By Colleen Kane, CNBC.com
When it comes to leaf-peeping, the longtime champion New England tends to sweep the awards by default. Of course, tree leaves make their seasonal color changes in other parts of the country, too. (Though you likely won't see as many maple products, cider, cider doughnuts, centuries-old stone walls, or endearing New Englandahs along the way!)
Fortunately, beauty-seekers all over the country can still on head out for a fall drive. The local tree line might be mostly evergreens, but even a few conifers, such as the Tamarack, turn a vivid yellow in the fall-and they're showcased on one of the following suggested scenic drives.
This list of the best fall drives was provided by Terence Baker of AAA New York, based in Garden City. Click ahead to see the routes, along with the sights, attractions, and activities to be found with these 10 scenic byways.
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Route: Feather River National Scenic Byway
Points of interest: This rural route in northeastern California takes sightseers past bridges, waterfalls, and meadows. The route goes from the Sacramento Valley to the mountains, and on to the Great Basin. It's also where the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges meet. With abundant conifers, it might be greener than some fall drives, but a palette of fall hues is visible in mid-October. More ambitious travelers can go hiking on nearly 300 miles of trails, camping, fishing, or whitewater rafting.
Stop off here: For an unusual camping experience in Plumas National Forest, with its views of Honey Lake and Last Chance Creek, up to eight people can rent the former fire outpost, Black Mountain Lookout. (Other lookouts are also available for rental.)
Route: Seeley Lake valley between the Mission and Swan mountain ranges
Points of interest: A distinguishing factor of the region in the fall is the yellow Tamaracks, or Western Larches-one of just three types of conifers that shed their needles. Before the needles drop, they turn vibrant yellow for a most satisfying autumn view. Other landscape features to enjoy include densely wooded slopes, sun-kissed streams, bald eagles, moose, and otters.
Stop off here: A highlight of mid-October is the Seeley Lake Tamarack Festival and Brewfest, which includes a Larch interpretive center, a bike race, and an arts-and-crafts fair.
Route: State Rte. 10 in Littleton to Rte. 117 and the city of Sugar Hill in the White Mountains
Points of interest: This 15-mile route between two little towns holds plenty to see, do, and taste. The old-time downtown of Littleton has a historic walk and a farmer's market (open until October). Sugar Hill has the restored Clock Tower, which rises above the fall foliage, a museum, and Polly's Pancake Parlor, which is 100-plus years old.
Stop off here: The Bailiwicks restaurant, wine and martini bar in Littleton's historic Thayer Inn comes highly recommended.
Route: The Hudson Valley
Points of interest: New York City residents need not venture far to take in the stunning fall foliage. The color on this 120-mile drive begins after crossing the George Washington Bridge to New Jersey's tree-lined Palisades Parkway (at Exit 1, be sure to wave to CNBC.com headquarters!). Continue on to Bear Mountain Bridge and cross over it to Rte. 9D via Garrison and Cold Spring to Beacon. Then cross over the Hudson again at Newburgh, driving south along Rte. 9W through to Seven Lakes Drive in Bear Mountain State Park, finishing in Sloatsburg.
Stop off here: Witness the large-scale sculpture at the Storm King Art Center, set against the backdrop of nature, or learn about modern industrial design at the Russel Wright Design Center in Manitoga.
North Carolina and Virginia
Route: The Blue Ridge Parkway
Points of interest: The Blue Ridge Parkway's 469 miles are best seen in October. The beauty of more than 100 tree species is showcased as the seasonal color change starts high and progresses down the slopes to the valleys. The route takes drivers between Shenandoah National Park and the Great Smoky Mountains National Parks, and past geological features such as Mount Mitchell, Grandfather Mountain, and Chimney Rock.
Stop off here: Stop long enough and you might see bobcats, foxes, white-tailed deer, or woodchucks, and visit the North Carolina Arts & Crafts Museum.
Route: Rte. 30 from Hood River west to Troutdale
Points of interest: The Historic Columbia River Highway's 47 miles take drivers through the Cascade Mountains, high along the rim for the rim of the Columbia River Gorge, not and through the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area. Hike the trails or practice your photography at the waterfalls and breath-taking viewpoints.
Stop off here: Visit Multnomah Falls, then take a short hike to the lower falls and grab an ice cream cone at the Multnomah Falls Lodge.
Click here to see the full list of America's 10 Best Fall Drives
By Colleen Kane, CNBC.com