It isn’t too early to plan a trip to see autumn colors. Lodging fills quickly in popular fall spots.
When looking for accommodations, keep in mind that rates are often cheaper for midweek stays and two-night minimums may be required during peak periods.
The Columbia River Gorge offers a scenic drive through fall colors along the Oregon and Washington border. Colors typically peak in late October and early November. See www.inthegorge.com for information.
To get a national overview on leaf-peeping season, the Weather Channel provides average peak periods for fall color and updated regional maps. See www.weather.com/activities/driving/fallfoliage.
The USDA Forest Service provides fall color updates in mid-September. Contact: (800) 354-4595; www.fs.fed.us/news/fallcolors.
For a list of state-by-state fall foliage hotlines, visit www.bestfares.com/wfal.
The Foliage Network offers reports from more than 550 spotters from the Northeast, Southeast and Midwest. The spotters, most of whom are innkeepers, report twice weekly on color displays during September, October and early November. See www.foliagenetwork.com.
Yankee magazine has extensive information on fall colors throughout New England at www.yankeefoliage.com. The site features interactive maps, tips on lodging and dining, walking itineraries, Web cams and a foliage forum.
Go to VermontVacation.com for fall travel to the state. You’ll find an event finder, a foliage forecaster and a lodging forecaster that shows typical occupancy rates by week during the fall season. Twenty scenic drives for leaf viewing are listed with directions and maps. See www.vermontvacation.com/seasons/fall.asp.
Enjoy an affordable vacation in Arkansas. The Ozarks and Ouachita mountains typically offer peak color displays from late October to early November. Take a drive on Scenic Highway 7, a 60-mile section of State Highway 7 passing through these mountains that has been designated as a National Forest Scenic Byway. See www.arkansas.com/calendar/fall_foliage.asp for information and discounts.
Asheville, and the surrounding area in western North Carolina, boasts a lengthy fall color display. Fall colors begin in late September and continue through early November. The Asheville Convention and Visitor’s Bureau offers weekly foliage reports, scenic drives and discounts on lodging, dining and more. See www.exploreasheville.com/fall.asp.
Minnesota’s foliage peaks in mid-September in the north through mid-October in the south. The Explore Minnesota Web site has tourism information on eight scenic fall routes, color reports, events and lodging deals. See www.exploreminnesota.com/fall_color_drives.html.