Things to Do

7 Places to See Gorgeous Fall Foliage Outside DC This Weekend

Want a beautiful autumn view? Take a drive.

A view of Shenandoah National Park. Photograph by Flickr user Tim Lumley.

According to the Smoky Mountain Foliage predictor map, DC is still in the patchy foliage category—our peak comes in late October. But some counties within driving distance are approaching peak foliage. If you’re looking for stunning fall views this weekend, here are some places with partial or near peak foliage near DC:

Partial Foliage

Shenandoah National Park, VA
Distance from DC: 75 miles; 1.5 hours
Shenandoah National Park has tons of hiking options, plus waterfalls and beautiful overlooks. Enter the park to access Skyline Drive and take in stunning views of the foliage.

Culpeper, VA
Distance from DC: 70 miles; 1.5 hours 
Culpeper features an abundance of scenic routes in several directions: head to the Germanna Highway to see the Rappahannock countryside, the James Madison Highway toward Orange, or pick a side road to explore a winery.

Lost River, WV
Distance from DC: 117 miles; 2 hours 
Lost River State Park features over 23 miles of hiking trails, unique cabins, horseback riding, and beautiful overlooks.

Nelson County, VA
Distance from DC: 148 miles; 2.5 hours
Follow Route 56 to the Blue Ridge Parkway to enjoy scenic views of the Shenandoah Valley and east of the Blue Ridge. Here are some more ideas for scenic drives and activities nearby. Nelson County also features the highest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River, Crabtree Falls.

Near Peak Foliage

Lancaster County, PA
Distance from DC: 120 miles; 3 hours 
Lancaster lies in the heart of Amish Country and features plenty of farmland and mountain views. The Breeezyview Overlook offers grand panoramic scenes of Chickies Rock and the Susquehanna River.

Savage River State Forest, MD
Distance from DC: 170 miles; 3 hours 
Savage River State Forest boasts over 55,000 acres of forest, and visitors can hike the trails to experience the beautiful colors of oak, sugar and red maple, black cherry, hickory, and ash trees.

Rockbridge County, VA
Distance from DC: 195 miles; 3.5 hours 
Enjoy one of many pretty drives through Rockbridge County: the Blue Ridge Parkway, Route 11 on the Natural Bridge, or Route 39 on the Appalachian Waters Scenic Byway.

Katie Kenny
Editorial Fellow