North Carolina may not be the first place one thinks of when thinking about seasonal changes. However. There are many trees in the state that change their color if you know when to visit.
The best time to visit North Carolina is from mid-October to early November. This does not mean that the state does not have enough beauty to offer in the other months, but it is the prime season to observe the beauty of the foliage that the landscape has to offer. Specially concentrated in the Great Smoky Mountains, this National park has over 100 species of different trees to observe, all changing colors at different times. This provides a picturesque landscape that can only be described as breathtaking, and can only be captured in its full beauty by strokes on a canvas.
Many colorful trees include the scale oak, red maple, hickory, and sugar maple. The leaves start to turn color in September, but deep into October, the trees of North Carolina can be viewed in all their beautiful splendor.
Of course, Vermont is always high on the list for activities in the colder months. Unlike North Carolina, Vermont has a much colder climate, which makes the trees more sensitive to the loss of heat, sunlight, and temperature. This means that the changing of the leaves happens as early as late August, so the best time to see the foliage would be deep into September, ending with mid-October. The state park of Mount Mansfield is one of the best destinations for fall colors.
The park itself is extremely popular throughout the year but is most alive during the autumn season. The forest deep within the national park boasts a 3.5-mile-long highway that allows you to view the natural beauty from the comfort of your vehicle. Not enough enjoyment? A steep pass is located at the end of the highway which may fill you with a breathtaking experience of all the wonderful views of the park itself. The numerous campgrounds scattered along the forest are a great experience, and tourists are encouraged to bring their overnight gear for the true Vermont experience.
Virginia borders itself with North Carolina but has a colder climate. This means that the best time to visit Virginia to take in its full beauty is during the early October season when the leaves have had time to change color. Shenandoah National Park hosts a festival during the first three days of October, which is called the Fall Foliage Bike Festival. Many riders and adventure seekers are drawn to the park and its festival, as it is a time to come together to enjoy the various outdoor activities that Virginia has to offer. Although the festival itself begins in the early days of October, the park has already started to come alive during the mid-September season.
Not a fan of riding or biking? Take in the splendor of the park along the Skyline Drive Scenic Byway, which is a driving route that overlooks 75 scenic views which capture the dancing colors of gold and green and the occasional sighting of a rare, burnt orange tint to the tree line.
Unsurprisingly, most states that are well-known for their fall colors are located in the northern half of the United States. Along with Vermont, Minnesota, Colorado, Maine, and Michigan are highly regarded for their changing trees.
People looking for a fall outing to see the changing colors may also want to check out the fall foliage in Massachusetts, New York, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania as well. All of these states have longer, chillier fall seasons, which helps to affect how tree leaves change.
Fall Color Ranking