September is one of the absolute best times of year to travel the USA! Our family loves to travel in the US in September. In fact, much of our national park travel happens during our fall road trips. We are excited to share with you some of the beautiful places to travel in the US in September.
The summer temperatures are still found in most of the country, but the summer school crowds are not. Harvests are coming in making farm to table restaurants A—MAAAA-ZING!! And outdoor adventures are everywhere.
If you’re looking to travel in the US in September…Denver, CO is a fantastic option! While Denver experiences surprisingly mild weather most of the year, September is especially nice.
The hot summer temps drop off to an amazing 80 degrees Fahrenheit (on average), and hail season has almost passed.
That means this time of year is the perfect time to experience the great outdoors in Colorado.
Being nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains means you and the family can be in the mountains for a killer hike in no time (Hanging Lake is a personal favorite) or you can experience the adrenaline pumping rush of white-water rafting down the Colorado river.
If adventure sports and outdoor activities aren’t your thing (no judgement here), there’s still plenty to experience in the city!
Elitch Gardens is a six flags amusement park with rides suitable for all ages or catch Denver’s biggest annual food festivals (with games, rides, and free concerts to boot!), A Taste of Colorado.
Whatever you decide, you’re certain to have a fantastic time in Denver in September.
Kara of Destination: Live Life
Another great places to travel in the US in September if you love adventure is the charming town of Ouray in Colorado. Ouray is more akin to a village in the Alps than a town in America.
Even the locals refer to it as the Switzerland of America. Surrounded by the snow-capped mountains of the San Juan Forest, the main street is a hive of activity and dotted with pretty little shops. The town is a great place to visit for hikes and to visit nearby waterfalls.
However, what is extra special is that in September temperatures begin to drop and the leaves begin to change. Typically colder temperatures wouldn’t be a positive but the nearby Orvis Hot Springs become all the more enjoyable when the weather is crisp.
Million Dollar Highway stretches from Ouray to Silverton, and is one of the most picturesque roads in the nation anytime of year but as the leaves change colors from green to yellow, orange, and red the road is truly a spectacular sight.
Oksana & Max from Drink Tea & Travel
Related Reading: Best Places To Travel in the US in October
Boise, Idaho is a fantastic under the radar destination for families looking to get outside and explore.
Boise is the fastest growing city in the US, and it’s no wonder with its rugged natural beauty and affordable living.
September is one of the best times to visit Boise, because the scorching high desert heat will have dropped, along with the prices for area hotels.
Crowds will have significantly diminished, and you’ll be able to better enjoy the bountiful outdoor activities like hiking in the foothills of Boise, biking on the 25-mile Greenbelt that follows the Boise river, or sledding down the sand dunes of Bruneau State Park.
If you need some relaxation time on your trip, a great activity is to head out and explore the thousands of natural hot springs that Idaho is famous for.
Boise in September is an outdoor Mecca that’s perfect for the adventure-loving family.
Christina Grance of Live A Wilder Life
September is a fantastic time to visit Annapolis, MD. Annapolis is the capital of Maryland and home to the United States Naval Academy.
The historic downtown, adjacent to the Academy campus, has the feel of an old colonial village, with its colorful boutiques, old-fashioned sweet shops, and narrow row houses.
Annapolis’ location at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay also makes it a great place to enjoy seafood, particularly crab, and you have your choice of many excellent restaurants.
You will find no shortage of things to do in Annapolis, because the city is full of historic landmarks, museums, and cultural heritage sites.
During your visit, make sure you get out on the water, whether in a kayak, with a relaxing sightseeing cruise, or a on a sunset sailing cruise.
The other must-do activity is a tour of the Naval Academy. The tours are free and are much more interesting when school is in session, which is why September is a good time to visit.
You will still have very warm weather, but not as hot as during the summer.
Annapolis has something for everyone and is the perfect fall weekend getaway!
Stephanie from Poppin’ Smoke
Ocean City, MD
Ocean City, MD is a fantastic choice for a quick family vacation in the US in September because it is technically off season, but there are still so many fun family options.
The weather in September is still warm enough that your kids will love spending loads of time at the beach.
You will love that the crowds are much lower than during the summer. Plus many attractions are still open on the weekends.
Don’t miss hanging out on Ocean City’s famous Boardwalk. Best bets on the Boardwalk include playing games at one of the many fun centers or indulging in some of the delicious treats Ocean City is famous for like Thrashers Fries, Kohr Brothers Ice Cream, or Dolle’s Candy.
Take advantage of the ocean current and go fly a kite! The Kite Loft has two locations and a wide variety of super fun kites. We prefer to fly kites at Northside Park because it is much less crowded than the area around the Boardwalk.
September is also a great month to visit Ocean City in order to catch their largest public festival, Sunfest. Sunfest is a ginormous public arts festival with live music, a large craft show, street performers, and beach activities for families.
While visiting Ocean City be sure to carve out time to see the wild ponies at Assateague Island National Seashore.
Assateague is only a short drive from Ocean City and the ponies are something your family absolutely must experience if you are in the area.
Even in off-season, there are loads of family friendly dining options. Many restaurants cater to families with playgrounds on the premises. Our favorites include Dead Freddies Island Grill, Fish Tales, and Ropewalk.
You can’t go wrong with a quick family vacation to Ocean City, MD.
Sara at Sunshine Whispers
Related Reading: Cheap Family Vacations
South Dakota-Yep, The Whole STATE!
Most people have heard of Mount Rushmore, but did you know there a lot of other fun things to do in South Dakota? If you’re a Little House on the Prairie fan, start your journey in the eastern part of the state in DeSmet, one of the towns where Laura Ingalls Wilder once lived.
Then, drive I90 across the state and there are a number of destinations you can stop at along the way. First, you’ll see 1880 Town, a replica of a town from the late 1800s set up for you to explore.
Badlands National Park offers a striking landscape not otherwise found in this area, and the Titan Missile Museum was home to nuclear warheads during the Cold War.
For some uniquely fun South Dakota places, check out the Corn Palace and Wall Drug. The Corn Palace is adorned with some impressive murals made of corn, and Wall Drug is so much more than a drugstore! It’s a megaplex filled with everything imaginable and worth a stop.
When you get to the western part of the state, check out the art murals in Rapid City as well as the statues of historic American figures on the sidewalks, including people like George Washington and Ben Franklin.
Visit Deadwood, the infamously lawless town where the local gold rush started and where “Wild Bill” met his end.
Then head to the Black Hills area where you will, of course, want to see the famed Mount Rushmore while you take in the gorgeous scenery of this area.
Visit wildlife in their natural habitat in Custer State Park and see some incredibly beautiful landscapes.
For something a bit unusual, go to the Mammoth Site, a partially-excavated pit where over twenty of mammoths were found.
If you were thinking you might be bored in South Dakota, think again! There’s something for everyone there.
From Sam at My Flying Leap
Megan from Red Around The World has this to say about a September visit to the State of South Dakota.
The Black Hills in South Dakota are a great summer destination, but if you want to visit when it’s a little cooler and crowds are a little smaller, then September is your month. It won’t be as busy, but hotels, shops, and restaurants will still all be open.
There is plenty to do in the area and September is the perfect time for hiking. One of the best trails in the Black Hills is the Cathedral Spires Trail, or take a relaxing walk around Sylvan Lake. If you want to do a scenic drive, there are plenty to choose from! Make sure you visit Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Monument while you’re there.
The Iron Mountain Road offers wonderful views of Mount Rushmore. There is the Custer Wildlife Loop and the mind-blowing Needles Highway. If you want a little something different, head over to Wind Cave National Park to do some hiking or a cave tour. Jewel cave is nearby for another cave experience.
Finally, take some time to wander around the shops in Keystone. It’s the prefect little tourist town just outside of Mount Rushmore, and the perfect base for your Black Hills explorations.
Breathtaking canyons, beautiful views and fantastically formed buttes – that’s Canyonlands – the largest national park in Utah. If you want to see the true wild west – this is the place!
One can sit at these magical viewpoints for hours and it doesn’t get old!
Canyonlands is perfect for everyone – either you just drive from one viewpoint to another or you are searching for a real backcountry adventure like hiking or cycling.
The park is divided into four districts: the Island in the Sky, the Needles, the Maze, and the rivers themselves (Colorado and Green).
The Island in the Sky is the closest district, which can be easily discovered while driving the paved park loop. It’s the area, where the famous Mesa Arch is.
The Needles district is the perfect place for hikers because there are more than 100 hikes leading into backcountry full of amazing sandstone spires!
The Maze is the least accessible district of Canyonlands and requires more time, proper equipment and self-sufficiency.
If you want to enjoy the rivers, several rafting companies offer guided tours from half-day excursions to week-long floats.
When staying overnight in the park, don’t forget about stargazing! Canyonlands is one of the International Dark-Sky Parks and it’s possible to see up to 15,000 stars throughout the night.
Canyonlands is simply an amazing destination and shouldn’t be left out from any West Coast Road trip.
Adriana Plotzerová of Czech The World
Vermont is known for leaf-peeping, but one of the best things to do with families in September is visit the many Harvest Festivals.
For a picturesque, quintessential New England town that is a must-see in September, I highly recommend Woodstock, Vermont.
Not only is it precisely what you would imagine of a lovely New England town, September is when you can get some of the earliest and best colors of fall New England foliage has to offer.
Our family loves walking around Woodstock, visiting nearby artisan and craft shops, or enjoying a delicious fall meal at on of the cozy restaurants. And don’t forget the covered bridge!
Nearby Billings Farm has an annual pumpkin and apple festival, that often includes fresh onsite cider pressing, making pumpkin and apple ice cream, pumpkin and apple games, and delicious apple treats.
It also includes a wagon ride around the farm. “Pick Your Own” apples and pumpkins is a very common New England activity. Depending on the harvest, there are many “pick your own” orchards and farms not far from Woodstock.
There are also many “leaf peeping” drives you can take in the area, as well as hikes.
In addition to Woodstock, many of Vermont’s ski resorts offer Harvest festivals in September.
They usually include a list of events, food and music, and activities for kids. You can usually ride the chair lift to the top of the mountain to get a panoramic view of Vermont’s foliage.
Hikes are often available as well, and some of the resorts allow lodging on site.
While many of the Vermont ski resorts host events in October, a few to check out in September include Burke Mountain and Mount Snow.
Trapp Family Lodge often hosts an Oktoberfest in late September.
Vermont is a wonderful place to visit in in the US in September for families.
Keri Baugh of Bon Voyage With Kids
You Might Also Be Interested In our Other Outdoor Living Posts