This post was sponsored by Erie Insurance as part of an Influencer Activation and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
As the weather begins to cool and the sun sets a little bit earlier in the afternoon, it means our favorite season has arrived, Fall! With autumn comes the yearly leaves changing color to a spectacular red, orange, and yellows.
Leaves change colors in different regions depending on current weather, impacted by rainfall and temperature throughout the spring and summer. Normally each region has about two weeks of peak fall foliage in October, but can also be enjoyed on the edges of this timeframe.
For most people this is the perfect season to hop in the car and enjoy a road trip to the breathtaking views of fall foliage. In the United States the best places to enjoy the colorful fall foliage is in New England, the Pacific North West and down along the Appalachian Mountains, including Smokey Mountains Nation Park. You can also enjoy the leaves changing colors across the US, especially in the Rocky Mountains and any forested region.
For us, we could not wait to witness the foliage in Smokey Mountain National Park, just a few hours drive from our home in Raleigh, the perfect weekend getaway.
Top 5 Tips to plan the perfect road trip to witness the colorful fall foliage
1. Plan for any weather
While the weather might be mild at home, once you head out to witness the changing leaves, be prepared for a big range of temperature and pack layers. Especially when you have to head into the mountains you might experience a quick change into rain, cooler temperatures, and even snow or ice on your road trip.
2. Book your accommodations in advance
One of our favorite aspects of a road trip is exploring new places as you drive, but heading out in the heart of leaf peeping season, you will find that you are not alone in the quest.
We found that many accommodations had rates 3-5 times higher than normal on the weekends for the entire month around peak fall foliage. Many places you will find fully booked if planning the day of.
Booking your accommodations in advance takes away one bit of stress, and even if you end up traveling a week or two before or after peak leaf colors, it will still be beautiful!
3. Ensure your car is in top shape and insurance is up to date
Since you will most likely be heading into the mountains for your leaf peeping road trip, it is important to make sure you car is in top shape. In the same way that you need to plan clothing for a range of weather, ensure your car is up for the same task.
Erie Insurance, which serves over 6 million auto, home, and business insurance policies in 12 states, plus D.C, encourages drivers to give these new features a chance and take time to get used to them.
Features like lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring and automated emergency breaking are invaluable features in cars today, especially as you are driving through windy mountain roads. The more you use them it will become second nature in the way seatbelts are today, and the payoff could be huge in terms of reducing crashes and saving lives.
4. Pack your hiking shoes
While it is possible to get breathtaking views from the road and at overlooks, be prepared to get your hiking shoes on and hit the trails. Depending on where you go to see the leaves, there are often a range of hikes, taking you past waterfalls, through dense forests and to mountain tops, giving you a 360 degree panoramic view of the colorful leaves laid out before you.
Hiking in the fall means you will encounter extra leaves on the trails. If it has rained recently, be especially careful as to not slip while on your adventure.
5. Plan around local fall festivals
Harvest season in the fall is celebrated in a verity of ways in towns both large and small. There are fall festivals, pumpkin patches, flower fields, apple picking, and Halloween fairs.
When you choose your perfect destination to see the fall foliage, check the calendars of nearby towns to see what else is going on during your visit. Find fun activities and events to enjoy and relax once you have seen the leaves.
Most importantly, when you get out into nature to enjoy the fall foliage, make sure to respect nature, stay on marked trails, and carry in any trash you brought with you. This ensures everyone in the future can you the same amazing experience as you!