Fall is one of the most splendid times to take a road trip. Not only can you enjoy the dynamic, changing landscape as it transitions to a golden autumnal hue, but you can enjoy them from the cozy interior of your car as you zoom past on the scenic highway.
Here are our best recommendations for scenic road trips during the autumn months. What better way to get the most out of the fall colors and enjoy some unique stops along the way?
Michigan’s Gold Coast
Grab your mittens and drive up the outside of the mitten, also known as Michigan’s gold coast. You can begin your trek along the shoreline of the Wolverine state, starting out in Traverse City. Here, you can witness some beautiful changing leaves and stop for a beverage at the Jolly Pumpkin or at Bowers Harbor Vineyards.
As you head out onto the Grand Traverse Bay you’ll find vibrant scenery along the roadside, clusters of maple and oak trees exploding in yellow, orange, and red, punctuated by splashes of evergreen.
You can cap off your trip at Kilcherman’s Christmas Cove Farm and try out some apples you’ll never see at your local grocery store. Klicherman’s boasts over 240 varieties of antique apples that are harvested during the fall season, some of which get made into delicious cider!
New England & Vermont’s Route 100
For an unforgettable and colorful fall excursion, you’ll want to make the trek along the 146-mile Scenic Route 100 Byway in Vermont. Route 100 runs down from the Green Mountains, which are now more golden, red, orange, and amber than in the previous months!
The route runs from Waterbury to Stowe and you’ll be able to schedule visits to the state parks, rolling forests, and running rivers along the way. While Vermont’s Route 100 is a great destination during winter due to its popularity as a skiing destination, it’s worth a drive during the autumn to take in the color and unique natural beauty before the first snowfall covers the land.
Oh, and while you’re in Vermont, don’t forget to order a few scoops at the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory. Tours run throughout the day and you can take some souvenirs to go from the gift shop.
Colorado’s Rocky Mountain Park
While Colorado is a destination to behold in just about any season — to take in the icy blues and white of winter or the deep greens of summertime — fall is the prime season to feast your eyes on canary golden hues that will be unforgettable to say the least!
You can begin your scenic fall road trip in Copper Mountain and wind your way around the state, ending your tour in Aspen. Along the way, you’ll see Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, and you’ll be even higher than the mile-high city of Denver, driving along routes at 9,000 feet above sea level in elevation. You’ll likely be enchanted with the flora of fall, but you can take in the fauna as well; many elk, marmots, and moose will be making their way around the state during this time of year, so bring a pair of binoculars and a camera
New York’s Finger Lakes
If you’re looking for a colorful road trip with lots of delicious stops along the way, a trip through the Finger Lakes in New York could be just what the doctor ordered. Start in Syracuse and snake your way to Rochester, seeing Seneca Falls, Geneva and more quaint spots along the way.
What’s notable about this fall road trip is the variety of vineyards you’ll find en route. If you’re able to take this trip in September, you’ll get to stop in to enjoy the Harvest Celebration of Food & Wine that curates the best viticulture and culinary delights from the region. It takes place at the Keuka Lake Wine Trail every year.
But if you’re unable to make it for this celebration, the region boasts a variety of delicious offerings and celebrations throughout the season, so bring your wine glass and a designated driver to switch off with! With plenty of vineyards to choose from, you’ll find something to cheers with for certain.
No matter what autumn adventures you’re seeking for a memorable fall season, with a bit of planning and a tank full of gas, you’ll be sure to have some colorful and savory memories from your trip!
Autumn is a great time of year to explore the splendor of nature before the busy holiday season, so take some time to unwind as you drive down some of the nation’s most scenic highways and byways with crisp fall wind in your air!