Fall in love with the best fall road trips to see fall foliage.
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 to a destination where we can see gorgeous fall foliage. It’s hard to beat the beautiful colors of orange, red, and yellow, and the various shades sprawled out all over the ground. Oh, where will you go! As you plan your fall road trip, check out these best fall road trips below to escape to for a weekend or even for a day trip to see the changing of the leaves.
Why I Love Fall
Who doesn’t like cool, crisp air and beautiful fall foliage? I’m a Texas girl, and this is the time of year when I wish I lived somewhere other than Texas… like Vermont or even Canada. We all know that the changing of the leaves from summer to fall starts in the New England states and trickles down, hitting areas at different times in the year. In Texas, we have to wait until November to see the leaves change. But, when it’s time, I usually head east about 2-3 hours to see my favorite colors. This year, I’m taking a road trip to East Texas to Longview or somewhere where I know we will see the warm colors of autumn.
Best Fall Road Trips To See The Changing Of The Leaves
Get your car prepped and ready for a road trip to see vibrant colors other than green. Let’s go!
Mid-Coast Region, 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 – First of 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 In Tennessee – 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 you love.
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 comprises these towns in AR. – 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 bringing its fall foliage for its locals and visitors to admire. I recently took a road trip to Broken Bow in February, and it was gorgeous then. 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.
From what I’ve gathered from the north, many people who search out the changing of the leaves are called “leaf-peepers.” Being from the south, I had not heard this term. I think I could sure become one! Are you a leaf-peeper? Where will your road trip take you this fall? Which of these best fall road trips will you choose!
Change can be a beautiful thing! Happy road tripping!
Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.– ALBERT CAMUS