Summertime Small Towns That Are Even Better in Fall
Some of our go-to summer getaways are becoming favorite fall destinations too. While we pack our shorts and flip flops when we set our sights on these spots in the sweltering months, they’re just as fun to explore when bundled up in scarves in autumn. Many of these towns are coastal spots where the fall beachgoing is cooler and less crowded than in summer, while others are spots with summer attractions that are just as inviting, if not more so, in the autumn months. From Beaufort, North Carolina, to Fredericksburg, Texas, and Columbia, Tennessee, to Seaside, Florida, there’s a Southern small town that’s calling your name. Where will your travels take you this fall? Set your sights on a small Southern town, sit back, and relax; there’s so much to enjoy across the South this season. For more ideas to inspire your fall travel planning, be sure to check out 10 Must-Take Fall Trips, 12 Southern Towns Perfect for a November Getaway, and Hotels for Fall Weekend Getaways.
Beaufort, North Carolina
This small town located in coastal North Carolina is a favorite of Southerners from near and far, who appreciate its relaxed atmosphere, fun shops, and easy access to the water. If you’re wondering, it’s pronounced “BOW-fert.”
Learn more about Beaufort.
Beaufort, South Carolina
This pretty town (pronounced “BEW-fert”) draws visitors from all over. In fall, its oak-lined streets are cozy paths for long walks and offer plenty of architectural eye candy. Plus, it’s right on the water, so waves and drifting boats provide the town’s mellow soundtrack.
Learn more about Beaufort.
Brevard, North Carolina
Situated next to the Pisgah Forest and Blue Ridge Mountains, Brevard is a small town where fall foliage turns out in a big way. Its bustling summer (and Fourth of July festivities) gives way to a low-key fall. The turning leaves, charming downtown, and crisp chill in the fall air make it an ideal autumnal destination.
Learn more about Brevard.
Cape Charles, Virginia
You’ll find historic Cape Charles on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, where the harbors welcome visitors year-round. The town’s cozy inns, bed and breakfasts, and coastal architecture are even more charming in autumn.
Learn more about Cape Charles.
Inviting Columbia, Tennessee, is a small town that feels like home. Its downtown is filled with eclectic shops, restaurants, a can’t-miss ice cream parlor, and Muletown Roasted Coffee—a delicious claim to fame. In fall, it takes on a quiet charm the likes of which you’ll only find in small towns nestled in Tennessee.
Learn more about Columbia.
Fairhope is an Alabama gem where trees hung with moss line the streets and summertime bay celebrations transition into the mellowness of fall, complete with sunsets, friendly faces, and plenty of shopping and eating in the French Quarter.
Learn more about Fairhope.
Fredericksburg is known for its summertime fun as well as its big holiday festivities, but it’s also a beautiful Southern destination in fall. The heat of summer dissipates and the small town offers up its wine trails, Main Street shops, and multitude of gardens—both wildflower gardens and biergartens, depending on your tastes.
Learn more about Fredericksburg.
When the leaves turn in Gatlinburg, you can’t miss it. This town is a bustling hub of Tennessee tourism, and it’s a fun spot for family vacations, particularly when the air is crisp and the outdoor adventures are accompanied by a steaming cup of cider.
Learn more about Gatlinburg.
In summer, Seaside is in a mode of nonstop bustle. Beachgoers from far and wide pack into town to enjoy the sands, restaurants, and shops of the town’s central square. However, things slow down and open up in fall, which results in a quieter beachgoing experience.
Learn more about Seaside.
St. Augustine, Florida
Florida isn’t just for summertime adventures. In fall, St. Augustine turns up the excitement with its countless great restaurants, walkable historic sites, and one-of-a-kind shops. Coastal towns—they’re even better when the temps drop.
Learn more about St. Augustine.