8 US Destinations to Get Your Fall Foliage Fix
Fall is long-awaited for its PSLs, fashion (hellooo, '80s-esque leather boots), and let's not leave out leaves. Across the country, leaves are transforming into au naturel confetti right before our eyes, so it's important to take the opportunity to appreciate the colorful outdoor decor before it's all dead and gone. Visit these eight especially vibrant vacation spots (or just ogle them online) to get a fall foliage fix that's sure to last you through the year.
Portland, OR: There's no shortage of autumnal activities (i.e., indulging in lots of coffee and beer) in drizzly Portland. But between bursts of rain showers, head outdoors to appreciate the autumn colors. The city is located about 30 minutes from the Columbia River Gorge, one of the most jaw-dropping spots on this list. Heck, even the drive there is pretty. Or, if you'd prefer to stay close to the city, wander around Forest Park for comparably beautiful views.
Taos, NM: Despite being notoriously hot, New Mexico can still claim at least three of the seasons. Taos is the best place to experience fall in this Southwestern paradise. To view the foliage, there are a number of options by way of driving, hiking, and biking, such as the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway, Columbine Trail, and Goose Creek Trail, respectively. But the event of the season is the Taos Mountain Balloon Rally, held on the last full weekend of fall each year. Watch the sky light up with even more colors as hot air balloons ascend at sunrise.
Aspen, CO: As if Aspen isn't pretty enough in the winter or summer, it outdoes itself in autumn. Sneak over before the snow starts sticking to the ground for some exceptional scenery. If you're feeling daring, get a one-of-a-kind view from above by paragliding over the landscape. Or get carried away on the Colorado River via kayak or stand-up paddleboard for some effortless fall views.
Eureka Springs, AR: The Ozarks might have gotten a bad rap from Netflix's hit show, but Eureka Springs proves there is a lot to offer, especially during fall. This quaint Victorian town neighbors beautiful forested areas sprinkled with must-see waterfalls, such as The Spillway at Black Bass Lake and Tea Kettle Falls. For our all-time favorite combo of food and fall, head to the Crescent Hotel's rooftop pizza restaurant, which boasts the best views of the Ozark Mountains.
Gatlinburg, TN: Make it a pretty-leaves viewing party by renting out a cabin in Gatlinburg, situated close to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with your closest pals. Between sipping moonshine at Ole Smoky Mountain Tennessee Moonshine, the most visited distillery in the US, and hiking Clingman's Dome, the park's highest peak, you're certain to run into the area's overflowing leaf-peeping opportunities.
Suches, GA: The southern portion of the US strikes again with Chattahoochee National Forest. This wooded area is home to stunning trees as well as other natural wonders, such as the Eye of God rapid. This aquatic phenomenon moves in a whirlpool motion and is known to suck in large pieces of debris, hence its name. And because you've already made the trek, take a short trip to Goats on the Roof, an ice cream shop where — you guessed it — there are goats on the roof; it's an hour drive, but trust us, it's scenic.
Stowe, VT: There's something about the picturesque churches and quaint buildings of Stowe that make it seem like it's right from a storybook. Aside from viewing the fairytale-like fall foliage, make a trek to the Ben & Jerry's factory is located just a few miles away (it's never too cold for ice cream, right?), and if you're sweet on staying awhile, check out the Trapp Family Lodge, an establishment inspired by the non-fictional version of the Von Trapp Family in the Sound of Music, who settled in Vermont once they made it to the US.
Bar Harbor, ME: Who said island vacay should be reserved for the summer? Head to Bar Harbor, which is located on Mt. Desert Island off the coast of Maine. (Ocean views and autumnal colors? Sign us up.) Although the falling leaves can be viewed all over the island, make it a priority to watch the sunrise among the plants from Cadillac Mountain; it's the first place the sun becomes visible in the US each morning. Oh, and don't forget about the seafood!
How do you usher in autumn? Let us know @BritandCo.
(Photos via Getty)