Fall is almost in full swing on the U.S. East Coast. First, New England will be coated in all kinds of reds, yellows and oranges. Later on, the fall colors will slowly make their way south. The best East Coast fall foliage destinations are all located in or at least near the Appalachian Mountains.
This vast mountain range, one of the oldest in the world, in fact, extends from Georgia in the south to Maine in the north. Depending on which state or region you’re in, they’re known as the Great Smoky Mountains, Blue Ridge Mountains, Adirondack Mountains, Green Mountains or White Mountains.
In this post, we’ll list a handful of the greatest East Coast fall foliage destinations for you. No matter which one you pick, the landscapes will be absolutely spectacular.
5 Amazing East Coast Fall Foliage Destinations
White Mountains, New Hampshire
The highest mountain range in New England, New Hampshire’s White Mountains is the ultimate destination for outdoor enthusiasts in the Northeast. Characterized by bare granite mountain peaks and forested slopes, this region offers breathtaking hiking and road tripping. The clear summits, additionally, are fantastic vantage points from which to admire the fall colors.
Great for: hiking, road tripping
Adirondacks, New York
The Adirondacks in New York State is home to one of the largest protected landscapes in the United States. Moreover, a part of it was also designated a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, clearly indicating the region’s natural significance. Dotted with shimmering lakes, crisscrossed by rivers and streams, and featuring endlessly rolling hills, the Adirondacks is one of the best East Coast fall foliage destinations. It’s especially great for kayaking and canoeing.
Great for: kayaking and canoeing, hiking and fishing, and luxury retreats
Grayson Highlands, Virginia
Virginia’s Grayson Highlands is a relatively unknown region in the far south of the state. This area is absolutely gorgeous, its landscapes unlike any other on the U.S. East Coast. This is where wild ponies roam mountain meadows and where boreal forests crown mountain summits. It’s home to the two highest mountains in Virginia, but also to countless rivers that are great for trout fishing as well as epic hiking, biking and horseback riding trails.
Great for: hiking, mountain biking, camping and horseback riding
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina and Tennessee
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the world’s greatest temperate forests. Home to almost as many species of trees as all of Europe put together, this mountainous park offers spectacular leaf-peeping in the fall season. Its many stunning waterfalls and historic homesteads only add to its scenic appeal.
Great for: hiking, camping, wildlife watching, waterfalls, pioneering history
Set on the shore of beautiful Lake Champlain in western Vermont and backed by the rolling Green Mountains, Burlington, Vermont is one of the greatest East Coast fall foliage destinations. There’s everything from scenic rural roads and many miles of lakefront bike trails to hiking trails in the mountains and sunset boat rides on the lake. This is the most varied destination in this list. Additionally, there are also several craft breweries and this is the home base of Ben & Jerry’s.
Great for: boating, hiking, craft beer, road tripping, small-town life