As summer beach and camping trips fade into the rear view, a unique travel window opens in America's National Parks.
Now is the perfect time to head to wild places, where abundant trees are kicking off a colorful fall show. Here are some of the best National Parks for finding that perfect autumnal sweet spot between summer crowds and wintry solitude.
Acadia National Park, Maine
"Not only do the mixed hardwood forests provide colorful displays, but the leaf-strewn carriage paths through the woods are a delight without the summer crowds," he says. The pace of the entire region, including tourist towns like Bar Harbor and Somesville, slows down and lodging rates take a dip, too. "Rumor has is that the crisp fall air also makes fresh lobster taste even better," Repanshek jokes.
Grand Teton National Park, WyomingSnow can come as early as September in the Tetons, but if you miss the leaf show, you can always go skiing in nearby Jackson Hole. Autumn in Grand Teton National Park features a riotous color blend of golden aspen, fiery maple and evergreen pines all set against a backdrop of one of the world's most magnificent mountain ranges.
Fall marks the time when the region's large mammals, including grizzly bears, moose and elk, are on the move to their winter homes. Best photo op: the Snake River shows off its curves at the Oxbow Bend turnout north of Moran junction. Not only is this the site of many famous images of the Tetons, it's also prime moose-spotting territory. Don't forget to scan the treetops for roosting bald eagles during your visit.