6 Great Campgrounds For Fall Colors

Linn Cove Viaduct on the Blue Ridge parkway in the fall season. Road winding through the mountains with autumn colors and blue vibrant morning skies.There may be no better time of year than the fall. Chilly nights make leaf colors pop, setting the stage for an autumnal sun to light up nature’s spectacular show.

It’s also a great time to go camping—after all, what’s better than waking up surrounded by all the colorful action? Just bring a warm sleeping bag along with your tent or, for more space, take the RV. Whichever you choose, it’s hard to beat the convenience of KOAs, some of which sit in the heart of fall’s magic show and are close to awesome scenic drives.

“KOAs are everywhere you want to be for leaf peeping,” says Mike Gast, vice president of communications for Kampgrounds of America. “After a full day of looking for leaves, it’s great to return to the campground to relax around a warm fire and relive the day.”

Plus, busy campsites often turn calmer with the onset of autumn. “Camping with KOA in the fall is great because campgrounds are typically less crowded,” says Gast.

Ready to hit the road, peepers?

Ozark National Forest, Arkansas

Eureka Springs, ArkansasWhere to stay: Eureka Springs KOA

When they close: October 31

Fall colors abound in this campground, which even offers a hiking trail that’s perfect for peeping. Come around Halloween and you’ll find all sorts of holiday festivities.

Where to drive: Head over to Rte. 62 and drive into the artsy town of Eureka Springs, stopping at the majestic glass chapel along the way. Then head south along State Highway 23, which runs into the national forest and becomes the scenic “Pig Trail,” with waterfalls, mountain views and plenty of color.

Letchworth State Park, New York

Great Bend Overlook At Letchworth State Park In New York Just After Sunrise.Where to stay: Houghton/Letchworth KOA

When they close: October 15

The campground features 100 scenic acres of deep woodlands and tall larches that light up in autumn. There’s even a lodge with a stone fireplace—the perfect place to get warm after a long day.

Where to drive: Drive through picturesque woods and farmland to Letchworth State Park, where you’ll find a spectacular gorge carved by the Genesee River, cliffs that tower up to 600 feet and three huge waterfalls. Hop out to take a hike along some of the 66 miles of trails.

Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia/North Carolina

Mabry Mill in Autumn colors at sunsetWhere to stay: Fancy Gap/Blue Ridge Parkway KOA

When they close: November 1

Just a quarter mile from the Blue Ridge Parkway, this campground is a perfect jumping off point for the famous scenic drive. Go hiking and biking on trails in the nearby mountains and foothills, visit an award-winning winery or just relax by the stocked fishing pond.

Where to drive: Stretching 459 miles along the spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the parkway features spectacular mountain vistas and a picturesque historic water mill.

White Mountains, New Hampshire

Autumn color along the Swift River, along the Kancamagus Highway in White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire.Where to stay: Twin Mountain/Mount Washington KOA

When they close: October 9

This KOA sits in the heart of New Hampshire’s White Mountains, with the highest peak in the northeast, Mount Washington, looming nearby. You’ll find hay rides, bird watching among the pine trees, nighttime campfires and great stargazing.

Where to drive: Head south on route 302 through the White Mountain National Forest to experience the quintessential New England leaf peeping experience, with mountainsides awash in color. Up for a hike? Head to the state park at Crawford Notch.

Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

The Columbia River Gorge in Oregon just after sunset.Where to stay: Cascade Locks/Portland East KOA

When they close: October 15

Close to the Columbia River, this KOA offers abundant opportunities for water and wilderness experiences. Walk among the maples, oaks and Oregon ash that make the Columbia River Gorge a breathtaking sight from late September to early November.

Where to drive: Take your time on the Columbia River Scenic Byway, a brightly colored 70 miles that cuts through the Cascade Mountains. Stop to take in waterfalls tumbling from cliffs, or cross between Oregon and Washington along the Bridge of the Gods.

Durango, Colorado

Taken off Elbert Creek Road at Durango Mountain ResortWhere to stay: Durango KOA

When they close: October 15

Enjoy panoramic views of the San Juan Mountains from this campground, which sits at 7,000 feet on top of a mesa. Get here before mid-September to enjoy the heated pool.

Where to drive: Jagged peaks, ancient cliff dwellings and the historic town of Durango lie along the San Juan Skyway. Golden aspen trees illuminate this 236-mile loop that runs through the San Juan Mountains.

You could save money on your RV insurance and you’d have more to spend on your leaf-peeping trip. Get a quote today.

Camping out this fall? Check out our tips for making the most of fall camping.

By Julie Anne Russell

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  1. MildredMaddox says

    The National Parks are beautiful ,fascinating and beautiful skylines ,outstanding colorful pictures of the leaves changing colors, the scenery of the lakes, the mountain are pretty and wonderful.

    Thanks for sharing the pictures with me. I know I would enjoy the National Parks.