It’s that time of year when all you want to do is jump in the car and go, and New York fall foliage is some of the best in the country to explore. Whether it’s the Adirondacks, the 1000 Islands, Central New York or the Catskills, we got you covered. Here are a few great spots in the Empire State to kick off leaf-peeping season.
Listen in to AAA’s fall foliage report for weekly updates on foliage throughout the region.
This region is home to the Finger Lakes with dozens of family-owned wineries along its slender lakes (Seneca, Cayuga, etc.), where you can take a tour and have a tasting of an award-winning Riesling amid the fab fall foliage of the surrounding hillsides. Nearby is Letchworth State Park (35 miles from Rochester) known for its spectacular waterfalls, gorges and enormous rock formations (see photo above). Spend the night at Aurora Inn on the shores of Lake Cayuga.
This 50-mile stretch of the St. Lawrence River between northern New York and southeastern Ontario, Canada is one the state’s best-kept secrets. The river is dotted with 1,864 islands, which in fall are bursting with autumnal color. Take a scenic boat cruise from Alexandria Bay, where the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel recently opened, to visit a few including Heart Island, dominated by historic Boldt Castle. And nearby Wellesley Island State Park is always a popular leaf-peeping spot.
Fall is the absolute perfect time to visit this charming village in upstate New York. After exploring Main Street (with its one traffic light) and the Baseball Hall of Fame, take a few scenic drives to places like Ommegang, a Belgian-style brewery for a tour and tasting and Fly Creek Cider Mill where you can buy apple cider donuts, fudge and fruit pies at its sprawling market. And hit the historic Otesaga resort for a pre-dinner cocktail on the porch overlooking Lake Otsego.
You can’t go wrong with a weekend in the Catskills for top-notch foliage viewing and fun things to do. At the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts catch a concert at its outdoor amphitheater or visit its Craft Beer or Annual Harvest festivals. In Woodstock, stroll the streets of the famous hippie town and then take a hike up Overlook Mountain. Dine at Peekamoose in the nearby village of Big Indian, known for its locally sourced menu.
In the northernmost Catskills, leaf-peepers will be gobsmacked at the beauty of Kaaterskill Falls, a two-tier cascade that just begs to be photographed (or painted as many of the Hudson River School devotees did). No matter what time of year it is, there’s always something going on at Hunter Mountain, but fall is one of its most vibrant seasons. Enjoy one of four Oktoberfest weekends where you can sample German beer and food and listen to live music.
In just about an hour from New York City, you can take scenic drives to surround yourself with colorful leaves. One such place is along the Taconic State Parkway where you can cross the red-painted Amvets Memorial Bridge over New Croton Reservoir. There’s also fab foliage viewing at Rockefeller State Park Reserve, Ward Pound Ridge Reservation and Croton Point Park which sits along the Hudson River shoreline. Stock up on pumpkins and apples at Muscoot Farm‘s farmers market while Peter Pratt’s Inn, in a former colonial home, is great spot for a post-drive meal.
For more great New York fall foliage and views, visit AAA.com/foliage.