Last updated: 11:46 PM ET, Wed July 29 2015

5 of the First Places to See the Fall Foliage

Features & Advice | Tom Bastek | July 29, 2015

5 of the First Places to See the Fall Foliage

Photos courtesy of each area unless otherwise noted

Fall is a favorite time of year for many — cool breezes lead to gentle winds, fall colors start to dot the landscape and of course, football. If you are anxious to have an autumn-themed experience when your area is still in the throes of late summer, here are a few destinations that are going to get the colors before anybody else:

Stowe, Vermont – End of September to Early October

Stowe, Vermont is typically known for great winter skiing, but is also one of the first great destinations in the country to experience fall colors. The beauty of Stowe is because of their strong winter season, the town is loaded with great spas, restaurants and shopping. You can peep the leaves by taking scenic drives, bike rides or even boat trips.  

Mackinac Island, Michigan – Late September to Early October

Photo courtesy of

Mackinac Island State Park has been voted the number one state park in the country, and for good reason: the weather is beautiful and mild, there is water all around for your aqua-related vacation activities and the shopping and eating are plentiful. Make sure you call ahead if you are planning on staying on the island itself as many of the lodging facilities close for the season right around the time of the change in colors.

Duluth, Minnesota – Mid-September to Early October

With secluded waterfalls, dozens of rivers and creeks, and 129 municipal parks available, there are plenty of beautiful fall foliage views in Duluth. The North Shore Scenic Drive is a 142-mile journey starting in Duluth that moves along Lake Superior, allowing sweeping views of the colors. Charter fishing is popular this time of year, and if it gets too cold, you can always head inside to the Fond Du Luth Casino and try your luck.

Salt Lake City, Utah – Late September to Mid-October

Another winter lover’s paradise, Salt Lake City is a great place to see the fall foliage. There are a ton of scenic drives listed online to help plan your visit. There are no shortage of great beers, fantastic foods and plenty of shopping to go around. Bonus: the Mormons have the largest library of genealogy in the world and you can have free access to it at the Family Search Center.

Denver, Colorado – Late September to Mid-October

The fall colors show up especially early above 9,500 feet, mixed in with the urban attractions of the city. Beer, restaurants, shopping and football are all going on in downtown Denver, but check out the old cemeteries and parks around town for some of the best colors up close.  If you are looking for a little exercise, the Cherry Creek Bike Trail runs for 40 miles along a little creek and is absolutely beautiful.

Five great places to get your fall on faster than anyone else in the country. When do you get the change of season in your town? Let me know in the comments below.

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