Because nothing is more embarrassing than driving your special lady friend three hours to peep leaves, only to find the trees as bare as Ben Affleck in Gone Girl (we swear, we totally didn't see, umm, it), it's important that you time your trip perfectly. And not just around the weakest lineup of college football games.
Short of becoming a park ranger, though, how can you know the ideal times when your local fall foliage will be at its most colorful? Simple: consult this interactive map on SmokyMountains.com. Factoring in hundreds of leafy variables, the map offers a sweet visual representation of America's leaf season as it progresses from green, to peak colors, to as dead as Florida's going to be when they play Georgia in a couple of weeks.
Find the peak leaf-peeping time for your part of the country, then grab one of these killer tents and get gone, girl. Sorry, that was terrible.
Gianni Jaccoma is an editorial assistant for Thrillist Travel, and he’s a world-class leaf peeper. Watch him live tweet the color change @gjaccoma.