I think fall is one of the best times to pack up and head out of town on vacation. A lot of folks prefer cashing in their frequent flyer miles for a spring break or summer retreat, but I’m partial to fall because the weather is great, the crowds are dwindling, and the scenery is spectacular. Here are a handful of fitness-friendly fall vacations that will let you experience the beauty of autumn and get your sweat on.
Hiking Tour of Asheville (North Carolina)
Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville’s city streets give you a bird’s eye view of the surrounding fall foliage, but the hiking trails around the city are where the real show-stopping beauty can be seen. Just outside of the city proper, DuPont State Forest has some of the most beautiful hiking in the area—nearly 100 miles total—complete with stunning views of mountain streams and waterfalls. Bonus for movie buffs: portions of The Hunger Games was filmed here. With peak viewing times around the end of October, it’s also one of the last areas of country to display the fall fireworks.
Whitewater Rafting on the New and Gauley Rivers (West Virginia)
If you’re into vacation adventures, pack up and head to Southern West Virginia to ride the rough waters of the New and Gauley Rivers. Because the water is chilly and the rivers are quite as raging in the fall, many companies in the area offer great deals on rafting trips during the months of October and November. Want to relax after your death-defying trip on the river? Some companies even offer all-inclusive trips complete with lodging in a cozy, well-appointed log cabins. You’ll need a dip in the hot tub after a day on the river!
Canoeing or Kayaking on the Blue River (Indiana)
If tackling the rapids of West Virginia is a little crazy for your tastes, try a more relaxing water-based adventure and paddle your way on the gentle Blue River in Southern Indiana. Many companies offer multiple-day paddling and camping trips—in either a canoe or kayak. Peak Fall colors hit in early October in Indiana, but the real star of this river trip is the wildlife. Along the 20 mile paddle trip, you might see deer, herons, otters, wild turkeys, and beavers, who all make their home around the Blue. Want to catch your dinner? The river offers some great catfish and small mouth bass fishing.
Hike the Grand Canyon from Rim-to-Rim (Arizona)
Ready for an epic adventure? October is one of the best times to experience the awe-inspiring beauty of the Grand Canyon. October can be a bit chilly in the Canyon—pack layers—but it’s also when crowds are low but tours are still departing frequently. Check out one of the many adventure companies than lead small 3-4 day rim-to-rim hikes. They’ll outfit you with a guide and all the gear you need. All you need to bring is a hefty dose of cardio conditioning and your sense of adventure. Not ready to take on the whole thing? There are shorter 1-2 day trips as well.