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For travelers in the know, fall is a favorite time of year. The crowds have left, temperatures have mellowed, and fall festivals are underway. Read what our inside tipsters say about a few wonderful, American fall destinations.

Austin – The Cool Side of Texas

Austin

Fall in Austin is ideal. Average temperatures are in the 70s (F) and nights are cool. If you visit in October, get tickets to Austin City Limits, a three-day music festival some call the best in the country..

Our insider tips for Austin:

Austin
  • Stay at the San Jose Hotel – hip and centrally located, or the St. Cecilia Hotel – an artsy boutique hotel located in a secluded historic estate.
  • Enjoy morning coffee, great people watching, and homemade baked goods at Jo’s Coffee.
  • Sip cocktails at The Belmont, a restaurant and bar reminiscent of Las Vegas and Palm Springs in the early 60s. And drink margaritas at the Hula Hut.
  • Dine under the stars among pecan trees at Shady Grove. Enjoy live music on Thursday nights throughout the fall.
  • Browse the boutiques on Congress St. and stop by Allen’s, where you can find more than 4,000 cowboy boots for sale.

Taking it Easy in Ely, Minnesota

Ely

Three great reasons to visit Ely in fall: No mosquitoes. No crowds. And nothing more to do than relax and enjoy what the late-journalist Charles Kuralt called one of his favorite places to vacation in America.

Ely is located in northern Minnesota along the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) Wilderness 1 million acres of land with over 1,000 unspoiled lakes and 1,500 miles of canoe routes. And while contacting an outfitter and getting out in a canoe—even for an afternoon—is a great way to experience this pristine paradise, you’ll also find plenty to explore in the town of Ely itself.

Our insider tips for Ely and the surrounding area:

Ely
  • Tour Burntside Lake by pontoon boat to learn the lake’s history and geology from a local.
  • Savor fresh-baked pie and Wild Rice-Crusted Walleye at the Chocolate Moose on Sheridan St.
  • Go down under. Guided tours of the Soudan Underground Mine take you ½ mile underground, where you can ride a mining car and learn the history of what was the state’s richest iron ore mine (in operation from 1884-1963). Soudan Underground Mine State Park, 218-753-2245.
  • Browse world-class nature photography by renowned National Geographic-photographer Jim Brandenburg at the Brandenburg Gallery in Ely.
  • Book a massage at Ely’s Evergeen Cottage Spa.
  • Stay at the Grand Ely Lodge or book a cozy log cabin at the historic Burntside Lodge open May through Labor Day.
  • Check the weather before departing and bring layers. Weather can vary this time of year. Average daytime temperatures from late August through early October range from 50°–75° (F).
  • Bring a great book, relax lakeside, and listen to the loons.

Mainely Perfect in Camden, Maine

Camden

If you’re East Coast-bound for fall travel by all means put Camden, Maine on your itinerary. Small, quaint, and a leaf-peeper’s paradise, Camden ranks high on our list of charming seaside towns. Bring sweaters and a light jacket; typical fall weather in Camden ranges from about 65° (F) in late August to 50° (F) in October.

Our insider tips:

Camden
  • Stay at the Camden Harbour Inn. Located in an elegantly refurbished 1874 mansion overlooking Penobscot Bay, this inn balances high design with old-world charm. It’s been chosen by National Geographic Traveler as one of the best places to stay in the United States and lauded by Travel & Leisure as Main’s only truly “design-centric” inn. Insider tip: The third-floor Bonaire room has the best views of the bay and nearby Mt. Battie.
  • Explore artfully at Camden’s Harbor Arts Festival. Held in early October, this juried art show features the work of established and emerging artists. There’s something to suit every budget from fine photography and paintings to handcrafted furniture and pottery.
  • Book a day trip to sail Penobscot Bay and the surrounding waters. As one local said, “Camden from the water is an incredibly beautiful sight.” Inquire at The Camden Harbour Inn for boat availability or walk to the harbor. There’s almost always a piloted boat available for tour rentals.
  • Dine deliciously at Camden’s Francine Bistro. Gourmet magazine called it one of America’s best farm-to-table restaurants; our local source deems it friendly, relaxing, and sophisticated. Francine’s is intimate with only 25 tables, and the menu, which offers four entrees, four appetizers, and four desserts, varies daily. Not to miss: the specialty cocktails featuring local and seasonal ingredients such as blueberries, pears, and blood oranges; the soups, all of which have a vegetable base (better for you!); and the seafood, from lobsters to oysters to halibut, all exquisitely prepared and presented, and all locally caught.

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