6 Of The Best US Towns To Visit During The Fall Season

A fall foliage trip is the reason for the season all across the nation. Fall color peak times in the U.S. range from late September in New England and the higher elevations to early November in the deep south offering a good time span for a fall color getaway. These top six towns have some of the best fall color viewing along with unique, fun activities.

1. Aspen, Colorado

First up is the town that’s named after the tree itself. Aspens claim that there’s still “gold in them there hills,” and the gold tones of Aspen in the fall prove it. These extraordinary trees turn a deep yellow hue that shimmer like gold in the sun and contrast with the evergreens of the mountain peaks. Like all good things, their season is short, beginning in mid-September and lasting until the end of the month. Take the Elk Camp Gondola to access 50 miles of trails with spectacular views. For sophistication that’s kid and pet-friendly, book a stay at the Limelight Hotel, a mountain lodge with city slick amenities.

2. Camden, Maine

Enjoy the vibrant colors of a New England autumn with the sparkling blue-green Atlantic lapping at the mountain slopes. Known as the place “where the mountains meet the sea,” Camden was voted as one of the top three towns in New England for a fall getaway. Mid-October is peak time, and it’ll be chilly enough to cozy up by the fireplace at the Camden Harbour Inn, Maine’s luxury boutique hotel. Stop for a premium cocktail at The Drouthy Bear on Elm Street, a local pub with an old Scottish atmosphere. They have outdoor seating for sweater weather.

3. Gatlinburg, Tennessee

With a long list of popular attractions, Gatlinburg is a great town to visit any time of the year, and the fall color makes the trip even better. The Great Smoky Mountains create a quilt of color that surrounds this eastern Tennessee town. Climb aboard the 120-passenger Aerial Tramway for a breathtaking ride to the Ober Gatlinburg Ski Area and Amusement Park. The show begins in mid-October and lasts until nearly Thanksgiving in this southern region depending on weather conditions. Stop by Fannie Farkle’s for a world-famous Ogle Dog and games with prizes. Fannie Farkle’s is an attraction itself.

4. Traverse City, Michigan

The blue lakes and green forests of Michigan transform turn to a cacophony of brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows in the fall. The reflection on the state’s many lakes makes this time of year special, especially around Traverse City. For an unbeatable leaf-peeping experience, plan a road trip into the Leelanau Peninsula. Be sure to visit Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore for a color-filled hike along Empire Bluff trail with spectacular views of the dunes and Lake Michigan. Go in early October for the annual Harvest Festivus, a German-themed festival with tasty seasonal wines and ciders, carriage rides, and live entertainment.

5. Cherokee, North Carolina

This charming Western North Carolina town nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains has its peak fall color season from mid to late October. The town has easy access to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, one of the country’s best-loved national parks and one of the only ones with no admission fee. The famous Blue Ridge Parkway is nearby for a 550-mile colorful drive that passes through several southern states. But turn around and stay in Cherokee for family attractions, Cherokee Indian art, and live dealer gaming at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, a rare southern casino dedicated to the natives who were once forced from their homeland.

6. Taos, New Mexico

The desert isn’t often associated with fall color, but the combination of mountain and desert vistas around Taos makes it one of the country’s best fall foliage trips. The landscape turns to surprisingly brilliant gold and yellow hues, and you’ll find lots of ways to enjoy the fall scenery from a mountain ascent chairlift to a narrated driving tour to a fabulous hot air balloon ride. Don’t overlook the fact that Taos is the country’s only living Native American town that has been declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

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