The Best Leaf Peeping Trip Ideas for Fall

La Grande Roue de Montréal | Fall Foliage by D.C. travel blogger, Alicia Tenise: image of Alicia Tenise in la Grande Roue de Montreal.

Can you believe it’s already September? I’m not gonna lie…I’m a bit basic, and I’m starting to get excited for all things fall!

I had a reader D.M. me yesterday and ask for some of the best places along the East Coast to do a little fall foliage leaf peeping this year, which made me realize that leaf-peeping is the perfect fall trip idea for 2020! It’s easy to socially distance yourself when traveling to areas that are more rural and enjoy all that nature has to offer.

If you are traveling this fall, I recommend checking each state’s travel advisories as much as possible. Certain states require other states to quarantine upon arrival, and that list is ever-changing as COVID cases rise and fall. I’d also recommend traveling somewhere that you can drive in a few hours. Finding open restrooms along your route might be a bit tricky, so the shorter your drive is to your destination, the better!

Here are some of my favorite fall leaf-peeping trip ideas:

Fall Foliage Leaf Peeping Trip Ideas

Fall Foliage by D.C. travel blogger, Alicia Tenise: image of Alicia Tenise riding a horse.
Fall Foliage by D.C. travel blogger, Alicia Tenise: image of a West Virginia tour bus next to a mountain will lots of fall foliage.

Blackwater Falls State Park | Fall Foliage by D.C. travel blogger, Alicia Tenise: image of a waterfall at Blackwater Falls State Park.

West Virginia

Last fall, I went to West Virginia for the first time. Yes, I know. I grew up in Virginia. The border is only 2 hours away from me. But man: it is absolutely beautiful, and I hope we can make it back next fall!

West Virginia is one of the most forested states in the country, so social distancing here will be pretty easy. There are so many fantastic outdoor activities you can do: from horseback riding to hiking to rock climbing, this is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts! If you want to unplug, you can rent a cabin in the Canaan Valley area and recharge. Hardly any of us got a phone signal while we visited, so it’s truly one of the best ways to disconnect and be one with nature!

Make sure to read my full guide to West Virginia here.

Best Time for Fall Foliage: Mid-October

Fall Foliage by D.C. travel blogger, Alicia Tenise: image of Alicia Tenise laying in bed and looking at a magazine.

Getaway House

Speaking of a cabin in the woods: if you want to be one with nature but don’t want to miss out on modern amenities, the Getaway House is right up your alley.

There are several Getaway Houses across the country, so there’s a chance you can book a trip to a house that’s within driving distance. The D.C. Getaway House is located in Central Virginia, about 1.5 hours away from D.C. only minutes away from the Shenandoah National Park. Each house comes with generator power, a full bathroom, card games, a kitchenette, a lockbox for your cell phone, and a bonfire area right outside of your cabin so you can roast some s’mores. You can view my full review here.

Best Time for Fall Foliage: Varies based on location. For the D.C. Getaway House, I would recommend Late October-Early November.

Stinson Vineyards | Fall Foliage by D.C. travel blogger, Alicia Tenise: image of Alicia Tenise and Greta Hollar at Stinson Vineyards.

Winery Outfit Inspiration | Fall Foliage by D.C. travel blogger, Alicia Tenise: image of Alicia Tenise and Greta Hollar at Stinson Vineyards.

Charlottesville

Ok, so, I might be biased because I try to convince everyone to experience Virginia Wine Country. But for real, it’s pretty magical in the fall!

The best part about Charlottesville is that you can easily book a cabin or a rental in the woods outside of town and drive into downtown for some incredible eats. Plus, you’re near dozens of wineries, breweries, and distilleries, which all have ample amounts of outdoor seating. You’re also close to some of the best hiking in the state, and you can drive the Blue Ridge Parkway as well.

All in all, this is one of your best bets for a fall trip if you’re a wine and spirits fan! You can find my full Charlottesville travel guide here.

Best Time for Fall Foliage: Late October-Early November

Free People Boyfriend Overalls - Asheville Travel Guide by popular Washington DC travel blogger Alicia Tenise | Fall Foliage by D.C. travel blogger, Alicia Tenise: image of Alicia Tenise in Asheville and standing on a sidewalk covered in yellow leaves.

Asheville

You guys: I am dying to go back to Asheville. It’s got amazing food, great beer, and an overall hip, eclectic vibe. It’s truly one of the most unique cities I’ve even been to!

There’s plenty of hiking in Asheville as well for you outdoor enthusiasts. You can also drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway here as well to take in some mountain views. You can find my guide to Asheville here.

Best Time for Fall Foliage: Late October

Fall Foliage in Montreal | Fall Foliage by D.C. travel blogger, Alicia Tenise: image of Alicia Tenise in Montreal and standing on a patch of grass covered with orange leaves.

Fall Foliage by D.C. travel blogger, Alicia Tenise: image of Alicia Tenise walking in front of a Ferris Wheel in Montreal.

Montreal

So, full disclaimer: the Canadian border is currently closed to U.S. citizens until late September. After it reopens, who knows what type of quarantine policies will be put in place! This might be more of a Fall 2021 type of trip, but it is hands down my favorite city to visit in the fall.

The food in Montreal is next level. We had some of the best meals of our life here! It’s a gorgeous city that feels very European and cosmopolitan. We visited in Mid-October, and the temperatures reached the mid-50’s every day, so we were pretty comfortable. The very next weekend, it snowed, so the weather is a bit unpredictable in October. The earlier you can go in the month, the better!

You can view my full guide to Montreal here.

Best Time for Fall Foliage: Early-Mid October

What are your favorite fall foliage leaf-peeping destinations? Let me know in the comments below!

Photos by Tom McGovern

Leave a Comment

5 Comments

  1. Ashley wrote:

    These look like beautiful places to visit! I’m based in New England and went to Acadia National Park in northern Maine last year for leaf peeping – it did not disappoint!

    Posted 9.4.20 Reply
    • Alicia wrote:

      Oooh that sounds amazing! Can’t wait to visit Maine one it’s safe!

      Posted 9.9.20 Reply
  2. Cheryl Vieira wrote:

    I understand not the point of this post but would love to know where the cream sweater dress is from! Thank you

    Posted 9.9.20 Reply
    • Alicia wrote:

      The one my friend is wearing? I’m not sure, but her blog is gretahollar.com!

      Posted 9.9.20 Reply
  3. Kelly wrote:

    Thank you for this awesome list. I’ve always wanted to visit Montreal!

    Posted 9.14.20 Reply