30 Best Places to Visit in September in the USA

September marks the advent of autumn in many parts of the world, with the sweltering heat of summer receding to usher in milder temperatures and vibrant fall foliage.

As tourists thin out from the popular destinations, September offers a perfect balance for travel.

This article uncovers some of the best places around the globe to visit in September, where one can bask in pleasant weather, engage in exciting activities, or enjoy the tranquillity without the usual crowd.

Best Places to Visit in the USA this September

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1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to some of the most impressive peaks in North America.

September is an ideal month to visit, as the temperatures are mild and perfect for taking part in activities such as hiking, mountain biking, or birding.

The park features many wildlife, impressive views, and the iconic Clingmans Dome, one of the highest points in the Appalachian Mountains.

Experience the Smoky Mountains like never before by joining a guided jeep tour! Explore the breathtaking woodlands and stunning water features along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity!

2. Bar Harbor, Maine

Bar Harbor, Maine is a beautiful coastal town full of spectacular sights and activities.

Take part in some kayaking or biking along the islands of Frenchman Bay, explore Acadia National Park’s diverse landscape, or relax on the beach and take in the incredible views.

3. Moab, Utah

Moab, Utah is a stunning region of red-rock canyons, towering spires, and rolling hills.

Moab serves as the gateway to the famous Arches National Park, home to over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, including the world-renowned Delicate Arch.

Besides its geological wonders, the park offers a unique glimpse into the area’s past with various petroglyphs and pictographs hinting at the civilizations that once thrived here.

In addition to Arches National Park, Moab offers easy access to Canyonlands National Park. This vast park is known for its dramatic desert landscape carved by the Colorado River over millions of years.

Have you heard of the Hell’s Revenge UTV tour? It’s pretty cool! You get to drive your own Kawasaki Teryx 4 and navigate through some seriously tough terrain with an experienced guide. You’ll be tackling steep climbs and descents, and driving over sandstone domes and slickrock ledges. It’s an adventure, for sure.

It’s a dream for those who love off-the-beaten-path adventures with its numerous hiking trails, remote campsites, and panoramic vistas.

4. Amelia Island, Florida

Beach on Amelia Island in Northern Florida along the Atlantic Ocean

Amelia Island is a charming blend of Southern hospitality and Florida fun. Nestled in the northeastern corner of Florida, it is a haven of natural beauty, rich history, and endless opportunities for adventure.

Home to 13 miles of pristine beaches, the island offers a retreat from the hustle and bustle of larger cities, with an emphasis on relaxation and discovery.

For history buffs, Amelia Island is a treasure trove. Its Historic District, Fernandina Beach, boasts beautifully preserved 19th-century architecture and narrates tales of the eight flags that have flown here.

The Amelia Island Museum of History offers engaging walking tours and exhibits showcasing the island’s unique past.

Foodies will be delighted with Amelia Island’s vibrant culinary scene. Seafood is a staple here, with local eateries serving up fresh catches in creative and delicious ways.

5. Seattle, Washington

For those who want to explore some of the country’s best cities, September is a great time to visit Seattle, Washington.

The city offers plenty of cultural attractions such as the Space Needle, historic Pike Place Market, and Chihuly Garden and Glass.

Plus, there are plenty of outdoor activities like hiking in Mount Rainier National Park or whale watching in the Puget Sound.

6. Yellowstone National Park

A hiker looking down on Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park

If you’re seeking a unique adventure, then head to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.

The park is home to some of the most diverse wildlife on Earth, and it’s also famous for its geysers and hot springs.

The most famous among them is the Old Faithful Geyser which erupts almost every 90 minutes. Stand at a safe distance and marvel at the spectacle of water and steam shooting up to 180 feet into the air.

Yellowstone is also a hiker’s paradise, with more than 900 miles of hiking trails winding through forests, meadows, and along riverbanks.

Some of the popular hiking routes include the Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces, Mount Washburn, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

7. San Diego, California

San Diego from Ferry Landing in Coronado

San Diego offers something for everyone in September: its 70 miles of beaches, iconic attractions like the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld San Diego and Legoland California.

Plus, there are plenty of outdoor activities such as hiking and kayaking on the Mission Trails Regional Park or Coronado Island.

8. San Juan, Puerto Rico

vibrant street in San Juan, Puerto Rico

September is a great time to visit the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico. With its beautiful beaches, lush rainforests, and vibrant culture, there’s something for every traveler.

Be sure to take part in some of the exciting activities offered here such as snorkeling, surfing or deep sea fishing.

9. Mackinac Island, Michigan

The busy streets of downtown Mackinac Island, Michigan

Mackinac Island is an incredible destination that offers something for everyone.

The island boasts of a rich history, cultural attractions such as the Mackinac Island State Park and Fort Mackinac, plus plenty of outdoor activities including biking around the perimeter or horseback riding.

10. Yosemite National Park

people resting on top of Nevada Fall waterfall on Merced River from Mist Trail in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is the great outdoors paradise that attracts visitors from around the world. There’s something for everyone here, from stunning waterfalls and pristine lakes to endless hiking trails and scenic views.

11. Flagstaff, Arizona

Hotel Monte Vista in historic downtown

Flagstaff, Arizona is a great place to explore the park from, as it’s only two hours away. The nearby town of Flagstaff offers plenty of options for dining and accommodations.

Plus, if you’re looking for outdoor activities, there’s plenty to do like exploring the Grand Canyon or discovering the sights and sounds of local wildlife.

12. Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Nobska Light, Falmouth, Cape Cod

September is a wonderful time to visit Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The summer crowds have thinned out, the weather is still pleasant, and you can enjoy the beauty of the Cape without the peak-season hustle.

The beaches are less crowded in September, making it a great time to relax by the shore. Swim, sunbathe, or take leisurely walks along the sandy shores.

Explore the pristine beauty of the Cape Cod National Seashore. There are hiking trails, biking paths, and scenic overlooks showcase the diverse coastal landscape.

Visit some of Cape Cod’s iconic lighthouses, such as Nauset Light, Highland Light, and Chatham Light. The September light can create stunning photo opportunities.

Explore Cape Cod’s calm bays, ponds, and marshes by renting a kayak or paddleboard. It’s a great way to get close to the coastal wildlife.

13. Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe has long been known for its captivating culture, art galleries, museums and historical sites.

Enjoy the mild September weather by engaging in outdoor activities. You can go hiking in the nearby Sangre de Cristo Mountains, take a hot air balloon ride for panoramic views of the landscape, or explore the scenic trails at the Bandelier National Monument.

There is also incredible food in Santa Fe, so try booking a food tour in order to experience the best flavors of the region!

14. Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park in autumn in Wyoming

Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming offers breathtaking views of snow-capped mountains, clear blue lakes, and miles of trails to explore.

Whether you’re looking for a secluded camping spot or enjoying the view from Jackson Lake, there’s something here for everyone in September.

15. Portland, Oregon

View of Portland, Oregon from Pittock Mansion

Portland, Oregon, is a vibrant city with a unique culture and plenty of activities to enjoy in September.

Wander through the Hawthorne District, known for its eclectic shops, boutiques, cafes, and vintage stores. It’s a great place to find unique souvenirs.

Take advantage of the pleasant weather and explore Forest Park, one of the largest urban forest reserves in the United States. There are numerous hiking trails where you can enjoy the beauty of nature within the city.

Take a short drive outside of Portland to visit Multnomah Falls, a stunning waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge. The scenery is breathtaking, and you can hike to the top for a rewarding view.

Portland is known as “Beervana” due to its abundance of craft breweries. Consider taking a brewery tour to sample some of the city’s best beers.

16. Stanley, Idaho

Stanley, Idaho is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Glacier-formed lakes, granite peaks, and pine forests surround it.

In September, visitors can take part in activities such as fishing, whitewater rafting, or hiking.

Explore the stunning natural beauty of the Sawtooth Mountains and the surrounding wilderness. Numerous hiking trails, ranging from easy walks to more challenging hikes, offer breathtaking vistas.

Soak in the natural hot springs in the area, such as the Boat Box Hot Springs or the Sunbeam Hot Springs along the Salmon River. It’s a relaxing way to unwind after a day of outdoor activities.

17. Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville, North Carolina is a destination for art and culture lovers.

Explore the city’s unique galleries, take part in one of its many music festivals, or enjoy craft beers at some of its many breweries.

18. Grand Canyon National Park

Hiker descends cliff edge trail in grand canyon’s north rim

The Grand Canyon is one of the most breathtaking places on Earth and a must-visit destination for anyone exploring the United States.

There are a wide range of hiking trails suitable for various skill levels. Popular options include the South Kaibab Trail, Bright Angel Trail, and Rim Trail.

19. Mt Rainier National Park

Mt Rainier National Park is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. This park has something for everyone in September with awe-inspiring views of snow-capped mountains, lush meadows, and challenging hiking trails.

So if you’re looking for an unforgettable escape this fall season, take a look at these amazing destinations that offer something special no matter

20. Glacier National Park

Road and Tunnel with Valley View, Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is one of the most spectacular places in the US and is home to some of the most stunning landscapes.

Its rugged mountains, crystal clear lakes, and abundant wildlife make it a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts in September.

21. Burlington, Vermont

Burlington, Vermont is a charming city on Lake Champlain’s banks and surrounded by mountains.

Take part in some of the exciting activities like biking or kayaking around the lake, visiting local art galleries, or simply strolling through downtown Burlington’s array of shops and restaurants for a truly unique experience.

22. Lake Tahoe, Nevada

Lake Tahoe’s East Shore walking path in Incline Village, Nevada

Lake Tahoe is one of the most beautiful places in the US and a perfect destination for those looking to escape in September.

The crystal clear lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains makes for an incredible backdrop. Activities like boating, kayaking, skiing or mountain biking will keep you busy all season long.

23. White Mountains in New Hampshire

Woman hiking at Artist’s Bluff in autumn, view of Echo Lake

The White Mountains in New Hampshire offer breathtaking views of lush forests and crystal clear lakes. The area is also home to a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, fishing, and skiing.

Take a ride on the world’s longest aerial tramway, take in stunning views from Mount Washington, or explore the area’s many waterfalls for an unforgettable experience.

24. Bourbon Trail, Kentucky

The Bourbon Trail in Kentucky is the ultimate destination for whiskey lovers. Sample some of the finest spirits from world-renowned distilleries, learn about the local culture and history, or enjoy some of the area’s spectacular views.

Here are some distilleries worth checking out:

  • Maker’s Mark: An iconic distillery located in Loretto, Kentucky
  • Jim Beam: The world’s largest bourbon producer and one of the oldest family-owned spirits companies in existence.
  • Woodford Reserve: Known for their craftsmanship and commitment to quality.
  • Four Roses: Aged to perfection in small batches with a unique blend of ingredients.

25. Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

Last but not least, Mount Rushmore in South Dakota is a must-see destination for anyone looking to escape in September.

Witness the iconic faces of four former presidents carved into the side of a mountain and learn about the rich history connected with this monument.

For something different, take an 8-hour tour to view the monument as well as Custer State Park and Crazy Horse Memorial.

So pack your bags and get ready to discover something new this fall. With so many amazing destinations to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect escape for September!

26. Woodstock, Vermont

Woodstock, Vermont is an idyllic destination in the heart of the Green Mountains.

Explore its vibrant downtown full of quaint shops, galleries, and restaurants.

Take a scenic drive on one of its many winding roads to sample some of the area’s outstanding wineries or explore the nearby Appalachian Trail for outdoor adventure.

27. Gulf Shores, Alabama

Gulf Shores, Alabama is another great destination for a September escape. The white sandy beaches, crystal clear water, and diverse wildlife make it an ideal spot to spend time outdoors.

Go fishing in the Gulf of Mexico or participate in some watersports activities like jet skiing and kayaking.

For a unique experience, visit Orange Beach for its boardwalk attractions such as fishing piers, amusement parks, and shopping centers.

28. Florida Keys

The Florida Keys are a tropical paradise that offer something for every kind of traveler.

Visit John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and go snorkeling or diving in the crystalline waters, explore Everglades National Park’s unique ecosystem, or relax on the beaches with a margarita in hand.

The Florida Keys boasts a multitude of captivating beaches that offer a perfect blend of relaxation, adventure, and natural beauty.

  • Bahia Honda State Park: Arguably one of the most beautiful state parks in the Florida Keys, Bahia Honda offers immaculate sandy beaches and is a great place for snorkeling.
  • Smathers Beach: Located in Key West, Smathers Beach is the largest public beach in the Keys and offers a variety of outdoor activities like parasailing and paddleboarding.
  • Sombrero Beach: Situated in Marathon, Sombrero Beach is a peaceful retreat with its fine white sand and turquoise waters. It’s also a popular spot for picnics and beach volleyball.
  • Higgs Beach: Higgs Beach in Key West is known for its historic pier, wildlife, and an underwater marine park perfect for snorkeling.

29. Pacific Coast Highway

The ultimate road trip experience awaits along the Pacific Coast Highway. Take in breathtaking views as you drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles, stopping at iconic destinations such as Big Sur and Hearst Castle.

Some fantastic stops along Highway 1 include:

  • Point Reyes National Seashore: Take a stroll on the wild beaches here and witness some of the most amazing sunsets in California.
  • Monterrey Bay Aquarium: Immerse yourself in the underwater world at this aquarium, where you can watch sea otters, sharks, and other marine life from close up.
  • Carmel-by-the-Sea: This charming beach town is the perfect place to relax and take in some spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean.
  • Hearst Castle: Tour one of the most iconic homes in California, and don’t forget to visit the spectacular gardens.

30. Colorado Springs, Colorado

Colorado Springs, Colorado is the perfect destination for those looking to explore the outdoors.

The city offers a variety of outdoor activities like rock climbing, mountain biking, and hiking in Garden of the Gods park. There are also plenty of attractions such as Pikes Peak, The Cave Of The Winds, and Cheyenne Mountain Zoo for a more laid-back experience.

For something unique, take a walk along the Santa Fe Trail or explore Seven Falls for some stunning views. There’s no shortage of things to do in Colorado Springs!

Bottom Line

The US is filled with incredible places to explore in September, from quiet islands and majestic national parks to vibrant cities and stunning mountain ranges.

Make the most of this wonderful season and head out on your next holiday with one of these top September destinations in mind!

September offers plenty of opportunities for an incredible holiday escape no matter what type of traveler you are. From vibrant cities to spectacular national parks, these destinations are sure to provide something special no matter where you go. So start planning your next September getaway and make this one memorable!

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