If you’re anything like me, you have all the heart eyes for fall. You adore sipping warm coffee on crisp mornings, and might spend a majority of your spare time looking into leaf peeping trips to take with your SO. You may have the best foliage trackers bookmarked and a note in your phone with various notes on hiking trails and scenic routes.
That’s all well and good, but I don’t think you should waste another minute scrolling on the Internet for autumn travel tips and tricks. Before you know it, the peak of the season will have passed and been traded in for snowy mountaintops, holiday decor, and wintery sips. You’ll have missed out on your opportunity to wake up in a magical place with the love of your life, and gaze at the orange, yellow, and red trees that seemingly stretch for miles.
By that time, you two will be shopping for the holidays, or snuggling up on the couch and watching Elf instead of Hocus Pocus. Long story short: The time to take an adventure is now while Mother Nature is putting on a stunning show. It’s time to pack up your car with a camera, flannels, and cozy blankets, and drive with your SO to places that’ll give you major heart eyes. These five destinations in the U.S. should be exactly what you’re looking for — leaf peeping and having a gourd time with bae.
1. Acadia National Park In Maine
The first of these dreamy fall destinations is none other than Acadia National Park in Maine. It’s covered in vibrant trees (Its peak season for leaf peeping is in mid-October, according to NPS.org.) that’ll make you and your SO want to spend an entire afternoon taking pics and sharing sweet kisses amongst the leaves.
Do yourself a favor and look into the many hiking and climbing trails in this park before you go. Make a plan for when you’re going to watch a sunrise on Cadillac Mountain, or check out the coastal #views while eating a quality snack. Also, decide if you want to camp while you’re there or rent a cozy cabin in the area. Personally, I’d at least spend one night in the woods making s’mores and telling ghost stories with my love.
2. Big Cottonwood Canyon In Utah
Thanks to some of my favorite content creators on Instagram, I know about some of the most beautiful and outdoorsy places to go this time of year near the West Coast. One of these spots is filled with fall foliage, alpine trees, and picturesque lakes. It’s Big Cottonwood Canyon in Utah.
This destination has an exciting scenic byway that’ll let you and your SO take in the scenery and listen to your favorite tunes. Along the way, you may decide to stop in a particularly stunning grove or have a picnic in the sunshine. Be sure to bring a good pair of shoes and an oversized sweater for all the adventure that awaits.
3. The Blue Ridge Parkway In North Carolina
According to ExploreAsheville.com, the last few weeks of October is a prime time to take a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. This is when the gorges and forests are completely illuminated by the leaves, and when you and your SO can be treated to some serious leaf peeping.
To get started on this adventure, simply hop on the route that runs between two big national parks: Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Shenandoah National Park (which is in Virginia). Maybe plan on stopping in one of the charming towns to break up the drive, check out the boutiques, and grab a bite to eat. If I were you, I’d definitely stop at a winery or brewery for a pumpkin beer or a bustling farmers market that’s also at its peak in the fall.
4. Mount Monadnock In New Hampshire
Traveling to New England in the fall is kind of a must. Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you that this part of the country is at its finest in the fall, when the apple orchards are jam-packed and the tiny waterfalls are surrounded by autumn leaves. There are plenty of underrated spots to visit, but you and your SO should definitely plan a trip to Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire.
According to NewEngland.com, it’s a pretty popular spot. When you get to the top, you’ll be in awe of the views that stretch to the city of Boston and beyond. The park only costs $5 per person, too, which is a total steal for the amazing leaf peeping experiences you’re going to get in return.
5. The Columbia River Gorge In Oregon
Last but not least, autumn reaches a whole new level in the Pacific Northwest. This region is filled with lakes, mountains, rivers, and waterfalls that are already so fab-boo-lous. Once you add the saturated tones of the fall leaves, places like the Columbia River Gorge become unstoppable.
You and your SO will want to experience the beauty in person to see what all the hype is about. You may want to take a drive to Multnomah and Latourell falls, and stop at spots along the highway where you can take in the views. According to TripSavvy.com, the foliage is at its peak in mid-October. So plan this trip quickly, hit the road, and get ready to have some serious heart eyes.
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