Leaf Peeping Across North America

Leaf Peeping Across North America

Posted by Red Carter on

In fashion, fall color trends come and go. In nature, fall colors never go out of style.

Leaves of scarlet, yellow, orange and purple turn ordinary poplar, maple, beech and gum trees into works of art. Seeing a foliage display at its peak is like standing inside a painting by Claude Monet. 

Each year The National Weather Service publishes a Fall Colors Report which will help you determine where you should visit. Keep in mind, many hotels and B&B’s are booked a year in advance in the more popular areas so plan accordingly. 

Your best strategy is to visit a place which has more to offer than leaf peeping. This way, if you miss the peak season, you’ll still have a wonderful time in some of North America’s most amazing places.

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Leaf peeping in New England should be on everybody’s travel bucket list. There are so many lovely New England towns that it’s often hard to choose where to visit.

Cape Cod is a popular summer destination but the peninsula takes on a special feel in autumn. Tour the John F. Kennedy Museum in Hyannis, visit a cranberry bog or take a ferry to Martha’s Vineyard.

Plan a trip for October this year or next and book a whale watching tour from Provincetown or--weather permitting-- kayak on Nantucket Sound. 

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee 

Hiking in the great Great Smoky Mountains National Park in fall is an ideal way to enjoy nature’s colorful show. The colors normally peak at the end of October.

Of course, no trip to Pigeon Forge is complete without a visit to Dollywood, a theme park owned by legendary country music star, Dolly Parton. The Great Pumpkin LumiNights is part of Dollywood’s Harvest Festival and runs from September 28-November 3. 

If you want to get closer to nature, skip the hotels and rent a cabin in the mountains or on the water. 

Pigeon Forge is the perfect destination for children who may easily grow tired of looking at leaves. 

The Mighty Five--Utah 

Nearly every square inch of Utah is a scenic drive year round. But, in fall, the beauty of Utah becomes breathtaking. 

While the numerous scenic byways make it possible to leaf peep from the comfort of your own car, no trip to Utah would be complete without a visit to one of their famed national parks. 

The Mighty Five--as they are affectionately known--are Canyonlands, Capital Reef, Arches, Zion and Bryce. Each park has its own unique personality and the leaf show changes according to elevation.

If you have two weeks to spare, take The Grand Circle Road Trip to see all five in one amazing vacation. 

Napa Valley, California 

In Napa, it’s not the just the leaves on the trees that change colors. The grape leaves in wine country turn yellow and red for an additional layer of color.

Mid-fall in Napa is also the start of Cabernet season which makes it the best season of all.

Tour the beautiful countryside by train, trolley or hot air balloon. Or take a bike ride for a closer look at the vineyards. 

At night, enjoy a delicious meal at one of the area’s award-winning restaurants--with a wine pairing, of course.

Victoria BC, Canada 

One of Canada’s most beautiful cities is just a three-hour clipper ride from Seattle. Known as “The City of Gardens,” Victoria is the perfect place to enjoy a more urban leaf peeping experience. 

The Butchart Gardens is a must-see destination in autumn. After a crisp fall day exploring all 55 gorgeous acres, enjoy High Tea with scones and tasty tea sandwiches. 

In late October, kick up your lederhosen at the Victoria Pub Market Oktoberfest. Or dine in Canada’s oldest Chinatown after a day of visiting museums. 

Victoria is also a golfer’s paradise with the Vancouver Islands Golf Trail networking 11 picturesque courses.


Don’t forget your passport. Victoria may be close to Seattle but it’s still in another country.


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