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Pour your favorite pumpkin-flavored beverage into a travel mug. It’s time to hit the road and check out some jaw-droppingly gorgeous fall foliage.

The Berkshires

We could fill this entire list with places in New England, but this western Massachusetts region gets top billing for having an entire festival celebrating autumn colors—the aptly named Fall Foliage Festival. This year’s event is Sept. 23 to Oct. 2, kicking off peak leaf-peeping time, which happens during the first few weeks of October. Start your visit by attending the oh-so-quaint Fall Foliage Parade, then drive the 55-mile-long Mohawk Trail, teeming with rolling hills, gurgling streams and Native American history.

The Berkshires: This is about as "fall" as it gets. The pumpkins are not the focus of this image - just look at those rolling mountains covered in gorgeous fall foliage. Credit Ogden Gigli via Massachusetts Office of Tourism/Flickr.

The Berkshires: This is about as “fall” as it gets. Credit Ogden Gigli via Massachusetts Office of Tourism/Flickr.

Gold Coast, Michigan

Start in Traverse City, and drive for more than 250 miles of beauty along the Lake Michigan shore, through Northport and Frankfort. Stop for apple cider at Kilcherman’s Christmas Cove Farm and in St. Joseph to ride the Silver Beach Carousel. Late September to mid-October is the best time to see these fall hues.

Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia and North Carolina

Begin in Roanoke, Virginia, and drive south toward Asheville, North Carolina, for a show-stopping landscape of bright yellow hickories, orange sassafras trees and brilliantly red swamp dogwoods. There’s no shortage of things to do along this 469-stretch of the national park system, from exploring the bustling Harrisonburg Farmers Market in Virginia to climbing Chimney Rock near Asheville. Mid-to late October is a good time to catch plenty of color; leaves change hues at the highest elevation first.

Maybe they should rename it the Red Ridge Parkway, thanks to all those vibrant red trees. Credit: Sarah Zucca/Flickr.

Maybe they should rename it the Red Ridge Parkway. Credit: Sarah Zucca/Flickr.

Ozark National Forest, Arkansas

You could spend a week exploring the Ozark Mountain Range, which stretches through Arkansas and Missouri. But to focus your trip, head to Arkansas’ Slymore Scenic Byway, which fully lives up to its name. The 26.5-mile stretch is packed with colorful mountain views. While you’re in the area, explore Blanchard Springs Caverns and watch as pioneer life is reenacted at Ozark Folk Center State Park; the park’s live bluegrass performances make a perfect soundtrack for your trip.

The Ozarks: Don't even think about putting a filter on this gorgeousness, which features rolling, green mountains peeking out from behind some red foliage. Credit Nancy/Flickr.

The Ozarks: Don’t even think about putting a filter on this gorgeousness. Credit Nancy/Flickr.

Green Mountain Byway, Vermont

Even the name sounds like a breath of fresh autumn air. This 11-mile stretch spans between two mountain ridges, surrounding drivers with golden and orange maple trees. The trip starts in the resort town of Stowe and ends, conveniently, in Waterbury—home of the Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tour. Because it’s always ice cream season.

We'd stow away for a trip to Vermont's Green Mountain Byway - just look at that bright orange fall foliage. Credit: GoStowe.com.

We’d stow away for a trip to Vermont’s Green Mountain Byway. Credit: GoStowe.com.


Columbia River Highway, Oregon


For a fall road trip that’s not overrun with tourists, the West Coast might just be the best coast. In addition to fall foliage (and yes, it changes colors), this 70-mile stretch offers vistas of waterfalls, monuments, bridges and gorges. The route is home to several wineries, so commemorate your vacation with a souvenir bottle or two. Late October is a good time to catch the leaves in all their glory.

Wahkeena Creek and it's gorgeous fall foliage is just one of the many jaw-dropping sites along Oregon's Columbia River Gorge. Credit Ian Sane/Flickr.

Wahkeena Creek is just one of the many jaw-dropping sites along Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge. Credit Ian Sane/Flickr.

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Tagged: Family, FREE!, Seasonal

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