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The Best Fall Destinations Outside New England in 2023

10 October 2020

Everyone knows that when it comes to autumn vacations, New England is the place to be. The lush forests of the northeast burst into fiery hues, and the views of the colorful trees against the rocky coastline are simply breathtaking. Vacations By Rail offers a number of fantastic rail vacations through New England, including Autumn Tour in New England; Fall Colors of New England, Quebec & Montreal; Fall Colors, Scenic Trains & Martha's Vineyard; and New England's Autumn Foliage Express.

However, as the season begins to change, several other regions throughout the United States and Canada also explode into a rainbow of colors. North America has no shortage of spectacular autumn displays, from the Maritimes in Canada to the Southern United States. If you are looking for the best fall destinations outside New England, look no further.


Bay of Fundy, Canada

Maritime Canada

Fiery-hued fall destinations through Eastern Canada await your exploration on the Quebec to the Maritimes Featuring VIA's Ocean rail tour. Your journey commences in Quebec City, where old-European ambiance is around every corner, and the views of the fall foliage against the St. Lawrence River are positively enchanting. Enjoy two full days of exploration here before boarding VIA Rail's Ocean for an overnight journey to Moncton in New Brunswick. Upon arrival, the journey continues to the Maritimes, with stops including St. John, St. Andrews, Halifax, Cape Breton Island, and Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island. Along the way, fall foliage excursions present the beauty of coastal Canada through visits to places such as the Bay of Fundy, Annapolis Valley, and Peggy's Cove. Cape Breton Highlands and Prince Edward Islands National Parks are also featured as we explore Canada's autumn landscape. Enjoy plenty of time for sightseeing and leaf-peeping at each destination. High-end hotel accommodations and several included meals only enhance this magical fall-time tour.

Mackinac Island

The Great Lakes

Ride through the colorful scenery of Ontario aboard the Agawa Canyon Tour Train, visit "The Most Beautiful Place in America," and acquaint yourself with the splendor of the Great Lakes on the Great Lakes & Trains Featuring the Grand Hotel vacation. This tour begins in Chicago and takes travelers up along the western side of Lake Michigan through Door County, WI, en route to Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Crossing the border into Canada, we visit Sault Ste. Marie and Agawa Canyon Park in Ontario before arriving at one of the most beloved destinations on Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Mackinac Island. Our time in this charming locale is highlighted by a stay at the world-renowned Grand Hotel, a carriage ride through the city, and plenty of leisure time to enjoy the town's amenities and ambiance. Returning to Michigan's mitten, we stop in the Victorian city of Charlevoix and at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park before arriving in Dearborn, MI, where transportation history comes to life through visits to the Steam Railway Institute, the Henry Ford Museum, and the Ford Rouge Factory. Whether you seek history, fall colors, or amazing destinations, this tour offers a little something for everyone.

Sunrise Landscape Great Smoky Mountains

The Smoky Mountains

The beauty of Tennessee and North Carolina envelop you on Vacation By Rail's Smoky Mountain Rail Adventure. This journey features three fall foliage train rides, including the Tennessee Valley Railroad's Summerville Steam Special, the Incline Railway to Lookout Mountain, and the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad's Tuckasegee Steam Train, and incredible experiences in cities such as Nashville, Chattanooga, Gatlinburg, and Asheville.

Nashville is the starting point for this fall foliage journey, and your time here kicks off with tours through some of country music's most iconic sites, including the Grand Ole Opry. Take in the beautiful fall colors as you take scenic train trips in both Chattanooga and Gatlinburg, then continue to Smoky Mountain National Park, where mountain views and lush forests surround you. Asheville - the last stop on this tour - brings even more fall scenery and a dose of history as you visit the Biltmore Estate. Nine days is just enough time to enjoy the scenic South.

Frontenac Castle in Old Quebec City

The Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains

The autumn season is the perfect time to delve into the history and beauty below the Mason-Dixon Line. Fortunately, our Autumn at the Greenbrier & Historic Trains vacation is just the way to get there. This trip showcases the fall colors found in West Virginia and Virginia's mountain ranges, takes travelers on four scenic train rides, and presents the deep American history found in the nation's capital over nine thrilling days. Begin with days spent sightseeing in the nation's capital before venturing into West Virginia and riding aboard four vintage trains and scenic lines: Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad, Western Maryland Scenic Railroad, New Tygart Flyer, and the Cass Scenic Railroad. Thick blankets of fall foliage scenery make the Allegheny Mountains one of the best fall destinations. The show continues as we embark on a scenic drive deeper into West Virginia to stay at one of the nation's oldest resorts - the impressive Greenbrier Resort - and then cross into Virginia, visiting beautiful Charlottesville in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia may become your new favorite spot to see autumn explode with color.

While New England continues to be a favorite destination for leaf peeping - and for great reason - these fantastic destinations offer glimpses of more unique autumn tour options. Whether you enjoy the sights from the mountains, the city, or the countryside, nature's finale awaits your discovery this fall season.