Fall is my favorite time of year. As soon as the calendar rolls to August as it did today, my thoughts turn to cool mornings, kids with backpacks trundling down the street to catch a school bus, and the rivers and hills being painted by trees that are celebrating the passing of summer and preparing for their winter slumber.
I am lucky to live and work in an area where fall explodes and embraces the landscape. Reds, yellows, golds, and the ever-staunch evergreens make Idaho a beautiful place to be when the seasons change. And if you're wondering if it's worth it to drag yourself to an area of the country where the seasons change dramatically, don't doubt it for a second. It's well worth the trip.
If you have your heart set on going to New England, remember that Fall is the busiest tourist time of the year, so planning ahead is critical, but even then, there are no guarantees that Mother Nature will cooperate.
Book in Advance
Check travel sites like Kayak, Travelocity and IgoUgo.com for deals. For this trip, you will want to book air and a rental car, but you may want to book your hotels separately. Flying into Logan International Airport in Boston is an option, for example, but don't forget about flying into Manchester, NH or Providence, RI. You're likely not going to stay where you fly into if you're headed to see the leaves, so do your homework on surrounding airports for the best deals. Another great fall foliage area that's really unique is Jackson Hole, WY and Yellowstone National Park.
When to Go
It's best to plan your trip no earlier than the last week in September, and generally into the third week in October. Many people call Columbus Day the traditional "fall celebration" time in the US, but it varies across the country. The farther north you plan to head, the earlier that Fall will begin and end.
Driving and Sightseeing
You CAN drive solo and still sightsee. Get a good GPS unit with your rental car, and keep your eyes peeled for "lookouts" and "view points" that are on the sides of the roads. DO NOT get out of your car on a busy highway, parking in the emergency lane, just to get a good photo. Park your car where it's safe. There will be plenty of trees on up the road. Remember, plan your drive time into your trips. My recommendation is to plan to drive about 4 hours a day.
Planning now for a fall foliage vacation can give you a great way to escape and relax before the holidays kick in.