Emily Bronte wrote, “Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn.” And while she penned these words around 175 years ago, in her poem, Fall, Leaves Fall, her words still capture the beauty of the fall season.
I love fall foliage — you might even call me a leaf peeper — so checking out the colors of fall in North America is my number one thing to do through September and October. Here are some of my favorite off-the-beaten path spots where you can see autumn colors and have a few new adventures at the same time!
5. Experiencing it all in Albany, Georgia
Albany, Georgia, is one of those places you need to visit to find out the many things there are to do! My personal favorite was the Flint RiverQuarium, which is an aquarium with a twist–a blue hole spring inside that introduces you to more than 120 creatures you may never have seen before. Out and about around town, the fall scenery is spectacular since the Flint River runs through it.
4. Houseboating on Cumberland Lake
Kentucky’s Lake Cumberland is a premiere destination for houseboaters, whether you’re an owner or a renter–in fact, it was my first houseboat experience. With miles of jagged coastline there are lots of coves to settle in to relax–and lots of spots to enjoy the forested banks in all their splendor.
Lake Cumberland was created by impounding the waters of the Cumberland River to create the Wolf Creek Dam in 1941.
3. Cruising the Tennessee River Gorge
The Tennessee River Gorge is a 26-mile sandstone and limestone canyon carved out by the Tennessee River, or at least it takes 26-miles to navigate the gorge. But there’s a catch. A tape measure laid from one tip to the other would only measures 8 miles–now, that’s a lot of twists and turns!
Gradually sloping cliffs, covered with trees like the sweet gum, sugar maple, beech and hickory rising up from the water’s edge, make the Tennessee River Gorge spectacular in the fall.
And I must admit that the high speed, easily maneuvered catamaran jet boat tour really adds to the experience. It’s operated by Chattanooga’s Tennessee Aquarium and is a must-do when you visit that city, even if you’re not there for the fall leaves.
2. Hiking Bonaventure Island Bird Sanctuary
Fall and birds are kind of synonymous, at least for me, with many species of birds flapping their way south the same time that the leaves change color. My fall visit to Quebec’s Bonaventure Island though, was a really unique experience, since the island is home to over 200 different bird species, and one of the largest gannet nesting grounds in the world.
Seeing them, along with the beautiful colors of the gradually changing Quebec autumn landscape, is an experience you’ll enjoy even if you’re not a bird watcher.
1. Star Gazing Cypress Hills Provincial Park
There’s no place like home, is there? And while Saskatchewan is home to many beautiful fall foliage areas, Cypress Hills Provincial Park stands out for me as one of the best. Whether you’re hiking or biking, there are lots of trails to keep you busy in the daytime enjoying the colors.
Cypress Hills also has a great evening show since it’s a dark sky preserve. Check it out and you may find more than stars above, as I did, with amazing displays of our Northern Lights.
What’s your favorite destination for enjoying fall leaves?
If you’ve got a favorite place you enjoy visiting for fall leaves, please tell us in the comments!
Updated September 10, 2018.
More Fall Foliage Destinations to Visit
About the Photo
The photo in the header was taken by Linda Aksomitis in Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park (Saskatchewan side), Saskatchewan, Canada.