Fall means crisper temperatures, the changing of the leaves and a perfect time for outdoor activities. Here are some top spots to bring the fall season to life. On Labor Day, I chatted with Good Day LA about this topic. Video below. 



1. Montana: Whitefish, Glacier

During the summer, Glacier National Park sees over 1 million visitors. After August, the park becomes less congested so the chances seeing wildlife increases.  Stay in Whitefish  (25 miles to West entrance of Glacier National Park) a charming mountain town with year round residents, lively restaurants and affordable hotels. From the town, you can explore Glacier’s remote valleys along the perimeter and the famous Going to the Sun Road.  In Whitefish, there is also excellent recreation. You can hike and horseback ride around alpine lakes and timbered ridges and boat on the Flathead River. ExploreWhitefish.com


The Firebrand Hotel deluxe double, $132/night . firebrandhotel.com or Grouse Mountain Lodge $139/night  grousemountainlodge.com


Horse Back Riding in Whitefish


2. Oregon: Portland/Mt. Hood,

Fly into Portland and spend an afternoon or a night. Then, drive to Mt. Hood for hiking, biking and rafting on Trillium Lake. There are flora and fauna hikes with Mt. Hood Adventure (or self-guided) that lead to lakes and waterfalls. September is the season for Chinook and Coho fishing on the Clackamas River. Highlight for families: Philip Foster Farm  to grind corn, wash clothes the way pioneers did. You can visit Oregon pioneer historical (and scenic) sites on the Barlow Road, the last leg of the Oregon Trail using the Mt. Hood Territory Heritage Trail app.


The Resort at the Mountain ($180)  or Mt. Hood Vacation Rental offers the first 2 nights at reduced rates, add a 3rd night for 1/2 price and the 4th night FREE.




3. San Juan Islands, WA

At laid back Friday Harbor, you’ll bike or hike through craggy shorelines and woodlands seeing abundant wildlife- wild turkeys, red foxes, bald eagles, peregrine falcons, seals and porpoises-along the way. Orca sightings are the most thrilling. You can spot  them from Lime Kiln Point State Park or get up close and personal with a whale watching experience with a fleet of biologists. You can also sea kayak alongside the Orcas with Sea Quest Expeditions


Snug Harbor start at $269 one bedroom,

Earthbox Inn, $207 for a double queen room.


4. Park City

In the summer, the ski resorts of Park City and Solitude are transformed into an alpine playground. September offers the same recreation–hike, bike, raft, SUP-but with a less expensive price tag. In Park City, there is a hot air balloon festival in September. Solitude has stargazing and Sunday concerts. Both places are close to the lively town of Park City.


Canyons-Grand Hotel Summit $182

Solitude-The Inn is open Thursday – Sunday through Oct, $164.

Bright image of fall leaves on Main Street in Park City, Utah.


5. Chicago

Once dubbed Paris on the Prairie, Chi-town is as sophisticated as it is friendly. Bike the lakefront trail, visit Millennium Park with it’s famous Bean sculpture , hit the Shedd Aquarium, and Lincoln Park Zoo take an architecture river cruise. Highlight: a baseball game at iconic Wrigley Field (where the Cubs won the World Series!) or a Big 10 football game at Northwestern University . Bonus: Chicago was just named best restaurant city in America 2017 by Bon Appetite Magazine. Visit Choose Chicago for information.


Hollander Design Hostel, Starting at $160

Doubletree Magnificent Mile, $189

Millenium Park



Travel Tips:

  • For lowest fares, set an alert on airfare watchdog . Program  your destination and you’ll receive emails when rates go down 
  • Call hotels to inquire about “Shoulder Season”( between Labor Day and Tday) discounts or promotions.
  • Check your credit card for points accrued. These can be used to offset the hard cost of air fare or lodging.
  •  Award plane tickets are easier to score in shoulder season.