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Go Leaf-Peeping at the Best Fall Foliage Destinations in the U.S!

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Written by Chris Osburn

This blog post was updated on September 21, 2022.

Bust out your favorite wooly sweater, grab a hot cup of cocoa, and get ready to take in one of nature’s most spectacular shows. Yep, it’s already autumn. Are you looking forward to experiencing the most colorful season of the year? Us, too! That’s why you’ll love our list of some of the most colorful displays of fall foliage around the U.S. So get your cameras ready because it’s time to go leaf-peeping!


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Maine is the wildest and most rustic of New England states. Rugged coastlines, a gazillion lakes, mighty mountains, and old-growth hardwood trees all add to the amazing scenery. Moosehead Lake, the mountain town of Bethel, and Portland are but a few of the most scenic areas to see peak fall foliage. Also, side note: it’s best to book cheap flights to Maine a little earlier because that’s when the leaves are at their peak beauty.


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Great Lakes and great fall foliage! If you like scenic drives and small-town charm, Michigan is for you. The Upper Peninsula is an especially ideal destination for an autumn tour along the shoreline. And with nearly 20 million acres of forests, there are plenty of more seasonal sights to behold across the entire state.


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The Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusetts have the biggest mountains in the general region. But come fall, many admirers will tell you that these mountains yield some of the most dramatic fall displays. If fall foliage hikes sound like the perfect getaway for you, you’ll be happy in Massachusetts. Not to mention, you won’t be too far from the bustling sights of Boston!

New Hampshire

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New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest is home to Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeastern United States. It’s also home to one of the awe-inspiring shows on in the fall. The stunning orange, yellow, green, and red hues of fall dot the mountainous landscape. A more apt name might be the Crimson and Gold Mountain National Forest – ha!


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The Green Mountain State is usually aptly named. But with the end of September through most of October, when the maples appear to be set ablaze, it’s definitely more orange and red than green. The Green Mountain Byway, the ski town of Stowe, and lots of little hideaway communities throughout Vermont are a delight to experience any time of the year. But, they’re most memorable in the fall.


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An unbelievably panoramic vista of majestic mountains with a fiery and vibrant foreground of forest is the vision that awaits autumn visitors to Big Sky Country’s Glacier National Park.

North Carolina

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The most definite stop for any leaf spotter heading to North Carolina is the popular Great Smoky Mountains National Park (which is split between the Tar Heel State and its neighbor, Tennessee). With five entrances to the park within driving distance, the town of Asheville serves as an excellent gateway to seeing one of the East Coast’s most gorgeous stretches of untouched mountain woodlands. Quirky and inviting, Asheville makes a great base for visitors keener for creature comforts when they commune with nature.

You may also like: Looking for Urban Fall Foliage Gems? Leaf It to Us! 


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The other Smoky Mountain state, Tennessee, has the hokey resort towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge for family-friendly entertainment mixed with fall festivities. But across this largely rural swath of the South – from its mountainous east all the way to Memphis and the Mississippi River to the west – there’s plenty of gorgeous fall foliage to see.


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John Denver referred to Aspen as a “sweet Rocky Mountain paradise” and those words ring true to anyone who’s seen this resort town in the fall. But that’s just one of the many places to see the mountains turn from green to gold. Best beauty spots include Rocky Mountain National Park and the San Juan Skyway, so just remember that the Centennial State has plenty of great holiday spots to choose from.


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Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway, America’s longest linear park, through Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Mountains is a fall feast for the eyes. That goes for hiking, climbing, kayaking, or just relaxing almost anywhere in this historic state.

West Virginia

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We wrap up this tour with more John Denver lyrics: “West Virginia, mountain momma, take me home country roads”. They call West Virginia the Mountain State for good reason. The state is located entirely within the Appalachian region with high elevations, deep valleys, and plenty of space for outdoor enthusiasts seeking fall foliage along its many country roads.

(Oh, and while you’re looking for those cheap flights, don’t forget to look for some last-minute hotel deals so you have plenty of time to check out the spectacular foliage!)

Where is your favorite fall foliage destination? Tell us all about it in the comments below!

About the author

Chris Osburn

Chris Osburn is a freelance writer, photographer, consultant, and curator and the driving force behind the long running and award winning blog, Originally from the American Deep South, Chris has lived and worked all over the world and has called London home since 2001.

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