Whether you are seeking an outdoor adventure in one of the national parks, a beach vacation, or a city retreat, the United States of America is packed with many great places to explore. However, many avoid travel for being short on a permissive budget, but that doesn’t have to be the case. There are many destinations in the US where you can travel without stretching your dollar. Plus, September marks the beginning of the shoulder season, so you can travel to some of the popular spots without spending much. After thorough research, we have curated a list of the 14 best and cheap places to visit in September. Pick the next destination for your next domestic trip from our list to satisfy your wanderlust.
1. New England
There is no doubt that New England showcases the most vibrant colors of changing fall foliage. September marks the beginning of the leaf-changing season, and the whole of New England is in autumn colors. The cities host several festivals and events. While the stunning countryside offers opportunities to hike, bike, camp, and explore the wilderness. And, the best part is that you will have fewer visitors.
Things to Do: A trip to Acadia National Park, Stroll through the beaches of Cape Cod; Visit Conway Scenic Railroad and Six Flags; Admire the beauty at Lake Champlain; Explore the White Mountain National Forest.
2. Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska
In September, the temperatures are not yet too cold in Kenai Fjords National Park, plus the days are long, making the park display picturesque scenery, incredible wildlife, and ocean adventure. You can spot several marine animals and participate in kayaking & hiking the icefields. Also, there are glacier cruises and boat tours. It is one of the least expensive vacation destinations in September.
Things to Do: Explore the Six Mile Creek and Fox Island; Hike through Harding Icefield Trail; Visit Clam Gulch.
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September temperatures are not as hot as the summer, making it a more comfortable time to explore the islands of Hawaii. There is a great balance between dry and wet weather. Also, you will have fewer people, making flight and accommodation cheaper. Hawaii is one of the best and cheapest places to visit in September.
Things to Do: Admire the Hanauma Bay and Hawai’i Volcanoes; Stroll the Na Pali Beach and Waikiki Beach; Explore the Waimea Canyon State Park.
4. Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada
Although the weather starts to get chilly around September, Lake Tahoe is one of the cheapest destinations to visit in September. The temperatures are perfect for hiking through the trails around the lake and spending time on the water in boats and kayaks. The summer visitors have disappeared so you can find better deals on hotels and flight tickets.
Things to Do: Attend Sample the Sierra and Lake Tahoe Autumn Food & Wine Festival; Visit Emerald State Bay Park; Hike through South Lake Tahoe; Visit Kings Beach; Take a Boat Cruise; Stroll through the Tallac Historic Site.
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5. San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio is a melting pot of American history and Mexican culture. It is home to some of the most famous historic sites and beautiful sights in Texas. With the summer crowd gone and snowbirds still to arrive, September is the perfect time to enjoy San Antonio. The weather is comfortable, plus the hotel tariffs are cheaper.
Things to Do: Stroll along the River Walk; Visit the Alamo; Sample Local Dishes.
6. Grand Canyon, Arizona
The Grand Canyon is one of the best geological wonders in the world. This magnificent mile-deep natural wonder features some scenic views, hikes, and rafting opportunities. Although the days are a little warmer, you will find fewer crowds than in Summer.
Things to Do: Visit Mather Point, Horseshoe Bend, Grandview Point, and Bright Angel Point.
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7. Orlando, Florida
As the schools are in full swing during the fall season, you will find fewer visitors in Orlando, Florida, compared to summer and winters. Almost all hotels, theme parks, and amusement parks offer cheap tickets and discounts in September and October. So, you can enjoy your rides at an affordable rate and without waiting in long queues.
Things to Do: Visit and Enjoy Universal Orlando, Walt Disney World, and SeaWorld; Take a trip to River Country.
8. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho
Fall is a great time to explore the beauty of Yellowstone, especially in September. You will witness the colorful fall foliage creating scenic beauty with a lesser crowd. The chances of spotting animals are high as they start to prepare for coming winters. Also, hiking and biking trails are available to enjoy the panoramic vistas.
Things to Do: Explore the Lamar Valley; Take a care ride through Blacktail Plateau Drive; Hike to the Lewis River Falls & Canyon.
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9. Big Sur, California
September marks the end of peak season in Big Sur, so there are fewer people than in the summer months. Also, hotels and flights are cheaper during Fall. This rugged coast by the Pacific Ocean has numerous state parks and beaches. Also, it is a great time for whale watching, including orcas, humpbacks, and blue whales.
Things to Do: Visit Point Lobos State Natural Reserve; Hike the McWay Falls; Drive through the Bixby Creek Bridge; Admire the Garrapata State Park.
10. Taos, New Mexico
Taos is a perfect blend of natural beauty and historic sites. In September, Taos is warm enough to explore all the attractions and cool enough to have a bonfire amidst the stars at night. You can enjoy hot air balloon rides to explore the desert and the nearby mountains. Also, there are many museums, art galleries, and world heritage sites.
Things to Do: Stroll through the gallery of Harwood Museums of Art, Taos Museum of Art, and Taos Pueblo. Also, hike through the trails in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
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11. Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville is one of the best places for couples in the US during the fall season. You will find several enticing attractions and stunning vistas all around. The city also boasts some incredible hiking trails and gourmet scenes. It is one of the best and cheap places to visit in September as the crowd has not yet arrived for fall foliage. You can get hotels at discounted rates.
Things to Do: Hiking to Hickory Nut Falls; Stroll through Blue Ridge Parkway; Wander in the Pisgah National Forest.
Read Also: Best Hikes & Trails in Southern California to Thrill your Adventure
12. Dauphin Island, Alabama
Dauphin Island is one of the best and most affordable family-friendly destinations. If you are looking for where to visit in September, this small town in Alabama should be amongst the top 10. It is a perfect place for a tranquil and relaxing vacation with soothing temperatures. Located on the east coast of the USA, Dauphin Island is home to several avian species and sea animals. The town offers many fascinating tourist attractions to its visitors.
Things to Do: Stroll the Historic Fort Gaines; Explore the Audubon Bird Sanctuary and Indian Shell Mound Park; Relax at the East End Public Beach; Take a boat ride to Mobile Bay.
13. Zion National Park, Utah
Located in southern Utah, Zion National Park boasts scenic natural beauty in the fall season. It is one of the most stunning parks in the US, with steep red cliffs and many canyons. In September, the park blooms with foliage colors offering the most picturesque views. The temperature is mild with saturated sunlight, making the colors of the leaves and cliffs a treat to the eyes and mind.
Things to Do: Hike through the Angels Landing Trail; Admire the view from the Observation Point; Explore the sights along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive; Visit the Weeping Rock and Emerald Pools.
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14. Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Sitting in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg is one of the underrated places in the nation. During Fall, the city glitters with dazzling fall colors. It also offers several outdoor adventures, making it an ideal place to visit in September. Although September marks the start of the peak season here, you will find many budget-friendly hotels and food options.
Things to Do: Visit Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, Anakeesta, SkyLift Park, and Space Needle.
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Surely, these destinations will tread lightly on your wallet. So, pack your bags and get ready to explore without breaking your bank. Check our Blog on How to Cut Travel Costs if you want to save more on your trip.