Not only does it need fantastic displays of leaves (in all colors: red, orange and yellow), there needs to be a thriving apres-leaf scene. A glass of local wine, apple cider, a roaring fireplace and a good meal round out the perfect autumn day.
This year, to help you whittle down your decisions, Yelp decided to create a list of the 10 most-loved destinations in the country for fall foliage. In order to create the list, Yelp looked for some of the best parks in the country with reviews mentioning “fall,” “autumn” and “foliage.”
In order to complete the fall itinerary, Yelp chose highly-rated restaurants, parks and bars around each town to give you solid activities for each destination. Spend the morning exploring one of the nation’s best parks for fall foliage and then wile away the afternoon over a long lunch or another scenic hike.
These are the top 10 places in the country to welcome autumn:
Bar Harbor, Maine
It’s a standard argument that nowhere does fall better than New England, especially Acadia National Park. While the leaves will eventually drop away, make memories that will last forever by going on an Acadia Photo Safari. Learn how to capture the scenery in its most photogenic season during a guided tour around the park.
Shenandoah National Park is a perfect destination for hikers or those who just want to drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains. After exploring the park, drop into the Luray Caverns, the largest in the eastern United States, then make a pit stop for food at Moonshadows Restaurant. If weather permits, dine in the back garden to stay outdoors all day long.
Bear Mountain, New York
Easily accessible from New York City, Bear Mountain is a dreamy fall day trip. The state park has famous hikes for those who want to get out in nature or you can opt to relax onboard a cruise up and down the Hudson River with Trinity Cruise Company. Afterward, refuel at Barnstormer Barbeque.
Maple trees tend to turn a majestic red as the weather cools down. At Lost Maples State Park, prepare to see a sea of vibrant fall colors. After a brisk hike, head to the Love Creek Cider Mill & Country Store for apple-flavored delights, then continue the party at the Lost Maples Winery.
Asheville, North Carolina
The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most iconic forest spots in the entire country, and for good reason. After filling up on nature, head to the (equally iconic) Biltmore Estate and experience the mountains like a Vanderbilt. Bull and Beggar is a local favorite for cocktails, seafood and charcuterie.
Maudslay State Park is almost too charming to be real. One Yelp reviewer described it as “a movie set for a Colin Firth period drama.” In the fall, old stone bridges and winding pathways become even more picturesque with a backdrop of autumn leaves. Fill up on comfort food at the nearby Paddle Inn before heading to the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge for an afternoon of birdwatching.
Lincoln, New Hampshire
New Hampshire’s Flume Gorge turns impossible shades of orange in the autumn. Here, meander through the woods as slowly as possible to take in every color. If you prefer your nature with a bit more speed, zip line through the tree canopies at Alpine Adventures. Get dinner at the Common Man Restaurant and don’t forget to order dessert.
Mill Valley, California
Fall feels larger-than-life exploring the redwoods at Muir Woods. Afterwards, stroll through Mount Tamalpais State Park for sweeping views of coastal trees changing colors. Stop by Bungalow 44 for a life-affirming dinner of seasonal American fare.
Bridal Veil, Oregon
Nothing makes a waterfall more spectacular than a backdrop of fall leaves. Head to Multnomah Falls for a hike to the eponymous scenic cascade. If you’re looking for more, head to Wahkeena Falls Loop Trail to keep hiking. The nearby Multnomah Falls Lodge Restaurant offers Northwest cuisine like smoked salmon stuffed mushrooms.
Laconia, New Hampshire
New Hampshire’s Lakes Region has, as the name may suggest, a lot of water. Come fall, there’s also a lot of color. Head to White Mountain National Forest to watch oak, maple and pine trees transform for the autumn. Laconia Local Eatery is a favorite farm-to-table restaurant that’s worth a visit. Be sure to make reservations beforehand if you wish to dine there. Then, unwind with a glass of locally-made wine at Hermit Woods Winery.
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