There's nothing like autumn in New York. The changing leaves create a scenic background more beautiful than can be imagined. If you're into road trips, here are some ideas to maximize your fall foliage viewing opportunities, with plenty of suggestions of what to do along the way. 

Masks are encouraged, but optional in most settings per New York State guidelines. Individual businesses or attractions may require mask wearing. Call ahead and check websites and social media to make sure attractions and amenities are open and available. 

Updated 7/27/23

The Catskills

Upper Delaware Scenic Byway

Plan your fall drive through the Catskill Mountains via the picturesque Upper Delaware Scenic Byway (pictured). Just 90 minutes from Manhattan, by traveling scenic Route 97, you’ll find county eateries, museums, historical sites, and antique shops, all surrounded by rolling hills and rock-cut landscapes. The Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River, which largely parallels the highway, offers numerous access points for fishing and boating.

Stop for the night at Audrey’s Farmhouse, a bed and breakfast not only perfect for the human members of your family but also for your pets.

Hudson Valley

Photo Credit: Matthew Williams
Credit: Matthew Williams

The stunning Hudson Valley offers an ideal respite for city dwellers and out-of-towners alike. The Hudson Valley lies on either side of the 300-mile-long Hudson River, and stretches north to south through eight counties, from Albany in the north to Yonkers in the south. The region is easily navigable—take Interstate 87 east of the river and Highway 9 to the west, both heading north and south.

Hudson Valley attractions include incredible vistas, charming villages with an abundance of antique shops, and incredible dining options. Fall is the perfect season to discover the more than a dozen vineyards along the Shawangunk Hudson Valley Wine Trail in Ulster County.

Rest up for the night at Rivertown Lodge (pictured), a 1920's converted movie theater in Hudson with wood plank floors, a library, and a mix of vintage and refined custom-built furniture pieces.

The Adirondacks

View of Cascade Mountain from Route 73 (High Peaks Byway)

You'll see leaves in abundance on these spectacular scenic driving tours through the Adirondack Mountains. The High Peaks Scenic Byway (pictured) takes you through the Adirondacks' highest peaks and along some of its most pristine waters, including Chapel Pond, Johns Brook, Roaring Brook Falls, and the Cascade Lakes.

High Peaks Resort in Lake Placid makes an ideal home base. Adirondak Loj & Wilderness Campground offers private rooms, cabins, and camping grounds plus education programs and hiking information with 10 miles of snowshoeing and cross-country trails.

Thousand Islands-Seaway

Boldt Castle

The Thousand Islands-Seaway region, with nearly 2,000 islands along 50 miles of the St. Lawrence River, certainly lives up to its name. The region is full of historic battlefields, museums, lighthouses, and castles.


Cruise along the Great Lakes Seaway Trail, one of the first roads in America to be designated as a National Scenic Byway. Follow the shores of Lake Erie, the Niagara River, Lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence River on this 518-mile scenic driving route connecting Niagara Falls to the Thousand Islands-Seaway. Along the way you’ll see rolling hills and lighthouses like the Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse in Rochester and Tibbetts Point Lighthouse in Cape Vincent. Visit Coyote Moon Vineyards, the Cape Winery, and Thousand Islands Winery to taste the large variety of wines the region has to offer.

All that wine tasting may leave you exhausted, so rest up at the 1000 Island Harbor Hotel or the Bonnie Castle Resorts and Marina

Finger Lakes

Canandaigua Lake

Take a drive from Watkins Glen to Branchport to see all the wonderful sights the Finger Lakes has to offer. The Finger Lakes region is a patchwork of rich farmland and small towns, with a mix of 19th-century homes and quaint red-brick downtowns. The winding roads follow the lake shores—glide along the water's edges and through rolling green farmland.

A traveler cannot live on leaves alone! Add wine and cheese to your day of autumn explorations by planning a driving route that includes wineries and creameries. Check out the area's wine and cheese trails and work your way through the culinary delights.

Rest for the night at the pretty Blackberry Inn Bed & Breakfast or the historical awe-inspiring Belhurst Castle, nestled on the shores of deep-blue glacier-carved Seneca Lake.

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