Five Colorful Leaf Peeping Destinations
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Fall will be here before you know it! The season brings with it crisp, cool weather, harvest festivals, pumpkin-flavored pastries, and, best of all, beautiful changing leaves. Grab your family, significant other, or a few friends and spend a weekend sightseeing as nature paints the trees in vivid reds, oranges, and yellows while enjoying everything that your destination has to offer. We’ve found five great leaf peeping destinations that you’ll enjoy visiting this season:
Adirondack Mountains (New York)
The many mountains and lakes of New York’s Adirondack Mountains provide the perfect setting for a fall leaf peeping trip. The region has one of the longest fall foliage seasons in the northeast; it is filled with beautiful fall colors from early September through mid- to late October. If you’re visiting early in the season, you’ll enjoy the best views from the highest elevations. Leaf peepers who decide to visit in October will get the best views from the lower elevations, such as the shores of Lake Champlain and Lake George. Visitors can see the foliage while hiking, canoeing, driving, or even just relaxing.
If you came for more than just the leaves, the Adirondacks won’t disappoint. The area is home to several fall festivals that the whole family will love, and offers many other nearby attractions and activities, including museums, historic sites, and wineries. End your fun-filled days at the conveniently located Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Lake George (Queensbury) hotel, which is the perfect home base for any leaf peeper in the Adirondacks.
Now we’ll make our way down the east coast to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, which is a popular family vacation destination no matter the season. History lovers will enjoy touring the battlegrounds of the Civil War, as well as catching views of the beautiful fall leaves. Outdoor enthusiasts will love hiking the several miles of trails at Caledonia State Park, which is located just a short 20 minute drive from Gettysburg. The trees in the park will thrill any leaf peeper with their vibrant fall hues.
If you’re up for a day trip, hop in the car for the hour and a half drive to Pennsylvania Dutch Country in Lancaster County. During harvest season, you can spend the day visiting country markets, apple orchards, and pumpkin patches. Your fall foliage vacation isn’t complete without a hot breakfast every morning at our Gettysburg or Chambersburg hotel.
Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)
You may recognize the classic folk song “Oh, Shenandoah,” but it hardly describes the beauty of the Shenandoah Valley, which contains Shenandoah National Park. Encompassing a portion of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, the park offers hiking, camping, waterfall views, and of course, gorgeous fall leaves. However, the most enticing feature of Shenandoah National Park has to be Skyline Drive. This 105-mile road runs the entire length of the park and is visited by more than two million people annually for its scenic views. Leaf peepers and fall foliage enthusiasts flock to Skyline Drive each fall to make the memorable three hour drive. There are also 75 overlooks that you can stop at during your drive to take photos or simply extend your experience.
Many hiking trails are also accessible from the road for those travelers who want to stretch their legs and enjoy the wilderness. Country Inns & Suites offers two comfortable and convenient hotels for your Skyline Drive adventure – in Harrisonburg near the southern tip of the drive, and in Winchester just past its northern tip.
Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville is the perfect fall vacation destination for anyone looking to explore the mountains of North Carolina. Located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains and just a short drive from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this eclectic city offers visitors beautiful views of the changing leaves everywhere they turn. Leaf peepers can enjoy the fall foliage as they hike, bike, or drive through the mountains, or get a different view with a zip line tour or hot air balloon ride above the forest canopy.
A 45 minute drive southeast of Asheville will take you to Chimney Rock State Park, which is named for the 315-foot rock formation that can be reached by elevator for spectacular views of Hickory Nut Gorge. The park also offers several hiking trails and the stunning 404-foot Hickory Nut Falls. For a historical adventure, head to the Biltmore Estate to enjoy the house and gardens as they bloom with fall colors. Don’t forget to book your stay at one of our three Asheville area hotels. We’ll help you start your days off right with a hot breakfast and end them with a good night’s sleep in a comfortable bed.
Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado)
Located just a short hour and a half drive from our hotels in Denver or Greenley, Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park offers visitors a unique leaf peeping experience. With an expanse of Aspen trees intermingled with spruces and firs, the park comes alive in hues of yellow and green during the fall. With over 300 miles of hiking trails, many of which are less than 10 miles long, Rocky Mountain National Park is a great place to hike, explore, and view the scenery. A favorite for leaf peepers, Trail Ridge Road travels 48 miles through the park, with several miles offering thrilling views from about the tree line (that’s an elevation of about 12,000 feet!). Don’t forget to take photos at the many overlooks – your family and friends will enjoy seeing the mountains painted like the sun.
Leaf peeping trips can be a great vacation for any traveler who enjoys the beauty of the changing fall leaves. Tell us where you’ve been in the comments section below!