25 BEST Places to Visit in September in the US

There are so many amazing places to visit in September in the USA. September is often a transitional month between summer and fall, meaning that the weather can be mild and pleasant in many parts of the country, and in other parts, it means gorgeous fall foliage. It’s easily my favorite month of the year as summer crowds (and prices) are dying down, but it’s still plenty warm enough to enjoy the great outdoors.

By the end of the month, you can see the leaves turn beautiful orange, yellow, and red in many parts of the country, and since it’s not peak season, many hotels, airlines, and tour operators offer lower prices and deals to attract travelers!

Last but not least, September is a month of many festivals and events across the USA. We’ll name a few of our favorites in this breakdown of the best places to visit in September in the US! Let’s dig in.

Best Places to Visit in September in the US

1. Whitefish, Montana

Whitefish – Montana - Best Places to Visit in September in the US

September in Whitefish is magical – the air is crisp, the trees are starting to change color, and the weather is perfect for embarking on outdoor adventures. One thing is for certain, Montana as a whole is one of the best places to visit in September in the USA.

Hike along the Viking Creek Preserve Trail, The Lion Mountain Trail, and the Swift Creek Trail, and explore beautiful Whitefish Lake State Park.

Or if you’re not looking to hike, head downtown and check out the shops, the many Whitefish restaurants and cafes of Central Avenue, or go for a scenic drive. Driving through Kootenai National Forest, you’ll see where the fall foliage really stands out against the mountains. One of the best things to do in the area is drive the Going to the Sun Road and enjoy all the Glacier National Park has to offer.

The Whitefish Songwriter Festival takes place in mid-September so be sure to check it out!  

2. Kenai Fjords, Alaska 

Kenai Fjords - Best Places to Visit in September in the US

Beautiful scenery, an abundance of wildlife, and outdoor adventure are the main things that draw people to Kenai Fjords.  In September, it’s the decent weather, long days, lower prices, fall colors, fewer crowds, and the chance to see the northern lights that people head to Alaska for!

The park’s most notable feature is its 40 glaciers, but you’ll also see coastal fjords, forests, and plenty of wildlife including bears, sea lions, whales, orcas, otters, puffins, wolves, and dolphins. Spend your days hiking on the trails at Exit Glacier and kayaking clear, icy waters.

3. Gulf Shores, Alabama

Gulf Shores – Alabama

Situated along the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf Shores region is mostly known for its white, sandy US beaches but in September, it’s known for its warm weather and fewer crowds which makes exploring the area more enjoyable.

Visit Gulf State Park, where you can go hiking, golfing, and ziplining. Explore the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge and visit the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. Some of the best things to do when not at the beach is learn about local history at Fort Morgan and the Gulf Shores Museum.   

4. Saugatuck, Michigan 

best saugatuck restaurants

We already think Saugatuck is one of the best places to visit in Michigan, but come late September, Saugatuck is a great place to see beautiful fall foliage.

This is also the time of year when there are fewer tourists around and the weather is comfortable for participating in outdoor activities and enjoying the patios at all the Saugatuck restaurants.

You can still enjoy Oval Beach on the warm days, or if it’s too cool explore the lively downtown area and its galleries, gardens ,and shops, and hike in Saugatuck Dunes State Park. 

5. Lake Placid, New York

Lake Placid – New York - Best Places to Visit in September in the US

Lake Placid is a beautiful lake surrounded by the beauty of the Adirondack Mountains and one of the best places to visit in the world in September. In September, the annoying black flies of summer have retreated, the high-season crowds have dispersed, the fall colors are peaking, and the temperatures are neither too hot nor too cold. For these reasons, September is the ideal time to visit!

Take a ride up Whiteface Mountain on the Cloudspitter Gondola and see stunning views, go hiking in the High Falls Gorge, and visit the John Brown Farm State Historic Site. Be sure to check out the events at the Fall Festival Weekend that happens later in the month.

6. Zion National Park, Utah 

Zion National Park september - Best Places to Visit in September in the US

Believe it or not, even in the mountains of Zion National Park in September, temperatures still reach the high 80s. The good news is you won’t have to fight your way through the crowds of peak season! You’ll also have a chance to see the leaves starting to change color. The park is known for its red sandstone cliffs that contrast with the vivid colors of the landscape.

There are plenty of Zion hikes to enjoy in September, and you won’t be hiking under the heat of the summer American Southwest sun.

Check out Canyon Overlook, or hike along trails such as Angels Landing, Observation Point and Emerald Pools. If you don’t want to break a sweat hiking, take a road trip along the Highway Scenic Drive, and see Zion Canyon. The Zion Human History Museum is a must-visit if you want to learn more about the area. 

7. Burlington, Vermont

ben and jerrys vermont - Best Places to Visit in September in the US

Vermont is known for its spectacular fall foliage and in late September, the fall colors are out in full force!  Temperatures hover around a comfortable 70°F so you can enjoy many outdoor activities. Head to Waterfront Park and admire the stunning views of Lake Champlain, bordered by the Adirondack Mountains.

Stroll through the Church Street pedestrian mall, where you’ll find street performers and many shops and eateries. After strolling downtown, we recommend a visit to the Echo Center, which features exhibits about science and nature.

Did I mention that Vermont has more breweries per capita than anywhere else in the country? Be sure to visit at least a few of them and sample delicious local craft beer. 

8. Beaufort, South Carolina 

Beaufort, South Carolina - Best Places to Visit in September in the US

Beaufort is a picturesque town on Port Royal Island and is known for its stately mansions built before the Civil War and its historic downtown area with its water views and tree-lined streets. In September, you’ll get warm temperatures and a laid-back atmosphere without the summer crowds.

This is also when many festivals take place including the Dragon Boat races, Bluffton Boiled Peanut Festival, and Hardeeville Catfish Festival.

Be sure to learn about the town’s fascinating history at the Beaufort History Museum, take a hike along the scenic Spanish Moss Trail, and admire the beauty of Hunting Island Lighthouse. When you’re done for the day, there are plenty of delicious Beaufort seafood restaurants to enjoy a fresh catch.

9. Santa Fe, New Mexico 

Santa Fe - New Mexico 

Santa Fe is considered one of the best budget destinations in the US! If you want warm weather, fewer crowds, and great deals on hotels, Santa Fe is the perfect destination in September. Admire the beautiful fall foliage the region is known for and visit the many art galleries and historical sites.

Browse local products at the farmer’s market, stroll along Canyon Road, and visit the Georgia O’Keefe Museum, Museum of International Folk Art, Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, and the New Mexico History Museum.

If you’re in town around the second week of September, be sure to check out the food and art booths at the Fiesta Weekend.  The Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta is another popular festival happening the last week of September!

10. Salem, Massachusetts

Salem – Massachusetts

One of the best places to visit in September in the entire world is this small Massachusetts town! While most places don’t start the spooky season until October, Salem gets a head start on everything ghoulish in September. And why not?

This is the time of year when the days are shorter, the air is crispier and the fall foliage is at its peak toward the end of the month.  All things that make the atmosphere of any place seem a little spookier! With a long history that includes the infamous Salem Witch Trials, this place is already pretty spooky! 

To get the hair on the back of your neck standing up, be sure to visit Frankenstein’s Laboratory, Salem Witch Village, and Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery.  Watch witch trial reenactments at the Witch Dungeon Museum and hear chilling stories on a Haunted Salem Witch City Tour. 

In September, there are many festivals, including the Salem Spice Festival, where you can attend storytelling events and learn about herbal remedies. The Salem Food Truck and Craft Beer Festival features food trucks and lots of craft beer. 

11. Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada 

- Best Places to Visit in September in the US

When you see the Valley of Fire State Park, you immediately know how it got its name; the park’s dominant feature is the bright red sandstone rock formations that stand out against the landscape.  While it gets very hot during the summer, come September, temperatures drop but remain comfortable for hiking and exploring. 

As you make your way around the park, you’ll see Rainbow Vista, Pink Canyon, Fire Wave, Seven Sisters, Fire Cave, and various sites featuring petrified trees and ancient petroglyphs. Hike along the White Domes Trail or Pastel Canyon Trail and go for a scenic drive on Mouse’s Tank Road. 

12. The Hamptons, New York State 

The Hamptons, New York State 

If you think The Hamptons is somewhere that only affluent New Yorkers go on, think again!  The Hamptons have a small-town feel with tons of things to do, and it’s the perfect vacation destination for anyone seeking a relaxing escape. This is especially true in September when peak season crowds are gone, prices go down, and temperatures remain warm at around 73°F. 

Walk along sandy beaches, visit sprawling vineyards and sample local wines, get a history lesson at the Montauk Point Lighthouse Museum, admire local art at the Parrish Art Museum, and go hiking at Shadmoor State Park. In September, the Westhampton Beach Festival of the Arts takes place. 

13. Flagstaff – Arizona

Flagstaff - Arizona

In September, the weather in Flagstaff is comfortable, but the beautiful fall foliage and fewer crowds draw visitors. Hiking along the Wilson Meadow and Bismarck Lake trails is a popular activity. Another way to explore natural wonders is with a visit to Walnut Canyon National Monument and Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. 

As you explore Flagstaff, you’ll see vistas featuring mountains, desert landscapes and ponderosa pine forests. A visit to the Lowell Observatory is a must, and the Museum of Northern Arizona and the Pioneer Museum are popular with history buffs. Be sure to check out the Pickin’ in the Pines Bluegrass and Acoustic Music Festival!

14.  Fort Davis, Texas

 Fort Davis – Texas

Fort Davis is a great destination to visit in September if you want comfortable weather to enjoy camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities. Watch historical reenactments at the Fort Davis National Historic Site, check out local art at the Wild Rose Gallery and visit the Rattlers and Reptiles Museum and the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute. 

At nightfall, attend a stargazing party at the McDonald Observatory, or relax with an outdoor movie experience at the Cinema on the Courthouse Lawn. 

15. Arcata, California

Arcata – California

September in Arcata is when the temperatures dip to a comfortable 64°F, and the trees start to show their fall colors to reveal one of the most beautiful times of year in the area.

This is also the time of year when popular festivals take place including the North Country Fair and the Natural Fiber Fair which features art displays, workshops and a fleece market. When not checking out festivals, explore the Arcata Community Forest and visit the Humboldt State University History Museum. 

16. Grand Rapids, Michigan

- Best Places to Visit in September in the US

There are many reasons why Grand Rapids is one of the best places to visit in September!  For starters, the weather is fantastic. Secondly, the spectacular Michigan fall foliage of the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is in full swing and so is the pumpkin beer at the Founders Brewing Company – one of the best Michigan breweries!

Fall festivals take place in the region throughout the month, including Frankenmuth Oktoberfest in the small town of Frankenmuth.  Be sure to put time aside to explore the Blandford Nature Center, hike the trails in Millennium Park and learn about local history at Grand Rapids Public Museum.

17. Charleston, South Carolina 

Charleston - Best Places to Visit in September in the US

If there’s any city that portrays the culture and history of the Deep South, it has to be Charleston. Walk down its historic streets and you’ll see Antebellum-era mansions, cobblestone walkways, old-style streetlamps, and horse-drawn carriages. 

The Carolinas are pretty hot and humid throughout the summer. However things start to cool off in September. Though the air is warm so it’s a perfect time to explore this charming coastal city and enjoy all the Charleston beaches without the crowds.

Stroll along sandy beaches, learn about local history at the Fort Sumter National Monument, check out the Gibbes Museum of Arts, and go paddleboarding at Shem Creek. The MOJA Arts Festival showcases and African and Caribbean culture.  You should also check out the Lowcountry Jazz Festival happening in September!

18. Stanley, Idaho

Stanley – Idaho - Best Places to Visit in September in the US

Not everyone wants to escape to the beach when temperatures start to cool down, and if you’re someone who prefers a place where the weather is cooler, Stanley is the place for you in September!

Hike along many trails, including Alice Lakes Trail, see stunning sights including glacial lakes, snow-capped mountains and pine tree forests and go white water rafting in waters that are at an ideal level in September. 

After a long day exploring the great outdoors, head to a nearby hot spring and relax in some hot, mineral-infused water.  

19. Siesta Key, Florida 

Siesta Key - Best Places to Visit in September in the US

Siesta Key is one of the best places to visit in September in the US! In the more northern regions of the country, temperatures are dropping come September, but in Siesta Key, they’re still reaching a hot 90°F…perfect for beach excursions and suntans (so bring all your beach essentials!)

After all, the water is still warm, so why not head somewhere where you can still take a refreshing dip in the Atlantic Ocean?

As a bonus, you’ll also enjoy cheaper prices and fewer crowds. Spend the day at one of the country’s best beaches, Siesta Key Beach, kayak through mangroves, be daring and try some parasailing, embark on a dolphin-watching tour and spend evenings enjoying live music in the local pubs. 

20. Cape May, New Jersey 

Cape May - Best Places to Visit in September in the US

With the summer crowds gone and temperatures averaging 77°F in September, Cape May is a fantastic place to visit in September. The water temperature is still warm, so you can enjoy the area’s beaches.

Admire the Victorian architecture, shop till you drop at the Washington Street Pedestrian Mall, dine at amazing restaurants and visit top attractions including the Cape May Lighthouse, Emlen Physick Estate and the Nature Center of Cape May.

In September, you’ll have the chance to attend the free Harvest Brew Festival where you can indulge in the rich flavors of craft beers and embrace the spirit of South Jersey at this day-long festival dedicated to everything local!

21. White Mountains, New Hampshire

White Mountains - New Hampshire

With cooler temperatures in the high 50s, fewer tourists and pretty fall foliage, the White Mountains region of New Hampshire is a top place to visit in the US in September.

Take a ride on the Conway Scenic Railroad, check out the waterfalls and pools of Dian’s Baths, and go for a drive to the top of the highest peak in the region, Mount Washington. Hike the Flume Gorge Trail and explore the wonders of the little villages that are located in the area. Explore Franconia Notch State Park and Echo Lake State Park and visit some of the breweries and distilleries that the White Mountains region is known for.

Celebrate the prominent Scottish culture in the region by attending the New Hampshire Highland Games & Festival. 

22. Mammoth Lakes, California

Mammoth Lakes – California

If you’re seeking prime leaf-peaking opportunities in September combined with nice weather with comfortable temperatures around 77°F and fewer tourists, Mammoth Lakes in the Eastern Sierra Nevada is the place for you!

This quaint mountain town offers up a variety of ways to see spectacular fall foliage including scenic road trips along the Mammoth Lakes Scenic Drive and hikes on Sherman Lakes Trail and Heart Lake Trail. 

Explore the natural landscapes of Devils Postpile National Monument and check out beautiful Rainbow Falls. The sunsets at the Minaret Vista Viewpoint are second to none, so be sure to catch at least one!

23. Cincinnati, Ohio

Oktoberfest Zinzinnati

While you may not think of Ohio as one of the best places to visit in September in the US, hear me out! In September, Cincinnati hosts the biggest Oktoberfest outside of Munich! And comfortable temperatures and lower prices also attract visitors.

Step back in time with a stroll through the Over-the-Rhine District, known for its historic architecture and breweries. Admire artwork from as far back as 6,000 years at the Cincinnati Art Museum, visit the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and check out the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.

At the Ohio Renaissance Festival, you can get a taste of what life was like in the 16th century. The Ohio is for Lovers Festival also happens toward the beginning of the month, and is when the city is alive with local music!

24. North Cascades National Park, Washington 

North Cascades National Park

If nature is what you’re looking for in your next September getaway, North Cascades National Park is a great choice! This beautiful wilderness area is a bit cooler than many destinations, but it’s still warm enough to get out and enjoy the great outdoors without high season crowds. 

Later in the month, the leaves start to change color which is another reason why people visit the park in September. Stunning waterfalls, towering mountains, glaciers, sprawling meadows, and deep valleys are just some of the natural features you’ll see as you explore this place.

Go hiking at Artist Point, go kayaking on one of the sparkling lakes, and watch for wildlife including deer, bears, elk, and mountain goats. Towards the beginning of the month, the North Cascades Bluegrass Festival takes place, and is a fun time for all!

25. Ozarks, Missouri / Arkansas / Oklahoma 

The Ozarks - - Best Places to Visit in September in the US

One of the best times to visit the Ozarks is in September when temperatures drop to a cool 75°F, and there’s very little rain. Explore the natural wonders of Ha Ha Tonka State Park and Lake of the Ozarks State Park, hike in Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park, tour the Stark Caverns and visit the region’s wineries. The leaves start to change color in mid-September, so you’ll enjoy spectacular views framed in gold and red foliage!

Places to Visit in September in the US FAQ

What days are best to travel in September?

After Labor Day, which is the first weekend in September, is often the best time to travel. Kids are back to school, and the summer high is winding down after the holiday.

Where is warm in America in September?

On this list, Siesta Key, or anywhere in Florida for that matter, is quite warm in September. The Carolinas, and anywhere in the south see comfortable temperatures throughout September.

Why September is the best month to travel?

September can be considered one of the best months to travel for several reasons. First, it marks the transition from summer to autumn, and many destinations bring on fall foliage. This means you can often enjoy pleasant weather with milder temperatures, making it more comfortable for outdoor activities and sightseeing.

September is generally considered shoulder season for tourism throughout the US, meaning it falls between the peak and off-peak seasons, this means fewer crowds and lower prices than summer!

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About Natasha Alden

Natasha is the co-founder of The World Pursuit. She is an expert in travel, budgeting, and finding unique experiences. She loves to be outside, hiking in the mountains, playing in the snow on her snowboard, and biking. She has been traveling for over 10 years, across 7 continents, experiencing unique cultures, new food, and meeting fantastic people. She strives to make travel planning and traveling easier for all. Her advice about international travel, outdoor sports, and African safari has been featured on Lonely Planet, Business Insider, and Reader’s Digest.

Learn more about Natasha Alden on The World Pursuit About Us Page.