Fall in Love with These Top 10 U.S. Destinations for Leaf Peeping

Last updated January 8, 2024

With fall comes much anticipated and breathtaking vistas of color, cool breezes, comfortable temps and the infamous pumpkin spiced latte. 

Fall foliage is when the leaves start changing colors from green to shades of orange, red, yellow and even purple. There’s not an exact science to when the fall leaves change color, though.

Typically, mid-October is peak time, however, leaves can change their color from as early as mid-September through early November—depending on local weather conditions. 

Fall foliage can be seen all across the United States, but some locations are certainly more remarkable than others. Which is why we’ve put together a list of the top 10 unbe-leaf-able destinations for leaf peeping in the U.S.—from the tip of Maine all the way to Washington state. Now, all you have to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the views.

1. Acadia National Park — Maine

With the best fall foliage color in the Northeast, fall in Maine is a spectacular time to visit Acadia National Park. From Bar Harbor to the Schoodic Peninsula, the views are awe-inspiring. And with a park that is over 45,000 acres and over 70 miles of beautiful hiking trails, there is plenty to see and do.

Consider a stay at Breakwater Inn & Spa

Three hours south of Acadia National Park is The Breakwater Inn & Spa—one of Kennebunkport’s oldest inns. It was originally built in the 1880s and its cottage architecture evokes a bygone era of tranquility.

Whether you’re looking to relax in one of the Adirondack chairs with a good book or restore balance and wellness through treatments and therapies at the spa, this Kennebunkport icon is the perfect place.

2. Stowe — Vermont

Vermont’s fall foliage is some of the most beautiful in the country. With a scenery that can only be described as the perfect blend of mountains and woods, Vermont is a breathtaking place to be during leaf peeping time of year. The colors are spectacular and the crisp air makes it perfect for hiking and biking. 

3. Catskill Mountains — New York

Fall is the perfect time to head to the Catskill Mountains for a scenic drive. The Catskill Mountains are home to the world’s largest protected wilderness area outside of Alaska and are home to historic towns and villages, scenic trails and waterfalls.

The area offers a variety of places to hike, camp and enjoy the beautiful views of the transforming leaves. As a bonus, the Catskill Mountains are close to New York City, making it a great day trip to enjoy the fall colors.

Consider a stay at Honor’s Haven Retreat

Restore your spirits and rekindle your energy at Honor’s Haven, a beautiful refuge set amidst the tranquil Catskill Mountains. The sparwling retreat center provides a lovely oasis for unwinding and enjoying the outdoors. Hike along nature trails, practice yoga by the lake or take your fitness regimen outdoors and explore the Catskills. With so much to do, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience at Honor’s Haven.

4. The Poconos Mountains — Pennsylvania

The Poconos Mountains are a wonderful place to take in the fall foliage. The trees turn from green to a brilliant yellow, orange, and red. They almost glow against the deep blue of the sky.

The crisp air fills your lungs; the smell of the changing leaves fills your nose. It is truly a special time of year, and the Poconos has no limit of places to see the leaves change.

Consider a stay at The Lodge at Woodloch

When you stay at The Lodge at Woodloch, you’re in for a real treat. All of their packages include luxurious accommodations as well as three delicious gourmet meals per night of your stay.

In addition, a variety of stimulating workshops are offered, like inspiring creative arts classes, scheduled group fitness classes, chef’s cooking and baking demonstrations, and scheduled group outdoor adventure excursions—ideal for leaf peepers.

Plus, you’ll have access to their health and fitness amenities including an indoor pool, hydromassage waterwalls, indoor and outdoor whirlpools, steam rooms, saunas and a state-of-the-art cardio-weight studio.

5. Amicalola Falls State Park — Georgia

Fall is a great time to visit Georgia, especially Amicalola Falls State Park. The beautiful colors of the trees are almost as stunning as the waterfall itself. The best time to see the colors is typically a couple of weeks after the official first day of fall when the leaves start to change. Each year the colors are different, so get out there and enjoy the show!

Consider a stay at Callaway Resort & Gardens

If you’re looking for a place to get away from it all and enjoy nature, Callaway Resort & Gardens takes the cake. With over 2,500 acres of beautiful landscape and four seasons of fun, you’ll never be bored.

In the spring, take in the vibrant blossoms and enjoy hiking or biking on the trails. In the summer, cool off in Robin Lake or try your hand at water sports. And in the fall, take advantage of a round of golf, relaxation at the spa, and of course, peeping the changing leaves. No matter what time of year you visit, you’ll find plenty to do at Callaway Resort & Gardens.

6. Ozark National Forest — Arkansas

The Arkansas Ozark region lies in the southern central part of the state. It is a land of rolling hills, rugged mountains, pristine streams and rivers and scenic lakes. From mid-September through mid-October, the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas and Oklahoma will be ablaze with color.

Immerse yourself in a variety of leaf peeping hikes. The diverse range of trees includes many species of oak, hickory, dogwood and maple, providing a pageant of colors. 

7. Wisconsin Dells — Wisconsin

Wisconsin is an excellent place to visit during the fall, especially when it comes to the beautiful fall foliage the state has to offer. There are many places to go for leaf peeping, but Wisconsin Dells is one of the best.

Wisconsin Dells has many great attractions and things to do, including the Dells Rapids Water Park, Fantasy Island, the World’s Largest Baseball Bat, the Dinosaur Park, the Tubing Hills, the Wisconsin River and much more.

Consider a stay at Sundara Inn & Spa

Named the fourth best resort in the Midwest by Travel + Leisure magazine, Sundara Inn & Spa should not be missed on your fall getaway! Here you can indulge in a hot tub soak on your private balcony or snuggle up next to the fireplace in your luxury suite.

The spa boasts both indoor and outdoor pools, as well as an indoor spa bathhouse with 28 spa treatment rooms. Sundara is adults-only and electronics-free in all common areas so you can fully take in the changing of the seasons with your loved ones.

8. Aspen — Colorado

The Aspen area is home to some of the best fall foliage in the world. This is because the aspen trees in the area turn a bright yellow before they fall off the tree. The landscape is also dotted with beautiful reds and oranges as the leaves change colors.

You can find some of the best colors in the Aspen area or nearby areas like Snowmass. The weather in the Aspen area is also very mild compared to many other western states. As a perk, the average high temperature during the fall is between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Consider a stay at Hotel Jerome

Hotel Jerome is more than just a place to stay in Aspen—it’s an experience. The hotel has been the social hub of Aspen since it opened way back in 1889 during the silver boom. It’s the only hotel in Aspen to have survived the silver crash and even the Great Depression.

Cowboys rode through the doors, soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division and even Hunter S. Thompson held court here during his run for sheriff. It’s the best place in the Rockies for world-class powder skiing, amazing backcountry adventures, culture, shopping and nightlife. 

9. Columbia River Gorge — Oregon

The Columbia River Gorge is one of the most spectacular places in the Pacific Northwest, so it’s no wonder it’s a top place to visit during the fall months. The gorge becomes a kaleidoscope of color, with oaks, maples and sycamores lining the riverbanks and mountainsides. This scenic drive is beautiful year-round, but fall is truly one of the best times to explore this treasure.

10. Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest — Washington

Washington is one of the most lush and beautiful states in the U.S. and Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest is no exception. The National Forest, also known as “OKForest” is a 1.1 million acre forest that is located in the central part of Washington State.

Because of the area’s rich and diverse ecology, it is a great place to go leaf peeping and hiking and see the fall foliage. The mountains, forests, lakes and rivers will make for a truly unforgettable experience.

These 10 Locations Are the Ideal Backdrop for Your Fall Fantasy

Are you looking for a great place to see fall foliage? It seems as if the entire country is in a race to see which area can display the most vibrant colors of red, orange and yellow!

The list above is a great place to start your search. As you will see, these destinations are found all over the United States, so you should be able to find one that is easily accessible to you.

If you are looking for a change of pace and want to visit a great new location for fall foliage, consider one of these top destinations for leaf peeping.

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