1. MEEMAN-SHELBY FOREST STATE PARK, near Memphis, Tennessee
This 13,467-acre park on the Mississippi River is a rainbow of flaming foliage, with leaves of golden yellow, burnished orange and deep red. And the views are literally top-notch, thanks to the park's diverse collection of uncommonly tall trees, like a 154-foot American beech, a 152-foot nuttall oak and a 127-foot cedar elm. Maples and bitternut hickories abound, too.
Take a hike!
The Woodland Trail is a hilly 3-mile loop that leads you into a forest full of trees with strange growths (called burls) that look like faces. You'll also see wildlife: The area is home to more than 200 species of birds, as well as deer, turkeys, beavers, foxes, otters and bobcats.
The Great River Road, which extends over 10 states, covers 127 miles of West Tennessee. You'll drive past 64 natural and cultural points of interest, from parks on the banks of the Mississippi to the Veterans Museum in the town of Halls.
A 30-minute drive from the park, Memphis has some out-of-this-world BBQ. Line up for the famous pulled-pork sandwich at Payne's Bar-B-Q (1762 Lamar Ave., 901-272-1523).
Sleep close to nature without sacrificing comfort in one of six lakeside cabins available for rent in the park (from $80 a night, 800-471-5293). Each two-bedroom cottage has a fully equipped kitchen and wood-burning fireplace.