10 Best Fall Vacation Hot Spots in the US for Foliage 2021

If you’re looking for places to vacation this fall where you can relax and enjoy the fall foliage, I’ve got you covered! I’m a Florida girl at heart but when it comes to seasons, fall out wins them all. Before embarking on your fall trip this season, be sure to check out the Fall Foliage Prediction Map so you can plan your dates accordingly and not miss out on peak times.  

There is just something about watching the leaves change that makes it so magical. It’s one of the reasons I love North Carolina – Also known as one of the top tourist destinations for fall. Which is why Asheville is top on my list!

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Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville is one of my most favorite places to visit in the fall and home to the longest, most colorful fall leaf seasons in the country. This quaint, artsy, vibrant city sits right off of the Blue Ridge Parkway where a scenic drive is an absolute must for viewing the fall colors. Perfect for a weekend getaway or if you’re local to the Carolinas, a day trip is just as good. Between the fall festivities and outdoor adventures, Asheville has something for everyone. 

Here you’ll find plenty of vegan/vegetarian restaurants and cafes as well as restaurants with vegan friendly options. You can also check out the Asheville Vegan Society Dining Guide for a complete list.

Where to Stay // Where to Eat 

Blowing Rock, North Carolina 

Blowing Rock is a cute little mountain town nestled off the Blue Ridge Parkway where fall colors paint the streets. It’s another fall favorite place to visit where you can enjoy the autumn feel of a small, yet touristic hidden gem. I’ve been visiting Blowing Rock for years and it never disappoints. This magical place is an absolute must see. Be sure to check out Grandfather Mountain while you’re in the area and stop at Price Lake for some more of nature’s beauty and vibrant colors. The drive there is breathtaking! 

While there aren’t any restaurants that are specifically vegan or plant-based, most of the restaurants there have vegan/vegetarian options and will also customize a meal for you. 

Where to Stay // Where to Eat

Watch my YouTube video at the end of this blog for more on the Blue Ridge Parkway and Blowing Rock, NC

Photo taken from AbingdonVirginia.com

Virginia Creepers Trail

If you love the outdoors, then you’ll want to add the Virginia Creeper Trail to your vacation list. Enjoy the fall colors and extraordinary views as you head down the trail on bike. You can go all the way to Whiteop and ride the full 34-mile length of the trail or get dropped off at Damascus and go 17-miles back down to Abingdon – the starting point where the group vans load up with your bikes and drive you up. It’s an adventure worth exploring for couples, singles or families and a whole lotta fun for everyone. 

You don’t have to be a mountain biking pro to enjoy it either – It’s just as much fun for the novice rider as it is for the advanced rider. It’s a “go at your own pace” kinda trail with so much to see along the way. A weekend trip is perfect with plenty of time to take it all in. Be sure your camera is ready to go because you’ll be using it quite a bit! Especially in the fall. Just be sure to bundle up because it can get pretty cold on this mountain trail. 

There aren’t many vegan/vegetarian restaurants in this area but you can also pick food up on the way there, pack your own food or request a vegetarian or veganized meal at any of the nearby restaurants if no options are available. 

Where to Stay // Where to Eat 

Gatlinburg, Tennessee 

Between the cool, crisp mountain air and the sweet, fall aromas that linger under your nose,  the foliage in Gatlinburg – amidst the Great Smoky Mountains and Pigeon Forge – has some of the most amazing autumn views you’ll ever see. Especially from the Gatlinburg Sky Lift. People from all over the world flock to the area each year to see the beautiful display of colors during the fall season so hotels and cabins book fast. Most of which get booked a year in advance. But you’ll have to make sure you book your trip during peak season when the colors are at their brightest. Trust me, you won’t want to miss it! 

Where to Stay // Where to Eat

Lake Lure, North Carolina

Situated south of Asheville and among the Blue Ridge Mountains, Lake Lure in the fall is a vacation hot spot for travelers from all over. It’s also home to the film Dirty Dancing which makes Lake Lure a popular attraction. The trees begin to show color in late September but showcase their bright hues in October and November. The village at Chimney Rock Park neighbors the lake and is a must see hidden gem. Plenty of photo ops! 

There aren’t many vegan/vegetarian restaurants in this area but you can also pick food up on the way there, pack your own food or request a vegetarian or veganized meal at any of the nearby restaurants if no options are available.

Where to Stay // Where to Eat

Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania

The Poconos has always been a favorite since it’s where we would go as a family growing up. It’s also where I learned how to love the outdoors. The beauty amidst the Pocono Mountains is truly a sight for sore eyes. Especially during the fall season when colors are at their peak. To get the best views, take a car ride along Route 507 near Lake Wallenpaupack or hop on board a fall foliage train. Then, sit back and enjoy the views!

There aren’t any vegan/vegetarian restaurants in this area but I’m sure if you request a vegetarian or veganized meal at any of the nearby restaurants they will satisfy your request. 

Where to stay // Where to Eat 

Shenandoah National Park, Virgina 

Here you’ll find some amazing color but more of a chill than fall-like temps. Shenandoah is also home to the 105-mile Skyline Drive where you’ll find a canopy of bright reds, oranges and yellows you won’t want to miss. It’s also near the start of the Blue Ridge Parkway which begins in the southern end of the Shenandoah National Park and paves the way down to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee, North Carolina.

Where to Stay // Where to Eat

Central Park, Manhattan, New York

If you want to make it a city trip, Central Park is the place to be. The park is flooded with trees which creates a beautiful display of color throughout. Whether you’re just strolling through the park, grabbing lunch, a hot cocoa or apple cider, Central Park has all the fall-time feels. Best time to visit is during peak season in early to late November. Keep this Central Park Foliage Map handy so you know where to go to maximize your fall peeping sessions throughout the park. 

Where to stay // Where to Eat 

Upper Peninsula, Michigan 

The Upper Peninsula is a fall favorite among leaf peepers with trees bursting with color at its peak the last two weeks of September into the first week of October. To get a good dose of fall color, drive down M-26 along the Lake Roland shores and through the Copper County State Forest. Have your camera ready! 

Where to Stay // Where to Eat 

If you’re in the Marquette area, you can find some vegan-friendly eats here.

White Mountains, New Hampshire

Get your foliage peeping in during the months of September into October in this part of the region when the fall leaves are at its peak color – A magnet for travellers from all over the world. To get the most of the colorful display this time of year, migrate down the 34-mile Kancamagus Highway to take it all in as it takes you through the White Mountain National Forest for some breathtaking picturesque views.

Where to Stay // Where to Eat

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