23 Best Places to See Fall Colors in the US for Families

Two children sit in a vast pile of leaves looking over a small farm gilded with fall foliage.
Photo Courtesy: Lia Kouri

If you’re on a hunt for the best places to see the fall colors, you’ll find plenty of options in the US for families. From East Coast destinations like Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire to West Coast wonders like Big Bear Lake, adventures await you across the country. Midwest families will have an amazing time at local destinations such as Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Minnesota’s North Shore, and more. There are so many ways to see the fall foliage, though, so it could be a bit hard to decide. Maybe you want to take a train ride, scenic drive, or boat cruise? Whether you want to see the fall colors from the comfort of your seat or immerse yourself in nature, there are plenty of suggestions for both. Next time you’re planning an autumn itinerary, check out this list of Best Places For Fall Colors In The US For Families! 

Best Places to See Fall Colors on the East Coast for Families

East Coast families will love these places to see the fall colors! From Vermont to North Carolina, you can enjoy a medley of cool colors, warm refreshments, and more family fun at these amazing destinations. Keep reading for our favorite suggestions! 

RELATED: 11 Best Places To See Fall Foliage Within 3 Hrs Of NYC!

Vermont

Early September – Mid-October

A sweeping view of a Vermont farm, complete with house and barn, surrounded by brilliant fall foliage.
Photo Courtesy: Vanessa Garza

Visit Vermont to see some of the best fall foliage in New England! Depending on which part of the state you visit, families can watch gorgeous autumn leaves color the landscape every early September through mid-October.

Drive one of the state’s most famous byways, Route 100, to pass by 200 miles of picture-worthy sights. It includes Pittsfield, Ludlow, and other points of interest. You could also hop on the Green Mountain Railroad for a different perspective. Or, visit Killington, a Vermont town located within the Green Mountains. Here, you can hike parts of the Appalachian Trail, see Jenne Farm, or ride the K-1 Gondola at Killington Ski Resort. In Stowe, rent a bike and ride the Stowe Recreation Path, take the Gondola Skyride, or challenge yourself on a ZipTour. Stratton also houses a scenic gondola at the Stratton Mountain Resort, plus more scenic hikes. Meander the Lower Mountain Loop along Old Log Road or take the Fire Tower Trail! Woodstock and Burlington are also great for seeing the fall foliage. 

Where To Stay In Vermont With Kids

Looking for somewhere to stay in Vermont with kids? If you’re staying in Stowe, consider Topnotch Resort Stowe, Stoweflake Mountain Resort, or The Lodge at Spruce Peak. Each offers access to miles of trails, plus a ton of family-friendly amenities. In Stratton, stay at the Stratton Mountain Resort. Or, visit Killington and stay at the Killington Ski Resort.

RELATED: 13 Best Places to See Fall Foliage in New England with Kids

New Hampshire 

Late September – Mid-October

A dock sticks out into a glimmering lake on a charming and colorful autumn day in New Hampshire, one of the best places to see fall colors in the US for families.
Photo Courtesy: Ananda Vartak

New Hampshire is one of the best places to see the fall colors in the US for families. With its rolling green hills, an abundance of fall colors, and family-friendly recreation, planning a vacation between September and mid-October is a must to take advantage of everything this New England state has to offer.

Ride through the state in style on the Mount Washington Cog Railway, where you’ll ascend toward a scenic mountain top. Once you’re there, take a picture with the Mount Washington Sign, visit the Mount Washington Post Office, and more. If you’d prefer to see the fall foliage from your car, you can also drive along the Kancamagus Highway, a 35-mile-long byway that passes through White Mountain National Forest. See Mount Osceola, Mount Tremont, and Sugar Hill during your journey there. Then, keep an eye out for wildlife when you enter the forest!

Great for customizing your itinerary, families can also drive the Lake Winnipesaukee Loop. Start your journey in Alton Bay before proceeding to Wolfeboro, Moultonborough, and Meredith. In northern New Hampshire, don’t forget to stop by Dixville Notch State Park.

Where To Stay In New Hampshire With Kids

Family-friendly hotels are in abundance in New Hampshire. Located in Whitefield, families love the upscale Mountain View Grand Resort and Spa. Or, you could also book a stay at the Omni Mt. Washington Resort, featuring two golf courses, an indoor pool, and kid-friendly amenities. Want to rough it in the rugged wilderness? Rent a cabin inside White Mountain National Forest or a tent at the Crawford Notch Campground.

Look for your New Hampshire weekend stay at Vrbo.

Salem, Massachusetts

Mid-September – Mid-October

Spooky autumn awaits your family when you visit Salem, Massachusetts! Located along the coast, it boasts a funky ambiance, unique boutiques, a rich American history, and a month-long celebration of Salem Haunted Happenings. 

Before you visit in September or October, be sure to give your kids a brief backstory on the town, especially the 1692 Salem Witch TrialsGraveyard tours or mysterious museums are two other ways to appreciate Salem’s history. Experience beautiful scenery all at once when you head to Salem Willows Park, where you can watch the fall foliage flutter through the landscape. With an educational museum, playground, and riverfront with panoramic views, Forest River Park is also a great two-for-one option.

Additionally, there are other museums in town that may interest children who want to learn more about Salem’s vibrant history. Take a deeper look at the iconic witch trials at The Salem Witch Museum. Then, visit the Peabody Essex Museum to explore galleries of art from around the globe – don’t miss the interactive Art + Nature Center, which has changing exhibits for families that date back centuries! 

Check out these historical guided tours in Salem, Massachusetts with Viator!

Where To Stay In Salem With Kids

If you’re looking for a local hotel option in Salem for families, consider booking your stay at the Hawthorne Hotel, set in a historic building near some of Salem’s best attractions. However, since Salem is a popular day trip from Boston for families, you could also book a hotel in Boston. We suggest the Fairmont Copley Plaza, Omni Parker House, and The Ritz-Carlton Boston, among other options. 

RELATED: The 13 Best Places To Go For Halloween With Kids

Whiteface Mountain, Lake Placid, New York

Late September – Mid-October

A winding road flanked between vibrant fall foliage with Whiteface Mountain in the distance.
Photo Courtesy: LakePlacid.com

Whiteface Mountain is a family-friendly oasis no matter the season. Though this upstate New York destination is well-known for its winter skiing, it also happens to be a wonderful place to see the fall foliage from late September through mid-October.

Journey via car along The Veterans Memorial Highway, which will take you to the top of the mountain with an incredible view. At the top, you’ll find a stone-carved castle, restaurant, and gift shop. Or, you can travel from the Main Base Lodge to the top of Little Whiteface on the Whiteface Cloudsplitter Gondola. Hikers will also find plenty of trails to trek on Whiteface Mountain, whether you’re a beginner or intermediate. Take the Whiteface Peak Trail, which is around 1.25-miles one way, if you want to work up a sweat. We also suggest the West Branch Nature Trail, which passes through hardwood forests, open ski trails, and back to the base lodge. 

Where To Stay Near Whiteface Mountain With Kids

If you need somewhere to stay near Whiteface Mountain with kids, consider these options. Families love the Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa for its amazing view over Lake Placid. Or, the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort, which has an indoor pool for kids. The Whiteface Lodge, just a mile from Lake Placid, is another popular option. 

Maine

Mid-September – Mid-October

A young child kicks up a lot of fall leaves from a large pile on an autumn day in Maine, one of the best places to see fall colors in the US for families.
Photo Courtesy: Julie Espinosa

Maine is one of the best places to see the fall colors in the US for families. When visiting between late September and mid-October, prepare for great food, outdoor fun, and of course, amazing views!

Start your autumn adventure in Portland on Old Route 1 to Rockland. Though you don’t have to drive the whole thing, visit attractions along the way like Cameron’s Lobster House, Fort Edgecomb State Park, and the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse. If you’d rather settle in a specific town, visit Camden. Outdoorsy families will love Camden Hills State Park, where kids of all skill levels can hike the Mount Battle Trail. Then, see the famous Curtis Island Lighthouse by strolling along Curtis Island, an islet only accessible by boat. Bar Harbor is another fantastic place to see the fall foliage in Maine, from Acadia National Park to the Shore Path. With Acadian Boat Tours, families can even see the fall foliage from the water. Katahdin Cruises in Greenville also offers a leaf-peeping tour around Moosehead Lake. 

Discover more of The Best Fall Foliage Tours by Train, Boat, or Car in the Northeast for Families!

Where To Stay In Maine With Kids

Need a family-friendly hotel in Maine? If you’re staying near Bar Harbor, you can stay at the Atlantic Oceanside Hotel & Event Center, an oceanfront property near Acadia National Park. Families also recommend West Street Hotel, Harborside Hotel, Spa & Marina, and Hutchins Cottages at Acadia. In Camden, a lot of families like Whitehall, a historic hotel that sits at the base of Mount Battle. Overlook the harbor directly from 16 Bay View, a boutique hotel with incredible views. Hartstone Inn & Hideaway is a Victorian-style B&B right near the water.

The Berkshires, Massachusetts

Late September – Mid-October

A ski chair hold an adult and two children amongst sweeping views of the golden fall foliage in Massachusetts.
Photo Coutesy: Gunjan Prakash

To see some of the most brilliant autumn colors in New England, book a family vacation to The Berkshires in the fall! Known for its hilly, kid-friendly towns, this western Massachusetts region is a must-see between late September and mid-October. With all this ground to cover, though, you’ll experience as much as possible by hopping from town to town. 

Start in the family-friendly Bentley Brook area. It’s located in Hancock, with access to unique autumn panoramas. Of course, if kids want to see the fall foliage from an aerial view, adventure parks at Jiminy Peak and Catamount Mountain Resort are definitely the way to go! Families can also visit Mount Greylock a bit farther south to get a glimpse of Vermont’s Green Mountains and the Taconic Range. Here, children can brag about climbing the highest point in Massachusetts! Looking for more fall fun in The Berkshires? Visit Pittsfield, home to the Pittsfield State Forest. Families can explore over 30 miles of trails by hiking, mountain biking, or horseback riding! Kids will also enjoy the various interactive exhibits on art, history, culture, and more at The Berkshire Museum.

Don’t forget to visit Lakeview Orchard Farm. Overlook Hoosac Lake and stock up on organic goodies like plums, apricots, and more! Alternatively, Hilltop Orchards is another great option for families. If you’re visiting in October, check to see if The Incredible Naumkeag Pumpkin Show aligns with your visit. It’s a must with kids!

Where To Stay In The Berkshires With Kids

Looking for kid-friendly accommodations in The Berkshires? From luxury hotels to Vrbo home rentals, bed and breakfast options, and family-friendly inns, there are plenty of options! In Great Barrington, families can stay at The Wainwright Inn Bed & Breakfast. There are two families suites, as well as The Carriage House, which includes 2 bedrooms and a kitchenette. Then, the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Great Barrington Lenox/Berkshires is another family-friendly option with standard rooms, studios, and a 1-bedroom suite. Or, stay at The Egremont Village Inn. For a mom’s getaway or a romantic weekend away near The Berkshires, consider Wheatleigh, Canyon Ranch Lenox, or Miraval Berkshires Resort & Spa.

The Poconos, Pennsylvania

Early October – Mid-October

Two kids stand on either side of a horse while they stroll on a beautiful autumn day.
Photo Courtesy: Meg Bull

Families can see some of the most scenic autumn destinations in Pennsylvania during the month of October! Wide-open spaces throughout the region offer plenty of spots to settle in and enjoy the great outdoors. Rent a boat on Lake Wallenpaupack, where you can embark from the pretty Mauch Chunk or Tobyhanna State Parks. Take a walking tour of Bingham Park in Hawley. Or, head to Blakeslee off Route 115 to find the Austin T. Blakeslee Natural Area. featuring easy hikes and scenic picnic tables. Further south, hike Bushkill Falls to reach eight flowing waterfalls, some over 100 feet tall!

In Jim Thorpe, stop at the No. 9 Mine and Museum to learn more about the area’s history while descending into a real-life mine. Lehigh Gorge State Park is another fantastic place to see the fall foliage. Ride the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway to see breathtaking autumn foliage in a 1917 vintage railway! There are also countless scenic drives in The Poconos for families to see the fall foliage, like Route 507 around Lake Wallenpaupack. This also gives families access to Route 447, which showcases must-see Oak and Hickory trees along Canadensis and Analomink.

Or, pass through kid-friendly towns like Honesdale, Hawley, and Milford on Route 6, another popular choice for families with young children. From there, the road will continue into Route 402, through Porters Lake to Marshalls Creek. In the Delaware State Forest, kids can watch in awe at the myriad of bright colors. On Route 209, which takes you into Jim Thorpe and the Beltzville Dam, you’ll find nearby Beltzville State Park. Route 903 also takes a very similar route through Jim Thorpe, only this time alongside the idyllic Lehigh Gorge Trail.

Where To Stay In The Poconos With Kids

Looking for somewhere to stay in The Poconos with kids? We have plenty of suggestions. One popular option is Skytop Lodge, located on a sprawling property with loads of kid-friendly amenities. Families also love Woodloch Resort, a lakefront property in Hawley. From fun team-building activities to all-inclusive dining, it has everything you need for an epic stay! Of course, kids with a sweet tooth can’t miss the chance to stay at The Hotel Hershey or Hershey Lodge. For something more luxurious or elegant, try Nemacolin Resort or the Omni Bedford Springs Resort.

Read more about what it’s like to Visit Woodloch Resort In The Winter With Kids For An Exciting Family Vacation!

The Catskill Mountains, New York

Early October – Mid-October

A large train barrels through fall foliage in the Catskill Mountains.
Photo Courtesy: Catskill Mountain Railroad Co.

What’s not to love about spending fall in The Catskill Mountains? You can’t beat the stunning scenery in this upstate New York region, as leaves change into vibrant colors and cover the mountains in brilliant hues! While The Catskills are beautiful during the entire season, to see the best fall foliage, we recommend visiting in October. 

From horseback riding to biking, there are endless ways to explore and get a glimpse of the foliage. If you’re traveling with kids, one of the best ways to see the scenery is to hike. Reach the highest waterfall in New York, Kaaterskill Falls, via the 1.5-mile Rail Trail. Ending at the Laurel House Road parking lot, it takes you to the Falls Viewing Platform, and then down to the falls itself. The Upper Trailhead is the shortest, most popular, and direct way to access the falls. For another scenic hike, walk around the edge of Cooper Lake. Or, take older kids on an adventure to the 3.0-mile Giant Ledge Trail. Though the climb up may be a bit steep, it’s worth it in the end! 

When you want to relax, visit one of the many family-friendly farms in the Catskills. Places such as Saunderskill Farm or Kelder Farm offer fall activities such as pumpkin picking and wagon rides, farm stores with fresh produce, and even a petting zoo. Of course, families can also see fall foliage aboard The Catskill Mountain Railroad. This scenic train travels from Kingston Plaza’s Westbrook Station through the Hurley Flats and returns. Through October, there’s even a fun Halloween-themed ride, the Fall Adventure Train

Where To Stay In The Catskills With Kids

Searching for the best hotels in the Catskills for families? Look no further! One popular option for families with kids is The Inn at Lake Joseph. Ideal for enjoying the great outdoors, it offers a variety of activities for kids, including hiking, fishing, and canoeing. There’s also a playground and a pool. Another fantastic hotel for families in The Catskills is Emerson Resort & Spa, featuring a gorgeous location and an outdoor pool. Families also love luxury options like Hotel Mountain Brook or Woodstock Way Hotel.

Asheville, North Carolina

Late September – Mid-October

A road in Asheville, North Carolina winds through a shroud of fall foliage in hues of red, orange, yellow, and green.
Photo Courtesy: ExploreAsheville.com

Asheville, North Carolina, welcomes families every year to enjoy the fall foliage! With the dramatic Blue Ridge Mountains as your backdrop, we suggest visiting between late September and mid-October to see the leaves at their peak.

Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway, the most popular drive in town, for the best experience. Take the highway north toward Craggy Gardens, then stop at Linn Cove Viaduct. Or, head south toward Pisgah National Forest to appreciate nature. Hiking is also a popular way to see the autumn colors along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Families can stop at Graveyard Fields to take a short trek around some cascading waterfalls. Or, try The Beacon Heights Overlook Trail, perfect for kids since the hike is under a mile. Thrill-seekers will especially love gliding through the colorful treetops at Navitat Canopy Adventures or wading down the French Broad River on a SUP tour! Maybe you’d rather spend your fall sipping on warm cider while apple picking? Asheville has plenty of orchards too! 

Where To Stay In Asheville With Kids

Looking for somewhere to stay in Asheville with kids? We suggest The Windsor Boutique Hotel, located centrally in Asheville with lots of amenities (it even has an art gallery inside!) For a different vibe, try the Haywood Park Hotel and Atrium or Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville, Autograph Collection

Reserve a stay in Ashville with Homes and Villas by Marriott International here!

Best Places to See Fall Colors in the Southern U.S. For Families

For a down south adventure this autumn, consider one of the best places to see the fall colors in the Southern U.S. for families! With unique landscapes and lots to do with kids, you’ll love our suggestions. Keep reading to learn more! 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee 

Mid-October – Early November

An aerial view of vibrant fall colors in Gatlinburg.
Photo Courtesy: Chad Madden

Get a glimpse of gorgeous fall colors in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! Straddling the Tennessee-North Carolina border, this family-friendly destination has an entrance just a few miles outside of Gatlinburg that’s easy to reach. It’s also a stunning place to visit during the fall, especially in mid-October through early November when the leaves begin to change into bold shades of red, yellow, and orange. 

For the best views of the fall foliage, take a hike around the park. Some of the best kid-friendly trails include Grotto Falls and Laurel Falls – both about 2.5 miles roundtrip with a waterfall at the end! The Spruce Falls hike is also less than 1.5 miles and features another waterfall. For tiny travelers, Clingman’s Dome is a brief, ½-mile hike. Meanwhile, Cove Mountain Trail to Cataract Falls is ¾ of a mile with flat ground. Daredevil kids who want to see the fall foliage from a different perspective can also zip down a mountain coaster. One of the longest is the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster and it’s open to those 38” and taller! For more scenic views in the area, check Colorblind Viewfinders, featuring 13 scenic overlooks across the state. 

After a day of hiking and exploring, visit Old Mill Pottery House Café, Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant or Farmhouse Grill, and The Old Mill Restaurant for some country cooking. Finally, Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival is Gatlinburg’s celebration of the harvest season, featuring festivals, special events, and Autumn themed displays, including life-size 3D Scarecrow people.

Where To Stay Near Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Need somewhere to stay with kids near Great Smoky Mountain National Park? Renting a mountain cabin is extremely popular – many even have indoor pools, hot tubs, and other family-friendly amenities to go along with breathtaking views. There are multiple property management companies offering stays in the mountains. Check out the ones managed by Dollywood and Elk Springs Resort, for example. Kids will love water park resorts like Country Cascades Waterpark Resort and Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Water Park. 

Ozark National Forest, Arkansas

Early October – Mid-November

An aerial view of Shores Lake in Ozark National Forest, with a shoreline of trees vibrant with fall colors.
Photo Courtesy: Marco Becerra

There are plenty of scenic places to visit in the Ozark National Forest during fall, especially if you’re with kids! Surrounded by the stunning landscapes of rural Arkansas, this scenic destination is particularly picturesque throughout October and November. This is when the leaves begin to turn beautiful shades of red, orange, and yellow! Plus, if you’re looking for a place to go hiking or camping with your family, the Ozark National Forest is a great choice.

Driving is one way to see the scenery with kids, especially on the Scenic 7 Byway. Heading north from Russellville, it travels through the forest and then up to Jasper. Families can also drive along the Sylamore Scenic Byway, a 33-mile route that takes you past some of the most beautiful scenery in the forest. To get out of the car and get active, take a scenic hike through the forest instead. In the Upper Buffalo Wilderness area, families can hike the 3.0-mile Hawksbill Crag/Whitaker Point Trail for incredible views of the autumn leaves from atop a bluff. Keep an eye out for wildlife such as deer, bears, and bobcats! Or, take older kids to the highest point in Arkansas at Mount Magazine State Park. To reach Signal Hill, take a 1.5-mile trail for amazing panoramas over the landscape! 

Families can also visit the Blanchard Springs Caverns, which are full of stalactites and stalagmites. Depending on the weather, you can also go on a canoe trip down the Buffalo National River. Don’t forget to take a camera to capture all the beautiful autumn colors!

Best Places to See Fall Colors in the Mountain States for Families

From Montana to Idaho, Wyoming, and more, there’s nothing like spending fall surrounded by the majestic beauty of America’s mountains. Here are the best places to see the fall colors in The Mountain States for families!

Payette River Scenic Byway, Idaho

Early October – Mid-November

A river rushes over boulders, flanked by fall foliage on either side in Idaho.

Taking the family on a road trip this fall? Be sure to add the Payette River Scenic Byway to your list! This byway runs along the Payette River in southwestern Idaho and is full of beautiful fall foliage from early October to mid-November. Plus, the drive is especially stunning in the early morning or evening when the sun is low in the sky. There are plenty of places to stop along the way to let the kids stretch their legs too, and you can even find some great spots for camping or picnicking.

Begin the route in Eagle, west of Boise, and follow the Payette River through the Boise and Payette National Forests. The byway runs for more than 100 miles, taking two and a half hours total, but you can just pick and choose your stops. For example, for a shorter drive, take the route from Boise to Smith’s Ferry to see awe-inspiring views. Continuing north, great places to stop to hike, bike, or picnic include Lake Cascade and Ponderosa State Parks. In warmer months, families can go whitewater rafting on the three forks of the Payette River. You can also rent watercraft on Lake Cascade. For a more relaxing stop, consider visiting a hot spring. There are a few natural and developed hot springs along the route and to the east near Crouch that will offer a soothing soak. 

There are also awe-inspiring colors around Banks and continuing along the North Fork of the Payette River. No matter where you start and stop, tell kids to be on the lookout as wildlife like elk, deer, and eagles, are often seen along this route.

Best Places to See Fall Colors in the Midwest for Families

Midwest families will adore these fall foliage hot spots! From Minnesota to Indiana, you can enjoy a kaleidoscope of color, fall flavors, and more autumn-inspired family adventures. Here are our favorite places to see fall colors in the Midwest for families!

RELATED: 12 Best Places to See Fall Colors in the Midwest for Families

The Great River Road, Mississippi River 

Mid-October – Early November

A mom puts her arms around her children, one on each side, as they look out onto a beautiful autumn view of Lake Onalaska, near La Crosse, one of the best places to see fall colors in the Midwest for families.
Photo Courtesy: Explore La Crosse

Take the ultimate fall road trip with your family along the Great River Road! Following the Mississippi River for 3,000 miles, it travels through almost 10 states, including Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois. The picturesque route takes you past many different types of scenery, from river bluffs and small towns to wineries and historic sites. While the best time to see the fall foliage varies depends, we suggest mid-October and early November. 

Families can easily plan a few stops along the route. Beginning in northern Minnesota, wind through lush prairies, lakes, and other vibrant landscapes on the way to the Twin Cities. For a bit of history and some great views, visit Fort Snelling, a historic fort in St. Paul. Or, for some scenic hiking and biking, explore nearby Fort Snelling State Park too. In southern Minnesota, the road covers quaint towns like Red Wing, Lake City, Wabasha, and Winona. 

Continue into Wisconsin to see some more beautiful waterscapes and bluff-top views. Pass through adorable towns such as Pepin and visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum. Or, explore La Crosse’s lively ambiance and go hiking at Grandad Bluff Park. In Prairie du Chien, visit Fort Crawford. Or, head to the Maiden Rock Winery & Cidery for tastings and a corn maze!  

Illinois offers even more idyllic views of the fall foliage. Stop in Galena to enjoy a mix of historic attractions and outdoor recreation. Kids will love the Apple River Fort or visiting Chestnut Mountain Resort to ride the alpine slide! Families can also go hiking, fishing, and mountain biking at Pere Marquette State Park in Grafton. There’s also the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, which spans Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. This is a great place to see bald eagles, ospreys, and other wildlife!

North Shore, Minnesota

Mid-September – Early October

The North Shore of Minnesota is certainly one of the best places to see fall foliage in the Midwest with kids! Explore the corridor of charming towns from Duluth all the way through Cook County as you make your way through the region from mid-September through early October.

As you travel along the shore of Lake Superior, take in the amazing views and hues of orange, crimson, and gold. Those looking for one of the best autumn views can hike the Oberg Mountain Loop to glimpse fall foliage and views of Lake Superior. Travelers with older kids or experienced hikers can also traverse the Tettegouche Lake Overlook, a 5.3-mile loop around Tettegouche Lake. Then, don’t miss Grand Marais’s Moose Madness weekend, typically held in mid-October. If you want to see the North Shore from another angle, head to Split Rock Lighthouse. Not only can you take in the fall foliage, but kids will learn about this historic lighthouse. 

Where To Stay On The North Shore With Kids

There are a variety of fantastic family-friendly accommodations along the North Shore. Firstly, if you don’t want to go too far north, Canal Park Lodge and Edgewater Hotel & Waterpark are kid-friendly options in Duluth. As you head up the shore, consider Bluefin Bay on Lake Superior in Tofte or Lutsen Resort in Lutsen. In Grand Marais, consider Grand Marais Campground and Marina, featuring cobblestone beaches and on-site mini-golf within walking distance to downtown. Finally, 8 miles outside of Grand Marais, families will adore staying at Skyport Lodge. Offering lodge-style rooms and cozy cabins, Skyport Lodge provides stunning views of Devil Track Lake. 

RELATED: 17 Unique Towns to Visit on a Midwest Road Trip with Kids

Door County, Wisconsin

Late September – Mid-October

If you’re seeking true autumnal magic, head to Door County, Wisconsin! As one of the best places to see fall colors in the Midwest with kids, it offers unparalleled views of the leaves between late September and mid-October.

Firstly, appreciate the charming towns dotting the western side of the peninsula as you make your way to your accommodations. Stop at one of the many roadside apple stands selling everything from donuts to pies to fresh apples. Then, take the ferry to Washington Island. Here, you can enjoy the sweeping fall colors from School House Beach. Afterward, warm up with some scrumptious soup at Jackson Harbor Soup. Back on the mainland, discover a palette of fall colors and crisp autumn air as you hike in Peninsula State Park or The Ridges Sanctuary. Kids will also adore visiting one of the many lighthouses, including Eagle Bluff Lighthouse and Cana Island Lighthouse. Finally, enjoy a fall tasting at one of the wineries or Island Orchard Cider.

Where To Stay In Door County With Kids

Door County showcases many family-friendly places to stay along the peninsula and on Washington Island. In fact, you can find options for resorts, hotels, cabins and cottages, and camping. Filled with local charm, Little Sweden offers two- and three-bedroom units with fully-equipped kitchens and access to the on-site trails, a recreation center with an indoor pool, and more! Families can also find a variety of accommodation options at Baileys Harbor Yacht Club Resort. Then, Bread & Water Lodge on Washington Island provides 1- to 3-bedroom options and an in-house cafe for breakfast and lunch. 

Book your stay in Door County, Wisconsin with Vrbo!

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula 

Late September – Mid-October

Two people ride on a chair lift up the Porkies with a view of brilliant fall colors and Lake Michigan behind them, one of the best places to see fall colors in the US for families.
Photo Courtesy: Amanda Rinkinen

Michigan offers some of the best fall foliage in the Midwest! In fact, the Upper Peninsula offers several locations to enjoy autumn hues between late September and mid-October.

Head to Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park for hiking and scenic overlooks. In fact, families can enjoy stunning views by a chairlift at the Porcupine Mountains Ski Area. Or, reach the highest point around by trekking up Summit Peak. Here, a short hike will take you to the 50-foot watchtower, where you can soak in the full magic of autumn. In ​​Marquette, families can take in fall colors by hiking or biking. Iron Ore Heritage Trail is a great option for both activities. Then, the scenic routes of County Roads 510 or 550 offer unparalleled glimpses of fall foliage in Michigan. Finally, catch fall colors and breathtaking views of the iconic Pictured Rock formation by boat with ​​Pictured Rocks Cruises, LLC. tour (available through mid-October).

Where To Stay In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula With Kids

Families staying in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula will find an array of family-friendly options. Firstly, outdoor enthusiasts will love Northwoods Resort, offering cabins and cottages located on the sandy north shore of Au Train Lake. Then, in Marquette, the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Marquette offers suites, complimentary breakfast, and an indoor pool. Near the Porcupine Mountains, kids will adore The Konteka Black Bear Resort. In fact, on-site dining includes the chance to see black bears dining outside while your family dines inside. Or, consider Moutain View Lodges for a more cozy cabin feel. Finally, families will also find a variety of campgrounds, as well as home rentals through sites like Vrbo.

Brown County, Indiana

Late September – Early November

Certainly, Brown County, Indiana is one of the best places to see fall foliage in the Midwest for families! Discover a kaleidoscope of vivid autumnal hues, cozy bonfires, and tasty apple cider when you visit between late September and early November. For even more precise times, Brown County even has a fall Leaf Cam! This way, you will know exactly when to visit with your kids.

Brown County State Park is a must-stop on your fall foliage tour. Enjoy sweeping views and a charming display of fall colors. Families can also attempt the 7 Vista Challenge for the best views of Brown County’s stunning fall foliage. Other hiking options include Trail 6 around Strahl Lake or Trail 7 around Ogle Lake. Then, Kelp’s Greenhouse & Pumpkin Patch offers kids the chance to pick out their own pumpkins. Plus, you can’t leave without sampling the iconic persimmon pudding or caramel apple sundaes at Miller’s Ice Cream House. Or, check out Sweetea’s for a cinnamon spice tea or maple latte.

Where To Stay In Brown County With Kids

Brown County offers everything from cozy B&Bs to hotels to camping. Certainly, you will find the perfect home base for your fall foliage tour. Firstly, consider staying within Brown County State Park. Here, you can reserve a cozy cabin with Abe Martin Lodge and Cabins. Then, Brown County Inn includes guest rooms and suites, as well as on-site dining and an indoor pool. Finally, the Cornerstone Inn offers a variety of accommodation options, including vacation homes.

Book your family’s stay in Brown County with Vrbo here!

Best Places to See Fall Colors West of the Rocky Mountains for Families

If you’re on the West Coast, don’t worry! There are still plenty of places to see the fall colors in the US for families! From Colorado to California, check out these family favorites. 

Aspen, Colorado

Early September – Late September

Nestled in a field of yellow and green trees rests an old brown barn near Aspen, one of the best places to see fall colors in the US for families.
Photo Courtesy: Aspen Chamber Resort Association

Experience the beauty of Colorado in the fall when you visit Aspen. Families vacationing during autumn can experience stunning mountain trails, scenic drives, and more seasonal fun when they visit from early to late September.

Drive on Independence Pass, a picturesque byway East of Aspen heading toward the Continental Divide (Independence Pass is open May to October, closed for the winter). Taking around an hour in total from downtown Aspen, you can spot colorful leaves in abundance during your trip. Of course, you can’t miss the iconic Maroon Bells, which you can reach via hike with your family. Take the 1.5-mile Maroon Bells Scenic Loop Trail and enjoy a premium leaf-peeping adventure! More experienced hikers may prefer the 3.8-mile moderate hike to Crater Lake instead, which offers just as spectacular views. To see Aspen’s fall foliage from a bird’s-eye view, you can also hop on the Silver Queen Gondola and head up to the Aspen Summit. Take advantage of multiple trails, a nice restaurant, and disc golf! 

Note: Reservations are required to visit Maroon Bells, they can be made here.

Where To Stay In Aspen With Kids

It won’t be hard to find the right hotel for your family in Aspen. Stay at Viceroy Snowmass, a famous ski destination popular all year round. Or, the Hyatt Residence Club Grand Aspen, which has an outdoor pool for kids. Families who want a true luxury vacation can stay at The St. Regis Aspen Resort and The Little Nell.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado 

Late September

If you’re searching for the best places to see the fall colors in the US for families, visit Rocky Mountain National Park. Located near Estes Park, families can take in the amazing sights and see the leaves changing in late September.

Start your leaf-peeping adventure by taking the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway. Once you reach Rocky Mountain National Park, hop on the famous Trail Ridge Road through the park, which twists and turns to showcase an array of dazzling colors. Bear Lake Road, which runs parallel to Glacier Creek, is also a nice drive to take in the fall. Families who want to hike will appreciate the gorgeous Glacier Gorge Trail. Elsewhere in Estes, you can also explore the fall foliage in other ways. Ride the Estes Park Aerial Tramway up to Prospect Mountain’s summit to get an incredible view of the landscape. Or, attend the Autumn Gold Festival, which runs annually in September and offers a ton of fall activities for kids! 

Note: There is a timed-entry permit reservation system in the Rocky Mountain National Park through October 10, 2022.  It’s required park-wide from 9 am to 3 pm, and from 5 am to 6 pm in the Bear Lake Road corridor. More information can be found here.

Read next: Beautiful Drives for Fall Colors in Colorado with Kids

Where To Stay Near Rocky Mountain National Park With Kids

Looking for somewhere to stay near Rocky Mountain National Park with kids? Movie lovers can’t miss a stay at The Stanley Hotel, famous for its role as a backdrop in The Shining. YMCA of the Rockies is a more casual hotel packed with activities for families. Enjoy horseback riding, archery, and more fun things to do! 

Research your family’s stay in Estes Park with Vrbo now!

Jackson Hole Valley, Wyoming

Early September – Mid-October

A man waist high in water fly fishes on a sunny fall day, with an array of fall foliage in hues of yellow and gold around him in the Jackson Hole Valley.
Photo Courtesy: New Thought Media Inc.

Wyoming’s Jackson Hole Valley is designed for outdoor enthusiasts. While the most popular destination here is Jackson, it also encompasses other great towns to see the fall foliage from early September through mid-October, like Teton Village, Wilson, etc.

Of course, many families vacationing in Jackson Hole choose to visit Grand Tetons National Park, the most famous attraction in the area. Here, families can enjoy the fall foliage by driving the 42-Mile Scenic Loop Trail. Featuring a chance to spot wildlife such as elk, bison, and otters along the way, it also offers amazing views. If you’d rather explore on foot, you can head to Jenny Lake to see Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. Or, take a picnic at Mirror Lake and enjoy the striking scenery. Since Jackson Hole is a popular ski destination, you’ll also find various chairlifts around town. Ride the Snow King Mountain Chairlift, the Bridger Gondola, or Grand Targhee Resort’s scenic chairlift! 

Where To Stay In Jackson Hole Valley With Kids

Jackson Hole Valley has plenty of accommodations for families. We recommend the Four Seasons Jackson Hole, a popular ski destination that’s great to visit during fall too. Campers will love Colter Bay and the Jackson Lake Lodge has rooms with amazing views. Or, book a luxury dude ranch experience at Turpin Meadow Ranch

RELATED: Ultimate Guide to Grand Tetons National Park with Kids

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Oregon 

Late September – Mid-October

A close up of the bridge over Multnomah Falls, in Oregon, with fall foliage and colors on either side.
Photo Courtesy: Karsten Winegeart

Northwest families will love the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area in Oregon. As one of the best places for fall colors in the US, this popular canyon located along the Columbia River welcomes visitors to appreciate its natural beauty from late September through mid-October, including a multitude of waterfalls.

Multnomah Falls is the most famous (and crowded), but it’s still worth a visit for the view framed by fall foliage. Access it via the 2.6-mile Multnomah Falls Hike, which is moderately steep if you want to climb to the top. Of course, you can’t beat the view from the Crowne Pointe Vista House, an observatory with 360-degree views of the Columbia River and its surrounding landscape. There are some small exhibits inside, and easy hikes nearby for younger kids. Try the Lewis and Clark Park Hike or the Sandy River Delta Loop Hike to make the most of your autumn adventure! 

This Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is also partly located in Washington. Hikes for families on the Washington side include Cape Horn, Beacon Rock, and Dog Mountain. To name just a few! There are many waterfall hikes in the area that families will love! Finally, don’t miss the chance to take a scenic drive down HWY 14 for more vibrant fall foliage.

Where To Stay Near The Columbia River Gorge With Kids

Families visiting Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge with kids may want to consider staying in nearby Washington. Here, you’ll find the Skamania Lodge, which is set near the gorge and has fun activities for kids, like a pool and nearby hiking trails. In Oregon, you can visit the Best Western Plus Columbia River Inn, which overlooks the Columbia River.  

Discover family-friendly stays near the Columbia River Gorge with Vrbo here!

Northern California

Mid-September – Late September

A young boy sits on a green wagon while enjoying an autumn day at the apple orchard in California.
Photo Courtesy: Emily Kapic

Northern California is a vibrant oasis in the fall and perfect for a family vacation! Complete with rolling hills, winding roads, and beautiful autumn colors, experience the very best of this area from mid-September through late September.

One hour outside of Sacramento in Camino, visit Apple Hill, a great day trip or weekend getaway for families. Travelers often come to this collection of farms, orchards, and breweries to see the fall colors, but there are also fall festivities. Enjoy over 50 local farms with anything from petting zoos to corn mazes, apple picking, pumpkin patches, and more. You’ll love Delfino Farms, which offers sweeping views, a perfect hill, and colorful vineyards. Don’t forget to try a Walkin’ Pie smothered in vanilla ice cream! Apple picking is a must at Denver Dan’s or O’Halloran’s Apple Trail Ranch, which has a large variety of apples and a nature trail.

Parents can visit Lava Cap Winery, Boeger Winery, and Jack Russell Farm Brewery to sample local brews, bites, and live music. 

Where To Stay In Northern California With Kids

If you need somewhere to stay near Apple Hill with kids, we suggest the Eden Vale Inn. This luxurious bed and breakfast features rooms with private hot tubs, a spa for parents, and a stunning property. North Canyon Inn Bed & Breakfast is another great option for families, set in a quaint country home surrounded by vineyards. 

Don’t miss the chance to Experience the Best of Fall in California with Kids!

Southern California

Mid-October – Early November

Several lake houses on Big Bear Lake in California are surrounded by fall colors of green and yellow.
Photo Courtesy: Person-with-No Name

Fall is so sweet in SoCal! While Southern California may not seem like a typical autumn wonderland, families will still find plenty of fun from mid-October to early November – and foliage!

Around two hours from Los Angeles, Big Bear Lake provides an easy escape, with its scenic shores shrouded in autumn hues. Featuring trails for all skill levels, immerse your family in these marvelous fall colors by hiking. Take the Woodland Trail from the Big Bear Discovery Center, the 3-mile San Bernadino Town Trail, or the 6-mile Pineknot Trail. Though it can get a bit steep, the 2-mile Castle Rock Trail is also a good choice. Afterward, you can take the family to Big Bear Village to explore a quaint downtown with shops and restaurants.

Other destinations in Southern California where families can see the fall foliage include San Diego. Visit Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, Hot Springs Mountain, or Palomar Mountain State Park.

Where To Stay In Southern California With Kids

Families will find plenty of family-friendly accommodations in Southern California. In San Diego, stay at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar, which is centrally located, kid-friendly, and even has four pools. Families who want to stay directly on the beach will love Hotel Del Coronado, Curio Collection By Hilton. If you’re staying at Big Bear Lake, many families also consider renting houses via VRBO or AirB&B. 

Find your luxury home rental in Southern California with Hotels and Villas by Marriott International here!

Happy Travels!

A mom hugs her young daughter in front of a large bolder, which is surrounded by a golden hues from the fall trees. Both are wearing blue coats, a striking color against the vast yellow.
Photo Courtesy: Joanna Wheatley
Vermont

We hope you liked this list of the 23 Best Places to See Fall Colors in the US for Families! From Maine to California, you’ll be dazzled by the array of amazing sights, whether you’re traveling by train, car, or plane. Enjoy your autumn vacation with your kids! 

*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the attractions, accommodations, or things to do on this list may be closed. Please ensure availability before making your decision. 

*This post may contain affiliate links that may earn us a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links in no way inform the hotels, sights, products, or other recommendations included in our articles. All opinions and recommendations expressed here are compiled from submissions submitted by the generous members of our Families Who Love To Travel community.

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The Families Love Travel Team has a zest for life and an even bigger passion for globetrotting! Comprised of real-life travel professionals, we work hard behind the scenes to provide dynamic solutions for adventuring with children. Our enthusiastic team understands the challenges that often accompany traveling with kids and is committed to making Families Love Travel an inclusive space to convey these experiences.