Adventure, Blog

What is Leaf Peeping? Our Favorite Spots to See the Fall Foliage Change

If you’re from New England, chances are you’re familiar with leaf peeping. At the height of autumn, leaf peeping is taking a pause to witness the leaves change colors, as green transforms to ochres, brilliant oranges, and deep reds.

While it’s maybe the most famous place for fall foliage, the Northeast isn’t the only place to experience the natural beauty of the fall. Northern California is also home to spectacular seasonal shifts, as seen on the towering maples of Sonoma County.

But like all the best things, the fall colors are fleeting—so to help you make the most of this beautiful time of year, we’ve rounded up our favorite spots for leaf peeping (and other fall activities) near AutoCamp locations. Think winding road trips with hot cider in hand, exploring apple orchards, or wine tasting with views of the multi-hued landscape on display.

The Catskills

Located near rolling mountains, scenic drives, and charming farms, AutoCamp Catskills is a great place for a cozy fall getaway. Early-to-mid October will offer the best leaf peeping views, though there will still be shifting leaves in place through early November. 


Scenic Drives and Local Trails

One of the best ways to explore the Catskills is to hit the road. If you drive out of Woodstock in pretty much any direction, you’ll find yourself on winding roads surrounded by a canopy of colorful trees—but NYS Rte 28 is the official Catskills Scenic Byway. To learn more about the history, embark on a self-guided audio tour, making stops in charming villages with quaint shops, historic sites, and much more.

For exploring on foot, the Ashokan Rail Trail offers views of the mountains and picturesque local reservoir, framed by colorful maple and birch trees. It’s located a short drive away from AutoCamp, along with other local hikes here. Choose your own adventure, going as far as you’d like.

Apple Orchards, Pumpkin Patches, and More

A charming drive across the Hudson River will bring you to Rose Hill Farm, located in Red Hook. The heritage U-Pick orchard offers apples and pumpkins in the fall, as well as a tasting room where you can try their wine and cider made on-site.

Drive just five minutes north to Mead Orchards to navigate through the corn maze, have a picnic, and enjoy delicious apple cider donuts. For more apple picking, check out a map of local apple orchards to plan your stops!

If you want to feel like you’re going back in time, hop a ride on the Catskill Mountain Railroad for one of their fall trips on an old-fashioned scenic train—there’s both a fall foliage and pumpkin patch option.

After a day of exploring, retreat back to AutoCamp to pick out pumpkins at our on-site pumpkin patch, unwind in the cozy Clubhouse, or relax with a campfire at your private Suite.

Cape Cod

The fall leaves are one of the most popular draws when it comes to visiting New England in the fall. There’s nothing quite like the mixture of colorful leaves, windswept beaches, and salty ocean air. Now through the end of October is the time to make a trip and soak it all in.

Cranberry Bogs and Harvest Fun

In addition to the brilliant foliage, Cape Cod also offers a truly unique chance to visit cranberry bogs during harvest season. Stop by the charmingly named Annie’s Crannies, a scenic 45-minute drive from Falmouth, for a tour that includes the storied history of cranberries on Cape Cod, the largest producer of them in the states.


Bikes, Hikes, and Kayaks

The Shining Sea pathway, which goes right past AutoCamp Cape Cod, is an idyllic way to stroll or bike along the coast while taking in the landscape. If you’re a runner looking for something a little more strenuous, the Cape Cod Marathon takes place at the end of October, and begins right in downtown Falmouth, about 10 minutes from AutoCamp. A lower key option is to take a hike through a nearby state park, like South Cape Beach Park in Mashpee.

Leaf peeping from a kayak is another great option, as it gives you access to waterways and protected forests that you may not be able to see from foot. Sign up for a Sunset Kayak Tour to see the autumn leaves at their peak golden hour beauty.

Yosemite and Russian River

The massive forests near Yosemite and the Russian River Valley take leaf peeping to an entirely new level. Witness the brilliant yellow aspens in Yosemite or the famous redwood trees surrounded by big leaf maple groves (and acres of vineyards) in Russian River.

Due to the more temperate West Coast climate, the leaf-peeping season here is long, extending from right about now to late November. 

Slow Days Spent in Nature

It’s one of the best times of year to spend an afternoon in nature, soaking up the changing trees as they transform colors. Near Russian River, climb up to the Sonoma Overlook Trail, a very doable 3-mile path that leads to beautiful views of Sonoma below.

Gold Ridge Farm offers a unique opportunity to observe experimental and heirloom plants, originally grown by botanist Luther Burbank. If you’re looking for a scenic drive, Highway 12 winds through some of the area’s prettiest vineyards (with plenty of opportunities to stop for a tasting). 

Wine Festivals

If you’ve always wanted to try stomping grapes, don’t miss the Sonoma County Harvest Fair, a wine-centric event in Santa Rosa that also includes plenty of wine and food tastings. Santa Rosa also hosts the Pinot on the River event, a tasting to celebrate one of the region’s most famous varietals, attended by some of Sonoma’s best vineyards.


Finally, the end of October brings the Windsor Pumpkin Festival, an all-ages event that includes pumpkin carving and a scarecrow contest. 

If beer is more your speed, plan your stay around one of AutoCamp’s guided on-site beer tastings, hosted by a rotating lineup of local breweries.

Inspired to plan a fall stay at one of these picturesque locations? Now is the moment to hit the road if you want to experience peak fall foliage.