for good reason, as mid-late September is the elk rut (mating Season) and photographers and visitors descend on the park to witness the fighting between elk bulls. The end of September is also peak for those visiting for beautiful fall colors.  

Yellowstone in September is perfect weather-wise with still late days and all of the park accessible. Mornings in the park can be chilly this time of year, however, it turns the park into an ethereal wonderland as steam from the hot springs clouds features in a fog-like atmosphere. 

For the clearest photos of park landmarks such as grand prismatic pond, going late in the afternoon gives you the least steamy look at the features. 

Staying and camping in the park is possible and September you’ll have a better shot at reservations. It’s still recommended to book early as lodging, especially some of the best in-park hotels do still book up. The closest outside hotels are in Gardiner Montana outside the north entrance and there is free camping possible in national forests outside the park’s boundary. 

Don’t miss this spectacular destination. Yellowstone National Park is one of the best places to visit in September in the USA!

Recommended by Anwar of Beyond My Door – follow on Instagram

21. Mustang Island, Texas (one of the most unique and best places to visit in September in USA)

layers of ocean waves hitting the beach with small pier from above
Pier at Port Aransas on Mustang Island, Texas

Average temp: high 87, low 75

One of the warmest destinations on this list of best places to visit September, coastal Texas might also be one of the most fun!

Mustang Island is located just minutes away from Corpus Christi, Texas. Famous for its drivable beaches, the Texas coast is vast and full of things to do.

Get a hotel or vacation rental in Corpus Christi or Port Aransas for your stay. Be sure to visit the Horace Caldwell Pier in Port Aransas. It’s a great spot to get unique views of the coast and watch the surfers as they catch waves to the beach.

Further down the coast is South Padre Island National Seashore. Not to be confused with the lively city, this national preserved land is beautiful as it is – natural! It’s a great spot for a beach day, or to adventure onto the water in kayaks or stand-up paddle boards.

In Corpus Christi, visit the Seawall, which was completed in 1941 as a way to preserve the city. Today, it is a great spot for views of the marina, restaurants and seeing the Selena statue.

Like many other spots on this list, September is the shoulder season for tourism, so the prices are lower than typical, making Mustang Island a perfect weekend getaway in the fall!

Recommended by me – Nikki of Inspired Routes

22. New Orleans, Louisiana

Best places to visit in September in USA city with blurred lights at night
City views at night in NOLA

Average temp: high 88, low 72

New Orleans has got to be one of the best vacations in September! The city is still very much alive from summer and it’s still hot like it, too.

Parades, outdoor concerts and other live events make September the perfect time to visit New Orleans. And if you love football, it’s the official kick-off of the Saints season.

New Orleans is such a unique destination, offering visitors a wide variety of activities. Dive into the food scene in NOLA! From Jambalaya to Gumbo, Craw Fish to Po-Boys, the food here is some of the best in the south!

You won’t want to miss the ghost tours or swamp tours. Oh, and don’t forget to walk and dine the French Quarter where you’ll get the quintessential New Orleans experience!

Recommended by me – Nikki of Inspired Routes

23. San Diego, California (one of the best ideas for September vacations yet)

rocky cliffs of San Diego in the fall with palm trees ocean and houses
Coastal views in San Diego, CA

Average temp: high 77, low 66

San Diego in September is an ideal time to visit. The kids have headed back to school so the summer vacation crowds have started to die out, yet the weather is still perfect. 

September weather in San Diego averages a balmy high of 77 degrees and the chance of any rain is very slim (one of the dryest months of the year). What more could you ask for in a travel destination? 

You’ll get to enjoy the nice weather and fall activities that are beginning! Pumpkin patches and fall markets will start to pop up all around San Diego in September but there are also many other types of activities that can be done too!

If you’re a nature lover you’ll be in heaven! There are endless places to go hiking for all different skill sets, an abundance of water sports in San Diego to try like surfing or kayaking, and many different lakes that are great for fishing, camping or picnics.

If you’re seeking adventure ride a hot air balloon on a crisp evening for sunset, or go on one of the amazing road trips from San Diego that can easily be done in a just few hours. Those of you who enjoy city life can try out different restaurants and cute coffee shops, go shopping, or book a hotel day pass at an aesthetic boutique hotel and hang out at the pool!

As you can see the best place to travel in September is San Diego for just about anyone! 

Recommended by Chelsey of Chelsey Explore – follow on Instagram

24. Badlands National Park, South Dakota

September vacations view of badlands with multi colored rocky spires and horizon in distance
Unreal views in Badlands NP, South Dakota

Average temp: high 77, low 46

Badlands National Park is one of those places that gets some moody weather. During summertime it’s consistently over 100 degrees, and in the winter it’s often impassible due to snow, ice or extreme wind.

So to say September is the best time to visit Badlands National Park might just be an understatement! With pleasant weather and very little rain, you’ll feel like you’ve just won the jackpot with a visit here in the fall.

Badlands National Park is one of the most underrated in the entire park system. The unique landscape seems like you’ve stepped onto another planet!

One of the best things to do in Badlands National Park, and a great way to see the sights is to drive The Loop, which is Highway 240 south from I-90. See Panorama Point and Pinnacles Overlook. Hike The Notch Trail, one of the most popular trails in the park with 360-degree views of the incredibly unique land formations.

You can see Badlands National Park in a day, so for the rest of your vacation I’d recommend a stop at Mount Rushmore. For more nature, drive the Needles Highway and camp or hike in Custer State Park.

Recommended by me – Nikki of Inspired Routes

Best destination September

Rounding out the last portion of this list of the best places to visit in September in USA. There are a few here you maybe haven’t considered for a fall getaway. More surprises in store – below!

25. Las Vegas, Nevada (one of the most unique recommendations for best places to visit in September in USA)

Average temp: high 96, low 57

It’s probably not on the top of every list because of the heat, but it’s certainly worthy of the list! The best destination September is Las Vegas, Nevada.

The trick to enjoying Las Vegas in the heat is to get outside early and in the evenings, and avoid the hottest part of the day, 12-4pm. So with that said, there’s tons to do in Vegas that’s not gambling or casinos!

See a great show! Comedy, dancing or concerts, there’s something for everyone in Vegas. Oh, and the restaurant scene is absolutely incredible!

Or my favorite, visit one of the amazing natural landmarks or conservation areas nearby. With a variety of day trips from Las Vegas, visit Zion National Park, Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam, Valley of Fire State Park, or do the Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive.

Vegas in September is certainly cooler than the summer, and the perfect weather for hotels with swimming pools.

Recommended by me – Nikki of Inspired Routes

26. Nederland, Colorado

mountain scene with multicolored trees
Nederland in the fall

Average temp: high 65, low 34

Nederland Colorado is one of the best places to visit in September in USA for wanderlusters who thrive exploring unique places. Its proximity to both Denver and Boulder also draws nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts to Nederland from spring through fall.   

The small mountain town of Nederland is only 32 miles from Denver but feels miles away. The town is a bit quirky and has adopted the motto “Keep Ned Weird.” It has a hippy-like, artistic community vibe nestled into the beautiful Rocky Mountains. The quirk is endearing and worthy of the town’s protection efforts.

September is an ideal time in Colorado for mild days and cool nights. Nederland is great for hiking, biking and exploring nature. Plus, in mid to late September, Nederland visitors enjoy photographing the iconic aspen leaves as they turn a beautiful golden. 

Nederland’s East and West Magnolia mountain biking trail system contains multiple loops which can be combined for over 44 miles of epic single-track.   

Hiking to Lost Lake on the Hessie trail is a popular activity in Nederland. The 4-mile out and back moderately rated trail is heavily trafficked in summer. However, the crystal clear waters of Lost Lake are worth joining the crowds. Weekends attract large enough crowds to warrant a free shuttle service from the local high school.

Nederland visitors love the history of the Carousel of Happiness almost as much as listening to the Wurlitzer band organ’s rendition of popular songs while riding the one-of-a-kind carousel animals.

During the Vietnam war, an American soldier found comfort in a small music box in a faraway land. He vowed to build a carousel in the mountains if he made it through the war. 

Scott Harrison survived Vietnam and kept his promise. It took him 2 decades to procure a rare 1910 Louff carousel and hand carve each animal before opening it to the public in Nederland!

Recommended by Kara of Trying to Unwind – follow on Instagram

27. Savannah, Georgia

best place to vacation in September fountain and trees with fence and benches in Savannah
Must-visit in the fall: Savannah, GA

Average temp: high 86, low 70

Savannah certainly makes the list for the best place to vacation in September. It’s a charming city year-round, but September is particularly delightful. With off-season prices, you’ll be able to take advantage of all that there is to do in Savannah without the higher price tag.

Wander, shop and dine through Broughton Street and visit the iconic Forsyth Park. Discover history at Old Fort Jackson or Savannah’s First African Baptist Church. Learn the spooky side of the city’s history with a haunted ghost tour.

Don’t miss the many events and festivals in Savannah in September. The highlight is the Savannah Jazz Festival. Music lovers will enjoy this week-long festival of free music throughout the city.

With warm temperatures in September, it’s still perfect for swimming. Hit the beach at Tybee Island Beach!

Recommended by me – Nikki of Inspired Routes

28. Sarasota, Florida

building in Sarasota with palm trees
Ca’ d’Zan (House of John) in Sarasota, FL

Average temp: high 89, low 74

One of the best places to visit in September USA for art and history is Sarasota, Florida.

Sarasota is known as the “Circus Capital of the World” thanks to circus magnate John Ringling’s building his opulent mansion on 20 acres of waterfront property in the 1920s.

Known as Ca’ d’Zan (House of John), this Venetian Gothic palace sits next to Sarasota Bay. The owners threw gala parties with guests ferried in gondolas. In 1936, Ringling bequeathed the mansion to the State of Florida.

Plan to spend at least 4 hours visiting the Ringling campus, which includes the Museum of Art as well as the circus museum, mansion, and outdoor garden.

Art lovers will also enjoy the Sarasota Art Museum. This contemporary art museum offers “art for all, every day.” Tickets are free on the second Sunday of the month. Community activities include fiber art projects, musical interludes and children’s storytelling.

Sarasota also is home to outdoor bicycle art sculptures located on the waterfront and around town. Visitors to Sarasota will find their calendar packed with opportunities to see plays. Check out the Florida Studio Theatre for plays and dates.

Recommended by Terri at Female Solo Trek – follow on Pinterest

29. Mount Hood, Oregon (an absolute gem and one of the best vacations in September)

fall vacation destinations USA mt hood Oregon with pink and orange sunset reflecting on lake white mountain peak
Sunset views of Mount Hood at Trillium Lake😍

Average temp: high 67, low 47

A Pacific Northwest gem, Mount Hood, Oregon is by far one of the best places to visit in September in USA!

It’s classic landscape is the perfect backdrop for renting a canoe at Trillium Lake or Lost Lake, hiking at Tom, Dick and Harry Mountain or check out the falls at Zigzag Falls.

Of course, you can’t miss the Mt Hood Scenic Loop. The 105 miles takes you through forests, winding mountain roads and alongside the Columbia River. Plan a day for this scenic route so you have plenty of time for overlooks and photos, and even a picnic lunch.

You’ll want at least a long weekend to enjoy the Mt Hood region. Although if you’re an avid hiker, perhaps a week would be more adequate to enjoy the hikes in the area!

Recommended by me – Nikki of Inspired Routes

30. Coastal Maine

September vacations USA view of coastal Maine with ship in harbor rocky shore trees in distance
One of the best places to vacation in September: Coastal Maine

Average temp: high 69, low 52

Like so many other tourist destinations, September is a great time to visit Maine (aka “Vacationland”) due to the summer crowds having died down.

Maine in September is usually sunny, yet cool especially in breezy coastal towns. It’s a great time to take a drive up the coast and hit all the great spots from Kennebunkport all the way to Bar Harbor. 

While Maine may be famous for its delicious and plentiful lobster, other seafood is delicious there too. Specifically, September brings the Pemaquid Oyster Festival to Damariscotta – a beautiful quaint town in midcoast Maine.

If you can’t be in town for the festival itself, try stopping by Glidden Point Oysters in Edgecomb. You can take a tour, learn to shuck your own oysters, and grab a beer.

And since foodie tradition states that you should only eat raw oysters in months that contain the letter “r’, September is the perfect time to visit. Though be assured that oysters are delicious any time of year. 

After you’ve satisfied your appetite, explore the outdoors! Maine is home to many beautiful hikes.

The reduced crowds in September mean less foot traffic on paths and better photo opportunities. Try Wolfe’s Neck State Park in Freeport or Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor for some of the most scenic spots.

When you’re ready to rest your head, there are a handful of really amazing places to stay in Maine. Whether you’re looking for something urban or something that will allow you to feel one with nature, Maine has it all.

In Kennebunkport, check out Hidden Pond Resort for a serene environment. Usually quite the splurge, September is when summer prices begin to come down and a deal can be found. If you find yourself in Portland for the night, Blind Tiger Guest House is brilliantly decorated and right near the heart of all the hustle and bustle. 

You’ll love visiting Coastal Maine, one of the best places to visit in September USA!

Recommended by Lauren of Outdoorsy-ish – follow on Instagram

31. Sandusky, Ohio (underrated spot on this list of best places to visit in September in USA)

Average temp: high 74, low 57

Sandusky, Ohio may not come to mind when you consider the best place to visit in September. But it definitely is worthy of a spot on this list!

Sandusky is home to the Cedar Point Amusement Park, which is the 2nd oldest operating park in the country. It’s for the adrenaline lovers only, as the rides in this park are comparable to no other place. Simply thrilling!

If you prefer a water activity on Lake Erie, you’ll want to make sure to visit over the weekend. Since it’s the end of high season, many tour companies are operating on weekends only by September.

Anyway, try kayaking, parasailing or stand-up paddle boarding right on Lake Erie.

For more things to do in Sandusky, hang out in downtown Sandusky at Washington Park, soaking in the green space. Or visit the Merry-Go-Round Museum, a family-friendly destination in Sandusky. Check out the Jackson Street Pier and get fun views of the marina.

Be sure to visit one of the many wineries in the region – a delicious way to taste your way around Sandusky and Lake Erie!

September is a great time to visit Sandusky because the summertime crowds are gone and winter temperatures haven’t set in. Oh, and it’s a relatively affordable destination anyway, but prices dip even further in September. 😊

Recommended by me – Nikki of Inspired Routes

32. Big Island, Hawaii

view of big island Hawaii best places to visit in September in USA teal water with rocks palm trees in distance
Big Island views – does it get better than this?!😍

Average temp: high 87, low 73

The Big Island of Hawaii, also known as Hawaii Island, is a year-round destination to visit and enjoy nature at its best.

September is a fantastic time to visit the Big Island because it’s the shoulder season and most summer vacationers have gone back home. You’ll experience the island with far less crowds!

If you love to the outdoors, you’ll love hiking around the Big Island. There are so many amazing hiking trails within the state and national parks to visit on the Big Island.

With fabulous weather, mostly sunny days and average temperature in the mid 70s to mid 80s, it’s a perfect time to be outdoors! Plan a road trip or visit any of the major attractions around the island.

You can easily base yourself in Kona (west side) or Hilo (east side) and do day trips to visit the many places of interests, monuments parks and of course the gorgeous beaches here.

The eastern side of the island is more lush with botanical gardens, waterfalls and the national park to visit. While the west side has the gorgeous white sand beaches, cool towns, resort areas and Kona town to also explore.

In any case, the Big Island is one of the best places to visit September as you will enjoy visiting the entire island without all the massive crowds.

Recommended by Noel of This Hawaii Life

Best places to visit in September in USA

mountain with some snow red colorful field in front
One more fall scene – Mt Rainier, #9 above

Whew! What a list! There are so many incredible places for a fall getaway in the US – how will you ever choose?!

Whether you’re planning a couples’ getaway, family vacation, solo reprieve or friends’ trip, there are so many ideas here!

Let’s go through that list again, in a quick manner…

Best place to travel in September

  1. Moab, Utah
  2. Mackinac Island, Michigan
  3. Stanley, Idaho
  4. Smoky Mountains
  5. Burlington, Vermont
  6. Glacier National Park, Montana
  7. Siesta Key, Florida
  8. Mendocino, California
  9. Mt Rainier National Park, Washington
  10. Puerto Rico
  11. Telluride, Colorado
  12. White Mountains of New Hampshire
  13. Alaska Road Trip
  14. Gulf Shores, Alabama
  15. Mammoth Lakes, California
  16. Asheville, North Carolina
  17. Maui, Hawaii
  18. Chicago, Illinois
  19. Big Sur, California
  20. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
  21. Mustang Island, Texas
  22. New Orleans, Louisiana
  23. San Diego, California
  24. Badlands National Park, South Dakota
  25. Las Vegas, Nevada
  26. Nederland, Colorado
  27. Savannah, Georgia
  28. Sarasota, Florida
  29. Mount Hood, Oregon
  30. Coastal Maine
  31. Sandusky, Ohio
  32. Big Island, Hawaii

Related content to read next:
32 Awe-inspiring Adventurous Bucket List Ideas You Gotta See to Believe

Find this post helpful? Save it for later or share it on social media!

32 perfect September getaways pictures of sunset mountain scene beach with lifeguard stand, fall town scene

anukrati dosi

Sunday 26th of June 2022

Idaho indeed looks stunning. Loved it.

simplyjolayne

Saturday 25th of June 2022

The pictures alone are bucket list inspiring. I love the Fall colors around the world, so that is what I would be hoping to see the beginnings of in September.