The end of the summer means kids return to school, pumpkin spice flavoring wafting through every coffee house, and sweaters make their rotation back into most people’s wardrobes. Besides the break from the heat of a grueling summer, there’s one visual in autumn that little else during the year can hold a candle to — fall foliage.
Unfortunately, if you live in the warmer climates of the United States, where palm trees far outweigh their deciduous cousins, you might miss the beauty of orange, yellow, and red peppering the landscape.
The good news is you can still watch the leaves change, and all it takes is a little planning and a drive in your car. Here are four destinations in different parts of the U.S. to consider visiting to witness mother nature’s beauty.
Speaking of the south, you might discount that portion of the nation when it comes to changing leaves, but that would be a mistake. Georgia is home to a spectacular waterfall in the Amicalola Falls State Park, which also happens to have maple and oak trees that change color in the fall. That gives you a wonderful backdrop for cementing your memories in a photograph.
You don’t always have to travel to the mountains to see fall colors, as evidenced by the many spots you could visit in Atlanta from October through mid-November. The great thing is that you probably will only need a light jacket to enjoy the sights.
And if you’re worried about losing that summer glow with cooler temps, fear not. Just stop by a spa and get a spray tan. Atlanta is chock full of options to help you keep your color through the winter.
Driving to the center region of the United States, you can immerse yourself in all the fall colors you desire by setting your sights on the great state of Arkansas. Try planning a trip to visit the Ozark National Forest with over a million acres of deciduous trees burst with color in October.
Not only can you walk through the lush forest full of yellow, orange, and red, but there are areas where you can stand above the trees and gaze down over the landscape.
Once you fill yourself with the sights in the Ozarks, consider driving a bit further east to Tennessee, where you can enjoy the various colors and shapes of local trees like poplars, oak, and hickory near the Smoky Mountains.
If the northern part of the nation is your destination, think about stopping in New York, Maryland, New Hampshire, or Vermont. New York is home to the Catskill Mountains, where you can walk or drive the autumn landscape or head over to Huntington to watch the turning maples, dogwoods, sassafras, and tulip trees.
Starting in September, you could stay in Stowe, Vermont, well-known as “Fall’s Color Capital.” The name alone says it all.
Fall foliage dons the areas in Maryland around the Chesapeake Bay, and New Hampshire puts on a show in early October in the White Mountain National Forest.
Setting your sights on the western part of the nation, Aspen, Colorado, has a reputation for great skiing. But before the snow falls, the leaves on the aspen trees turn and put on a beautiful show helping you soak in that fall feeling.
Farther west sits Oregon and Washington with a show of their own. Say hello to colorful fall patterns around the Lake Ann/Maple Pass Loop Trail in October around the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Then head south to the Columbia River Gorge that straddles the Washington/Oregon border and appreciate the numerous waterfalls while drinking in the changing leaves surrounding you.
Enjoy the Fall Foliage
No matter where you live or want to visit, there’s likely a spot where you can watch the green leaves of summer give way to the unique colors of fall. All you have to do is make a plan and hit the road.