Autumn is one of the most gorgeous times of year, worldwide. As the leaves evolve from summer green to an electric palate of red, orange and yellow, there’s no better way to experience the explosive beauty (not to mention the lovely weather!) than by sleeping beneath the colorful foliage. Here are some of the best places to pitch a tent, build a campfire and take in a front row view of the most breathtaking season.
Shelburne Camping Area: Shelburne, Vermont
There’s nothing like autumn in New England and some of the most gorgeous leaf peeping can be found here alongside majestic Lake Champlain.
Lakeview Park Campground: Lakeview Park, Arkansas
Lakeview is proof that you don’t have to be up north to enjoy the fall foliage. The 78 campsites are set on Bull Shoals Lake, which offers year-round fishing and is a winter retreat for more than 100 bald eagles. Don’t forget your tackle box and binoculars.
Raccoon Branch Campground: Sugar Grove, Virginia
Perched at an elevation of 2,880 ft. and nestled within the George Washington & Jefferson National Forest, this site is a hiker’s dream. The trails wind along crystal clear mountain streams and a nearby footpath offers access to the famed Appalachian Trail.
Dolly Copp Campgrounds: Gorham, NH
Situated at the base of 6,288-foot Mount Washington — the highest peak north of the Smoky Mountains — Dolly Copp is the perfect spot for animal lovers. The area is home to a multitude of northern wildlife, including white-tailed deer, moose and black bears. You can also find nearly 200 species of birds including the rare Bicknell’s Thrush throughout the surrounding White Mountain National Forest’s 800,000 acres.
Roosevelt State Park: Morton, Missouri
Located between Meridian and Jackson, the gently sloping landscape of this park provides striking views of the Bienville National Forest in it’s autumnal glory. There is also fishing, tennis, hiking and mountain biking alongside Shadow Lake.
Ledges State Park: Madrid, Iowa
The park’s extraordinary geological sites are best viewed on the unique canyon drive — a winding one-way road along Pea’s Creek that not only features the season’s changing leaves but includes breathtaking vistas of prehistoric sandstone ledges that form dramatic cliffs and valleys throughout the park.
Blackwoods Campground: Otter Creek, Maine
Take in the change of season along a 27-mile historic loop road within Acadia National Park that boasts views of coastal forests, rocky shoreline and distant mountains. Explore the park’s waterways with a ranger-narrated boat cruise or go at your own pace in a kayak or canoe.
Burchfield Branch Park: Adger, Alabama
Year-round fishing is one of the top activities at this site near Holt Lake on the Black Warrior-Tombigbee Waterway, which is full of bass and catfish. Grills are available onsite to make a delicious dinner of your daily catch!
Camden Hills State Park: Camden, Maine
Drive or hike to the top of Mount Battle for incredible views of Camden Harbor and Penobscot Bay. Other activities include horseback riding, mountain biking and — when the temperatures really drop — snow shoeing and cross-country skiing.
Sorrisniva: Tromsø, Norway
This trip falls squarely in the “glamping” category, but sleeping under the stars on a reindeer blankets within a traditional Norwegian lavvo tent (similar to a Native American tipi) is an experience you’ll never forget.
Fort De Soto Park: St. Petersburg, Florida
Cold weather isn’t for everybody. If chilly New England nights aren’t your thing, pitch a tent under the palm trees alongside the three-mile stretch of white sand beach at this year-round warm weather destination. Other draws include a 2.25-mile canoe trail and 1-mile nature trail in the Arrowhead picnic area.
Cape Fair Campground: Cape Fair, Missouri
Open through October, Cape Fair is set on a lake that boasts 779 miles of shoreline with ample hiking and mountain biking trails to take in the fall foliage at your own pace.
Au lac de Como: Sorico, Lake Como, Italy
Although it’s not George Clooney’s villa, the price is right at this campsite located on picturesque Lake Como. Activities include windsurfing, rowing, kite surfing and canoeing. A hike to the top of Mount Legnone is a must!
Cape Disappointment State Park: Ilwaco, Washington
Don’t let the name fool you, the park offers scenic campsites along windswept cliffs facing the Pacific Ocean. Explore the varied landscape on hikes through old-growth forest, ocean tidelands, around freshwater lakes and past saltwater marshes.
Le Grand Champ: Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France
Set at the foot of Europe’s highest peak, this campsite is perfect for families. Local draws include mountain climbing, hiking and paragliding excursions.