Georgia has just about the perfect climate. It’s far enough south that we don’t get snow and the hard freezes that plague places like New England, but we get enough of a change of seasons to enjoy the beauty of fall colors. Within Georgia, places like Helen and Amicalola Falls State Park offer quick road trip opportunities, if you just want to get out of town for a day and enjoy the woods in color.
For just a few hours of drive time, in places as close as Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee and the Carolinas, fall foliage lights up with reds, oranges and yellows. And because those places ARE so much further south than, say, Vermont and New Hampshire, their colors last longer into the season. Fall color in parts of New England is over well before Halloween most years, but in the south, it can go well into November (depending on the year). Of course, it’s a much shorter drive to the Great Smoky Mountains than to the White Mountains too!
Take a look at the list below and load up the car – gorgeous fall color is just a short ride away!
The Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina and Tennessee
There are more than 100 species of trees native to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, making it a feast for the eyes each autumn. The park includes 800 miles of scenic roads and hiking trails, with vistas galore, so make sure your camera phone is ready at all times!
New River Gorge, Fayetteville, West Virginia
Located in the southern part of West Virginia, the New River Gorge, and its famous bridge, are awash in color each fall. The third Saturday of each October is Bridge Day, the only day when people are legally allowed to jump off the bridge, their parachutes adding to the panorama of natural colors. Local train excursions offer another way to see the beauty of the gorge.
Chimney Rock State Park, North Carolina
If you’ve seen the movie “Last of the Mohicans,” you’re familiar with Chimney Rock State Park. The spectacular vistas seen in the movie are available to park visitors every day. Located about an hour outside Asheville, Chimney Rock is also close to Lake Lure, featured in the movie “Dirty Dancing.”
Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina
The grand estate of the Vanderbilt family, Biltmore offers about 8,000 acres to enjoy, including the family mansion, vineyards, gardens and more. Each year, they have an autumn harvest festival from right after Labor Day until after Halloween. Spend the weekend in Asheville and explore the town’s brewpubs, fine dining and entertainment options after a day at the Biltmore!
Cooper’s Rock State Forest, Morgantown, West Virginia
About half an hour outside Morgantown, near Cheat Lake, Cooper’s Rock State Forest offers stunning fall color. The 12,000 acres of woodlands are in the north central part of West Virginia, so it’s further north than the other places on our list, but worth the trip if you can make it.
Shenandoah National Park Skyline Drive, Virginia
The 105-mile Skyline Drive runs along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park. With 75 overlooks, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to check out the amazing views.
Even if you don’t make a trip this year, bookmark this list and plan your road trip for next fall! There’s a world of color to see, just a few hours away.
Monday January 01, 0001