Fall is one of the most beautiful times of year! As the leaves begin to turn red, orange and yellow, many of us take a drive in the mountains to see the full spectrum of colors. The leaves in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia usually peak in mid to late October. The intensity of color each year depends on the amount of rainfall, warm days and cool nights. See a Washington, DC area fall foliage picture gallery
Some of the most popular places to enjoy fall foliage in the region are destinations that take a few hours to drive to, such as Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, George Washington & Jefferson National Forests and Deep Creek Lake. These beautiful areas are great if you have a whole weekend for a getaway.
You don’t have to travel that far to enjoy beautiful fall foliage! Here are some recommendations of special places to see an abundance of color within a short distance from Washington, DC.
C & O Canal National Historic Park
The park has beautiful views starting in Georgetown in Washington, DC and stretches along the canal for 13 miles to Great Falls Park in Northern Virginia.
Rock Creek Park
Washington, DC’s largest park stretches 30 miles from Montgomery County, Maryland to downtown.
U.S. National Arboretum
Washington, DC. The living museum displays 446 acres of trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
Mount Vernon Estate
Mount Vernon, Virginia. The 500-acre estate of George Washington and his family is a beautiful site along the shores of the Potomac River.
Great Falls National Park
Great Falls, Virginia and Potomac, Maryland. The park has some of the most spectacular views in the region. See vibrant colors among 50-foot cliffs overlooking the Potomac River.
Seneca Creek State Park
Gaithersburg, Maryland. The Maryland State Park has a 90-acre lake and lots of recreational facilities.
Dickerson, Maryland. The small mountain is a Natural Historic Landmark with hiking trails and beautiful views.
Cunningham Falls State Park
Thurmont, Maryland. The State Park in the Catoctin Mountains of Maryland has a 78-foot cascading waterfall, a lake, campgrounds and hiking trails.
Black Hill Regional Park
Boyds, Maryland. The beautiful regional park has a lake, visitor center and hiking trails.
Burke Lake Park
Fairfax, Virginia. The large park has a 218-acre lake and a variety of recreational facilities.
Harpers Ferry National Park
Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. The historic Civil War site is about an hours drive from Washington, DC in the nearby mountains on the border of West Virginia.