Fall is here, and with it comes the changing leaves. In many parts of the U.S., tourists flock from around the world to see the beautiful autumn colors, a practice that's colloquially known as "tree peeping."
I'm based in Scottsdale, Arizona, so I won't be having the fall experience in my backyard this year. If I want to see those kinds of sights, I'll have to look elsewhere. Here are my favorite places to check out fall foliage on a budget:
Check out the (free!) gondola in Telluride, Colorado.
Telluride, Colorado is world-famous for its beauty, and its gondola ride is free year-round. Do yourself a favor and Google "Telluride gondola fall foliage" right now, and see how long it takes you to hop on a plane to see it for yourself. Of course, the closer you get to ski season, the more snow there will be on the ground, and the busier it will be. But fall is a shoulder season for Colorado, so it's a great time to save on rooms and cabins at resorts that would normally be pretty pricy. Check outTravelzoo for some good places to stay in Telluride.
Cruise down the Mississippi or off the Eastern coast.
New England and Eastern Canada are often noted as places with the best fall foliage around, and several cruise lines offer autumn cruises in those areas for this very reason. You can also experience the changing leaves throughout the midwest and south with Mississippi River tours that will leave you breathless and keep your wallet full. The American Queen Steamboat Company is great for budget travelers in the Midwest, and tree peepers with a little more cash on hand will likely enjoy aCrystal Cruise.
If you want more tips on frugal cruising, check our our article on how to avoid going broke on your next boating adventure.
Take a road trip through Missouri
We just published an article on how to save on fall road trips, so check that out if you're thinking of taking a mid-autumn vacation. If you're looking for a destination with plenty of fall-specific sights to see, Missouri offers some of the prettiest foliage in the country, and with fun stops (like Branson and the Ozarks) along the way, it's a budget-friendly destination the whole family can enjoy. Check out Main Street Lake Cruises for ways to see the changing of the colors from the water.
Saddle up and ride around Wisconsin!
Wisconsin has tons of gorgeous fall views even more ways to see them, but my favorite is in the saddle. Lots of options for horseback riding exist across the state, so if you're equine-inclined, check it out!
Take a leisurely train ride through West Virginia
West Virginia is underrated when it comes to travel destinations. If you can plan a long weekend and rent a cabin in Canaan Valley and visit Blackwater Falls in mid-October, you will not be disappointed. If you're planning a trip to WV for the fall foliage, you should also book your ride on the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad. The train runs on weekdays and weekends throughout the month of October.
This article first appeared in Brad's Deals.