HUNTINGTON — The vast majority of trips this fall will be road trips, according to a recent AAA travel survey.
The survey showed that 80% of all trips in the fall will be automobile travel.
“The pandemic has given many Americans a reason to dream about their next getaway,” Bevi Powell, senior vice president, AAA East Central, said in a news release. “This is leading to a rise in road trips to scenic American destinations.”
In a sign of the rising popularity of auto travel this fall, use of AAA’s road trip planning tool has doubled compared to the spring and early summer, the release said.
Lower prices at the gas pump may also be motivating some would-be travelers to hit the road this fall. On average, gas prices nationally are nearly 50 cents cheaper than this time last year and are the cheapest fall prices since 2016. West Virginia gas prices are averaging just over $2.20 a gallon for regular unleaded, according to AAA.
The West Virginia Tourism Office is recommending a fall foliage road trip as colors are spreading from the eastern mountains to the north-central regions of the state.
“Fall color is popping up all over the state,” said West Virginia Tourism Commissioner Chelsea Ruby. “While some of our higher elevations have peaked, there are still several weeks’ worth of leaf peeping ahead in southern West Virginia and the panhandles.”
Ruby said for the best views this weekend, seek out areas in north-central and eastern West Virginia, where color is between 75% and 100%, with some of the highest elevations just past peak.
“Warm hues are saturating the hills of Randolph County along Cheat Mountain west toward Kumbrabow State Forest and the Swiss mountain village of Helvetia, and in Webster County from Williams River in the south to Holly River State Park in the north,” she said.
Travelers are encouraged to share their favorite fall photos using #AlmostHeaven to help populate the Tourism Office’s live leaf map available at WVtourism.com/fall.
“There are several areas of our state that still need those iconic fall photos added to the map,” said Ruby. “The live leaf map is to help travelers plan their future fall getaway or bring those along for a virtual journey through fall color, so I encourage all West Virginia fans to post your favorite fall photos of Almost Heaven.”
Ruby added that travelers visiting West Virginia to see fall color are encouraged to check the status of individual businesses before taking a trip. A statewide indoor face covering requirement is in effect and visitors are encouraged to maintain a safe social distance when traveling the state, she said.
To access the foliage forecast, visit WVtourism.com/fall.