4 Epic Fall Boating Adventures to Start Planning Now

By Debbie Hanson

Oct 10, 2023

List of epic fall boating adventures. When, where to go to experience peak autumn colors from the water, stunning fall foliage destinations for boating.

Cooler weather, gorgeous colors, fewer crowds – just three of the many reasons why it makes sense to start planning a couple of epic fall boating adventures. Check out four autumn destinations that offer some of the most colorful and breathtaking views from the water.

1. Fall Lake Boating at Lake Guntersville State Park

It’s hard to find a better spot to boat and leaf peep than Lake Guntersville in Northeast Alabama. Guntersville is best known as a famous bass fishing destination, but the state’s largest lake could easily be your new favorite place for admiring colorful leafy views from the water. Take advantage of the fall lake boating opportunities by launching from Lake Guntersville State Park (one of about 18 public launch locations) or rent a boat from one of the local marinas. Peak time for fall color in north Alabama is anywhere from the second week in October to the first week in November.

2. Fall Fishing and Boating at Acadia National Park

Among the top places in the country to experience the changing colors from the water is Acadia National Park in Maine, near the town of Bar Harbor. Plan your fall boating adventures when autumn colors typically peak around mid to late October. Echo Lake, Eagle Lake, Jordan Pond, and Long Pond on Mount Desert Island are all idyllic fall canoeing and kayaking destinations. In addition to the freshwater ponds and lakes, there are coastal launch locations for motorboats near the town docks and municipal piers. If you want to let a professional take the helm while you relax, there are guided saltwater fishing charters (for cod and mackerel), nature cruises, and sailing charters that operate out of Bar Harbor in Frenchman Bay.

3. Fall Camping and Boating at Congaree National Park

Go overnight tent camping and canoeing at Congaree National Park near Columbia, South Carolina. Make an advance reservation to tent camp at one of two front country campgrounds (Longleaf Campground and Bluff Campground) or apply for a permit to tent camp in the backcountry (remote). Explore Cedar Creek by paddling down a canoe trail which passes through an old-growth forest to see some of the tallest trees in eastern North America. Check canoe trail conditions when planning your trip and keep in mind that the colors at Congaree National Park are generally best from late October through early November.

4. Fall Photography and Boating at Waterbury Reservoir in Vermont

Waterbury Reservoir near Stowe, Vermont is known for being a top destination for fall foliage boat tours and photography. Colors usually peak from late September through mid-October. Take in the brilliant hues along the reservoir by booking a trip on The Fly Rod Shop’s fall foliage scenic boat charter or rent a canoe through a local outfitter and paddle along the shoreline to take in the brilliant autumn colors. On your way back to Stowe from Waterbury, make time to drive along the Green Mountain Byway where you’ll get stunning Instagram-worthy shots of the changing colors through farmlands, forests, and meadows -- all with a breathtaking mountain backdrop.

Bookmark this list of fall boating adventures, pour yourself a cup of hot apple cider, and get your camera ready – there’s nothing better than experiencing autumn on the water.

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit shefishes2.com or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.