Calling All Leaf Peepers! These are the Best Fall Road Trips To See Autumn Color

Best Fall Road Trips
Image by <a href="">Jill Wellington</a> from <a href="">Pixabay</a>

Fall in love fall.

With cooler weather upon us and the smell of autumn in the air, it’s the perfect time to hit the road. I don’t know about you, but this time of year has me searching for that special road trip with my family so we can see gorgeous fall foliage. It’s hard to beat the beautiful colors of orange, red, and yellow on the hills and along the road, and the colorful fallen leaves sprawled out all over the ground. But where to go for such beautiful views?

As you prep your car and plan your travel, here is a list of the best fall road trips to escape for a weekend or even for a day trip to see the changing leaves.

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Best Fall Road Trips

Image by Valiphotos from Pixabay

Why I Love Fall

Who doesn’t like cool, crisp air and beautiful fall foliage? This is the time of year when I wish I lived somewhere with beautiful fall color in my yard … like Vermont or even Canada.

Leaf peepers who really love Fall can follow the change of the seasons as it moves south and enjoy its glory for several months. It starts in New England and trickles southward, ending in Texas in November.

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Best Fall Road Trips

Image by Pepper Mint from Pixabay

Best Fall Road Trips To See The Changing Of The Leaves

With your car prepped and ready for a road trip, your OOO email responder set and a Pumpkin Spice latte in the cupholder, it’s time to head out to see the vibrant colors. Luckily most of us can find a beautiful fall vista within a few hours of home, or of a major city.

Here are the best places and time of the season for a Fall road trip to see the autumn foliage.

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A Girls Guide To Cars | Calling All Leaf Peepers! These Are The Best Fall Road Trips To See Autumn Color - Fall Foliage House Pumpkins

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Mid-Coast Maine – September

The Mid-Coast region of Maine winds up the coast from Bath to Searsport, Maine, making a nice coastal drive during autumn. Its scenic seascapes, towering lighthouses, and small charming towns make this New England area an enchanting fall foliage experience.

Montgomery, Vermont  – September

In Vermont, a great road trip to see fall foliage will be north along the Canadian border, then south along the Green Mountain National Forest to the New York-Massachusetts borders. Leaf-peeping opportunities are prevalent in this area (so I’ve heard), so if you’re planning an extended stay, it’s best to plan now. There are so many fascinating stops to take photos along this route that you’ll want to see.

Boston, Massachusetts – Late September

In mid- to late-September, Massachusetts proudly shows off its vibrant fall colors. Kancamagus Highway is a 34.5-mile scenic drive along New Hampshire’s Rt. 112 that offers New Englanders and visitors views of rivers, ponds, and gorgeous vistas. Catch a variety of colors while meandering along the drive, and if time permits, pull over for a hike and picture taking. Here are a few spots in Boston to check out.

Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin – Early October

Delve into this hidden gem in Wisconsin for that perfect fall foliage drive or a nice long getaway at the lake. While there, be sure to find the 80-foot observation tower near Marsh Park, where you can see the beautiful leaves from above. Elkhart Lake, WI is about an hour’s drive from Milwaukee. I was in this area this past summer and from the looks of what I saw then, this would be one of the best fall road trips of a lifetime. I’d go back in a heartbeat!

Northern Illinois (Chicago) – Middle to Late October

Take a drive to the Chicago Botanic Garden, then continue your fall foliage sightseeing on foot from the Visitor Center to the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Plant Conservation Science Center to see the beautiful fall trees. Wander through the garden at your leisure and rest when needed. This walk surely will be a fantastic day for a leaf-peeper!

The Smoky Mountains – Tennessee/North Carolina – Late October

East Tennessee (Knoxville area) in the Great Smoky Mountains is one of the best areas in the state for a fall drive to see autumn’s delight. Meander through mountains, rivers, and vistas and find that perfect spot. Or, wander the other side of the range near Asheville, NC and see the the Blue Ridge Parkway. The mountain views start in the northern part of Georgia and South Carolina, and those who want to see it all can cross the mountains east-to-west or west-to-east and stop in charming Gatlinburg, TN. 

Ozark Mountains In Arkansas – Late October

The Ozark Mountains are one of the best places to see fall foliage in Arkansas. Here are a few scenic byways to get you started. Scenic 7 Byway connects the towns of Harrison, Jasper, Pelsor, Russellville, Arkadelphia, then to Hot Springs. Pig Trail Scenic Byway: Start somewhere around Clarksville, AR, and head into Fayetteville. I don’t think you can go wrong with any highway or byway in the Ozark Mountains for gorgeous views.

Northeastern, Oklahoma (Broken Bow) – Middle November

If you’ve never been to Broken Bow, it is drop-dead gorgeous year-round, but in November, a ray of sun shines through the trees giving a glow to its fall foliage; locals and visitors alike stop to admire it. I recently took a road trip to Broken Bow in February, and it was gorgeous. Just imagine what it is like in fall.

Palestine, Texas – Middle to Late November

Around mid-November, beautiful autumn colors will swarm the small town of Palestine, Texas. Every year at this time, visitors from all over get geared up to drive the 145-mile scenic Pineywoods Autumn Trail for breathtaking fall foliage. While you’re there, you may want to ride the Texas State Railroad to Rusk and back for a scenic fall tour of pinewood, rolling hills, nature, and wildlife.

People who search out the changing of the leaves are called “leaf-peepers.” I’d never thought of myself that way, but think I could sure become one. My only challenge is, which of these beautiful fall road trips should I plan for this year?

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Just a big city girl living in small town USA. The gym, healthy living, and race cars are my... More about Shannon Scott