There's nothing quite like a fall camping trip. The combination of the crisp air, vibrant fall colors, and lack of crowds (which is more important this year than ever) can make fall one of the best seasons for travel. For those who have an RV to hit the open road, even better. No need to worry about the pitfalls of hotel accommodations amid COVID-19. To help you plan a memorable weekend RV getaway this fall, we've rounded up some of the most picturesque locations around the country. From Georgia to California, here's a look at some of the noteworthy options for sightseeing and leaf peeping.
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Named after the 729-foot waterfall that's one of the park's top attractions, Amicalola Falls State Park offers plenty to do for a fall weekend getaway. There's a variety of hiking and walking trails throughout the park that allow visitors to take in the foliage of the season. For those seeking something more active than leaf peeping, there's ziplining, trout fishing, and GPS scavenger hunts. RV visitors will find 24 wooded campsites at the park that include power, water, picnic tables, and fire rings.
An area that's particularly stunning in the fall when thanks to the golden aspen trees, Rocky Mountain National Park is another unforgettable choice for an RV escape. Driving through the 415-square mile park is an iconic fall trip. The temperate fall weather is also particularly ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking and mountain biking. Take note however, visiting amid COVID-19 requires a reservation. River Run RV Resort in Granby is just two hours from Denver and minutes from the western entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park. The upscale RV resort, which opened in 2019, offers hook-ups and pull-through campsites, as well as two on-site restaurants and a general store.
An easy drive from such metropolitan areas as New York City, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland, picturesque Niagara County in western New York is a prime place to enjoy fall foliage. Highlights include Niagara Falls State Park, where you'll want to be sure and check out the Crow's Nest, which allows visitors to ascend from the base of Niagara Gorge via a series of stairs along the vertical edge of the falls. Next, take in the 15-mile Niagara Scenic Parkway for a more traditional fall foliage experience. If hiking is your favorite way to experience the season, don't miss the trails at Devil's Hole State Park. RV camping can be found at Niagara Shores Campground, a 35-acre facility located on the shores of Lake Ontario.
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Named one of the South's best small towns by Southern Living magazine, Fredericksburg is about one hour from Washington, D.C. One of the top ways to take in the season in Fredericksburg is by exploring Widewater State Park, located on a peninsula where Aquia Creek meets the Potomac River. The views of the changing leaves are often best observed here from a canoe. Those visiting by RV can stay at Wilderness Presidential Resort, a family-friendly camping retreat located on more than 600 acres of forest. Every RV site at the resort includes electricity and water.
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It's hard to beat the stunning scenery in the rugged, rustic region of southern Utah. Come fall, the area takes on a heightened beauty thanks to the vibrant red, gold and orange leaves dotting the trees, mixed with the rich ponderosa pine, all of which is set against the backdrop of Bryce Canyon's picturesque red rocks. Added bonus: there are fewer tourists. Taking a scenic drive with your RV, hiking or biking are some of the best ways to soak it all in. Ruby's Inn RV Park and Campground is the closest campground to Bryce Canyon. Its campsites are located between towering ponderosa pines and provide views of Bryce Canyon's copper-dusted amphitheater.
About 70 minutes from Columbus and a half hour from the Hocking Hills region, Athens County is one of the top spots in Ohio to take in fall foliage. Located in the rolling Appalachian hills, the region is known for world-class hiking and mountain biking trails, paddling adventures, and camping destinations. Ohio's only national forest, Wayne National Forest, is located in Athens County and encompasses more than a quarter-million acres of Appalachian foothills and offers hundreds of miles of trails. Lake Hope State Park, a picturesque campground located in a scenic, shady, wooded area, offers 46 sites with electric hookups for RVs. Facilities include shower houses, laundry, picnic tables and fire rings.
On their own, the redwoods are a sight to behold. But during the fall, the leaves of the redwoods turn golden and are even more stunning atop the magnificent, ancient towering trees. Camping options include Ramblin Redwoods RV, which is known for its forested, park-like setting.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park is home to one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. The Upper Falls feature a drop of nearly 50 feet, and that's just one reason to make a weekend visit this fall. The tannins from the cedar, spruce and hemlock in the river makes the water a striking copper color that pairs beautifully with the autumn colors of northern Michigan. Campers have a choice of several campgrounds within the park for RV visits.
The North Shore of Lake Superior is an ideal place to chase fall colors, particularly along three scenic byways: North Shore, Superior National Forest, and Gunflint Trail. Combined visitors are treated to more than 150 miles of gorgeous views. There are also charming harbor towns, state parks, numerous waterfalls, iconic lighthouses, hiking and biking trails, lake-to-table dining and starry skies, including a chance at catching the northern lights. Gunflint Pines Resort and Campground offers wilderness-style and lake front camp sites for RV visitors.
Less than two hours north of Los Angeles, the Santa Ynez Valley is one of Travelzoo Senior Editor Gabe Saglie's top picks for fall RV camping. "In the fall, this area is bursting with color and activity," says Saglie. "Fall also seems to be some of the best weather the area sees all year, thanks to prevailing sunshine, comfortable temperatures and a mild weather pattern." The region is made up of six quaint towns: Buellton, Ballard, Santa Ynez, Solvang, Los Olivos, and Los Alamos, each with its own unique charm, says Saglie. Outdoor activities include private horseback riding excursions and beautiful hikes in the Santa Ynez Mountains. One of the most notable RV campsites is Flying Flags in Buellton, which offers full hookups.
Located on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the nation's most visited national park. And for good reason. In addition to the diversity of plant and animal life and ancient mountain vistas, there are hiking trails, waterfalls, and remnants of the Southern Appalachian mountain culture. The majority of roads in the park are now open but before visiting, it's a good idea to check the park's website to confirm. As for where to stay, Sun Outdoors Pigeon Forge is convenient to the park.
A region legendary for its natural beauty, the town of Bar Harbor serves as the gateway to famed Acadia National Park. The park is famous for its ocean cliffs, rocky beaches and glacier-formed lakes, not to mention its mountain peaks and boreal forest, says Marco del Rosario, chief operating officer for VacationRenter, a vacation rental search engine. One of the best ways to experience the fall leaves here is via kayak from Frenchman Bay or hiking The Great Head or Beehive trail, which offer picturesque views. Hadley's Point Campground is just 4 miles from Acadia National Park and about 8 miles from downtown Bar Harbor.
The legendary Kancamagus Highway passes through the scenic White Mountain National Forest, which is arguably one of the most scenic drives in the country, says Tory Jon, of the website CamperFAQs. "The 34.5-mile long drive offers many stopping points to fully take in views of the fall foliage," says Jon. "Plan to spend at least three hours if you just drive and stop at the lookout points. And even longer if you plan on jumping on one of the many hiking trails or to take a swim in the river." The Saco River Camping Area is just a few minutes from the highway and is a full-service campground. The campground offers riverfront campsites with full hook-ups.
Not far from Bloomington is the 200,000-acre Hoosier National Forest, a place where leaves changing in the fall put on quite the show. The forest encompasses nine counties in the South-Central Indiana region. Visitors can explore the scenery via hiking and horseback riding trails. Jellystone Park Camp Resort is a popular, family-friendly campground that offers more than 100 RV sites with full hookups and free Wi-Fi.
Spend fall nights staring up at the Milky Way in the secluded oasis of the Texas Hill Country River Region in Uvalde County. Home to rolling hills and chalk cliffs, Uvalde County's open spaces and scenic views provide the perfect canvas for changing leaves as they begin to show their beautiful autumn hues. The leaves typically peak their fall colors in late-October, and by some accounts rival the foliage of the East Coast. There's a variety of RV parks in the region, among them Neal's Lodges. Opened in 1926, the family-owned facility offers nine RV hook-ups that overlook the Frio Canyon.
Dubbed the "Mountain Side of Maryland," Allegany County is the location of a sprawling 60,000 acres of public land. RV visitors here won't want to miss the Green Ridge State Forest, where there's a scenic 45-mile driving tour through some of the county's most stunning overlooks. There are also two small towns to visit in Allegany County: Cumberland, which is the county seat, and Frostburg, known for its quirky shops, including independent book shops and record stores. As for RV accommodations, Rocky Gap State Park Campground offers 278 sites, including 30 for RVs that are equipped with electric hook-ups.