There is no better time to roll down the windows, put on your favorite album and get lost on the winding highways and backroads than fall in Virginia. The vibrant red, orange and yellow leaves only last a handful of weeks out of the year, so hop on the road when the fleeting magic of fall is in full effect! Here are our favorite fall drives in Virginia for when you want to get the most out of our bright seasonal colors and expansive panoramic outlooks.
Location: Jamestown to Yorktown
Road length: 23 miles
Best for: York river views, James River views, historic tunnel
Colonial Parkway is a 23-mile scenic road that bridges Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown for a driving or biking excursion full of history. This road was constructed in the 1940s to connect several pristine natural environments while protecting the scenery, natural and historic objects and wildlife.
With several beautiful bridges to drive under and a unique 1,190-foot tunnel, this drive offers visitors an opportunity for contemplation and reflection during one of the best fall foliage drives in Virginia.
Blue Ridge Parkway
Location: Smoky Mountains National Park/Shenandoah National Park
Road length: 469 miles
Best for: National park views
With the reputation of “America’s Favorite Drive,” this route is sure to impress. Blue Ridge Parkway is over 450 miles of top-tier national park scenery, from historic tunnels to panoramic mountain views. When you add the additional beauty of fall colors, you are in for a stunning treat.
There are also several opportunities to take a break and stroll on one of many trails for a closer look at the fantastic mountain environment, so your fall drive in Virginia can easily last all week long. This drive just might be our favorite on the list of fall drives in Virginia.
Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park
Location: Blue Ridge Mountains
Road length: 105 miles
Best for: A gorgeous day trip to the mountains
Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park is the ideal choice if you want the beauty of the Blue Ridge route condensed into a day trip. This trip is just over 100 miles, so you can start and finish the scenic drive in a single day. With picturesque mountain switchbacks, sweeping mountain range views and endless rolling hills, this drive will give you more than enough opportunity to take in the changing season.
This drive is open 24/7 (unless closed for dangerous weather), so you can enjoy this road trip whenever you want. The speed limit of this drive is 35 mph, which makes this drive a calming experience from start to finish. So take your time and enjoy one of the best fall foliage drives in Virginia!
While in the area, it is more than worth spending extra time near the Shenandoah River. Of course, most may consider summer the best time for fun on the river. However, one of the best insider tips we can offer is that Shenandoah River kayaking and Canoeing in Virginia is an unparalleled way to witness the stunning fall colors and season changes.
Available through the beginning of November, you can experience the breathtaking finale performance that mother nature puts on before winter commences.
Mount Rogers Scenic Byway
Road length: 65 miles
Best for: Winding roads, fewer crowds
This small but beautiful scenic road is lesser-known than the other drives mentioned in this post, which means fewer cars and people sharing the gorgeous views. Sixty-five miles long, Mount Rogers Scenic Byway showcases the highest point in the state and several opportunities for picnicking, camping, horseback riding, and fishing.
You’ll get to witness some of the oldest mountains in the country on this winding road – and if you’re lucky, you may even see some wild ponies enjoying the surroundings!
Route 33 in George Washington National Forest
Location: Richmond, VA
Road length: 136 miles
Best for: Exploring George Washington National Forest
Route 33 in George Washington National Forest is an excellent choice for beautiful scenery, well-maintained roads, and the option to stop at several popular hikes. While Route 33 will offer amazing views right from the road, there are several backroads and alternate routes to explore. Visitors relish in vibrant fall forest drives, strolls along sparkling streams and views of fluttering leaves in the wind.
With all the beauty a Virginia autumn provides, it’s hard to find a nature road that isn’t stunning. But knowing where to go can help you get the most out of your excursion. Want a little help finding one of the best fall drives in Virginia or planning a beautiful Virginia fall adventure? Front Royal Outdoors is your ticket to having a blast on the Shenandoah River this fall and can help with any of your Shenandoah River adventure needs!