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3 Autumn Trips That Are Nearby, Affordable And Beautiful

We hate to say it, but the end of summer is near. But you know, autumn isn’t half bad around these parts, and there are plenty of places for quick, easy and affordable getaways. KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley has some suggestions. 

1. North Cascades Highway

From Seattle, head north on Interstate 5, then east on Highway 20 toward Sedro-Woolley. It’s part of the Cascades Loop, a 400-mile route through the Cascades. That might be a bit much to bite off at once, but a long weekend should be enough to get you out the North Cascades Highwayand back. The route closes down in the winter, so this is a good trip for earlier in the fall.

2. Wine Country

A wine tour can be the perfect way to mark the fall. Washington's wine country has more than 350 grape growers, and there are more than 800 wineries in the state. Woodinville's wine region is a good option nearby, but if you want to get far out of town, head toward Wenatchee. And please be responsible. A designated driver – or making sure you have lodging nearby — is a good idea.

3. Fall Colors

That's right. The Evergreen State can also be the Sometimes Green State. One of Brumley’s favorite places to see fall colors is the Paradise area at Mount Rainier National Park. You’ll also find good views toward Leavenworth. To a lesser extent you’ll find some colors onthe Olympic Peninsula, but mostly, you need to look east of the Cascades.

Note: Wildfires have scorched thousands of acres in Washington this summer, and there are definitely places that have been damaged. But Brumley says there’s still plenty left untouched, and the businesses and communities near the fires could use your support. Fall is a great time to go east, and support the national parks and local businesses that count on tourism.


"Going Places" is KPLU’s weekly exploration of travel, near and far. It’s co-hosted by KPLU’s Ed Ronco and travel expert Matthew Brumley, founder ofEarthbound Expeditionson Bainbridge Island. It airs Thursdays during KPLU’s "Morning Edition," with repeat broadcasts during "All Things Considered" and "Weekend Edition Saturday." Leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below.

Ed Ronco is a former KNKX producer and reporter and hosted All Things Considered for seven years.