4 Great Columbus Day Trips

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — High airfare is leading many Americans to stay closer to home when they travel, an inclination that is certainly conducive to the three-day weekend most will have for Columbus Day on Oct. 10.

“You don’t have to travel super far of spend a lot of money to plan a great getaway this fall,” Anne Banas, executive editor for Smarter Travel, tells MainStreet. She adds that there is plenty of beautiful fall foliage within driving distance of residents all over the country, not just the Northeast.

Banas provided her suggestions of the top spots leaf-peepers should check out for a quick, easy and beautiful trip on a long weekend.

White Mountain Trail (New Hampshire)

According to Banas, drivers can take in mountain passes and drive past rock formations, waterfalls and natural pools and find additional photo ops on the Mount Washington Cog Railway. She also suggests staying at the Purity Spring Resort, which charges $129 a night and includes meals and local activities.

West Elk Loop (Colorado)

Colorado’s West Elk loop is surrounded by beautiful foliage, rivers and skirt canyons. Visitors can also check out the aspen groves of Gunnison National Forest or bike through Colorado’s backcountry for $60, Banas says. Those looking for an affordable place to crash can check the historic Fresh & Wyld Farmhouse Inn, which charges as little as $95 a night.

Amish Country Byway (Ohio)

The byway, located between Columbus and Cleveland, passes by forests and scenic farmlands, but travelers can also get a taste of the local lifestyle by taking a horse-drawn wagon ride, touring Amish barns and houses, and feeding the animals at the Farm at Walnut Creek or sampling cheese at Heini's Cheese Chalet.

Banas suggests staying at the Mohican State Park Lodge, which recently renovated and outfitted its guest rooms with private balconies. You can stay overnight, she says, for as little as $109.

Napa Valley/Silverado Trail (California)

People may not think of wine country as a great fall destination, but Banas says this Napa Valley trail is the perfect weekend getaway for couples in need of a little rest and relaxation. “The wineries are really beautiful this time of year,” she says.

Travelers should plan their stay with the help of the California Association of B&B Inns, which posts last-minute deals on its website, if they are looking to save some funds.

Leaf-peepers can find a few more fabulous fall foliage destinations on Smarter Travel’s website.

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