THE CHANGING LEAF SEASON is already here and most everyone I know is planning a trip up North to enjoy fall foliage. It’s a little surprising how not many people consider traveling East to see Autumn’s color explosion. I am lucky to be within a couple of hours drive to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. If I head further south, I can be on the Blue Ridge Parkway connecting Shenandoah to Smoky Mountain National Park in Tennessee. If you want to check out this Fall beauty, you can choose to drive it all together or split it in 3 different trips.

These 15 photos will convince you to skip Vermont and Upstate New York in favor of the Mid-Atlantic to enjoy Autumn this year.

1

Shenandoah National Park is only an hour and half drive from Washington DC. The skyline drive in the park has great views of fall foliage with meandering roads, several hikes to panoramic vistas and waterfalls.

2

Don't forget to look up: there is a shot waiting at every angle in fall.

3

You're never too old to play with leaves on a vista point stop over in Skyline drive.

4

Those bright reds and oranges pop up here in the East just as amaingly as they do in the North.

5

You might even get lucky and spot a Black Bear in Shenandoah National Park. Just hope for a more camera- friendly one.

6

Keep heading south on Skyline drive, and as soon as you exit from the park you will hit the beginning of Blue Ridge Parkway. (There is no entrance fee to drive on this parkway as there is for Skyline Drive in the National park.)

7

Blue Ridge Parkway offers panoramic views of the Shenandoah valley. My favorite time to be here is Autumn.

8

How can one resist a selfie with a scene like this behind you?

9

Blue Ridge Parkway is a scenic 469 miles long road passing through Virginia and North Carolina, connecting Shenandoah national park to Smoky Mountain National Park.

10

Cutting through James River in Virginia around Appalachian Mountain ranges.

11

Don't forget to look behind you, some of the best scenes are the ones you just passed by, like this bridge. We looked back and saw the colors framed perfectly.

12

Blue Ridge Parkway passes though several farmlands -- look out for some homestyle restaurants on the way.

13

Driving further south will take you into North Carolina part of Blue Ridge Parkway.

14

There is no better time to visit Smoky Mountain National Park than Autumn. Some of the hikes in National Park can have rewarding views.

15

The crisp breeze of Autumn adds an altogether different kind of experience to photographing sunsets in the mountains.

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