20 Best Places to Spot Fall Foliage in America
Photogenic doesn’t begin to describe these top leaf-peeping destinations across the country.
Big Sky Country is undeniably captivating. And Whitefish certainly fits into that category. The “secret season” brings clear skies, sunshine, and an abundance of captivating colors. Aspen and tamarack (also known as larch) trees turn a golden yellow in early October. Whether you prefer canoeing or cycling, there’s no shortage of activities. Afterward, get some rest at The Garden Wall Inn. Speaking of, these are the most charming B&Bs in every state.
Lake Placid, New York
Lake Placid is among the most idyllic spots in America. So it should come as no surprise that this upstate retreat lands on our list. Lakes, mountains, and unspoiled forests contribute to the postcard-worthy panorama. Come fall, the deciduous trees are in all their glory. Drive along the 170-mile Olympic Byway in early October to catch a glimpse of oaks, sugar maples, and birch.
Situated on the doorstep of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg impresses with its mix of high-altitude attractions and awe-inspiring scenic splendor. Mother Nature puts on a sensational show that lasts from early October to mid-November. For unsurpassed views, venture to the Space Needle, a 407-foot-tall observation tower. Here are 15 cozy cabins for a last-minute weekend getaway.
With its unmistakable mix of fantastic foliage, New England charm, and outdoor adventure, Stowe is the ultimate fall escape. After a day of exploration, warm up with a cup of spiced cider before hunkering down at a cozy inn. Pro tip: Prime time to see the leaves change is the tail end of September. You can always call Vermont’s Seasonal Hotline just to confirm.
New England is synonymous with the seasonal shift. Washington, in northwest Connecticut, is as picturesque a place as any. Go in late September through early October when the landscape is cloaked in scarlet, gold, and auburn. Historic architecture and rural pastimes up the postcard-worthy appeal. Make a weekend of it and book a room at Mayflower Grace Inn & Spa, which ranks among the 50 incredible places you can actually spend the night.
This laid-back town in wine country is prized for its hot springs, mud baths, and vineyards. It’s also the perfect place to enjoy vino tasting and leaf peeping. Start the day with a trek through the redwoods, maples, and black oaks at Bothe-Napa Valley State Park. After an afternoon of sipping world-class Chardonnay, bed down at Calistoga Ranch.
Bristol, Rhode Island
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Newport may get the glory but Bristol stands apart with its historic architecture, relaxed ambiance, and seasonal festivals. Foliage chasers will find plenty to love at Blithewold Gardens and Colt State Park. Take a break from gawking at the gorgeous landscape to meander through the quaint downtown area.
Most people associate Kennebunkport with lobster shacks, ocean vistas, and pristine shores. But summer isn’t the only time to visit. This seaside stunner is also fabulous come fall. Crimson and gold treetops in arrive in mid-October. Temps in the 50s only enhance the experience. During your stay, stop by the Seashore Trolley Museum.
Maryland is more than just crab boils. Oakland delights leafage fans with vibrant shades of copper, vermilion, and gold. Plan a jaunt to Swallow Falls State Park for a close-up look at towering ancient hemlocks and pine. Bonus: the 53-foot cascade is will take your breath away. Find out cozy inns to book during peak fall foliage season.
Trade snow-covered slopes for kaleidoscopic peaks and head to Breckenridge in the fall. You’ll be rewarded with golden aspens as far as the eye can see. And the panoramas are particularly exceptional from Boreas Pass Road. For beer lovers, Breckenridge hosts one of the largest Oktoberfest celebrations in the region.