In fall, there's nowhere more spectacular than Devil's Lake State Park, the most-visited park in Wisconsin.
The Ice Age National Scenic Trail loops around it atop 500-foot quartzite cliffs, giving hikers one great view after another.
In fall, Door County's many apple orchards, pumpkin patches and vineyards provide eye candy for tourists, who flock in on weekends.
What to do: Hike in five state parks, 18 county parks and 28 natural areas. Shop at orchard markets and dozens of galleries. Go to a fish boil. Tour wineries and lighthouses, even haunted lighthouses.
Details: See Fall in Door County.
In the bluffs of northeast Iowa, Decorah has a lot going for it: a spectacular location, a scenic bicycle trail, fine restaurants and craft breweries and a rich cultural scene rarely found in a town of only 8,000.
Details: For more, see A pocket of Norway.
For Minnesotans, the stretch of Lake Superior they call the North Shore is hallowed ground. The cobblestone beaches, the dramatic river gorges and the panoramic views of a vast inland sea all make their hearts beat a little faster, especially in fall.
When to go: Right now through the last week of September in inland maple forest (pictured).
Events to catch: Sept. 25-Oct. 4, Art Along the Lake: Fall Studio Tour.
The biggest asset of this three-college town is its location, right on the Mississippi River in southwest Wisconsin's coulee country.
Getting there: Why not take the train? From the west, Amtrak's Empire Builder arrives at 10:47 a.m.; from the east, at 7:11 p.m.
Events to catch: Sept. 4-Oct. 4, Bicycle Festival, with free route maps and giveaways.
Details: See Cruising La Crosse.