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See Explosions of Fall Color for Less in Six Unlikely Places

Arkansas, Ozark Mountains - Sam's Throne off Hwy 123,  (Photo Credit: Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism)
by , SmarterTravel Staff
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on September 25, 2008. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: Alton, Arkansas, Asheville, Aspen, camping, Colorado, Connecticut, destination, Eugene, fall, hiking, Illinois, Kate Hamman, Litchfield, mountain, North Carolina, Oregon, Ozark, road trip, romantic travel, seasonality, shoulder season, state park, Vail, weekend getaways.

Though New England may be undisputed as the place for fall foliage viewing, several other states around the country put on a colorful display not to be missed. And, since these are lesser-known destinations, you may find better lodging deals and availability whether you're from the area or traveling from afar.

Arkansas

Fall foliage doesn't typically come to mind when most people think of the south, but it's time to think again. Though the entire state of Arkansas experiences fall color, the Ozark Mountain region is particularly awash in the familiar gold, brown, yellow, and orange leaves from a variety of trees such as blackgum, hickory, sassafrass, and flowering dogwood. Leaves start turning in September and usually peak in late October to early November. Always check foliage reports before booking.

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One of the best ways to catch the changing colors is to head into the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests. Covering 1.2 million acres, the forests features Arkansas' highest mountain, and are an ideal place to camp, hike, bike, picnic, or take a scenic drive. It costs $30 for a day pass to enter, and as little as $4 to camp. Plus, the weather stays fairly warm, usually hovering in the 70s throughout most of October.

If you'd rather stay indoors, there are plenty of fall deals offered in the mountain towns, which include free nights and activity discounts. For instance, Wild Bill's Outfitter offers an Ozark Outdoor Adventure, where you get two nights' lodging, a canoe trip on the Buffalo River, two-hour trail ride, and a 10 percent discount at the store for $319 for two people.

Though the Ozarks are an outdoor enthusiast's dream, there are several scenic driving tours for those who prefer to stay behind the wheel. You can also choose to participate in one of the many events, such as the Fall Frenzy or the Harvest Homecoming, which celebrate fall.

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