By Cameron Huddleston / GoBankingRates
September 14, 2016

A road trip in the fall can be an opportunity to see parts of the U.S. without the crowds and higher prices that are abundant in the summer. Of course, if you want to cruise along a route that offers a great display of fall foliage, you might run into more traffic. But if you want to enjoy the leaves and the views, a slow pace can be better.

Fall is also a good time to hit the open road because gas prices tend to drop after Labor Day, when the peak summer driving season ends, according to So if you want to hop in your car to explore, here are 31 great road trips to take this fall.

1. Parkway Road Trip

  • Starting point: Charlottesville, Va.
  • Ending point: Asheville, N.C.
  • Distance: 469 miles

Fall — October, in particular — is an ideal time to take a drive along the Parkway to see a display of gold, red and orange leaves. The Parkway winds through the Blue Ridge Mountains, offering stunning views and connecting Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. It’s been named America’s Favorite Drive and is one of the most-visited parts of the national park system.

You can get a room at the Pisgah Inn, which offers the highest elevation lodging on the Blue Ridge Parkway, for $179 per night and up in October.

Read: Breathtaking Sights Around the World You Can See for Free

2. Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire Road Trip

  • Starting point: Lincoln, N.H.
  • Ending point: Conway, N.H.
  • Distance: 34.5 miles

You can see fall foliage at its finest along this stretch of New Hampshire Route 112. This American Scenic Byway cuts through White Mountain National Forest and offers views of the White Mountain, Swift River, two waterfalls and a gorge — and, of course, brightly colored leaves in autumn.

There are no gas stations, restaurants or hotels on Kancamagus Highway. There’s only one cabin — Radeke Cabin — along the highway that can be rented for $40 per day plus a $9 reservation fee.

3. Big Bend Scenic Loop, Texas Road Trip

  • Starting point: Panther Junction Visitor Center, Big Bend National Park
  • Ending point: Panther Junction Visitor Center
  • Distance: 100 miles

Fall is a good time to visit Big Bend National because the sweltering heat of the summer has given way to warm and pleasant weather. A drive through this vast and isolated park in Western Texas offers stunning views of massive canyons, mountains, desert expanses and the Rio Grande River.

It’s important to drive within the 45 mph speed limit and watch for wildlife along the road — especially at night. Those who want to drive through the park’s backcountry on dirt roads need to make sure they have a high-clearance vehicle with four-wheel drive.

You can camp at one of the park’s three campgrounds for $14 per night or stay in the Chisos Mountains Lodge, with rooms starting at $141.

4. High Road to Taos Road Trip

  • Starting point: Santa Fe, N.M.
  • Ending point: Taos, N.M.
  • Distance: 105 miles

The High Road to Taos twists and turns through the scenic Sangre de Cristo mountain range and takes drivers past artist colonies and villages with well-preserved Spanish colonial architecture. The drive can take several hours if you stop along the way to Taos, which draws visitors to its ski resorts, art galleries and historic sites. You can find lodging at the Taos Country Inn, with rooms starting at $145.

Read: Cross-Country Road Trip Vacations Under $350

5. Million Dollar Highway Road Trip

  • Starting point: Montrose, Colo.
  • Ending point: Durango, Colo.
  • Distance: 105 miles

If you drive from Montrose to Durango on U.S. Route 550, you’ll pass through a 25-mile stretch from Ouray to Silverton that’s called the Million Dollar Highway and considered one of the most dangerous roads in the U.S. — but also one of the most spectacular. There are no guardrails or shoulders, the drop-offs are steep and the curves are sharp. But there are stunning views of Uncompahgre Gorge and the San Juan Mountains, plus the golden leaves of Aspen trees in the fall.

At the end of the drive, you can find accommodations in Durango — such as Best Western Durango Inn & Suites, which has rooms from $159.99.

6. Skyline Drive Road Trip

  • Starting point: Front Royal, Va.
  • Ending point: Rockfish Gap, Va.
  • Distance: 105 miles

Take your time along this scenic drive through the Shenandoah National Park to stop at any of the 75 overlooks and soak up the views of the fall foliage in the Blue Ridge Mountains. You’ll want to stick to the 35 mph speed limit because the road is curvy — and you’ll have a better chance of spotting wildlife such as deer, black bears and wild turkeys.

You can camp in one of the park’s campgrounds — most of which are open through the end of October — for $15 per night. Or stay in more upscale accommodations such as the Skyland Resort, which is near the highest point on the drive and has rooms from $146.

7. Molly Stark Byway Road Trip

  • Starting point: Brattleboro, Vt.
  • Ending point: Whitingham, Vt.
  • Distance: 100 miles

Vermont is known for its vibrant display of fall foliage, which people come from around the world to see. To view the leaves, you can start in Brattleboro and take the Molly Stark Byway — Route 9. Along the way, you can stop at Mount Snow to take a chairlift ride on the Bluebird Express.

You can find accommodations at one of the towns along the route or stay in Brattleboro, where you can get a room at the Quality Inn and Conference Center, with rates starting around $156.

8. Columbia River Highway Oregon Road Trip

  • Starting point: Troutdale, Ore.
  • Ending point: The Dalles, Ore.
  • Distance: 70 miles

Not only will you get views of Oregon’s fall foliage along the Columbia River Highway Scenic Byway, you’ll also see spectacular waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge. The route also is marked by sheer cliffs, forests and mountain views.

You’ll find various lodging options along this scenic byway, including the Columbia Gorge Hotel & Spa that has rooms starting at $169 per night.

Read: Enjoy an Epic Oktoberfest Across the U.S. for Under $20

9. Tail of the Dragon Road Trip

  • Starting point: Deals Gap, N.C.
  • Ending point: Tabcat Creek Bridge in Tennessee
  • Distance: 11 miles

Motorcyclists and sports car drivers flock to this portion of U.S. Route 129 along the Tennessee/North Carolina state line that has 318 curves in 11 miles. You’ll have to stick to the 30 mph speed limit — or drive even slower — to handle the curves and enjoy the scenery of the Great Smoky Mountains.

There are various lodging options in the area, including motels, resorts, lodges and vacation homes. Rooms at Fontana Village Resort and Marina — which is just 7 miles from the Tail of the Dragon — starting at $153 per night.

10. Black River Scenic Byway Road Trip

  • Starting point: Bessemer, Mich.
  • Ending point: Black River Harbor, Mich.
  • Distance: 11 miles

Highway 513, which is designated as National Forest Scenic Byway, winds through Ottawa National Forest in Michigan along the Black River. The highlight of the drive are the several waterfalls that require short hikes to reach. You can find lodging in nearby Ironwood. For example, rates at the Comfort Inn start at $144 per night.

11. Scenic Byway 12, Utah Road Trip

  • Starting point: U.S. Highway 89, near Panguitch, Utah
  • Ending point: Torrey, Utah
  • Distance: 124 miles

Scenic Byway 12 winds through some of the most remote yet awe-inspiring landscape of Utah. Along the route, the landscape ranges from alpine meadows and aspen trees in Dixie National Forest to towering red rock formations called hoodoos in Bryce Canyon National Park.

The road has sharp curved and narrow shoulders in parts, and cell phone service isn’t available in many areas. Camping is available in the parks along the byway. You also can find lodging, such as the Bryce Canyon Pines Motel that has rooms with rates from $115 per night.

12. Pacific Coast Highway

  • Starting point: Monterey, Calif.
  • Ending point: Morro Bay, Calif.
  • Distance: 147 miles

Designated as an All-American Road, the Pacific Coast Highway is considered one of the best American road trips. As it winds along the central California coast, this highway offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, roadside attractions and cool towns to explore.

You can find a variety of lodging options such as the Anderson Inn in Morro Bay, where room rates start at $289 per night.

13. Route 6, Cape Cod, Mass.

  • Starting point: Sagamore, Mass.
  • Ending point: Woods Hole, Mass.
  • Distance: 160 miles

If you want to explore Cape Cod without the crowds, fall is a good time to visit. You can easily make this road trip in a day, but you could spread it out over several days to stop and explore some of the oldest towns in America. Along the route is Cape Cod National Seashore, which features beaches, marshes and ponds.

You can find a variety of accommodations such as the Hyannis Travel Inn, which has rooms starting at $88.

14. Bourbon Trail Road Trip

  • Starting point: Varies
  • Ending point: Varies
  • Distance: Varies depending on number of distilleries visited

Head to the birthplace of bourbon — Kentucky — to see how “America’s Official Native Spirit” is crafted at the nine distilleries along the Bourbon Trail. Not only can you tour and sample the bourbon at distilleries such as Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark, you’ll also see some of state’s most beautiful horse farms and scenery. Just don’t drink and drive. If you time your drive right, you could make a small detour to Bowling Green, Ky., for its annual Bourbon and Brewfest Oct. 15.

There are numerous lodging options, including Bourbon Manor Bed & Breakfast in Bardstown that has rooms starting at $189 per night.

15. Park Loop Road, Acadia National Park Road Trip

  • Starting point: Hulls Cove Visitor Center, Acadia National Park
  • Ending point: Hulls Cove Visitor Center
  • Distance: 27 miles

You can see the mountains, forests and rocky shoreline of Acadia National Park on Maine’s Mount Desert Island as you drive along Park Loop Road — and you’ll avoid the crowds by going in the fall. Drive slowly, though, because there is lots of wildlife.

You can camp at one of the park’s campgrounds for $15 to $30 per night. Or the town of Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Island has accommodations such as Bar Harbor Grand Hotel, where rates start at $149 per night in mid-October and $99 per night in late October and November.

16. Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway, Nebraska Road Trip

  • Starting point: Grand Island, Neb.
  • Ending point: Alliance, Neb.
  • Distance: 272 miles

This stretch of Highway 2 takes you through the Nebraska sandhills and along wetlands, marshes and rivers, where millions of birds stop along their migration routes. You can learn about pioneer life at the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer in Grand Island, visit working ranches or see the largest hand-planted forest in the world at Nebraska National Forest.

You can find a variety of lodging such as the La Ruche Bed and Breakfast in Seward, Neb., where rooms start at $85 a night.

17. Lake Erie and Lake Ontario Shorelines Drive

  • Starting point: Dunkirk, N.Y.
  • Ending point: Cape Vincent, N.Y.
  • Distance: 276 miles

You can see both of the Great Lakes that border New York — Lake Erie and Lake Ontario — if you travel from Dunkirk to Cape Vincent. Along the way, you can take a short detour to the breathtaking Niagara Falls.

You can stop along the way or find lodging at the end of the trip in Cape Vincent, where Lake Ontario meets the St. Lawrence River. For example, you can get a room at The Roxy for $119 and up per night.

18. Pacific Northwest Wine Country Road Trip

  • Starting point: Salem, Ore.
  • Ending point: Walla Walla, Wash.
  • Distance: 288 miles

Wine lovers can get their fill of winery tours — and wine — as they drive from Salem to Walla Walla. Salem lies within Oregon’s largest winemaking region, Williamette Valley — where you’ll also find rivers, hot springs and waterfalls, in addition to vineyards. And the Walla Walla Valley is home to more than 100 wineries.

From RV parks to hotels, there’s a range of lodging options. For example, rates for rooms at A Room with a View Bed and Breakfast start at $140 per night with a two night minimum.

19. Low Country Road Trip

  • Starting point: Charleston, S.C.
  • Ending point: Savannah, Ga.
  • Distance: 200 miles

The autumn months are a great time to visit Charleston because you can avoid the heat, crowds and high prices. Then, head south on Route 17 through South Carolina’s coastal area known as the Low Country, making detours along the way to visit spots such as Edisto Island, Beaufort and Hunting Island.

End your trip in Savannah, where you can soak up the city’s history and charm without the crowds and high prices that are common in the summer. Spend the night at SpringHill Suites in the Savannah Historic District for around $179 per night.

20. Great River Road Trip

  • Starting point: Minnesota
  • Ending point: Louisiana
  • Distance: 3,000 miles

You can follow the route of the Mississippi from its origin in Minnesota to where it meets the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana with a road trip along the Great River Road National Scenic Byway. As you pass through 10 states, you’ll see small and large cities — including Minneapolis, St. Louis, Memphis, Tenn., and New Orleans.

Depending on where you decide to start and end your trip, you will need lodging for several nights. Rates will vary depending on the property and city, but you can stay right on the riverfront for $110 per night at Alma Home Style Lodging in Alma, Wis.

Read: 20 Secret Ways to Save on Your Next Hotel Stay

21. Big Island Loop, Hawaii Road Trip

  • Starting point: Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
  • Ending point: Mauna Key, Hawaii
  • Distance: 300 miles

If you want to see Hawaii without the crowds, fall is a great time to visit. You can drive around Hawaii’s Big Island along a series of connecting highways that will take you past jungles, beaches, mountains and active lava flows. You can start at sea level in Kailua-Kona then make your way to the 13,796-foot summit of Mauna Kea.

You can get a room at the Hawaii Volcano House, within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, starting at $285 per night.

22. Southern Colorado Loop Road Trip

  • Starting point: Durango, Colo.
  • Ending point: Durango
  • Distance: 500 miles

Take a tour of Southern Colorado as you drive from Durango to Great Sand Dunes National Park — which has the tallest dunes in North America — to Gunnison, then through the Red Mountain Pass back to Durango. You can stop along the way in Almont at Three Rivers Resort, which has lodge rooms and cabins starting at $75 per day.

23. Blues Highway Road Trip

  • Starting point: Nashville
  • Ending point: New Orleans
  • Distance: 657 miles

Route 61, known as Blues Highway, offers music lovers the chance to listen to live music, explore famous recording studios and visit Graceland, the home of the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley. The trip could take several days. There are various lodging options along the way, including the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, which has rooms starting at $219 per night and ducks — yes, ducks — that march to the lobby fountain twice a day.

Read: The Best and Worst Airlines for Cheap Flights

24. National Parks Tour Road Trip

  • Starting point: Jackson, Wyo.
  • Ending point: Yellowstone National Park
  • Distance: 180 miles

You’ll need to make this trip in early fall to see the golden leaves of the aspens and avoid seasonal road closures. Start in Jackson and head north through Grand Teton National Park, where you’ll see wildlife, beautiful lakes and the spectacular Teton Range.

Continue north to Yellowstone National Park, the world’s first national park and home to Old Faithful geyser. Yellowstone’s lodges close in early October — some earlier — as do most of Grand Teton’s lodges. However, you can find accommodations outside the parks at places such as Dornan’s Spur Ranch Cabins in Moose, Wyo., for $195 through Oct. 15 and $125 Oct. 16 through spring.

25. Southwest National Parks Road Trip

  • Starting point: Grand Canyon National Park (North Rim) in Arizona
  • Ending point: Moab, Utah
  • Distance: 862 miles

Take a tour of some of America’s most spectacular national parks, starting with the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. You’ll need to go in early fall if you want to include this park in your tour because lodging, restaurants and shops close for the season on Oct. 15 and the campground closes Oct. 31.

Head north to Utah to Zion National Park — where you’ll see massive sandstone cliffs and deep, narrow canyons — then to nearby Bryce Canyon National Park to see the world’s largest collection of hoodoos. Continue driving north through Canyonlands National Park, then finish your trip near Moab, at Arches National Park, which has more than 2,000 natural stone arches.

You will need to make multiple lodging stops on this trip. The national parks have campgrounds with varying fees, typically $25 or less.

26. New Mexico-Texas Road Trip

  • Starting point: Las Cruces, N.M.
  • Ending point: Las Cruces
  • Distance: 950 miles

Take the lonely highways of Southern New Mexico and West Texas to see the world’s largest gypsum dunefield at White Sands National Monument; the spectacular caves of Carlsbad Caverns National Park; the Rio Grande in Big Bend Ranch State Park; and the funky, artsy desert town of Marfa, Texas. As you head back to Las Cruces, make a detour to Roswell, N.M., to visit the International UFO Museum.

Plan to make several stops during this trip. You can find lodging at spots such as Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces in Las Cruces for $95 per night.

27. Southern Seafood Tour Road Trip

  • Starting point: New Orleans
  • Ending point: St. George Island, Fla.
  • Distance: 425 miles

You likely associate seafood with summer at the beach. But October is actually National Seafood Month, and you can sample the South’s freshest seafood as you make your way along the Gulf of Mexico shoreline from Louisiana to Florida. Along the way, you can stop in Gulf Shores, Ala., for the 45th Annual National Shrimp Festival Oct. 13 through 16.

There are many places to stay along the route, including Sea Breeze Inn in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., that has rooms starting at $59 per night.

28. Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts Road Trip

  • Starting point: Williamstown, Mass.
  • Ending point: Athol, Mass.
  • Distance: 69 miles

One of the first auto-touring roads, the Mohawk Trail — Route 2 — passes through forests and historic towns and by five major rivers. And it’s famous for its Hairpin Turn, where there are views into four states. If you want to stop and enjoy the foliage, there are plenty of hiking trails along the route.

For lodging, you can stay at the mountain-top Whitcomb Summit Retreat in Florida, Mass., for $99 and up per night.

29. Hana Highway, Hawaii Road Trip

  • Starting point: Kahului, Hawaii
  • Ending point: Hana, Hawaii
  • Distance: 52 miles

Not only is fall a good time to visit Hawaii to avoid the crowds, but also it’s a great season to get a bargain on travel to the Aloha State. A road trip on Hana Highway will take you along Maui’s eastern coast — where you’ll get beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean on one side and cliffs, jungles and waterfalls on the other side of the road. You’ll want to take your time not only to enjoy the spectacular scenery but also to safely navigate the highway’s 600 curves. You can stay at the Garden Room guest cottage for $158 per night.

30. Natchez Trace Road Trip

  • Starting point: Nashville, Tenn.
  • Ending point: Natchez, Miss.
  • Distance: 444 miles

This scenic drive through Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee was once the travel route of settlers and Native Americans. The brilliant fall colors appear in mid- to late October and into November the farther south you drive and can be enjoyed at overlooks and hiking trails along the route.

You’ll likely need to make several stops along this route. You can find lodging at places such as the Commodore Hotel & Café in Linden, Tenn., for $69 to $109 per night.

31. Overseas Highway Road Trip

  • Starting point: Key Largo, Fla.
  • Ending point: Key West, Fla.
  • Distance: 113 miles

If cold weather comes early where you live, you might want take a road trip in a warmer locale during the fall. You’ll be transported to the tropics as you drive through the Florida Keys along the southernmost portion of U.S., known as the Overseas Highway. You’ll cross over 42 overseas bridges as you make your way from Key Largo to Key West and see turquoise waters teeming with wildlife and beach towns that offer everything from fishing and fine dining to eco-tours and fine-art galleries.

Lodging options include campgrounds, hotels, resorts and bed and breakfasts. For example, rates at the Best Western Hibiscus Motel in Key West start at $189 per night.

This article originally appeared on GoBankingRates.

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