The Best Places to Visit for Fall Foliage

At Gateway Canyons Resort in Colorado, guests can take a scenic drive that showcases the area's fall foliage.

This autumn, travelers can take in the vibrant colors and picturesque views of fall foliage in popular destinations all over the world. Here are 10 destinations to visit this fall.

Provence, France

Although some consider summer the best time to visit Provence, come fall the crowds have dissipated and average temperatures are still in the 60s. While tourists can visit in June to snap photos among the lavender fields, the fall offers its own unique foliage as another purple flower, Saffron, blooms that time of year. The region is home to many saffron farms that open their doors to the public during the fall harvest season.

Additionally, travelers who go in September and October can experience the olive and grape harvests – known as vendange. Domaine de Manville, the restored farming estate turned hotel, has bikes at the ready for guests to ride to tastings at the 12 surrounding wineries and mills producing olive oil with the Vallée des Baux de Provence AOC designation. Guests at the hotel can also take part in the tradition of visiting daily farmer’s markets in the local villages where Chef Matthieu Dupuis Baumal, who recently earned his first Michelin star, will join them to shop for seasonal produce. 

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Portugal

Travelers visiting Portugal in the fall can enjoy less crowds as they explore the country. At Belmond Reid’s Palace, a hotel in Madeira, guests can rise early and enjoy the first light from Pico do Arieiro, Madeira’s third highest peak and one of the few spots on the island to see the sunrise. Hikers can take in the view of the mountains covered in vegetation – most notably the purple Echium candicans, known as the “Pride of Madeira.” Afterwards, a private butler serves a breakfast of pastries, fresh fruit, and champagne for guests to enjoy in nature.

London

In September, travelers can see London’s River Thames – an ideal spot to see the city’s fall foliage –brought to life in a month-long season of events along the river’s 42-mile stretch during the annual Totally Thames Festival. During the festival, guests can experience large-scale art installations, catch concerts, explore the history of the Thames, and enjoy the natural scenery that runs along it. 

Travelers wanting to be in the middle of the action should stay at Mondrian London, located on the River Thames in the South Bank neighborhood.  Catch all the action at Rumpus Room, a rooftop terrace overlooking River Thames, St. Paul's and central London.

Scotland

In the fall, travelers can explore Scotland’s vibrant array of red, orange, and gold vegetation. Ideal spots for fall foliage include Loch Awe, Loch Faskally, and Comrie. In Edinburgh, travelers can see more fall colors at the Royal Botanical Gardens, which showcases thousands of plant species.

Other popular spots in Scotland include St. Conan's Kirk, Edinburgh Castle, and Inchcolm Abbey and Island.

Gateway Canyons Resort in Gateway, Colorado

Colorado is home to some of the best fall foliage in the country and at the Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa, guests can see it for themselves, whether they’re traveling on a cross-country road trip or flying in for a long weekend.

Edging the Colorado-Utah border and located in the shadow of the Palisade rock formation, Gateway Canyons is placed in a secluded landscape – an ideal destination to see the autumn leaves with a scenic drive during the day. In the evening, guests can enjoy the luxury accommodations of the resort, as well as a spa and gourmet culinary experiences.

Additionally, guests have exclusive access to the resort’s Driven Experiences, where individuals can rent anything from a Jeep Wrangler to a Bentley for a road trip through the area to view the foliage. The resort also offers hikes throughout Gateway and its surroundings, where the fall foliage and the region’s history are on full display.

Kyoto, Japan

Before the cherry blossoms bloom in the winter and spring, Kyoto is still a prime destination in the fall to witness picturesque fall foliage. Usually, the foliage season in Kyoto lasts from mid-October to mid-December.

Some of the best spots for fall colors are the Eikando Temple, Arashiyama (where you can view the trees from a riverboat), Kifune Shrine (where you can take a cable car), or the Shorenin Temple. While they’re in Kyoto, guests can also visit popular sites like the Ran Theatre Kyoto, Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine, and the Kyoto Samurai and Ninja Museum.

New York

Though New York is most known for its urban landscape, the Empire State does offer many fall experiences that showcase its natural scenery. For an experience closest to New York City, the best bet is Harriman State Park, which offers more than 200 miles of hiking trails, as well as 31 lakes and three beaches. The Silver Mine Lake Trail reaches the top of Black Mountain, which offers views of the park’s fall foliage on a backdrop of New York City’s skyline, just 30 miles south. 

Additionally, Breakneck Ridge is accessible via the Metro North to Cold Spring, about an hour and 15 minutes from the city. The steep trail offers a colorful view of the Hudson River and surrounding wooded areas in Hudson Highlands State Park.

Anchorage, Alaska

In September, travelers can see Anchorage is its most colorful as leaves begin to change colors around Labor Day, considerably earlier than the rest of the US. To see the most of the area’s fall foliage, travelers can explore Denali National Park, where the birch trees turn into a gold color and the tundra is covered in red.

In Anchorage, the fall is also one of the best times of year to spot large mammals including caribou, moose, and grizzly bears as they venture down from Chugach Mountains to lower elevations in order to capitalize on last-minute foraging before winter arrives. Adventurers seeking easy access to wildlife tours by air and fishing pickups can book a stay at The Lakefront Anchorage – set on the shore of Lake Spenard. From the hotel’s dock, guests can take off on a bear-viewing adventure, glacier landing, or visit the highest peak in North America, Denali mountain.

Vermont

Vermont’s mountains, lakes, and forests make it an ideal fall foliage destination. Travelers can fly into Burlington to take in the views along Lake Champlain, or they can rent a car and drive to other scenic spots. Smugglers Notch, just north of Stowe, provides some of the best of Vermont’s foliage. During their trip, visitors can visit notable spots like the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Stowe Cider, or the King Arthur Flour headquarters further south in Norwich.

Nantucket, Massachusetts

Travelers can explore Nantucket’s fall foliage along its 82 miles of coastline and its dramatic cliffs. Plus, this island off the coast of Cape Cod showcases historic lighthouses, and 19th century mansions, and outdoor activities ideal for the fall. Guests can bike to Cisco Brewery, known for their local brews and live music, take part in lobstering or surfcasting lessons at The Wauwinet hotel – experiences only offered in September and October – or charter a Hinckley Yacht and sail the Harbor. 

November also marks the start of Nantucket Bay Scallop season. Weekend events such as the Maritime Festival (September 29), celebrating the island’s seafaring heritage with boat races and harpoon throwing, and the family-friendly Cranberry Festival (October 6-7) also take place. After Labor Day, hotel offers including Nantucket Island Resorts’ “Hot Dates, Cool Rates” bring starting rates to $195 per night, while direct flights from New York and Washington D.C. are still available through October.

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