Stunning fall drives in every state
America’s interstate system makes it relatively quick to dash from coast to coast—at least compared to the Lewis and Clark days. By some estimates, a cross-country road trip can be done in less than a week—if you’re willing to drive around 10 hours a day. But this time of year, you’d be making a big mistake if you didn’t slow down and soak up the scenery. The reds, yellows, and oranges of the foliage blanket parts of the country for just a few short weeks. Plus, there are pumpkin patches, apple orchards, and all kinds of fall fun to make the journey even more memorable.
While people often plan major vacations far from home during leaf-peeping season, the coronavirus pandemic has put a damper on many travelers’ usual plans. That doesn’t mean you have to miss out on this seasonal show, though. Every state has at least one fantastic drive through gorgeous autumnal scenery that is sure to make your jaw drop. To help you have a safe and socially distanced adventure close to home, Stacker compiled a list of stunning fall drives in every state. We looked at information from news outlets, travel publications, and local and state tourism boards to come up with 50 road trips to consider taking in the fall.
New England is arguably the quintessential place for fall color in the country. There, join thousands of other drivers on New Hampshire’s Kancamagus Highway, or watch the sunrise cast a glow on the foliage along Maine’s Acadia Byway. However, it’s certainly not the only place in the United States for a great fall drive. Alabama’s Fall Color Trail is dedicated to showcasing the beautiful scenery this time of year, Wyoming’s Flaming Gorge-Green River Basin Scenic Byway features 100 miles of tree-lined mountain peaks, and California’s Everitt Memorial Highway will take you up a forested volcano engulfed in color. There’s truly no state without a road trip worth taking this time of year.
Ready to hit the road for an autumnal adventure? Click through to see these stunning fall drives in every state.
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Alabama: Fall Color Trail
If you’re looking for a great seasonal drive in the South, look no further than Alabama’s Fall Color Trail. It highlights nearly every place in the state where visitors can see the trees transform into a quilt of colors, including state parks and gushing waterfalls.
Alaska: Seward Highway
The Seward Highway puts Alaska’s fall color on full display. Running from Anchorage to the seaside town of Seward, this highway offers breathtaking views of 3,000-foot peaks, dramatic shorelines, and the Kenai Peninsula.
Arizona: Red Rock Scenic Byway
Red is among the quintessential fall colors, and when in Arizona, there’s no better place to be surrounded by this autumnal hue than on the Red Rock Scenic Byway. It serves as the gateway to Sedona’s famous rock formations. Plus, visitors can also see well-preserved prehistoric petroglyphs on their road trip.
Arkansas: Pig Trail Scenic Byway
Experience 19 miles of picturesque bliss through the Boston Mountains and Ozark Mountains this fall on the Pig Trail Scenic Byway in Arkansas. The vibrant foliage and lush trees create an autumnal tunnel on all sides of the road this time of year. It’s located near three of the state’s other scenic byways, where you can continue your road trip.
California: Everitt Memorial Highway
Everitt Memorial Highway in northern California packs a ton of seasonal beauty into just two lanes and 14 total miles. It takes you up the southwest side of a 14,179-foot forested volcano brimming with fall color. You’ll also get epic views of Mt. Shasta.
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Colorado: Guanella Pass
Once a burro trail, Colorado’s now-paved Guanella Pass takes road trippers on 22 miles through the Rockies Playground. In the fall, the pine and aspen groves transform into an expanse of golden hues that will make your jaw drop. Along the way, you’ll pass several campgrounds and trails, a silver mine, the Georgetown Energy Museum, and even a ghost town.
Connecticut: Merritt Parkway
Historically branded as the “Gateway to New England,” Merritt Parkway takes drivers on a leisurely ride along Connecticut’s Gold Coast, over remarkable bridges and passing by majestic old trees bursting with fall colors. Along the way, notice traditional green-and-white highway signs with a unique feature: a jagged pattern edge that serves as a nod to the original wooden signs that were installed along the parkway when it was first created.
Delaware: Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway
Just over 12 miles long, Delaware’s Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway offers a relaxing journey through rolling hills and bucolic countryside bathed in autumnal golden sunshine. The preserved country estates along the ride feature landscaped gardens that put the glory of the early 20th century on full display.
Florida: Highway 30A
Fall is the best time of year to experience Florida’s breathtakingly beautiful Highway 30A without the heat and humidity of summer. The scenic drive takes you along the Emerald Coast for 24 miles. See the stunning white sand beaches and the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico, along with unique dune lakes. And when you’re feeling peckish, swing by one of the coastal communities for a bite to eat.
Georgia: Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway
Make sure you pack a lunch if you’re embarking on Georgia’s Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway—it brims with picnic-worthy spots. The byway looks out onto the Chattahoochee National Forest, where you’re sure to see lovely foliage. The best views, though, can be found at the top of Brasstown Bald, the state’s highest point and a spectacular place to see the fall colors.
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