Every autumn, across the U.S., nature dresses up for the season with golden yellows, fiery oranges and vibrant reds. From early September in the northern states to late November in the south, the fall foliage explodes in gorgeous color. Here are some of the best places to catch fall in all of its glory.
Less than an hour and a half by car from Chicago and Milwaukee, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin makes for a perfect leaf peeping day trip. This southwestern Wisconsin resort community became popular just after the Civil War, when wealthy Chicago families discovered the beautiful, spring-fed lake and began building summer homes there. You can still see these many historic, lakeside estates by boat or via the 21-mile walking path that circles the entire lake, and the autumn is perhaps the best time of year to visit thanks to the beautiful fall foliage. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate fall than a ziplining adventure high up in the treetops, where the fall colors are literally in your face. With eight different zip lines high up in the trees, five sky bridges, three spiral stairways and a one-of-a-kind “floating” double helix stairway, Lake Geneva Canopy Tours offer a truly one-of-a-kind experience. The Abbey Resort offers a Fall Getaway Package which includes overnight accommodations for two adults; a buy-one-get-one-free day pass to Avani Spa; one Zip Line Canopy Tour at Lake Geneva Canopy Tours per adult and; a seasonal Avani Spa service discount.
Enjoy a leaf peeping hike in New England with Country Walkers. In Vermont, you’ll venture to the Union Village Dam where the dense hardwood forest is dressed up in some of the most vibrant fall colors in the U.S.. and stroll alongside sweet blueberry bushes, white birches and shady spruces on the Asticou trail. VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations offers three Vermont tours that give you the chance to experience autumn in New England while cycling through the Champlain Valley, the Adirondacks and Otter Creek.
Montauk offers a “foliage by the beach” experience like no other and the historic Montauk Yacht Club Resort & Marina offers guests a myriad of fall focused activities, including sunset cruises, sailboating, paddleboarding and s’mores bonfires.
The Finger Lakes region of New York is known to have the country’s best fall foliage. Breathtaking views of bright and transformational nature can be captured by bike riding along scenic paths, rafting down the Grand Canyon of the East or by hot air balloons and hang gliding.
Lincoln Park is our family’s favorite spot to catch the changing fall colors in the city of Chicago. Visit the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and step out onto the upper floor observatory to catch a bird’s eye view of the park in all its fall splendor.
Galena, Illinois, is another favorite fall destination. Spend your days hiking the numerous trails in the area, then head back to your cozy log cabin at Irish Hollow, a 500-acre working farm situated on rolling hills. You’ll want to spend your evenings fireside: Every cabin comes equipped with piles of firewood waiting to warm you up. Head to the main Irish Hollow Inn for fine dining and spa services, or call in and request a bottle of house wine, and a cheese, fruit and meat tray with freshly baked bread delivered straight to your cabin door.