Once the kids head back to school and the evening air starts turning chilly, our weekends somehow seem more important to enjoy. One activity that never fails to impress everyone from young family members to senior travelers is piling into the car and going on one of America’s top autumn road trips.
Although New England is traditionally associated with the richest palettes of foliage, the truth is there are plenty of fall road trips from coast to coast that offer spectacular views and unforgettable activities.
The U.S. Forest Service has set up its Fall Colors 2013 directory—a public online service that maps the richest autumn colors nationally, designating which areas have achieved pre-peak, peak and post-peak color changes. For leaf peepers in certain regions, there’s always The Foliage Network, where experienced travelers’ firsthand observations are assembled into foliage reports that are updated frequently.
Whether you live near the Atlantic coastline, the Pacific or somewhere in between, there’s an autumn road trip you and family can enjoy. Here are a just a few, to provide inspiration:
Adirondack Park, N.Y.: In upstate New York, you’ll find one of the most extensive stretches of pristine forest in the entire eastern U.S. Comprised of public lands and private, Adirondack Park totals a whopping 6 million acres! It’s no wonder the park’s motto is “Forever Wild.” So you’re sure to find a wide variety of roads, trails and scenic overlooks. And, while you travel the upper Empire State, don’t forget to check out nearby Lake Placid—host to the annual Flaming Leaves Festival.
Appalachian Foliage Tour, Ohio: While some might not think of Ohio as a prime foliage destination, the fact is the state offers great scenic day trips with some of the fall’s best colors en route. One of the most memorable and historic of America’s byways is the Ohio River Scenic Byway tucked in along the shore of this amazing waterway.
Cherokee Foothills, S.C.: In an area known by the Cherokee as the “Great Blue Hills of God,” the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway is another example of an American byway that’s as rich in history as it is scenery. Among the many must-sees, don’t missRavenCliffFalls, actually a series of waterfalls that send water roaring and plummeting more than 400 feet.
Eastern Sierra, Calif.: Don’t think California is just about surfers and movie stars. The Golden State also earns its name from the glorious golden hues to be found on its aspens and willows come autumn, especially in the far eastern areas bordering Nevada, known as Eastern Sierra. With lakes like Lundy, June, Mono and Mammoth dotting the route, you get to decide how long the majestic scenery lasts. Click here for an Eastern Sierra Fall Color Guide & Map.
Mohawk Trail, Mass.: From foliage that makes jaws drop and shutterbugs jump, to a premier selection of dining and shopping venues, the Mohawk Trail is one of the undisputed crown jewels on any top autumn road trips list.
When the season associated with rich colors, ripe apples and relaxing drives rolls around, choose one of these road trips and enjoy the season — or blaze your own trail. And remember, no matter where the road takes you, plan ahead, drive safely and have fun.
This guest post comes from the editors of The Allstate Blog, which helps people prepare for the unpredictability of life.