Road Trip Time: The Best Places to Check Out This Fall

Pack your bags car.

You keep saying you will, but isn't it about time you actually *do* that road trip you and your friends have been talking about since college? If you need a little nudge, here are some theoretical agendas, from beer festivals to beautiful fall hikes. Gotta take advantage of those low gas prices, y'know?

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1 The Black Hills of South Dakota

Head to Keystone—the home of Mount Rushmore—and you can say hi to George, Abe, Teddy, and Thomas while taking in some pretty mind-blowing views. In fact, this year marks the 75th anniversary of completion! Travel 15 miles to Custer State Park, where you can peruse an art festival (September 29 – October 1) or even watch the annual Buffalo Roundup (September 30)(sure, why not), where cowboys and cowgirls round up and drive the herd of approximately 1,300 buffalo. No reservations are required, but definitely plan in advance—the event draws 14,000 visitors each year. Lastly, be sure to hit up the Wind Cave National Park, where you can get an intimate 4-hour tour and go spelunking through the dark tunnels and caves.

2 Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe temps are pretty much perfect in the fall, and a slew of festivals are on the horizon: the Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta (September), Native Treasures Indian Arts Festival (September), the Santa Fe Film Festival (September), and the Albuquerque International Hot Balloon Fiesta (October). Add to your itinerary: a drive to the beautiful Aspen Vista trail, about 14 miles from downtown.

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3 San Francisco, California

While San Francisco summers can be gloomy (#truth), the fall is prime time for this city: sunshine and balmy temps. There's a Ghiradelli Chocolate Festival in September, while the Fringe Festival also hits at that time. The annual jazz festival runs from September through November, and with the off-peak season, lesser crowds = more room for you.

4 Yellowstone National Park

After all the summer tourists have taken their photos, you can have a quieter experience basking in the beauty of Yellowstone. The only drawback? Some amenities may not be available—but don't let that stop you. After enjoying the park (camping anyone?), indulge a bit and head to Montana's 101-year-old Lone Mountain Ranch, only 18 miles away, where you can get the real vibe of a dude ranch—but, like, a fancier one. (Fans include Kourtney Kardashian and Shay Mitchell, so, yeah.) They offer National Park Tours, along with horseback riding, fly fishing, hiking, and more.

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5 Denver, Colorado

Beer and pretty scenery. Shall we say more? Okay we will: Take a hike along the High Line Canal or hit the Cherry Creek Bike Trail, then make a date with many (and we mean many) of the city's beer events during the season.

6 Portland, Maine

Fall foliage is on full display in the fall in Maine, and Portland offers one of the best cities to see it. Head up to Bradbury Mountain State Park, just a 25-minute drive, to hike and enjoy the scenery. Stay in Portland for a myriad of fall festivals–including Harvest on the Harbor in October and Portland Beer Week in November.

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7 Savannah, Georgia

Savannah is beautiful, and when the fall temps bring some relief from summer's occasionally insanely muggy days, you can expect music and film festivals, daytime strolls, and even better/more timely haunted tours. (It is one of the most haunted cities, after all.)

8 Louisville, KY

Louisville isn't just a great place to visit during the Kentucky Derby—it's a veritable treasure of cool architecture, a great local food scene, and (obviously) amazing whiskey/bourbon. (Fun fact: a third of the world's bourbon whiskey comes from this city.) September is a celebration of National Bourbon Heritage Month while October boasts an annual Jack -O'-Lantern Spectacular.

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