Glorious, fall! Time to plan a seasonal getaway bursting with colors. While a walk outside is nice, these four states offer spectacular ways to immerse yourself in the beauty of autumn—from jaw-dropping aerial vistas to meandering railways and so much more.
Family taking in the views of autumn in Allegheny National Park. Photo courtesy of Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau
SKY WALK IN PENNSYLVANIA
Pennsylvania is home to the Pocono Mountains and the Allegheny National Forest, plus a plethora of state parks. Fall colors are fleeting, so the best time to capture the season is from early to mid-October.
For a lofty perspective, nothing beats The Kinzua Sky Walk. These “Tracks across the Sky,” are 225 feet above the valley floor and extend 624 feet across the Kinzua Gorge. A partial glass floor allows for a majestic bird’s eye view. Hailed as an engineering marvel, the skywalk is located in Northern Pennsylvania’s Kinzua Bridge State Park, just east of the Allegheny National Forest.
Try Pennsylvania’s rail trails, scenic byways, and other adventures. Pick your favorites here.
Train letting passengers on and off at the station in Peninsula during its run on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. Photo courtesy of iStock.com/PapaBear
RIDE WHEELS AND RAILS IN OHIO
Ohio boasts lovely lodges and cabins at its state parks nestled in the woods or on Lake Erie shorelines. Scattered around the state, these parks are ideal for autumn activities like hiking, canoeing, and biking.
Looking for a novel experience in Ohio’s parks? Cuyahoga Valley National Park between Cleveland and Akron is a treasure trove of fall highlights. Explorer passes (available through October) allow you to bike the historic Ohio-Erie Canal Towpath, then hop aboard (with your bike) on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. Chug past spicy displays of cinnamon- and curry-colored forests and stop to explore at your leisure. The park’s towering 65-foot-high Brandywine Falls offers a stunning backdrop for fall.
Mix in historic canal history, farm festivals, and a covered bridge for memorable snapshots, best captured in mid-October. For more Ohio fall click here.
CRUISE CONNECTICUT’S COLOR
Connecticut showcases the beauty of autumn through its water, forests, and farms. That means, a kaleidoscope of the Nutmeg state’s fall colors and several ways to take them all in.
Mystic, Connecticut is a quintessential New England resort town. Noted for its rich history in shipbuilding and whaling, it should come as no surprise that fall is best seen from a boat. Mystic River Cruises offers private color tours on an antique picnic boat, built in 1947. The Mystic Seaport Museum (open through October) is the nation’s leading maritime museum. Splash into fall on one of the museum’s historic boats.
Watch the dazzling reflections off Mystic River, then stroll outdoors through the museum’s Seaport Village, a recreated 19-century nautical village with original buildings. Thirsty after exploring? Step into B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill, family-owned and operated since 1881. Taste sweet, local apple cider, hard cider, and wine, for a burst of fall refreshment.
JUMP INTO WEST VIRGINIA’S FALL ADVENTURE
West Virginia is truly “wild and wonderful,” from jagged rocks and gushing white waters, the state’s leaf-peeping possibilities do not disappoint.
Adventurers will find endless adrenaline-pumping, fall fun in West Virginia’s New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. Numerous certified outdoor companies like Ace Adventure Resort offer autumn white water rafting trips over Class V Rapids, plus zip line adventures. Fall tours range from extreme to serene, so rest assured, there’s something for everyone.
Time your visit for the third Saturday in October for Bridge Day, West Virginia’s largest one-day festival. Join throngs of festival goers who walk across the 3,030-foot-long New River Gorge Bridge. Catch this once-a-year opportunity to witness parachuters floating and jumpers flying off the 876-foot-high bridge, set against fall's fiery display.
AUTUMN'S BEST COLORS
Peak color times can change with temperature and rainfall. Check out the American Forests Organization for the most up-to-date information.