It’s almost that time of the year again! The summer sun sets a little earlier, and the sweltering heat becomes a pleasant cool breeze. You break out your favorite sweaters and prepare for Starbucks to release the Pumpkin Spice Latte’. Woo! That’s right, it’s almost Autumn, and there are so many places in the United States for you to explore.

In this post, I have a special place for you to enjoy your fall vacation this year. Keep reading to learn the absolute best places to travel in the fall!

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25 Best Places to Travel in the Fall

1. North Carolina

North Carolina is a stunning state that provides some of the best leaf peeping in the United States. This is primarily due to how much of the state is filled with lush trees. You can take the Blue Ridge Parkway through the famous Blue Ridge Mountains to see some of the most gorgeous trees change colors. Be sure to check out the Linn Cove Viaduct on the way, which is a 1,243 feet long bridge.

Your North Carolina fall trip would not be complete unless you visit the trendy town of Asheville, NC. Stop by the Biltmore Estate, which is America’s Largest Home, built by George Vanderbilt himself. The peak color in this area usually occurs from mid-October to early November.

2. Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone is one of the most visited National Parks in the country. In 2021 there were over 4.86 million visitors in one year. This National Park is known for its abundant wildlife, including bears, wolves, and bison. Always be prepared when driving through here since you can get stuck in a good old-fashioned Bison Jam!

Luckily, most of Yellowstone is in a forest, which is why the animals love it here so much. So that means gorgeous fall colors and wildlife for us to enjoy looking at during fall. Plus, you’ll find much smaller crowds in the fall. Beautiful fall colors can be seen in the park from the last week of September through the first week of October.

3. Napa Valley

What goes well with fall foliage? Award-winning wine, of course. That is why Napa Valley earned a spot on this list. Plus, fall is when most wineries harvest and make their wines! Every year in Napa, the vineyard’s colors turn from bright green to crimson reds and illuminating golds. So when does this majestic event happen in Napa? Typically mid-to-late October, the leaves began to change. With the peak fall foliage season hitting in early November.

Most wineries have patios or outdoor seating available as well. That means you can cozy up in your favorite fall sweater with a delicious glass of California vino. Far Niente Winery is a hot spot for fall foliage pictures, so be sure to make a reservation before the autumn rush hits.

Read Next: How to Plan a Napa Valley Bachelorette Party

4. New York City

Get out of the sweat of summer and enjoy NYC in its best months, which are late September to early November. During these months, the green trees turn to all sorts of rich Autumn colors. Visit Central Park, where you’ll find an abundance of colorful trees in the fall. 

Rent a bike from local shops and take your own tour of the golden area in Central Park. The good news is you won’t be sweating too much with the crisp fall temperatures. Afterward, have lunch at the elegant Tavern On the Green, a favorite Central Park restaurant.

Read Next: Top 10 Things to Do in New York City in Summer

5. San Francisco

If you want to experience summer with the benefits of fall, then San Francisco is for you. This west coast city is an underdog when you think of fall foliage. While you may be thinking of the famous Golden Gate Bridge or the west coast beaches of San Francisco, there are specific spots where you can see the leaves. However, the weather is the best part of visiting San Francisco in the fall. It’s beautiful and definitely the warmest months in San Francisco (even more than the summer months)! They call it June gloom, after all. 

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6. Sedona

Arizona’s heat can be brutal in the summer, so visiting in the fall can be much more endearing. Since Sedona sits in the desert, you may not think Arizona has fall foliage, but they do! The ideal time to catch the colors is from late September until mid-October.

I recommend hiking around the Oak Creek Canyon area to get the best views. This scenic 19.9-mile point road is also easy to drive on. Enjoy the breathtaking vistas and stop off at the viewpoints along the way. A stunning fall foliage drive, right in the heart of this chic Arizona town.

7. The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is known as one of the most surreal places in the United States. It truly takes your breath away when you see it in person. Luckily, you can visit in the fall and get the added leaf peeping bonus. The North Rim is where the colors of the leaves take the stage.

However, make sure you visit before October because the North Rim tends to close after that. This is fine because mid-late September is when the leaves around the Grand Canyon put on a show. 

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8. Jackson Hole

Jackson Hole is the gateway for both Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park during summer travel. It is also a cozy and adorable ski town in the winter months. Then, in the fall, Jackson Hole becomes famous again just for people who love it when there are fewer crowds. 

The area is surrounded by the leafy forests of Wyoming, including the Bridger-Teton National Forest. This means plenty of trees getting ready to shed their summer leaves. Stop by in late September and enjoy the lovely view from The Bridger Gondola and Aerial Tram at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. 

Read Next: Jackson Hole in Summer: A Weekend Guide

9. Santa Fe, NM

New Mexico is underrated when it comes to fall foliage. When most people think of the state, they think of its dessert vibes and delicious green chile. While that is true, they also feature some scenic fall foliage.

Santa Fe is a hot spot for visitors wanting to experience fall the best they can. First, start by hiking the Aspen Vista Trail, a gorgeous six-mile walk through the fall trees. You can also take a drive down the Santa Fe National Forest Scenic Byway, which will make you feel like you are in an Autumn wonderland. 

Read Next: The Perfect Santa Fe Weekend: A Girlfriend Getaway Guide

10. Boston, MA

Boston is one of the best cities in the country, famous for its New England fall foliage. The best time to see it is from late September to early November. First stop by the Public Garden, which is located in the middle of Boston. Their small ornamental Japanese maple trees are known to have some of the first fall foliage spots.

Then head over to Boston Common, a 44-acre public park that the local Bostonians enjoy. This area has a spectacular display of fall colors, ranging from oranges to reds.

Read Next: 25 Things To Do In Martha’s Vineyard During the Weekend

11. Rocky Mountains, Colorado

A place known for mountains that skyrocket over 14,000 feet is Colorado. This state attracts explorers from all over and is known for its winter and summer months of adventure. 

However, Colorado also has one of the best fall seasons around. The only issue is that it is very short, generally in late September or early October. Certain areas will only have leaves peaking for days at a time before they shed. You won’t find much red and oranges here either. Aspens are the most common trees in the state, which change their bright green leaves for vibrant golden yellow ones.

The trip wouldn’t be complete without visiting the trendy town of Aspen. I mean, they got their name for a reason! Drive Independence Pass, which will bring you up and around Aspen to Twin Lakes. This drive provides some of the most insane fall foliage in the state, thanks to, you guessed it, aspens.

12. Berkshires, Massachusetts

The Berkshires have always been a place people go to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. This western Massachusetts mountain town is famous, lined with villages, towns, and forests. It’s filled with large trees that provide extreme fall colors.

If you want the whole experience, drive the Massachusetts stretch of U.S. Route 7. It is recommended to go through Great Barrington, Stockbridge, Lenox, and Pittsfield, then to North Adams. This drive is known to have some of the best fall foliage in Massachusetts. Once you do the drive, you will understand why! You can spot the leaves anywhere from October to November.

13. Sun Valley, Idaho

Don’t let the name of this Idaho town fool you, and Sun Valley offers up some magnificent fall foliage. Mostly known for its dreamy ski and snowboarding winters, the resort is absolutely breathtaking in Autumn too.

The colors typically start at the beginning of September and end at the end of October, so where is the best place to see them? I recommend Bald Mountain, which is at Sun Valleys’ ski resort. Do some or all of this eleven-mile hike to walk through the foliage yourself. Another excellent hike option is this White Cloud 9. Golfing on the White Cloud 9 golf course is also epic in the fall! If you happen to be here in the beginning of October, check out the Trailing of the Sheep Festival as well. 

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14. Alaska

When people think of Alaska, they think of cold weather, even in the summer months. But Alaska is the best-kept secret when it comes to fall foliage. Fall is a great time to travel to Alaska because tourists have begun to leave for the season. This leaves the state with fewer lines and crowds. Snow has not quite started yet in fall either. Going you with crisp fall road trips through The Last Frontier.

We recommend going to Denali National Park at this time. Crowds are typically lighter in the fall months, and the foliage is beautiful. Just keep in mind that many lodges and tours in Denali close in mid-September, and some of the roads could be closed due to unexpected snowfall. 

Read Next: The Ultimate 9 Day Alaska Itinerary

15. Zion National Park

This Utah National Park is famous for its large and impressive rocks. So it is probably the last place that makes you think of autumn leaves. Surprisingly, the park dresses up in its fall colors in late September and early October.

While you may not find them on some of the central rocky hikes, you can find them on the Kolob Fingers Scenic Byway. This five-mile route will bring you near stop-offs and smaller hikes where you can take a break while also taking in the scenery. Plus, this is a much less crowded time to visit Zion!

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16. Stowe, Vermont

If a fall postcard were a place, it would be Stowe, Vermont. This picturesque village is also a popular ski resort in Vermont. But in fall, things slow a bit before the winter rush hits. You can see the famous fall foliage from early September through late October.

Stowe is also located at the base of Vermont’s highest peak, which means you will be surrounded by trees. Take the fall foliage day trip 15 minutes south of Stowe to grab an ice cream at the only Ben & Jerry’s factory that the public is allowed at!

17. Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

What pairs well with an Oregon Pinot Noir? The autumn season. Columbia Valley is a hot spot for hiking trails and outdoor activities. This is in addition to the 90-plus waterfalls in the area. You can peep the fall foliage in this area from late September to mid-October. The peak colors normally stay around for two weeks, which means plenty of time to spot them.

A famous viewpoint for the fall colors is located off of Interstate 84. Spend some time driving along Highway 30 between Rowena and Mosier, and you will surely not be disappointed in the lovely views.

Read Next: Fun Things to Do in Portland, Oregon

18. Chicago, IL

The windy city of Chicago may surprise you by being on this list. But it definitely earns a spot. You can view sensational fall colors at Chicago Botanic Garden. An area with 385 acres of landscaped gardens, plants, flowers, and trees.

Plus, you will be able to catch leaves at their peak all throughout the city in October. Don’t forget to grab yourself a slice of Chicago’s Deep Dish Pizza to enjoy while admiring the leaves.

Read Next: Chicago in a Weekend: Everything You Should Do on Your Trip

19. Hudson Valley, NY

Fall is an excellent time of year to visit Upstate New York. With other front runners, such as Vermont and Maine, being so close, sometimes people forget about this massive state.

Hudson Valley, New York, is the whole package for everything autumn. Enjoy the area’s fall festivities by stopping at the cidery mill. Afterward, complete your day at a pumpkin patch. All while you enjoy the gorgeous leaves.

20. Salem, Massachusetts

This Massachusetts town is known for its spooky fall vibe. Salem is the go-to town for anything Halloween in New England, thanks to it being famous for its historical witch trials.

Visit during Halloween when leaves are at their peak. With festivals, markets, and witch tours, you will not run out of things to do. It is also one of the best places to see the fall foliage since there are many trees throughout the town. If you’re someone who loves seeing people in witchy-esque costumes and love orange leaves falling all around, then look no further than Salem, Massachusetts.

21. Acadia National Park

Maine is known for its breathtaking fall foliage. The leaves turn bright oranges, deep reds, and golden yellows every late October to early November. I can’t imagine a better place to witness it than in Acadia National Park.

This special place is where the forest meets the ocean, with hikes overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Make sure to stop by downtown Bar Harbor when visiting. The adorable town is filled with restaurants and ice cream shops. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the fall season.

22. White Mountains, New Hampshire

New Hampshire is often overlooked since it sits between Massachuttes and Vermont. This state’s location makes it no surprise that it made this fall foliage list. New Hampshire has tons of forests and state parks for you to marvel at the lively fall foliage.

One of the best viewing places in the state is the White Mountains. Check out the 1.7-mile out and back trail of Old Bridle Path. A local and tourist hot spot during the fall foliage months of late September to early November.

23. Finger Lakes, New York

The Finger Lakes region of New York is a popular location to travel in the fall. Taughannock Falls State Park is the place to go for a bucket list fall foliage hike.

Did you know that the area has over more than 100 wineries, breweries, and distilleries centered around the three lakes, Keuka, Seneca, and Cayuga? Take part in the Finger Lakes Wine Trail to enjoy the local wineries on a crisp fall day. The peak time for leaf peeping is the last two weeks of October.

24. Shenandoah National Park

The infamous Shenandoah National Park sits along the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, a place that you will probably recognize from its endless amount of exquisite fall foliage pictures.

You can view the foliage here for almost a month. It usually starts the first week of October and lasts throughout and sometimes into November. With the peak being towards the end of the month. It is no wonder why so many travelers visit Shenandoah in the autumn months, it is truly is the perfect place to travel in the fall.

25. Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Visit Gatlinburg, a mountain town located in eastern Tennessee, the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Enjoy the drive through 520,000 acres of forest and trees. There are so many trees here that provide different fall colors, such as sugar maple, scarlet oak, red maple, and hickory.

The peak fall foliage in this state area will hit around the last week of October. It can continue well into November, depending on the year. Tennessee definitely deserves a feature on the list as it is one of the best places to travel in the fall.


The best places to travel in the fall
fall destinations in the US
best places to travel in the fall in the US

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