Is anyone ready for summer’s end yet? Even if you still haven’t had enough fun in the sun, it’s still not too soon to be making plans for the fall. After all, you really don’t want to leave things to the last minute and fall behind in your travel planning. So, in order to assist you with your autumn adventure itinerary, here are the 21 best places to see fantastic fall foliage in the USA.
1. Bar Harbor, Maine
Beautiful Bar Harbor is reported to be a regular “hotbed of activity” in the middle of October. That’s because not only are tourists flocking there to take in the briny, sea air but also to see the colorful autumn foliage. After taking in the trees, you can also browse in the numerous quaint, little boutique shops downtown, and visit Acadia National Park. There you can go bird watching, hiking, kayaking, or even whale watching as well.
2. The Ozark National Forest, Arkansas
The outstanding Ozark National Forest features over 1.2 million acres of superlative scenery. If you are interested in seeing the fall foliage here at its very peak then the best time to be here is during the month of October. Here there is a lot of room to take a leisurely stroll through the striking fall shades of red, gold, and orange. When you’ve had your share of shooting pictures of the lovely leaves, you can explore the magnificent mountains, parks, rivers, and springs here too.
3. The Catskill Mountains, New York
Also known as simply the Catskills, the Catskill Mountains, are actually a physiographic province of the considerably larger, renowned Appalachian Mountains, found in the southeastern portion of the state. They are usually geographically defined as the sections near or in the 700,000-acre forest preserve known as Catskill Park. This undeveloped area is protected under state law. Here you can take a scenic drive or even go hiking then later visit the local breweries and cideries. Be sure to visit the Catskill towns of Livingston Manor, New Paltz, and, of course, Woodstock.
4. Huntington, New York
Founded in 1653, the noteworthy town of Huntington is one of 10 different towns you will find in Suffolk County. You will discover Huntington nestled on Long Island’s north shore in the northwestern part of the county. While you’re in the area, be sure to spend some time in Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve too. It’s a popular 1600+-acre state park found on lovely Lloyd Neck, a peninsula that extends into Long Island Sound. It includes 27 hiking trails, maple, hickory, and dogwood trees, as well as sassafras and tulips.
5. Stowe, Vermont
Veteran visitors say that no one should be surprised that Stowe, Vermont is known as “Fall’s Color Capital.” There are a lot of plants and trees that turn various shades of brown, orange, red, and yellow. The best time to visit is between September and the middle of October.
It’s a great time to take a hike or bike ride. If it gets a little chilly for you, take a scenic drive down the popular Mount Mansfield Auto Toll Road. If you also like art and ice cream, then all the better! You can check out mighty Mount Mansfield and the Ben & Jerry’s Waterbury Factory. There are regular arts and crafts events too.
6. The Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
This is the largest federal scenic property in the country, situated between Oregon and Washington. Here you can study the natural contrasts between desert and rainforest, and alpine meadows and sea-level passages. Here you can hike a network of trails that run from windy ridges and lowland forests on both sides of the gorge.
There are also more than 50 waterfalls. Ah, but if your focus is on fall foliage, visit this place during the months of October and November. Travel experts confirm that Mount Hood metamorphosizes into a visual symphony of autumn colors.
7. The Eastern Shore of Maryland
The popular Eastern Shore of Maryland is mainly (and unsurprisingly) on the east side of the well-known Chesapeake Bay. It includes nine counties. Seven of them feature Chesapeake Bay coastlines.
This relatively rural region also includes Maryland’s singular coast on the Atlantic Ocean. It is also part of the Delmarva Peninsula which is shared between Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. See the gorgeous leaves in the Elk Neck State Park region. Then sample some Maryland crabs as well.
8. North Conway, New Hampshire
North Conway is a CDP (census-designated place) in eastern Carroll County. This all-year resort area is also the largest village in the town called Conway. Take a scenic drive on the 34-mile stretch of Kancamagus Highway in the beautiful White Mountain National Forest.
Take in the memorable vistas during early October. You can also go biking, hiking, and rock climbing. Dine at one of the local restaurants. Do you enjoy shopping? North Conway is famous for its surprisingly large number of outlet shops.
9. Lenox, Massachusetts
Lenox, in Berkshire County, is a little but culturally rich town. After all, it is home to both Tanglewood and Shakespeare & Company. More importantly for leaf lovers, a visit here will reportedly put you right in the center of Massachusetts’ fall foliage-viewing action. The beautiful Berkshires is said to be an exceptional “New England alternative” to Burlington, Vermont, or New Hampshire. The best time to experience the vivid autumn colors in the area is roughly the middle of October. Be sure to go biking or hiking to the popular Pleasant Valley Sanctuary too.
10. The Poconos, Pennsylvania
Also known as The Poconos, The Pocono Mountains is actually a cultural, geological, and geographical region found in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Spanning an area of roughly 2.400 square miles, the gently winding roads here are pretty much made for fervent fans of fall foliage. Veteran visitors recommend riding route 507 around lovely Lake Wallenpaupack. It is said by some to be “a wonderful road trip” for folks searching for a calm, quiet, autumnal view. The best time to visit is generally from late September through the middle of October.
11. Taos, New Mexico
Taos, New Mexico might not immediately come to mind when focusing on fall foliage. Most people probably think more along the lines of places in the Northeast. Travelers in America’s Southwest can also see some seasonal color changes in the deserts.
Indeed, New Mexico’s Southwestern landscape is said by some to be “a must-see” in autumn. Try one of the most scenic drives in the nation. Experience The Enchanted Circle. It is an 83-mile drive that joins the towns of Eagle Nest, Questa, Red River, and Taos, and includes some memorable views.
12. Amicalola Falls State Park, Georgia
The popular Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge encompasses an area of approximately 829 acres. It is nestled between Dahlonega and Ellijay in Dawsonville. More importantly, this is also where you will find the tallest waterfall in the state, Amicalola Falls.
It is 729 feet high. Visitors can actually see it from several different hiking trails in the park. The bottom of this remarkable waterfall provides travelers with a wonderful view of the state’s plant life, including oak and maple trees. You can enjoy the fall colors and all the surrounding nature to boot.
13. Franklin, Tennessee
The city of Franklin is the official county seat of Williamson County. You will find it less than 21 miles south of legendary Nashville. Leaf lovers should visit in late October or early November.
The colors are especially bright in early November. The place is alive with color from the native hickory, maple, oak, and popular poplar trees. Take a brisk stroll through historic downtown and the foliage favored Natchez Trace Parkway. Arrive the Saturday before Halloween and you can even attend the holiday-themed annual fundraiser known as Pumpkinfest. Proceeds benefit the worthy Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County.
14. The Staten Island Greenbelt, New York
People who live in the “Big Apple” do not need to go very far in order to take a stroll through one of the state’s most beautiful forests. The Staten Island Greenbelt is essentially a system of adjoining public parkland and other natural areas situated in Staten Island’s central hills. This is New York City’s second-biggest component of parks. It includes beech, hickory, maple, and oak trees. There are even tulips. It all adds up to an attractive hike for city dwellers who just can’t get away for the weekend.
15. Cape May, New Jersey
Hasn’t everyone already heard of Cape May? If not, the city of Cape May can be found on the tip of the Cape May Peninsula in cozy Cape May County. It is an old, well-known seaside resort popular with tourists.
The best time for leaf peepers to visit is roughly from the middle of October through November. Kill two birds with one stone and take in the changing fall colors from one of the historic lighthouses in the area. Somerset County is also nice.
16. Brooklyn, New York
What’s so special about the borough of Brooklyn, New York? It turns out that it is actually a great palace for dazzling urbanites to get a fast fall foliage fix. For it is here you’ll find the beautiful Brooklyn Botanical Garden.
This famous botanical garden stretches across 52 acres. It includes paved pathways, special plant pavilions, interesting themed gardens, and species of plants from around the globe. You can take in all the striking colors of autumn in full bloom right there in the city if you visit from mid to late October.
17. Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Most experienced travelers already are aware of the fact that Cape Cod is a traditionally popular summer destination. Ah, but this geographic cape is more than that. Life-long lovers of leaves, however, know that Cape Cod includes its own individualistic autumnal charms.
This is a great place to appreciate the changing colors of Northeastern America. Need a bit more to seal the deal? You can also go pumpkin picking and visit an actual cranberry bog.
18. Aspen, Colorado
Aspen, home of Aspen Highlands, offers some of the best terrain skiing in the country. was named for its attractive aspen trees. They are known to turn a wonderful shade of yellow-gold in autumn. The best time to see fall foliage is right before ski season officially opens.
Then you can enjoy a number of different outdoor activities and see the colors as well. Be sure to stop at nearby Maroon Bells too. Not to be confused with Maroon 5, Maroon Bells are two of Colorado’s most famous mountains.
19. Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
The famous Wisconsin Dells is a gorgeous glacier-born gorge found along the mighty Wisconsin River. The distinctive Dells are surprisingly peaceful in the fall. It makes focusing on the fall foliage especially easy and enjoyable.
Some of the favorite attractions here include river walks, various boat tours, and going sightseeing in popular Devil’s Lake State Park. You can even buy an “I Did It In The Wisconsin Dells” t-shirt for a souvenir. (Yours truly did!)
20. The Massapequa Preserve, New York
Massapequa Preserve is situated in the heart of the handsome hamlet of Massapequa on Long Island. It covers an area of 423 acres. Travel writers confirm that this preserve is arguably one of the area’s “most beautiful parks.” If you would like to see fall foliage without having to travel too far from New York City, this is one of the best spots to do so. The best time to visit is from late October through early November.
21. The Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Washington
This U.S. National Forest situated in Okanogan County encompasses 1,499,013 acres. It’s bordered by British Columbia, Canada to the north. Okanogan and Omac are the two closest, significant towns. The best time to look at leaves here is in the middle of October. For it is then that the lovely Lake Ann / Maple Pass Loop Trail is at its prettiest complete with stunning shades of orange, red, and yellow.