Some people say seasons in Florida are not your usual seasons. Here we have love bug season, summer, hurricane season, and tourist and snowbirds season. But, if you are willing to drive a bit you can see the beauty of dying leaves while drinking your Pumpkin Spice Latte. Keep reading to find out more about where you can see Fall Foliage in (or near) Florida.
In-State Florida Fall Foliage
If you prefer to stay in-state, the first two weeks of November are for when you should plan your trip. While most states are past peak at this point, this is when Florida’s leaves (the ones who do) are at their peak. Get away from the palms and palmettos and start looking for more mountainous landscapes, such as the ones you can find in the following places:
Lake City, FL
Just one hour from Jacksonville is Lake City in Columbia County. Driving from I-10, you should be able to spot clusters of autumn foliage across the interstate. If you don’t find any or want to see more, keep driving through the rural areas of Lake City up to Ocala and prepare to be surprised. You can even take some pictures and fool some of your friends up north with the scenery.
Three Rivers State Park in the city of Snead (50 minutes from Tallahassee) meets with the southwest corner of Georgia. Here hardwood and pines decorate the park, and in a good season, you can see them changing to a red/orange color.
For more information: Three Rivers State Park
Torreya State Park – Florida State Parks
Torreya State Park (1 hour from Tallahassee) is the most famous place in Florida for seeing fall foliage. Located on the southernmost edge of the Appalachian mountain range, it has the altitude necessary to see changes in its flora. The view of the Apalachicola River from above it’s also worth the trip.
For more information: Torreya State Park
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Out-of-State Fall Foliage
Depending on what part of Florida you choose as your starting point, a visit to one or maybe two of the following cities should be doable during a long weekend. “But is a lot of driving.” Well, maybe it is. But “if fall doesn’t come to you, you go to find fall.” Take a look at places with the closest fall foliage to Florida:
If the image you have in your mind of Atlanta is only skyscrapers and terrible traffic, you are missing on a lot. Trees surround the area where the Emory University Campus is located, and you can see fall happening there. My favorite place to stay in Atlanta is also there because it’s close to everything, but at the same time is far enough from the busy streets of Downtown. Click Here to Book a Stay at the Emory Conference Center Hotel.
Asheville in North Carolina flaunts one of the largest autumn seasons in the United States. Because of its rising popularity, it’s one of the most sought destinations for fall. Make sure to reserve in advance where you’re going to stay and try to go during the weekdays if possible to avoid the biggest crowds.
For more information: Asheville NC Fall Foliage Color 2021
Fort Payne, AL
Little River Falls – Little River Canyon National Preserve (U.S. National Park Service)
In Fort Payne, Alabama you can find the Little River Canyon National Preserve. This National Park not only has the impressive Little River Falls but there’s a scenic drive that’s just gorgeous during the fall. This eleven-mile scenic drive begins in the Falls Overlook and ends at the Eberhart Point Overlook.
For more information: Little River Canyon National Preserve
Out-of-state Honorific Mentions
Savannah, GA, and Charleston, SC are also cities not that far from Florida that can be truly enjoyed during the Fall when the weather is cooler.
For a 2021 Fall Foliage Map & Nationwide Peak Leaf Forecast Map check out this great resource by the SmokyMountains.com