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Travel tips for Indian Summer

Green, yellow, orange, red. No season shines in such an intense blaze of color as the Indian summer. Especially in Canada and the USA, a unique spectacle of nature emerges that is like looking into a kaleidoscope. It invites you to hike through the forests, take road trips along lakes and explore valleys by bike.

We have selected the most beautiful routes and destinations for an impressive Indian Summer and tell you when the right time has come for you to set off.

Indian Summer - What is it anyway?

Indian Summer is not only the fireworks of colors, but at the same time the time when this natural spectacle takes place in Canada and North America. It marks the change of seasons. It is summer in autumn. With pleasant temperatures and mild weather, and the interplay of cold nights and sunny days that makes the intense coloring of the leaves possible in the first place. In Germany, we probably know Indian Summer more as "golden autumn" or "Indian summer".

Indian Summer - the best time to travel

When exactly Indian Summer reaches its colorful peak depends entirely on the region. The further north we are in Canada, the earlier the natural phenomenon begins. On the mountain slopes, the leaves begin to change color as early as the end of August. In the southern end of New England, such as the state of Connecticut, it doesn't arrive until early October and then often extends throughout the month.

In addition to the region, Indian Summer is also dependent on weather conditions. So the time can vary from year to year. In general, however, we can say that between mid-September and late October is the best time to travel to experience the golden autumn in Canada and North America.

Our tip: The map of Smoky Mountains shows the timing of the foliage coloration in the current year. So you can plan your trip more specifically to the color splendor.

Indian Summer - the most beautiful routes & destinations

Indian Summer stretches across vast landscapes of Canada and North America. These include the Mid-Atlantic states, the Ohio Valley, the Great Lakes region, the Great Plains, Mount Royal Park, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

However, the New England states and eastern Canada have an even greater variety of deciduous trees, so there are even more shades of color here. That's why the East Coast is probably the most popular Indian Summer destination.

We present you the five most spectacular destinations:

#1 Nova Scotia 

It is the second smallest province in Canada in terms of area, lies directly on the North Atlantic and is home to one of the most beautiful coastal routes: Nova Scotia. Here, the Indian summer usually begins at the end of September.

If you love the outdoors and have always wanted to vacation in a camping van in an impressive landscape, you should take the Cabot Trail. The 300 km long panoramic road winds through the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, offers an incredible view of the river valley and the sea and leads you into the Annapolis Valley.

Along the route you will find seven campgrounds where you can spend the night directly in nature. These are located in Cheticamp, Corney Brook, Fishing Cove, Macintosh Brook, Big Intervale, Broad Cove and Ingonish Beach.

Must-dos: hiking, kayaking, if you're lucky, moose and bald eagle spotting, jumping into Wards Rock Pool on the Margaree River, and spending a few nights at Ruth and Hermann Schneeberger's Big Intervale Fishing Lodges.

#2 Québec 

Those who prefer to spend time in urban areas will feel particularly at home in Québec during the Indian summer. The city is known for its location on the Saint Lawrence River - but especially for its historic old town with European flair and a city wall that has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985.

If you stroll through the narrow streets of the Petit-Champlain district, gain a wonderful insight into the city's history on the Dufferin Terraces, stop to marvel at the Citadel, the Notre Dame Basilica and the Place Royale, and in the evening enjoy your meal on the Grande Allée in one of the restaurants, you will quickly understand why we consider Quebec to be one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Here's our tip on how to make the most of the Indian summer here: Take this three-day short trip to Québec and then head out to the Parc National de la Jacques-Cartier. You can paddle through the glacial valley by canoe or kayak and take in the full colorfulness of the forests from the water.

#3 Algonquin Provincial Parc 

There is nature. And there's Algonquin Provincial Park. This impressive region of some 2,400 lakes and deciduous and coniferous forests was formed 11,000 years ago during the last ice age. Since then, over 7,700 square kilometers of wildflowers have found a home here - even wild lilies and the cardinal flower bloom in full splendor.

To get completely into the "nature adventure feeling", we recommend you to stay overnight in a rustic ranger wooden cabin. From here you can start your daily hiking, biking or canoeing tours.

The shortest hiking route is the Hardwood Lookout trail, which is less than a mile long and offers a magnificent view of Smoke Lake, taking about 45 minutes. If you're already proficient at hiking, try the eleven-kilometer Mizzy Lake trail, which crosses swamps on boardwalks.

Our top tip: You can book canoe trips through Algonquin Adventure Tours. Since 1996, their guided tours and day trips have been considered the best in the region. 

#4 Vermont 

For many, the Vermont landscape is the epitome of Indian summer. That's because three-quarters of the state is covered by forest - and not just any forest. Vermont has the highest density of maple trees, which are known for developing the gaudiest foliage colors.

The largest forest area - and the destination of many leaf peepers - is the 1500-square-mile Green Mountain National Forest. Here you can hike, golf, fish and, of course, mountain bike.

On the 13 coolest routes you can pedal, get more action under your two wheels with a few obstacles and stop every now and then to let your gaze wander over the lakes and colorful forests.

Our tip if you want to relax instead of driving on the popular "Route 100": Take a train on the Green Mountain Railroad and let the Indian Summer landscape pass you by in a relaxed way.

#5 Boston 

For our fifth tip, we're going back to the city, namely Boston. The largest city in New England made history with the "Boston Tea Party" in 1773. It is also one of the oldest cities in the USA, having been built in 1630. This is also evident in the cityscape, which combines historic buildings with glass skyscrapers.

Stroll through the impressive campus of Cambridge University, eat the famous baked beans, experience American history on the Freedom Trail Tour and go to the bar "Cheers" in the evening.

There are beautiful parks in the city where you can enjoy the Indian Summer, but we suggest you drive a bit more into western Massachusetts to see even more colorful displays. In the Berkshire Mountains, the foliage is said to be especially beautiful. Between rolling hills, small forests and cute towns you will find pure relaxation.

Indian Summer - before you book

You want to experience your Indian Summer in Canada or North America right now? We can understand. It is the same for us. But before you book, remember to always check the best travel period for your region.

It's also worth thinking about useful travel tools. Whether it's a mosquito bite healer or a foldable water bottle, it's never a bad idea to have some practical gadgets with you on your Indian Summer vacation.

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