Explore the Best Fall Foliage Spots in The U.S.

Claire Grulick
| October 20, 2023 | 4 Minute Read
Beautiful fall colors in Franconia Notch State Park | White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire, USA Fall colors of the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire Adobe

The most notable hallmark of the autumn season is the iconic color-changing leaves. Before the holidays lock us in a whirlwind, try to fit in one more adventure on the road. What better way to embrace the beauty of the season than by taking a trip to see the vibrant fall colors in action? We've compiled a list of some of the best spots in the US to see peak fall foliage.

Fall Foliage in New England

It's no surprise that New England is a top destination to view fall foliage. With charming small towns, scenic drives and picturesque landscapes, it's the perfect place to experience the colors of autumn. Some must-see spots include Vermont's Green Mountains, New Hampshire's White Mountains and Maine's Acadia National Park.

Fall Foliage on the Blue Ridge Parkway

For those looking for a road trip with unmatched views, consider driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway that spans from Virginia to North Carolina. This 469-mile stretch of road offers breathtaking views of the Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains and is especially popular during peak fall foliage season around the end of October.

Fall Foliage in the Smoky Mountains

Similar to the scape of the Appalachian Mountains, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is known for its spectacular fall foliage scene. With over 100 species of trees, you can expect to see a variety of colors as you hike or drive through the park. The peak time for fall foliage in this area is typically late October to early November.

Fall Foliage in the Southeast:

Fall Bald Cypress Trees on a Florida Lake See Bald Cypress trees and more changing leaves in areas of North Florida. Adobe
  • Florida: While known for its sunny beaches and palm trees, Florida also has some surprising spots for fall foliage viewing. Head to the northern part of the state to see the leaves change in places like Gainesville or Tallahassee. You can also take a scenic drive through the Ocala National Forest for a more secluded experience.
  • Georgia: While Georgia may be known for its warm weather, it's also one of the top destinations for fall foliage. Visit popular spots like Amicalola Falls State Park or drive through the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest for stunning views of the colorful leaves.
  • South Carolina: From the Great Smoky Mountains to the Lowcountry, South Carolina offers a diverse range of landscapes for fall foliage viewing. Take a hike in the Upstate at Table Rock State Park for panoramic views of the colorful landscape, or head down to explore the tree-lined streets of Charleston for a charming (not chilly) autumn experience. 

Fall Foliage Out West

Sunset Autumn drive through the tunnel of Trees in Michigan Upper Peninsula UP - Highway 41  M26 Aerial view Drive Highway 41 in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Adobe
  • Michigan: With over 19 million acres of forest, Michigan is a must-visit destination for any fall foliage fan. Take in the stunning colors along Lake Superior's shoreline or explore the leaves by foot on one of the many hiking trails in the Upper Peninsula. For a unique trip, take a fall foliage train ride through the countryside.
  • Iowa: Iowa may not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking of fall foliage, but it's definitely worth a visit. The state boasts beautiful landscapes and winding roads that are perfect for a drive or bike ride. Check out the Loess Hills Scenic Byway or plan a trip to Pikes Peak State Park for breathtaking views of the Mississippi River.
  • Colorado: Known for its impressive mountains and outdoor adventures, Colorado is also home to some of the most spectacular fall foliage. From late September to mid-November, you can witness more than 50 tree species transform mountain faces. If you're looking for an activity, take a hike through the Maroon Bells Wilderness Area for an up-close and personal experience with the fall foliage.

Plan Ahead with AAA

AAA Members have access to a variety of benefits and discounts that can make your fall foliage trip even more rewarding. From discounted car rentals to exclusive hotel rates, be sure to take advantage of these perks when planning your trip. Grab your camera, hit the road and get ready to experience some of the best fall foliage in America!

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