As the last days of summer start winding down, the excitement for fall begins. Soon the air will be brisk and the leaves will turn from bright and lively greens to deep and russet reds, golds, and browns. There's no better way to experience the spirit of the season than by dusting off the binoculars and hitting the open road. Here are our top 10 picks for not only the best places to be wowed by Mother Nature, but also things to see and do along your travels.
Maple and Mountains Tour, Maine
There are very few places in Maine where Mother Nature doesn't put on her best and brightest for fall, but one of the prettiest drives for true leaf-peeping aficionados is the Maples and Mountains tour. The loop begins in Naples, passing through Bridgton, South Paris, Bethel, and Stow, before ending in Fryeburg. Along the way, guests can visit Sebago Lake State Park, ascend Pleasant Mountain, explore Grafton Notch State Park, and partake in many other outdoor activities. Plus, the road passes through the White Mountain National Forest to Evans Notch, which offers spectacular views of the White Mountains.
Not to be missed: The variety of towns along the route, including the historic town of Naples, where visitors can peruse turn-of-the-century architecture; the classic town of Bethel, with its elegant homes and village green; and West Paris, where visitors can view locally mined amethyst, tourmaline, and topaz.
Before you go, check to see when the colors are at peak.
(Photo: iStockphoto/Jason Verschoor)