5 Fall Foliage Road Trip Ideas


From September to November, regions from New England to the Great Lakes and beyond are bathed in falling leaves. Ranging from brilliant gold to fiery red, burning orange to deep purple, these autumn leaves are sure to delight the whole family on a fall foliage road trip.

The best way to experience a fall foliage driving tour is with a Cruise America RV rental. With room for the whole family to sleep, relax, bathe, cook, and eat, your RV will be your home away from home no matter where you go. And with over 130 locations throughout North America, it’s easy to find a Cruise America near you for your scenic drive.

With Cruise America, you’ll save money on hotel accommodations, car rental, airfare, and bus tours — it’s a great deal! Fall foliage travel has never been better than with an RV rental. Read on for some of our favorite road trip routes for your fall foliage driving tour, and book your fall foliage driving tour today.


New England Fall Foliage Road Trip

New England fall foliage is renowned for its incredible hues and varied leaves. Visit the northernmost states — Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire — early, as peak colors are usually seen in late September and early October. Farther south, in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York, expect the leaves to turn toward the middle of October.

For depth of color in fall foliage, New England can’t be beat. Known for its thick maple groves — the quintessential autumn tree — the area offers rich, deep foliage as far as the eye can see. For a fun trip, try a New York fall foliage getaway from our RV rental locations in New York City or upstate in Poughkeepsie.


Great Lakes Fall Foliage Road Trip

For a Midwestern take on a fall foliage driving tour, head to the Great Lakes region. Leaves begin to fall as early as September in the Canadian provinces and can last as late as November in the southern reaches of this region.

Located in the heart of the Great Lakes, the Grand Traverse area of Northwestern Michigan is a brilliant spot for fall colors tours. See swaths of cherry trees transform from verdant green to rich scarlet, their leaves mingling with ash, oak, and more along rural highways and near the shores of Lake Michigan.

Blue Ridge Parkway Fall Foliage Road Trip

The Blue Ridge Parkway, often dubbed "America's Favorite Drive," offers an unparalleled fall foliage road trip experience. This scenic highway meanders through the Appalachian Highlands, connecting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. The best time to embark on this journey is typically in early to mid-October, when the leaves burst into vibrant shades of red, orange, and gold.

As you wind your way along the Blue Ridge Parkway, you'll be treated to breathtaking vistas, serene mountain landscapes, and countless overlooks where you can capture the perfect fall photo. Be sure to make stops at popular spots like Linville Falls, Craggy Gardens, and Mount Mitchell, which is the highest peak east of the Mississippi River. Camping facilities are available along the route, making it easy to immerse yourself in the autumn beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Great Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage Road Trip

The Great Smoky Mountains, straddling the border of North Carolina and Tennessee, are a haven for fall foliage enthusiasts. This national park is renowned for its lush forests, diverse flora, and, of course, the stunning display of autumn colors. Plan your visit from late October to early November for the best chances of catching the vibrant foliage.

As you explore the Great Smoky Mountains, you'll find a treasure trove of hiking trails that lead you through the heart of this natural wonderland. Abrams Falls, Clingmans Dome, and Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail are some of the must-visit locations for witnessing the changing leaves up close. Whether you choose to hike, drive, or simply relax in one of the park's many campgrounds, the Great Smoky Mountains will leave you in awe of nature's autumn artistry.

Columbia River Gorge Region Fall Foliage Road Trip

Heading west to the Pacific Northwest, the Columbia River Gorge Region provides a unique fall foliage road trip experience. During late October and early November, the landscapes along the Columbia River transform into a symphony of red, orange, and yellow hues. This area, situated on the border of Oregon and Washington, boasts a diverse mix of deciduous trees, evergreens, and dramatic waterfalls.

One of the highlights of this road trip is the Historic Columbia River Highway, which offers spectacular viewpoints of the gorge and its colorful foliage. Don't miss iconic spots like Multnomah Falls and Crown Point for jaw-dropping scenery. The cool, crisp autumn air and the rustling leaves create a serene ambiance, making it an ideal destination for those seeking tranquility amidst nature's autumn masterpiece.

No matter which of these fall foliage road trips you choose, traveling in a Cruise America RV rental will enhance your journey with comfort and convenience. So, pack your bags, hit the road, and revel in the breathtaking beauty of autumn's changing leaves.