One of the most exciting road trips you can take in the United States is a tour of the northeast to view fall foliage. But what many might not realize is that you aren’t limited to one corner of the country to see bursts of colorful autumn leaves; you can see trees change color all across America.
As you plan your last RV trips of the season, consider any one of the following destinations to enjoy fall colors, wherever you are, coast to coast.
Acadia National Park is one of the most popular in the country because it is gorgeous year-round. But there is something particularly magical about the landscape in autumn. Whether you are looking for beautiful forests or lighthouses near sandy beaches, this destination has it all. Best of all, there are plenty of campgrounds for RV camping in the area (particularly in Bay Harbor), so you can set up camp and then take your tow vehicle for a scenic drive. The best time to see the fall colors is in October, but plan early, as campgrounds fill up quickly.
Nestled in the Catskills Mountains are the Adirondacks of New York. It is the largest state park in the United States, which means there is plenty of room for you and your RV. While the Adirondacks are best known for their fiery hued leaves, it is also a great place to recreate if you enjoy hiking or paddling down rivers. Then, of course, there are the stunning scenic drives. Conditions are nearly perfect in October, and while there are plenty of RV campgrounds in the area, you may still want to reserve a spot months in advance.
If you don’t want to wait until October to see fall colors, venture farther south to the Blue Ridge Mountains near Asheville, North Carolina. Colors begin to shift during late September, which gives visitors plenty of opportunities to experience this lovely destination until early November. Make the most of your trip by using this interactive fall colors map tracking the best times to visit various places in the area. When you view the map, you will notice that colors appear earlier in higher elevations.
During October, if you drive down Highway 1A from Pawtucket to Watch Hill during the fall, you will witness one of the most breathtaking landscapes in the US. The scenic drive spans 92 miles with lush forests, little coastal towns, and of course - autumn leaves. This scenic drive is Rhode Island’s best kept secret and gets far less traffic than it deserves. Best of all, there are lots of campgrounds along this stretch of road, so you can park your RV and explore the area at your leisure.
In northern New Mexico, you can find the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Here, you should set up camp at the Santa Fe Skies RV Park to take advantage of the full hookups and extraordinary views. While New Mexico may seem like an odd choice for viewing fall foliage, in early October, the colors of the native flora begin to change. The shift is more subtle than it is in the northeast considering it is located in the desert - but you do not want to miss views of the sunrise or sunset from the Turquoise Trail. Also keep in mind that the fall is green chile-roasting season, and you can find chiles being roasted at nearly ever farmer’s market and on just about every other street corner.
If you seek pops of color, alpine lakes, and tall mountains, consider driving to Sun Valley, Idaho. This small town in the Sawtooth Mountains secretly harbors some of the best autumn views in the western United States. There are both full hookup RV campgrounds and boondocking sites scattered throughout the area, so you can enjoy this awe-inspiring landscape in whatever camping style you prefer.
Deep within the San Juan mountains sits Telluride, Colorado, where you can see beautiful golden aspens. There are plenty of ways to enjoy RVing in this location during the fall, such as biking, climbing, and hiking - or if you prefer to relax and enjoy the scenery, you can do that, too. There’s even a gondola that you can ride to really take in the fall foliage. The show of autumn colors is brief, so you’ll want to make campground reservations for mid to late September.
For wine aficionados, autumn in the Willamette Valley in Oregon cannot be beat. Not only are there lots of beautiful vineyards boasting fall colors, there are also a plethora of seasonal events - of course including Oktoberfest. But assuming you want to come for the wine, visit one of the many boutique winemakers and other wineries in town so you can grab an exquisite bottle of red, white, or pink. There are several KOAs in the area where you can set up camp before treating yourself to sip after sip of delicious wine.
Perhaps you are someone that loves autumn for the earthy vibes and pumpkin spice, or maybe you love it because Halloween is unapologetically your favorite holiday. If you belong in either of these categories, we recommend visiting Woodstock, Connecticut. Here, you can get your hands on the autumn harvest at local farmers markets or you can attend one or a few spooky events - just be sure to reserve a spot at one of the three good campgrounds far in advance so you have somewhere to stay. You’re not the only one that wants to view the foliage.
And lastly, another great option for viewing fall colors in the western US, there is the Yosemite Valley in California. If you’ve always wanted to camp here but don’t want to deal with the summer crowds, fall is a great time to visit. With the dramatic backdrop of glowing, golden leaves, you can go on all sorts of adventures, like hiking or climbing. If you want to reserve a spot during October, plan well in advance. Even though it is less crowded than during the hot summer months, it is still very much in demand.
It is the opinion of many that fall is the absolute best time to camp. No matter where you live, there are bound to be opportunities to enjoy the autumn scenery and seasonal festivities while camping in your Grand Design RV. Just pick a region that best suits you and make a reservation as early as you can.
How did we do? What other autumn camping sites would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments!