Every autumn across the Greater Philadelphia area, the leaves turn to vibrant reds, oranges and yellows in one of nature’s greatest shows.
Check out these top picks for favorite parks, trails and museums to take advantage of the super-picturesque foliage all season long.
Peak Foliage: Mid- to Late October 2018
Tony Aiello, director of horticulture at the Morris Arboretum, reports that we can expect peak fall foliage in the greater Philadelphia region “in the third week of October through the end of the month.”
That’s thanks to mild summer temperatures and a relatively wet September, which means that “the plants are well hydrated and not losing their leaves because of drought,” according to Aiello.
To see the brightest and best reds and oranges on this year’s trees, “hope for nice bright sunny days going from late September into October,” said Aiello. “We still need those sunny days.”
See Independence Hall and the rest of Philadelphia’s Historic District in all of its fall glory. Get schooled on the nation’s history amid a spectacular backdrop of red, yellow, and orange.
Where: 520 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
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A post shared by Bradley Maule (@mauleofamerica) on Nov 5, 2016 at 2:41pm PDT
Soak in the season at Fairmount Park, a 2,050-acre gem scattered throughout the city that offers more than 50 miles of designated trails, 43 sculptures, two performing arts centers, the Philadelphia Zoo, Shofuso Japanese House and Gardens, historic mansions, the Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse, renowned museums and amazing foliage. Tip: take in a spectacular view of the Philadelphia skyline from Belmont Plateau (above) over treetops in a mosaic of colors.
Where: 2000 Belmont Mansion Drive
Philadelphia PA 19131
Enjoy the autumn foliage and breathe in the sweet smells of fall in Wissahickon Valley Park, one of Philadelphia’s natural treasures. Bordering Chestnut Hill and Germantown to the south, the 1,800 wooded acres of the Wissahickon Valley Park include the lovely Wissahickon Creek, 50 miles of hiking and walking trails, Pastorius Park (a favorite refuge for picnics and summer concerts) and Forbidden Drive, a wide, no-cars-allowed road beside the creek, which intersects with a number of gorgeous trails that criss-cross the park.
Where: 206 Lincoln Drive
Philadelphia, PA 19144
The twisting, turning pathway along the Schuylkill River is a fantastic spot for a brisk fall walk, run or bike ride. In addition to great fall foliage, the river trail features spectacular views of Boathouse Row, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the city skyline.
Where: 1 Boathouse Row
Philadelphia, PA 19130
The Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia’s answer to the Champs-Elysées, is lined with trees that form a canopy of red, orange and yellow during the autumn months. Some of the world’s most renowned museums, including the Barnes Foundation, The Franklin Institute, the Rodin Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, can be found just steps away.
Where: Benjamin Franklin Parkway
The 7.5-acre park Franklin Square is one of five squares that William Penn laid out in his original plan of the city in 1682. Today it’s a refreshing spot to take in fall’s colors surrounded by a number of fun attractions, including a mini-golf course, carousel, burger joint, storytelling bench, picnic area and more.
Where: 200 N. 6th St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
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A post shared by University of Pennsylvania (@uofpenn) on Jan 3, 2016 at 11:59am PST
The University of Pennsylvania campus in University City is framed and subdivided by canopy trees, lawns and meadows. Locust Walk, the main thoroughfare across the campus, is particularly beautiful in the fall. The stately architecture throughout the property adds to the visual display.
Where: 3620 Locust Walk
Clocking in at more than 1,000 acres in the heart of the beautiful Brandywine Valley, Longwood Gardens is easily one of the biggest and best places in the region to view fall foliage. The lush gardens, woodlands and meadows are a welcome sight for fall foliage enthusiasts, and Longwood hosts special Autumn’s Colors programming each fall.
Where: 1001 Longwood Road
Kennett Square, PA 19348
With 92 acres of gardens to explore, Morris Arboretum is a spectacular setting for the beautiful colors of autumn. In fact, Travel Pulse recently named the arboretum one of the five best U.S. gardens to visit in the fall. The historic grounds are home to thousands of plants, including gorgeous maples, dogwoods and oaks.
Where: 100 E. Northwestern Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19118
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A post shared by Marísa (@marisaragonesi) on Oct 26, 2014 at 12:12pm PDT
The drive along Route 32 from Washington Crossing to New Hope is an excellent day trip, especially when you navigate to Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve and Bowman’s Hill Tower, where you can score a magnificent vista of stunning fall foliage in every direction. And don’t miss the gazebo nestled among the tall trees of Penn’s Woods arboretum.
Where: 1635 River Rd, New Hope, PA 18938
Once the headquarters of General George Washington’s Revolutionary army, this wonderfully tranquil park offers trails for jogging and biking and 3,600 acres of rolling hills full of autumn beauty.
Where: 1400 N. Outer Line Drive
King of Prussia, PA 19406
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A post shared by Bartram's Garden (@bartramsgarden) on Nov 21, 2016 at 7:42am PST
Take a stroll in the garden or along the river trail and see the colorful autumn blooms and bright leaves as they change overhead in this historical botanical garden and outdoor attraction.
Where: 54th Street and Lindbergh Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19143
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A post shared by Friends on the Towpath (@friends_on_the_towpath) on Nov 3, 2016 at 6:45pm PDT
Revel in the brilliant fall colors while strolling the historic towpath that runs from Easton to Bristol, PA. Once trod by mule teams pulling cargo-laden boats along the canal, the 60-mile towpath is used today by people looking to engage in exercise and other recreational pursuits.
Where: 11 Lodi Hill Road
Upper Black Eddy, PA 18972-9540
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A post shared by Crissy (@ohpidge) on Dec 18, 2015 at 4:33am PST
Ridley Creek State Park has a creek stocked for trout fishing and trails perfect for fall foraging. Look forward to gorgeous views, waterfalls and a slew of vibrant fall colors.
Where: 1023 Sycamore Mills Rd.
Media, PA 19063
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A post shared by Carlos Rivera (@carlos_rivera_photography) on May 23, 2016 at 3:40am PDT
Why not rent a canoe and experience fall out on the water? You can do that and more at Tyler State Park, located off the Newtown Bypass. If you prefer to stay on two feet, go for a stroll and find the old covered bridge on a maintained walking path.
Where: 101 Swamp Rd, Newtown, PA 18940
The 535-acre Marsh Creek Lake is a popular destination for boaters, but the surrounding forests, fields and wetlands are packed with fantastic trails perfect for a fall excursion.
Where: 675 Park Road, Downingtown, PA 19335
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A post shared by Chuck Bonfig (@chuckseye) on Oct 19, 2013 at 12:33pm PDT
Tyler Arboretum has been a refuge for tree lovers in the Philadelphia region since the days of William Penn. During autumn, its 650 acres are ablaze with seasonal color.
Where: 515 Painter Road
Media, PA 19063
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A post shared by John Heinz NWR (@johnheinznwr) on Nov 7, 2016 at 5:45am PST
A favorite locale among birder’s in the know, this wetland is a refuge for a variety of birds and other wildlife, and the perfect pastoral place to see the changing of the seasons. Bring your binoculars or take it all in with the naked eye.
Where: 8601 Lindbergh Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19153
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A post shared by Washington Crossing Park (PA) (@washingtoncrossingpark) on Nov 11, 2015 at 10:26am PST
George Washington and his troops turned the tide of the American Revolution by crossing the Delaware River in the Washington Crossing Historic Park area back in 1776. In addition to the park’s extensive historic significance, Washington Crossing is also known for its wonderful outdoor trails and wildlife habitat.
Where: 1112 River Rd, Washington Crossing, PA 18977
The ceilings and walls of Henry Chapman Mercer’s storybook stone mansion may be embedded with handcrafted Moravian tiles, but it’s the grounds around the castle, decked in vibrant colors in the fall, that do their best to show up Mercer’s work.
Where: 525 E. Court Street
Doylestown, PA 18901
Hopewell Lake at French Creek State Park is famous for fall scenery, but the 40 miles of trails make it the perfect fall getaway for hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians.
Where: 843 Park Rd, Elverson, PA 19520
As the leaves turn to hues of crimson and gold, Bucks County residents and visitors flock to Nockamixon State Park to take in the foliage. Offering more than 1,450 acres and four public launching areas, the area is perfect for activities of all kinds, including boating out on Lake Nockamixon.
Where: 1542 Mountain View Drive
Quakertown, PA 18951
Northbrook Canoe Company‘s season runs through the end of October, which is perfect for those wanting to check out the fall foliage from the vantage point of a kayak, canoe or tube. Located along the scenic Brandywine River in Chester County (about an hour southwest of Philadelphia), Northbrook offers an amazing way to tour the Brandywine Valley and Wyeth Country, offering folks the chance to coast downstream along the calm, meandering river and take in the beautiful, colorful countryside.
Where: 1810 Beagle Road West Chester, PA 19382
More than a mile of paved walkways run through the woods of this majestic botanical garden, making it the perfect fall foliage spot for all ages. For those looking to get a little more exercise, Jenkins Arboretum also offers maps with free self-guided tours of the property and the nearby conservation woodlands.
Where: 631 Berwyn Baptist Rd, Devon, PA 19333
Mill Grove, the home to American naturalist John James Audubon, is a haven for wildlife with a sprawling 175 acres of trails, woods and history. The woodlands of John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove welcome bird- and leaf-watchers alike.
Where: 1201 Pawlings Road
Audubon, PA 19403
If you’re looking for a different perspective on the greens, reds and oranges of fall, perhaps a hot air balloon ride is the ticket. The U.S. Hot Air Balloon Teamout of Holicong in Bucks County offers hot air balloon rides that depart each morning and afternoon from The Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm. As if the view wasn’t enough, a champagne and hors d’oeuvres celebration concludes each flight.
Where: 5281 York Rd. Holicong, PA 18928
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A post shared by Nick Faulkner (@thenickfaulkner) on Nov 1, 2016 at 7:04pm PDT
Take your pick of meadows, forests, farmland or fields for your fall foliage adventure at Evansburg State Park. Heads up to golf enthusiasts: The 18-hole Skippack Golf Club is located within the park.
Where: 851 May Hall Road
Collegeville, PA 19426-1150
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A post shared by Dan Armstrong (@ddarmstrong23) on Nov 1, 2015 at 11:53am PST
The artistic talents of the Wyeth family are on full display at this picturesque Brandywine River Museum of Art, seated along the Brandywine River. Venture outside and see the beautiful countryside that inspired Andrew Wyeth to paint his signature landscapes.
Where: 1 Hoffman's Mill Rd, Chadds Ford, PA 19317
Meaning “Deer Bone Creek” in Lenape, Tohickon Creek in Tohickon Valley Park is one of the cleanest in the state and is great for fishing, rafting and rock climbing, too. Enjoy fall foliage from out on the water or while wandering around on the land. Be sure to check out High Rock while you’re there, where 200 feet of shale rises above the creek to offer a gorgeous scenic lookout.
Where: Cafferty Rd.
Pt. Pleasant, PA 18947
Book the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package for stays through November 30, 2018 and get FREE hotel parking as well as free tickets to the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art, a $25 gift card to the must-visit Reading Terminal Market, free Philly-themed mini-golf at Franklin Square and a $10 Lyft credit.