Leaf Peeping? Here are the best states to visit for fall

Joshua’s Crossing Covered Bridge welcomes you to the other side of beauty and silence as the leaves fall off the trees
Photo by Dennis Buchner on Unsplash

Sweater season is back. If you’re planning a getaway that involves cooler weather, colorful leaves, and all things flavored pumpkin spice, you need to know the Best States to Visit This Fall.

Georgia did not make the list of best states to visit in the fall — it didn’t make the list of worst states either — but if you’re looking for an out-of-state getaway this fall, the top states in this survey may be the place to go for you.

LawnStarter ranked the 50 states based on 15 fall factors. Among those we looked at are the number of national and state parks, corn mazes, and wineries. We even considered the projected number of weeks each state will produce fall foliage for your postcard-perfect snaps.

Check out the top five fall destinations (and the ones to skip this year) below, followed by some highlights and lowlights from our report.

The best states to visit were as follows:
1.) Vermont
2.) New Hampshire
3.) Maine
4.) California
5.) Wyoming

The worst states were:
46.) Alabama
47.) Hawaii
48.) Delaware
49.) Mississippi
50.) Louisiana

Georgia came in 37th.

Highlights of the survey

Northeastern Domination: Fall foliage is New England’s specialty. No wonder the region monopolizes the top of our ranking. Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine claim the top three spots, respectively, while Connecticut rustles its way to 10th place. 

Each of these states promises a projected 10 to 11 weeks of colorful leaves — not to mention the abundance of trails and big yards to maximize your leaf peeping pleasure. 

These four states also towered above the rest in the Entertainment category. Vermont is tops, followed by New Hampshire at No. 2, Maine at No. 4, and Connecticut in 11th place. So when you throw in all the apple orchards, corn mazes, and pumpkin patches — while balancing a glass of vino in your other hand — you get the-perfect autumn getaway. 

Western Contention: The West promises its own falltastic escape. California leads the region at No. 4, followed by Wyoming, Alaska, Oregon, Montana, and Washington State, in that order. 

Unlike the Northeast, these states don’t just bring colorful leaves but all of nature, including some of the continent’s most impressive natural wonders. 

Check out Wyoming’s Yellowstone, Montana’s Glacier National Park, and Alaska’s Denali, the tallest mountain in North America, where fall foliage starts showing in late August.

The West helps you see it all, too, boasting the highest number of scenic drives in the U.S. Take a ride through the Golden States’s 31-mile Avenue of the Giants, for example, and marvel at some of the oldest Redwoods flanking the road. 

Just make sure to check for closures — it’s wildfire season in the West.

Up and Autumn in the South: The South called, and they said it’s not a good time to visit — at least not the three bottom states located along the Gulf Coast: Alabama (No. 46), Mississippi (No. 49), and Louisiana (dead last). All three states were in the path of Hurricane Ida, one of the most powerful storms in mainland U.S. history, this past August. 

These states are still great travel destinations, though — just not while they’re busy rebuilding in the wake of Ida. They’re not out of the woods yet, either. Hurricane season is still in full swing.

Leave a Reply