Fall Foliage In The South

One of These Things Is Not Like The Other!

It’s almost fall, y’all!  Boots, apple cider donuts, hot tubs and football!  Every year about this time I remember how grateful I am to live in South Carolina.  It is the perfect location for so many short trips to see the fall foliage.  Our family favorite for long fall weekends has to be Gatlinburg, TN.  It is where I fell in love with Gigi’s Cupcakes!  Below is our list of favorite scenic drives in the Southeast when the leaves start to put on their show!

1. The Blue Ridge Parkway

This is a 469 mile stretch of winding mountain road that runs from near Cherokee, NC all the way up to the southern end of Shenandoah National Park in VA.

Click here for a resource to help plan a Blue Ridge Parkway road trip!

2. Cherokee Foothills National Scenic Highway (SC 11)

This route takes you to Table Rock State Park.  It also gives you quick access to Caesars Head State Park and Jones Gap State Park.  These parks offer beautiful views with valleys and coves and steep mountains as well as picnic areas and hiking trails.  There is something for everyone and so many opportunities to see the fall colors.

3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

I was unaware that this was the most visited national park in the entire country with more than 9 million annual visitors but not surprised.  This is an absolutely gorgeous area of Tennessee.  For drives you can take the Cherohala Skyway (about 40 miles) or the Ocoee Scenic Byway (about 26 miles).

4. Tail of the Dragon

This is a stretch of U.S. 441 that runs between Cherokee, NC and Gatlinburg, TN.  This is one of the nations curviest roads and a destination for motorcyclists and sports car owners.

5. Grandfather Mountain near Linville, NC

There is a fee for this one but it is so worth it!  This mountain rises 5,946 feet above sea level which affords amazing views of fall foliage in all stages.  If you time your visit right you can see the top portion of the mountain with very little leaves left on the trees still while the trees in the valley below still look green.  Somewhere in the middle is where you will see all of the amazing yellows, oranges, and reds.  If you aren’t too scared of heights you can walk across the mile high swinging bridge!

6. Skyline Drive

Skyline Drive is a 105 mile stretch of road in Shenandoah National Park.  It is $25 per private, non-commercial vehicle but it is well worth it.

7. Brasstown Bald

This Georgia mountain is 4,784 feet above sea level and gives you an incredible 360 degree view.  It’s been said that on a clear day you can see Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.  There is also a gift shop and a visitor center you can check out while you are there.  Another thing I love about this destination is that it is close to the Alpine Village of Helen, GA.  This Bavarian town is one of our favorites!

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