As the beautiful warm colors of fall appear and we enjoy the last streak of brightness before the bare of winter sets in, it could be a good time to consider a trip to immerse ourselves in this natural beauty.
There are many trips to enjoy the vibrant colors of fall across the U.S. that don’t have to break the bank and some areas may surprise you as sites of beauty during this short and special time.
Some of the below chosen spots may only be a matter of hours away in the car so get your woolens on and comfy walking shoes and enjoy some time breathing in the fresh air and hearing the crunch of leaves under your feet. The below spots cannot be beaten for beauty.
1. Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia
Explore the winding roads and picturesque scenes of this idyllic place with more than 20 byways and backways, two of these being in the Mid-Ohio Valley, for you to explore. There’s also the almighty site of the Great Smoky Mountains surrounded by an explosion of red, gold and orange leaves.
2. Lake District, New Hampshire
Offering a 115-mile loop this area is the ultimate scenic drive and don’t forget the circle around Lake Winnipesaukee. If you’d rather be out of the car the beautiful fall colors can be seen with a trip on the water. It’s said to be the perfect destination in November.
3. Vermont (Green Mountains)
Boasting the highest percentage of maple trees in New England not to mention mountains there is plenty to explore including the Green Mountain Byway and the funky small towns of Stowe and Waterbury. The best time is considered to be the second week of October.
4. Smoky Mountains, Tennessee
Leaf peeping starts early in these parts with a fall foliage show starting in early October on these mountains. The 11-mile loop around Cades Cove winds past beautiful foliage surrounded by streams and waterfalls.
5. Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
Enjoy fall foliage combined with over 50 waterfalls that this area has to offer. The nearby Mountain Hood combined with the warmer fall temperatures offers the perfect combination for a trip spent outdoors.
6. Berkshires, Massachusetts
The Central and Berkshire Mountains areas offer stunning views and river valleys ideal for seeing the changing colors from all heights.
7. Leavenworth, Washington
This Bavarian hotspot offers a trip out of the ordinary for the average tourist. Set in the Cascade Mountains it’s a town with quirky shops and restaurants and amazing fall foliage.
8. Adirondacks, New York
Explore the 170-mile Olympic Trail connecting Lake Ontario to Lake Champlain filled with oak, maple, birch and beech trees whose vibrant colors start to appear mid September in the higher elevations, spreading further down as you head into October.
9. Taos, New Mexico
Located at the base of the Sangre de Cristo range of the Southern Rockies, Taos makes an ideal spot for leaf peeping. While there is some red and orange colors the main fall color in northern New Mexico is yellow from the aspen trees.
10. Talimena National Scenic Byway, Oklahoma
This understated southeast Oklahoma beauty spot offers amazing fall foliage dotted along the 54-mile route that twists and turns through the Ouchita National Forest.
11. Aspen, Colorado
Colorado is well known for its vibrant display of Aspens that dazzle visitors with their bronze and yellow leaves through the fall. The mountain town of Aspen is set on the road to Independence Pass, the highest paved pass in North America, standing at more than 12,000 feet above sea level.
12. Bar Harbor, Maine
Offering the beauty of the coast with the splendid Cadillac Mountains makes it popular with boaters, bikers and hikers, especially in Acadia National Park.
13. Zion National Park, Utah
A desert isn’t the first place that springs to mind when considering fall foliage hotspots but the brightly colored trees and brush in this beautiful national park offer an explosion of color in the fall months. Hikers can also experience the Emerald Pools trail and waterfalls framed by brightly colored trees.
14. Ozark National Forest, Arkansas
Explore more than a million acres of brightly-colored wilderness in this forest, while never been too far away from a host spring or spa.
15. June Lake Loop, California
The June Lake Loop offers visitors access to all four of the area’s lakes: which all have their own individual fall look. Grant Lake towers over Rattle Snake Cove, Silver Lake is surrounded by Aspens, Gull Lake offers a burst of yellow fall color and June Lake is always a hit with its golden foliage reflecting off the turquoise lake.
16. Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Looking for a coastal escape? While the colorful trees may draw you to Cape Cod, there’s no shortage of things to do there.
Less crowds, lower prices, vacation rentals offering weekend rates, great weather, that’s why you should spend a fall weekend on Cape Cod!
17. Upper Peninsula, Michigan
If you can brave the cold weather way up north, this tiny region on the coast of Lake Superior is worth a visit.
Along with the gorgeous trees, there are almost 100 waterfalls to see.
18. Litchfield Hills, Connecticut
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Tucked up in the Northwest corner of Connecticut, the Litchfield Hills embody inland New England.
Whether it’s hiking to a waterfall, roller coaster riding, skiing, picking fruit, or kayaking down a river, there should be enough to keep you occupied while you appreciate the views around you.
19. Stowe, Vermont
It’s no wonder Stowe is called “Fall’s Color Capital.”
With so many plants turning varying shades of yellow, red, orange and brown from September through mid-October, it’s a spectacular place to hike and ride.