We tend to associate the end of summer and the arrival of fall with going back to school or getting back to work, as the vacation season is over. But that doesn’t have to be the case. The northern hemisphere contains some pretty remarkable fall destinations, perfect for weekend adventures or even weeklong getaways.

Sure, you might have to bundle up a bit more to stave off the cooler air, but with cheaper airfares, gorgeous fall colors and tons of travel deals, it’s worth it. Great food, majestic rivers and mountains, and wonderful music are just some of the treats on offer. So go on and get out there—enjoy the changing of the seasons. Here are some ideas:

Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

~MVI~ (goes mirror-less!), Flickr

The Columbia River Gorge in northern Oregon and southern Washington makes for a wonderful fall destination. Green forests, the mighty Columbia River, boating, golf, forest hikes, windsurfing and plenty of other outdoor activities await you. Visit day spas, take part in wine tastings, and marvel at the beauty of Multnomah Falls, which towers 620 feet above you. There are plenty of comfy inns to choose from, as well as camping sites for the outdoorsy types. The Columbia River Gorge is great place to enjoy Mother Nature in the autumn.

Dollywood, Tennessee

Adrian Gray, Flickr

Dolly Parton’s theme park, Dollywood, located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, is great in the summer, but it really comes alive in the fall. Toward the end of September, and all through October, you can enjoy the National Gospel and Harvest Celebration. This means you’ll be treated to tons of delightful Americana, bluegrass and country music, as well as lots of tasty food, plus all of the usual attractions Dollywood serves up for its guests.

Austin, Texas

atmtx, Flickr

Austin is famed for its outstanding nightlife, cool cafes, and variety of music. It isn’t called the “Live Music Capital of the World” for nothing. If you happen to arrive in September, you’ll be just in time for the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Any true lover of good music and good times should think about planning a trip to Austin in the fall.

Pioneer Valley, Massachusetts

foroyar22, Flickr

If you visit western Massachusetts' picturesque Pioneer Valley in the fall, you can take long bike rides on winding trails, enjoy the numerous local baked goods, peruse farmers’ markets, check out galleries and museums in the town of Northampton, stop by Amherst College’s planetarium and much more. This is an extremely friendly part of the country, and makes for a lovely romantic or family getaway.

Savannah, Georgia

dle_wynpa, Flickr

Immerse yourself, and your family, in the culture of the Deep South with a short break in Savannah this fall. The heat will have abated some from the summer highs, which will let you stroll around town without buckets of sweat pouring off your skin. Autumn also means you can attend the Savannah Jazz Festival, put on by the Coastal Jazz Association. You can also take in some of Savannah’s famous bar-hopping nightlife while you're out on the town.

Aspen, Colorado

Snap Man, Flickr

If you’re a fan of the fall and love to watch the trees change colors, you can’t beat Aspen. Walks in the forested areas around town offer splendid views of beautiful trees, framed by the majestic Rocky Mountains. While there might be a greater variety of colors in some of the forests in the East, none of those woodlands can match the sheer splendor of Colorado’s wild mountains.

Emerald Coast, Florida

Aprile C, Flickr

When fall comes around, you don’t have to forsake the warm weather if you don't want to. Florida’s Emerald Coast offers more than 20 miles of gorgeous beaches, great fishing, amazing views of the Gulf of Mexico, boat trips, activities for the family, scenic day cruises and lots of tasty seafood. So if you're a fan of the sun and need a break from cloudy autumn days, you might want to think about a trip to the northern Florida's Emerald Coast.


wlappe, Flickr

What could be better than Paris in the autumn? You get to enjoy the City of Lights' wine festivals, galleries, museums, wonderful food and all the culture Paris has to offer—without the bother of the summer crowds and the higher summertime prices. The days might grow shorter as winter approaches, but that just means you’ll have more time to enjoy the Parisian nightlife.

Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia, Canada

msprague, Flickr

The Bay of Fundy boasts some amazingly beautiful fall foliage, as well as the highest tides on the planet. If you love fall walks in the forest, bird and whale watching, or simply poking around on the beach after the tides have gone out, then the Bay of Fundy is for you. This is a part of Canada where people go when they want a break from the hustle and bustle of civilization.

Moosehead Lake, Maine

Lee Coursey, Flickr

A stay in a rustic cabin by Moosehead Lake come autumn will have you sighing with delight. You can relax on a porch at an inn, or perhaps in a Jacuzzi, and gaze across this unspoiled lake, watching the colors of the leaves as they change. You’ll find plenty of lodges to choose from, surrounded by a relaxing mountain setting. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of a moose, especially if you decide to rent a canoe or take a tour and paddle around the lake.

More From 98.3 KEYW