North to south: Fall foliage road trips

Although you might not have wanted summer to end, it’s not all bad news. The arrival of fall means you get to breakout those comfy sweaters, enjoy pumpkin beer and hot apple cider, and see Mother Nature paint the new season with a palette of bright yellows, oranges, and reds. 

And to help you enjoy this leaf-peep season to its fullest, we have curated this list of destinations that offer not only amazing fall foliage but a bounty of activities and attractions.

Finger Lakes Region, New York

The Finger Lakes Region of New York is best known as one of the nation’s top wine destinations but it is no slacker when it comes to fall foliage. The area is fill with wonderful outdoor spaces for you to enjoy such a Watkins Glen State Park and Panama Rocks. In addition, it’s home to unique attractions such at the Corning Museum of Glass and the National Comedy Center in Lucille Ball’s hometown of Jamestown.

Where to stay: The Harbor Hotel Collection has two outstanding lakefront properties that provide the perfect home away from home for exploring the Finger Lakes Region: Chautauqua Harbor Hotel and Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel.

Driving time : 5 to 6.5 hours

Peak: Early-October

Western Maryland

There are many ways to discover fall foliage in the mountains of Western Maryland. Whether you speed down a twisting mountain coaster, take a hike or bike ride along the 26 mile long paved Western Maryland Rail Trail, or visit the historic Antietam National Battlefield, you will be surrounded by beautify fall colors.

Where to stay: Just outside of charming and historic downtown Cumberland in Allegany County is the Rocky Gap Casino Resort that is home to Maryland’s only Jack Nicklaus Design Golf Course. Another great option in the heart of Garrett County is The Lodge at Wisp that features a large indoor heated pool in addition to 169 well-appointed guest rooms.

Driving time: 1.5 hours to 3 hours

Peak: Mid-October

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Encompassing more than 200,000 acres of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah National Park is a fall foliage paradise. Open 24 hours a day / 7 days a week, Skyline Drive runs 105 miles north and south along the crests of the mountains and is the only public road through the Park. Along the way you will find visitor centers, exhibits, picnic grounds, and lots of mind-blowing vistas. Fans of craft beer will also enjoy the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail that runs parallel to the Park.

Where to stay:  Among Shenandoah National Park’s multiple lodging options that cater to different tastes and needs is the Skylard, its accommodations range from premium rooms to detached small cabins.

Driving distance : 1.5 to 3 hours

Peak: Late-October

Troy Petenbrink

Troy, also known as The Gay Traveler, is a well known travel and food writer. His has been a regular contributor to a variety of outlets including National Geographic, Travel Channel, DCRefined, CBS Local, and Metro Weekly. He also appears on local Washington news outlets as a travel expert.

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