As the leaves change colors, this fall is the ideal time to hit the open road. Timing is everything, but you can see fall foliage through early November. Along the way, there are plenty of landmarks and museums to capture your interest. With a bit of planning, travelers can make a day trip, an entire weekend, or put those vacation days to work with fall foliage excursions. Here are seven states along with route options that have great views ripe for an autumn adventure.
New York State
Tupper Lake: In the Adirondacks of New York State, Tupper Lake is one of the “first to fall” in New York. To get to Tupper Lake, you will drive through Adirondack Park. At 6 million acres, it’s the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United States and home to many hiking trails or lakes for canoeing and kayaking.
Visit The Wild Center, an interactive museum that showcases how people and nature can thrive together. Head to The Wild Center’s Wild Walk for the trail above the treetops. Stand in the eagle’s nest 40 feet off the ground and get a bird’s eye view of the trees along with 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains. Other outside adventures at The Wild Center include walking the woodland trails across its 115-acre campus, discovering the magic of the Pines Play Area, stepping into Musical Forest for an immersive sound experience, and guided canoe trips.
Where to Stay: Unwind in luxury at The Point. Enjoy this private lake-front 75-acre estate and experience a fanciful log cabin mansion retreat.
New York City
Travelers flock to New York City in the fall for a reason. Many parks, including Central Park and Madison Square Park, show off fall foliage framed by New York City’s skyline and iconic landmarks such as the Flatiron Building near Madison Square Park. Travelers who want to try something a little different can also take in the city’s stunning autumn colors from the water with City Cruises by Hornblower’s specialty “Fall Foliage” cruises. These seasonal excursions take the scenic route up the Hudson River and past the George Washington Bridge, allowing passengers to enjoy the season’s golden hues as well as the iconic city skyline.
Where to Stay: Centrally located in NoMad just north of Madison Square Park, The James New York, a 337-room luxury boutique hotel, is the perfect place to stay and a great jumping-off point to explore the city.
Lake Tahoe: For a longer journey on the West Coast, road trippers may enjoy a Sierra Adventure. To start, begin your trip at Lake Tahoe, the largest alpine lake in North America. Trees in North Lake Tahoe transform with stunning red, orange, and yellow hues from September to November. Leaf-peeping hikers should head to Page Meadows just south of Tahoe City for a wealth of trails that lead through miles of fall foliage.
Where to Stay: Resort at Squaw Creek offers unique views, inspiring amenities, and easy access to Squaw Valley and Lake Tahoe. This resort features amenities ranging from award-winning golf to ski-in/ski-out access.
Mammoth Lakes: Cruise through Mammoth Lakes. Take a pit stop and catch panoramic views of Mammoth Lakes’ scenic fall foliage by taking advantage of a gondola ride up Mammoth Mountain. The gondola climbs to the mountain’s summit at 11,053 feet/3,369 meters for one-of-a-kind views. After the ride, hike through Rock Creek to catch one of the crimson and golden backdrops.
Where to Stay: Mammoth Mountain Inn makes guests feel at home with 213 rooms with ski access in late fall and early winter, an outdoor pool, and more.
Yosemite: Yosemite National Park is open and safe for travelers to visit just in time for fall. Stop at what is known as “the grandest view in The West”—Glacier Point—which takes in all of Yosemite’s significant landmarks, including Half Dome’s iconic profile and shimmering Vernal and Nevada Falls.
Where to Stay: Stay at the recently renovated Tenaya Lodge Explorer Cabins, which includes 50 two-bedroom cabins surrounded by picturesque views that combine the refined comforts of a modern cabin and the perks of a full-service resort.
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park: Be awed by giant sequoias at Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park. Known best for its massive trees, including General Sherman, the world’s largest tree, the park boasts bright fall colors.
Where to Stay: The Darling Hotel in the heart of downtown Visalia—one of the gateway cities into Sequoia National Park—is a boutique hotel that has been restored to show off the sleek, stylized beauty of the 1930s Art Deco period paired with the small-town warmth, courtesy, and charms of the Central Valley.
Burlington: Located at the heart of the Green Mountain State, the quaint city of Burlington sits on the edge of picturesque Lake Champlain and embraces all things fall. Colder weather paints the Green Mountain state in hues of red, orange, and yellow. Take in the season’s foliage on a complimentary bike from the hotel and go on a self-run brewery hop, trying everything from IPAs to sours at some of the country’s top breweries and cider houses.
Where to Stay: Book a stay at the locally-inspired and independently owned Hotel Vermont and be captivated by the lobby’s wood-burning fireplace as soon as you walk through the door. The rustic yet modern accommodations, local artwork, and numerous Vermont partnerships add even more charm to every visit.
Stowe: The Historic Toll Road experiences fall’s beauty in Vermont with a relaxing walk on a nature path or a challenging Mount Mansfield summit. A fifteen-minute hike or a full-day adventure is at your fingertips within a short walk or drive of the lodge. Along the way, make a few stops to see stunning views of Lake Champlain, fall foliage, and the Adirondack Mountains along this 4.5-mile long road.
Another great option is to take a tour. The Waterbury-Stowe Fall Foliage Day Trip from ToursByLocals will show you just why this town is referred to as “Fall’s Color Capital.”
Where to Stay: The Lodge at Spruce Peak is located at the base of Stowe’s iconic Mount Mansfield. Hyatt’s Spruce Peak offers guests over 300 beautiful stay options, including The Lodge, a luxurious 4-diamond resort at the center of The Village, a large luxury rental collection, and the highly coveted Spruce Peak Penthouses.
Take to the open road, this fall and spend some time exploring the Ocean State for foliage. Rhode Island provides the perfect getaway for those looking to enjoy classic New England fall festivities. The state harvests a cornucopia of fall activities and brilliant foliage throughout November.
Blackstone Valley: Explore Lincoln Woods, where freshwater beaches are shaded by golden yellow and red trees. Enjoy some family fun in the “Apple Valley” with an abundance of family-owned farms where travelers can pick seasonal fruits or experience the 11-mile long Blackstone River Bikeway.
Providence: Prospect Terrace, a quaint park perched on a hill overlooking the city, is a perfect place to snap some photos and take a rest from walking. Fall is also an excellent time to make the most of the outdoors by going kayaking. Take in the view of picturesque bridges, cobblestone walkways, and green riverbanks as you paddle along the Providence and Woonasquatucket Rivers via Providence Kayak Company. or take a self-guided walking tour of Providence’s historic downtown.
Where to Stay: The Beatrice is Downtown Providence’s newest boutique hotel located in the historic district complete with Ignazio Cipriani’s first Bellini Restaurant and private rooftop Club in the New England region.
South County: Drive along the Ocean State’s coastline through South County’s quaint towns for leaf-peeping and fall exploration. Route 1 offers views along the coves and inlets, which are equal parts water and countryside foliage. Start in Westerly for a vineyard tour at Tapped Apple Cidery & Winery, one of Rhode Island’s oldest orchards where apples are transformed into alcoholic beverages that taste like fall.
Where to Stay: The autumnal wonderland, The Preserve Club & Residences, welcomes fall like no other. Zipline through the foliage, explore the pumpkin patch at the Hobbit House, and book the Safari Tent Scotch and Cigar Tasting Experience, for an imaginative pop-up dining experience.
With an abundance of scenic woods filled with oak, cypress, mesquite, and maple trees, it should come as no surprise that there are ample spots to watch the leaves turn in the Lone Star State. Texas is the perfect autumn destination for anyone who may have missed seeing the leaves change up north, with peak leaf changing times in late October and early November.
East Texas, U.S. Route 69: Tyler State Park is the perfect, centrally located starting point for a nature-filled trip through the Piney Woods region of Texas. From Tyler, road trippers can head south on the U.S. Route 69 and follow along the Deep East Texas Fall Foliage Trail, taking visitors on a scenic drive from Nacogdoches through Alto or jump on the Texas State Railroad from Rusk to Palestine. This historic railroad offers a steam train experience through 25 miles of scenic woods amidst a backdrop of rolling hills and nature. Take a rest from the road at one of Tyler’s accommodation options, whether you’re looking for a luxurious hotel in town or the respite of an intimate bed and breakfast outside of town.
Central Texas, Peach Loop: Only 18 miles north of Fredericksburg, the breathtaking pink granite dome of Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is dotted with trees that change to beautiful shades of red, rust, and yellow each fall. After visiting the natural area, head 30 minutes southwest to Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park for rolling hills and the rambling Live Oak Creek. Finish up the loop by heading southeast to Old Tunnel State Park. The abandoned railroad tunnel that gives Old Tunnel its name is home to some 3 million Mexican free-tailed bats. Those visiting the park early enough in the season may get a chance to see the bats at night. After a day of on-the-go exploration, unwind in one of Fredericksburg’s eclectic lodging options, like the Hangar Hotel, overlooking the Gillespie County Airport runway, or the A-Frame Ranch cabin nestled in a cozy wooded area just 10 minutes outside of town.
West Texas, U.S. Highway 62/180: Located in West Texas is Guadalupe Mountains National Park, which draws in visitors each year with its brilliant yellow, orange, and red leaves. Many of the park’s visitors come specifically to visit McKittrick Canyon’s breathtaking views, with its vivid fall foliage dramatically contrasting with the arid Chihuahuan desert, steep canyons, and crystal-clear blue skies. After a full day of foliage sightseeing and adventure at the park, visitors can head 90 miles east to stay overnight in the beautiful city of El Paso, where cultures and traditions seamlessly blend.