The site of racehorses grazing against the backdrop of rolling hills and brilliantly changing fall colors is truly something to behold, but it can only take you so far in a state where the football alternates between mediocre and promising yet frustrating. Luckily, the unfettered access to bourbon makes up for it and then some.
Oh, look, Hawaii’s still beautiful and gorgeous and tropical and inviting and idyllic. Screw you you, Hawaii. Never change!
Once the RVs clear off the roads after Labor Day, traveling through Wyoming can be a relatively solitary affair, which is exactly what makes it one of the most spectacular places to be in the fall. Have you ever been to Yellowstone at a time where people weren’t lined up to take selfies next to the hot springs? Or walked up to Devils Tower without waiting for somebody in a walker to go ambling down the hill? Or stared out at the Tetons without some rich asshole blasting by in a Porsche on his way to Jackson Hole? Because that’s what you get during the fall, a time when the wind-swept forests and valleys practically glow as the leaves change. It’s essentially an Ansel Adams photo come to life.
15. Rhode Island
Rhode Island is small but mighty when it comes to compelling autumn scenery -- what, did you think those rich folks who built the homes along the Newport Cliff Walk were going to forget the foliage factor? And thanks to its compact size you can cover pretty much all of it in like an hour, which leaves more time for enjoying the fact that it's not too cold yet to preclude the enjoyment of a delicious Del's Frozen Lemonade.
14. New Jersey
New Jersey possesses a wealth of legendary panoramas, Rockwellian small towns, and gorgeous coastal oases. And there’s always the bonus of having Bruce come on the radio as you cruise for hours among the expansive, kaleidoscopic tree canopies, and winding back-country roads. But there’s also the inedibility that Bon Jovi will come on, too. And Trenton is still in the state. Those are minor issues, sure, but when the autumnal beauty race is this close, a poorly timed “Livin’ on a Prayer” and an industrial wasteland can make a world of difference.
Maryland isn't typically top of mind when it comes to unparalleled autumnal beauty, but it probably should. Then again, no matter how pretty things look, you still have to wrestle with the looming end of crab season and the fact that elite Joe Flacco is probably never coming back.
A lot like Oregon, but with bigger mountains, a colder coast, and slightly more rain. There’s a staggering amount of to see during Washington’s fall, from the color-flecked cliffs of Leavenworth to the islands of the Puget Sound, the wonders of the Olympic Peninsula, the fresh-hop beers begat by the Yakima hops harvest, and the roars of Seahawks fans. In fact, it’s basically neck and neck between Washington and Oregon, but it really boils down to one thing: The guy who wrote this is from Oregon. And also, Oregon’s just kind of better.
Go Beavs! Go Ducks! Go... inside for several months once the rains starts falling around November, occasionally emerging umbrella-less because that’s how the locals do it. But until the sky opens up, fall in Oregon brings out the best of everything, whether it’s the mountainside vistas outside of Bend and Sisters, the temperate climate shift on the coast, the coastal rain forests’ changing hues, or the bustling orchards that supply a year’s worth of pears and apples outside of Hood River, a city adjacent to the Columbia River Gorge (currently partially ablaze, tragically). The high desert, too, has a temperature that belies its name, cooling off remarkably as events like the Pendleton Roundup give way to a more relaxed way of life all around. It’s the absolute best time to visit the Beaver State to fully experience its natural splendor in all its glories... until it’s not. When it rains it pours, and everyone basically turns into Elliot Smith for a while.