Top 5 Travel Destinations to Enjoy Fantastic Fall Foliage
The United States has some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world with its snowcapped mountains, rolling plains, pristine beaches, and dusty deserts, but one of the most spectacular sights is the annual changing of the leaves. No matter where your travel nurse assignment has taken you, there are ample opportunities to see this yearly transformation of the trees.
The Berkshires in the Fall
Just two and a half hours west of Boston lies the famous Berkshires, a hotspot of art, culture, cuisine, and of course, fall foliage — there’s even an annual Fall Foliage Festival in North Adams that brings together the local community and the many tourists in the region. The weeklong celebration, which culminates in a parade, hosts many activities for families, couples, and children. The Berkshires comprise a range of the Appalachian Mountains, making it ideal for healthcare travelers and outdoor enthusiasts who love a little hiking through the hills. But that’s not all there is to do in the Berkshires. Once you’re done gazing at the colors, head to Lenox to check out the historical buildings of the area’s wealthy founders or travel to Stockbridge for a visit to the Norman Rockwell Museum.
Fall in Oregon
Drive an hour and a half east of Portland along the Columbia River to arrive at one of the most spectacular locations for fall foliage on the West Coast. The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area boasts a waterfront location with a gorgeous view of the mountain scenery and waterfalls, including the Wah Gwin Gwin Falls. Make sure to visit the many vineyards that dot the region or attend the renowned Hood River Valley Harvest Fest to get a taste of locally grown produce and culinary delights.
Fall Festivals in the Great Smoky Mountains
Head an hour south of Knoxville to arrive at the Great Smoky Mountains, a mountain range that is often said to be one of the best places in the south to see the changing leaves. The ever-present haze that hangs over the peaks only adds to its charm, making it an even more magical place. Spend the day in Gatlinburg, a mountain town with a month-long Craftsmen’s Fair chock full of handmade goods, live music, and a touch of that all-important southern charm. Nearby is Dollywood, one of Tennessee’s biggest attractions, where you can attend the annual Harvest Festival, which features gospel music, pumpkin carving, and a lot of flashy fun.
Autumn Colors in Albuquerque, New Mexico
While the desert landscape of the southwestern U.S. may not seem like it would be much of a place to see the changing of the seasons, the mountains of New Mexico actually offer far more fall foliage than you might think. Approximately 135 miles north of Albuquerque lies Taos, a small town packed with culture and colors — its name stems from the Taos word for “red willows,” after all! From Taos, you can drive the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway — it’s an 84-mile journey around Wheeler Peak, New Mexico’s highest point, which showcases the range’s impressive covering of colorful aspens. While on the road, stop at neighboring towns such as Red River, Eagle Nest, and Angel Fire to soak in the small-town vibes, have a picnic, and converse with the locals.
Fall in Vermont
Vermont is a fall fan’s paradise: it’s got apple orchards, maple syrup, and that crisp, autumnal air. The state is a natural place to view the fall foliage, and there’s no shortage of sightseeing opportunities — but to narrow it down, start in Middlebury. It’s a central location that is the perfect launching pad for scenic drives around the state, like Stowe – a town with quaint shops, quintessential New England architecture, charm, and more.
The northeastern U.S. is known as one of the best places for fall foliage thanks to its dense forests and plentiful mountains, but there are opportunities throughout the country to see the leaves. Wherever you are on your next travel nurse assignment, take some time out in the fall to explore your new area and enjoy the season!