Beyond the annual enthusiasm for pumpkin-spiced everything, autumn is an excellent time of year for events in the U.S. Travel crowds have usually died down after the summer rush, meaning there are often shoulder-season values (the transition period between summer and winter high seasons) to be had for the savvy event planner planning a destination event in the fall.
These are some of VIBE’s recommendations for Fall Destinations – including year-after-year favorites as well as a few unexpected locations definitely worth consideration for your next incentive trip, sales kickoff or product launch.
Destination Close to a Big City
Massapequa Preserve in New York is a 432-acre greenway conveniently close to New York City, both LaGuardia International Airport (LGA) and John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), and the Great South Bay communities of Long Island. The preserve has numerous walking and biking trails for admiring maple, oak, and other hardwoods during the fall foliage season, which ranges from September to December each year.
To stay close to the lovely fall colors, pair a few nature excursions with accommodations at the Hyatt Regency at Resorts World New York, just outside JFK.
Or, for a mix of city and countryside, stay at a Manhattan mainstay like the New York Marriot Marquis near Times Square or try a more boutique offering like The Archer Hotel for smaller groups. All offer an excellent variety of event venues in addition to excellent food and beverage service.
Destination Not in New England
Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire rightfully get a lot of attention for their colorful fall landscapes, but for those looking for an alternative to New England “leaf peepers,” as they’re sometimes called, a trip to Aspen, Colorado will bring you an equally breathtaking autumn experience.
The entire mountainside turns from brilliant emerald green to bright golden amber as the aspen trees change with the cooling temperatures each year from early September through late October.
The city of Aspen itself is also impressively cosmopolitan and upscale with a thriving arts & entertainment scene, and numerous festivals that take place year round. One to check out while visiting in the fall is the celebration at John Denver Sanctuary that honors the late folk singer with music, readings, and other festivities.
Destination You May Not Have Heard About
Tucked away in the forests of southwest Georgia just 90 minutes outside of Atlanta, Pine Mountain is a quaint area filled with picturesque hillsides, creeks, and stunning hues of yellow, orange, and deep red as the lush natural forests in the area all transition from summer to winter. Leaf season starts in late September or early October and typically runs through Thanksgiving.
In the middle of Pine Mountain is the Callaway Resort & Gardens with 2,500 acres of botanical gardens, a butterfly preserve, multiple 18-hole golf courses, a spa, hiking and biking, bird shows, and more. Unique fall events include the steeplechase horse race in November, and October’s annual pumpkin carving displays, many of which are several feet tall and are equally amazing in day time, or night time.
Destinations Off the Beaten Path: Ozark Mountains, AK and Taos, NM
Though not as easily accessible as other destinations on our list, the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas and the canyons of Taos, New Mexico are especially beautiful in fall, and ideal for small groups that prefer bed-and-breakfasts and other intimate accommodations. Both are also great spots when the purpose of the trip is to disconnect from the rest of the world and focus on teambuilding, togetherness, or an executive brainstorming.