Fall is one of the best times of year to take a road trip. While some areas will have colder temperatures and even snow, the crowds are less, the temperature is perfect for walking, and the foliage lights up the hillsides, mountains, small towns, and big cities alike. However, not all fall road trip destinations are created equal! Some destinations are harder to get to in the later fall months because of snow, like Yellowstone and Yosemite. Here, we'll list five of the best fall road trip destinations you should consider taking a road trip to this fall season, for their accessibility, brilliant foliage, or lack of huge crowds!
1. Key West. When the going gets tough, head the furthest south you possibly can in the United States to the beautiful Florida Keys! Key West is the final Key in this island chain, boasting an average temperature of 77-88F during the fall! It also has some of the best bars you'll ever visit, period.
2. New England. Sure, it's typical of fall, and it can sometimes be crowded when leaf peepers crowd the skinny backroads of New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and Mass, but there's beautiful foliage to see in other spots in New England, like Western Massachusetts, the Connecticut Valley, and along the shores of Rhode Island. Enjoy the less busy weekends along the coast, while experiencing the fall foliage of the Granite State (that's New Hampshire) and the Green Mountains on the weekdays. You'll miss the crowds, and enjoy cheaper rates.
3. Zion National Park. Zion experiences a beautiful burst of color during the early fall season. Yellow birch trees and beautiful fir trees provide outstanding contrast against the flowing, cool waters of the Virgin River, and majestic mountains surrounding the river. Head here before the end of October, when chances of snow start to increase, and the temperatures really start to plummet! You might think Utah is a state that stays warm for much of the year, but the roads can be very difficult to navigate during the cold weather months as snow blankets the highways of high elevation towns and cities.
4. New York City. I can't think of a better time of year to head to the Big Apple than autumn. In the summer, traveling around the city can be unbearable. In the fall, the air seems cleaner, cooler, and much more enjoyable for a walk through Central Park or in Times Square. You'll also see less crowds (until after Thanksgiving), and less waits. Not much of a city driver? Manhattan is just a train ride away from many cities in Connecticut, New Jersey, and Upstate New York.
5. Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Tennessee and North Carolina both have bragging rights to the South's sublime scenery of the Smoky Mountains. Greens flip to yellows, then transition to oranges and reds throughout the elevations, as a mist creeps up the mountainsides, providing some of the most dramatic scenery you'll ever experience. For a real treat, drive the length of the Blue Ridge Parkway. This tremendous road drives through two National Parks, and traverses 469 miles of America's favorite natural scenery.