Take a trip to Asheville for a fall getaway not too far from Atlanta

Autumn is a great time to escape the everyday grind.Pack up the family and hit the road to attractions in Georgia or a neighboring state.The South is even more beautiful in autumn, when the leaves display their myriad colors.It's a great season to hit the links, too, thanks to smaller crowds and milder weather.Don't rule out a friends trip to learn a new culinary skill. Your stomach will thank you

Who says a vacation has to be across the country?

Travel + Leisure rounded up the 10 best fall vacations for leaf peeping and smaller crowds. While the choices span the contiguous U.S., the first spot on the list isn’t too far from Atlanta.

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In three and a half hours, you can be in Asheville, North Carolina. The city in the Blue Ridge Mountains is ideal for leaf watchers. The area has one of the country’s longest fall color seasons. This year, visitors may have even more time to see the leaves due to warmer temperatures slowing foliage color change progression.

“The quaint downtown area is filled with unique shops, galleries, breweries and restaurants, and you’re almost guaranteed to see some local street performers as you wander around,” Travel + Leisure said. “Go for a hike in nearby Pisgah National Forest to spot beautiful waterfalls among the changing leaves, or take a scenic drive through part of the park to take in the beauty without working up a sweat.”

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In addition to the natural surroundings, the North Carolina Arboretum is just south of Asheville and features a 434-acre public garden and meandering creeks. There is also the Western North Carolina Nature Center, a 42-acre zoological park where you can enjoy the fauna of the region.

“Beautiful, walkable, and calm. They’re very involved in animal conservation and all the animals have wonderful habitats. Excellent kids play areas too, there are probably 5-6 areas for kids,” one TripAdvisor review said.

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