With the summer hordes gone, it’s the ideal moment to embrace the autumnal vibes. The U.S. is teeming with a mosaic of red and gold foliage, along with a rich tapestry of food, beverage, and cultural festivals. Let’s take a journey through four must-experience autumnal activities.
Train Rides for Foliage Fanatics
Want the ultimate leaf-peeping experience? Do it from the plush seat of a train. Colorado enters its fall phase sometimes as early as mid-September, turning its aspen forests into molten gold. The “Rockies to the Red Rocks” journey by Rocky Mountaineer meanders through these resplendent aspen landscapes, linking Denver with Moab, Utah’s awe-inspiring red canyons. Over on the East Coast, the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad (WMSR) offers both vintage steam and modern diesel trains that ferry passengers on scenic three-hour round trips through Maryland’s verdant Allegheny Mountains, where autumnal hues make their debut later in September.
Eco-Friendly Travel Tip: Keep your carbon footprint minimal while ramping up your calorie burn by meshing a WMSR excursion with a Tracks and Yaks rail biking adventure. You can pedal quad-wheel recumbent “bikes” from the Frostburg Depot along the Great Allegheny Passage to the Historic Western Maryland Railway Cumberland Station, then catch a train back to where you started.
An Island Escapade into Slow Food
Nestled away from the hustle and bustle, Whidbey Island in Washington’s Puget Sound is a sanctuary of tranquil beaches, forests, and abundant wildlife. It holds the honor of being the state’s first island designated as a National Scenic Byway. During Eat Local Month, explore family-run farms that have been around for ages, hit up the farmers markets, and delve into the philosophy of slow food while harvesting your own fruits and veggies. A kaleidoscope of seasonal offerings like nectarines, pears, and corn await you. The island community also teems with unique shops, eateries, and art havens.
Eco-Friendly Travel Tip: Join the Whidbey Island chapter of Slow Food USA for a membership fee ranging from $1 to $100 on September 15. This grants you perks like local event access and nationwide discounts on Slow Food initiatives.
Miami: The Hub for Hispanic Heritage
If you’re keen on immersing yourself in Hispanic culture, Miami, Florida should top your list. A staggering 72% of Miami-Dade County’s population identifies as Hispanic or Latino. The Miami Beach Salsa Fest on September 16 is the official inauguration of Hispanic Heritage Month. Expect the legendary Miami Beach Bandshell to come alive with scintillating performances, an ensemble orchestra, and dance routines led by Melina Almodovar. Admission is free, and the event is orchestrated by Ayuda Miami, a nonprofit that aids vulnerable communities in South Florida.
Eco-Friendly Travel Tip: On the very same day, Volunteercleanup.org hosts International Coastal Cleanup in Miami. You can get involved by signing up on their website to discover more neighborhood cleanups.
America’s Grandest Oktoberfest
Since its inception in 1976, Oktoberfest Zinzinnati in Cincinnati has been a mecca for German culture enthusiasts, attracting almost 700,000 attendees each year. From September 14-17, downtown Cincinnati metamorphoses into a buzzing Bavarian enclave complete with bratwurst, beer steins, and accordion-fueled melodies. Entry is free and open to people of all ages—lederhosen are encouraged but not mandatory.
Eco-Friendly Travel Tip: Situated roughly 35 miles north of Cincinnati, Hamilton’s historic German Village remains a living museum of the region’s Germanic heritage. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places, and you can roam its architecturally diverse nine-block area to soak in a bygone era, thanks to places like the Butler County Historical Society.
So, if you’ve got the travel bug and you’re hungry for a blend of culture, scenery, and culinary delights, the U.S. has got you more covered this September than a pumpkin spice latte on a chilly morning.
Written by Anna M. Park, a Los Angeles-based freelance writer. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about U.S. Travel Destinations in September
What are some unique ways to experience fall foliage in the U.S.?
In the text, two scenic train journeys are highlighted as exceptional ways to witness the autumn colors. The Rocky Mountaineer’s “Rockies to the Red Rocks” trip takes you through Colorado’s aspen forests, all the way to the red canyons of Moab, Utah. On the East Coast, the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad offers a round-trip through Maryland’s Allegheny Mountains where the leaves change color later in September.
What is Whidbey Island known for in the context of food?
Whidbey Island is recognized for its focus on slow food and local produce. During Eat Local Month, visitors can tour traditional farms, shop at farmers markets, and even pick their own seasonal fruits and vegetables. The island is part of the Slow Food USA network, which aims to preserve local food cultures.
How does Miami celebrate Hispanic Heritage?
Miami, where over 72% of the population identifies as Hispanic or Latino, hosts the Miami Beach Salsa Fest on September 16. This event serves as the city’s official kickoff to Hispanic Heritage Month and features performances, an orchestra, and dance routines at the iconic Miami Beach Bandshell.
What is special about Cincinnati’s Oktoberfest?
Oktoberfest Zinzinnati in Cincinnati is one of the largest celebrations of German culture in the U.S., attracting nearly 700,000 attendees each year. From September 14-17, the downtown area transforms into a lively Bavarian village with music, bratwurst, and steins of beer. The event is free and open to all ages.
Are there any eco-friendly travel tips mentioned in the article?
Yes, the text offers various eco-friendly travel tips. For example, travelers can minimize their carbon emissions by opting for a Tracks and Yaks rail biking excursion when traveling with the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad. Additionally, participation in community clean-up events and supporting local food initiatives like Slow Food USA are also encouraged.
More about U.S. Travel Destinations in September
- Rocky Mountaineer’s Rockies to the Red Rocks
- Western Maryland Scenic Railroad
- Whidbey Island’s Eat Local Month
- Miami Beach Salsa Fest
- Oktoberfest Zinzinnati
- Slow Food USA
- Volunteercleanup.org’s International Coastal Cleanup
- Hamilton’s Historic German Village
- National Register of Historic Places