Marshmallows are roasting, corn is ready to harvest, and everything is flavored pumpkin spice – but where should you travel for your autumn getaway?
To help you plan your trip, lawnstarter ranked the best states to visit this fall.
We compared the 50 states based on 15 fall factors, such as the number of national and state parks, trails, corn mazes, and wineries. We even considered the projected number of weeks each state will produce fall foliage for your postcard-perfect snaps.
Check out our ranking below, followed by highlights, lowlights, and expert tips.
OVERALL rankstate overall scorefall scenery outdoor recreation entertainment
Highlights and lowlights
Fall foliage is new england's specialty. No wonder the region monopolizes the top of our ranking. Vermont, new hampshire, and maine claim the top three spots, respectively, while connecticut rustles its way to 10th place.
Each of these states promises a projected 10 to 11 weeks of colorful leaves – not to mention the abundance of trails and big yards to maximize your leaf peeping pleasure.
These four states also towered above the rest in the entertainment category. Vermont is tops, followed by new hampshire at no. 2, maine at no. 4, and connecticut in 11th place. So when you throw in all the apple orchards, corn mazes, and pumpkin patches – while balancing a glass of vino in your other hand – you get the perfect autumn getaway.
The west promises its own falltastic escape. California leads the region at no. 4, followed by wyoming, alaska, oregon, montana, and washington state, in that order.
Unlike the northeast, these states don't just bring colorful leaves but all of nature, including some of the continent's most impressive natural wonders.
Check out wyoming's yellowstone, montana's glacier national park, and the vast evergreens covering oregon and washington state. In alaska's denali, the tallest mountain in north america, fall foliage starts showing in late august.
The west helps you see it all, too, boasting the highest number of scenic drives in the U.S. Take a ride through the golden states's 31-mile avenue of the giants, for example, and marvel at some of the oldest redwoods flanking the road.
Just make sure to check for closures – it's wildfire season in the west.
Up and autumn in the south
The south called, and they said it's not a good time to visit – at least not the three bottom states located along the gulf coast: alabama (no. 46), mississippi (no. 49), and louisiana (dead last). All three states were in the path of hurricane ida, one of the most powerful storms in mainland U.S. History, this past august.
These states are still great travel destinations, though – just not while they're busy rebuilding in the wake of ida. They're not out of the woods yet, either. Hurricane season is still in full swing.
We read the tree leaves: part of the great plains may fall away from your bucket list this season. Nebraska placed 42nd, trailed by indiana (no. 43), kansas (no. 45), and oklahoma (no. 45). Each of these states performed poorly in nearly every category.
There's a perfectly good reason why they landed at the bottom, though: these states are some of the least forested in the nation, defined instead by flat grasslands and prairies.
That's not to say you can't enjoy a scenic fall trip here. Bloomington, indiana, for example, is known for its lush autumn landscape. In kansas, you can find fall hues at the bartlett arboretum in belle plaine. Oklahoma boasts the vibrantly colorful talimena national scenic byway in its southeast.
These are suitable options if you're stuck in the middle-ish of the country this fall.