THE BLOG

Best Places to See Fall Colors

10/16/2013 10:18 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

2013-10-17-croppedfall.jpg Photo Courtesy of Dreamstime. Article by Kaeli Conforti of Budget Travel.

It's the most colorful time of the year! Here in the northeast, we're surrounded by beautiful shades of orange, red, and yellow as leaf-peeping season kicks into full swing -- but you don't have to be in just one region to appreciate all the fall foliage. We've got some great seasonal spots around the country -- and one in Canada -- where you can see the leaves in all their colorful splendor, whether by car, train, boat, or by going for a nice, long walk in the crisp fall air. If all else fails, you can always choose to live vicariously through Budget Travel's Fall Into Foliage board on Pinterest.

VERMONT
It goes without saying that Vermont is one of the most well-known places in the U.S. when it comes to fall foliage -- especially in the central and southern parts of the state, the Lake Champlain Islands, areas near Burlington, and in the beautiful Green Mountains. As of right now, most of the state is already experiencing peak colors, with late, more subtle changes in color still slated to happen over the last few weekends of October. Up for a scenic fall foliage drive? Vermont's Tourism website offers a printable list of more than 20 drives around the state ranging anywhere from 30 to 210 miles long, as well as regional and historical points of interest, apple orchards, and popular local attractions you shouldn't miss along the way. Try taking a breather at one of these 16 participating apple orchards, where you could end up with a brand new Apple iPad, iPod Nano, or iPod Touch if you find the hidden wooden apple thanks to a new seasonal program, Apples to iPods.

NEW YORK
Whether you're planning to venture upstate in search of fall fun or opt to stay in the big city, New York gives you plenty of options -- visit this website for a detailed list of all the great spots within the state to view fall foliage as peak levels tend to change depending on where you are. Baseball fans will want to visit Cooperstown, home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, while other outdoorsy leaf-peeping activities include renting kayaks on Lake Otsego or hiking among the gorgeous fall colors at Glimmerglass State Park. (The nearby Otesaga Resort Hotel is currently offering fall getaway deals from $199, including a package from $239 a night that includes daily breakfast and tickets to either the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the Fenimore Art Museum, or the Farmer's Museum). For an exciting day trip, bring the family to Barton Orchards, located about a 90-minute drive north of the City in Poughquag, New York, and home to hayrides, train rides, a corn maze, haunted house, and the chance to pick perfect farm-fresh apples, pumpkins, corn and other seasonal vegetables to take home as delicious fall souvenirs. Don't miss the Farm Bakery & Market where you can pick up maple syrup, seasonal mixes and spices, baked pies and desserts, fudge, and best of all, cider donuts. (Activity wristbands are available for $12.50 and include a $3 general admission fee. Prices for fresh-picked apples, pumpkins, and veggies vary by quantity. Please note that no outside food or beverages are allowed on the farm, but feel free to bring your own wagon). Or if you'd rather stay in the heart of the Big Apple, go for a stroll around Central Park in the fall for vibrant color changes during the last few weeks of October into November -- pick any spot in the park for a fall picnic, just don't forget to bring your camera!

CANADA
While there are definitely enough places in Canada to warrant its own fall foliage report, we'd like to point out one of our favorite spots in Québec for the purposes of this story: Mont Tremblant, an exquisite ski town roughly two hours outside of Montréal that always has something fun going on no matter what season we're in, and fall is no exception. Hop a quick flight on Porter Airlines from Newark, Washington D.C., Burlington, Chicago, Myrtle Beach, or from any of 12 connecting Canadian cities to reach this beautiful ski town nestled in the heart of Canada's Laurentians (they even serve wine onboard -- for free!). In Tremblant, there are plenty of outdoor activities to keep you busy while you're admiring the fall colors showcased on the mountains around you: play a round of golf on one of the area's two championship golf courses, treat youself to a 60-minute cruise on the 7.5-mile long Lake Tremblant ($20 for adults; $16 for seniors ages 60 and up; $6 for children ages 2-12), rent a bike for the afternoon (prices vary), explore the mountain on one of 12 hiking trails, or take a ride to the summit on the panoramic gondola (Adults pay $16.99 per ride; children ages 6-12 pay $13.59; children ages 3-5 pay $3.39; Gondola tickets must be purchased online at least two days in advance). After a long day outside, try your luck at the Casino de Mont-Tremblant (a free shuttle is available every 30 minutes between the casino and the pedestrian village), relax your tired muscles at the nearby Scandinave Spa Mont-Tremblant (access to the Scandinavian Baths for $48 per person; 60-minute Swedish Massages from $128 per person), or check out one of the special fall sales happening at Tremblant's many boutique shops. The best part: you can save 20 percent on stays of two nights or more at area hotels now through Oct. 31st with prices starting at $119 per night.

COLORADO
We've been keeping a close eye on Colorado's usual leaf-peeping hot spots, especially after the damage caused by devastating floods in September and unfortunately, the National Park closures due to the ongoing government shutdown, but there is good news to report: one of the state's best places to view fall foliage, Estes Park, is open for business. While nearby Rocky Mountain National Park is closed as a result of the shutdown, Estes Park is the perfect place to view not only fall foliage, but also elk and other area wildlife this time of year. Nature lovers can go fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding in nearby Estes Valley, or even participate in flood recovery efforts. For a spookier fall experience, try one of the Ghost & History Tours at the Historic Stanley Hotel, also known for having paranormal investigators and psychics onsite. Autumn is the best time of year to take a drive on the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway, currently one of the only ways to enter and exit the Estes Park area -- check this website for more updates on flood recovery efforts and route changes. Special lodging packages are also available to keep tourism going strong in Estes Park during one of their busiest times of the year. Other scenic leaf-peaping hot spots in Colorado include Kebler Pass near Gunnison-Crested Butte, the 236-mile loop of San Juan Skyway, The Grand Mesa Scenic and Historic Byway, and in better times, Trail Ridge Road and Rocky Mountain National Park, among 25 scenic and historic byways that typically showcase the state's world-famous golden Aspens. A ride on the Georgetown Loop Railroad is also a memorable way to see the fall colors and learn a little about the area's mining history. (Tickets are from $25.95 for adults; from $18.95 for children ages 3-15).

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