The last few months of the year may mean short days and chillier weather for the UK and Europe, but the autumn months are an excellent time for a spot of travelling, particularly if the USA is your destination.
Choose the right itinerary and you can swap cold, rainy commutes and crowded Christmas shopping for hikes through incredible landscapes and kayaking around beautiful islands. To give you an idea of the possibilities, here are some of our finest American Autumn Adventures.
The Deep South
If you like the sound of escaping to an exciting medley of colourful culture and warm climes, the Deep South is an unbeatable destination. Ideal for the traveller seeking real variety, it allows you to get a feel for the region’s world-famous musical legacy, taste exquisite food, discover the history of plantations and much more.
Discover the rhythms of Beale Street
Having an urban adventure in Beale Street, Memphis, is one of the most memorable experiences to be had in the Deep South. The likes of Muddy Waters, Louis Armstrong and B.B. King helped to make this one of the most famous streets in the USA – and today countless music lovers flock here to frequent its unmatched blues clubs.
Numerous other musical attractions await you in this part of the Deep South, so why not pay a visit to the home of Elvis Presley or head to the celebrated Sun Studio while you are there?
Step back in time in antebellum estates
Antebellum estates are characteristic of life in the Deep South before the American Civil War. Comprising grand plantation homes and acres of farmland, these estates were usually used to cultivate cash crops rather than subsistence crops. Among the most interesting to visit is Houmas House Plantation and Gardens, which dates back to 1828 and has 38 acres of grounds, populated with gardens, ponds and greenery. The house itself has 16 rooms filled with period antiques and artwork from the Louisiana area.
The West & Southwest
Home to spectacular canyons and a wonderful array of wildlife, the West is an ideal destination for nature lovers. Keen hikers, amateur photographers and wildlife spotters will be in their element in this captivating part of the USA. What’s more, by visiting in the later months of the year, you’ll miss the tourist crowds and have the chance to admire the landscape at its most peaceful.
Famous for its fascinating blend of cultures and striking landscapes, the Southwest offers some truly unforgettable activities in the later months of the year, when it also offers much warmer climes than northern areas. Most notable among these are guided hikes through stunning national parks and the chance to discover little-known cultures.
Hike with a Navajo Guide
Sacred to the Navajo people, Monument Valley is a breathtaking place. Red sandstone monoliths render this landscape uniquely arresting – and you can see it in a way that few manage to by being led by a local Navajo guide. With your guide, you’ll get to delve into parts of the park that are usually the preserve of Native Americans, and to get a real understanding of their culture and history.
Discover the Havasupai Indian Reservation
Few places in the USA offer such a wonderful opportunity for discovering a remote community and an exquisite landscape as the Havasupai Indian Reservation. The village (Supai) cannot be accessed by road and post still arrives by horseback, leaving this land of spectacular waterfalls and richly coloured canyons virtually untouched by modernity.
Encounter amazing wildlife in Yosemite National Park
Glorious Yosemite National Park is inspiring to behold all year round. Towering trees, vast cliff and dramatic waterfalls provide the backdrop to some marvellous wildlife-spotting opportunities. As you explore, keep your eyes peeled for the likes of elk, deer, woodpeckers, bobcats and even black bears.
Step into the scene of a Western in Monument Valley
Visiting Monument Valley for the first time is likely to give you a sense of déjà vu. Its iconic red sandstone monoliths have provided the backdrop to many a Western – so lovers of this classic film genre may well find themselves particularly in their element here. In fact, exploring this area feels uncannily like stepping into a movie scene – with the exception that instead of being chased by cowboys, you will learn all about the fascinating Native American culture.
The Pacific Northwest
The wild and unspoiled Pacific Northwest presents the perfect opportunity for exciting outdoors adventures, with spectacular scenery whatever month you visit in, from hiking through national parks to something a little bit different, like a cruise around the San Juan Islands.
Kayak around the San Juan Islands
Sitting off the coast of Washington State, the San Juan Islands are an activity lover’s paradise. A cruise will give you the chance to explore them, but you can delve even further by kayaking, paddle boarding and snorkelling too – adventures that not only allow you to see far more than you otherwise would, but also are a thrill in their own right.
Explore the peaceful Sucia Island
Sparsely populated places provide a particular sense of peace. With just four residents and a picturesque landscape, Sucia Island is one of those rare spots. A day spent exploring here is certainly one well-spent, with its tangle of hidden coves and bays. Plus, it has a fascinating history, having once been used to hide rum during Prohibition.
Guest post: Inspiration shared by our partner, Grand American Adventures. One of the businesses that we partner with to provide you with smarter travel choices and unique experiences.
With over 60 exciting and unique itineraries, Grand American Adventures offer the widest range of small group tours in the USA, Alaska and Canada, along with adventures in Central and South America.