Four Top Fall-Color Hotspots

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August 23, 2012

It begins the first day that summer’s oppressive heat and humidity breaks — thoughts of fall and all the places to visit during the most colorful season of the year. Whether it’s the deserts of the Southwest or the rolling hills of the Northeast, the scenery of North America is at its best during the post-summer bliss we call autumn.

For outdoor enthusiasts, weekend travelers and full-time RV explorers, it is also the time of year when the roads are less crowded, campground reservations are easier to come by and waiting lines at popular destinations are a breeze compared to the summertime rush.

With a focus on rural destinations, we’ve assembled a list of the four great destinations for your upcoming fall adventures.

Coastal Maine
There’s nothing more refreshing than vivid leaves, crashing waves, cool temperatures and a warm cup of creamy lobster bisque. For the quintessential oceanic fall excursion, coastal Maine is packed with beautiful country drives, dramatic bridges, quaint towns with bustling harbors and exceptional seafood. Great drive: Follow I-295/US-1 northeast of Portland for a stunning view of Casco Bay and Georgetown Island on your way to Rockland and Bar Harbor.

Lookout Mountain — Chattanooga, Tennessee
Just a few minutes southwest of downtown Chattanooga, Lookout Mountain consistently ranks as one of the most spectacular drives (and views) in the Appalachian Mountains. Attractions include Ruby Falls, Rock City and the Incline Railway, which is a great way to experience the best views without driving your own rig on the steep roads. Great drive: US-27 leads south of Chattanooga to the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.

Bayfield, Wisconsin
A coastal experience in the upper Midwest, Bayfield is a picturesque port town on the western shore of Lake Superior. While in town, stop in a fish market for some fresh trout, buy local berries from a stand, watch the boats inside a quaint coffee shop or browse the downtown shops and art galleries. There are many local wineries and apple orchards, and the annual Applefest (October 5-7) is one of the best autumn festivals anywhere. Great drive: Take Highway 13 northwest to Old County Highway K Road to Little Sand Bay Road for a beautiful Great Lake beach at Wisconsin’s northernmost point.

Willamette Valley, Oregon
A stunning plain that runs north-to-south from Portland south to Eugene, Oregon’s Willamette Valley is known for its countless vineyards — more than 200 winemakers produce pinot gris, Riesling and pinot noir. The area is also known for its local produce, many farmer’s markets and regionally focused restaurants. Key attractions include Green Peter Lake, the Harris and Hayden covered bridges and the art galleries of Salem. Great drive: Take Highway 22 east of Salem through Santiam State Forest, past Mount Jefferson to US-20 that leads into Bend — a great destination on the edge of the Deschutes National Forest.

We hope you’ll take the time to engulf yourself in the brilliant colors of the fall foliage either at one of these top destinations or a top destination of your own. No matter your fall campground destination, be sure to take advantage of your member-exclusive 10% discount available at all Good Sam RV Parks. This information is also available in a more road-friendly form! The Good Sam Trailer Life Directory features detailed information for nearly 2,000 Good Sam RV Parks and more than 11,700 campgrounds across the continent.

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  1. Mike Slaven

    Great fall colors are all around us here in east TN! One of my favorites is the Cherohala Skyway.

  2. Michael Gleason

    There’s a lot more to Maine than just the Coast! Try I-95 through Bangor to Medway/Millinocket, then Route ME-11 straight up to Fort Kent and the St. John River Valley (just watch out for moose and deer, and the occasional black bear!). Then come back down on Rt. US-1 for the scenic vistas of your life!

    Good Sam Says Check out the waterfalls Falls

  3. Ed Genaux

    Adirondacks call ahead to camp grounds they all close after Labor Day but if you get a chance go to Lake Placid (tourist trap do not stop) go up the mountain to North Pole post office elves in costume there is White Face Mt. a nice slow winding steep drive (best in a four wheeler not RV or trailer). but at the top you will be in the clouds and ceder trees but when clear great photos way above ski slopes. You can hike up a trail or take an elevator to the top. I see now it is a KOA half way to north pole but on one side of the road is a family side and on the other side an adult side was very nice 5 years ago I tent camped very new showers and rest rooms at the time but only ones there the last of August. At Long Lake on the corner with Hoss’s County Corner there is a small campground Hoss’s general store has everything form maps of all the trails and clothing to the area. There are plane rides tours great sea plane landing photos and boat tours (Sigourney Weavers place). A great hotel (bed and breakfast style) with fine mountain food and spirits. There is a great camp ground between Long Lake and Tupper Lake not on the map now but in the woods very modern for the area. FYI look at the bottom of all tress around the lakes all the same height off the ground when snow covers the ground the moose eat the trees all the same height. My question has always been if the fall foliage is so popular what do RV’ers do in September and October if campgrounds are closed? Over looked always if retired military Fort Drum mountain training Remington Park RV Campground!

    Good Sam Says I’m ready to pack my bags…Unfortunately, the Good Sam Parks are privately owned and we don’t control their seasons…you can always check National Parks, Wal-marts and Cracker Barrel stores

  4. Mary Lou

    We are heading tothe Adrinodacks in couple of weeks, have never been there before, do you have any
    suggestions as where we should go,,,,,,we have a couple of campgrounds in mind —Wurtsboro or Diamond Point….

  5. Dan

    Can’t believe you didn’t mention the Adirondack Mountains of northern New York! The maples, oaks, beech and birch trees, just to name a few, all set up a colorful masterpiece of reds, oranges and golden hues. Picture them reflected in pristine lakes with mountains and evergreens in the background. Magnificent!

  6. John Barnett

    Don’t forget the blueridge Pkwy. in western North Carolina and Virginia. Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina will take your breath away. Happy Rving, and enjoy the season.

  7. Jean

    Spearfish Canyon in South Dakota is breathtaking when the leaves are turning! The stream and waterfalls only add to the beauty. Highly recommend it!

  8. George Sherwood

    The Gaspe coast in Quebec, the Saint John River valley in New Brunswick, the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia and the many roads in Vermont mountains all have fall colors that are spectacular. Hard to beat.

  9. Robin

    You have really missed out! The mountains (lots of them) in Northern New Mexico are a sight to see in the fall (and any other time of the year for that matter!

  10. Carol

    Don’t forget the Ouachita Mountains in Arkansas. We have the most beautiful colors in fall. I recommend the drive all around Lake Ouachita, pronounced WA SHI TAH.

  11. Edith Cagle

    Liked your article on places to go for fall, but–on Lookout Mountain, the attractions are Rock City, Ruby Falls and the Incline RAILWAY, not Highway. The Incline goes up the side of the mountain on train tracks, not something someone can drive. The driving road is called Scenic Highway. Just FYI to keep the record straight.


    Good Sam says: Thank you for pointing that out. I have forwarded this to our editor.