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5 Road Trips That Capture the Magic of Fall

Fall isn't just pretty leaves.

By: The Outbound Collective + Save to a List


Ok, maybe it's a little bit about the foliage, but there are so many other reasons to love the fall season. We like to think of it as the best of both worlds: the heat of summer lingers during the day, but the crisp air in the mornings and evenings lets us know that winter is definitely on its way.

And the golden hour light during the fall? If we could bottle that magic, we would.

Don't let this season pass by without taking at least one road trip to hold you over until the next time fall comes around. While you're out exploring, know that KOA always has your back. Since 1962, KOA has been welcoming campers to their clean, comfortable campsites all across the country. When you pull into a KOA, you know you're going to get a great night's rest to fuel your daytime adventures.

Chattahoochee National Forest, Georgia

Photo by Christian Murillo 

Just an hour north of Atlanta lies the town of Dahlonega, at the southern entrance to the Chattahoochee National Forest. The historic town is worth a visit on its own, but its also the gateway to some great adventures in the forest. 

Spend your trip checking out towering beauty of Amicalola Falls, canoeing on the Etowah River, and hiking on the Appalachian Trail to Preacher's Rock. On your way back to Atlanta, stop at the Indian Seats Trail to see some of Georgia's most beautiful fall foliage.

KOA campgrounds in Georgia 

Lake Michigan, Wisconsin

Photo by Andy Merkel 

We think one of the United States' best-kept secrets is the Great Lakes. If you haven't been, well, we're about to tell you what you're missing. The Great Lakes region is filled with wild coastlines, beautiful hikes, kayaking for days, and plenty of fun, adventurous towns to visit.

Take a road trip up the western shore of Lake Michigan to hike the Lion's Den, climb the tower at Holy Hill, and paddle at Nagawaukee Park. You can also hop on a boat and take a waterfront brewery tour of Milwaukee....how cool is that?

KOA campgrounds in Wisconsin 

Franconia Notch, New Hampshire

Photo by James Lynch 

Fall comes a little early in the New Hampshire mountains, so pack your warmest sleeping bag to enjoy the beauty of Franconia Notch. Don't worry, though, it doesn't get too cold. Plus, the crisp air will make you love your campfire all the more. 

Don't miss the chance to take a drive to nearby Sugar Hill, and be sure to check out the 375-foot long covered bridge in Bath.

KOA campgrounds in New Hampshire 

Southern Utah

Photo by Sonja Saxe 

Southern Utah stays pretty warm throughout the winter months, but there is one place definitely worth visiting before winter hits: Bryce Canyon. Perched at over 8,000 feet elevation, this beautiful park gets downright frigid during the winter. Take advantage of the last gasps of warmth with a trip this fall to see the otherworldly hoodoos and hike through towering spires. 

While you're in the area, why not head to Kodachrome Basin State Park, too? Oh, and Zion National Park and Snow Canyon State Park. You know what? Better make this road trip open-ended...you may never want to leave.

KOA campgrounds in Utah 

Olympic Peninsula, Washington

Photo by Jason Horstman

If you love that mysterious edge that fall brings, then there's no better place for you than the Olympic Peninsula. Sure, it's the famous setting of the Twilight books, but it has been beautifully enigmatic long before Bella and Edward came along. Bring your raincoat, because these forests, mountains, and coastline get a little misty, but also bring a serious sense of adventure. 

Be sure to explore the Hoh Rainforest, soak in Olympic Hot Springs, and admire the view from Hurricane Hill.

KOA campgrounds in Washington 

Cover photo by Fudo Jahic

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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