Fall is the perfect time of year to travel. The weather is nice, there are fewer crowds, and you get to experience unmatched scenery. We think one of the best ways to take advantage of the great things the fall season brings is to hop in the car and take a road trip.

This guide will give you the inside scoop on the most scenic fall road trips in America – places to go and things to see.

If you’re looking to take an international trip, check out this incredible 6-day Vancouver Island road trip.

road and foliage; fall road trips

Best Fall Road Trips in America

It’s no secret that the US is huge and has so much to offer. Road trips in America don’t disappoint, especially during Autumn.

No matter what part of the country you’re in or want to explore, there are noteworthy fall road trips across the country. From national parks to lakeside driving, there are perfect foliage views and road trip activities for everyone.

West Coast Road Trips

If you’re looking for beautiful fall colors and nature, these are the best fall road trips. Either option can take as little or long as you’d like it to.

Santa Ynez Valley, California

This scenic valley is located in Santa Barbara County. You can take two different routes from Santa Barbara – highway 154 or highway 101. Both offer incredible views and each takes approximately 45 minutes. Either road you go, Santa Ynez Valley has so much to see and do once you arrive.

Yellowstone and Grand Teton, Wyoming

For years, Wyoming has been the face of road trips in America and especially during the fall. Views and foliage are top-notch. Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks are just a few minutes from each other, but both parks are massive. Take as little or long as you can to explore – the longer, the better!

Things to do:

views at Grand Teton; autumn road trip
Grand Teton National Park

Midwest Road Trips

Have a few days or longer to explore beauty? These spots are both perfect for foliage, activities, and more.

Badlands and Black Hills, South Dakota

For unmatched foliage, Badlands National Park and Black Hills National Forest are well worth a visit. The best time for this autumn road trip is in late September or early October to make sure you’re avoiding chances for snow. These two destinations are about a two-hour drive from each other. Enjoying the views and activities these areas have to offer can be done in a few days up to a week depending on the amount of time you have.

Things to do:

Lake Michigan, Michigan (and surrounding states)

The Lake Michigan Circle Tour is a scenic road around the second largest of the Great Lakes. It covers parts of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Without any stops, this trip takes about 15 hours.

Things to do:

While the entire drive is beautiful, be sure to leave US 31 north of Manistee, Michigan, then join M-22 for the most stunning foliage views.

Chicago from Lake Michigan; fall road trips
Chicago from Lake Michigan

East Coast Road Trips

Looking for an east coast road trip this fall? We’ve got the best scenic drive in New England (Route 100) and a very close second.

Route 100, Vermont

This 216-mile scenic route runs along the edge of the Green Mountains through south-central Vermont. Without stopping, it would take about 5 hours. With that said, you can easily spend days exploring the fall beauty and activities.

Things to do:

Finger Lakes, New York

The Finger Lakes region consists of 11 lakes in New York. You can spend anywhere from a weekend to a month exploring this area. It’s an incredible place to get outside the city and explore nature and other activities.

Things to do:

Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia and North Carolina

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a scenic drive through 29 countries. The popular portion from Charlottesville, Virginia to Asheville, North Carolina is 469 miles. It would take 5 days without stopping. Of course, you don’t have to drive the whole thing. However, the more you drive, the more the foliage.

Things to do:

Blue Ridge Parkway Tunnel
Blue Ridge Parkway

Activities for Road Trips During Fall

As we said, fall road trips offer so many benefits. This includes unique activities. Here are some experiences to seek out during your next autumn road trip.

In Conclusion

Road trips are an ideal way to fully explore and enjoy what’s around you. With so much to see in the United States including incredible foliage, early September to mid-October is an excellent time to hit the open road!

Do you have other ideas to add to our list of fall road trips? Let us know in the comments below!

If you’re interested in multicultural travel, check out the 13 most diverse cities.

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