10 Great Destinations to Enjoy the Colors of Fall
Take a Beautiful Road Trip to Any of These Wonderful Autumn Locales
After a long, hot summer, fall is here at last, and with it comes cooler temperatures and shorter days. This is a season of transition, most notably seen in the changing colors of leaves on the trees. Over the span of a few weeks, the green hues of summer will give way to the crimsons and golds of autumn before the leaves disappear altogether ahead of the start of winter.
Autumn also happens to be the perfect time for an RV road trip. The cooler weather makes getting outdoors much more enjoyable, and the bright, bold colors can make even familiar landscapes feel fresh and new again. If you’re looking to hit the road this fall, here are some classic destinations to enjoy the season.
The Adirondack Mountains, New York
Upstate New York is a beautiful destination anytime, but it truly comes alive in the fall. The slopes of the Adirondack Mountains are ablaze in reds, oranges, and yellows, making it a perfect place to go for a hike or just take a long scenic drive. Best of all, the area has one of the longest leaf-peeping seasons in the entire country, with trees in the northern Adirondacks changing color in late September, while the southern region doesn’t transition until the final week of October.
Where to Camp: Ledgeview RV Park in Lake George, NY
Vermont has always been a popular destination for travelers in autumn, with Stowe ranking at the top of the list of places to visit. Known as “Fall’s Color Capital,” the quaint mountain village sits at the base of the state’s highest peak, with rolling mountains in every direction. This makes for a striking display that begins in late September and continues through the end of October, with plenty of festivals, outdoor events, and activities to celebrate the season.
Where to Camp: Lone Pine Campsites in Colchester, VT
Located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Roanoke is a fantastic destination for fall travelers. The city sits along the Blue Ridge Parkway and offers access to one of the more spectacular sections of the Appalachian Trail. Here, the leaves begin to change colors around mid-October and continue their vivid display into early November, allowing ample time to take in the scenery.
Where to Camp: Campground at Dixie Caverns in Salem, VA
Spread out across parts of Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma, the Ozarks are the perfect blend of mountains and dense forests found along the shores of stunning lakes. In the fall, this region is awash in colors, with more shades of orange and yellow than you ever thought could exist in nature. If the weather is warm, take a boat ride on the Lake of the Ozarks and get a good view from the water. Alternatively, take a drive on the Talimena National Scenic Byway, a 54-mile stretch of road that will leave you breathless. Peak leaf season runs from late October to early November.
Where to Camp: Crown Lake RV Resort in Horseshoe Bend, AR
Door County, Wisconsin
No list of fall destinations in the US would be complete without mentioning Wisconsin’s Door County. With its miles of scenic shorelines, thick forests, and historic lighthouses, it is easy to mistake this place for Maine or Massachusetts. From late September to mid-October, this peninsula along Lake Michigan is one of the best places in the entire country for enjoying the autumn colors. Go for a hike, paddle on the lake, or enjoy a leisurely drive on the treelined backroads. Either way, you’ll find plenty to love.
Where to Camp: Baileys Grove Campground in Baileys Harbor, WI
The North Shore Scenic Drive, Minnesota
Minnesota’s North Shore Scenic Drive is truly a hidden gem for travelers, particularly in the fall. The road wanders for more than 150 miles along the banks of Lake Superior, where ancient hardwood forests still dominate the landscape. In the autumn, those trees are painted with the most vibrant colors on Mother Nature’s palette, making it a premiere destination for outdoor enthusiasts and leaf peepers alike. The seasonal change usually begins in early September and runs into the first week of October, with the leaves falling not long after that.
Where to Camp: Grand Marais RV Park in Grand Marais, MN
Black Hills, South Dakota
Head to the Black Hills of South Dakota in early October to catch the annual transition of the trees to their autumn colors. The bright yellows, oranges, and reds stand out against the dark granite rock faces that are common throughout the region. Go for a hike or drive in the Black Hills National Forest or nearby Custer State Park. Both locations are perfect for outdoor enthusiasts looking to stretch their legs on a breathtakingly beautiful trail.
Where to Camp: Beaver Lake Campground in Custer SD
Crested Butte, Colorado
Because it sits nearly 9,000 feet above sea level, autumn comes early in Crested Butte, Colorado. But when it does arrive, it is oh-so spectacular. The aspen trees that fall along the slopes of the Rocky Mountains turn to a bright golden hue by mid-September and remain that way before they begin to fall from their branches in early October. Visitors will enjoy hiking on the numerous trails that are accessible right from town, but the area is one of the best mountain biking destinations on the planet, so soak up the season on two wheels if you can.
Where to Camp: Tall Texan RV Parks & Cabins in Gunnison, CO
Taos, New Mexico
For an utterly unexpected autumn experience, turn your RV towards Taos, New Mexico. This eclectic mountain town is a bit off the beaten path but offers spectacular views at any time of the year. In the fall, a drive along the Enchanted Circle—an 84-mile loop around nearby Wheeler Peak—reveals a stunning array of colors in the trees of the surrounding national forest. Stands of golden aspen trees are especially noticeable starting in early November, allowing late-season travelers to enjoy the season when it has already ended in many other parts of the country.
Where to Camp: Road Runner RV Resort in Red River, NM
Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
The Pacific Northwest has a number of great locations to enjoy in the fall, but few destinations can match the spectacular beauty of Mount Rainier National Park. The park’s titular mountain sits at the center of a massive outdoor wilderness that changes from lush greens to amber, crimson, and gold each autumn. Some of the best views are found along White Pass Scenic Byway or at the Sunrise and Chinook Passes. The park’s cottonwood, willow, aspen, and tamarack trees start to change around mid-October, with the vibrant display lasting into early November.
Where to Camp: Harmony Lakeside RV Park & Deluxe Cabins in Silver Creek, WA