Travel Tuesday - Plan a Fall Foliage Outing
September is settling in and the arrival of Pumpkin Spice Lattes means that it is time to start planning a daytrip or weekend getaway to enjoy the fall foliage. Peak viewing times vary by region, temperature, and weather so here is a roundup of information on where/when/how to see the best colors of changing leaves across the country. Where have you already been and where do you want to go?
When To Go
This interactive map from Smoky Mountains National Park shows the predicted peak leaf peeping conditions by county across the USA. Slide the timeline to the right for a color indication of expected viewing. This model takes into consideration temperature, elevation, and soil content, making it very thorough. The site also has an informative but simple explanation of why leaves change colors and some printables for little (or big) kids to color.
Where To Go
Start with your available dates, and then use the map to plan a general region. Once you know the region, plan your specific destination(s).
House Beautiful did a slideshow of the 50 Small Towns With the Most Beautiful Fall Foliage to help peak your leaf peeping wanderlust.
Here is a list of great roadtrips all across the country from Travel+Leisure to maximize the fall foliage viewing and driving experience.
If you prefer someone else to do the driving, see this list of the Best Fall Foliage Train Rides in North America from Smarter Travel.
Where To Stay
Ditch the usual hotwire deal and opt for something local with character and color. Country Living has a list of Inns and B&Bs with Stunning Views of Fall Foliage.
Ramada has put together a special fall landing page with their hotels grouped by region and it includes an average peak foliage map.
If you prefer to be closer to nature, make a reservation at the local campgrounds. See the list of National Parks with Stunning Fall Colors from recreation.gov and click on the name of the park to get to the site where you can reserve a cabin or tent spot. Book early!