Fall is here, people, and that means cozy sweaters, steaming cups of cocoa, and show-stopping leaf colors. Here, we share 10 trips for taking in the best foliage of the season.
For Hopeless Nostalgics: Rhinebeck and Arkville, New York
Take in fall’s colors like it’s 1929 with a ride in a restored New Standard D-25 biplane at Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome.
Up to four passengers sport goggles and helmets for the 15-minute flight over the Hudson Valley’s spectacular foliage, which is easy to view thanks to the open cockpit.
History buffs can also board the Art Deco rail cars of the Rip Van Winkle Flyer, operated by the Delaware & Ulster Railroad. “Leaf Peeper” trains run twice daily on weekends, taking passengers on a two-hour round-trip from Arkville to Roxbury, through the Catskill Mountains and along the east branch of the Delaware River.
For the Reluctant Outdoorsman: Lake Placid, New York
If you’re the sort that prefers to take in nature from a wraparound porch, glass of wine in hand, head to Lake Placid in the Adirondacks.
Play a round of golf at the historic, tree-lined Lake Placid Club, then for a jaw-dropping view of the foliage without the hike, hop aboard the Cloudsplitter Gondola, which leads up to Little Whiteface Mountain. The observation deck looks out onto Lake Champlain and Lake Placid village.
For Art Enthusiasts: New Windsor, Ghent, and Beacon, New York
Start at the Omi International Arts Center, in the northern Hudson Valley, which includes the Fields Sculpture Park, set on 60 acres of rolling farmland and woods that blaze into color in the autumn.
Ninety minutes to the south, Storm King Arts Center is a 500-acre sculpture park with works by artists like Alexander Calder, Mark di Suvero, and Roy Lichtenstein and vibrant foliage throughout the month of October.
A free tram takes visitors on an overview of the park, but we recommend exploring off-the-beaten-path areas at your own pace with an on-site bike rental.
Across the Hudson River, Dia: Beacon houses a collection of modern art in a stunning contemporary space created from a former Nabisco box printing factory. After a tour, head to lunch at the Roundhouse at Beacon Falls, where the restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the river.
For Suckers for Small-Town Charm: Nantucket, Massachusetts
Nantucket may be best known as a summer getaway, but fall has some of the island’s best events. Its fall edition of Restaurant Week takes place from September 25 to October 1, with three-course, prix fixe menus available at top restaurants across the island.
Foodies won’t want to miss Barlett Farm’s Farm-to-Table Dinners, where farm-fresh dishes are served family style in the garden greenhouse.
The Nantucket Arts Festival from September 30 to October 8 includes theatrical, musical, and fine arts events throughout the week, while the 14th Annual Cranberry Festival offers visitors the chance to explore the island’s cranberry bogs.
At night, take in the dark autumn sky at the Loines Observatory, which hosts stargazing evenings with professional astronomers.
For Romantics: Banff National Park, Canada
Alberta’s Banff National Park provides one of the season’s most gorgeous displays, with vivid tones of yellow from its golden larch trees juxtaposed against the glistening blue of the park’s lakes.
Begin a trip here with a canoe ride across Lake Louise toward the towering Victoria Glacier (for an extra-photo-worthy trip, rise before dawn and experience sunrise on the water).
Join Brewster Adventures for a half-day horseback ride through the Canadian Rockies for views across Mirror Lake, followed by lunch and a hot cup of tea from a menu of more than 100 varieties at Lake Agnes Tea House, on the shores of Lake Agnes.
For Ocean Lovers: Big Sur, California
Big Sur should be on every traveler’s bucket list, especially during fall when the trees burst with color and the water is a vibrant blue.
Start with one of the area’s most iconic hikes, the McWay Falls Trail at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, which takes visitors along the coast and to McWay Beach, where a waterfall drops to the sand.
Refuel with an Ambrosiaburger (a ground steak sandwich served on a French roll) at Nepenthe. Spend the afternoon exploring the redwood groves of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park or take a kayaking tour of the Central Coast, where you’ll spot marine life like whales, dolphins, sea lions and otters.
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