Top Destinations to Add to Your Fall Road Trip
Updated: Sep 14, 2022
Image Above: Boise, Idaho
The weather is starting to get cooler in most parts of the country and the days are beginning to get shorter. That can only mean one thing. Fall is around the corner. It’s one of my favorite times of the year and a perfect time to hit the road to discover some new destinations. Whether you are looking to attend a festival or get photos of the beautiful fall foliage, below is a list of destinations and activities that may pique your interest.
In the heart of northeast Ohio, Greater Akron is a must-see stop on any fall road trip. Explore Ohio’s only national Park, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP), with 33,000 acres to run, walk and hike. Don’t miss the stunning Brandywine Falls. Jump aboard the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad for an extraordinarily-gorgeous ride through the CVNP with vibrant fall foliage out every window. Stroll throughout Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens (former estate of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company co-founder, F.A. Seiberling), as the 6th largest U.S. private residence open to the public opens its doors and manicured gardens to you and your road trip companions
Cooler temps and an exciting calendar of events make fall the perfect time to visit Austin. Take advantage of the weather and explore the beauty of the Texas Hill Country along the endless miles of hiking and biking trails. Enjoy good eats and drinks from popular patios including La Holly, Scholz Garten, Central Machine Works or Lefty’s Brick Bar. If live music, fast cars or fine wine sound like a good time, don’t miss major events such as Austin City Limits Music Festival (Oct. 7-9 & Oct. 14-16), Formula 1 Aramco United States Grand Prix (Oct. 21-23), LEVITATION (Oct. 27-30), Austin Film Festival (Oct. 27-Nov. 3) and Austin Food + Wine Festival (Nov. 4-6). Learn more at www.visitaustin.org.
Binghamton, New York
Fall is a beautiful time of year here. So, get out there and take in some scenery in Greater Binghamton. Set against a beautiful backdrop of our rolling hills, it is picture-perfect here in the Fall. Your first stop should be at the Cider Mill, an authentic working cider mill creating delicious, pasteurized apple cider, and a market with fresh baked doughnuts and candied apples. There is also a farm stand with delicious produce, colorful flowers, and pumpkins. Another attraction that will help you discover the best farm fresh products is the Binghamton Regional Farmer’s Market which is open every Saturday! There are many farms to tour that offer much to do, ranging from apple picking to hay-rides. But to get the freshest fruits, be sure to visit Apple Hills. You can pick your own apples, visit a corn maze, and grab a bite in the Apple Dumpling Café. For the more adventurous traveler, you won’t want to miss The Preserve at Animal Adventure. The Preserve is an interactive, educational drive thru adventure, hosted on over 100 acres that is home to 100s of animals, your self-driven adventure will take you through grassland, scrub brush, and deep forests as you explore and experience geographically designated paddocks: Aussie Eurasia, The Americas, Africa & Giants of Africa. There is a crispness in the air and the magnificent colors that only Mother Nature can provide, and so many reasons to visit. We look forward to welcoming you.
Boise, the capital of Idaho, has four distinct seasons and Fall is definitely a fan favorite. The weather is perfectly crisp and the colorful leaves are amazing. There's always a plethora of seasonal festivals, pumpkin patches and orchards to visit, or an Oktoberfest to attend. Hiking through the Boise foothills during Autumn has breathtaking views of the city and changing foliage. There is something for everyone to enjoy in the over 190 miles of trails in the Ridge to Rivers trail system. Starting October 28th, the Taste of Downtown Boise will bring specialty menus to favorite local restaurants. This foodie centric event runs thru November 6thand will be sure to excite your tastebuds. Boise does Fall right – so grab a hot drink and pack your sweaters, hoodies, and sense of adventure!
Atlanta is known as the "City in the Forest," but have you heard about their Brookhaven suburb? Also located ITP (that's "In The Perimeter" meaning within I-285), Brookhaven boasts easy access to Atlanta's attractions while maintaining small-town charm and 44% tree canopy. Experience Food Truck Nights at Blackburn Park and comfortable al fresco dining down Dresden Drive as the trees change colors this fall. Plan a food tour down Buford Highway and make pit stops to admire murals, such as "Mi Gente" by Yehimi Cambrón. Cambrón describes the Mi Gente mural as "a landscape constructed of monumental portraits embracing smaller vignettes inspired by the values and points of pride in the community... A series of vignettes are embraced by each of the portraits, sending a message of acceptance and inclusivity...I chose to highlight gender nonconforming love, to center the faces of our LBTQ+ community members, and to remind us that our community also includes indigenous and Afro-Latinx people." Further up Buford Highway is LIPS Atlanta, Brookhaven's home for Vegas-style drag dinner shows. Shows run Wednesday through Sunday, including a very dragalicious Sunday brunch with unlimited mimosas! Start planning your fall adventure at www.exploreBrookhaven.com.
Buffalo, New York
In fall come see this city on the lake and its region at its leafy best. Take in the waterfront of the restored Erie Canal at Canalside and the Buffalo RiverWorks entertainment playground and brewery that emerged from the grain silos. From there, head to Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural masterworks: the Martin House in Buffalo's Parkside neighborhood and the Graycliff summer house on a Lake Erie bluff. Another daytrip stop: East Aurora and the colorful fall foliage at Knox Farm State Park, the craftmanship at the Roycroft Campus, Copper Shop Gallery and Roycroft Inn, and the throwback shopping experience at Vidler's 5 & 10. Don’t leave without catching the soothing negative ions in the mists of Niagara Falls. There, the state park has great walks and views of the rapids along Niagara Gorge and Goat Island. Complete the wet waterfall experience with a tour of the Cave of the Winds, open year-round. Learn more at www.visitbuffaloniagara.com.
Carson City, Nevada
Vibrant golds, burnt oranges, and rich reds take over historic Carson City, Nevada as the area’s trees and foliage put on an incredible show for fall. Be sure to add these five leaf-peeping spots to your list. Along with the capital city’s natural scenery, the destination’s many autumn events and activities offer something for everyone to fall in love with. You won’t want to miss the annual Nevada Day Parade happening Saturday, Oct. 29. Celebrating Nevada’s official entry into statehood, the parade features more than 200 floats, hot air balloons, a beard contest, and more. Also popular with visitors – both the living and the dead – is the Carson City Ghost Walk. Guided by one of Carson City’s favorite ghosts, Madame Curry, wife of the city’s founder, Abe Curry, travelers will see the historic homes along the Kit Carson Trail and learn about the spirits that still haunt them. Before heading home, take a trip back in time on a Harvest Train ride at the Nevada State Railroad Museum. In addition to the historic train ride, explore the museum, and then be sure to pick out a pumpkin at the pumpkin patch. So, what are you waiting for? Hit the road and enjoy a scenic drive to Carson City, Nevada.
Columbus, the 14th largest city in the U.S., one of the fastest growing cities in the Midwest and Ohio’s capital city, is a four-season city and stunning fall foliage abounds in the fall. The city sits at the crossroads of the north and south and boasts tree species from both climate zones, meaning there is a veritable rainbow of fall color through the end of October. Downtown along the Scioto Mile, find the perfect autumn backdrop for fall photos with shades of red, orange and yellow set before the downtown skyline. Some of the must-do activities in the fall include experiencing the city’s vibrant sports scene, from the OSU Buckeyes to the three professional sports teams with stadiums located within walking distance of each other in the city’s Arena District. During this time of year, the game schedules for the Columbus Blue Jackets, Columbus Crew and Columbus Clippers converge, giving fans the opportunity to watch two, and occasionally even three, games on the same day. Art lovers won’t want to miss Franklinton Scrawl, the Franklinton Arts District’s longest-running arts festival on Oct. 15-16, where more than 50 artists from all over the region take over the district to create 50 mobile murals over the two-day span. On October 22, you can be a part of the country’s most elaborate costume party at Columbus’ HighBall Halloween, where Columbus’ most eccentric costume designers compete on the runway. Learn more about other top things to do in Columbus this fall at ExperienceColumbus.com/Fall.
Costa Mesa, California
The City of the Arts® Hosts The “Opening of the Decade” at New Orange County Museum of Art. OCMA’s stunning new home at the SCFTA campus is scheduled to open to the public on October 8, 2022, with a 24-hour grand opening event. Designed by Morphosis Architects, under the direction of Pritzker Prize-winner Thom Mayne and Partner-in-Charge Brandon Welling, the state-of-the-art, 53,000-square-foot building will double the size of the museum’s previous location and provide an exciting indoor-outdoor experience for showcasing the collection and exhibitions. The inaugural year of programming builds on OCMA’s legacy as one of California’s most important institutions for visual arts by bringing back the California Biennial, which will be curated by Elizabeth Armstrong, Essence Harden and Gilbert Vicario. In a salute to OCMA's 13 female founders, the opening collection exhibition will be Thirteen Women, organized by Zuckerman, who has lent her curatorial excellence to over 200 exhibitions throughout her career.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Greater Fort Lauderdale is the place to be for the biggest Halloween celebration in Florida, Wicked Manors, held annually in the beloved gayborhood of Wilton Manors on Halloween night. This huge street party on Wilton Drive draws thousands of costumed revelers and all proceeds benefit the Pride Center at Equality Park. Arrive in the area early and you can also join the fun of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, the largest in-water boat show in the world, taking place October 26-30, 2022. Expect to see larger-than-life yachts, enjoy culinary experiences and find yacht toys for the nautical lifestyle. Learn more about Greater Fort Lauderdale’s fall line-up of events here.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Filled with welcoming spaces and friendly people, Grand Rapids, Michigan, is a must visit fall destination. Start with the world’s most attended public art event: ArtPrize takes over the town with thousands of artworks displayed at hundreds of locations throughout the city and beyond. See the extraordinary ways art and nature come together at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, where the Midwest’s largest outdoor sculpture collection sits in conversation with expertly designed landscapes. From savoring fall’s crisp, cool air in the community garden at LGBTQIA+-owned Outside Coffee Co. to visiting the Apartment Lounge, Michigan’s oldest gay bar, or dancing the night away at Rumors Night Club, Grand Rapids is just the place to fall in love with fall.
An already charming Galena Country transforms into a beautiful kaleidoscope of color in the fall, offering outstanding scenic views. The rolling hills are thick with the heartland’s trademark farmer's markets and u-pick fields such as Dittmar Farms and Terrapin-Orchards. Warm apple cider donuts and other fall favorites await at Orchard Landing, and four different wineries celebrate harvest time. Enjoy the crisp fresh air and the crunch under your feet as you discover the gorgeous Galena Country preserves, trails, and parks. Don’t miss the many fall celebrations unique to the area, such as the ever-popular Galena Halloween Parade down Galena’s Historic Main Street, comprising more than 125 independently owned stores and restaurants, Country Fair Weekend to browse more than 100 hand-selected art and craft, and vendors and Galena’s Oktoberfest for some good beer, live entertainment, and wiener dog races. Galena Country is the perfect fit for your leaf-peeping adventures.
Great Rivers & Routes of Southwest Illinois
Discover Fall delights in southwest Illinois where jaw-dropping scenic views and outdoor adventure await. The Great Rivers & Routes region is home to the new Aerie’s Alpine Coaster – the first of its kind in Illinois – that flies down the river bluffs at Aerie’s Resort in Grafton, a historic river community located on the banks of the Mississippi River. Don’t miss the stunning fall colors during a hike, bike ride or car drive through Pere Marquette State Park, the largest and oldest state park in Illinois. Enjoy the region’s Fall colors during a Fall Color Drive along the banks of the Mississippi River between Alton and Grafton, often considered one of the top Fall color drives in the U.S. Follow the Last 100 Miles of Route 66 in Illinois and uncover a series of 12 Route 66 Postcard Murals in historic Mother Road communities along with 12-foot high Route 66 Monuments perfect for Instagrammable moments.
Make your way to Harford County, Maryland this fall for a season of expression, acceptance, and celebration! It is time again for the Upper Chesapeake Bay Pride Festival at the Concord Point Lighthouse Park in Havre de Grace, MD on October 8, 2022! Enjoy art, live music and performances, and local vendors during this day of celebration. After stopping by this exciting annual event, head to Ladew Topiary Gardens to experience one of the "10 Incredible Topiary Gardens Around the World,” which offers 22 acres of beautiful landscapes and fun fall events such as Garden Glow, a Ladew Tradition of Illuminating Fun. Here, our guests can celebrate the season with the artistic creativity of hundreds of exquisitely-carved pumpkins, live music, local food and drinks, and more! Finally, take a stroll along Bel Air or Havre de Grace’s Main Streets for local coffee shop experiences, cuisine, boutiques, and antique shops that are filled with hidden treasures waiting to be discovered and enjoyed by you!
Iowa City, Iowa
There is nothing else like a Fall weekend in Iowa City. Tailgate at historic Kinnick Stadium and be a part of the greatest tradition in college football as you wave to the kids at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital after the first quarter of the game (pictured). Pick apples and enjoy live music, hard cider, and hayrack rides at Wilson’s Orchard and Farm. Watch the bald eagles soar and dive on the Iowa River with the fall foliage as a backdrop while enjoying brunch at the Iowa River Power Restaurant in Coralville. Learn about these activities and more at ThinkIowaCity.com.
As the summer temperatures cool into fall, it’s a great time to get outside and explore some of Jacksonville, Florida’s top attractions. For more than a hundred years, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has supported wildlife conservation on a stunning riverfront landscape, and is now home to more than 2,000 animals and 1,000 varieties of plants. If you prefer art, stop by the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens. It’s the largest fine art museum in Northeast Florida with more than 5,000 works of art and beautiful European-inspired gardens along the St. Johns River. Little Talbot Island offers a relaxing five mile stretch of pristine shoreline to go for a walk, enjoy the sunshine or spend some time in the water. Shop ‘til you drop at the St. Johns Town Center. Home to more than 150 shops and more than two dozen restaurants, the outdoor shopping mecca has something for everyone from Target to Tiffany & Co.
As a nature-loving-adventure-seeking-artsy-kinda-town, Knoxville serves up a built-in, ever-changing bucket list of things to see and do. For your fall road trip, we recommend BYOB leaf peeping from the Tennessee River on Knox Cycle Boats, dancing the polka with a Helles in hand at Schulz Brau’s Brewing’s Oktoberfest, enjoying an outdoor concert at River Breeze and embracing ALL the colors of the season attending local festivals like Knox Pride Homecoming and the HoLa Festival, Tennessee’s largest arts and culture festival celebrating Latin American and Hispanic Heritage Month. We can’t wait to welcome you!
Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
Pick the perfect pumpkin at Grim’s Orchard and Family Farm and carve it into a creative jack-o’-lantern. Test your sense of direction at a local corn maze. How fast can you make it out? Take a scenic train ride to enjoy the fall foliage Colebrookdale Railroad. Go apple picking (and don't forget the cider donuts) at one of Lehigh Valley's orchards. Walk, run, or bike along the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, complete with stunning canal-side views lined with vibrant foliage. Enjoy fresh-baked strudel at Oktoberfest at SteelStacks. Grab your camera and go on a photo tour of the Lehigh Valley Covered Bridge Tour. As you make the 50-mile drive, you’ll see seven historic bridges. The reds of the bridge blend perfectly with the colors on the trees.
With 50 wineries, countless farms and scenic mountain views, Loudoun is a must-visit fall destination. Sample surprising blends and unique varietals at wineries like Sunset Hills and Two Twisted Posts Winery, then take a hike along the Potomac River at Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Park. Or, tackle the “rollercoaster” section of the famous Appalachian Trail, accessible on Loudoun’s western border. With countless working farms, there are plenty of places to pick pumpkins, fresh vegetables and more. The family-owned Great Country Farms offers a Fall Harvest Festival throughout October with pig races, antique cider press demos and other experiences.
Autumn in Madison, Wis., is hands down one of the most picturesque places to take a road trip to. Hiking, biking and boating around the four lakes and 6,000 acres of parkland in the 270 parks that Madison has to offer will show off the colorful turning leaves. Refresh from adventuring by visiting the area’s distilleries and breweries intentionally using seasonal ingredients to showcase unique, local fall flavors.
Nestled on the shores of Lake Superior and a scenic road trip from nearby Chicago and other midwestern cities, Marquette County in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula offers the perfect destination for a fall road trip this season. Between the crisp air and vibrant red and gold leaves, Marquette stands ready to welcome outdoor adventurers and all looking to relax in the delightful fall conditions. Marquette’s prime location makes it a must-stop for autumn-aficionados to hike or bike their way through the Michigan wilderness, search for waterfalls, admire Lake Superior and much more. The views as Marquette transforms with the season are nothing but spectacular, beckoning visitors to enjoy the scenery as they explore the tunnels of changing trees. Marquette also boasts the Fall Color Tour with several scenic drives perfect for this time of year. Cruise County Road 550 from Marquette to Big Bay and spot Sugarloaf Mountain, Yellow Dog River and Lake Independence before returning via County Road 510, winding through the majestic Huron Mountains. At night, go to a local brewery or coffee shop to unwind before heading out to relax under the stars. Offering a charming small-town feel, Marquette boasts unique restaurants, award-winning craft breweries and a thriving art scene. With unmatchable fall foliage and vast offerings of activities, road trip to Marquette this fall.
Autumn brings cooler temps, breathtaking color and one-of-a-kind experiences to Palestine. Try your hand at alligator gar fishing or take a trip aboard the Texas State Railroad, the most relaxing way to enjoy the Texas scenery. Fall in love with Davey Dogwood Park, where over 250-acres of forested land feature miles of hard surface roads, hiking & biking trails and scenic views. The season also offers amazing color for picnics, photo shoots, hiking and nature walks in the 700-acre community forest. Then take a break around the fire pit in Old Town and enjoy made from scratch pie and your choice of malty brown ales, crisp lagers and hoppy IPA’s. Then relax with a yoga meditation session with cuddly baby goats at Oh My Goat, where actually focusing on the yoga, may be harder than you think!
Rancho Cordova, California
Making Rancho Cordova a stop on your fall road trip itinerary is a must for adventurers, foodies, and travelers seeking memorable experiences in the heart of California’s Gold Country. Start your journey local by enjoying a crisp morning bike ride, hike, or run on the American River Parkway’s Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail—a 32-mile path that traces the American River from Folsom, through Rancho Cordova, and into Old Town Sacramento. After some fun in the sun, cool down and indulge in local libations offered by our Barrel District, a collection of six breweries, two distilleries, and a meadery, all of which are guaranteed to make your tastebuds sing. Family-friendly attractions await too! Explore your creativity with the kids at the Sacramento Children’s Museum. Appreciators of fall foliage will also find plenty to love in our region. Hit the road and follow Highway 50 to the scenic and flavorful Apple Hill, nestled in the Sierra Nevada Foothills. The Apple Hill Growers Association consists of nearly 30 farms that are ripe for exploration. Pumpkin patches, apple orchards, and bucolic vistas abound. And starting Sept. 10, you can tour Apple Hill’s Hard Cider Trail. And if spooky vibes are your style, head our way in early October for frights at the Heartstoppers Haunted House. Test your mettle and see if you can survive this specter-laden experience.
Travel iconic Route 66 to Springfield, IL. Experience one of America’s most beloved presidents, Abraham Lincoln. Relax at one of our local wineries or breweries while enjoying the ultimate cuisine. Discover vibrant arts and architecture, including the Illinois State Capitol and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Dana-Thomas House. Snap a photo along Route 66 as you stop to check out attractions including the Route 66 Twin Drive In, Cozy Dog Drive In and Motorheads Bar, Grille & Museum.
St. Louis, Missouri
Fall is the ideal time of year to visit St. Louis, which is located right in the heart of the U.S. at the confluence of the continent’s largest rivers, the Missouri and the Mississippi. Take in the wonder of these historic and powerful waterways with a drive up the Great River Road. Just over the Mississippi from downtown St. Louis, the Great River Road hugs the shoreline and winds its way past soaring cliffs and tree-covered hills to the charming towns of Elsah and Grafton, perfect stops to grab a bite to eat before heading back to the city for an evening out. St. Louis is well-known for its incredible food scene and The Grove should be on your list of can’t miss neighborhoods. Once the beating heart of the city’s vibrant LGBTQ+ scene, The Grove has exploded and is home to craft breweries – definitely stop by Urban Chestnut for a pint – as well as a cross section of dining options and bars, some of which have excellent drag shows. And of course, Forest Park is a can’t-miss destination for leaf-peepers. At 1,300 acres, Forest Park is home to miles of trails as well as the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Zoo, the Muny and the Missouri Historical Society along with other cultural institutions and amenities, like golf courses and tennis courts. If you’re planning a road trip this year, a visit during autumn will most definitely make you fall for St. Louis.
Fall is arguably the best time of year in Southern Delaware with its scenic coastal beauty, soft sea breezes, still-warm waters, outdoor adventures, and incredible tax free shopping in unique boutiques, antiques and vintage shops, and over 130 outlet stores. The dining is amazing as fabulous chefs throughout the Culinary Coast™ conjure up mouthwatering magic with fall’s fresh, abundant local land and sea harvests. Along with fall visitor favorites like arts and entertainment offerings and history museums and events, festival lovers from near and far flock to Southern Delaware each autumn to enjoy the History Book Festival, Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival and True Blue Jazz Fest, the Southern Delaware Wine, Food, and Music Festival, the Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival, and the Sea Witch Halloween and Fiddlers Festival. Many more festival and event listings can be found at https://visitsoutherndelaware.com.
Thunder Bay, Canada
During the Fall months in Thunder Bay, you can enjoy the changing of the leaves at many popular locations or visit some great attractions including Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park, Terry Fox Scenic Lookout, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, and Anemki Wajiw (Mount McKay). West of Thunder Bay the picturesque Kakabeka Falls are gorgeous during the fall with pops of orange and yellows in the background of the flowing waterfalls. On the outskirts just east of Thunder Bay, the Terry Fox Scenic Lookout offers a short drive to a beautiful lookout to view both the Sleeping Giant and Lake Superior, along with a 9-foot bronze statue erected in memory of the courageous Terry Fox who was forced to stop his Marathon on Hope run just east of Thunder Bay. Also east of Thunder Bay, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park offers kilometres of hiking trails where hikers can view the autumn colours and wildlife on trails for all ages and ability levels. Located on Fort William First Nations, Anemki Wajiw (Mount McKay) is open until Canadian Thanksgiving, offering spectacular views of Thunder Bay’s south side and the Sleeping Giant.
As the leaves begin to transition colour and drop from the trees, they bring a new opportunity for fall activities in Toronto. This season is rich with various athletic, cultural and entertainment options that make it one of the best times to visit our city. Take time to explore new neighbourhoods and discover what makes Toronto unique. A visit to the islands is a must in the fall to explore nature and get that Instagram-worthy shot of the skyline. Take a ferry and enjoy the ride, or rent a bike or kayak and explore the island(s). Attend a Live Show at Mirvish Theatre - As one of the most famous theatres in Toronto, Mirvish has a show for everyone. Journey back to the glamour of Hollywood in the roarin’ 20’s with Singin’ In the Rain or check out the Broadway production of the iconic movie, Mean Girls. Experience Toronto’s Year-Round Patio Season - Toronto is known for their epic patios, but as a result of the pandemic, many restaurants and bars upgraded their patios to withstand even the coldest days. Be sure to visit the new rooftop patio at the W Hotel, the beautiful back patio at Now & Later, or surround yourself with lush vibes at Oretta Midtown. Visit Glad Day Bookshop - Glad Day Bookshop is a popular spot for the LGBTQ+ community to meet, mingle and read how the literature has evolved over the years. They also host events such as readings, book signings and performances - making it a fun place to frequent while in Toronto. Upcoming events include performance competition, Drag Me Out, and their famous Drag Brunch. Check Out a Festival - Even if you’re not a festival person, it’s still worth checking out one of Toronto’s fall festivals. You might find yourself celebrating community and diversity at the Queen West Art Crawl, watching The Village transform at Halloween on Church, or admiring an art installation with a stranger at Nuit Blanche. The city is jam-packed with art events and parties that take over streets and locales across the city all season long.