Best US Cities for fall travel

Pumpkin Patches, Fall Foliage, & On-Water Scenery: The 12 Best US Cities for Fall Travel

Written by Boatsetter Team
October 17, 2023

Last Updated on October 17, 2023 by Boatsetter Team

As autumn paints the landscapes in brilliant shades of gold and crimson, people across the country make plans to experience the season—strolls at the park, visits to pumpkin patch farms, and fall foliage on a boatFrom the serene rivers of the Southeast to the majestic bays of the West Coast, our journey takes us to 12 remarkable US cities where boat rentals offer a captivating gateway to the delights of fall.

  1. Nashville, Tennessee 
  2. San Diego, California 
  3. New York, New York
  4. Minneapolis, Minnesota 
  5. Boston, Massachusetts
  6. Salt Lake City, Utah
  7. New Orleans, Louisiana
  8. Chicago, Illinois
  9. San Francisco, California
  10. Williamsburg, Virginia
  11. Providence, Rhode Island
  12. Savannah, Georgia 

Discover boat rentals for fall experiences—Only at Boatsetter

1. Nashville, Tennessee

Best US Cities for fall travel-Nashville, TN

Nashville, famously known as “The Music City,” embraces the fall season with film festivals, music festivals, and incredible Southern food. Enjoy warm evenings on Broadway, savor mouthwatering BBQ, and witness the city’s musical magic under the crisp autumn sky.

Fall on the water is harmonious in The Music City. Renting a boat in Nashville allows you to experience its incredible lakes. Cruise along the Cumberland River, taking in the iconic Nashville skyline, including views of the famous Batman building, and the vibrant atmosphere along the riverfront. The beauty of on-water travel is: it all connects. On a cruise of Cumberland River, you can head northeast to explore Old Hickory Lake

In the fall the trees lining the lake are all leaf peeping. Here, you can also see the Historic Rock Castle. Or, continue head downstream and crank up the tunes at a country jamboree on a riverboat cruise.

Find available boats for rent in Nashville, TN

2. San Diego, California

Best US cities for fall travel- San Diego, CA

San Diego, renowned for its year-round sunshine and coastal beauty, takes on a different allure in the fall. As the summer crowds subside and a gentle breeze sweeps through the city, San Diego becomes an ideal destination to revel in the delights of autumn, especially on its pristine waters.

Renting a boat in San Diego offers an exceptional opportunity to explore the city’s magnificent coastline and harbor. As you navigate past Point Loma and Coronado Island, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the San Diego skyline and the golden hues of the fall sunset casting a warm glow over the water.’

Find available boats for rent San Diego, California

3. New York City, New York

Best US cities for fall travel- NYC, New York

The Big Apple becomes even more enchanting in the fall, with Central Park’s foliage painting the city in rich shades of orange and red. Don’t miss the Halloween parade or a leisurely stroll through the pumpkin-spiced streets of Manhattan.

The Big Apple offers a plethora of water-based experiences. Rent a boat and sail along the Hudson River to admire the Manhattan skyline, including the Statue of Liberty. You can also explore the serene waters of Central Park’s lakes by rowboat or paddleboat, escaping the urban hustle and bustle for a peaceful afternoon on the water.

Find available boats for rent in New York City, New York

4. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Best US cities for fall travel- Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis, the vibrant metropolis nestled along the banks of the mighty Mississippi River, is a city that truly comes into its own during the enchanting season of fall. With crisp air and the landscape awash in hues of red, orange, and gold, Minneapolis offers a captivating experience both on land and on the water.

As the temperatures dip, Minneapolis locals and visitors alike flock to the water to savor the autumnal beauty. Renting a boat to embark on a scenic journey along the Mississippi River, which is bursting with fiery foliage. Make sure to cruise past the historic Stone Arch Bridge, an iconic Minneapolis landmark, and relish the sight of the city’s skyline, with its towering skyscrapers framed by the vibrant fall colors.

Find available boats for rent in Minneapolis, Minnesota

5. Boston, Massachusetts

Best US Cities for fall travel-Boston, MA

Boston’s colonial history blends seamlessly with fall charm. Explore the Freedom Trail, attend fall festivals, and savor a cup of clam chowder while taking in the city’s picturesque fall foliage.

Boston’s picturesque harbor is best enjoyed from the deck of a rented boat. Sail past the historic Boston Tea Party ships, the USS Constitution, and the vibrant Seaport District. For a unique experience, explore the Boston Harbor Islands, where you can anchor and swim, hike, or enjoy a picnic with breathtaking views of the city.

Find available boats for rent in Boston, Massachusetts

6. Salt Lake City, Utah

Best US cities for fall travel- Salt Lake City, UT

Nestled against the stunning backdrop of the Wasatch Mountains, Salt Lake City offers a mix of outdoor adventures and urban exploration. Hike in the nearby canyons, sip apple cider in cozy cafes, and admire the mountain’s changing colors.

While not known for its coastal waters, Salt Lake City offers a unique boating experience on Great Salt Lake. Rent a kayak or paddleboard and float on the lake’s briny waters, enjoying the unique experience of buoyancy and the surrounding salt flats and distant mountains.

Find available boats for rent in Salt Lake City, Utah

7. New Orleans, Louisiana

Best US cities for fall travel- New Orleans, LA

Known for its vibrant culture, New Orleans takes on a unique fall flavor. Enjoy gumbo, jazz performances, and the lively ambiance of the French Quarter, all while experiencing a different side of the city during the fall season. Experience the unique charm of the bayous and swamps surrounding New Orleans on a guided boat tour, where you can spot alligators and enjoy the cool breeze of fall.

Rent a boat in New Orleans to explore Mississippi River or venture into the nearby swamps and bayous. Take a swamp tour to witness the fascinating wildlife, including alligators and exotic birds, or enjoy a leisurely cruise on the mighty Mississippi, where you can soak up the city’s rich history.

Find available boats for rent in New Orleans, Louisiana

8. Chicago, Illinois

Best US cities for fall travel- Chicago, IL

Chicago’s skyline is even more picturesque when framed by fall foliage along Lake Michigan. Take an architecture tour, indulge in deep-dish pizza, and explore the city’s museums amidst the autumnal splendor.

Chicago’s waterfront offers an array of experiences via boat rental. Sail along Lake Michigan for breathtaking skyline views, or cruise the Chicago River to appreciate the architectural wonders of the city’s buildings. Rent a pontoon boat to relax on the calm waters of the city’s many interconnected rivers and canals.

Find available boats for rent in Chicago, Illinois

9. San Francisco, California

Best US cities for fall travel- San Francisco, CA

While California may not have the traditional fall foliage, San Francisco offers its own fall charm. The city’s mild weather is perfect for exploring landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and Fisherman’s Wharf without the summer crowds. Charter a boat in the Bay Area to enjoy a leisurely sail past landmarks like Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge while the mild autumn weather graces your journey.

A boat rental in San Francisco opens up the stunning on the water sights of the Bay Area. Sail beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, explore Alcatraz Island, or venture to Angel Island State Park for hiking and picnicking. You can also go fishing for salmon, admire the cityscape, or enjoy a peaceful sunset cruise.

Find available boats for rent San Francisco, California

10. Williamsburg, Virginia

Best US cities for fall travel- Williamsburg, VA

Step back in time in Williamsburg, where colonial history comes to life in the fall. Stroll through the historic district, witness reenactments, and enjoy hearty colonial cuisine in this picturesque fall setting.

Rent a boat near Williamsburg in nearby cities like Norfolk, Newport News, Yorktown, or Virginia Beach to explore the scenic James River, York River and other local waterways. Paddle downriver and take in the historic beauty of the colonial-era city from the water. Alternatively, embark on a guided river tour to learn about the area’s rich history and culture while enjoying the serene surroundings.

Find available boats for rent in Williamsburg, Virginia

11. Providence, Rhode Island

Best US cities for fall travel- Providence, RI

Providence, Rhode Island has a unique charm during the fall season. As the leaves begin to turn, the city comes alive with a tapestry of autumn colors and enticing seasonal events. Strolling along the cobblestone streets of downtown, you’ll find cafes serving pumpkin spice lattes and cozy bistros. But, the true allure of Providence in the fall lies on its waterways.

Renting a boat for a scenic tour on the Providence River, lined with colonial-style architecture and amazing waterfront restaurants. As you navigate under the iconic bridges and through the city’s waterways, you’ll be treated to captivating views of the WaterFire, a unique art installation that lights up the river with bonfires during autumn evenings.

Find available boats for rent in Providence, Rhode Island

12. Savannah, Georgia

Best US cities for fall travel- Savannah, GA

Savannah, Georgia, with its historic charm and enchanting Southern hospitality, takes on an extra layer of beauty as the leaves change and fall begins to embrace this picturesque city. Along its cobblestone streets lined with moss-draped oaks, the ambiance is both romantic and timeless. While much of the city’s allure lies within its historic squares and antebellum architecture, there’s a unique way to experience Savannah’s fall splendor: by taking to its tranquil waterways.

Renting a boat in Savannah offers a delightful escape into the heart of this coastal gem. The Savannah River, which gracefully flows along the city’s edge, provides a serene setting for exploration. Cruise along the river and fall in love with its historic riverfront, where old cotton warehouses have been transformed into shops and restaurants. Don’t forget to take pictures of the Talmadge Memorial Bridge, an iconic gateway to the city. 

Find available boats for rent in Savannah, Georgia

Get on the water in any one of these 11 US cities for a unique and unforgettable fall travel experience. Whether you’re craving fall festivities, eager to witness fall foliage, or seeking serene on-water scenery, there’s an on the water experience on this list to make your autumn adventure truly memorable.

What to read next: 8 Best Places to See Fall Foliage by Boat

About us 

Boatsetter is the go-to app for boat rentals and on-water experiences. Whatever the adventure, we’ve got a boat for that—Set sail, start the party, go yachting, make your trophy catch, and hone your watersports skills! Download the Boatsetter app (App Store | Google Play). Make sure to follow @boatsetter on Instagram, and tag us in all your boat day pictures for the chance to be featured.

Rent. List. Share—Only at Boatsetter 

Browse by experience

Explore articles