Some people are sad to wave goodbye to summer… not us! Fall is one of our favorite seasons, and it’s those changing leaves that make this time of year so special. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the best fall foliage trips across America—including classic staples and hidden gems—plus top things to do in each location. From Maine to New Mexico, these are great getaways where—if you time it right—you can get some of the finest foliage views around.
When you’re researching these top fall foliage trips, be sure to check out local websites and tourist information to get an idea of when leaf-peeping is at its peak. Once you’re honed in, use TripAdvisor to find the perfect vacation rental where you can watch the show. Whether it’s a secluded cabin in the mountains or a quaint village home, you’re sure to find the space, peace, and leaf-peeping thrills you’re after in one of the places listed below. Rental homes offer more privacy and amenities, and you’ll often find the owners have added personal touches to make you feel right at home.
Once you’ve settled on a foliage destination, we can help plan your full itinerary to maximize your leaf-peeping experience. TripAdvisor offers thousands of bookable tours, excursions, attraction tickets, and more, directly on our site—no matter where you’re headed! Our new 24-hour cancellation policy (for in-destination experiences) means you can pre-book before arriving, but still have the flexibility to cancel if your itinerary changes.
Time to start planning—here are 15 of America’s best fall foliage trips for catching the vibrant seasonal colors.
The popular hiking town of North Conway is a lovely place to witness the dazzling rusts, ochres, and golds of a New Hampshire autumn. You can fish for bass at Conway Lake, puff along the Conway Scenic Railroad for incredible views at a leisurely pace, drive the Kancamagus Scenic Byway, or even see the foliage by aerial tram! Alternatively, hike into the White Mountain National Forest to seek out the picturesque waterfalls at Diana’s Baths.
“The property was perfect with plenty of space! The views are amazing and the hot tub was just what we needed to make it a relaxing weekend.”— TripAdvisor Reviewer
In Charlottesville, you can expect October weeks full of vivid reds, oranges, and yellows. There are plenty of opportunities to catch those colors: on a stroll down tree-lined Downtown Mall; on a trip along the Skyline Drive; or on a tasting tour of rolling Virginia wine country. If you’re interested in local history, tear yourself away from the leaves and join a Civil War history tour.
“We had a wonderful time. Beautiful and secluded cabin. The house was beautiful with a very spacious kitchen. We enjoyed watching the birds from the porch. We will be back.”— TripAdvisor Reviewer
The stunning combination of desert and mountain vistas makes for some incredible viewing when the leaves begin to change. This already scenic city is one of America’s best fall foliage trips, when the landscape is transformed with golden and yellow tones. The best part? There are so many ways to enjoy them: On a mountain ascent by chairlift, from the heady heights of a hot air balloon ride, or on a narrated driving tour of Taos.
Durango has been named by Budget Travel as one of the 10 Coolest Small Towns in America—and for good reason! Locals and visitors alike thrive on the outdoor lifestyle, enjoying fantastic fishing, hiking, and biking. Over the coming weeks, Durangoans will be looking forward to the vibrant golds brought by the aspen trees—grab a viewing point along the Animas River Trail, the Animas City Mountain Trail, or at the Vallecito Lake Reservoir. Alternatively, take in the views at higher speeds on a whitewater rafting tourl ending with a trip along the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.
Previously listed by Good Housekeeping in their top 50 Small Towns With The Most Beautiful Fall Foliage, Oakland is a friendly town near the West Virginia border. Celebrate the advent of the fall colors like the locals do: at October’s Autumn Glory Festival, complete with arts and crafts, parades, and live music. Just a nine-mile drive away is Swallow Falls State Park, where you can see the largest waterfall in the state tumbling down amid a transforming forest landscape of green, orange, gold, and red.
Surprise, surprise – Stowe makes another list of best fall foliage trips in the USA! This Green Mountain town is a fall classic and who wouldn’t want to spend a few autumnal days here watching the sugar maples light up in red and gold? Get your hike on (and your camera ready) up in the hills, then grab a taste of Stowe’s craft beer scene with a half-day brewery tour.
This picturesque mountain hub is known for its great skiing at Whitefish Mountain Resort, but it’s also one of the better fall foliage trips you can take. For a leisurely autumnal paddle, head to Whitefish Lake, where you’ll have excellent mountain and forest views framed with golden larch and aspen leaves. Whitefish is the gateway town to the UNESCO-rated Glacier National Park, a truly fantastic place for leaf-peepers. Why not take a tour with a naturalist guide to get the lowdown on local flora and fauna?
Enjoy the fall hues of Madison around one of its five lakes, where you could choose to hop on a cruise or simply watch the boats glide by with a drink at a lakeside watering hole. The Dane County Farmers’ Market is the best place to pick up some produce from the local harvest before whipping up a fall feast back at your rental. To get a taste of Madison with a guide, you could try a culinary walking tour.
Fall foliage trips don’t get much better than this—for one thing, Asheville offers about five full weeks to soak up those blazing yellows and reds. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a must-see for first-time visitors (we struggle to think of a more beautiful autumn drive), and you could spend an hour picking your own apples at one of the local orchards. Seek out Asheville’s 2018 Oktoberfest celebrations on October 6, get prepped for Halloween with a ghostly walking tour, or book your Biltmore Estate admission with lunch and self-guided tour to skip the queues.
Choose a rental in Ellijay and get ready to discover the spectacular scenery of the North Georgia Mountains. Fall here is heralded by the air turning crisp and cool, and mountain hikes revealing sweeping views painted in a kaleidoscope of color. Indulge in some antiques shopping downtown, swing by a few vineyard tastings, or head out to the thundering falls of Amicalola Falls State Park and challenge yourself to the 600-step climb to the top. Don’t miss October’s Georgia Apple Festival with craft stalls and demos, a car show, and a parade.
The charming town of Bar Harbor, with its quaint, family-friendly center framed by jaw-dropping coastal views, makes for a terrific fall foliage trip. It’s right next to Acadia National Park, where you can find clifftop lighthouses, winding carriage roads, plenty of wildlife, and forested slopes flushing orange, red, and yellow in the peak weeks of fall.
There’s lots going on in Fredericksburg in the fall: fun-filled Oktoberfest, the Fredericksburg Food & Wine Fest, the Texas Mesquite Arts Festival, and the Knights of Columbus BestFest (think polka dancing, sausages, and craft beer). And it wouldn’t be right to visit wine country without signing up for a tour and tasting. Take in the cool air and changing leaves on a hike or maybe from the golf course. Alternatively, consider a day trip to nearby Enchanted Rock State Natural area or the Lost Maples State Park to see the ancient trees put on their autumn show, best seen in late October to early November.
This mountain village is popular for outdoor pursuits, such as hiking and bouldering, made even better at this time of year as the gold and red leaves start to appear in all their glory. Motor along the Blue Ridge Parkway and don’t miss the incredible forest and mountain views from the famous Blowing Rock formation. Just find a cabin to call home to let the fall adventure commence!
Here’s another beautiful backdrop for your fall foliage getaway. Paddle and fish for trout while admiring the swathes of maroon and gold leaves along the lake shore, or board a train on the Adirondack Scenic Railroad for a special fall foliage tour. There’s more fall fun to be had at Whiteface Mountain Oktoberfest and the Flaming Leaves Festival at the Olympic Jumping Complex.
Hot Springs marks the end point of centuries of pilgrimages made in pursuit of the healing waters, so make sure you factor in some spa time while you’re here. You can also fish for catfish and bass on Lake Catherine, boat around Lake Hamilton, and hike the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail. Check out the Garvan Woodland Gardens or join a lake cruise.
“It could not have been more perfect. Everything was wonderful, we took lots of pictures and got inspiration for our home. The attention to detail was amazing. We can’t wait to stay again.”— TripAdvisor Reviewer