Here are some of the best places to travel this fall

- The end of August signals back to school and the start of fall. But in Los Angeles, land of eternal sunshine, experiencing the change of season really requires a change of state.

Travel journalist and frequent New York Times contributor Amy Tara Koch joined us on Good Day LA to talk about out-of-the box destinations to tap into for crisper weather, colorful leaves and activities that bring autumn to life.

Bonus -- None of them require a six hour flight to the East Coast!

1. Montana: Whitefish, Glacier

In the fall, Glacier National Park becomes less congested so the chances seeing wildlife increases.  Stay in the charming town of  Whitefish  (25 miles to West entrance of Glacier National Park) and  hike Glacier and Take the famous Going to the Sun Road, explore  remote valleys along the perimeter. In Whitefish, there is hiking (and horseback riding) around alpine lakes and timbered ridges, boat rentals ExploreWhitefish.com

Lodging

The Firebrand Hotel deluxe double, $132/night . firebrandhotel.com or Grouse Mountain Lodge $139/night  grousemountainlodge.com

SPLURGE: Glamping At The Resort at PAWS UP (Greenough)

Glamping on 37,000 acres of Montana wilderness in a tent tricked out with fluffy beds, heated floors, heat and air conditioning, personal camp chefs and butlers is true unabashed luxury. Activities include horseback riding and authentic cattle drives, river rafting on the Blackfoot River, ATV tours, archery, fly-fishing (September is one of the best times of year to do so), clay shooting and a brand new mountain bike park. Tents in the fall start at $1,255 / night (double occupancy) and include three meals daily, house beer and wine, transportation to the airport

2. Oregon: Portland/Mt. Hood

Fly into Portland and spend an afternoon or a night. Then, drive to Mt. Hood for hiking, biking and rafting on Trillium Lake. There are flora and fauna hikes with Mt. Hood Adventure (or self-guided) that lead to lakes and waterfalls. September is the season for Chinook and Coho fishing on the Clackamas River. Highlight for families: Philip Foster Farm  to grind corn, wash clothes the way pioneers did. You can visit Oregon pioneer historical (and scenic) sites on the Barlow Road, the last leg of the Oregon Trail using the Mt. Hood Territory Heritage Trail app.

Lodging

The Resort at the Mountain ($180)  or Mt. Hood Vacation Rental offers the first 2 nights at reduced rates, add a 3rd night for 1/2 price and the 4th night FREE.

3. San Juan Islands, Washington

At laid back Friday Harbor, You’ll bike or hike through craggy shorelines and woodlands seeing abundant wildlife- wild turkeys, red foxes, bald eagles, peregrine falcons, seals and porpoises-along the way. Orca sightings are the most thrilling. You can spot  them from Lime Kiln Point State Park or get up close and personal with a whale watching experience with a fleet of biologists. You can also sea kayak alongside the Orcas with Sea Quest Expeditions

Lodging:

Snug Harbor start at $269 one bedroom,

Earthbox Inn, $207 for a double queen room.

4. Park City

In the summer, the ski resorts of Park City and Solitude are transformed into an alpine playground. September offers the same recreation--hike, bike, raft, SUP-but with a less expensive price tag. In Park City, there is a hot air balloon festival in September. Solitude has stargazing and Sunday concerts. Both places are close to the lively town of Park City.

Lodging

Canyons-Grand Hotel Summit $182

Solitude-The Inn is open Thursday - Sunday through Oct, $164.

5. Chicago

Once dubbed Paris on the Prairie, Chi-town is as sophisticated as it is friendly. Bike the lakefront trail, visit Millennium Park with it’s famous Bean sculpture , hit the Shedd Aquarium, and Lincoln Park Zoo take an architecture river cruise. Highlight: a baseball game at iconic Wrigley Field (winner of world series!) or a Big 10 football game at Northwestern University . Bonus: Chicago was just named best restaurant city in America 2017 by Bon Appetite Magazine

Lodging

Hollander Design Hostel, Starting at $160

Doubletree Magnificent Mile, $189

Tips:

For lowest fares, set an alert on airfare watchdog . Program your destination and you'll receive emails when rates go down.

Call hotels. "Shoulder season" is in between Labor Day and Thanksgiving, often with special promotional rates and packages.

Check your credit card for points accrued. Use these for air fare. Also, award tickets are easier to score in shoulder season. 

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