It’s September, which means we can officially get excited about fall. As each summer ends and transforms into fall, we say good bye to the hot sunny days and welcome the cool, crispness of fall. Fall foliage is a lovely time of year not only because we get to wear boots and sweaters, but also because as the lush green leaves begin to change color it creates a gorgeous vibrant display of red, orange, and yellow hues across mountaintops and valleys.
It’s the perfect time of year to travel and see the beauty each state has to offer during fall foliage. Thanks to our State Parks, the United States has special places throughout the country that we can enjoy untouched by humans in full fall glory. There’s no doubt why it’s on the top of everyone’s fall bucket lists to see the best of fall in each diverse region in the United States.
Here are some great places to enjoy fall foliage. You might also like our favorite places in New England for fall foliage.
Where to Enjoy Fall Foliage
Fall in Vermont is magical and Manchester is one of the best places to experience it. For everything from gorgeous sweeping views of the Green and Taconic Mountain ranges as they debut their colorful hues to an abundance of farms to go pumpkin and apple picking. Don’t forget to eat a classic Vermont maple creemee while you’re there too. Manchester has a lovely selection of B&Bs and inns. And an awesome foodie scene with restaurants for every taste. Their downtown also boasts some great shops for browsing and buying everything from outdoor gear to your next favorite book. Take a look at our guide for 25+ Things to Do In Manchester, VT This Fall.
It’s no wonder the The Kancamagus Scenic Byway is one of the most popular fall foliage destinations. The Kancamagus Highway is a 34.5 mile long scenic drive running through the White Mountains, gorges, rivers and falls of beautiful Northern New Hampshire, known for its vibrant fall foliage display. Reaching just under 3,000 ft. elevation at its highest point, the highway offers many options for both hiking and camping. Known as “The Kanc”, the Kancamagus begins to show its fall hues starting in mid September. But peak foliage doesn’t usually begin until the first two weeks of October.
If you are a New Englander, take a day trip or overnight to experience the Kancamagus. And if you are traveling from farther try staying in one of the beautiful New England small towns in New Hampshire along the Kancamagus route. Find a cozy B&B to snuggle up at for the night. Try The Red Sleigh Inn or the South Mountain Resort in Lincoln, New Hampshire.
Acadia National Park
Known as the “Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast” Acadia is gorgeous any time of year– so you could only imagine when fall colors peak in Maine, just how truly magnificent Acadia becomes. Acadia National Park is located on the Atlantic coast in Down East Maine (the northeastern part of the state). In Acadia there is ample opportunity for all your outdoor adventures– with everything from hiking, biking, camping, rock climbing and kayaking. Something nice about Acadia during the fall is it’s actually less crowded than the summer, so you can enjoy more nature and less crowds. In Acadia, foliage usually peaks around mid October.
There are so many wonderful towns and places to stay while enjoying fall in Acadia. Try Bar Harbor for great shopping, eating and accommodation options. Stay at the Kingsleigh Inn Bed and Breakfast for a quaint New England fall feel. Check out visitacadia.com for more tips and recommendations for places to stay and things to do while in Acadia’s national forest.
Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a 106 mile road in the Blue Ridge Mountains, a part of the Appalachian Mountains that runs through Virginia and North Carolina. Another popular fall foliage travel destination, the Blue Ridge Highway displays magnificent colorful hues throughout fall. To see the best fall foliage display on The Blue Ridge Parkway travel between late September and early October when the highest elevations leaves change first and mid-late October when the leaves on mid and lower elevation trees make their debut. Make sure to book accommodations ahead of time if traveling on the parkway. Cities and towns such as Asheville, West Jefferson, Black Mountain and Blowing Rock are great spots to stay for hiking, biking, horseback riding, fly fishing, shopping and skiing come winter. Check out the Blue Ridge Parkway website for more information about planning road trips.
Crested Butte, Colorado
The Aspen trees in Colorado make for a beautiful and unique fall foliage display. Their leaves turn brilliant shades of orange and yellow creating an unmatched scenic dream. While Aspen, Colorado is also a beautiful fall foliage town it can also be super crowded and a bit much to be honest. Crested Butte is such a lovely quaint small town with cute shops and restaurants and incredible opportunity for outdoor adventure. It provides a more easy-going atmosphere and attracts people looking for outdoor adventure. From world class mountain biking to beautiful hiking trails, the options are endless!
Taos, New Mexico
My brother and his partner, often travel to Taos and they have long been raving about the foliage in this beautiful slice of the states. Taos is located in Northern New Mexico’s high desert nestled amongst the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Along with its rich history, Taos has a gorgeous scenic byway that runs through an authentic remnant of Old Spain as well as a pullout at Carson Forest with sweeping views. The best time to catch peak foliage in Taos is early to mid October. Check out New Mexico’s website for more beautiful fall scenic drives and destinations.
If you want New England fall vibes but are craving a trip to the city, Boston is your place. We love that despite being a city, Boston has such gorgeous fall scenery throughout the city and parks and there is so much to do. Boston is a historic city and you can take advantage of this beautiful time of year by taking one of their trolley or duck boat tours and learn about all the history this city holds. Head to Boston Common or Public Garden to catch some fall foliage hues and take a stroll in the park. Hit up Newbury Street for shopping and grab some comfort food on the cooler evenings in Boston’s Little Italy (the North End).