As a long-time DC resident, I know firsthand just how breathtakingly gorgeous fall is in this region each year. The leaves turn from an array of greens to exquisite shades of red, orange, and yellow. Locals and tourists alike flock to the best spots for viewing the fall foliage.
The best time of year to see fall foliage in DC is in mid-to-late October. This is when the autumn hues are at their most brilliant. While you don’t have to look hard to find picturesque views, I’ve rounded up the most beautiful places to check out the fall foliage. Whether you live in the DMV (Washington, DC, Maryland, or Virginia) area or are visiting from out of town to see the area’s stunning natural beauty, you’re in for a treat.
[This post on the Top 5 Places to See Fall Foliage in Washington, DC was originally posted in June 2021 and updated June 2022.]
Here are the top five places to see fall foliage in Washington, DC:
Stretching across 1,754 acres of land, Rock Creek Park is truly a verdant oasis in the city. As one of the oldest parks in the nation, the park is filled with an abundance of vibrant biodiversity and historic Civil War sites. While there are countless hiking trails to explore, Boulder Bridge is known to be Rock Creek Park’s most iconic point for admiring the fall foliage. It is an absolute must-see.
The famous historic home of President George and his wife Martha Washington is located just 13 miles south of Washington, DC. Mount Vernon provides the perfect combination of education and beautiful scenery. Between the mansion, farm, distillery, tombs, and gardens, It’s easily one of the best spots for a day trip. There are several gardens that are filled with vibrant colors during the fall.
The U.S. National Arboretum is known as one of the best spots in DC to view the cherry blossoms in the spring, the living museum is equally stunning in the fall. With 446 acres of tranquil natural landscapes and wildlife, this massive park makes for an incredible day trip to see the fall foliage. Visitors can choose between hiking, biking, or driving to traverse the striking gardens.
The historic DC neighborhood of Georgetown boasts some of the area’s most incredible fall foliage. Between the cobblestone streets and charming waterfront taverns, Georgetown makes its visitors feel as though they’ve traveled back in time. With the beautiful colors of fall blanketing the neighborhood, you can find postcard-worthy scenes on every street.
Located in Montgomery County, Maryland, Seneca Creek State Park spans across over 6,300 acres of land. There are more than 50 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding that range from easy to hard, there are plenty of ways to experience the spectacular fall foliage up-close. Clopper Lake is located inside the park. Visitors can admire the fall foliage while lounging lakeside or from the water by kayak or canoe.
While the entire area is fantastic for viewing the fall foliage in Washington DC, these are some of my favorite spots to explore. You can’t go wrong with any of these destinations, so take a day trip to whichever one speaks to you the most and enjoy the enchanting colors of fall!
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