The Ultimate List Of Fall Road Trip Itineraries
Fall is right around the corner, or if you are me you are already embracing the slight chill in the air! Often times summer is considered the best time to travel due to the weather but there is something unmatchable about the fall foliage and colors. And the general ambiance of the fall season all over is something you should definitely experience in your life! Which is why today I am sharing the ultimate list of fall road trip itineraries.
Also, if you aren’t sure what to pack for your fall road trip then make sure to head over to this post next so you can make sure to pack everything you need: 25 Essentials For Road Trips.
Before we get into these road trip itineraries let’s quickly cover a couple fall road trip planning tips:
- Figure out if you want to loop or do a straight path with a rental. If you are taking your own car then you will need to add extra time to get to the start point. And if you are taking your own car you probably want to do a loop style road trip where you start and finish in the same place. Or you can opt to fly to the beginning of the road trip, grab a rental, and then drop off the rental at the last place. This is often the option that allows you to see more in less time.
- Remember that fall foliage can’t be perfectly predicted. So if you have flexibility on your dates that will allow you to see the foliage during the best possible time.
- New Hampshire and Vermont arguably have the best fall foliage but if you leave the city areas anywhere alone the east coast you will find great fall foliage. So don’t restrict yourself to just those two states.
- That being said- if the foliage alone is your purpose then don’t skip out on New Hampshire and Vermont! There is a foliage intensive itinerary below.
Now let’s get into this list of fall road trip itineraries!
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The Ultimate List Of Fall Road Trip Itineraries
Fall road trip ideas:
Itinerary 1: Northeast coast road trip – 8 days
Day 1: Start your trip in New Haven
- Start your road trip off on a great note with coffee and breakfast at Atticus Bookstore Cafe located near Yales campus.
- Then I do recommend walking around Yales campus and take in the beautiful buildings and all the gorgeous fall colors. And if you have time Yale has a really cool art gallery and natural history museum that you can check out too.
- Need to be fueled after all that walking? Then head over to Elm City Social for lunch at the American pub style restaurant near campus.
- For the afternoon try going to East Rock park to take in all the fall colors in nature as well as the Coll history of the statues and park.
- For dinner try checking out the Heirloom which is located inside of The Study At Yale hotel which is also a great option for a place to stay in New Haven for this night.
Day 2: New Haven in the morning then head to Providence for the evening
- Before you head out for the day make sure to grab breakfast and coffee at the Book Trader Cafe (yes another bookstore style cafe- embrace that Ivy life!).
- The drive over to providence won’t take too long (sub 2 hours) so you should have time to explore a bit and grab dinner in providence!
- My dinner recommendation is to try out Los Andes which is a combination of Peruvian and Bolivian cuisine that you don’t want to miss.
- If you are looking for a non-chain hotel option for the night I recommend checking out Hotel Providence!
Day 3: Explore Providence then head to Boston at night
- Grab breakfast at Amy’s place in the morning and then walk around the cute downtown area of Providence. Such great East Coast vibes!
- It’s only an hour and a half drive up to Boston so thankfully you will have time to either explore more in Providence or head to Boston sooner.
- If you have time I recommend going to a few museums around the Boston area. There are so many amazing museums (and that is coming from someone who isn’t a big museum person) in the Boston area.
- For dinner try Row 34 for some amazing seafood and then walk around near the water afterwards.
Day 4: Boston exploring
- There is so much to see in Boston but I personally love the Boston commons and recommend walking around it (take a cute picture by the duck statue!) in the morning.
- Then for lunch head to the South End and go to Blunch which (as the name implies) has amazing brunch and lunch foods that you don’t want to miss.
- For the afternoon you have so many options: check out Harvard, walk the freedom trail, grab a snack at Quincy Market, take a tour at the Sam Adams Brewery, check out the neighborhoods (Little Italy has the best treats!).
- Then try out Bar Enza near Harvards campus for some amazing Italian food. Trust me- Boston does Italian food phenomenally!
Day 5: Boston in the morning then head to Portland
- Start your morning at North Street Grille for breakfast and you can even explore around that area too.
- Then for the rest of the morning you can complete the things you wanted to see yesterday but rain out of time for.
- Then take your time and head up the coast to Portland Maine. There is gorgeous scenery the whole way up so take your time and stop for all those gorgeous photo ops!
Day 6: Portland exploring
- While in Portland you need to check out the light houses. There are formal tours you can book or just do some research and figure out which ones interest you the most to check out.
- For lunch embrace the coastal vibes and head to The Highroller Lobster Co.
- If lighthouses aren’t your thing check out the Portland Arts district or the coastal Maine botanical gardens.
- For dinner I recommend heading over to East Ender for amazing locally sourced foods that will keep you happy as you are nearing the end of this amazing fall road trip.
Day 7: Head to Bar Harbor
- The trip from Portland Maine to Bar Harbor is about a 3 hour drive so I would recommend grabbing a quick breakfast on the road so you have lots of time to explore Bar Harbor and take in the fall foliage on your drive up to your last stop.
- If you are an adventurous person you need to head to Acadia National Park for the day (unmatched fall views). Not as into hiking? Then check out the local breweries instead!
- And don’t skip Paddys Irish Pub for a tasty dinner.
Day 8: Bar Harbor to wrap up the road trip
- Wrap up your road trip by walking around this cute coastal town and appreciating all the the fall vibes. Remember to drive safe as you head home!
Itinerary 2: South east road trip – 4 days
If you are planning your fall road trip for a bit later in the fall you will want to go a bit further south to ensure you have plenty of gorgeous fall foliage to see.
A great option for this is to start in Gatlinburg and then go through to Charlotte and then head to Rocky Mount. This would be about a 4 day road trip plus any travel time to and from -let’s look at the itinerary I would follow.
Day 1: Start in Gatlinburg
- Try starting the day at Pancake Pantry for a tasty and hearty breakfast to start the fall road trip.
- Take in the scenery and the cuteness of Gatlinburg on the Gatlinburg trolley!
- Then try lunch at
- For the afternoon I recommend
- End the day with dinner with an incredible view at Cliff Top at Anakeesta.
Day 2: Gatlinburg then travel to Charlotte
- Grab breakfast at Flapjack’s Pancake Cabin to fuel up before a fun day.
- Then spend some time exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
- Then get on the road! On your travels it should bring you through Asheville which is a fun option as well to add to your road trip. I recommend stopping for lunch at White Duck Taco Shop for a quick but delicious taco lunch.
- The drive from Asheville to Charlotte is only about 2 hours so you should get in with some time to explore Charlotte and grab dinner.
- On my last trip to Charlotte I spent a little too much time at the Gin Mill which is a fun bar with lots of restaurant options around it. And you have to head to the roof top for some great views and awesome Instagram spots!
Day 3: Charlotte exploring
- Breakfast at Leroy Fox is a great choice! My omelette there was beyond fantastic. And if you arrive within the first hour of opening there isn’t too much of a wait even on the weekends.
- Charlotte is such a cute city and I highly recommend spending the day exploring the different little neighborhoods.
- If you are up to it there are also a bunch of wineries in the area – Rocky Ridge Winery has wine slushies that are incredible and I am still dreaming of them.
Day 4: Leave for Rocky Mount and explore
- Finish up this fall road trip with a smallish town visit to Rocky Mount North Carolina!
- I recommend spending some time exploring the Stonewall Manor which just screams fall vibes.
- If you are arriving to Rocky Mount on a Saturday you need to embrace the fall mood and head to the local farmers market for the early afternoon.
Itinerary 3: National/state parks fall road trip – 9 days
Are you a fan of national parks? And state parks? Then this is the road trip for you!
Day 1: Rock Creek Park (Washington DC area)
- Start your parks fall road trip with this cool and more urban park right by the DC metro area.
Day 2: Allegany State Park (NY area)
- Make sure to plan for the drive up to Allegany state park – it is about a 6 hour drive which is a haul but if you head out early enough you will have plenty of time to check out this gorgeous state park.
- If you are feeling adventurous there is additional state parks in the area and you could extend your trip to check those out too!
Day 3: Watkins Glen State Park
- Thankfully this is a quick drive over to in the morning!
- But you don’t want to miss this state park on your fall tour. The water falls and rock formations are so cool and a total must see if you are checking out East Coast parks.
Day 4: Minnewaska State Park
- The drive between Watkins Glen and Minnewaska State Park is about 3 hours but totally worth the drive.
- If you want the coolest picture then head to this park and take a picture at the overlook rock (pictured above). But don’t skip out on the waterfalls and other gorgeous scenes here.
Day 5: Pachuag State Park
- This state park is full of gorgeous forest trails. Which, as you can imagine, is extra gorgeous when the leaves are turning colors.
- Make sure to research the trails before you pick one so you know it fits into your activity preferences and the timeframe you have available for checking out this forest.
Day 6: Travel Day
- Rest and get some leisurely travel in by breaking up the trip with a leisurely driving travel day as you head up the coast and enjoy the views.
Day 7: Wolfes Neck Woods State Park
- This is absolutely a bucket list state park. If it isn’t on yours yet take this as a sign to add it to yours!
- Gorgeous water views and beautiful fall foliage make this a must see for your fall road trip.
- You can grab meals and supplies in Freeport which is also a cool city to check out while you are in this area.
Day 8: Camden Hills State Park
- This is a beautiful state park year round and fall is no exception! The trail system is super connected to local scenic locations. Definitely do some research before you head there to make the most of your day.
- The city of Camden is also super cozy and screams fall vibes to check that out too while you are there!
Day 9: Explore and travel day
This is what I like to call a cushion day. A day to chill out and explore the local area or a day to get caught up on driving if you are behind and shift your other days to fit with this day as a buffer. Which is something I really recommend planning for on a road trip with some big travel distances between locations.
Korra The Explorer
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