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11 Best places for fall foliage

Nina Spitzer is a SheKnows.com columnist and a freelance writer living in sunny Cave Creek, Arizona.

Leaf peeping at its best!

Does the crisp, cool air of autumn remind you that summer is gone? Is the call of fall colors awakening the leaf peeper in you? Don't wait a moment longer. Take a fall color drive before all the leaves have drifted to the ground.

Vermont in the Fall

Aren't we fortunate that this great land of ours offers marvelous leaf peeping opportunities nationwide?

Here are 11 amazing autumn leaf peeping destinations to tease your interest. Surely, you'll find many more on your own.

1Vermont

Is there a best place to view the fall foliage in Vermont? Cruising Vermont is sure to bombard the eyes with colors of the season. A variety of elevations and deciduous trees paint an explosion of color upon hillsides throughout the state. Specially flashy are the reds of the sugar maples and the state tree. Farmhouses and barns dot the hillsides, adding interest to the overwhelming dazzle of color. Country stores lure visitors in for freshly picked apples, maple syrup, local cheeses and interesting antiques. How about a bird's eye view of leaf peeping colors from Killington's gondola sky ride? Enjoy a picnic or restaurant lunch at the top of the mountain while gazing out upon views of five states and Canada too. Use the Vermont foliage forecaster map for the 'when' and 'where' of the best colors.

Vermont Autumn Color Hotlines: 1- 800-828-3239

2Upper Peninsula of MichiganMichigan

Michigan is a leaf peeper's paradise where the annual blaze of colors pop and crackle over every inch of the state. Vibrant colors paint the state from top to bottom and from elevations high and low. The drape of color begins in the Upper Peninsula and makes its way down the state as temperatures and elevations drop. The show is amazing, sending locals and visitors alike on endless fall color tours. With over 30 varieties of trees, the colors of autumn in the Hiawatha National Forest would please any artist's palette. Located on Michigan's upper peninsula, the 880,000 acre park touches the shores of Lakes Michigan, Superior and Huron, giving it over 100 miles of shoreline. If that isn't enough, Michigan's many interior lakes also add to the magical beauty of the fall colors.

Michigan Autumn Color Hotlines: 1-800-644-3255

3Colorado

If solid gold is your thing, then head to Colorado where the 14-karat gold of the quaking aspens will take your breath away. With over 2.7 million acres, Colorado has more aspens than any other state. Drive the back roads from Ouray to Telluride for a golden display of aspens and colorful wildflowers. Other excellent places to leaf peep Colorado's gold are Cottonwood Canyon, Green Mountain Falls, Estes Park and, of course, Aspen, where Maroon Bells and the reflections of the aspens in Maroon Lake are spectacular.

If you're brave, take the switchback road to the Twin Lakes Reservoir for majestic aspen views from the highest paved mountain pass in the country. If you don't mind driving a few more hours through beautiful Colorado autumn, drive southwest of Crested Butte along County Highway 12 and across Kebler Pass, to see one of the largest stands of aspens on Earth. The views are breathtaking with mountains and valleys draped in golden aspens under a brilliant sky of blue.

4Central Park, New York CityCentral Park, New York City

Central Park is wonderful anytime of year, but truly shows its colors in autumn. The reflection of reds, oranges and brown shimmering in its lakes with a backdrop of New York City's towering glass buildings gives Central Park a charm all on its own. Bundle up and rent a rowboat for a view of the fall colors from the lake. Get your fill of leaf peeping combined with a lakeside brunch at The Tavern on the Green. Stroll the many meandering paths under umbrellas of autumn colors while gathering handfuls of leaves. Toss your scarf around your neck and enjoy New York City at its finest.

New York Autumn Color Hotlines: 1-800-225-5697 

5Pennsylvania

If you like mixing your autumn colors with water, then Pennsylvania is the place to go. The Delaware Water Gap area is lovely at fall foliage time. Drive US-209 along the Delaware River from I-80 to Milford to see the many colors of autumn shimmering on the surface of the river. Located in Northeast Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains is Bushkill Falls, also known as the "Niagara Falls of Pennsylvania." A small admission charge and some hiking through a network of trails, bridges, and crunching autumn leaves can take you to any of its eight waterfalls, including the 100 foot high Main Falls. Maybe leaf peeping of the color palette from the air is more your style. Than hop into a hot air balloon at the Mid-October Timber and Balloon Festival at the Shawnee Mountain Ski Area.

Pennsylvania Autumn Color Hotlines: 1-800-325-5467 

Up next: 6 More fall foliage destinations >>

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