Whether you call it leaf peeping, foliage following, or just "spending a day outside," experiencing fall's colors is one of the simplest joys of this wonderful season. Of course, there's much more to autumn than looking at leaves. The experts at ShermansTravel.com have paired five great hotel deals with awesome autumn activities at some of the best leaf-peeping spots in the country. For more travel deals, sign up for ShermansTravel's free Top 25 newsletter.
Photo courtesy of randomduck
1. The Berkshires, Massachusetts
Located in Western Massachusetts and Connecticut, the Berkshires are home to a vibrant music and arts scene, along with some of the most dynamic fall foliage in the United States. While there are plenty of outdoor activities that allow visitors to get back to nature, the Normal Rockwell Museum in nearby Stockbridge, Mass. is a trip back in time. Admission can be combined with a visit to the MASS MoCA (the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art) in North Adams, Mass. for a $5 savings.
2. Lake Placid, New York
This upstate New York hamlet, which hosted the 1980 Winter Olympics, takes the gold for small-town charm and romantic Adirondack decor. Whether you seek relaxation (quiet walks, spa treatments, canoe paddles) or action (hiking, mountain biking, or even bobsledding, with or without snow), there's plenty to keep you satisfied. Kids will love the corn maze at Fort Ticonderoga, which opens after dark in late October for "flashlight nights."
3. Olympic Peninsula, Washington
Located about an hour from Seattle by car or ferry, the Olympic Peninsula conjures an image of uninterrupted green rainforest, but autumn transforms this ecologically diverse region into a vibrant canvas of crimson and gold maples framed by towering evergreens. For prime leaf peeping, take the West End's Hall of Mosses trail in the Hoh Rain Forest within Olympic National Park. Twihards upset that the saga of Bella and Edward concludes in November can relive the Twilight movies with self-guided or organized tours of filming locations.
4. Vail, Colorado
Late September and early October are the best times to sneak a peep at Vail's golden aspens and red-orange maples. These months before ski season are also best for avoiding crowds. Music lovers should head to nearby Beaver Creek's Vilar Center for the Arts, which hosts a year-round selection of symphonies, theater performances, dance companies, musicals, and more.
5. Wasatch Mountains, Utah
ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals
Flanking several canyon roads less than an hour's drive from Salt Lake City, the aspen, oak, and maple trees of the Wasatch Mountain Range turn yellow-gold, red, and orange starting in mid-September. Take the long and scenic route from the airport by starting up Big Cottonwood Canyon and meandering to Guardsman's Pass (closed after the first big snow storm), which eventually winds around to Park City, home of the alpine slide, chairlift-accessible mountain biking trails, and nightly ghost tours through the historic silver-mining town.
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