Why is fall such a great season for RV travel? With the cooler weather, the decreased crowds, plus add in the beautiful colors of autumn and all of the fun fall festivals to enjoy along the way, and you have the recipe for the perfect roadtrip. There are a number of great destinations across the country that are perfect for an autumn trip. Read on for some best fall destinations to plan your next RV road trip!
Guest Post and Images by The Adventure Detour
The Ozark Mountains region of Arkansas and Missouri is a popular destination for RV travel in the fall. This region offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, as well as a number of RV parks and campgrounds. The Ozark Mountains are more like foothills but that doesn’t make them any less beautiful. Our family is from Missouri and I attended school in this area. It is beautiful and a perfect fall RVing destination.
Buffalo National River
The Buffalo National River is a popular destination for RVers in the Ozark Mountains region. This river offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, as well as a number of opportunities for fishing, canoeing, and kayaking. This area was known as a popular float trip river as we were growing up. It’s a scenic and exciting trip down the river.
Eureka Springs is a small city located in the Ozark Mountains region of Arkansas. This little artsy town has the most unique vibe that you just have to visit to understand. There are little springs throughout the town surrounded by the scenic Ozark Foothills. Don’t miss the gorgeous and allegedly haunted Crescent Hotel and the incredible architecture and beauty of the Frank Lloyd Wright Thorncrown Chapel. This little town with its fun shops and artist community is our favorite spot to visit in Arkansas.
Branson is a small city located in the Ozark Mountains region of Missouri. This area is known for family and country music shows and entertainment. This fun tourist area sits with the scenic backdrop of the Ozark Mountains. Don’t miss the incredible family amusement park Silver Dollar City. It has an amazing fall festival featuring artisans with demonstrations, crafts, and really good food. Our top 2 picks for shows in Branson are Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Show and Sight And Sound Theater. Both are huge productions with live animals that families really enjoy.
Table Rock Lake
Table Rock Lake is a popular destination for RVers in the Ozark Mountains region. This lake offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, as well as a number of opportunities for fishing, swimming, and boating. Don’t miss the views from Top Of The Rock and the Bass Pro owned and decorated Big Cedar Lodge. If you have kids, don’t miss riding The Ducks which is an amphibious vehicle that gives you a tour of Branson and then plunges into Table Rock Lake for a lake tour. Kids adore it when the open-air vehicle drives right into the water!
The White Mountains – New Hampshire
The White Mountains of New Hampshire are another great destination for RV travel in the fall. This region is home to some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in the country, as well as many quaint towns and villages. Besides the scenery, there are so many fun things to see and do that you could spend the whole fall in this area and never get bored.
Mount Washington Washington is the highest point in New Hampshire and one of the best views in the White Mountains. This mountain not only offers stunning views of the surrounding area but also has some of the wildest weather in the world. The highest ever recorded wind speed in the northern hemisphere was recorded here in 1934 at 231 mph.
The top of the mountain is a state park and has a weather museum. The summit is the highest point in the northeastern United States. You can reach the top via the Auto Road or the Cog Train. Both are great ways to enjoy the scenery.
We took the Mt. Washington Cog Railway and highly recommend this option. This historic railway takes visitors to the summit of Mount Washington on a steam-powered train. Along the way, passengers can enjoy stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The ride has a crazy steep area that feels just like you are standing up even though you are seated. It’s a neat attraction and also educational to learn how cog trains operate. Kids love this train adventure!
The area of New Hampshire we found the most scenic was Franconia Notch State Park. This area has gorgeous granite cliff faces including one that used to look like the profile of an old man’s face that was called Old Man Of The Mountain. There are beautiful lakes surrounded by mountains and a must-do gorge hike called The Flume. Also, make sure to take the gondola ride to the top to take in a bird’s eye view of the area. If you are a skiing fan, there is a little museum next to the gondola dedicated to the history of skiing. It also houses Bode Miller’s World Cup and Olympic medals. The scenery in this state park will knock your socks off. Definitely put it on your fall must-see RV list!
The Smoky Mountains
The Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina are popular destinations for RVers in the fall. This region is known for its stunning views, as well as its rich history and culture. The Smokies are the southern end of the famous Blue Ridge Parkway which is the perfect drive to enjoy the fall foliage.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a very popular fall destination and it’s for a good reason. This area is just stunning when the leaves change. The cooler weather and mountain streams are perfect for a scenic drive or hike in the park. Be prepared for crowds during this season but it is worth it. Our favorite thing to do in the park is to hike to the top of Clingmans Dome to enjoy the highest viewpoint in the park.
Pigeon Forge is a twin to one of our earlier destinations Branson, MO. It is a tourist area full of fun shows and activities at the base of the Great Smoky Mountains. One of our favorite things to do is visit the theme park Dollywood. It is a fun family park with great rides and shows. If you haven’t visited Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Show in Branson, then definitely check it out here. It’s a great time for the whole family.
Gatlinburg sits at the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It has all of the amazing mountain scenery with the fun tourist activities and shops people are looking for on vacation. There are many options for mountain gondola rides in this area but we highly recommend Anakeesta. This place not only offers the gondola, but also a treetop canopy walk, mountain coaster, and more. We also loved Ripley’s Aquarium Of The Smokies. Don’t miss the Gatlinburg Craftmen’s Fair in October.
The Blue Ridge Parkway To The Shenandoah Valley
We talked about the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Great Smoky Mountains but this scenic drive also runs north through North Carolina all the way up through the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. This mountain area is beautiful all year long but especially in the fall.
Grandfather Mountain is one of the most popular spots to stop along the Blue Ridge Parkway on the North Carolina side. This beautiful area features a swinging bridge with a breathtaking view and a knee-knocking experience for those afraid of heights. This is a popular hiking area as well.
A popular stop on the Virginia side of the Blue Ridge Parkway is the Natural Bridge. This natural rock arch along the river is a must-see in the area. A little farther north of this stop is the Luray Caverns. Definitely don’t miss taking a cave tour here. We have been on loads of cave tours across the country and this is in our top two picks for the best US cave. The formations here are just incredible if you are a cave lover.
Shenandoah National Park
The Blue Ridge Parkway ends at the north with Shenandoah National Park. Taking Skyline Drive gives you a mountain ridge drive overview of the whole park and the beautiful fall colors. We got the treat of seeing a mother bear with her cubs while driving Skyline Drive.
The Finger Lakes
You just can’t mention a list of amazing fall RV locations and not list the Finger Lakes in New York. These glacier-carved lakes that resemble fingers on a map are filled with waterfalls and canyons to explore. Add in the fall beauty and you have the perfect autumn RV location. This is our favorite region of New York.
Watkins Glen State Park is a great place to camp or just go for a day visit. This gorge hike is filled with waterfalls at every turn. It is simply gorgeous and a must-visit anytime you are in the area. You will be shocked at how much scenery is packed into this one gorge hike.
Letchworth State Park is called the Grand Canyon of the East Coast. It is a beautiful canyon that features not 1 but 3 large waterfalls. This area is made even more beautiful with all of the fall colors. It’s a can’t-miss stop when in the area.
Corning, New York is the cutest little town and the perfect base camp for your time in the Finger Lakes Region. This quaint little downtown is full of cute shops and restaurants next to the river. The must-do activity in Corning is the Corning Museum Of Glass. This is one of the top glass museums in the world. There are glass blowing presentations throughout the day and fun glass classes for both kids and adults to make something to take home. We loved it so much that we spent 2 days at the museum and Sissy got to take 2 different glass classes during our time there. It is an incredible museum!
Whew! There are so many amazing fall destinations that are perfect for an RV trip. This is just a sampling of some of the incredible locations that our family has enjoyed. I hope you feel inspired to hit the road this fall and enjoy the beauty of the season in one of these exciting locations. Do you have a favorite fall destination? Leave us a comment and let us know about it!
Looking for an RV to take out on the road this fall? La Mesa has the selection you need to find one that is perfect for your next adventure.
Scott, his wife Van, and their 12-year-old daughter Sissy have traveled full-time in their RV for 7 years. They have worked and homeschooled on the road through 42 states so far. They blog about RVing tips, travel destinations, and the full-time RV lifestyle on their blog, TheAdventureDetour. They are also RV content creators @theadventuredetour on Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook. They love connecting with RVers so be sure to reach out to them and say hi!