5 Underrated U.S. Destinations To See The Best Fall Foliage This Year

Fall’s vibrant display isn’t just for New Englanders. From the Smoky Mountains’ fiery hues to Napa’s vineyards, a kaleidoscope of colors awaits discovery across America. Whether you’re an urban dweller or prefer the countryside, you’ll find striking fall foliage in the most unexpected places.

So, let’s uncover five underrated U.S. spots where autumn’s glory is in full swing, and you’re bound to fall in love with the season all over again.

Discovering the Colors of Fall in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

They’ll find that Great Smoky Mountains National Park, tucked away in the Southern U.S., is an underrated destination boasting vibrant fall colors from mid-October to early November.

In autumn, this park transforms into a colorful wonderland. Its forested landscape is adorned with eye-catching hues of red, gold, and orange. Visitors can immerse themselves in nature, hike scenic trails, and capture stunning pictures.

The park’s panoramic vistas, particularly from Clingmans Dome, offer breathtaking views of the foliage. Despite its beauty, it’s often overlooked for more popular destinations. However, those who venture here are rewarded with an unforgettable foliage viewing experience.

The Wine and Leaves of Napa Valley, California

It’s in Napa Valley, California, where one can enjoy both the exquisite wines and the captivating autumn colors in early October. This region, known for its world-class vineyards, also offers a surprising fall foliage spectacle. As the grape harvesting season coincides with the changing colors of the leaves, visitors get a double treat.

Napa’s rolling hills turn into a vibrant tapestry of reds, yellows, and oranges, creating a stunning contrast against the vineyards. It’s just a 1.5-hour drive from San Francisco, making it an accessible day trip or weekend getaway.

The Autumn Beauty of Door County, Wisconsin

Nestled just north of Green Bay, Door County, Wisconsin, flaunts an array of vibrant autumn colors and offers activities such as apple picking and farmers markets. It’s a hidden gem, often overlooked for more recognized Midwestern foliage hotspots.

But don’t let that fool you. It’s a spectacle of nature’s own palette, from late September to mid-October, with hues of red, orange, and gold painting the landscape. The county’s quaint charm is amplified by the season’s beauty, making it an ideal spot for leisurely strolls and picnics.

It’s not just about the leaves though. They’ve got a thriving local food scene that’s worth a detour. So, if you’re seeking an underrated, off-the-beaten-path destination for this year’s fall foliage, Door County’s got you covered.

Fall Foliage in the Concrete Jungle: New York City

Despite its urban reputation, New York City doesn’t disappoint when it comes to autumn beauty. Especially when you’re strolling through Central Park, Fort Tryon Park, or Prospect Park.

The city’s parks transform into a vibrant display of reds, oranges, and yellows, making it a surprisingly great place to enjoy the fall foliage.

The leafy, tree-lined streets in neighborhoods like Brooklyn Heights, Upper East Side, and West Village also participate in the fall spectacle. Upstate New York is better known for autumn splendor, but the city puts on its own stunning show.

So, don’t write off the concrete jungle when searching for fall beauty.

New York City’s urban autumn landscape offers a unique and underrated perspective on fall’s spectacular show.

Exploring New River Gorge National Park in the Fall

Venturing into West Virginia’s New River Gorge National Park in autumn, one can’t help but marvel at the stunning display of vibrant colors that transform the landscape.

Visitors are treated to a breathtaking spectacle as the leaves turn from green to hues of gold, orange, and red. The park’s overlooks offer panoramic views of the New River framed by the fiery foliage, creating a truly picturesque scene.

It’s not just about the colors though; the park also offers various activities like hiking, camping, and rock climbing.

However, the main attraction remains the New River Gorge Bridge. In October, the annual Bridge Day festival takes place, where daring individuals can base jump off the bridge. It’s an underrated destination, but certainly one worth visiting for its unique blend of natural beauty and adventure.