Top 6 Destinations Out West to Visit This Fall

Fall typically conjures images of New England getaways, packed with apple picking, snuggly sweaters, pumpkin-flavored treats, cozying up by the fire, and strolling among the changing leaves. But the East Coast isn't the only area that gets to have all the fun. In fact, there are plenty of destinations out West that are perfect for ringing in autumn. Here are six that put up stiff competition to the popular leaf-peeping cities in the East.

1. Whistler

Photo courtesy of Annie Kingston

Every year, tourists and locals flock to Whistler for skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and other wintertime activities. Located north of Vancouver, the town is even home to Whistler Blackcomb, one of the largest ski resorts in North America. But Whis, as it's fondly nicknamed, puts forth an impressive display of natural beauty all year round. During the fall, visitors can hike through alpine forest trails, pitch a tent alongside one of the many crystal-clear glacier lakes, take in the scenery on a stand-up paddle board, or hop on a mountain bike to explore the area. Those who prefer to kick back and relax should make their way to the village, where beautiful red, yellow, and orange maple trees steal the show. 

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2. Vancouver

Photo courtesy of Flickr/vl04

Vancouver, a coastal destination with the stunning North Shore Mountains as its backdrop, isn’t named one of the world's most livable cities for no reason. Here, the residents place a heavy emphasis on outdoor living. Come fall, savor the crisp autumn air by riding a bike along the seawall, taking long walks through Stanley or Pacific Spirit Regional Park, or cozying up with hot chocolate at any of the city’s scenic vantage points.

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3. Seattle

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Rachel Samanyi

Simply put, fall in Seattle can't be beat. The leaves start to change colors and the beloved football team, Seattle Seahawks, kick off their year. While there, hit up the farmers' market for some fresh produce as well as the Luminata lantern parade, which lights up Green Lake Park on September 21. Those who are looking for a quick day trip can head to the popular Washington State Fair 40 minutes away. Here, folks can ride roller coasters, feast on tasty barbecue, and sing along during live concerts.

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4. Portland

Photo courtesy of Flickr/radcliffe dacanay

Celebrate the season at Portland's Fresh Hops Fest, which features more than 60 different hops, live music, arts and crafts, and local wines and ciders. The event takes place in October at Oaks Amusement Park. Beyond boozing, travelers can take in the changing colors at the Hoyt Arboretum, which is home to more than 100,000 tree and shrub species, or the Portland Japanese Garden, where the Japanese maples turn a brilliantly red hue. Families can pick and bob for apples at any of the nearby orchards or attend the West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta, which takes place 13 miles away in Tualatin. Here, spectators can expect to witness costumed participants sit inside giant pumpkins and race across a lake.

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5. Whitefish

For those in search of an affordable and picturesque fall holiday destination, look no further than Whitefish in Montana. Come autumn, the landscape comes alive with Aspen and tamarack trees. If you happen to be visiting in mid-September, don't miss the Taste of Whitefish festival, which highlights the region's finest foods, beers, and wines. Explore the Farmers Market downtown, which stays open through September and doles out delicious homemade pumpkin pies. Located close to Glacier National Park, Whitefish is also the perfect launchpad for adventurers who want to escape the city and bask in the great outdoors. 

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6. Coeur d’Alene

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Sjensen~

Cruising through Idaho in October should make everyone's bucket list. With dozens of lakes, plenty of public art, and easy access to the North Idaho Centennial Trail, Coeur d'Alene offers a lot to do. The non-motorized, multi-use trail starts in Higgins Point, six miles east of Coeur d'Alene, and stretches 24 miles to the Washington border. The first few miles also hug the shores of Lake Coeur d'Alene, which is the perfect spot to stretch your legs or ride a bike.

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