You may not have to travel far to catch a glimpse of autumn’s arrival. Check out these cool, undiscovered spots to see fall foliage.
It’s one of the most defining—and jaw-dropping—signs of any of our four seasons: The few weeks when the leaves transform into a riot of colors and fall foliage is at the peak of its beauty. Those long, autumn drives or hikes along tree-dotted roadways seem almost unreal—as if someone transformed the world into an abstract painting done entirely in the hues of Reece’s Pieces. Many of us think that we need to venture all the way to the Northeast United States to check out the very best that fall has to offer, and never realize that we can often glimpse it right around the corner. This October and November, check out these three undiscovered fall foliage spots where the crowds aren’t quite as large, but the change in season is just as crisp and satisfying.
Atlantic City, NJ
Atlantic City is a beach town, so the only eye-catching colors you’ll spot are on surfboards and slot machines—right? Not quite. Just a short drive from the colorful lights and sounds of America’s longest Boardwalk, you’ll find some of the most impressive Mid-Atlantic foliage within the Atlantic County Park System. Travelers can begin their day exploring the 85,000-acre Weymouth Park, where historic mills and buildings are scattered among thousands of amber-colored trees. True adventurers can then rent a canoe and trek along the Great Egg Harbor River, where oaks, maples and fruiting shrubs show off some brilliant foliage. www.doac.com
Grand Rapids, MI
Western Michigan is littered with millions of acres of forest, so it stands to reason that Grand Rapids (the region’s largest city) would be the perfect spot to catch the foliage as it makes its incredible season turnover. Yellows, golds, reds and oranges shoot up from the trees—Maples, Oaks and Sumacs—growing along The Grand River. Visitors can hike along the river’s edge to take in the colors and curious wildlife, or drive their own car in and around Michigan’s second-largest city. Just outside the downtown area are roadways meandering through century-old covered bridges, antiques shops and scenic autumn landscapes. www.experiencegr.com
Sonoran Desert, Southwestern US
Experience fall—in a desert? Yes, you can, particularly if you’re heading to The Sonoran Desert, which rolls over parts of Arizona, California, Northwest Mexico and Baja California and displays surprisingly beautiful (and unexpected) colors throughout October and November. The region encompasses 14 National Parks, which show off their deep, golden grasses and diverse flora. Soapberry trees, desert hackberries and wolfberry branches dip in and out of the desert’s many canyons and valleys. Since it is, after all, a desert, the daytime temperature doesn’t dip below 70 degrees—perfect for those who’d rather experience the sights but not the chillier temperature of the Northeastern autumn. Grab some binoculars, sit back, and let the pretty pastels, swirling butterflies and wonderful scenery take you to a whole new place. Follow the author on Twitter: @mono11
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