5 Underrated U.S. Destinations To See The Best Fall Foliage This Year

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Are you looking for the best fall foliage destinations in the United States?

Typically, the Northeast United States is considered the best region in the country for seeing hues of red, orange, and gold as the fall leaves change colors.

Central Park New York City Fall Foliage

States like Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire are known for having some of the most beautiful fall foliage in the country.

However, traveling to the Northeast during peak foliage season can be expensive and out of the way for many Americans.

Here are five underrated fall foliage destinations around the country to check out instead:

Fall in Central Park

1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

This national park, which is located on the border between Tennessee and Georgia, is one of the best places to see colorful foliage in the Southern U.S. this fall.

Like other national parks with beautiful fall foliage, Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers many picturesque vistas and scenic trails where you can see the fall colors in all their glory.

Compared to the Northeast, where peak fall foliage occurs in late September through mid-October, it happens later at Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Mid-October through early November is the best time for spotting the changing colors here.

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park fall foliage

2. Napa Valley, California

For those located on the West Coast, Napa Valley in California is a surprisingly great destination for viewing fall foliage.

While Napa Valley is best known for its wine production, it’s also one of the best destinations in California for seeing autumn colors.

August through October coincides with the grape harvesting season in Napa Valley, making it the most popular time to visit. If you can go in early October, you can also enjoy the best fall foliage.

Napa Valley is about 1.5 hours from San Francisco, so it makes for a great day trip or weekend getaway during the fall.

Napa Valley Fall

3. Door County, Wisconsin

Located just north of Green Bay, Door County is a peninsula in Wisconsin that juts out into Lake Michigan. While Michigan’s Upper Peninsula gets a lot of recognition for its beautiful fall foliage, Door County flies under the radar.

However, this is one of the best places in the Midwestern United States to see fall foliage. In addition to fall foliage, you can do other classic fall activities like apple picking and farmer’s markets in Door County.

The best time to see fall colors in Door County is from late September to mid-October.

Door County WI

4. New River Gorge National Park

Another one of the best underrated national parks for seeing fall foliage this year is New River Gorge National Park in West Virginia.

This is actually the newest national park in the United States, having just been designated in 2022. As such, it’s still an under-the-radar destination, but one that is highly worth visiting.

Fall is the most beautiful time of year to visit New River Gorge National Park, and you can see some amazing vibrant colors. The best time to go for peak colors is mid to late October.

Aerial view of New River Gorge canyon in West Virginia

5. New York, New York

Big cities might not be the first place you think of when it comes to fall foliage, but New York is actually one of the best places in the country to see gorgeous fall colors.

While upstate New York is better known for its fall foliage, New York City is an excellent option too.

Although it’s highly urban, there are actually many great places in the city to see fall foliage. One of the most famous spots is New York’s iconic Central Park, but other parks like Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan and Prospect Park in Brooklyn have beautiful fall foliage too.

Additionally, just walking down the leafy tree-lined streets in picturesque neighborhoods like Brooklyn Heights, the Upper East Side, and the West Village offers a look at pretty fall colors.

Central Park fall foliage

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com


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