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Tips for last-minute fall foliage trips

SmarterTravel

October has arrived, and that means peak fall foliage time is here. If you haven’t planned your fall color-catching excursion, don’t fret&#151you still have a few options for viewing the trees in all their splendor. No matter where you plan to do your color viewing, it’s a good idea to have accommodations set before you leave on a road trip in any region. But you’re probably thinking that if you haven’t booked by now, it’s too late. That’s not necessarily true.

Whether you already live near a fall foliage hotspot, or you plan on traveling to one, day trips are an alternative to booking accommodations in rural areas where the leaves are brightest. Larger cities will often have more accommodation choices, so you can choose one that fits your budget requirements, without worrying about vacancies. And once you’re there, consider renting a convertible to see the leaves. While you may have to bring an extra sweater, it will allow for maximum fall color exposure. Below are a few day trips to consider.

  • For New England colors, Boston is centrally located and makes day trips to almost any New England town a possibility. You may also consider flying a low-cost airline like Southwest or Spirit to Manchester for the colors of Maine, New Hampshire, or Vermont in early October; or fly to Providence for late October colors in Rhode Island and Connecticut.
  • Cheap airfare to Philadelphia may draw you to the Mid-Atlantic. Bucks County offers pleasant fall foliage just 40 minutes northeast of Philly. PennsylvaniaÃ?Â?Ã?Â?s color peaks throughout the month of October, so depending on when you plan to be traveling, you should find some good color.
  • Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains are a two-hour drive for Washington, D.C., residents, or fly to the nationÃ?Â?Ã?Â?s capital on low-cost air carriers JetBlue or Independence Air.
  • Unless you can go at the beginning of October, the Rocky Mountain area may be past its peak. Consider surrounding areas of lower elevation or California instead. Northern California peaks in the second half of October.
  • Portland, Oregon offers several fall foliage drives and hikes in or near the metropolitan area and is good for late planners, as it peaks in early November.

  • The South is another area with late fall colors. The waters of the Ozarks make for scenic routes in Missouri and Arkansas. About 75 miles from Little Rock, Russellville, Arkansas, offers good fall colors and a drive by the Falling Water Falls.

If you wish to view the fall foliage in the next two weeks, Site59 may have a good deal on a vacation to your preferred fall foliage region. Also, though most fall foliage packages at B&Bs may have already been booked, it doesnÃ?Â?Ã?Â?t hurt to call anyway, as last-minute cancellations could mean good news for you.

For more information about planning a fall foliage getaway read our fall foliage getaway guide or visit eHow.com’s website for region-specific recommendations. Before you make your reservations, review the fall foliage maps on weather.com to learn which areas are at peak color. The USDA’s Forest Service website is also a good resource as it lists recommended foliage sites and links to each state’s fall colors website.

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