Whether you’re looking for the perfect autumn road trip, or you just want to embrace the crunchy-leaf coziness of the season, don’t overlook the Midwest as a place to travel this fall. At this time of the year, states like Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois glow with the colors of the changing leaves, and their cute small towns and big cities are hives of action during harvest time. HI USA has hostels in some sweet spots, from a secluded retreat in a state park to a hip hub in the middle of the city, which will have you itching for a trip to the Midwest. Find your fall mood and book now.
Admire the foliage in Minnesota
There are many places where you can admire the magic of the changing leaves, but Itasca State Park in northern Minnesota is a great place to experience the fall as a natural event. While the trees turn yellow and orange and red, summer flowers give way to their interesting seed heads, berries ripen to bright colors, and the wildlife, like geese flying in Vs in the sky and otters floating in the lake, prepare for winter. Stay at HI Mississippi Headwaters Hostel, which has a beach across the road and access to 30 miles of hiking trails, and is the type of place where you can find the staff randomly making fresh goat cheese to share with travelers.
Get festive at a college town in Wisconsin
Madison is the capital of Wisconsin and home to a university campus, so it has the kind of idyllic scenery – grand old buildings framed by fall-colored trees – that you see in the movies, and the festive charge that comes with a bunch of young people in one place. This time of the year is for apple picking, abundant farmer’s markets, and watching college football, whether it’s live at the University of Wisconsin campus, or over craft beer and cheese curds at a bar. The small city can be easily explored by bike (check out the Olbrich Botanical Gardens for autumn bliss), and HI Madison hostel sits pretty in a vibrant neighborhood where you can mix with travelers and locals.
Soak in the culture in Illinois
As tourist season in Chicago winds down, you can take advantage of the cooler weather and the lack of lines at many attractions. The city’s arts and culture scene blossoms during this time of the year, and the lingering summer spirit is channeled into everything from music shows and food festivals to circuses and film screenings. When you stay at HI Chicago, you’ll be close to awesome indoor highlights, like Shedd Aquarium and the Art Institute, while the hostel’s walking tours, happy hours, and outings will help you experience the best of Chi-Town like a local.
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Hostels You Should Visit This Fall
If you're on the hunt for fall foliage, here are a few more of our favorite places to get into the spirit of the crispy leaf season.