Video: Travel's Best Fall Foliage Road Trips

Teri Johnson reveals the country's best leaf-peeping drives.
Thomas Barwick/ Taxi/ Getty Images
Thomas Barwick/ Taxi/ Getty Images

Every Day Is a Winding Road

It's the all-American dream vacation: a cross-country road trip. Car top pulled down, wind whipping your hair, Route 66 sliding past and, of course, the perfect road-trip playlist on the stereo. Learn the best road-trip routes, as well as information on iconic sights to see along the way, like where to stop for killer roadside grub.

Get Inspired

Cabazon Dinosaurs
Cabazon Dinosaurs (Interstate 10 - Cabazon, CA)

Cabazon Dinosaurs (Interstate 10 - Cabazon, CA)

Don't be surprised to see a life-size Tyrannosaurus rex perched alongside the road while driving on Interstate 10 in Cabazon, CA. Visitors can climb to the top of the dinosaur for a close-up view of its teeth. Make a pit stop to pick up souvenirs at the museum shop, located inside Ms. Dinny, a 150-ton Apatosaurus, considered the largest concrete dino in the world. 960 1280

Dan Eckert, flickr  

General Sherman Tree (Generals Highway - Sequoia National Park, CA)

General Sherman Tree (Generals Highway - Sequoia National Park, CA)

James Wolverton, a naturalist who served among General William Tecumseh Sherman's troops, named this sequoia tree after the Civil War general in 1879. According to the US Department of the Interior, it is the largest tree by volume, standing 275 feet and 52,000 cubic feet. Nature lovers can appreciate the beauty of this tree by taking Generals Highway, located off US Highways 180 and 198 in southeastern California. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Randy's Donuts (805 W Manchester Blvd. - Inglewood, CA)

Randy's Donuts (805 W Manchester Blvd. - Inglewood, CA)

Visitors should add this roadside attraction to their travel plans. In Inglewood, CA, near the Los Angeles International Airport, stands the famous Randy's Donuts. The donut-shaped façade of this landmark building is just as popular as the tasty pastries made inside this 24-hour bakery. Located on the corner of West Manchester Boulevard and La Cienega Boulevard near Interstate 405, the giant donut -- built in 1953 -- has been featured in videos and movies like 2012, Iron Man 2 and Get Shorty. 960 1280

Extra Medium, flickr  

The Catsup Bottle (800 South Morrison Ave - Collinsville, IL)

The Catsup Bottle (800 South Morrison Ave - Collinsville, IL)

The world's largest bottle of ketchup remains in Collinsville, IL, even after the bottlers of Brooks Rich & Tangy Ketchup left town in the 1970s. This 170-foot-tall water tower was built in 1949 for the G.S. Suppiger ketchup-bottling plant, the bottlers of Brooks. The bottle reads "catsup" after the original Brooks bottle. Plan your road trip in July and attend the annual Catsup Bottle Festival, featuring a hot-dog-eating contest, ketchup tasting and crowning of Little Princess Tomato and Sir Catsup. 960 1280

Mark Williamson, Getty Images  

Lenny, The Chocolate Moose (419 US Highway 1 - Scarborough, ME)

Lenny, The Chocolate Moose (419 US Highway 1 - Scarborough, ME)

Meet Lenny, the world's only life-size moose made of 1,700 pounds of creamy milk chocolate. Located in Scarborough, ME, Lenny draws tourists to Len Libby Candies, a store that sells handcrafted chocolate and ice cream just south of Portland. 960 1280

Patti Gravel, flickr  

Paul Bunyan & Babe the Blue Ox (300 Bemidji Ave - Bemidji, MN)

Paul Bunyan & Babe the Blue Ox (300 Bemidji Ave - Bemidji, MN)

Eastman Kodak recognized lumberjack Paul Bunyan, along with his trusty sidekick Babe the Blue Ox, as the 2nd most photographed icons in the nation. These oversized, mythical characters stand high above the shore of Lake Bemidji, near the Tourist Information Center in Bemidji, MN. Road trippers can also see other versions of the colossal statues in Bangor, ME; Portland, OR, and Klamath, CA. 960 1280

two stout monks, flickr  

Jolly Green Giant (Interstate 90 - Blue Earth, MN)

Jolly Green Giant (Interstate 90 - Blue Earth, MN)

This 55-foot-tall Jolly Green Giant is a must-see if you're planning a road trip from Minneapolis to Iowa. Visit the town of Blue Earth, MN, to see this roadside attraction, built in 1978 to commemorate the completion of nearby Interstate 90. The vegetable company gave the town permission to use its symbol as long as the townspeople provided 100% of the funds to build it. 960 1280

William Koplitz, Getty Images  

Carhenge (Highway 87 - Alliance, NE)

Carhenge (Highway 87 - Alliance, NE)

Just north of Alliance, NE, on Highway 87, road trippers should keep an eye out for Carhenge. In 1987, artist Jim Reinders created this replica of the UK's Stonehenge using 38 automobiles placed in a circle measuring approximately 96 feet in diameter. Additional, smaller sculptures have been created at the site, known as the Car Art Reserve. 960 1280

Kevin Staff, flickr  

World's Largest Ball of Stamps (Flanagan Boulevard - Boys Town, NE)

World's Largest Ball of Stamps (Flanagan Boulevard - Boys Town, NE)

See the world's largest ball of stamps on Flanagan Boulevard in Boys Town, NE. The Boys Town Stamp Collecting Club started collecting stamps in 1953 to create this oversized sphere that today measures 32 inches in diameter, weighs 600 pounds and contains almost 5 million canceled stamps. The Ball reached its current size in 1955, and was featured in the syndicated newspaper column, "Ripley's Believe It Or Not." 960 1280

Laurence Pearlman © 2013  

Lucy the Elephant (9200 Atlantic Ave - Margate, NJ)

Lucy the Elephant (9200 Atlantic Ave - Margate, NJ)

In Margate, NJ, locals and visitors can climb a spiral staircase into the howdah, or bed, atop Lucy the Elephant. From this perch, it's possible to see views of Margate, NJ, the Atlantic City skyline and Atlantic Ocean. This 130-year-old, 65-foot pachyderm -- located along the beach in Josephine Herron Park -- has on-site, outdoor picnic tables, so pack a lunch. 960 1280

Aneese, Getty Images  

World's Largest Pistachio Nut (7320 US Hwy 54-70 - Alamogordo, NM)

World's Largest Pistachio Nut (7320 US Hwy 54-70 - Alamogordo, NM)

One of the more recently built roadside attractions is the World's Largest Pistachio Nut in Alamogordo, NM. Built in 2009, this 30-foot-tall nut was dedicated to the owner of McGinn's Pistachio Tree Farm (aka PistachioLand), who, according to locals, was a big fan of roadside attractions. It's worth a detour. 960 1280

The Flippers, flickr  

The Shoe Tree (US 50 - Middlegate, NV)

The Shoe Tree (US 50 - Middlegate, NV)

Take a break from driving to see this cottonwood tree just off US 50 -- also known as the "loneliest road in America" -- in Middlegate, NV. Tourists and locals drape footwear on the branches of the Shoe Tree. 960 1280

LeeAnne Adams, flickr  

Enchanted Highway (Regent, ND, to Gladstone, ND)

Enchanted Highway (Regent, ND, to Gladstone, ND)

See local artist Gary Greff's collection of the world's largest scrap metal sculptures along the Enchanted Highway, a 32-mile stretch of road between Regent and Gladstone, ND. Some of the sculptures have picnic shelters where travelers can stop for lunch, or weary drivers can check in at Gary's motel in Regent, The Enchanted Castle. 960 1280

J24L, flickr  

Golden Driller (East 21 St. - Tulsa, OK)

Golden Driller (East 21 St. - Tulsa, OK)

Planning a road trip near or through Tulsa, OK? Check out the Golden Driller, a 76-foot-tall, 22-ton concrete and iron rendering of a man. The statue was erected in 1953 to celebrate Tulsa's good fortune as entrepreneurs rushed to capitalize on the growing number of oil fields in the area. Built to withstand a 200-mph tornado, this roadside attraction was declared Oklahoma's official state monument in 1979. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Dinosaur Park (940 Skyline Drive - Rapid City, SD)

Dinosaur Park (940 Skyline Drive - Rapid City, SD)

This isn't your regular Jurassic Park! Head to Dinosaur Park if you're traveling near Rapid City, SD. This 75-year-old outdoor park is full of dino statues that project a decidedly 1930s'-era understanding of these creatures. Dinosaur Park is located on Skyline Drive and is almost as popular an attraction as nearby Mount Rushmore. 960 1280

Paul Weimer, flickr  

Cadillac Ranch (Interstate 40 - Amarillo, TX)

Cadillac Ranch (Interstate 40 - Amarillo, TX)

Created in 1974 by a group of artists called the Ant Farm, this graffiti-splattered homage to Cadillacs represents the car's evolution from 1949 to 1963. Travelers along Interstate 40, near Amarillo, TX, can see Cadillac Ranch from the road. 960 1280

waxhawian, flickr  

The Beer Can House (222 Malone St. - Houston, TX)

The Beer Can House (222 Malone St. - Houston, TX)

In 1968, John Milkovisch, a retired upholsterer for the Southern Pacific Railroad covered his house with aluminum siding made entirely of 50,000 flattened beer cans, bottles and other beer paraphernalia. Locals and visitors can visit this artsy house located on 222 Malone Street in Houston, TX. 960 1280

  

Fred Smith's Wisconsin Concrete Park (Wisconsin 13 - Phillips, WI)

Fred Smith's Wisconsin Concrete Park (Wisconsin 13 - Phillips, WI)

In Phillips, WI, artist Fred Smith created more than 200 concrete sculptures, scattered across 3.5 acres of this 16-acre small-town park. After Fred's death in 1976, the Kohler Foundation spearheaded the park's restoration and turned over control of the park to Price County, to be used as a public art park. 960 1280

Steve Mays, flickr  

Foamhenge (South Lee Highway - Natural Bridge, Virginia)

Foamhenge (South Lee Highway - Natural Bridge, Virginia)

Travelers visiting the Natural Bridge in Virginia should also pay a visit to its neighbor, a full-size, Styrofoam replica of the UK's Stonehenge. In 2004, American artist and entertainer Mark Cline built Foamhenge on a hillside in the Shenandoah Valley. 960 1280

Alun Salt, flickr  

Hamsters Motorcycle Club

Hamsters Motorcycle Club

Members of the Hamsters Motorcycle Club from the Pacific Northwest arrive in Sturgis, SD. 960 1280

  

Wild Bill

Wild Bill

Wild Bill, a Sturgis regular and best friend of the founder of One-Eyed Jack's saloon, poses for the camera. 960 1280

  

Custom Bike

Custom Bike

Technology at it's finest! A custom bike with an iPad in the dashboard sits on display outside of One-Eyed Jack's. 960 1280

  

Blowing a Kiss

Blowing a Kiss

A Sturgis attendee blows a kiss to the crowd while sitting on Main Street. 960 1280

  

Ready to Go

Ready to Go

A competitor prepares to do a burnout for the competition. His bike is on the platform, locked in and ready to go. 960 1280

  

Broken Spoke Bartenders

Broken Spoke Bartenders

Three Broken Spoke bartenders hang out by the pool during their break. 960 1280

  

On Display

On Display

A bike ridden by a member of the Hamsters Motorcycle Club sits on display in a parking lot. 960 1280

  

Custom Built

Custom Built

Kyle Shorey leans against his custom-built motorcycle he created for the J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show. 960 1280

  

Posing for the Camera

Posing for the Camera

Bob Kay, organizer of the J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show, poses for the camera with his arms crossed. 960 1280

  

Painting a Model

Painting a Model

Mark Reid paints his model, Julie, with the design of the motorcycle in the foreground. 960 1280

  

Local Bartenders

Local Bartenders

Laura, one of the local bartenders, lies across the bar in her underwear with whipped cream on her stomach in an attempt to lure in more customers. 960 1280

  

Sturgis, SD

Sturgis, SD

Bikers take over Sturgis, SD, during the 73rd annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. 960 1280

  

Broken Spoke Saloon

Broken Spoke Saloon

Ride your motorcycle right into the 3,000-square-foot Broken Spoke Saloon at Broken Spoke Campground. 960 1280

  

Broken Spoke Campground

Broken Spoke Campground

Broken Spoke Campground provides some of the craziest spectacles Sturgis has to offer including the Hellzapoppin Circus Sideshow Revue and Cowboy Kenny's Steel Rodeo. Plus, the campground is home to the annual Miss Broken Spoke competition. 960 1280

  

One-Eyed Jack Bartender

One-Eyed Jack Bartender

The bartenders at One Eyed Jack's Saloon are ready for the onslaught of thirsty bikers. 960 1280

  

Three-Wheeled Bike

Three-Wheeled Bike

A biker rides a custom 3-wheeled bike down Main Street in Sturgis, SD. 960 1280

  

Skeleton Bike

Skeleton Bike

This skeleton themed bike -- parked on Main Street -- was one of the more intricate bikes at the 73rd annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. 960 1280

  

Sunset in Sturgis

Sunset in Sturgis

The sun sets over the pool at Broken Spoke. 960 1280

  

fall, folaige, vermont, hogback mountain, greenery
Northeast: Vermont

Northeast: Vermont

"When I lived in Vermont, hundreds would come and ride the scenic train every fall." – Michele F. 960 1280

By chensiyuan (chensiyuan) [GFDL  

Northeast: New Hampshire

Northeast: New Hampshire

"White Mountains in New Hampshire – Kencamagus Highway is gorgeous!" – Stephanie C. 960 1280

By Miles Scanlon (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Northeast: Maine

Northeast: Maine

"Acadia National Park in Maine, of course!" – Darcy G. 960 1280

Jeff Gunn  

Northeast: New Jersey

Northeast: New Jersey

"Sculpture garden, Hamilton, N.J." – Jay P. 960 1280
Northeast: New York

Northeast: New York

"Thatcher State Park near Albany, N.Y.!" – Kelly B. 960 1280

Danita Delimont/Gallo Images/Getty Images  

South: Tennessee

South: Tennessee

"Gatlinburg is absolutely beautiful! Can't beat the Smoky Mountains in the fall!!" – Amanda M. 960 1280

Chris Murray/Aurora/Getty Images  

South: Arkansas

South: Arkansas

"The Ozark Mountains in Arkansas. Very beautiful scenic beauty there also." – Matthew G. 960 1280

By Doug Wertman (Flickr: Overlooking The Buffalo River) [CC BY 2.0]  

Midwest: Ohio

Midwest: Ohio

"The covered bridges in Ashtabula County, Ohio." – Marilue B. 960 1280

By IntuneDan (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0]  

Midwest: Minnesota

Midwest: Minnesota

"Northern Minnesota: the Iron Range or North Shore of Lake Superior. GORGEOUS!" – Ted G. 960 1280

By kkmarais [CC BY 2.0]  

Midwest: Illinois

Midwest: Illinois

"Galena, Illinois." – Seung K.

Whether you're window shopping on Main Street or watching the fall foliage creep over the countryside, it's small town Americana at its best.

960 1280

Bob Hallam/Getty Images  

Midwest: Wisconsin

Midwest: Wisconsin

"Door County in Wisconsin" – Kathy K.

Where brisk weather, vibrant forests and delicious farmers markets and orchards makes sure it feels, looks and tastes like fall.

960 1280

By Leif and Evonne [CC BY 2.0]  

Midwest: Michigan

Midwest: Michigan

"The upper peninsula of Pure Michigan! Copper Harbor and Tahquamenon Falls." – Michelle M. 960 1280

Danita Delimont, Getty Images  

Midwest: Indiana

Midwest: Indiana

"Indiana near the beautiful covered bridges". – L. Morrison 960 1280

By Cszmurlo [GFDL or CC BY 3.0]  

Midwest: Colorado

Midwest: Colorado

"I live in Colorado and a lot of local peeps go up on the Grand Mesa around color Sunday. All of the aspens, brush and other trees are very beautiful." – Shelli P. 960 1280
West: Idaho

West: Idaho

"McCall, Idaho!" – Alexis D.

Nowhere are the bursts of red and yellow more bright than beneath the aptly named Rainbow Bridge over the Payette River just two hours north of Boise.

960 1280
West: Washington

West: Washington

"Seattle, Washington"  – Sarah K.

You don’t have to go far to see Autumnal hues, picnic and play in fallen leaves at Woodland Park (just south of the zoo) or stroll along nearby Bellevue Botanical Garden’s Lost Meadow loop.

960 1280
Mid-Atlantic: North Carolina

Mid-Atlantic: North Carolina

"Blue Ridge Mountains in Western North Carolina." – David R. 960 1280
Mid-Atlantic: West Virginia

Mid-Atlantic: West Virginia

"Highland Scenic Highway, Pocahontas County, W.V."– Carol S. 960 1280

By Squashpup [GFDL  

Mid-Atlantic: Virginia

Mid-Atlantic: Virginia

"Charlottesville, Virginia (or better yet, at a nearby vineyard)." – Brian P. 960 1280
Mid-Atlantic: Pennsylvania

Mid-Atlantic: Pennsylvania

"Bucks County, Pennsylvania!" – Jeff H.

Embark on a tour of Bucks County’s charming covered bridges (there are 12 in all) or getting a bird’s-eye view of the countryside with the U.S. Hot Air Balloon team!

960 1280
Route 66
Route 66

Route 66

Get your kicks spotting one of these California highway Route 66 signs. 960 1280

iStockphoto  

Truck Stop Missouri

Truck Stop Missouri

One of the signs located outside of Midway Truck Stop in Columbia, Missouri - the home of Travel Channel's new show, Truck Stop Missouri. 960 1280

Travel Channel  

Panther Crossing

Panther Crossing

Taking a trip through Alligator Alley? You might spot one of these panther-crossing road signs in Florida Everglades National Park. 960 1280

iStockphoto  

Venice Beach

Venice Beach

Fitness fanatics in Venice Beach, California can feel a little safer when crossing the street. A huge sign warns careless motorists that body builders are crossing. 960 1280

Getty  

Buffalo Crossing

Buffalo Crossing

You'll find exotic -and possibly malevolent - buffalo crossing the road in Delta Junction, Alaska. 960 1280
Whoa

Whoa

This whimsical sign tells motorists (and those on horseback) to "whoa" instead of stop at entrance to a rural Wyoming highway. 960 1280

iStockphoto  

Share the Road

Share the Road

A friendly reminder from those who like to explore the city and countryside on two wheels: share the road. 960 1280

iStockphoto  

Exit to Nowhere

Exit to Nowhere

This exit to nowhere is located near Vail Pass, Colorado. 960 1280

Mftaylor  

Railroad Crossing

Railroad Crossing

Railroad Crossing sign on Wilson Road between Greenfield and East Monroe, Ohio. 960 1280
Las Vegas

Las Vegas

Driving to Vegas, Fear-and-Loathing style? You'll be sure to pass this famous road sign. 960 1280
Surfer Crossing

Surfer Crossing

Look out for dudes carrying longboards at the Mount Hermon campground and conference center near Felton, California. 960 1280
Moose Crossing

Moose Crossing

A charging moose can do a great deal of damage to your car - better drive with caution! 960 1280

iStockphoto  

Warthog Crossing

Warthog Crossing

Look out for warthogs if you're driving on this prairie country road. 960 1280

iStockphoto  

Willamette

Willamette

Natural disasters abound, according to this sign near the Willamette River in Oregon. 960 1280

iStockphoto  

DUI

DUI

This DUI traffic sign in Pennsylvania appeals to driver's budgets to stay sober on the road. 960 1280

iStockphoto  

Bikes and Rail Tracks

Bikes and Rail Tracks

Make sure your bike wheels are perpendicular to the streetcar tracks - or you might find yourself head over handlebars. Luckily, the sign's victim is wearing a helmet. 960 1280
Use Lower Gear

Use Lower Gear

Use a lower gear - and save your car's transmission in the mountains. 960 1280

iStockphoto  

Flood

Flood

A sign states the obvious as floodwaters surround it on a roadway in Vicksburg, Mississippi. 960 1280

Reuters  

Best Destinations for Road Trips

The Hot List

Explore America’s most stunning scenery.
Join the conversation on Social Media!
Stay updated on the latest travel tips and trends.
Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss Travel Channel in your favorite social media feeds.