Is there anything prettier than the blazing reds, oranges, and yellows of autumn? We didn’t think so! As the weather cools down and the sweaters come down from the top closet shelf, hop in the car or RV and head towards one of the country’s must-visit places for autumn color. Just don’t forget your camera!
There are only about two weeks to view the stunning autumn colors in Aspen, but those two weeks are simply glorious. From mid to late September, Aspen’s namesake trees turn golden against the dark mountain peaks and shapely evergreens. The big crowds don’t arrive until winter, making the fall the perfect time to experience Aspen’s hiking trails and welcoming downtown.
Bar Harbor, Maine
Beginning in mid October, cross over to Bar Harbor, Maine for some of the most beautiful displays of autumn color anywhere in the country. Book a weekend stay at one of the town’s historic B&Bs. Then spend the days wandering along the waterfront walking paths, whale watching in the bay, exploring Acadia National Park, and enjoying the gorgeous seasonal color.
The Berkshires, Massachusetts
Every year from late September to mid-October, thousands of New Yorkers, Bostonians, and Philadelphians head to the Berkshires to take in the autumn colors. There’s a seemingly endless number of charming historic towns to choose as a base. Or travel from one town to the next, driving along winding forest roads. You can hike to catch the most sweeping view of foliage, or meander through quaint downtowns and antique shops that double as museums.
The Catskills, New York
New York’s Catskills region includes more than 6,000 square miles, 35 mountains, hundreds of quaint farms, and six major rivers. It’s easily one of the best places in America to experience the colors of fall. Beginning the last two weeks of September, the Catskills’s forested hillsides are aflame in reds, yellows, oranges, and golds. Hike, cycle, or ride horseback on the trails to get as close to the color as possible. You can also hop from one historic town to the next to take in all the festivals, craft fairs, farmers’ markets, and u-pick orchards organized to celebrate this beautiful time of year.
Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
The 80-mile-long Columbia River Gorge is located on the border between Oregon and Washington. It’s the only West Coast destination to make our list of the must-visit places for autumn color. From mid-September until mid-October, this beautiful region becomes a colorful celebration of nature. Book a room at the stunning Columbia Gorge Hotel, well-known for its views of the Gorge. Then spend your days hiking the myriad trails, kayaking down the waterways, or road tripping along the Columbia River. Just don’t forget your camera!
Eastern Shore, Maryland
Dozens of historic small towns dot the region around Chesapeake Bay and the Delmarva Peninsula. Collectively known as Eastern Shore, this region is definitely one of America’s must-visit places for autumn color! To see the best of the fall color, head to the town of North East where Elk Neck State Park offers myriad trails through wooded areas and along the shoreline.
The Ozarks, Arkansas
Most people may head to the Ozarks during the summertime to take advantage of central Missouri’s chain of beautiful lakes. But during the fall, this stunning hills region becomes one of the country’s must-visit places for autumn color. Book a campsite at Lake of the Ozarks State Park during the last two weeks of October, when nature’s colors are at their most vibrant. Then awe at the myriad shades of red and gold from your boat on the lake, from horseback on the trail, or while hiking, golfing, or wine tasting.
The Poconos, Pennsylvania
Between mid-September and mid-October, the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania become a feast of color. Take a laid-back drive along winding Route 507. Lake Wallenpaupack and its bevy of reds, golds, and yellows are sure to impress. If you’re nearer the southernmost part of the Poconos, pick up a piece of the Appalachian Trail to get up close and personal with some of the most beautiful nature around.
Upper Peninsula, Michigan
You won’t run out of beautiful autumn sights or things to do in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It’s also known as the “U.P.” or “Yoop” as local Michiganders call it. The Upper Peninsula encompasses nearly 4 million acres and has more than 20 state parks. It’s a great place to go to experience first hand the colors of autumn. Whether you choose to spend your time in Keweenah, the U.P.’s northernmost town, or historic Mackinac Island, book your trip anytime from mid-September to mid-October.
The entire state of Vermont has so many beautiful autumn colors each year, we couldn’t pick just one town or region. Come the second week of September, head to Topnotch Resort in Stowe. Home to Vermont’s highest mountain, you can take the ski area gondola to the top for impressive views of nature’s finest color display. Then drive the stunning Green Mountain Byway to Waterbury, home of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.