Photos: Charming Fall Islands

Nothing amplifies autumn's fiery Technicolor blaze like an island, with its 360-degree waterfront. For your leaf-peeping pleasure, we present the 12 dreamiest places in North America.

  1. Fall colors are especially charming on New York's Heart Island, with its Gatsby-esque castle.

    (Chris Yenney/Dreamstime.com)
  2. Until its seasonal close on October 16, you can tour 120 rooms in the castle, which is surrounded by crimson sumacs, amber oaks, and yellow poplars.

  3. Drive the winding Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, bordered by crashing ocean waves and spectacular foliage.

    (Courtesy Dennis Jarvis/Wikimedia Commons)
  4. The part of the island protected as Cape Breton Highlands National Park bursts into a red-and-yellow fire of birch and maple trees.

    (Courtesy Grmike/Wikimedia Commons)
  5. Leaf-seeking travelers come to hike along Cape Breton's Lone Shieling Trail—a footpath that winds through the park's Acadian forest.

    (Courtesy Tango7174/Wikimedia Commons)
  6. Grand Isle, Vt.—also called South Hero Island—is one of just a handful of islands in Lake Champlain.

    (Jon Arnold Images Ltd/Alamy)
  7. Learn about local history at Grand Isle's Hyde Log Cabin. Built in 1783, it's thought to be one of the oldest cabins still standing in the U.S.

    (North Wind Picture Archives/Alamy)
  8. Color-seekers in Washington State often head to Mercer Island, across from Seattle in Lake Washington.

    (Courtesy Hdtcommons83/Wikimedia Commons)
  9. Find the best foliage in 113-acre Pioneer Park, on the southern side of Mercer Island.

    (William Perry/Dreamstime.com)
  10. In autumn, the 37-mile-long, completely wild Assateague Island in Eastern Shore, Va., is decorated with reds and golds that light up the sand dunes.

    (National Park Service)
  11. At the end of November, birders head to Assateague to glimpse herons and egrets during their peak migration period.

    (Courtesy Skip willits/Wikimedia Commons)
  12. Majestic wild horses hang out in Assateague's forested marshes near the ocean.

    (Courtesy Flickr upload bot/Wikimedia Commons)
  13. Nantucket Island's location east of the Massachusetts mainland presents a westerly ocean panorama found almost nowhere else on the East Coast.

    (Marianne Campolongo/Dreamstime.com)
  14. Fascinating dwarf trees, no neon signs or traffic lights, and photo-worthy sunsets make Nantucket a great leaf-peeping locale.

    (Francesco Iacobelli/Alamy)
  15. A wine trail adds a little buzz to the leaf-peeping on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

    (Douglas Peebles Photography/Alamy)
  16. Drop by the town of Duncan to walk among totem poles crafted by artisans of First Nation (the tribe has called Vancouver Island home since 2,500 B.C.).

    (Greg Vaughn/Alamy)
  17. Head to Vancouver Island's San Juan River, where Roosevelt elk make spooky breeding calls near the hiking trails.

    (Douglas Peebles Photography/Alamy)
  18. A 1.2-mile hiking trail links most of the Dufferin Islands in Niagara Falls, Canada, via 22 small bridges.

    (Courtesy Niagara Region)
  19. Mackinac Island, Michigan, is a blessedly sleepy spot known for its astonishing views of Lake Huron.

    (Michael Ventura/Alamy)
  20. About 80 percent of Mackinac is state parkland, from which cars have been banned for more than a century.

  21. On Mackinac, you can take a horse-drawn carriage tour on the only U.S. state highway that doesn't allow cars.

    (Dimitry Bobroff/Alamy)
  22. Painters have been drawn to Monhegan Island's thriving artist's colony for a century because of its stunning views of Maine.

    (Courtesy roytsaplinjr/Flickr)
  23. A dozen miles of trails snake around the island and are perfect for leaf-peepers and birders.

    (Courtesy Monhegan Island)
  24. Little American Island in Voyageurs National Park, Minn., is nestled in a lake full with fall color, but it went down in history as the site of a major gold rush in the 19th century.

    (NPS Photos)
  25. Ferry over from the mainland on a 45-foot catamaran, and hike a trail that passes through a nationally protected wildlife refuge on Sheffield Island, Connecticut.

    (James L. Amos/CORBIS)

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