Brilliant hues of red, orange, and gold floating through the cool autumn breeze make for an intoxicating fall getaway. We’ve rounded up five of the most delectable road trips to see autumnal sights, along with some sweet Airbnbs to make your trip one to remember. Bon voyage!

The Blue Ridge Parkway

winding road fall foliage

America’s longest linear park, the Blue Ridge Parkway stretches for 469 miles across Virginia and North Carolina. This scenic drive connects two of the region's most beautiful national parks: the Shenandoah and the Smoky Mountains. The drive weaves through tons of hiking trails, scenic overlooks, and waterfalls. While the peak time to drive this stretch varies for the best fall foliage, mid-late October is generally a safe bet. If you are later in the season, focus on traversing the lower elevations.

Nearby Airbnbs

The Loft at Harvest Gardens

  • Accommodations: 4 guests · 2 bedrooms · 1 bed · 1 bath
  • Price per Night: $115

This is the perfect little cabin to stay in at the beginning or end of your trip! The property is located less than an hour from the highest point of the parkway and a short jaunt to the Cherokee End of the route.

Treehouse on the Blue Ridge Parkway

  • Accommodations: 4 guests · 1 bedroom · 2 beds · 1 bath
  • Price per night: $176/night

You can live out your childhood treehouse fantasies in an iconic spot that was built on-camera for an episode of Animal Planet’s Treehouse Masters. The only thing better than driving through all the orange, golden, and red trees of fall is to stay in them. This eco-friendly treehouse has a composting toilet and offers a quiet place nestled in the forest away from the hustle-and-bustle.

The Outside Inn on the Blue Ridge Parkway

  • Accommodations: 4 guests · 1 bedroom · 2 beds · 1 bath
  • Price per night: $63

This Tiny Cabin is snuggled into 40 acres of land just off the Parkway near Lewis Fork Overlook. A full on glamping experience that will give you a full taste of life in Appalachia.

Woodlands Trace National Scenic Byway

Woodlands Trace National Scenic Byway golden leaves orange leaves fall foliage
Livingston County Tourism Commission

This beautiful drive cuts down the middle of the aptly named “Land between the Lakes” as the byway crossing between Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. Clocking in at about 43 miles, this is an easy day trip with tons to do all around the 170,000 acres of public land. From historic landmarks, to off-road trails, boating, and more, Woodlands Trace National Scenic Byway is not to be missed.

Nearby Airbnbs

Kentucky Lake Cabin w/Private Dock + Fire Pit

  • Accommodations: 4 guests · 2 bedrooms · 3 beds · 1 bath
  • Price per night: $129

This lakefront property has the perfect blend of indoor/outdoor feelings to keep you cozy for fall on Kentucky Lake. With a huge deck, firepit, and sunroom, there is no shortage of spaces to enjoy the outdoors with the creature comforts of home.

Vacation at the Zoo!

  • Accommodations: 3 guests · 1 bath
  • Price per night: $50

Perfect for the little ones, you can stay in a tiny house at a petting zoo right off the scenic byway! By booking this cute little stay, you have free access to the petting zoo which includes over 80 animals within 15 species!

Shadow of the Bear Drive

Shadow of the Bear Drive Asheville, NC fall foliage shadow mountains

During the last two weeks of October, make your way to Rhodes Big View Overlook and see the famous Shadow of the Bear. Driving down Route 64, you will be surrounded by the intoxicating Whiteside Mountains. The Shadow of the Bear emerges from about 5:30-6pm in mid-October through early November—so you can take in the gorgeous fall foliage alongside this natural phenomenon. The bear can also be seen between mid-February and early March if you are looking for a more wintery vibe.

Nearby Airbnbs

Rosewood with a VIEW

  • Accommodations: 2 guests · Studio · 1 bed · 1 bath
  • Price per night: $125

A prime spot to watch the sunrise and sunset along your journey to the Shadow of the Bear drive. Sitting at an elevation of 4,200 ft, this retreat is on 10 acres backing up to Nantahala National Forest. Fully equipped with a hot tub, enjoy a sightline of 50-70 miles out into the distance.

Melrose Cottage

  • Accommodations: 3 guests · 1 bedroom · 2 beds · 1 bath
  • Price per night: $204

This rustic cabin was reassembled in the 1950’s with beams dating back to the Civil War. Remodeled in the 2000s and a quick jaunt from the downtown Highlands area, this is the prime location for a weekend get-a-way. All the charms of a classic mountain cabin to come back to after an awe-inspiring roam through the Highlands.

The Great River Road

The Great River Road Effigy Mounds National Monument fall foliage Mississippi River
The Great River Road Facebook

The Great River Road stretches 3,000 miles, winding along the Mississippi River. You can start or end the drive in the southeast. Starting in Louisiana, you can drive north all the way to Wisconsin and take in the beautiful fall foliage all along the river. If pressed for time, you can easily shorten this drive to include different stretches along the Great River Road and still take in the changing of the leaves and unique wildlife.

Nearby Airbnbs

Garden studio in 1840s home, Steps from Bourbon #4

  • Accommodations: 2 guests · Studio · 2 beds · 1 bath
  • Price per night: $55

If you begin your trip in New Orleans, this is a perfect little spot to get a real taste for the city on the Mighty Mississippi. This lovely garden studio is situated just steps away from all that the French Quarter has to offer.

The Sunflower Cottage on the River in Clarksdale, MS

  • Accommodations: 5 guests · 1 bedroom · 5 beds · 1 bath
  • Price per night: $129

Boasting beautiful forest foliage views, this quaint little cottage is located along the Sunflower River. It can be found about a mile from downtown Clarksdale, Mississippi, which sits along the southeastern stretch of the Great River Road. Dubbed the "Home of the Blues," Clarksdale offers a little taste of the delicious music that traveled along this road from the Delta to Minnesota.

Natchez Trace Parkway

Natchez Trace Parkway bike trail fall foliage wooden fence

Winding through Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi, the Natchez Trace Parkway is lined by hardwood trees, including maple, hickory, and oak. In mid-late October, the sights are mind-blowing as the forest illuminates with vibrant hues of fall. This 444-mile scenic drive roughly follows the "Old Natchez Trace," which according to the National Park Service was a "historic travel corridor used by American Indians, "Kaintucks," European settlers, slave traders, soldiers, and future presidents."

Nearby Airbnbs

Cutesy on the River...historic downtown

  • Accommodations: 5 guests · 1 bedroom · 3 beds · 1 bath
  • Price per night: $90

Start your trip in Natchez, Mississippi in this adorable cottage on the river. Over a century old, this sweet little cabin is within walking distance from downtown attractions and restaurants. Make sure to stock up on road snacks and some local beer for your journey.

Music Row Villas 3

  • Accommodations: 4 guests · 1 bedroom · 2 beds · 1 bath
  • Price per night: $55

The Natchez Trace Parkway ends in Nashville, and there’s no better way to do Music City than on Music Row! This hip little apartment is a perfect way to end (or kick-off) your extended drive with a night at a good ol’ honky-tonk!

Protip: Download the Gaia GPS App before you hop on the road! For many of these drives, you will move through long stretches of remote areas where Google Maps may or may not be operating. This app has saved us on many trips from navigation fatigue.

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