You don’t have to break the bank to have a once-in-a-lifetime adventure this autumn. With so many canyons, lakes, mountains, and more to explore right here in the US, you’ll find there’s a perfect fall vacation for every budget!
Top Adventure Towns You Can Afford
We looked into the cost of a week-long fall vacation to bring you 12 outdoorsy destinations where adventure knows no bounds. Whether you’re searching for a rock face to scale, a mountain to climb, or a river to cast your fishing line, these adventure vacation spots across the country have it all (and for an affordable price!).
Instead of roughing it in the woods during your trip, consider booking a vacation home with all the comforts and amenities you’re used to. By staying in a FlipKey rental, you can fuel up with a home-cooked meal prepared in your fully-stocked kitchen, or enjoy a comfy bed after a long day outdoors. From secluded mountain retreats to cozy cabins surrounded by trees, all that’s left to do is gather your friends and find the perfect rental in one of these amazing adventure towns.
Prices reflect the median cost for a week-long stay in a two-bedroom rental in that destination, between the months of September, October, and November.
The alternative to Hawaii’s glitzy, one-size-fits-all beach vacation, Pahoa is a sleepy town known for its abundant natural beauty and laid-back atmosphere. Wade into the waters of Ahalanui Beach Park, a spring-fed pool that’s volcanically heated to a balmy 90 degrees Fahrenheit. For spectacular snorkeling, plunge into the Kapoho Tide Pools. Need a day off from outdoor adventures? Walk along the raised wooden boardwalk, and admire the century-old buildings that give it a “Wild West” feel.
Cody, named after its legendary founder, Buffalo Bill Cody, is a charming blend of old and new. It sits at the edge of Yellowstone National Park where buffalo roam (yes, really!), geysers gush, and the pristine wilderness awaits outdoor enthusiasts. Rent a cozy western cabin in Cody and see why travelers describe this one-of-a-kind adventure town as a “must-see!” Filled with natural wonders and a brilliant display of colorful foliage during the fall, choose Cody for your affordable fall getaway.
This Idaho adventure town may be known for its renowned winter skiing, but plan a trip to McCall during the fall and witness the roadside explosion of color that starts to pop every October. For panoramic mountain views, slip a kayak into the water and paddle around Payette Lake. Prefer to stay on land? Wander through the forests of Ponderosa State Park—which covers a thousand-acre peninsula that juts into the lake, or make a tee time at McCall Golf Club. With its stunning scenery and exhilarating outdoor experiences, you can explore from sun up until sun down in McCall!
Once you arrive in Whitefish, however long you’re planning to stay just won’t be enough. Lace up your hiking boots, and head to Glacier National Park, the “Crown of the Continent.” At the park, gaze at the arresting fall foliage or choose a trail—long or short, easy or challenging—for panoramic views of the rugged Rockies. Other activities nearby include cycling, fishing, golfing, and even huckleberry picking. There’s no better time than fall to enjoy all Whitefish has to offer the adventurous vacationer.
A hidden gem in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia, Ellijay is a quiet town perfect for your fall getaway. Rent tubes and float down the Ellijay River for a unique view of the area, or tour the sprawling local vineyards. And what’s a trip to Ellijay without a stop at the apple orchard? Located in Gilmer County, the “Apple Capital of Georgia,” there are many farms nearby for apple picking. If you’re not feeling active, sit in a rocking chair on your vacation home’s porch and take in the blazing leaves and breathtaking mountain backdrop.
Searching for a place that balances thrilling outdoor activities with laid-back, low-key vibes? Then Taos is your answer! Whether you fill your days hiking through Taos Ski Valley (watch out for wildlife!), rafting down the Rio Grande, or marveling at the ancient ruins of Taos Pueblo, there’s never a dull moment here. Rent a private casita on the outskirts of town and escape the hubbub of everyday life.
What would a list of idyllic fall adventure towns be without Lake Tahoe? Set amidst the jaw-dropping Sierra Nevada Mountains, this city boasts the largest alpine lake in North America and is a hot spot for autumn excursions. Visit the Gondola at Heavenly and ascend the mountains for a bird’s eye view of the area, coast across the clear blue water in a pontoon boat, or hop on a mountain bike to explore. Just one trip to Lake Tahoe will convince you that this destination truly has it all!
Often overlooked, Logan packs lots of adventure within its borders. It’s tucked away in the Hocking Hills region, where you’ll find cascading waterfalls, towering gorges, and dense forest extending for miles—right in Ohio. Need a reward to motivate you along your hike? Make the trek to Ash Cave. This enormous, horseshoe-shaped cave is found at the end a tree-lined path and will take your breath away. Roam the wilderness by day, and cozy up around the fire in your Logan vacation home by night for the ultimate fall vacation.
Mountain bikers, hikers, hunters, horseback riders, rafters, fishermen, and more are drawn to Durango. Home to the two-million-acre San Juan National Forest, the roaring Animas River, and an interesting Old West heritage, this outdoorsy destination is one of the top adventure towns to visit, especially during the fall. Tour the scenic landscape on foot, or climb aboard a coal-fired, steam-powered locomotive and travel along the same tracks that early settlers used over a hundred years ago. No matter how you choose to explore, you’ll discover something new in Durango each time you visit.
Picturesque nature trails cut through the colorful foliage, leaves rustle with the wind, and rivers rush down the sides of mountains: Sevierville is at its best during autumn. The city is surrounded by wilderness, with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park only minutes away. At Foxfire Mountain, soar amidst the treetops on a zipline excursion or cross the river by walking the longest swinging bridge in the US, the Bridge to Prosperity. Adventure abounds in the beautiful Smoky Mountains, and you’ll quickly see this hidden gem is no exception.
Moab’s dramatic landscape and extraordinary attractions beckon all types of outdoor adventurers—hikers, bikers, climbers, white water rafters… you name it! This fiery destination is situated at the edge of Arches National Park and Canyonlands, making it a popular base if you’re looking to explore the extensive network of trails—Balanced Rock and Slickrock—that snake through the sprawling red rock playground. Experience an unforgettable sunrise from 2,000 feet above the Colorado River at Dead Horse Point, or watch the sun dip below the horizon from the backyard of your vacation home.
Nestled in the heart of the San Bernardino National Forest and known for its infinite recreational activities, Lake Arrowhead is widely referred to as “The Alps of Southern California.” Its mile-high location provides the ideal setting for hiking, biking, boating, and more. Explore the pine-scented trails that surround this adventure town, drift across the lake in a paddle boat, or browse the specialty shops in Lake Arrowhead Village. With so much to see and do here, you can be sure there’s a new adventure to be had every day of the week!
Affordable Adventure Towns For Fall Vacations
- Pahoa, Hawaii
- Cody, Wyoming
- McCall, Idaho
- Whitefish, Montana
- Ellijay, Georgia
- Taos, New Mexico
- Lake Tahoe, California
- Logan, Ohio
- Durango, Colorado
- Sevierville, Tennessee
- Moab, Utah
- Lake Arrowhead, California