The Best Places to Visit in the USA in November

Best Places to Visit in the USA in November

November is an ideal time to travel in the United States to take advantage of shoulder season weather, fewer crowds, lower prices, fall foliage, and festive holiday events. From exciting East Coast cities to national parks out West, here are the 10 best places to visit in the USA in November.

1. New York City Dazzles as the Holidays Arrive

New York City shines even brighter as the holiday season kicks off in November.

Take in the Sights of the Iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade winds through Manhattan with giant colorful balloons, creative floats, marching bands, and star-studded performances to officially ring in the holidays. Bundle up to watch it live or tune in from the warmth of your hotel.

Marvel at the Famed Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

The giant Rockefeller Center Christmas tree arrives from upstate New York to be lit in a much-anticipated televised ceremony at the end of November outside the Art Deco GE Building. The lighting ceremony marks the start of the festive holiday season in one of NYC’s most iconic locations.

Go Ice Skating in Central Park and Bryant Park

Lace up your skates and twirl among skyscrapers as several of New York City’s ice skating rinks open in November. Head to Wollman Rink in Central Park, Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park, or Rockefeller Center to feel like you’re skating right through the city.

2. New Orleans Parties Between Peak Seasons

Late fall after Halloween but before the influx of New Year’s Eve revelers provides the perfect pocket of time to visit hot and humid New Orleans at discounted hotel rates.

Halloween Hangover in the French Quarter

The French Quarter celebrates an adults-only Halloween party, with many costumed locals and visitors filling Bourbon Street into early November. The bizarre and entertaining costumes make it clear why New Orleans is known for its spooky side.

Catch Live Music On Frenchman Street

At night in November, soak up NOLA’s iconic live music scene on Frenchman Street and along Magazine Street as jazz, funk brass bands play energetic sets that spill onto the streets from cozy clubs and bars. Don’t miss the quintessential New Orleans experience of listening to jazz against a backdrop of cuisine that blends French, Spanish, African, and Caribbean influences.

3. Charleston’s Lowcountry Cuisine and Nature

Charleston comes alive in November with Lowcountry oyster roasts, blooming gardens, comfortable temperatures for biking, and long walks under sprawling oak trees.

Attend an Authentic Oyster Roast

Get your hands dirty and your belly full at traditional Lowcountry oyster roasts in November, where oysters are roasted over an open fire pit and enjoyed outdoors with friends and neighbors. It’s a beloved Charleston tradition not to miss.

Stroll Through Colorful Fall Gardens

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens impresses in November when hundreds of thousands of native oakleaf hydrangea, camellias, and azaleas bloom in brilliant hues of pink, red, purple and white along lakes, rivers, and marshes.

4. Sedona’s Mystical Healing Vortexes

With towering red rock spires set against pine forests and the intense colors of Arizona sunrises and sunsets, vortex-abundant Sedona makes for an unforgettable nature escape in November.

Channel Sedona’s Healing Vortex Energy

Take a meditation atop one of Sedona’s reputed healing vortex sites among the red rock buttes, believed to be concentrated with the earth’s spiritual energy. Many visitors experience powerful releases and self-realizations when embracing vortex meditation.

Photograph Majestic Desert Landscapes at Sunset

Sedona and neighboring red rock country provide truly majestic desert landscapes. The intensity of the colors at sunrise and sunset makes for breathtaking photography. Set out on a vortex jeep tour or hike Devil’s Bridge Trail to capture that iconic Sedona sunset among the glowing red rocks.

5. San Antonio’s River Walk and Heritage

San Antonio entices visitors with temperate November weather in the 70s, allowing you to stroll the vibrant downtown River Walk and explore historic Spanish missions without overheating or big crowds.

Wander Along the Charming River Walk

The pedestrian-friendly San Antonio River Walk is lined with al fresco restaurants, bars, public art, and lantern lights strung overhead. November weather invites long leisurely walks to take in its charm.

Honor Dia de los Muertos Traditions

Time your visit for Dia de los Muertos celebrations of Mexico’s iconic Day of the Dead, as San Antonio hosts some of Texas’ largest festivals with colorful skulls, marigold flowers, sweet treats, and reverent traditions to honor those who have passed.

Tour Historic Spanish Missions

Visit SAN Antonio’s storied past at the Spanish frontier missions, one of only two UNESCO World Heritage Sites across Texas. Mission San Jose, Mission Concepción, Mission San Juan Capistrano, and others offer self-guided exploration of fortified 18th century architecture still in active use by parishioners over 280 years later.

6. Scottsdale and Phoenix Bring the Heat

With desert temperatures still hot in the 70s by day but cooler at night perfect for patio dining, Greater Phoenix in November serves up luxurious resorts, world-class spas, superb cuisine, great golfing, vibrant nightlife, and the glorious hues of sunset over cactus-dotted hillsides.

Live Resort Life in Old Town Scottsdale

Scottsdale pampers with many AAA Five-Diamond resorts like The Phoenician and Four Seasons Scottsdale at Troon North, known for their lavish accommodations, posh pools, rejuvenating spas with Navajo-inspired treatments, and excellent restaurants. Nearby Old Town Scottsdale offers trendy boutiques, galleries, clubs and creative Southwestern cuisine.

Soak up the Sun and Local Culture

The Phoenix-Scottsdale area hosts multiple culture-rich November festivals like the Arizona Fall Fest arts fair and Arcadia Festival of Lights with holiday light displays at the Irish Cultural Center. When the sun’s out, play golf, hike Camelback Mountain or visit the Heard Museum spotlighting Native American art.

7. Key West Maintains Tropical Heat

Laidback Key West sees fewer visitors in November but maintains summer-like temperatures around 80 degrees, making it ideal for off-season beach escapes, watersports adventures, chill island vibes, and magical sunsets.

Snorkel Spectacular Shipwrecks

The only living coral reef in the continental US parallels Key West, offering awesome wreck snorkeling and diving opportunities in November’s bath-like waters around 80 degrees. Explore shipwrecks like the Vandenberg and Eagle Tug that have transformed into living reefs or shallow Patch Reefs ringing Key West bustling with tropical fish and sea turtles.

Watch Key West Celebrate Quirkiness

Key West has forged a reputation for joyfully celebrating all forms of quirkiness, on display at November’s Fantasy Fest masquerade or the annual Parrot Heads Meeting of Jimmy Buffett enthusiasts. The offbeat celebrations capture Key West’s funky island spirit between tourists seasons.

8. Explore Pacific Northwest National Parks

Crisp fall weather with patchy snow dustings provide breathtakingly beautiful backgrounds for exploring Washington State’s majestic national parks in November – away from summer crowds.

Take in Vistas of Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier National Park has over 260 miles of hiking trails that reveal wildflower meadows, cascading waterfalls, old-growth forests, and vantage points of the Glacier-capped 14,411 foot tall volcano set against the Cascades mountain range. Don’t miss fall’s colorful displays of wildflowers and foliage.

Ferry Along the Rugged Olympic Coastline

Largely roadless Olympic National Park protects diverse lowland rainforests flanked by glacier-draped Olympic peaks towering over the Pacific coastline – best seen via hiking trails, scenic drives, or ferry rides during November’s quiet off-season for storm watching over notoriously turbulent winter waters.

9. See Fall Foliage in Great Smoky Mountains

While October draws the biggest crowds for fall colors, visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park straddling NC and Tennessee in November allows you to enjoy spectacular scenery and waterfalls without the masses.

Immerse Yourself in Colorful Forests

From golden birch and amber maples to blood-red sumac and purples beeches, Great Smoky Mountains National Park boasts extraordinary fall foliage that typically peaks mid-November at the lower elevations and later at the highest peaks – making for unforgettable nature photography.

Hike to Majestic Waterfalls

Over 200 miles of hiking trails lace Great Smoky Mountains National Park including paths to gorgeous waterfalls like 60-foot Ramseys Cascade, quiet secluded falls along the Middle Prong Trail or the very popular, 150-foot cascading Chimney Tops falls – best seen in November without overwhelming summer crowds on the trails.

10. San Diego Stays Sunny

Consistently pleasant Mediterranean weather makes San Diego one of the nicest places to visit in November when much of the rest of the country gets chilly. Locals call November one of the best shoulder seasons.

Walk Across Iconic Cabrillo Bridge

Get your camera ready every time you walk the pedestrian-friendly iconic red-arched Cabrillo Bridge built for the 1915 Panama–California Exposition, as it offers the picture-perfect vantage point for capturing Balboa Park’s architecture backed by downtown San Diego’s skyline.

Spot Sea Lions Off La Jolla Cove

The sea lion population thrives around La Jolla Cove just north of downtown San Diego. Watch sea lions and seals play, socialize, and snooze across rocks and beaches in one of San Diego’s most beloved areas to encounter fascinating marine life up-close.

Conclusion: November is Magical Across the USA

From the East Coast to the American Southwest, November ushers in seasonal magic across America. As cities deck their halls with holiday trimmings, summer crowds dissipate from beaches and national parks while temperatures cool off across inland mountain regions to reveal spectacular autumn foliage.

November is arguably one of the best months for off-season travel within the United States. You’ll enjoy lower prices, fewer crowds, pleasant weather, autumn celebrations, culinary festivals, excellent wildlife viewing opportunities, and of course, breathtaking fall scenery from coast to coast.

Whether you want to soak up the festive mood in New York City, party in steamy New Orleans, explore living history in San Antonio missions, discover healing vortexes in Sedona, or hike to waterfalls in the Great Smokies blanketed in fall colors, November serves up sublime adventures across America waiting to be discovered.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best destinations in the USA to see fall foliage colors in November?

Some of the best places to see brilliant fall foliage in November include New England states like Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, the Great Smoky Mountains along the NC/TN border, UP Michigan, the Colorado Rockies outside Denver, Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge and the Adirondacks in upstate New York.

Where are the warmest places to visit in the USA during November?

Southern states like Florida, Arizona, New Mexico and south Texas maintain warm weather in November, as do Hawaii’s islands. Or head to southern California where cities like San Diego enjoy Mediterranean climates year-round.

What national parks are best to visit in November?

Great Smoky Mountains, Olympic and Mount Rainier National Parks are especially beautiful in November. Fall foliage coupled with fewer crowds and lowered off-season rates make it one of the best months for visiting iconic national parks across the USA.

What events happen in November in the United States?

November is chock full of beloved American events like Dia de los Muertos festivals, Thanksgiving parades and football, fall harvest and food festivals, Veteran’s Day events, acclaimed wine and beer celebrations, ballooning festivals and more. The holiday season kicks off around Thanksgiving from NYC to Chicago with tree lightings, ice skating rinks, festive markets and more.

What should I pack for visiting the USA in November?

Pack layers and waterproof outerwear as November brings cooler temperatures, storms and snow at higher elevations. Hats, gloves and scarves come in handy across northern tier states. Bring sunscreen and bathing suits for southern destinations that maintain warmer weather like Best White Sand Beaches In Florida, Hawaii, Arizona or Southern California.