While we’ve got pretty much the best of everything here in Florida, one of the things we miss out on is the riot of color that the fall foliage brings to the northern climes. However, there are a few places within easy driving distance where you can drink it all in while it lasts – and some of them are right here in our state!
If you are hoping to experience the beauty of autumn foliage, we’ve got you covered. Head for the hills! Higher elevations bring cooler temperatures and that’s what nature needs to get those reds and oranges going.
Here are some of our top picks for the closest places in and around Florida for fall foliage:
Torreya State Park
Just west of Tallahassee you’ll find Torreya State Park. Its high bluffs overlook the Apalachicola River whose slopes are replete with Acer maples, sweetgum, and sourwood trees. Late October is the time to go if you want to experience fall color here in all its splendor. Note that currently the park itself is closed due to storm damage from Hurricane Michael, but surrounding areas of Bristol are still accessible to traffic.
Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park
Traveling south from Tallahassee, you’ll find plenty of maple trees in full regalia at Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park. Boat tours are available too, where you’ll be able to see the sights while touring some of the state’s deepest freshwater springs and discover places where dinosaurs used to roam free.
Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail
Here, you’ll get the best of the fall season in a uniquely Floridian way: imagine seeing colorful trees, dolphins, manatees, and whales all in the same excursion! The 30-mile loop takes you through some of the state’s oldest forests as well as pre-civil war plantations, lagoons, and more. Storm advisories recommend checking road closures before setting out.
Out-of-state fall foliage destinations
If you’re up for a slightly more ambitious excursion, you can always venture out-of-state. North Carolina, Georgia, and parts of Alabama are gorgeous in the fall – and what better excuse is there to get out of town and explore the majesty of the season?
Asheville, NC, in the western part of the state, is well-known for its fall foliage. The Blue Ridge Mountains and the Great Smoky Mountains feature 6,000-foot elevations, supporting one of the longest fall color seasons in the country. With a window that lasts up to five weeks or more, you’ve still got plenty of time to plan a long weekend trip.
If you’re looking for a little urban adventure to go with your nature-tripping, try Atlanta, GA, on for size. The landscape surrounding the city is blazing with color right now and you can spend your evenings discovering Atlanta’s nightlife or culinary scene.
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