These Gorgeous Leaf-Peeping Destinations Are Totally Worth the Drive
Fall is in full swing, which can only mean one thing — the leaves are peaking. Sadly, it won’t be long before all that golden goodness is gone. But don’t worry, there’s still time.
Before Old Man Winter rears his ugly head, be sure to check out some of the most stunning spots in the country. And if you’re not sure where to start, we’ve got you covered. Here are the most gorgeous leaf-peeping destinations that are totally worth the trip.
1. Woodstock, Vermont
Located in the Green Mountains of Windsor County, Woodstock treats visitors to a somewhat simpler way of life. Complete with historic inns and quaint dining options, this New England town is home to Vermont’s only national park, along with covered bridges and boutique-lined streets.
Perhaps most importantly, at least for the sake of the season, is the town’s location. Woodstock is located on the banks of the Ottauquechee River and the Crossroad of Vermont Scenic Byway, making it all too easy to go on a leaf-peeing adventure.
Next: This state is home to a hearty breed.
2. The Kennebunks, Maine
In Main’s southernmost county lie the towns of Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, and Arundel. Known as simply The Kennebunks, this York County location is a destination worth visiting, even after the high season of summer. In the fall, visitors can expect pops of color and timely events that celebrate the season.
Anyone looking for a scenic drive can take Route 35/Alewive Road in Kennebunk toward Lyman, hit Goose Rocks Road in Kennebunkport, or drive along Limerick Road in Arundel.
No car? No problem. Take a stroll along Kennebunk’s Beach Avenue or Kennebunkport’s Ocean Avenue to catch a glimpse of the changing leaves reflecting in the waters of the Kennebunk River.
Next: This place has hosted two Olympic Games.
3. The Adirondacks, New York
The Adirondacks hardly need an introduction, as this region of New York has no problem attracting a solid, returning customer base. The region has hosted two Olympic Games, but the real claim to fame is the area’s stunning, natural beauty. With one of the longest fall foliage seasons in the country, the Adirondacks have long been known as a leaf-peeper’s paradise.
Next: This iconic region is in Pennsylvania.
4. Poconos, Pennsylvania
The Pocono Mountains often conjure up images of misty rivers and old school family reunions. But there’s more to the area than summer escapes. In fact, the Poconos are home to a host of brilliant colors and fall foliage during the autumn months. And in addition to local festivals and events, guests can even take a fall foliage train tour through the area.
Next: Let’s head down south a bit.
5. Cherokee, North Carolina
Located at the entrance of Great Smoky Mountain National Park and right off the Blue Ridge Parkway, Cherokee, North Carolina draws leaf-peepers near and far for obvious reasons. Along the famous Parkway, visitors in search of the most brilliant colors will have an up-close view of the breathtaking scenery the area has to offer.
Next: Across the country
6. Willamette Valley, Oregon
Highly praised as one of the best wine regions in the country, Willamette Valley is home to over 500 wineries, which is all the more reason to plan a trip ASAP. We all know that the Pacific Northwest is known for its lush landscape and natural beauty, and Oregon’s Willamette Valley is no exception. In fact, anyone visiting wineries during their stay can see fist-hand the changing colors sprinkled throughout the vineyards.
Next: A lesser-known town claims the next spot.
7. Bowling Green, Kentucky
Kentucky may not be first to mind when considering where to take your fall foliage trip, but it should be. More specifically, the little-known town of Bowling Green delivers a small Southern town experience year-round. While beautiful fall foliage can be seen throughout the town, a trip to Jackson’s Orchard is definitely a must. Locals and tourists alike love it for the apple and peach-picking, pumpkin patches, and corn mazes.
Next: This corner of Colorado is home to stunning scenery.
8. Southwest Colorado
Quintessential Colorado typically includes the likes of Denver, Vail, and Aspen (more on that in a bit), but there’s so much more to the state. In particular, the southwest part of the state is flush with landscape that spans from desert to mountain terrain, and the San Juan Skyway is where it’s at. Stretching through gorgeous towns including Durango, Silverton, Telluride, and Ouray, the Skyway is a must. Really, the entire Southwest corner of the state is not to be missed.
Next: Everything’s bigger — and sometimes bolder — in this state.
9. San Antonio/Hill Country, Texas
San Antonio is probably best known for its famed River Walk. But visit in the fall, and you’ll be treated to a wide array of colors throughout the city. And while you may not associate Texas with a wine country destination, perhaps you should. Not too far from San Antonio lies Texas Hill Country, chock-full of rolling hills, charming vineyards, and quaint guest ranches. This spot is definitely worth the visit.
Next: This place isn’t all too surprising.
10. Stowe, Vermont
When it comes to ideal spots for fall foliage, it doesn’t get more stunning than Stowe. The Vermont town is well-known for its expansive leaf-peeping glory, and for good reason. With colorful hillsides lit up with red, orange, and golden hues, there’s no denying the scenery of this place is nothing short of spectacular.
Next: This is an iconic destination, indeed.
11. Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
Shenandoah Valley is all-American beauty at its finest, as the region is famed for stunning hillsides and sprawling valleys. Virginia’s Shenandoah County includes six small, historic towns complete with stunning mountain vistas, a handful of wineries, and farm-to-table cuisine. And, of course, those who visit the area in the fall can expect to see some of the most brilliant hues of red, orange, and gold anywhere in the country.
Next: A northern Michigan town claims the next spot.
12. Traverse City, Michigan
Michigan is chock-full of enviable lakeside towns and stunning scenery to boot, so it’s no wonder that a spot like Traverse City made this list. The Northwestern Michigan town is filled with gorgeous views of the bay, tasty wineries, and roadside fruit stands. Simply put, Traverse City is the ideal destination for a stunning fall color tour.
Next: This state is pretty much quintessential fall.
13. The Berkshires, Massachusetts
The great state of Massachusetts is in a league of its own when it comes to stunning scenery during the fall months. One area, in particular, is the beloved Berkshires, a place that certainly gives all the other contenders on this list a run for their money.
Complete with top-notch foliage viewing that’s easily accessible to New York, Boston, and Philadelphia’s city-dwelling populations, the Berkshires boast winding roads and colorful forests, making fall the perfect time of year to visit.
Next: Another Colorado town makes the list.
14. Aspen, Colorado
The name is this famous Colorado town really does say it all. Covered in trees of the same name, Aspen comes alive as the hillsides turn from green to gold, delivering a spectacular scene for anyone in the area. When the aspens begin to peak during the fall, there’s really nothing else like it. And the best way to see it all? Joining in on the adventurous spirit of Colorado by hopping on a bike or hitting one of the area’s many hiking trails.
Next: This little-known town is a very well-kept secret.
15. Siskiyou, California
Located in the northernmost region of California, Siskiyou is the perfect escape for any northern Californian looking for a little peace and quiet during the fall season. In addition to stunning leaf-changing scenery, the town is surrounded by majestic mountains and towering trees, scenery that’s certainly worth the trip.
Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!