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15 Best Places to Visit in September in USA

To help you plan your next local adventure, we’ve put together a list of the 15 best places to visit in September in the USA.

September is one of our favorite months to travel. Why? The weather starts to cool, the summer crowds thin out since schools are back in attendance, and you can also catch early fall foliage. Since it’s shoulder season in a lot of places, you’ll get better travel rates too.

15 Best Places to Visit in September in USAPin

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Last Updated: August 24, 2022

15 Best Places to Visit in September in USA

749 Howard St, San Francisco, CA 94103, map

Things You Can’t Miss: Golden Gate Bridge, Painted Ladies, Lombard Street
What to Eat: 
Brenda’s French Soul Food, Tartine Bakery, Lazy Bear
Where to Stay: Golden Gate HotelParker Guest HouseBeresford Arms
Weather Avg: 71° / 56° F

I can’t even count the number of times I’ve visited San Francisco but have had the worst luck seeing the Golden Gate bridge. Funny enough, Karl the fog always liked to meet me on days I went out to shoot.

Did you know that September is one of the driest and warmest months in SF? If you’ve had bad luck like me, it might be a great chance to see the city with fog-free skies. We have an upcoming visit so we’ll see if I finally get to experience the city with clear skies.

On top of that, it’s whale-watching season, and there’s a chance to see blue whales and humpback whales in the surrounding waters.

September Events: Fringe Festival, Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival, Dodger’s Games, 49ers Games.

25 Fun Free Things to Do San FranciscoPin
View Avenue, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190, map

Things You Can’t Miss: Boiling River, Artist’s Point, Grand Prismatic
What to Eat:
Old Faithful Inn Dining Room, Mammoth Hot Springs Dining Room, Lake House Restaurant
Where to Stay:
Canyon Lodge, Grant Village Lodge, Old Faithful Inn
Weather Avg:
62° / 31° F

September is an optimal month to visit Yellowstone National Park. You still have access to the roads, and hiking trails are still open (facilities start to close mid-October for the winter), but the majority of the summer crowds are gone.

We’re always looking to find that perfect balance during the shoulder season. During the shoulder season, prices are typically lower too.

If you like fishing, it’s also a great time to catch brown trout, and for wildlife lovers, bears are typically still active as they prepare for hibernation.

September Events: Bridger Raptor Festival

Your Ultimate Guide to Yellowstone National Park - Best Attractions, Activities, Day Hikes, Tips on How to See Wildlife, and More // Local Adventurer #yellowstone #thatsWY #wyoming #visittheusa #outdoorsusaPin
301 E Cermak Rd, Chicago, IL 60616, map

Things You Can’t Miss: Millennium Park, Willis Tower, Navy Pier
What to Eat:
Au Cheval, Qing Xiang Yuan Dumplings, Smoque BBQ
Where to Stay:
The Peninsula Chicago, The Whitehall Hotel, Lowes Chicago Hotel
Weather Avg:
74° / 62° F

If you love festivals, September is a great time to visit Chicago. Most of the summer crowds are gone and you’ll get warm, fall days to see the city, although a light jacket or layer is always good to have on hand when you travel.

September Events: Hyde Park Jazz Festival, Chicago Gourmet, Chicago Jazz Festival, the start of Oktoberfest.

Chicago Illinois + 101 USA Places to VisitPin
47555 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, map

Things You Can’t Miss: Hwy 1 DriveMcWay FallsPurple Sand Beach
What to Eat: 
Nepenthe Restaurant, Big Sur Bakery, Sierra Mar
Where to Stay: 
Post Ranch InnCarmel Garden InnCarmel River Inn (budget)
Weather Avg:
77° / 50° F

Although September is still considered peak season in the Big Sur area, it’s on the tail-end, so you’ll have fewer people than in June to August. You still get the warm, dry weather, and it’s also a great time for whale watching. Have you seen any orcas, humpbacks, or blue whales in Big Sur?

Mcway Falls Big Sur CaliforniaPin

5. Taos NM

1139 Paseo Del Pueblo Sur, Taos, NM 87571, map

Don’t Miss: High Road to Taos, Taos Pueblo, Rio Grande del Norte
What to Eat: 
La Cueva Cafe, The Love Apple, Michael’s Kitchen 
Where to Stay: 
Palacio De MarquesaEl Monte Sagrado Living Resort & SpaSagebrush Inn & Suites
Weather Avg:
77° / 43° F

In September, Taos NM is warm during the day, and cool enough to enjoy sitting by the fire at night. You can ride a hot air balloon to get views of the desert and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, explore the nearby hikes, or walk through the many museums and galleries.

Events: Big Barn Dance (9/8-10), Paseo Project (9/16-17), Taos Fall Arts Festival (9/23-10/2)

taos pueblo new mexicoPin

6. Flagstaff AZ

1 E Rte 66, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, map

Don’t Miss: Walnut Canyon National Monument, Wupatki National Monument, Grand Falls
What to Eat: 
Nimarcos Pizza WestDelhi PalaceSimply Delicious Cafe
Where to Stay:
Little America HotelSonesta ES Suites, Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort
Weather Avg:
74° / 42° F

We loved visiting Flagstaff last spring, but we can’t wait to make it back to see the aspen leaves change color near the end of September. 

The weather will be perfect to go enjoy the outdoors during the day while bundling up to stargaze at night. If you climb, there’s some fun bouldering at Priest Draw, or the Draw as locals call it.

Events: Shakespeare Festival, FLAVOR, Cornucopia Fall Festival

Flagstaff Fall ColorsPin

7. Lake Tahoe NV

169 US-50, Stateline, NV 89449, map

Things You Can’t Miss: Emerald Bay State Park, Squaw Valley, Donner Memorial State Park
What to Eat:
Himmel House, Base Camp Pizza, MacDuff’s Pub
Where to Stay:
Edgewood Tahoe ResortBasecamp South Lake Tahoe, The Village at Squaw Valley
Weather Avg:
74° / 46° F

September’s temperatures start to get too chilly for swimming in the lake, but it’s perfect to spend time on the water via boat, kayak, or SUP. It’s also great hiking weather, and you can find better deals on hotels to save some money.

September Events: Sample the Sierra, Genoa Candy Dance, Lake Tahoe Autumn Food & Wine Festival.

Bonsai Rock Lake Tahoe + 101 Things to See in NevadaPin
S Entrance Rd, Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023, map

Things You Can’t Miss: Mather Point, Bright Angel Point, Grandview Point
What to Eat: 
El Tavor Lodge Dining RoomCanyon Village Marketplace & DeliPhantom Ranch
Where to Stay: 
The Grand Hotel at the Grand CanyonGrand Canyon Plaza HotelHoliday Inn Express Grand Canyon
Weather Avg:
96° / 68° F

In September, it’s still hot during the day, but much more bearable than in the dead of summer (where it’s over 100°F / 37°C). Early mornings and late afternoons are great times to hike. 

Since school is back in session, you’ll have fewer visitors than in the summer. The Grand Canyon is the second most visited National Park in the US, so I’ll take any month with fewer crowds but if I had a choice, I’d prefer waiting for the weather to cool a bit more.

Las Vegas to Grand Canyon National ParkPin

9. Honolulu, Oahu HI

2270 Kalakaua Ave #801, Honolulu, HI 96815, map

Things You Can’t Miss: Diamond Head, Hanauma Bay, Pearl Harbor National Memorial
What to Eat: 
Marugame Udon, Ono Seafood, Helena’s Hawaiian Food
Where to Stay: 
Alohilani Resort Waikiki BeachAla Moana HotelHotel Renew
Weather Avg:
88° / 73° F

September and April are the two best months to visit Honolulu. Since the temperatures don’t change much year-round, you’re mainly worried about rain showers and the crowds.

September is a great balance between getting dry weather, but since it’s shoulder season, you’ll also have fewer people and better rates on hotel and flights. That means more money for Hawaiian food in our bellies.

Honolulu Oahu HI + 15 Best Places to Visit in September in USAPin
9035 Village Dr, Yosemite Valley, CA 95389, map

Things You Can’t Miss: Glacier Point, Tunnel View, Half Dome
What to Eat: Village Grill, The Ahwahnee Dining Room, Curry Village Pavillion
Where to Stay: 
The AhwahneeYosemite Large Loft CondosTenaya LodgeCurry Village
Weather Avg:
84° / 50° F

We’ve visited Yosemite 3 seasons out of the year, but we hope to visit in September. Our friends who went last year told us it was amazing to experience the park so empty.

September (and May) is the best time to visit the park since it’s shoulder season and temperatures are ideal for hiking and exploring. The park is still accessible, but you won’t deal with the summer crowds. After September, the hiking trails and roads start shutting down due to snow. So when you’re planning, keep in mind that some campsites close in late September, and many are closed by mid-October.

If you’re there for waterfalls, many of them slow to a trickle or are gone in the fall, so May might be the better choice.

17 Breathtaking Things to Do in YosemitePin

11. Breckenridge CO

203 S Main St, Breckenridge, CO 80424, map

Things You Can’t Miss: Main Street, Boreas Pass Road, McCullough Gulch
What to Eat:
The Canteen Taphouse and Tavern, Hearthstone Restaurant, Piante Pizzeria
Where to Stay: 
Residence Inn by Marriott BreckenridgeThe Lodge at BreckenridgeAlpine Inn
Weather Avg:
 63° / 48° F

I’m dying to see the golden aspen trees in Breckenridge CO. The town is best known as a winter destination, but since we only casually ski and snowboard, I’d rather go for the leaves. The weather is just right for a brisk walk through the golden trees.

September Events: Breckenridge Oktoberfest, Breckenridge Wine Classic

breckenridge in the fallPin

12. Cincinnati OH

5 Fountain Square Plaza, Cincinnati, OH 45202, map

Things You Can’t Miss: The Great American Ball Park, Smale Riverfront Park, Cincinnati Art Museum
What to Eat:
Mazunte Taqueria, The Canteen Taphouse and Tavern, Downstairs at Eric’s
Where to Stay: 
Hotel Covington Cincinnati RiverfrontGraduate CincinnatiHilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza
Weather Avg:
78° / 58° F

September and May are the two best months to visit Cincinnati. The weather is perfect for being outside. Plus, there are plenty of fun festivals and events happening in September as seen below.

September Events: P&G Riverfest, Rubber Duck Regatta, Zinzinnati Oktoberfest, Chicken Dance, Running of the Wieners, Midpoint Music Festival

Cincinnati View + 15 Best Places to Visit in September in USAPin

13. The Berkshires MA

42.1667981,-73.1671525, map

Things You Can’t Miss: Norman Rockwell Museum, Mass MoCA, Ashuwillticook Rail Trail
What to Eat:
NudelBravaAlta Restaurant & Wine Bar
Where to Stay:
Willows MotelChambery InnMaple Terrace Motel
Weather Avg:
68° / 45° F

Out of all the US September destinations on this list, The Berkshires is the best for the quintessential fall trip. It’s a great time to go hiking, and September marks the start of the fall foliage season just before the masses of leaf-peepers show.

Berkshires Fall Foliage + 15 Best Places to Visit in September in USAPin

14. Mount Rushmore SD

13000 SD-244, Keystone, SD 57751, map

Things You Can’t Miss: Presidential Trail, Rushmore Tramway Adventures, Horse Thief Lake
What to Eat:
Powder House Restaurant, Cruizzers, Jane’s Boardwalk Pizza
Where to Stay: 
Bavarian Inn Black HillsHampton Inn & Suites Rapid CitySpringcreek Inn
Weather Avg:
69° / 48° F

If Mount Rushmore is on your bucket list, visit during September. You’ll avoid the huge crowds and long lines in the summer, but you’re still able to take advantage of the dry weather. Plus, it’s easier to get hotel deals now that it’s shoulder season.

Mount Rushmore Vacation + 15 Best Places to Visit in USA in SeptemberPin

15. Glen Falls NY

9 Broad St #3, Glens Falls, NY 12801, map

Things You Can’t Miss: The Hyde Collection Art Museum, The Shirt Factory, Feeder Canal Trail
What to Eat:
Morgan & Company, Cooper’s Cave Ale Company, Thai Sushi Aroy Dee
Where to Stay: 
Fairfield Inn & SuitesHoliday Inn Express Lake GeorgeHome2Suites
Weather Avg:
73° / 48° F

Glen Falls feels like a small town but has an up and coming food, art, and shopping scene. We mainly want to visit Glen Falls for the Adirondack Balloon Festival.

Otherwise, it’s a great place to explore the town or a great base to chase down the amazing waterfalls in upstate NY. Check out our guide linked below to some of our fave Upstate NY spots.

September Events: Adirondack Balloon Festival, Taste of North Country

Adirondack Balloon Festival in Glen Falls NY + 15 Best Places to Visit in September in USAPin

Map of the Best Places to Visit in September in USA

More September Destinations in the US

Here are some more amazing places to visit in September in the US according to other travel experts.

  • AZ – Sedona – ideal weather
  • CALos Angeles, San Diego Restaurant Week plus good weather year-round and slightly fewer visitors.
  • DCWashington – Adams MorganDay street festival, Fiesta DC, DC State Fair
  • KY – Louisville – Kentucky Bourbon Festival, Louisville’s Bourbon & Beyond
  • LANew Orleans – Louisiana Seafood Festival, New Orleans Restaurant Week, Fried Chicken Festival, Martini Madness
  • MA – Lexington
  • MD – Chesapeake Bay
  • MEAcadia –  Night Sky Festival
  • MI – Sleeping Bear Dunes – shoulder season, less people
  • NY – Hudson Valley for an early fall escape, New York City – Tribute in Light on 9/11 and New York Fashion Week
  • ORPortland – Feast Portland
  • RI – Narragansett
  • SCGreenville – Euphoria, Oktoberfest
  • TNNashville – Tennessee State Fair, Americanafest
  • TXAustin – Waterloo Music Festival, Music in the Park concert series, Pecan Street Festival, Austin Museum Day, Texas Craft Brewers Festival 
  • WA – Port Townsend, Seattle, Leavenworth – Washington State Fair, Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend, Skagit River Salmon Festival, Autumn Leaf Festival in Leavenworth 

USA IN: Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec

How many of these amazing September destinations in the US have you been to?

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15 Best Places to Visit in September in USAPin

Esther + Jacob

Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.

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