This is a guest post by Drew James
Each autumn we witness a curious human social phenomenon. Millions of people flock from one part of the country to another to look at…trees! There’s no better excuse to get outdoors than the arrival of the fall foliage season, when perfect weather and gorgeous colors combine with festivals, flea markets and cookouts for great getaways to bid farewell to summer and brace for the long cold winter to come. Depending on where you live, peak fall foliage dates, when the leaves are at the height of color, generally arrive in October, just in time for Fall Break. Of course some places are better than others when it comes to enjoying the pageantry of fall in the Midwest. Here are a few of the best destinations to celebrate the beauty of autumn.
Brown County, Indiana
Centered around the small town of Nashville, Brown County has been the number one Hoosier fall foliage destination for many decades. Its natural beauty made it a mecca for artists in the early 20th century and the artist community still thrives here. Adjacent to the beautiful Brown County State Park, the town features hundreds of quaint shops, great restaurants and several hotel choices. The rolling hills and scenic vistas of the area make it a perfect place to enjoy the colors of fall.
Starved Rock State Park…
…wants you to know it was recently voted the #1 attraction in Illinois, and with good reason. Comprised of 2,360 heavily wooded acres located along the Illinois River in the north central part of the state, the area is known for its many canyons and waterfalls. Home of the Starved Rock Lodge, the park offers fine amenities and many activities, including guided Fall Colors Weekend hikes along its 13 miles of trails, as well as first class camping, fishing and boating.
Mohican State Forest
Nestled in Ohio’s Mohican River Valley and featuring the stunning Clear Fork Gorge, the park consists of 6,000 acres of rolling forest. It is home to the Mohican Lodge, offering fine hotel amenities complete with an Olympic-sized swimming pool, as well as camping, hiking, fishing and many other activities. This is definitely one of the best fall foliage destinations in Ohio.
Michigan Fall Color Tours
Why not take a road trip for this year’s Fall Break? Michigan offers many pre-planned fall-foliage driving routes, with lots of breathtaking scenery, small towns and attractions along the way. Most drives are about 200 miles long with plenty of cute inns and hotels to stop at for the night.
Kentucky Bourbon Trail
Another great fall road trip opportunity is the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, a scenic tour of six of the Bluegrass State’s legendary bourbon distilleries including Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark and Heaven Hill. The route meanders through some of the most beautiful country the state has to offer and includes side trips to many other attractions like Abe Lincoln’s birthplace and My Old Kentucky Dinner Train. Luckily there are many accommodations along the way so you don’t have to drink and drive.
Parke County, Indiana
Known as the Covered Bridge Capital of the World, with 31 unique covered bridges to see, the county is also famous for its annual Covered Bridge Festival, which coincides with the fall foliage season. Home to Amish communities and many historic attractions, Parke County is one of the Midwest’s premier fall foliage getaways.
So gather the family, gas up the car and get out and see some trees this fall at one of these wonderful Midwest destinations.