By: Sarah Stone
There’s something about a couple’s road trip that leads to deeper bonding. It might be the long hours spent in the car together, or the spirit of adventure—and fall is the idyllic time to plan an adventure on the open road. The weather is just the right temperature, the leaves are changing, and there are so many wonderful festivals nationwide.
From the scenic Northeast to the sunny Southwest, here are our top picks for couples road trips to truly enjoy the season:
Take a drive down Route 6 to begin—maybe start at a state park, like Colton Point State Park, Ohiopyle State Park, or Leonard Harrison State Park, all of which have excellent lookout spots. The Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, also known as the Pine Creek Gorge, will provide a breathtaking location for photo opportunities too. The area can be visited in a weekend or made into a week-long trip, hitting up all the fall foliage spots and taking in small-town flavor.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
The temperatures don’t have to be cold to enjoy the fall season. An annual tradition, the state of New Mexico celebrates the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival every October. See the sky filled with the most colorful balloons in this nine-day-long event! Couples can come for a quick visit or stay and enjoy all the festival has to offer.
Sharing locally-produced wine with a plethora of beautiful rolling hills covered in colorful leaves is the ultimate couple’s travel destination. Several wineries are located by the Blue Ridge Mountains, with wonderful tasting rooms to try out. A weekend road trip to Virginia is the ideal location to view the foliage, sample wine, and relax.
If wine isn’t tempting, then the traditional Leavenworth Oktoberfest full of flavorful beer varieties might do the trick! Each October, the city becomes a festival. Live entertainment, dancing, steins of beer, and plenty of authentic German food are available every weekend.
Woodstock is a cozy, romantic destination for couples. The area is home to stunning views with opportunities for leaf peeping at Mt. Tom. Local spas add to the appeal by offering couples the opportunity for relaxation and pampering. The historic Billings Farm & Museum, an antique mall, and a local distillery are additional entertainment options.
Park City, Utah
Winter sports begin early in Park City. A fall road trip can include skiing and snowboarding, with the slopes opening in November. Cozy up by a fireplace, stroll hand-in-hand down Main Street, or get back outdoors to ride horses, hike, or go mountain biking at the local state parks.
Panama City, Florida
The southern states celebrate fall with festivals, too! The Emerald Coast Cruzin’ event is a chance to see unique hot rods and antique cars, hear live music, and try the local food. Long, romantic walks on the beach are another major appeal for couples. Wineries, marine animal attractions, and the famous Panama City Skywheel finish the options for a great fall weekend road trip adventure.
(Interested in a different kind of Florida road trip? Check out our guide to road tripping Key West!)
The Northeast is known for its beautiful fall colors, which people flock to see each year—there is no shortage of hiking trails or scenic views here. The Harvest on the Harbor is a special annual event in Maine that’s perfect for foodie couples. The best and brightest chefs, home cooks, and vendors come out to share their flavorful food and drinks. The dining, music, foliage, and harbor are a lovely combination for a weekend trip that leaves couples satisfied.
There’s more to Nashville than plentiful country music and barbecue: the Natchez Trace Parkway is seated right outside of the city, right on the Great Smokey Mountains. The foliage is stunning, as are the mountaintop views. Couples can enjoy nature firsthand and venture into the city for more romantic entertainment, like riding the night trolley or enjoying drinks at the majestic Hermitage Hotel.
Rapid City, South Dakota
Take a road trip to experience a new culture together at the annual Black Hills Pow Wow. A parade, tribal dances, live music, and fine arts expo provide plenty of entertainment for couples looking for a unique fall experience. In Rapid City, there is plenty to try, like a drive-thru wildlife park, the Badlands National Park, and Black Hills Caverns.
Sometimes the journey is just as invigorating as the vacation—and that is certainly the case with a fall road trip. Couples can enjoy their favorite music, podcasts, and audiobooks together on the drive, and stop at interesting landmarks along the way. The bonding and rekindling of romance start in the car and carries on throughout the weekend or week-long vacation to explore the nation’s best fall destinations.
Plan, pack, and begin the next adventure for two this fall!