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Fall colors are expected to peak this week. Here are 5 places to see the leaves in Hampton Roads.

As the air cools off, the leaves are changing colors. There are several spots to experience the fall foliage.

NORFOLK, Va. — Author's note: The video above is on file from Oct. 16, 2021.

It's that time of the year again: the fall season is here and the leaves are changing colors in Hampton Roads.

According to smokymountains.com's prediction map, the fall foliage in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina is expected to peak this week. By Nov. 1, the leaves are forecast to be past their peak.

With that in mind, now's the time to go explore the changing colors, by foot or car. Here are some places in the region where you can check out the foliage:

Colonial Parkway

This 23-mile-long roadway stretches from the York River to the James River, connecting the Historic Triangle cities of Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown. 

Along the way, the road passes through the woods interspersed with tidal channels and views of The Thorofare on the Back River, the James River, and the York River. You can also pull off to see coastal woodlands and cordgrass marshes.

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resource has more information on its website.

York River State Park

This state park is located along the York River in James City County, where the freshwater and saltwater meet. According to Virginia State Parks (VSP), the area is a rich habitat for marine and plant life. 

You can explore over 30 miles of hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding trails to see the marsh, river shoreline and forests.

False Cape State Park

If you want to see the Fall colors by the ocean, this state park may be for you, but as a heads up, it's not for the faint of heart because you'll have to hike in.

Located in the southern part of Virginia Beach, False Cape State Park is one of the last remaining undeveloped areas along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. The beachfront is six miles long and the park extends to the state line with North Carolina.

According to VSP, you can see the beach, dunes, oak and pine maritime forests, swamps, marshes, and the bay all in one visit. To get here though, you'll have to enter through the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, located at the southern tip of Sandbridge.

Starting Nov. 1, Back Bay's interior trails will be closed, so you'll have to hike on the beach. VSP said you'll see a beach sign for False Cape after three miles. VSP recommends bringing plenty of water, sunscreen and insect repellent.

First Landing State Park

On the other side of Virginia Beach, this state park has 20 miles worth of hiking trails that cover a few types of landscapes, including bald cypress swamps, a dense maritime forest and wetlands. It's also the site where English colonists first landed in North America in 1607.

First Landing's hiking trails can be accessed at or near the Trail Center, located at 2500 Shore Drive.

Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

This habitat covers over 112,000 acres in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. 

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the Great Dismal Swamp has five major forest types: Atlantic white-cedar, maple-blackgum, tupelo-bald cypress and sweetgum-oak poplar. This place is also home to Lake Drummond, a large but shallow body of water.

The refuge has five designated entrances to its trails. FWS has a trails map brochure on its website.

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