The eastern coast of Virginia may have some rougher winters than Florida and it may have some quieter nights than NYC, but people from both North and South always turn to use this time of the year to get their full of Fall leaf peeping and the amazing colors James City County produces.
Whether it’s a road trip through our parks, an overnight camping trip underneath the canopy of reds and yellows or a photo shoot at the lake’s edge, this area is lucky enough to have some of the most beautiful spots for leaf peeping thanks to Chickahominy Riverfront Park, Shenandoah National Park, York County New Quarter Park, Waller Mill Park and the York River State Park.
To see the best leaves this time of year, stray away from the coast, however and head towards the mountains where leaves tend to turn the earliest and stay the brightest. For a sure bet, beat the crowds and head out in early November, as October tends to still be a bit green after such a warm summer.
If you are peeping by car or motorcycle, try Skyline Drive near Marys Rock Tunnel and the Natural Bridge to Blue Ridge for a scenic drive. The Colonial Parkway is closer for those with limited time, and it connects to the Historic Triangle of Yorktown, Jamestown and Williamsburg so you are getting the best of the area’s seasonal colors.
For hikers, head to Bark Camp Lake in Coeburn for a great photo spot, as is the Newport News Park, just 15 minutes from Williamsburg and perfect for a sweater and sangria picnic. If you have a bike, bicycle around the 5-mile Jamestown Loop and the newly added 5-mile road called Capital Trail that will take you deep into another Virginia treescape full of color. Dogwoods, Virginia Sumacs and Asters are all changing into bright golds, deep browns and full burgundies near the Blue Ridge, but if you’d prefer to stay closer to home, Colonial Williamsburg is full of picturesque moments of falling leaves on cobblestone streets and harvest colors dispersed between bright white houses and red shingles.
Outdoor fall events can be great excuses to see Virginias gorgeous fall backdrop. The Yorktown Victory Celebration, the Poquoson Seafood Festival and the Port Warwick Art and Sculpture Festival all happen in throes of October. If you can make a weekend of it and stay at the Williamsburg Lodge in Colonial Williamsburg, opt for the three days/two nights Autumn Stories package starting from $449 per couple, which includes breakfast, passes to the historic buildings and museums, a $100 activities card to use at the shops, restaurants and spa.
For more information, call Virginia’s personal Fall Foliage Report hotline at 1.800.424.LOVE or the Forest Service Fall Color hotline at 800.354.4595 (press “8” for the Southern States report).
View some of our fall recipes!