Best Fall Road Trips on the East Coast | Northeast Campgrounds & More
It’s no secret that northeast autumns are enchanting. From the oceanside cliffs of Maine to the peaks and valleys of Virginia, Mother Nature does some of her best work here in late September and October. But with a whole corner of a country to choose from, it can be tough to narrow down where to plan your leaf-peeping escapade. The good news: You don’t have to pick.
Take your RV on the road this autumn and make the journey between two of the east coast’s most stunning national parks. Along the way, you’ll stop at beloved fall-color destinations and set up camp at homey KOA campgrounds, where you can spend your downtime fishing, boating, hiking, or just huddling around a campfire. Ready for adventure? Here’s a fall trip you’ll never forget.
1. Acadia National Park, Maine
Start your trip at this Maine national park where tree-studded cliffs tower over the ocean. Hike to the top of Parkman Mountain for panoramic views across the island, or opt for a scenic drive on 27-mile Park Loop Road to see some of Acadia’s most beautiful spots.
While you’re here, park your RV at Bar Harbor / Oceanside KOA Holiday—the only campground on the west side of the island. Book a waterfront site and soak in sweeping views of fall colors on the distant shore. When you’re ready to explore the park, a complimentary shuttle will take you there right from the campground.
2. Killington, Vermont
By foot, by car, by lift, or by boat—there’s no shortage of ways to get your fill of foliage in Killington. Take a gondola ride to the top of 4,241-foot Killington Peak, Vermont’s second-highest mountain, to see autumn hues spread across five New England states. Wind along the edge of the Green Mountains on the Scenic Route 100 Byway or head out to Giffords Woods State Park, renowned for its dramatic autumn scenery. Stay at Lake Bomoseen KOA, which sits on Vermont’s largest lake. You can see fall colors reflected back at you as you paddle around serene waters edged by lush forest.
3. Northampton, Massachusetts
Just at the outskirts of the Berkshires, Northampton offers a choose-your-own-adventure way to experience the fall foliage. You could head to the mountains and leaf peep from the peaks or order hot cocoas in quaint cafes and ogle at red maple-lined streets. Plan your visit to coincide with the annual Tour of the Valley and take off with local cyclists on a ride past dairy farms and New England villages. Then head back to your RV at Northampton / Springfield KOA, which is in the heart of the Pioneer Valley in western Massachusetts. You can enjoy the amenities at the campground—like large playgrounds and fishing—or tour the quaint New England towns nearby and visit popular spots like the Basketball Hall of Fame or the Dr. Seuss Museum.
4. Catskill Mountains, New York
This dreamy mountain range offers up equally dreamy foliage—plus an array of farms and villages brimming with fall cheer. See the fall colors from several elevations by hiking Panther Mountain—be sure to stop at Giant Ledge for breathtaking views across the Catskills. Drive along the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway and be prepared to make some pitstops for fall festivals, cider, and donuts at village market stands. You can also pick-your-own at local farms along the route. Make the Saugerties / Woodstock KOA Journey your home base and enjoy the fall foliage while playing disc golf, mini-golf, or horseshoes with friendly campers. Fishing is also available at the on-site pond.
5. Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania
This tiny mountain town of Jim Thorpe in the Lehigh Gorge is nestled among a backdrop of rolling peaks. When the leaves turn, the view from Main Street is nothing short of stunning. The town loves fall foliage so much that it holds a month-long festival to celebrate the season. Every weekend in October, you can enjoy live music, scarecrow contests, ghost stories, and other fall delights. For a more back-to-nature foliage experience, strap on your hiking boots—Lehigh Gorge State Park offers sweeping views from a rail trail. Stay at the Delaware Water Gap / Pocono Mountain KOA Holiday, where you can also explore this incredibly scenic section of the Delaware River that separates Pennsylvania from New Jersey. The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is known for its excellent fall hiking and waterfalls.
6. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
With 75 overlooks spread across its 105 miles, Shenandoah National Park’s Skyline Drive is the picture-perfect last stop for an epic foliage road trip. Stop and do the 4-mile hike out to Buzzard Rock, where you’ll be treated to views of Fort Valley from atop the cliffs. Cyclists should plan on timing their trip with the Shenandoah Fall Foliage Bike Festival for the chance to spend a whole weekend pedaling past colorful farmlands and Blue Ridge Mountain vistas. After all that adventure, lay your head at Harrisonburg / Shenandoah Valley KOA, which is just outside the national park. You can spend the evening hours casting a line in the fishing pond or toasting s’mores around a campfire. It’s the perfect end to a fall trip you’ll never forget.
Written by Amanda McConnon for Matcha in partnership with Kampgrounds of America.