Finding the perfect fall destination to spend a weekend immersed in pumpkin flavored everything, leaf filled hikes and drives and cozy B&Bs, might take you back to school. Colleges across the country spend a lot of time and money creating beautiful campuses, and the towns that they are part of also benefit from the seasonal influx of students. It only makes sense that college towns make great destinations for their lively art and theater scenes, bustling city centers and oftentimes, the perfect location.
If you are looking for the perfect fall destination, why not head to one of these beautiful college towns this year.
Saratoga Springs, New York
Home to both Skidmore and SUNY Empire State College, Saratoga Springs is named for the natural mineral springs that sit just outside of town in Saratoga Spa State Park. The fall season is when this college town comes roaring to life, invigorated by the new class of freshman, returning students, a bustling downtown and growing art and cultural district. This college town sits on the doorstep of Adirondack Park with popular destinations that include Blue Mountain Lake, Lake Placid and Lake Pleasant, all of which require that you pass through great fall foliage routes.
Duluth is not the best known college town in Minnesota, but it is one of the more popular ones because of its small town vibe and outdoor options along Lake Superior. Winter comes early to this college town, but no one here lets that stop them from getting outdoors and taking advantage of the many outdoor recreation opportunities that the city has in place. The small town has boomed and restaurants and shops aren’t afraid to bring new cuisine and options to the students.
Fayetteville is home to the University of Arkansas, which sits in the center or town and leads the way in a lot of the activities and entertainment choices. Fall is the time to get outdoors in this college town, with several nearby springs, hiking trails and rivers for fishing in. Small town history, art galleries and a thriving theater and musical community provide entertainment for all hours of the day. Drive to the nearby Ozark National Forest to immerse yourself in the fall colors which peak from mid October through November.
Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville, North Carolina has a lot of small town color, with quirky boutiques, art galleries and co-ops that beg to be browsed. Fall drives, hikes, bikes and horseback rides coincide with some of the biggest harvest festivals in the area, especially of interest is the Blue Ridge Parkway. Spend a day or weekend at The Biltmore Estate, where you can sip the wine harvest, tour the mansion, explore gardens and dive into the better things in life. Life in Asheville is so refined, you might forget its a college town once you get there.
Residents and students of Boulder, Colorado know that they have a beautiful campus and city center, and an even more beautiful natural setting to live in. Fall festivals, aspen groves, hikes that can go on for days, a clear view of the new celestial crowd pleasers and entire mountainsides awash in color with every angle being the best await. The University of Colorado Boulder has one of the highest post graduation retention rates in the country, because once you’ve experienced life in Boulder its hard to find something better.
Pam Buttikofer is a co-founder of Imperfect Women. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband of 37 years and enjoys spending time with her husband, sons and her lovable pups.