The Ultimate Fall Foliage Road Trips In New York

There’s no fall like an East Coast fall. In fact, our corner of the country is famous for its fall foliage road trips in New York. Now that the state of New York is full of beautiful changing leaves, it’s a great time to book a vacation to the Empire State. We’ve got plenty of scenic drives statewide that showcase the beauty of our autumns, and some of them aren’t far from New York City. All of them are easier to get to in your airport SUV rental New York.

Of course, you’ll have to find the perfect vehicle to take you on your journey. If you’ll have your family or a group with you, an airport SUV rental New York will be your best bet. Additionally, booking an airport SUV rental New York will ensure you have quality transportation from the moment you land. The sooner you can get behind the wheel, the sooner you can get going and start taking in fall’s most fabulous sights.

But where should you go? That depends on how much time you have and what part of the state you’d like to see. Here are five suggestions for routes that will showcase those autumn hues:


The Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway

The Mohawk Towpath Byway is a series of local, county and state highways that follow the historic route of the Erie Canal in upstate New York. As you travel this Byway, you’ll learn the story of the Mohawk River, Erie Canal, the waterway west and the westward expansion of the country. You’ll also see some beautiful fall colors. It certainly is one of the most stunning road trips in New York.

From Manhattan, you can reach the Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway in about two and a half hours by taking I-87 North. But for a more picturesque drive that only adds about 20 minutes to the duration, take the Taconic State Parkway, which happens to be New York’s longest parkway.

Prospect Mt. Veterans Memorial Highway

Located in the Adirondacks, this five and a half mile highway leads to a parking lot where you can park and take in the sights. During and after your drive, you can expect to see spectacular views of New Hampshire’s White Mountains, Vermont’s Green Mountains and the Adirondack High Peaks.

To reach the highway, you’ll need to devote three and a half hours to driving on I-87 North from Manhattan. This drive is amazing, but it may require two days to complete.

Lake George to Lake Placid

This stunning drive is also located in upstate New York, requiring a three hour drive from Manhattan. But the entire drive is beautiful, and the Lake Placid area is always worth exploring. This is one of the more popular road trips in New York.

You’ll take Exit 30 from I-87, head west on Rt. 73 into the Adirondack High Peaks, cutting through Cascade Pass to Lake Placid. In addition to the changing leaves, you’ll see some seriously stunning natural beauty.

The Catskills’ Immortal Mountains

The Catskill Mountains are well known for their gorgeous scenery in all seasons, but they’re especially beautiful in the fall. You’ll have about a two and a half hour drive from the heart of New York City via the Palisades Interstate Parkway and Highway 17 West.

From Catskills, follow New York State Route 23 west to Prattsville. Backtrack Route 23 East to State Route 23A East through Catskill Park. When that route ends, follow US Route 9W North to Route 23 East. Drive over the Rip Van Winkle Bridge, then turn right on State Route 9G South and head to the Olana State Historic Site. When you reach East Windham, pull off Route 23 at Point Lookout. On clear days, you’ll have a view of five states!

Seven Lakes Drive in Harriman State Park

Seven Lakes Drive is a mere 43 miles from New York City, so this is the perfect route to take if you only have one day to enjoy your road trips in New York. Keep driving your airport SUV rental New York until you reach Harriman State Park, which features plenty of trees with colorful leaves and several lakes to enjoy. Have a picnic by the water and take a nice walk before heading back into the city.

Spot the best fall foliage in the city

Good news: You don’t even have to leave the Big Apple to see the beautiful changing leaves. There are plenty of spots in the city to enjoy them. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Central Park. The leaves here appear red, yellow and purple throughout the season. Head into the North Woods, a rustic landscape along the ravine, and follow the trails. You can also start at the Conservatory Water near the Fifth Avenue entrance to see hawthorne trees covered in red berries.
  • Fort Tryon Park. Located in the Hudson Heights neighborhood, this park’s Linden Terrace is one of the highest points in Manhattan. Spend some time here enjoying the views of the Hudson River Palisades.
  • New York Botanical Garden. For the best leaf-spotting, head to the garden’s Thain Family Forest. This is the city’s largest patch of old-growth forest, and it includes numerous species of trees. The park even hosts some Fall Forest weekends that include guided foliage-themed tours and other activities.

Fall is one of the best times for road trips in New York. Begin to plan yours today when you reserve your airport SUV rental New York from Action.