Top choices for bus tours this fall
By Archita Datta Majumdar

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The travel and tourism industrise may have seen some massive tectonic shifts in recent years, but the overall figures for travel have been pretty strong lately. Airline travel has given way to more business travel, and road trips have gone up in number, but nothing has stopped Americans form heading out to new destinations or their favorite hotspots. International travel has seen a major rise as have domestic bus tours, which are fast becoming one of the easiest and cheapest ways to see more of the country.

Bus tours do not cost as much as rail and air, yet offer the pleasures of a road trip without the need for travelers to arrange all the details. All you need to do is pay, and you are all set for a wonderful adventure.

Naturally, the ease of travel and the cost benefits have registered with the consumers leading to more people opting for bus tours. This has been the trend for this year's spring and summer and seems to be the preferred choice for the upcoming fall travel as well.

Some of the top choices for bus tours this fall:
New York's Central Park offers visitors a breathtaking view of fall foliage.

1. New York

This five-day, four-night tour offers a comfortable stay and a trip around the all the major hotspots of the city. This allows travelers to see the Big Apple in the all new colors of the fall. The best time to see the brilliant New York foliage is between Oct. 7-11, but one can choose dates before and after these as well.

The trip will include historic landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, Ellis Island, Broadway and Ground Zero. Along with these will be visits to world famous museums, cultural and entertainment centers (including a Broadway show), and classic and colorful NYC neighborhoods. Visitors will stroll through Manhattan trying out the diverse cuisine and taking the crowded subway to get a 360-degree New York experience.

2. Niagara

The Niagara Falls rank in the global top 10 of popular places to visit all year long. In winter when the water ices over, there is no dearth of tourists to see the view, just as the height of summer when the falls roar to life.

The fall tour promises to catch both these essences, along with the brilliant foliage of Niagara Parks. The comfortable coach is complemented with hotel stays and meals. Sightseeing includes a tour of the Niagara Falls, unforgettable cruises of the waterfalls up close, a quick tour of Toronto along with the famous border regions of Canada like the Niagara by the Lake, Queen Victoria Park, Casa Loma and even a visit to the famous Fallsview Casino.

3. Great Lakes

For those who want experience the vibrancy of nature up close and personal, a tour of the Great Lakes this fall promises to be unforgettable. The tour starts in Milwaukee and then heads north along Lake Michigan.

The landscape abounds in natural beauty with the shimmering blue waters of Green Bay, the green wonders of Door County giving way to the upper Michigan peninsula, which offers a breathtaking view of Lake Superior and Lake Huron. The water changes colors from aqua to purple as the bus ambles by the sandy beaches and weathered rocks among the brilliant foliage along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan.

4. New England

The beauty and charm of New England is perhaps best felt in the fall. New England fall foliage bus tours have been a popular choice every fall, and it is no different this year. One can experience the picture-perfect landscape in Norman Rockwell's New England tour, which catches the essence of Bostonian unique ethnicity in a compact five-day tour.

Then there is the nine-hour motorcoach tour of the New England countryside that sets out from Boston. An eight-day fall foliage tour of the region any time between September and October includes nature and famous attractions clubbed in one. A tour of the New England back roads in the fall promises spectacular foliage through four states. A seven-day trip from North Carolina includes fall sights in Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire and other places.

Other options include a 10-day New England Traditions tour, a 13-day private foliage tour from Arkansas or Texas to New England, the four-day Vermont Fall Foods & Farms tour and the four-day New Hampshire Fall Foliage tour along the Kancamagus Highway scenic drive.

5. Cross-country tours

Perhaps the most adventurous and exciting trip is the Cross Country USA tour offered by Green Tortoise Adventure Travel in California. This fall you can change the way you experience the foliage and the colors by choosing not one destination, but a number of them. Travelers can see how the colors change and the leaves fall in their cross-country adventures. The trips can last from four days to more than a month, depending on the extent of the tour chosen.

Archita Datta Majumdar has been writing for various industries for more than 14 years. She has contributed articles to The Economic Times, the leading financial daily of India, and she loves research, business analysis and knowledge management, which paves the way for a steep learning curve.