It may be August, but it is time for you to think about searching for the perfect place to go on a fall color tour. While Michigan may be one of the best places, many Michiganders might be surprised to know that there are other great spots around the country worthy of your next colorful fall adventure – and don’t wait to plan – thinking ahead can help you snag the best rates and alleviate any travel stress. Here are my top four non-Michigan color tour destinations:
A city named after a tree has got to be good, right? Aspen trees turn a bright yellow in the fall in mid-September through early October and shimmer brighter than any diamond. You can find them in Aspen, or save some money by going to Rocky Mountain National Park. The Stanley Hotel now has an exclusive arrangement with REI and can arrange all of your backpacking and hiking adventures.
Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
Designated as a National Scenic Area, the Columbia River Gorge is the largest national scenic area in the United States and has the greatest collection of waterfalls in North America. Names like Horsetail, Ponytail and Bridal Veil surround the valley in water, and you will find breathtaking views from Rowena Crest and the loop and around Dog Mountain.
Get your passport ready for this over-the-border experience. Rates drop as much as 50 percent in the fall and there are many gorgeous destinations to seek those fall colors, such as Mount Royal Park in the middle of the city, or find a quiet evening to visit the annual Lantern event at the Botanical Garden – go during the week for the best time to catch 1,000 Chinese lanterns floating against the fall sky.
For something closer to home, don’t forget about the windy city. Chicago deals abound during the fall – pay close attention to discounts to hotels and major attractions. The Chicago Marathon takes place on October 9 in Grant Park and is a great time to see fall foliage and watch runners from more than 100 countries fulfill their dreams.
A huge part of traveling is taking the time to plan – whether that be airfare, lodging accommodations or even where you’re going to eat – if a trip is well planned, it can be the difference between a stressful vacation that leaves you more tired than before you left and a relaxing, enjoyable, memorable experience. Many of these destinations can easily be a weekend road trip, but thinking about your trip and planning, even a month or two in advance, can make or break your vacation. Get the ball rolling now so you can enjoy all that fall has to offer!