As the leaves begin to change and a crispness fills the air, there’s no better time for a scenic road trip to embrace the beauty of autumn. Whether you’re a fan of fiery foliage, charming small towns, or pumpkin-spiced adventures, we’ve curated a list of the best road trips for your autumn escapade. So, pack your bags, hop in the car, and get ready to chase the fall colors and cozy vibes.

1. New England Charm in Vermont

Destination: Vermont

Weekend: Mid to late October

Known for its stunning fall foliage, Vermont is a must-visit destination in the autumn months. Take a drive along Route 100, which offers picturesque views of rolling hills covered in vibrant hues of red, orange, and gold. Stop by quaint villages like Stowe and Woodstock, where you can sip on warm apple cider and savor freshly baked apple pies. Don’t forget to explore the charming local farms and pick your pumpkins.

2. Hiking and Scenic Views in the Great Smoky Mountains

Destination: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Weekend: Late September to early November

For nature enthusiasts, a road trip to the Great Smoky Mountains is a true autumn delight. The park’s diverse forests burst into an array of colors during the fall season. Explore the scenic Clingmans Dome Road and hike to Clingmans Dome for breathtaking panoramic views. Be sure to visit Cades Cove, a picturesque valley that becomes a canvas of red and gold foliage.

3. Wine Tasting and Culinary Adventures in Napa Valley

Destination: Napa Valley, California

Weekend: Anytime during the fall

While Napa Valley is renowned for its vineyards and wineries year-round, the fall season offers a unique experience. The weather is pleasant, and the grapevines turn brilliant shades of red and orange. Take leisurely drives through the valley, stopping at wineries for tastings, and indulge in farm-to-table dining at its finest.

4. The Ultimate Fall Foliage Road Trip in the Blue Ridge Parkway

Destination: Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia to North Carolina

Weekend: Mid-September to early November

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a mecca for leaf-peepers during the autumn months. This iconic drive offers unparalleled views of the Appalachian Mountains adorned with fall colors. Explore hiking trails, stop at scenic overlooks, and immerse yourself in the charm of Appalachian culture.

5. Coastal Beauty and Seafood Feasts in Maine

Destination: Coastal Maine

Weekend: Late September to mid-October

Maine’s coastline is a hidden gem in the fall. Drive along the rugged coast, where you’ll find picturesque lighthouses, charming fishing villages, and lobster shacks serving the freshest seafood. Don’t miss Acadia National Park, where the contrast of autumn colors against the Atlantic Ocean is simply breathtaking.

Tips for Your Autumn Road Trip:

  1. Plan Ahead: Research the best times to see fall foliage in your chosen destination and make accommodation reservations in advance, especially for popular weekends.
  2. Pack Smart: Bring layers of clothing to accommodate fluctuating temperatures, and don’t forget your hiking gear if you plan to hit the trails.
  3. Scenic Stops: Plan stops at scenic overlooks, hiking trails, and local attractions to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of autumn.
  4. Local Cuisine: Savor the flavors of the season by trying local specialties and visiting farmer’s markets.
  5. Camera Ready: Capture the beauty of autumn with your camera or smartphone. The memories you create will be priceless.

When planning your trip, make sure you are aware of the long weekends in the autumn months that you can take advantage of for your road trip:

  1. Indigenous Peoples’ Day (Columbus Day) Weekend:
    • Observed on the second Monday in October.
    • Ideal for a mid-autumn escape to witness fall foliage at its peak in many regions.
  2. Thanksgiving Weekend:
    • Celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November (in the United States).
    • A great opportunity to plan your road trip around planned family travel
  3. Veterans Day Weekend:
    • Observed on November 11th.
    • Offers a long weekend for those looking to enjoy a short autumn escape.
  4. Halloween Weekend:
    • October 31st falls on a Monday in 2023.
    • Perfect for a spooky-themed road trip, visiting haunted attractions, or exploring eerie places.
  5. Early November Weekend:
    • Consider taking a Friday or Monday off in early November to enjoy a long weekend getaway before the holiday rush.

These long weekends provide an excellent opportunity to plan your autumn road trips and make the most of the beautiful fall season. Whether you’re chasing fall foliage, indulging in pumpkin treats, or simply enjoying the crisp autumn air, there’s a perfect long weekend waiting for your adventure.

This autumn, hit the road and explore the wonders of the season. From the vibrant colors of New England to the cozy charm of small-town America, these road trips offer a chance to connect with nature and create unforgettable memories. So, fill up your gas tank, cue up your favorite fall playlist, and let the adventure begin!