It’s time to take full advantage of the lower temperatures and fantastic foliage. Take a pleasant drive through some of America’s most beautiful regions and relax. Here to help you do that is a coast to coast list of 14 fall road trip destinations for stunning scenery in the United States:
1. Blue Ridge Mountains, Georgia
Take a road trip through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia. Start your drive at The Russell Brasstown Scenic Byway and drive through the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains along the well-known Chattahoochee River. Stop in the Bavarian-village-like town of Helen and then the state’s highest natural point, Brasstown Bald, which is also reportedly Georgia’s “ultimate foliage viewing vantage point.” Go for a hike in the popular Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, see the vineyards in Georgia Wine Country, and finish in Tallulah Gorge State Park to the east.
2. Rhode Island’s Little Charms
The nation’s smallest state is rife fall activities. Begin your outing at the popular Rail Explorers excursion in the city of Newport. Here pedal-powered vehicles take tourists down historic railroad tracks on interesting one-hour tours.
Next stop is Bristol to see the historic mansions there. Then, providing you visit during the month of October, you can go to the Roger Williams Zoo in Providence for the popular Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular. Lastly, make a stop along the famous Brewery Trail which actually includes the well-known Foolproof Brewing Company in Pawtucket.
3. Finger Lakes, New York
Check out the foliage in the quiet country atmosphere of the Finger Lakes region. From NYC cruise through Pennsylvania, stopping at either Tobyhanna or Gouldsboro State Park on the way. Take a detour into Jim Thorpe, nicknamed the “Switzerland of America” for its architecture and scenery. See the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway or take a hike in lovely Lehigh Valley. Finally, tour the Finger Lakes region near the city of Ithaca. Go hiking, visit the wineries, and stay at one of the historically-famous Inns of Aurora.
4. The Pennsylvania Wilderness
You’ll find plenty of peaceful forest and mountain scenery in northern Pennsylvania on historic Route 6. Be sure to take a brief detour to St. Marys and visit the well-known Straub Brewery which has been in business for decades. Hit the 76-mile Elk Country Loop that passes through the Pennsylvania wilderness where large herds of elk live. Visit the stunning Worlds End State Park too, Camp outdoors, or rent a cabin. Either way, be sure to take a hike on the lovely Loyalsock Trail and see the colorful forest up close.
5. The Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina
This winding All American Road and National Parkway road runs for nearly 470 miles. It connects the award-winning Great Smoky Mountains National Park located in North Carolina to the striking Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Along the way. you’ll see mountain meadows, old farmsteads, scenic overlooks, and split-rail fences. You can even stop on the way and tour a historic home, visit a local farm, or explore one of the many hiking trails.
6. Connecticut’s Colors
Cruise the approximately 100-mile loop through the northwest corner of Connecticut. See the Town of Falls Village found in Canaan. There you’ll find churches, homes, streets, and a railroad depot that look just as they did back in the 1800s.
Take a day hike on the local portion of the famous Appalachian Trail. Drive through the quaint West Cornwall Covered Bridge, which hovers 172 feet above the Housatonic River. Enjoy the foliage as you hike through Lake Waramaug State Park. Make one more stop in Litchfield and see White Flower Farm.
7. The Historic Trails Of New England
New England does have some beautiful fall foliage. There are also places to go hiking or pick up a little history. Begin your trek in Boston.
Hike the red-lined, 2.5-mile Freedom Trail. It will take you to 16 historic sites. Then head west through the Berkshires of Massachusetts where you’ll find lots of fall color. Don’t forget to stop at the historical living museum Old Sturbridge Village. Head south to Philadelphia to see the educational Museum of the American Revolution.
8. The California Coast
Summer is traditionally a good time to cruise the California coast but it’s warm and beautiful in the fall too. Begin your adventure with an oceanside hike in popular Point Mugu State Park. Next, follow Highway 101 to Santa Barbara, and spend time exploring State Street’s shops and eateries.
Branch off for a stop in the Danish-like town of Solvang. Sample some fresh pea soup, visit the wineries and enjoy the scenery. If you still have time, head north and take in more of the ocean scenery there.
9. The Olympic Peninsula
Explore Washington state’s rugged coast and see the lush forests and massive mountains of Olympic National Park. Begin in the city of Seattle, the birthplace of grunge music, and follow the loop around Puget Sound. Take a detour and ride a ferry to Vashon Island.
There you can stroll along the beach and visit old Point Robinson Lighthouse. Go for a hike in beautiful Olympic National Park, then drive on to historic Port Townsend. There you can see all the Victorian houses and old waterfront neighborhoods.
10. The Gulf Coast Of Florida
If you want to avoid the powerful heat and humidity of summer and see some striking scenery then drive around here in the fall. Cruise the 19-mile drive on Highway 30A. This takes you along the sparkling Gulf of Mexico, or even further if you wish.
Visit one of the beach neighborhoods in South Walton where the sand is white as sugar due to its quartz crystal makeup. Stop and see the coastal dune lakes that only exist in a few places on the planet. Grab a bite to eat at Airstream Row. It’s an interesting street lined with aluminum eateries serving up tasty treats.
11. The Oregon Coast
Let’s be honest. The Oregon coast does not have all that much foliage in the fall. Still, we’ve included it on this special list because the area has its own unique scenery to offer day-trippers.
Start in the city of Astoria, then drive south. Stop to go hiking at Ecola Beach and the Lewis And Clark National And State Historical Park. Stop and stay awhile in Cannon Beach. Explore the huge boulders there, especially Haystack Rock. Take a detour to visit the Tillamook Creamery too.
12. The Great Lakes
Drive along the Great Lakes and skirt the nation’s northern border. Begin your tri( at the southern edge of famous Lake Huron. There you can see the tall ship schooners and pick up a souvenir in Bay City’s downtown antiques market.
From there head north along the edge of the lake. Go hiking through the Thunder Bay River State Forest. Then stop in memorable Mackinaw City and ride the ferry to Mackinac Island. There you can go bicycling or even enjoy a genuine horse and buggy around the historic island.
13. Cruise Classic Route 66
“Get your kicks on route six six . . .” Yes, this historic highway even rates its own song. Why? Because it’s well worth exploring– in whole or in part.
Start off in Chicago then simply follow the generally “turn-by-turn directions” to follow this classic route. There are many places to stop too. Noteworthy highlights include the Cadillac Ranch, The Oklahoma Route 66 Museum, the Polk-a-Dot Drive In, the 80-foot Blue Whale, and even Rancho Cucamonga, the current home of your rovin’ writer!
14. The Mississippi River
Follow the Mississippi River along the 3,00-mile-long Great River Road. Along the way be sure to stop in Chicago, Illinois, Madison, Wisconsin, and Saint Paul, Minnesota. Detour into Nashville, Tennessee, and Jackson, Mississippi. Spend some time in Mississippi Palisades State Park, too. Here you can set up camp, go hiking, or relax and simply commune with nature.