Fall Colors feature from Canva

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As autumn begins to take hold, the green leaves of summer will turn brown, orange, red and yellow and soon the landscape will take on warmer hues.

Across much of the country, this is a favorite time for exploring, taking photographs and kicking off “sweater season”.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, RV and travel trailer sales have skyrocketed as more people seek to enjoy the great outdoors.

Fall Colors in Maine
Fall Colors in Maine. Photo from Canva

Families have taken to camping, in many forms, and Fall is a beautiful time to head out and explore the changing of the seasons.

Spacious Skies Campgrounds (founded in 2021 by a husband-and-wife team) have created a 13-Stop Fall Color Trail from Maine to Tennessee. Included in the list are opportunities to stay at their campgrounds which welcome RVs and travel trailers.

They also offer tent spaces and rental cabins (rustic and deluxe). Some locations have recently added fun retro trailers, combining the charm of the 1950s with the modern conveniences of today.

Beginning in Maine and ending in Tennessee, the Fall Color Trail offers the chance to see the natural beauty of much of the eastern United States.

As well as a variety of topography and things to do along the way. Whether you have time for the entire trail, or just a stop or two, seeing Fall colors in the USA come to life can make for a great road trip.

Fall colors Balsam Woods
Balsam Woods in Abbot, Maine. Photo by Spacious Skies Campgrounds

Stop 1 – Abbot, Maine

Start out at Spacious Skies Balsam Woods in Abbot, Maine. This campground is the company’s northernmost property and the most likely location to see early color.

  • Trees to see: Maples, birches, and oaks.
  • Colors: Yellow, red, brown, and purple
  • Fall foliage timing: Early September through early October
  • Campground openings: Early May to October 31st
  • Area highlights: While in the small town of Abbot (population 650, named for the treasurer of Bowdoin College; John Abbot), you can try your hand at a round of golf or enjoy a hike.
  • Where to next: Spacious Skies Walnut Grove
  • Drive time: 3 hours (162 miles)

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Stop 2 – Alfred, Maine

Head south towards the coast to Spacious Skies Walnut Grove in Alfred, Maine. Here the colors arrive a little later.

  • Trees to see: Maples, birches, and oaks.
  • Colors: Yellow, red, brown, and purple.
  • Fall foliage timing: Mid-September through mid-October
  • Campground openings: Year-round
  • Area highlights: A Shaker community was once here, and you can visit the Alfred Shaker Museum housed in an 1875 Shaker carriage house, explore the trail network at the Massabesic Experimental Forest or visit a family farm.
  • Where to next: Spacious Skies French Pond
  • Drive time: 1 hour 36 minutes (75 miles)
Fall Colors in New Hampshire.
Fall Colors in New Hampshire. Photo from Canva

Stop 3 – Henniker, New Hampshire

Make your way to Spacious Skies French Pond in Henniker, New Hampshire, nestled in a forest with a good sampling of the area’s fall colors.

  • Trees to see: Maples, birches, and oaks. Colors: Yellow, red, brown and purple.
  • Fall foliage timing: Late-September through mid-October
  • Campground openings: Year-round
  • Area highlights: Henniker offers amazing views, a brewery, shopping, and the Henniker Covered Bridge. Built in 1972 using traditional methods, the Bridge is a pedestrian-only bridge over the Contoocook River.
  • Where to next: Spacious Skies Seven Maples
  • Drive time: 31 minutes (22 miles)
Seven Maples
Seven Maples in Hancock, New Hampshire. Photo by Spacious Skies Campgrounds

Stop 4 – Hancock, New Hampshire

Take an easy 22-mile drive to Spacious Skies Seven Maples in Hancock, New Hampshire for some classic New England charm and several quaint towns nearby. The campground is known for its epic water park – named one of the best campground water parks in the country.

  • Trees to see: Maple, birches, and oak. Colors: Yellow, red, brown and purple.
  • Fall foliage timing: Late-September through mid-October
  • Campground openings: Early May to October 31st
  • Area highlights: Hancock has a charming town library, and the Harris Center for Conservation Education allows opportunities to walk and explore the gardens or participate in a program.
  • Where to next: Spacious Skies Minute Man
  • Drive time: 1 hour 14 minutes (44 miles)
Fall Colors Massachusetts
Fall Colors in Massachusetts. Photo from Canva

Stop 5 – Littleton, Massachusetts

After you pack up, cross the border on your 46-mile drive to Spacious Skies Minute Man in Littleton, Massachusetts. Here the rural feel belies the fact that big-city Boston is just 33 miles away.

  • Trees to see: Maples, ash, birches, and oaks. Colors: Yellow, red, brown, and purple
  • Fall foliage timing: Late-September through mid-October
  • Campground openings: Early May to October 31

Holiday

  • Area highlights: Offering up big city amenities with charming neighborhoods, Boston has much to explore. Sights include the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Boston Commons or pull up a bar stool at Cheers, the iconic bar in Beacon Hill.
  • Where to next: Spacious Skies Adirondack Peaks
  • Drive time: 4 hours 9 minutes (202 miles)
Fall Colors Upstate New York
Fall Colors Upstate New York. Photo by Canva

Stop 6 – North Hudson, New York

After a couple of short drives, go just over 200 miles to Spacious Skies Adirondack Peaks in North Hudson, New York. This is where you’ll find the region’s famed lakes, mountains and trees on full display.

  • Trees to see: Gums, oaks, hickories, maples, and elms. Colors: Yellow, red and orange.
  • Fall foliage timing: Mid-September through mid-October
  • Campground openings: Early May to October 31st
  • Area highlights: North Hudson is the hub of the Adirondacks. History buffs will enjoy a visit to Fort Ticonderoga where the first offensive victory for the American forces in the Revolutionary War took place.
  • Where to next: Spacious Skies Woodland Hills
  • Drive time: 2 hours 7 minutes (133 miles)
Fall Colors in Upstate New York
Fall Colors in Upstate New York. Photo by Canva

Stop 7 – Austerlitz, New York

The drive to Spacious Skies Woodland Hills in Austerlitz, New York is sure to be memorable with river valleys, forests and state parks dotting the area.

  • Trees to see: Oaks, hickories, maples, and beeches.  Colors: Yellow, red and orange
  • Fall foliage timing: Mid-September through mid-October
  • Campground openings: Early May to October 31st
  • Area highlights: The city is named after the Battle of Austerlitz, which took place in the Austrian Empire during the Napoleonic Wars. Circle Museum has a vast collection of sculptures in a naturally forested setting plus galleries.
  • Where to next: Spacious Skies Country Oaks
  • Drive time: 4 hours 59 minutes (259 miles)
Fall Colors in rural New Jersey
Fall Colors in rural New Jersey. Photo from Canva

Stop 8 – Dorothy, New Jersey

It’s time to bid a fond farewell to the New York portion of your fall foliage grand tour. Now head south to Spacious Skies Country Oaks in Dorothy, New Jersey, close to the shore.

  • Trees to see: Oaks. Colors: Reddish brown.
  • Fall foliage timing: Mid-Ocotber to late-October
  • Campground openings: Mid-April to October 31st
  • Area highlights: Soak up some Autumn sunshine with a round of golf and explore a local winery, or head to the shore and have a seafood feast.
  • Where to next: Spacious Skies Shenandoah Valley
  • Drive time: 4 hours 52 minutes (243 miles)
Fall Colors in Virginia
Fall Colors in Virginia. Photo from Canva

Stop 9 – Luray, Virginia

Say goodbye to the Southern Jersey Pinelands and drive inland and south to Spacious Skies Shenandoah Valley in Luray, Virginia.

  • Trees to see: Oaks, chestnut, maples, ashes, birches, and basswoods. Colors: Red, orange and yellow.
  • Fall foliage timing: Early-October to late-October
  • Campground openings: Mid-March to November 15th

  • Area highlights: Luray is well-known for the Luray Caverns. Discovered in 1878, they feature columns, stalactites, mirrored pools and more. In some areas, the caverns are 10 stories high. The Car & Carriage Caravan Museum, Shenandoah Heritage Village and Toy Town Junction are included with every Luray Caverns ticket.
  • Where to next: Spacious Skies Sandy Run
  • Drive time: 5 hours 29 minutes (331 miles)
Autumn in North Carolina
Fall Colors North Carolina. Photo from Canva

Stop 10 – Fayetteville, North Carolina

Next, cross another state border and head to Spacious Skies Sandy Run in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

  • Trees to see: Oaks, chestnuts, maples, ashes, birches, and basswoods. Colors: Red, orange and yellow.
  • Fall foliage timing: Early-October to late-October
  • Campground openings: Year-round
  • Area highlights: Cape Fear Botanical Garden has 80 acres of natural beauty to explore. Opened in 1989, the property is nestled along the Cape Fear River and Cross Creek. Cape Fear Regional Theatre offers seasonal performances, check in advance to see what’s on stage.
  • Where to next: Spacious Skies Peach Haven
  • Drive time: 3 hours 29 minutes (191 miles)
Take a camping road trip to see the most spectacular fall colors in the USA by following this Fall Color Trail from Maine to Tennessee. #fallcolorsusa #leafpeepingusa

Stop 11 – Gaffney, South Carolina

Head south to Spacious Skies Peach Haven in Gaffney, South Carolina, the most recent addition to the Spacious Skies family of campgrounds.

  • Trees to see: Hickory, beech, maple, dogwood, sweet gum, oak. Colors: Red, orange, yellow, purple.
  • Fall foliage timing: Early- to late-October
  • Campground openings: Year-round
  • Area highlights: “The Peach Capital of South Carolina” is known for its peach-shaped water tower which is an Instagram charmer. Cherokee Speedway and outlet and antique shopping await visitors.
  • Where to next: Spacious Skies Hidden Creek
  • Drive time: 1 hour 12 minutes (56 minutes)
Autumn in Asheville North Carolina
Fall Colors in Asheville North Carolina. Photo from Canva

Stop 12 – Marion, North Carolina

Drive northwest to the mountainous regions of North Carolina and Spacious Skies Hidden Creek in Marion, North Carolina. The site sits just outside of Asheville, where fall foliage season lasts longer than most places.

  • Trees to see: Oaks, maples, birches, poplars. Colors: Red, orange and yellow.
  • Fall foliage timing: Early-October to mid-November
    Campground openings: Year-round
  • Area highlights: Opened for public touring since 1937, Linville Caverns offers guided tours. Other nearby activities include fishing, hiking and visiting local artisan food and beverage companies.  Enjoy the Blue Ridge Mountains at this location close to Asheville and Black Mountain, North Carolina.
  • Where to next: Spacious Skies Belle Ridge
  • Drive time: 3 hours 40 minutes (240 miles)
Autumn in Tennessee
Fall Colors in Tennessee. Photo from Canva

Stop 13 – Monterey, Tennessee

End your fall foliage extravaganza at Spacious Skies Belle Ridge in Monterey, Tennessee. Here more than 500 acres of woods, trails, waterfalls and more await.

  • Trees to see: Oaks, maples, dogwoods, poplars. Colors: Red, orange and yellow.
  • Fall foliage timing: Mid-October to mid-November
  • Campground openings: Year-round
  • Area highlights: Last on the list, but certainly not least. The Belle Ridge location itself is an expansive natural wonderland that feels like a state park. Onsite hiking trails lead to waterfalls where you might see bats. You can also view fascinating rock formations and valley views that make up the Cumberland Plateau. This location is near both Knoxville and Nashville, Tennessee.

For more information about the Fall Color Trail to see fall colors in the USA visit: www.spaciousskiescampgrounds.com

Author Bio: Mary Casey-Sturk is a travel and features writer based in Greater Cincinnati. Her work has appeared in Hyde Park Living Magazine, the Cincinnati Enquirer, Nashville Arts Magazine, Smoky Mountain Living Magazine, the Tennessean, Cincy Magazine, Long Weekends Magazine and more. Her book, “Eating Cheese Curds with Strangers: The Misadventures of a Travel Writer” is available now on Amazon

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