Some people wait all year for summer. They bask in the sunshine, beach bag always at the ready, relishing in the bustle and buzz of travel’s busiest season. However, summer—and summer travel—isn’t for everyone, especially those of us who wilt in the trifecta of hazy, hot, and humid. Arguably, those who thrive in autumn do so in the perfect season for travel. Kids are back in school, yet winter holidays are still in the distance, making it the ideal time to travel at a serious discount—both abroad and closer to home.
Every fan of fall also knows it’s finally leaf-peeping season—aka that magical time of year when nature paints across the landscape with oranges, yellows, reds, and purples. Those lucky enough to live where fall foliage is on-show probably have their favorite state park to visit for prime leaf-peeping. Others travel to the far corners of America just to catch a glimpse of this natural phenomenon.
Whether you’re a veteran leaf peeper or this is the first year you’re making the trek to check out fall foliage, you’re in luck. We dug into our data to determine fall’s top 25 leaf-peeping US destinations where the leaves are falling—and so are the flight prices. Traveling for business to a big city like NYC? You’re not going to live your best leaf-peeping life there, but you can rent a car to escape the concrete jungle in pursuit of a seasonally colorful one. We’ve also included the median rental car price from each airport, so you can budget your leaf-peeping adventure accordingly.
|City||Median Shoulder Season Flight Booking Price||Median Daily Shoulder Season Car Rental Rate|
|Rapid City, SD||$520||$42|
|Grand Rapids, MI||$354||$29|
|Windsor Locks, CT||$307||$35|
|Salt Lake City, UT||$292||$37|
|New York City, NY||$274||$56|
Flight Methodology: Hipmunk analyzed RT domestic economy flight bookings made from Jul 1, 2018 – Oct 31, 2019, with a departure date of Sep 1 – Oct 31, 2018.
Car Methodology: Hipmunk analyzed the daily car rental booking rate by pickup airport from Sep 1 – Oct 31, 2018.