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Best Destination for Fall Foliage (2021)

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For many, the only thing that takes the sting away from the end of summer is the anticipation of the beautiful autumnal colors. 'Tis the season for leaf-peeping.

  • White Mountains

    White Mountains
    New Hampshire

    The annual display of fall color in the White Mountains of New Hampshire typically takes place each September and October, attracting millions of visitors from around the globe. One of the best places to take it all in is along the 34-mile Kancamagus Highway as it cuts through White Mountain National Forest.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / haveseen

  • Upper Peninsula

    Upper Peninsula
    Michigan

    Just about the entire Upper Peninsula puts on a display of fall color that peaks during the last two weeks of September and the first week of October. A favorite fall experience for leaf peepers is the drive along M-26 along the shores of Lake Roland and past the trees of Copper Country State Forest.
    Photo courtesy of UPTravel.com

  • Pocono Mountains

    Pocono Mountains
    Pennsylvania

    The Pocono Mountains are ablaze with hues of red, orange and yellow come autumn, thanks to the area’s 127 species of indigenous trees, plants and shrubs. Leaf peepers can hop in the car for a scenic cruise along Route 507 near Lake Wallenpaupack or climb aboard a fall foliage train.
    Photo courtesy of PoconoMountains.com

  • Gatlinburg

    Gatlinburg
    Tennessee

    Autumn is one of the most popular times to visit the Smoky Mountains, thanks in large part to the spectacular fall foliage and cool temperatures. Gatlinburg travelers have their choice of several aerial tramways and chair lifts for taking in an aerial view of the landscape before or after a trip into Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
    Photo courtesy of Gatlinburg CVB

  • Ozark Mountain Region

    Ozark Mountain Region
    Arkansas

    A variety of different tree species, including maple, hickory, sycamore and oak, paint the landscape of the Arkansas Ozarks in warm fall colors each September and October. This mountainous landscape attracts leaf peepers who want to get outdoors for an autumn hike in the mountains.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / ABDESIGN

  • Taos

    Taos
    New Mexico

    There’s no shortage of leaf peeping opportunities in and around Taos, starting with a drive along the High Road to Taos or the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway. The town makes an excellent base for autumn adventure as well, from biking along the West Rim Trail on the Rio Grande River or hiking Williams Lake Trail.
    Photo courtesy of Town of Taos

  • Door County

    Door County
    Wisconsin

    Wisconsin’s best fall foliage can often be found in Door County. Leaves reach their peak of color between late September and mid-October, when visitors from around the country come to drive its tree-lined roads or hike its trails.
    Photo courtesy of Destination Door County

  • Laurel Highlands

    Laurel Highlands
    Pennsylvania

    Fall foliage in the Laurel Highlands usually peaks in mid-October, making the Pennsylvania region an ideal fall getaway destination. Go for a drive along Laurel Highlands Scenic Byway with a stop to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater framed by colorful leaves, or take a scenic hike in Ohiopyle State Park.
    Photo courtesy of GO Laurel Highland

  • Stowe

    Stowe
    Vermont

    Vermont is well known for its fall foliage, particularly in the Green Mountains. For the best leaf peeping, make the drive along the Green Mountain Byway between the towns of Waterbury and Stowe. Mount Mansfield, the state’s highest peak, sits along the way.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / KenWiedemann

  • Finger Lakes

    Finger Lakes
    New York

    Many Finger Lakes communities celebrate the fall riot of color with seasonal festivals and events, including the Bristol Mountain Fall Festival and the Naples Grape Festival.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / JimVallee

The top 10 winners in the category Best Destinations for Fall Foliage are as follows:

  1. White Mountains - New Hampshire
  2. Upper Peninsula - Michigan
  3. Pocono Mountains - Pennsylvania
  4. Gatlinburg - Tennessee
  5. Ozark Mountain Region - Arkansas
  6. Taos - New Mexico
  7. Door County - Wisconsin
  8. Laurel Highlands - Pennsylvania
  9. Stowe - Vermont
  10. Finger Lakes - New York

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning destinations!

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10Best Editors

10Best Editors

10Best Editors

Allison Taylor

Allison Taylor

Allison Taylor

Eric Grossman

Eric Grossman

Eric Grossman

Gerrish Lopez

Gerrish Lopez

Gerrish Lopez
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