The Ultimate Fall Foliage Road Trip

Fall officially begins on September 22, so it’s the perfect time to start planning your autumn road trip. Lucky for you, we know when and where the best places to see the fall foliage are! The east coast offers some of the brightest views during this season, so we’ve decided to highlight the 7 best places from Maine to Georgia to check out the beautiful autumn leaves. Hopefully our virtual road trip will inspire you to take one of your own!

Acadia National Park, Maine

MEWe begin our road trip at the most northern part of the US on the east coast: Maine. Acadia National Park offers some of the most breathtaking fall foliage views in the state. Since the park is way up in the north, it gets cooler quicker than the rest of the country, so the best time to see the leaves is in late September. While you visit the park, you can hike, bike, take a boat ride, get a guided forest tour, visit a historical museum, visit the wild gardens, and more. You can even eat lunch at a dining facility in the park, Jordan Pond House. Learn more about Acadia National Park here: https://www.nps.gov/acad/index.htm

 

Adirondack Mountains, New York

NYThe Adirondack Mountains are the next stop on our trip because it’s the best place in New York to see the beautiful fall views! The peak fall color season is anywhere between early and mid October. In the Adirondacks you can hike the many trails they have, walk along the river banks, kayak around the lakes, or take the Adirondack Scenic Railroad to take in all of the brightly colored foliage. There are endless activities to do here, including fishing, hunting, white water rafting, golfing, and so much more. Interested in visiting? Check out their official website: http://visitadirondacks.com

 

Presque Isle State Park, Pennsylvania

PA1This 3,200 acre park is home to 4 million visitors every year, many of which come for the beautiful fall scenery along Lake Erie. The best time to travel here to see the fall leaves would be in mid October, which is why it’s our next pit stop on our fall foliage quest. Presque Isle State Park has several things to enjoy, including fresh water beaches you can walk along, trails you can hike or bike, and the Lady Kate, a boat that will take you along the coast of Lake Erie so you can get an up-close look at the changing leaves. The tour lasts an hour and a half, and is one of the best ways to see the vivid foliage. Learn more about the Presque Isle State Park here: http://www.presqueisle.org/

 

Shenandoah Valley, Virginia

VAAs we travel south, a staple in beautiful fall scenery is the Shenandoah Valley. This location can provide you with some of the most stunning autumn views in Virginia. Shenandoah Valley doesn’t see peak fall foliage season until mid October, just like our Pennsylvania foliage location. The quaint area along the Blue Ridge Parkway covers over 800 acres and is home to a number of historical grounds. Bring a picnic or watch basket weaving demonstrations during your road trip visit, and learn more about the area here: http://www.visitshenandoah.org/

 

Asheville, North Carolina

NCAsheville is a must-see city for anyone who is a fan of fall foliage, which is why we are headed there next! Surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, the city offers incredible views of the changing leaves no matter where you are in the town. The Asheville peak fall scenery season is mid to late October. While you’re here, you can check out the award-winning restaurants in the area, visit the lavish Biltmore estate, or take in the amazing views in a hot air balloon. If you want to find out more about what Asheville has to offer, click here: https://www.exploreasheville.com/

 

Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

TNNext, we travel west to the musical state of Tennessee! The best place to see fall foliage here is The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The park is home to over 100 species of trees, making the fall scenery unbelievably bright. Peak fall colors happen in mid to late October, and you can view it in a variety of ways. You can take walks through the park, hike vigorous trails to the tops of cliffs and overlooks, or take a scenic drive around the mountains on Clingmans Dome Road or the Cherohala Skyway. Whichever way you decide to go, you’ll be exposed to the vivid foliage Tennessee has to offer. Visit their official website to get more details: https://www.nps.gov/grsm/index.htm

 

Blue Ridge, Georgia

GAThe final destination on our east coast fall foliage road trip is in north Georgia. In this state, the best place to see the fall views is in Blue Ridge in late October or early November. The kaleidoscope of colors in this mountain range is unlike any other. In the city of Blue Ridge, you can hike or bike the endless they have to offer, take a train through the foothills of the mountains, or even zipline through the forest! The small town is perfect for a fall getaway and always offers great food and entertainment. Learn more here: http://www.blueridgemountains.com/

 

West Coast Bonus: Aspen, Coloradocolorado-918090_1280Don’t live on the east coast? No worries! The west coast has lots of locations that offer beautiful fall scenery as well. The top place to go in the west during fall is Aspen, Colorado. Although this city may be known for it’s winters, the fall season there is truly spectacular. There are a number of scenic roads to drive, lakes to explore, and mountains to hike, like the iconic Maroon Bells. The best time to travel here for fall views is late September. Read more on the beauty Aspen has to offer here: http://www.colorado.com/cities-and-towns/aspen

We hope you enjoyed learning about some of the best places to see fall foliage across the US! Do you have a favorite place to see the vivid colors of autumn? Tell us in the comments below!


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17 Comments


  1. Adirondack’s by far the greatest. Several years ago visited in late Sept and first week of October. What a sight! Colorful leaves and on the top of Whiteface Mtn in LAKE PLACID snow!

  2. Lake George region is outstanding, plenty of interesting places to stay and many good restaurants. Tour the lake by boat and enjoy a fine meal while watching the beautiful scenery.

  3. I was born and raised in South Florida. I have never seen the leaves change color, nor have I ever seen snow. Need to go on a roadtrip!

    1. Michelle, It’s not just the colors, there’s a scent in the air that’s remarkable! How fallen leaves make that scent I don’t know, but I miss it here in La.

  4. Great overall route to see the leaves changing. It is still green here in the Pittsburgh PA area; though the leaves are starting to fall.

  5. White mountains of New Hampshire can’t be beat , a real nice area and great road that runs across the state ( cangamangus ) Hwy ….. Check it out this road follows a great flowing river the Saco and the views of the water falls are breath taking / the hwy starts in Conway NH and crosses the state about a 35-40 mile road with plenty of rest areas on the river or mountain side … Enjoy and take a trip to the top of Mt Eashington if you dare !!! Enjoy .

  6. I am a west coast girl and I love the change of seasons here, too. The colors are so beautiful. I would not live anywhere else. The bright blues of the Pacific Ocean and the evergreens mixed in with the changing trees. It is just so lovely here.

  7. i live in the adirondack mountains.. the colors are always very vivid and awe-inspiring.. 🙂 would not live anywhere else..

  8. Since I’ve moved, the Only thing I miss about N.E. In. is seeing the fall colors, La. just does not compare.

  9. I live in Pigeon Forge Tennessee, just a short drive to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and it is beautiful in the fall…

    1. I have visited the Great Smoky Mountains in the summer and I am looking forward to visiting in the Fall. The mountains are breathtaking.

    2. Here in Nashville, the good foliage barely last, about a week in mid October, before the cold fronts blow away the yellows and reds. Anyway, it’s good to know that a few hours east has great fall foliage!