Beautiful Images of the 20 Best Budget Destinations for Fall

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Leaf-peeping in the Berkshire Mountains, in western Massachusetts, is one of the sweetest ways to spend an autumn weekend!

You don't have to choose between a nature getaway and a museum trip when you visit the Berkshires—first-rate museums like the Berkshire Museum, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, are abundant.

Courtesy of Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism

She may be a familiar face, but there's nothing like the real thing—when visiting New York City on a perfect autumn day, cruise by the Statue of Liberty on the (free!) Staten Island Ferry, or pack a picnic lunch and spend some time getting to know Liberty Island.

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Stroll across New York's most beloved—and beautiful!—bridge and sing along with the 1940s Sinatra classic: "The folks in Manhattan are sad / Cause they look at her and wish they had / The good old Brooklyn Bridge."

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Get your gallop on! The amazingly affordable Dominican Republic offers beaches just waiting for a horseback ride—or a run, walk, or simple sun-bathing session.

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Post-hurrican season and pre-holidays, the Dominican Republic is one of the most relaxing places on the planet.

There's a reason Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most-visited of America's national parks. Easily reached from many southern and midwestern states, and boasting countless opportunites for communing with mountains, streams, and forests, the park is a gem—and never more than in fall.

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Your spirits will soar when you explore Great Smoky Mountains National Park in autumn.

Cross the Liffey River on Ha'penny Bridge when you visit Dublin, which is an easy, affordable jump across the "pond" from the East Coast.

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When you "tip the jar" at Dublin's Temple Bar, you can not only enjoy the Guinness but also bask in the glow of serious literary cred—portions of James Joyce's masterpiece, Ulysses, are set here.

Missing the summer sun? Scottsdale, Arizona, will warm you up this fall—with prices way lower than those you'd pay in winter.

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You don't actually have to be on a mission—on vacation, just enjoy the iconic architecture and gentle colors of Arizona's Spanish Colonial-era missions.

Atlantic Canada's fishing industry keeps the local restaurants stocked with the freshest seafood you've ever tasted—all for a surprisingly affordable price tag.

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Charming, authentic fishing villages dot the coast of Atlantic Canada, and are just waiting for you to drop in.

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Unlike most places in the U.S., San Francisco can actually be warmer in fall than in summer. The city's well-known chilly fog tends to stay away in October, and temps climb. Drop by Baker Beach, with its amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge!

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No tour of San Francisco is complete with checking out the "painted ladies"—Victorian-era houses that have been redecorated in brightly vibrant colors that reflect the 20th-century transformation of the city.

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Barcelona's stunning architecture turns heads all day long—and is an indication of the city's whimsical outlook on life.

Barcelona is known for its great public markets, where you can find delicious treats to picnic on while you explore the city.

Think Vegas is just for bachelor parties, girl getaways, and high rollers? Think again—the city is wooing families with bargains and spectacles like never before.

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Las Vegas boasts some amazing hotels—and some even more amazing hotel deals!

Yep, the city of canals can be yours during "shoulder season"—when summer crowds are gone, the weather is still mild, and prices in Venice plummet!

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You MUST take a classic gondola ride in Venice—and tell the gondolier Budget Travel sent you:)

Lonely Planet

After hurricane season, but before the winter crowds send prices back up, Nassau, in the Bahamas, is quiet, and as beautiful as ever.

Courtesy Dreamstime

A balmy Bahamas beach has your name on it this autumn!

We love the stretch of sand, amusement park, great food, and friendly vibe at Myrtle Beach all year long. But in fall, you can nab a real deal.

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With hotels lined up right by the sand, Myrtle Beach offers the opportunity to do nothing—but relax!

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The Norwegian Getaway sails from Miami—and includes Miami-themed food and entertainment!—to visit some of the Caribbean's best ports of call, at a price you can actually afford.

Courtesy Norwegian Cruise Lines

Think a Caribbean cruise is out of your reach? The Norwegian Getaway can be yours for under $100 per night!

Courtesy Norwegian Cruise Line

Orlando has so much to entertain every member of the family, but Universal Studios, with its Harry Potter-themed attractions, may be the biggest draw this fall.

Courtesy Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal is offering great deals that include lodging and theme park tickets this fall.

Bucharest, Romania, is ready for its closeup, with great museums, friendly locals, and world-class food.

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Corvin Castle, in Romania, is one of the region's spooky throwbacks to the "bad old days" of the Middle Ages. Perfect for a Halloween tour, Romania's Carpathian Mountains gave birth to the legends of vampires and werewolves!

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Speaking of spooky Halloween fun... Try exploring Mammoth Cave National Park!

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If you don't mind a trip to the underworld, Mammoth Caves is a unique, bragworthy vacation.

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The iconic Hagia Sophia (a former church converted into a mosque as Turkey's religious culture changed), is one of the many landmarks in the city so nice they named it thrice: Byzantium, Constantinople, and now Istanbul.

When in Turkey, you MUST get outside the big cities to discover the country's wild side, too: Cappadocia is renowned for its jagged mountain peaks, known as hoodoos.

We love Chicago all year round, but in fall you can beat the summer heat and the winter winds and have a blast enjoying the music, sports, theater, BBQ, art and architecture!

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A boardwalk on Lake Michigan, right in the heart of the city? What's not to love about the games, rides, deep-dish pizza, and best-ever hot dogs at Chicago's Navy Pier?

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See the fall colors and savor the park without crowds as Yellowstone National Park sheds its summer leaves and temperatures drop.

You'll pop your top for Yellowstone, especially in autumn!

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The shadows are growing longer and now is the time to book your autumn escape. From New England leaf-peeping to big American cities, amazing national parks, European capitals, and Caribbean dreams, we've rounded up a big, beautiful batch of getaways. Your only challenge? Which fall vacation to take.

BERKSHIRE MOUNTAINS

If you don't want to have to decide between great museums and relaxing mountain hikes, book a week in western Massachusetts, where you can revel in both. Explore one of the U.S.'s largest collections of modern art at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams; see the comprehensive collection at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown; enjoy the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, and step back into 19th-century New England by crossing the border into Bennington, Vt., for the Grandma Moses collection at the Bennington Museum and Grandma Moses Schoolhouse. Stay: Holiday Inn Berkshires is in North Adams, Mass., centrally located for dividing your day among art, theater, and nature; there's an on-site restaurant and indoor pool (40 Main St., North Adams, Mass., holidayinn.com, from $119).

SEE PHOTOS OF OUR 20 BEST BUDGET VACATIONS FOR FALL!

NEW YORK CITY

Sure, the city that never sleeps is known for some astronomical prices ($1,000 baseball tickets, $100 hamburgers, anyone?), but this capital of art, music, design, fashion, and finance also offers more freebies (and near-freebies) than any other major city in America. A must-see for families year-round is the American Museum of Natural History, with its awe-inspiring life-size blue whale model, dinosaur fossils on the top floor (or "in the attic," as the staff likes to say), and interactive Discovery Room. In summer, walk the High Line, an elevated park created out of an abandoned stretch of railroad track that offers kids programs with storytelling and sculpture-making. NYC's parks offer free movies and concerts, and a tasty snack is always a block away—nab a classic twisty pretzel from a hot dog stand. Stay: The Jane, in Manhattan's West Village, once housed the survivors of the Titanic. You'll feel (almost) as lucky with this nicely appointed hotel's bargain rates. (thejanenyc.com, from $125)

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

At the Iberostar Costa Dorada, "all-inclusive" means you may not have to reach for your purse the entire stay! And unlike some resorts, this place pours top-shelf cocktails for no extra charge!Hang a do-not-disturb sign on the door of your thatched-roof lodgings! Or indulge in cuisine that includes Brazilian, Mexican, and international menus. Lounge on the beach or beside the massive pool, or get adventurous with kayaking or diving lessons in a tropical paradise. Stay: The Iberostar Costa Dorada, just 10 minutes from Puerto Plata, completely renovated its 500+ rooms in 2011; all-inclusive lodging, three a la carte restaurants, and top-shelf drinks from $75 per person per night based on double occupancy (iberostar.com).

GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK

America's most popular national park, a major theme park, and miles of trails and streams for under $100 per night? Yep. Head to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for fishing, hiking, and scenic drives like the six-mile Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, and don't forget to spend at least one day at 150-acre Dollywood for authentic Tennessee music, food, and, of course, thrill rides such as the Wild Eagle and Mystery Mine. Stay: The Park Vista—a DoubleTree by Hilton Gatlinburg features two restaurants, an indoor pool, and mountain views (705 Cherokee Orchard Road, Gatlinburg, Tenn., doubletree3.hilton.com, from $89).

DUBLIN

Affordable, friendly, and second-to-none in big-city culture and natural beauty. Start your Ireland adventure in Dublin to see beautiful Trinity College, where you can ogle the illuminated manuscript known as the Book of Kells, drink in St. Stephen's Green and Phoenix Park (which has a zoo), and then Riverdance on over to the Guinness Storehouse, which is basically Disneyland for grownups, to drink in—literally—another side of Dublin. Historic Temple Bar is another great place to tip a pint. And since one in nine American is of Irish descent, including President Obama, some like to do a little genealogy research here to see where their family came from. Then get out into the countryside. It's a great place for driving, and you shouldn't miss Connemara, Galway, and other beautiful spots. Stay: Dublin boasts some of the most affordable hotels in Europe, and we like the Harrington Hotel (harringtonhall.com, from $91). And for a great package deal to Ireland, visit aerlingusvacationstore.com.

ARIZONA

The Arizona desert sun, spas, and golf courses are warm and inviting in fall, but the crowds stay away. Scottsdale draws visitors for all of the above, and more, but it gets busy and pricey during the winter, when westerners flee the snow to take to the gold courses and watch exhibition Major League Baseball. Stay: Book a room at the lovely Wingate by Wyndham, Scottsdale (wingatehotels.com, for around $143, which is $120 less than what it will cost in January).

ATLANTIC CANADA

Step back in time in an 18th century fishing village. Enjoy the friendly locals, freshest seafood EVER, and a European feel right here in North America!Old Town Lunenburg is a lovely 18th-century century heritage site in Nova Scotia. Stroll past brightly colored wood-framed houses painstakingly preserved by Lunenberg's citizens. Buy a $10 ticket to the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic and its wharves to behold floating replicas of famous trawlers and schooners. Grab an amazing bowl of chowder and traditional Lunenburg fish cakes at local favorite, The Knot Pub. Stay: Quaint and cozy, the Smugglers Cove Inn is right by the docks (smugglerscoveinn.ca, from $99).

SAN FRANCISCO

Look up, down, or side-to-side in SF and you'll be greeted with gorgeous waterfronts (the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay), unforgettable architecture (like the multicolored Victorian "Painted Ladies"), and roller-coaster hills that only make the visit for charming, especially for the little ones. Hop on one of the city's classic cable cars for some fun ups and downs on SF's famous hills; you can explore vibrant, unique neighborhoods like Chinatown with a one-day pass ($15). Head to popular Pier 39 on San Francico Bay to ogle the big, adorable sea lions and to grab a taste of a signature Northern Cal fave: clam chowder served in a sourdough bread bowl. Stroll through Golden Gate Park for its knockout botanical gardens, free concerts, and hands-on activites. Stay: Hotel Del Sol is a family-friendly hotel with vibrant design and a great location in the Marina/Cow Hollow area. Perks include afternoon cookies and milk, heated pool, and free breakfast (jdvhotels.com, from $120 per night).

BARCELONA

Party central for kids and grownups—and all for the same reason! It's just a high-energy city that looks like a fairytale thanks to its imaginative architecture. Visit the Sagrada Familia Cathecdral designed by Gaudi and La Rambla, a major avenue where you'll get a taste of Barcelona's exuberant culture and shopping. Barcelona is also home to tapas, which basically means your dinner is made up of endless appetizers. What's not to love? Stay: Chic & Basic Ramblas, which looks way cooler than its name (chicandbasic.com/en, from $141). Or, for a great package deal to Barcelona, visit friendlyplanet.com.

LAS VEGAS

If you're thinking that Las Vegas is just for bachelor parties, girl getaways, and high rollers, you're in for a pleasant surprise. The city's major hotels and venues are wooing families with kids with low prices and tons of fun. Viva Vision Light Show at the Fremont Street Experience is a lively music and light show on a projection screen the length of five football fields suspended 90-feet above you. Circus Circus offers free acts like jugglers, trapeze artists, and acrobats all day long. Stay: Our Real Deals section typically offers Vegas hotels for under $50.

VENICE

Yes, you CAN afford the city of canals! Visit the must-see Piazza San Marco and Basilica (a tourist trap that's totally worth the trip), take an iconic gondola ride, and then veer from the ancient to the modern at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection with its Picassos and Pollocks, but take it from me, don't miss the chance to just wander, and even get lost on the winding streets. You're never far from a familiar landmark to lead you back to your hotel. We love Al Ponte Mocenigo (alpontemocenigo.com, from $115). For great package deals to Venice and other Italian cities, visit greatvaluevacations.com.

THE BAHAMAS

We love the Bahamas for being consistently enchanting and affordable—and you don't have to stay at cushy Atlantis to enjoy this island paradise's charms. Just one example of a late-fall Caribbean bargain (post-hurricane season but pre-holidays) is the Melia Nassau Beach Resort (melia.com, about $144, compared with $315 in January.

MYRTLE BEACH

This is a gorgeous, warm American beach that's a road trip away for most East Coasters.Relax! Miles of warm sand and gentle surf are perfect for families or girlfriend getaways. Nightlife includes oceanfront seafood buffets, local micro-brews, and boardwalk rides (like the Twist 'n Shout roller coaster) that turn grownups into kids. Stay: Westgate Myrtle Beach Oceanfront Resort includes beach access, a heated pool, and a kids-eat-free policy (westgatedestinations.com, from $80).

CARIBBEAN CRUISE

A super-stylish new Norwegian Cruise Line mega-ship is hitting knockout destinations like St. Maarten and St. Thomas—and you can totally afford it.The brand-new mega ship Norwegian Getaway (featuring chic Miami-themed food, entertainment, and decor!) departs from Miami and leaves plenty of time for you to explore the beaches, open-air markets, and shops of St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Nassau. Bottom line: This seven-day cruise starts at $449 (ncl.com, that's less than $65 per night!).

ORLANDO

Orlando is designed around family-friendly vacations, with theme parks, themed restaurants, and activities everywhere you look. All those theme park experiences come with a price tag, of course, but there are many ways to book smart. Right now, for instance, there are special deals like hotel tie-ins to get you into the new Harry Potter-themed Diagon Alley at Universal (see our hotel pick below), and a stay at a Disney-branded resort can land you discounted admission, re-admission, transportation, and other perks. Following the major theme parks on Facebook and Twitter can give you the fast track to flash promotions and other savings. Stay: The Hilton Orlando is offering special deals timed to the opening of Diagon Alley at Universal Studios now through December 18. You can get four nights at the hotel, two three-day Park-to-Park tickets for Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure (to experience both Harry Potter sections), early admission to the parks, and more (hilton.com, four nights from $102 per night).

ROMANIA

Be the first to brag that you've been to Romania. This Eastern European country is definitely ready to be discovered by travelers. The city of Bucharest has a gorgeous Palace of Parliament and a National History Museum that is surprisingly full of Roman artifacts—and explains the importance of the Roman Empire to Romania's history. When you get out of the city and into the Carpathian Mountains, you will see some truly spooky sites, including Dracula's Castle. The connection to the fictional vampire is slim, but Romania is where myths such as vampires and werewolves first took hold. You can even book a Transylvania Tour just in time for Halloween! Stay: In Bucharest, we like the Radisson Blu Bucharest (radissonblu.com/hotel-bucharest, from $131).

MAMMOTH CAVE NATIONAL PARK

If natural history with an air of mystery is your thing, Mammoth Cave National Park, in Kentucky, may be your perfect summer vacation. The world's longest cave system, these limestone caverns can be navigated with the help of park rangers, and programs range from the tried-and-true, one-of-a-kind major paths (ideal for all ages and interest levels) to muddier, darker options that the more adventurous among you will revel in. This time of year, lodging near the park tends to fill up, but you can still find affordable options a short drive away. Stay: Super 8 Munford is about a half-hour drive from Mammoth Cave National Park, with other notable caves in the vicinity as well; it offers a complimentary SuperStart breakfast, free Wi-Fi, and kids under 17 stay for free (super8.com, from $49).

TURKEY

Istanbul is the world's no. 1 destination, according to research from TripAdvisor. The only city that straddles two continents, Europe and Asia, is a great coming together of eastern and western cultures, food, and music. Visit the Hagia Sophia (a cathedral turned into a mosque) and some of the world's best Greek and Roman ruins. But get out of town too, to see the incredible jagged mountains of Cappadocia. Stay: In Istanbul, stay at Ascot Hotel (ascot.com.tr, from $118).

CHICAGO

Chicago is a world-class city in the heart of the Midwest, with great public transportation, unparalleled museums, theater, music, and food. The Lincoln Park Zoo is open 365 days a year. Ogle the sweet views of the Chicago skyline (with some of the most beautiful skycrapers in America). Drop by the Navy Pier (one of Budget Travel's 20 Most Awesome Boardwalks in America) for a ride on the immense Ferris wheel on the banks of Lake Michigan. And don't forget to grab some deep-dish pizza: Two Chicago favorites are Lou Malnati's and Gino's East. Stay: The Hilton Chicago (hilton.com, from $109).

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK

Who's up for jaw-dropping scenery, warm western hospitality, and the closest thing to a safari experience that the lower 48 can offer? Best known for the Old Faithful geyser, which won't disappoint with its spectacular display, Yellowstone is also home to 1,000 miles of hiking trails, 67 species of mammals (including bears, moose, and, thanks to a successful reintroduction in 1995, more than 300 wolves), and ranger programs such as walks, hikes, and campfire programs that can help you get the most out of this crown jewel of the national park system. Stay: Yellowstone National Park Lodges offers a number of incredible fall packages to the park, including lodging, food, and tours, at a variety of price points (yellowstonenationalparklodges.com).

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