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!
Visit Vermont to see some of the best fall foliage in New England! 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.
New Hampshire is one of the best places to see the fall colors in the US for families. 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.
A 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 go, be sure to give your kids a brief backstory on the town, especially the 1692 Salem Witch Trials. Graveyard 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!
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.
Whiteface Mountain, Lake Placid, New York
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. 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 is one of the best places to see the fall colors in the US for families. 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 Camden 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.
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, Balance Rock Inn, 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. Families who want a classic Maine vacation will love The Hawthorne Inn, featuring beautifully manicured grounds. The Hartstone Inn and Hideaway is a Victorian-style B&B right near the water.
Asheville, North Carolina
With the dramatic Blue Ridge Mountains as your backdrop, Asheville, North Carolina, welcomes families to enjoy the fall foliage. 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.
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!
North Shore, Minnesota
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 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.
Door County, Wisconsin
If you’re seeking true autumnal magic, Door County, Wisconsin is certainly one of the best places to see fall colors in the Midwest with kids. 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.
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
Michigan offers some of the best fall foliage in the Midwest! In fact, the Upper Peninsula offers several locations to enjoy autumn hues. 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 a 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 Airbnb and VRBO.
Brown County, Indiana
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. Brown County even has a fall Leaf Cam! This way, you will know exactly when to visit. 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 pumpkin. 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.
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.
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. Drive on Independence Pass, a picturesque byway East of Aspen heading toward the Continental Divide. 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!
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
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, 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 an amazing view of the landscape. Or, attend the Autumn Gold Festival, which runs annually in September and offers a ton of fall activities for 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!
Jackson Hole Valley, Wyoming
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, 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.
Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Oregon
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, 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!
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.
Northern California is a vibrant oasis in the fall, complete with rolling hills, winding roads, and beautiful autumn colors. 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, 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.
Fall is so sweet in SoCal! While Southern California may not seem like a typical autumn wonderland, families will still find plenty of fun – 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.
We hope you liked this list of Best Places For 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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