The aspens and cottonwoods, the oaks and dogwoods, the sassafras and sumacs and - of course - the maples are ready for fall.

Yes, it's that time of year where across the USA there is a rolling fall foliage nature spectacular of amber, yellow, orange, gold and red hues.   The first fall foliage alerts are up on state, travel and other websites.   We at Sip & Savor think it's the perfect time for everyone to see the great outdoors: on foot or bicycle, by raft or canoe.  With a little planning, a fall foliage outing can combine exercise, lessons in geography and nature, bird and tree ID contests, a photo experience and weekend fun.

Not far from walking, hiking and biking trails, many communities often feature weekend Scarecrow festivals, pumpkin patch picks and apple cider tastings.

The season only lasts a few weeks and varies by region.  So use your favorite search engine to find excursions and day trips in your area.   You'll soon discover tips from state tourism and conservation agencies, from bloggers on leaf photography and from travel writers who've done much of the planning for you.  The state of Missouri Department of Conservation has a helpful leaf chart. The U.S. Forest Service has updated foliage forecast info on its website, as well as the answer to the perennial "Why Do Leaves Change Color?" question.  The service also has a Fall Color Hotline: 1-800-354-4595.

Wherever you choose to do your leaf peeping, as the aficionados call it, rest assured you’ll get in a good workout, which will help maintain the calories in and calories out balance so important to a healthy lifestyle.