THE SIX BEST STATES TO VISIT IN THE FALL
I'm currently in South Carolina. It was 86 today and I attempted to wear a fuzzy sweater. I've unapologetically ordered a PSL from Starbucks. It still wasn't worth $5, but I've come to accept the defeat because the spirit of fall has me feelin' some kind of way.
Maybe it's because I've spent most of the summer in the South where I talked myself out of a heat-stroke on a daily basis, or the fact I plan to drive to every corner of the Appalachian Mountains and roll around in dirt and leaves. Either way, I'M PUMPED.
If you're like me, staring at the leaves outside waiting for the green to fade, here are the six best states to visit in the fall to fulfill all your wildest autumn dreams.
Fall colors, maple syrup, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, oh my! I might be slightly obsessed with the tiny state of Vermont. It’s quaint, welcoming, quiet, and stocked full of big, beautiful trees that turn all shades of wonderful every fall.
Some of my favorite small towns are situated in the mountains of Vermont. There’s something welcoming about each and every one. Try renting a bed & breakfast or staying at local Airbnb. Hospitality there is one-of-a-kind.
There’s a reason the fall is the most expensive time to visit North Carolina in the Appalachian Mountains. The Blue Ridge Parkway runs through the heart of Appalachia, Pisgah National Forest, and a handful of tiny towns nestled deep into the colorful woods. It provides beautiful fall color, but with enjoyable and mild fall temperatures.
Most of the time it’s still warm enough to camp, which provides an affordable way to soak in the beauty of the mountains.
Home to places such as the Tunnel of Trees, Isle Royale, and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, there’s no shortness of beauty and definitely no shortness of fall colors. Michigan is home to some of the brightest and best reds, yellows, and oranges.
Peak time varies through the elongated state. In the Upper Peninsula, colors usually peak at the beginning of October. In the south, it usually is mid-October. Inland locations always turn first, with the lakeshores turning last. This means multiple weekends of fall exploration full of bright and beautiful colors!
The White Mountains are harsh in climate, but beautiful in scenery. Pack for all seasons as you never know what you’re going to get. Known by locals as “The Kank” the 34 mile long Route 112 within the mountains is famous for boasting incredible fall views straight out of an overly-romantic Hallmark movie.
New Hampshire also encompasses dozens of picturesque rivers and waterfalls. There is no shortage of big adventures in this small state. Vermont and New Hampshire rival for who holds better fall colors, so you best visit both!
If there’s anywhere in the United States hiding their fall colors and the adventure that comes with it, it’s West Virginia. Ace Adventure Resort in the New River Gorge is the perfect cabin getaway surrounded by mountains, color, and adventures like rappelling, mountain biking, and zip lining. What better way to see the colors, than zipping right through them?
Seneca Rock offers a scenic day hike to the teetering top of a mountain ridgeline. This gives the best panoramic view of the surrounding area and will also be sure to get your heart racing (not to mention the awesome Insta-pics that will accompany it).
Oregon is home to dramatic landscapes and dramatic colors. There is no denying that the best time to hike, camp, and play is during the fall.
There’s something about bright yellow trees with a backdrop of snow-capped jagged peaks. Oregon fall colors are hard to beat, especially for mountain lovers. Fall also offers prime hiking weather, as it’s rarely too hot and just the right amount of cold.
Take a road trip through the Columbia River Valley and soon you’ll understand why so many people swear that fall is best out west.
Shalee Wanders is a female travel blog that focuses on encouraging young adults to explore the world and challenge themselves outside comfort zones. Born and raised in Michigan, she shares her tips of the Midwest, the United States, and beyond. You can follow her travels on Instagram at @shaleewanders.
Soulful adventurer. Probably lost. Definitely eating ice cream.
In her late-teens, Shalee drove out of her small hometown watching the sunset behind her along the two-lane highway. Her ventures began in Michigan, where she taught herself to travel on a budget. Today, Shalee shares her tips and stories to thousands of readers interested in adventure, budget, and outdoor travel. Learn more about her here.