The Best Places to See Fall Colors with Kids This Year

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Attention, leaf-peeping lovers! Take your family on an adventure to see the gorgeous fall colors, both near and far. From exploring changing foliage to celebrating fall festivals to discovering charming towns, it all spells fun! Check out our picks for the best places to fall in love … with fall! Scroll down to see them all.

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Kate Loweth

Breckenridge, CO

Just under two hours from Denver, Breckenridge, CO sits at just over 9,000 feet elevation and that means the leaves change color here super early. Fall is a great time to visit as the ski and summer crowds aren't there and you can enjoy special events like the annual Oktoberfest. Plus, the hiking and views can't be beat. Explore the gold rush history, take a guided mountain bike tour and breathe in the fresh mountain air. 


Chickasaw National Recreation Area, OK

Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Sulphur, OK offers a magnificent display of fall color that stretches along the peaks of the Arbuckle Mountains. Visit Turner Falls, a breathtaking 77-foot waterfall that cascades into a natural pool below. Prime leaf-peeping time is the last week of October and the first week of November.


Where to Stay Near Sulphur, OK

For a historic-vibe, this intimate cabin can sleep up to 4 guests and is located on 8 acres with a creek and a pond for exploring, all just 5 minutes from Chicksaw Natl. Park. 

This gorgeous log home can sleep up to 7 guests and is pet-friendly with a fenced back yard. 

If big is your game, there's always this 60-acre farm retreat that can accommodate up to 25 guests. 

Photo credit: Bayfield Visitor's Bureau

Bayfield, WI

Bordering Lake Superior, this little town is the gateway to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore with lighthouses, waiting-to-be-explored sea caves and outstanding kayaking. Bayfield is most famous for its Apple Festival, which won't be happening in 2020, but there are plenty of nearby orchards and farms to visit. The best leaf-peeping is typically the second week in October.


Where to Stay Near Bayfield, WI

This charming little red Cranberry River cottage is just a couple of blocks from the beach and the lake and has a nice lawn for the kiddos to enjoy. 

If you've got a smaller party (up to 4 guests) who are looking for an adventure, you can book a stay on this 1965 sailboat. 

This epic treehouse can accommodate up to 4 guests and comes with a soccer playing, kid-loving Border Collie

The Tidal Basin - Washington, DC

This man-made inlet to the Potomac River is most famous for the springtime National Cherry Blossom Festival but it’s just as spectacular in the fall. The 3,000+ cherry trees put on a good show and there’s plenty of rambling paths to take to breathe in the fall air. Kick it near the Jefferson Memorial for a great view. For more great fall colors around DC, click here.




Where to Stay Around Washington, DC

There are plenty of glorious little cabins just a stone's throw from Washington, DC. Here are 11 of our favorites, from cozy to spacious, that are perfect for families.

Blue Ridge Parkway, VA & NC

Spanning from Virginia to Cherokee, North Carolina, the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most scenic drives in the entire U.S.A. Climb to the overlook where the iconic 100-foot-tall Roanoke Star stands and see the fall color panorama from above. Don’t miss the 215-foot tall Natural Bridge, a limestone gorge carved out by Cedar Creek that can be found the National Register of Historic Places (It was once owned by President Thomas Jefferson!). Prime leaf-peeping starts from the end of September through the end of October.

Where to Stay Along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Get the right mix of seclusion and splendor at this cabin that sleeps up to 7 that is just under two hours from Atlanta in Blue Ridge, GA. 

Swing high up on top of the mountain at a tranquil retreat for up to 5 guests in Swannanoa, NC.

Enjoy an adventure at a rustic treehouse straight out of a fairy tale, for up to 4 guests near Asheville, NC. 

Litchfield Hills, CT

Feel the hint of fall in the air in this picture-postcard New England village. Follow the trail of leaves just bursting with color from the maple, aspen, beech and birch trees dotting the landscape. Cross two of the state’s most picturesque covered bridges. Visit Kent, considered the #1 Fall Foliage Town in New England by Yankee Magazine and ooh and aah over Kent Falls, cascading into the river below. Stately mansions await you as well as the charming town green, perfect for a fall picnic. Enjoy the delicious fall flavors with everything pumpkin!

Where to Stay Near Kent, CT

If a farmstay complete with peacocks for up to 12 guests sounds good to you, you'll love The Wandering Peacock

The Barn at Spirit Horse Farm can accommodate up to 14 on this organic farm and sanctuary for rescue horses. 

And for a cozy yet chic loft-style place with windows to take in all the fall color, check out this barn for up to 5 guests. 

The Maine Highlands, ME

In mid-October, places like Bar Harbor become the center of activity for tourists who still want to take in some sea air while also seeing the gorgeous colors of autumn. There are beautiful family-friendly historic hotels to stay at in the area, and visitors can also enjoy everything from kayaking to whale watching at Acadia National Park. For a total Maine fall foliage tour, head to The Maine Highlands. Start your journey in Bangor to explore Cascade Park and continue on to Maine's largest lake, Moosehead, in Greenville. Leaf enthusiasts can visit the state's official foliage website Maine Foliage to receive weekly reports, and see photos from throughout the state as the progression of color begins.



Where to Stay in the Maine Highlands, ME

With plenty of options in the Bar Harbor area, Blue Rose Cottage stands out for being a fully restored home within a short walk of everything, for up to 7 guests (4 bedrooms!) 

This tranquil cabin sleeps 6 and is located on Mt. Desert Island, right next to Arcadia National Park. 

An oceanside cottage that can accommodate up to 6 is the perfect dose of Maine: fresh salt air, gorgeous views and lots of personality. 

The Catskill Mountains - NY

The Catskill Mountains offer the perfect fall panorama. Colorful changing leaves turn the Catskill Mountains into a multi-color work of art. There's no better way to take in the foliage than adventuring outside! From hiking to camping, there are many family-friendly ways your clan can enjoy the area.  

If driving is more your speed, travel across rolling farm country and down winding roads. Go across hillsides to check out magnificent waterfalls where reflections of changing leaves bounce of the water. The Catskills hold endless opportunities for seeing fall foliage. They have been the vacation destination of choice for generations of families and are a short drive from several major metro areas.


Where to Stay in the Castskill Mountains, NY

Families will find lots of great cabins in the Catskills like this stream-side retreat in the town of West Shokan that sleeps 6. Don't the Adirondack chairs just scream "vacation" to you?

If you're looking for someplace cozy with a larger crew, this cabin in Big Indian has a fireplace and sleeps 12. 

Six leaf peepers can rest for the night at this bright and airy three-bed, three-bath cottage in Mount Tremper

This rustic lodge only five-minutes drive to Phoenicia has a fire pit where you know everyone will hang out in the evenings. 

Stowe, VT

Fall is definitely in the air in Vermont! Foliage color starts to change in the higher, cooler areas of the Green Mountains, spreading down into the Lake Champlain Valley and Connecticut River Valley, and moving from north to south across the state. Located at the foot of Mount Mansfield, Stowe offers the perfect destination for a fall getaway. Surrounded by renowned fall foliage, you can hike the woodland paths, stroll the historic village, and take in some local Fall Festivals! Stowe is, in fact, called “Fall’s Color Capital.”

Good to know: If you’re fans of The Sound of Music, stay at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe. The entire property is owned and operated by the von Trapp family.


Where to Stay Near Stowe, VT

What's the best thing to do after a day of leaf peeping in Stowe, VT? Warm up in your outdoor hot tub at this gorgeous cabin that sleeps 8. 

If modern chalet is more the vibe you are going for, this three-bedroom rental is for you. 

Kids will love sleeping in the loft of this Morristown cabin that also has its own hot tub. Bonus: dogs are welcome!

Bring the whole crew to this modern farmhouse that sleeps 10. It has an immaculate kitchen if you want to roast a chicken and bake some pies after a day of hiking. 

White Mountains & Lake Winnipesaukee Loop - NH

New Hampshire delivers flamboyant fall foliage through October. In the White Mountains, take a scenic drive along the Kancamagus Highway, between North Conway and Lincoln. The Kancamagus is more than 26 miles of roadway for leaf peepers to enjoy the beautiful scenes. 

In the Lakes region, crystal lakes add some blue to the view near Winnipesaukee and Squam lakes. The Lake Winnipesaukee loop is about 75 miles long. New Hampshire's largest lake presents beautiful views across the water as you roam through charming towns and villages like Laconia, Wolfeboro, and Moultonborough.

Where to Stay Near the White Mountains, NH

This gorgeous newly built cabin that can host up to 10, complete with an outdoor hot tub so you can take in the fall colors that surround you. 

For a very log-cabin vibe in Jackson, NH, we love this cozy-but-spacious spot that sleeps up to 6 guests. 

The Gingerbread Inn Elf Lodge is the perfect spot that combines farm stay with a holiday vibe that brings Christmas early this year. Sleeps up to 4 and has a hot tub! 

Taos & The Enchanted Circle - NM

The southwestern landscape of New Mexico is a must-see in the fall, especially driving around one of America’s most scenic drives: The Enchanted Circle. This is an 83-mile drive that connects the towns of Taos, Eagle Nest, Red River, and Questa—and you will find some truly spectacular views. Head down the Corrales Road Scenic Byway and breathe in the smell of roasting green chile in the fall. The Bosque's 400 acres along ten miles of the river provide habitat for almost 200 species of migrating and nesting birds, making bird watching a favorite activity.


Where to Stay Near Taos, NM

An artist's sanctuary on 6-acres comes alive in the peak of fall colors, but is a wonderful overnight spot for a family vacation any time of the year. This traditional adobe home sleeps 4 and promises endless stars above. 

This private home comes stocked with ping pong and foosball tables, a grill and a hot tub, and can sleep up to 15. 

No stay in the Southwest is complete without at least one night in an artsy "earthship" home, like this one, which sleeps up 6 guests. 

Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District

Tualatin Hills Nature Park - Beaverton, OR

Though it’s just a hop-skip-and-a-jump from downtown Portland, this park feels a world away. It’s a 222-acre wildlife preserve and home to a variety of animals along with some stunning fall foliage. Hit the 5-mile (paved) Vine Maple Trail for your postcard-perfect shot. Word to the wise: no pups except service animals allowed. Click here for other nearby parks for stunning color hikes.



Where to Stay Near Beaverton, OR

With PDX and Mt. Hood just a stone's throw, here are a few of our favorite family-friendly Airbnb's in the greater Portland area. 

Columbia River Gorge - OR & WA

Take your pick: on the Oregon side you can get up close and personal with some stunning color without having to stray too far from your auto, plus you get the added bonus of waterfalls. Try the gentle 2.4-mile hike around Latourell Falls or the explore the grand dame of Multnomah Falls. Make a stop in Corbett, OR at the historic Vista House. On the Washington side, you’ll have less waterfall and more sweeping views. Check out the Goldendale Observatory and surrounding park for an unforgettable autumnal site.  


Where to Stay Near the Columbia River Gorge

Stay in a spacious cabin in the woods for up to 10 people, and bring your pup along too. There's a private hot tub, fireplace and WiFi, too. 

This geodesic dome has skylights and star views for days, and can sleep up to 6. 

You can stay in a little red train caboose, if you've got a party of 4 or fewer. 

Chicago Botanic Garden - Chicago, IL

Who says you have to leave the city limits to be wowed by autumn colors? The Chicago Botanic Garden features 385 acres of gardens to explore and in the autumn you’ll find not just brilliant tree colors (on trees great and small) but also lots of cool events like their night of 10,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns in late October. Kids can grab seasonal bingo cards to spot what has changed since the last season. Find more Chicago-area leaf gazing here.


When in Chicago, check out one of our favorite local rentals for a unique and memorable stay. 


Tunnel of Trees - Harbor Springs, MI

In the northwestern part of Lower Michigan, you’ll find the Tunnel of Trees—a 30-mile stretch of road that you can drive or bike. Located near Harbor Springs, there just happens to be an amazing farm/winery/cafe/brewery (yes, all of those things) right near the start of the famous Tunnel. Pond Hill Farm is open year-round until 6 p.m. and is a great place to stop for lunch or to pick up some fresh jams from the farm store. There are also trails to hike onsite.



Where to Stay Near Harbor Springs, MI

Across the street from a sandy beach on Lake Michigan, this former one-room schoolhouse from 1870 can sleep up to 5 guests. 

Located right in Good Hart along the Tunnel of Trees, this whole-house rental can sleeps up to 8 and includes a hammock and a fire pit.

This Crooked Lake house has its own dock and boat slip and can sleep up to 7. 

—Mira Temkin with Guiomar Ochoa & Amber Guetebier

featured photo: Annie Spratt via Unsplash



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