From beach vacations to camping trips, summer gets a lot of attention. Yet, there are many travelers who spend the entire season counting down the days until fall. If you can’t get changing leaves and crisp, cool mornings out of your head, you’re not alone. Here are the five best travel destinations for fall lovers.
1. Camden, Maine
No other region of the country quite nails gorgeous autumn foliage like New England, and Camden, ME is one of the best spots to view it. Bask in a foliage sea of vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows with a trek through Camden Hills State Park. The park spans over 5,700 acres, all of which is explorable by hiking the area’s many trails. While the observation point on Mount Battie provides exceptional views of the bay, the sweat-inducing climb up Mount Megunticook offers the most picturesque reward, as it’s the highest peak in the area.
If you prefer water views, take a boat tour from Camden Harbor along the tree-lined coast or go kayaking on Megunticook Lake, which is surrounded by woodlands. However, you don’t need to venture far from the village for spectacular autumn views. The Penobscot Bay town’s High Street Historic District offers the ideal combination of eye-catching architecture and beautiful local foliage. Finish off your village stroll with a fresh plate of seafood served alongside impeccable views at Peter Ott’s on the Water.
2. Asheville, North Carolina
Fall in Asheville, NC comes slightly later than in the northeast, but when it does arrive, it’s sure to take your breath away. Even though it’s a metropolitan area, the city is surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are covered in a forest. After a long, hot summer, there’s no better way to welcome in fall than immersing yourself in the Pisgah National Forest. Covering over half a million acres, the forest offers numerous opportunities for hiking, fishing, biking, and picnics. Outdoor enthusiasts also have the option to camp.
If you prefer a more tame adventure, head to The North Carolina Arboretum. The botanical garden spans 434 acres with manicured trees, gardens, and well-groomed walking and biking trails. The site also offers guided garden and trail walks weekly, as well as ArborEvenings every Thursday, which features live music, local drinks, and food. For a similar experience, tour the Biltmore Estate’s lavish iconic gardens, followed by a tasting at the on-site winery.
3. Eureka Springs, Arkansas
The Ozark Mountains’ natural beauty attracts visitors year-round. Yet, the hillsides truly come to life in late September when cooler weather arrives, making it one of the best travel destinations for fall lovers. Since Eureka Springs, AR is considered the heart of the Arkansas Ozarks, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy the changing seasons.
The steep hills throughout Eureka Springs provide fantastic views of the area, so you don’t even have to leave town to enjoy yourself. For the best visibility in town, grab a coffee at Eureka Daily Roast and take a stroll through Downtown. For a more in-depth nature experience, view the woods from above thanks to the Ozark Mountain Ziplines, or rent a kayak and head out to Lake Leatherwood City Park.
4. Woodstock, Vermont
If there’s any possible way to enhance the appearance of fall foliage, it’s achieved by adding covered wooden bridges, gently rolling hills, and historic architecture. Luckily, Woodstock, VT is home to all three. The quaint town offers a stunning landscape, which is made incredibly apparent at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park. The park offers multiple walking trails — surrounded by spectacular trees, shrubs, and flowering plants — that cross the Middle Covered Bridge and lead to the historic Carriage Barn. Tickets for the ranger-led programs are available with bundled admission to the Billings Farm and Museum.
5. Torrington, Connecticut
Fall in Torrington, CT peaks in mid-October and offers around a month of mesmerizing views. Nearby Paugnut State Forest is a must-see location, offering over 1,700 acres and various trails. For an unforgettable look at the Litchfield County countryside in fall, hike up Walnut Mountain, which is the Torrington’s highest point. If you want to take your viewing experience up a notch, book a hot air balloon ride over the county.
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