Best (In the Fall) Leaf-Peeping Travel Destinations

From September to November, America the Beautiful is illuminated in hues of red, orange, and yellow as the trees hit their autumn stride. If you’re planning an RV trip to see some of the best fall foliage in the nation, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite destinations.

1. Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

No list of the best fall foliage viewing spots would be complete without mention of the Smoky Mountains. Peak foliage season usually hits this stretch of forest between mid-October and early November.

To see the colorful autumn leaves on trees that stretch up to 4,000 feet, drive your RV or camper throughout the region via the Blue Ridge Parkway, Foothills Parkway, or Clingmans Dome Road. Clingman’s Dome is the highest point in Tennessee, gracing guests with sensational views of the fall foliage.

You’ll also want to visit Great Smoky National Park in Gatlinburg to take in more than 100 native tree types, including hickories, red maples, scarlet oaks, sugar maples, and sweetgums. Hike trails in the park to view the beauty of the trees and stunning waterfalls.

2. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

When fall foliage comes into view, the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia is the place to be. One of the most popular ways to take in the leaves is on a drive along Skyline Drive, a 105-mile route through the Shenandoah National Park with 75 overlooks.

Driving from one end to another takes approximately three hours – give or take, depending on how often you’re stopping to take photos and soak it all in and how busy it can get on the fall weekends. Hiking will provide even more views, and the Stony Man Trail is a fan favorite.

3. Adirondacks, New York

The Adirondack Mountains region of New York offers 5,000 square miles of stunning fall colors for leaf peepers and has one of the longest viewing seasons to boot!

According to the Adirondack Regional Tourism Council, the projected best times to see peak fall foliage in each region are as follows:

  • End of Sept. through first week of October: Lake Placid Region, Saranac Lake Region, Tupper Lake Region, and Whiteface Region
  • First and second weeks of October: Adirondack Experience It, Lake George Region, Adirondack Hub, & Malone Region
  • Third week through end of October: Lake Champlain Region, Adirondack Seaway, Adirondack Coast, & Adirondack Tug Hill

4. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

One of our nation’s most iconic tourist attractions, the Grand Canyon National Park, is a popular destination year-round. We think fall adds a crown of glory to this national treasure, as the infamous bands of red rock are framed in gorgeous fall colors on the aspens, birches, and oaks.

The colors really come alive in late September and early October. By visiting in the fall, you might even be lucky enough to experience fewer crowds with families back in school-year schedules. You’ll also enjoy milder temperatures than in the heat of summer.

5. Pine Creek Gorge, Pennsylvania

A lesser known (at least on the national scale) landmark nestled in the Keystone state is the Pine Creek Gorge, affectionately known as the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. The 47-mile canyon cuts through the Tioga State Forest.

Visitors can opt to peep the fall leaves on a bike ride along the 62-mile Pine Creek Rail Trail or by hiking trails in the wilderness of Colton Point State Park and Leonard Harrison State Park.

6. Stowe, Vermont

The entire Northeast corridor is arguably the greatest place for fall color seekers, and the town of Stowe is nicknamed “Fall’s Color Capital.” If you’re ready for the quintessential New England fall vacation, make plans to stay in Stowe. The area boasts an extensive trail system where you can enjoy the outstanding colors. You can also check out the views by paddling a kayak or canoe in the river or reservoir.

7. Traverse City, Michigan

This lakeside landing place is a prime place to relax and enjoy nature at its finest. White sandy beaches border the shores of Grand Traverse Bay on Lake Michigan, where there are several stunning vistas to take in the beauty of fall. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore offers 13 hiking trails of varying levels. Fall is a great time to take a hot air balloon ride to capture an even better view of the brilliant display of colors that the Traverse City trees put on each fall.

8. Fayetteville, West Virginia

With so much of its land encompassed by lush forests, West Virginia is a spectacular place to take a scenic drive and see the fall colors at their prettiest. Mid-October is prime viewing time for leaf peeping in Fayetteville, where visitors can also enjoy a charming shopping district and restaurants. A drive over the New River Gorge Bridge is a must for great views and picture-taking opportunities.

9. Great River Road

Whether you’ve driven along the Great River Road that runs along the Mississippi River from Minnesota to Louisiana before or it’s still on your bucket list, fall is a great time to make the trip! Splashes of red, orange, yellow, and gold can be seen from vistas at parks along the way.

One option is Pikes Peak State Park in McGregor, Iowa, where you’ll enjoy looking out from 500-foot bluffs over the river valley. The Old Chain of Rocks Bridge, an unusual structure built in 1929 that goes from Madison, IL to St. Louis, MS, is known as one of the area’s top spots to peep fall leaves.

10. Maryland Scenic Byways

If you’re native to Maryland, you’ll likely be traveling on some of Maryland’s Scenic Byways this fall. Pardon our bias, but we think Maryland has its fair share of vibrant fall colors to enjoy whether you’re passing through or want to make a weekend getaway destination in any of the state’s charming towns or cities.

The Chesapeake Country Scenic Byway covers 419 miles of Eastern Maryland’s coastal roads, where you’ll take in beautiful views. Another beautiful drive on Maryland’s Eastern Shore is the Harriet Tubman Underground Byway. This three-to-four-hour drive covers 125 miles of country roads from Cambridge to Goldsboro and is part of the Great Chesapeake Bay Loop.

New and Used RVs For Sale Near Me in Maryland

The best way to experience all of the colors of fall is with an RV or camper that allows you to travel as often as you’d like. With room to sleep, eat, bathe, and relax, your new or used RV can be your dreamy home away from home in every season.

If you’ve been searching for used RVs for sale near me in MD, check out the inventory at Economy RVS in Mechanicsville, MD. We have been selling new and used RVS in Maryland for more than 25 years, and our team would be delighted to answer questions and help you to find the RV that is best for your needs.

Financing options are available to ensure you can be on the road as soon as you’d like. Contact us or stop by today to find the RV or camper you need to make the most of the fall travel season!