New England in autumn is known worldwide for its incredible foliage. As a Massachusetts native, I grew up enjoying beautiful autumns to their fullest; from apple picking at local orchards to crisp fall hikes in the mountains. It wasn’t until I moved to the United Kingdom that I realized how lucky I had been and how incredible New England autumns were.
I’ve asked other amazing Travel Bloggers what they felt were the best ways to experience New England in autumn. And I’ve added in my own favourite experiences as well! I have collated this spectacular list of destinations and activities that cannot be missed on your next trip to New England in autumn for a bit of leaf-peeping and fall foliage.
Know Before You Travel
When to Visit
The peak of fall foliage season in New England, especially the northern states, will be between the last week of September and the first two weeks of October.
It’s still worth visiting a week on either side as the region might surprise you. But if you’re looking for the most vibrant colours and full trees, that is your best window during which to visit.
The state of New Hampshire does have an interactive foliage map so you can see where the foliage is peaking at various points in the state, and you can check out the map on their website.
Length of Visit
This all depends on what you intend to do on your visit and how much ground you want to cover! You can have a fantastic long weekend in the White Mountains and cover much of our recommendations in the process. But if you want to hike several mountains, explore the natural beauty in-depth, and cover more than one state I’d recommend a week or longer.
How to get to New England
There are several airports located throughout New England, but the largest is Boston’s Logan International Airport. Other airports worth noting: Portland (Maine), Manchester (New Hampshire), Burlington (Vermont), Hartford (Connecticut), and Providence (Rhode Island).
There are train stations in all the major cities and bus depots as well. And New York City is several hours by car so that is another viable option.
Getting around New England
You will need a car, though there are some buses and trains that can help you cover some ground. But to truly experience what New England has to offer you’ll want your own set of wheels to get around. The alternative is that you could opt to base yourself from one of the larger cities – Boston, Burlington, Portland – and seek out day trips to nearby areas.
Here is our list of ways to experience New England in Autumn, by state!
Submitted by Nichole from Nichole the Nomad
One of the best places to experience the beauty of New England in autumn is the Kancamagus Highway. The Kancamagus Highway is a 32-mile scenic byway that weaves through the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Driving the Kancamagus Highway should be on every autumn New England bucket list because it is known as one of the most beautiful foliage drives in the world!
Although you can drive the Kancamagus Highway in an hour, I highly recommend spending at least 1-2 days in the area to explore all it has to offer. The beautiful fall foliage brings millions of people to the White Mountains each year, so I highly recommend arriving at the must-see sights on the Kancamagus Highway early in the morning or late in the day to avoid most crowds. If you can drive the Kancamagus Highway on a weekday, it will be much less crowded.
The Kancamagus Highway offers something for everyone, including mountain views, waterfalls, and hikes. If you want to hike, the Kancamagus Highway has many trails for all hiking levels! Here are the must-do hikes:
- Champney Falls
- Boulder Loop
- South Moat Mountain
- Mount Chocorua
- The Bonds
If you don’t want to hike, here are the can’t-miss things to see on the Kancamagus Highway:
- Hancock Overlook
- Pemigewasset Overlook
- CL Graham Wangan Overlook
- Sugar Hill Scenic Vista
- Sabbaday Falls
- Rocky Gorge
- Lower Falls
No matter how you want to experience the Kancamagus Highway, you will be in awe of the stunning fall foliage! It is one of the most beautiful places to visit in New England in autumn!
The Flume is one of New Hampshire’s most stunning natural beauties. This gorge was formed into the local Conway granite nearly 200 million years ago. It has been a major tourist attraction in the area for over a hundred years.
Wooden boardwalks run through the heart of the gorge for over 800 feet. The path takes you through the heart of the natural feature, with the walls rising to 90 feet tall.
In autumn there is the added bonus that the Flume is located in a dense forest at the base of Mount Liberty. This provides some truly spectacular woodland walks for visitors to really experience the beauty of fall in New Hampshire.
The walk takes you through a charming red covered bridge, a great example of the famous style of bridges seen throughout New England to protect the roads from the frost and snow. For those who are less adventurous or mobile, there is a shuttle that can take you from the visitor’s centre about halfway to the attraction, but the rest has to be completed on foot with some stairs to face along the boardwalk.
Tip: Dress warmly, even on a warmish sunny day the cold water that flows through the Flume will chill the air significantly.
Polly’s Pancake Parlor
Polly’s Pancake Parlor is a fantastic family-owned restaurant in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. There are no better pancakes to be found in all of New Hampshire and the local maple products are incredible. There’s a fantastic small shop at the entrance of the shop where you can even pick up batter mixes to bring home with you and relive the deliciousness of Polly’s Pancakes at home long after your trip has ended.
The Polly’s business started back in 1830 as a producer of maple products. The family created a small tea room to sell and feature those products in the 1930s. They began to offer pancakes, waffles and french toast in order to showcase their quality maple products.
The business grew over the years and is a thriving and booming restaurant in Sugar Hill. It’s surrounded by some stunning scenery of New Hampshire’s White Mountains, with the most wonderful view of the local foliage.
This is a popular restaurant so be prepared to queue! However, they do take same day reservations if you try to call ahead before visiting. It may help you cut down on some of your waiting time at the restaurant.
One of the best parts of Polly’s is that they deliver your pancakes and sides in two batches – to ensure that the pancakes are as hot and fresh as possible!
Tip: The gingerbread and oatmeal batters are exceptional – give the different batters a try!
Mount Washington & Cog Railway
The Mount Washington Cog Railway is located in the heart of the White Mountains. It’s a famously unique experience to enjoy during a trip to New England and is even more special during the fall foliage season. The views of the foliage from the train carriage during your ascent of the mountain are unlike any others you’ll find.
At the summit of Mount Washington is a weather observatory and some of the best views to be found in the White Mountains.
The Cog Railway at Mount Washington was the first mountain-based cog railway in the world, building on the success of the cog railways seen in the United Kingdom. Mount Washington’s Cog Railway opened in 1868 and was primarily powered by steam train. Today’s journeys can be taken on either the traditional steam train or a diesel train.
Mount Washington also has an auto road that climbs the mountain to the summit and you can drive yourself to the top. During the fall season, the weather can be unforgiving and it is not always open, depending on weather conditions.
Tip: Book your Cog Railway journeys in advance online to ensure you have a seat on the train.
Submitted by Nicole from The Abroad Blog
Known as “America’s Greatest Small Town” by National Geographic Travel, I think a visit to Portsmouth should be on everyone’s New England bucket list. Portsmouth is the crown jewel of New Hampshire’s Seacoast and is perfectly situated within an hour from the White Mountains and an hour from Boston. It’s the perfect place to visit for a weekend year-round, or can even be enjoyed in just a day trip. It’s a fantastic stop on a leaf-peeping road trip.
Downtown historical Portsmouth is very unique as it has colonial homes dating back to the 17th century. The most famous historical portion of the city is located in the south end. Strawbery Banke, an outdoor history museum, is New Hampshire’s oldest neighborhood to be settled by Europeans.
When visiting Portsmouth, be sure to check out all the small businesses downtown in an area of the city known as Market Square. Portsmouth has more restaurants per capita than any other small town in the United States and is also home to dozens of charming boutiques. Every time I visit Portsmouth I manage to find something new that I love!
Lastly, a fun fact about Portsmouth is that it’s actually located across the river from Maine! If you visit, continue on north to explore Maine’s southern coast. Kittery is only a 10-minute drive away, and can even be accessed by walking across one of Portsmouth’s many bridges.
Mount Monadnock is located in southern New Hampshire just over the border from Massachusetts and sits within Monadnock State Park. The mountain is known for its exceptional hiking trails and incredible summit views. These views are only enhanced by the patchwork of colours available in New England in autumn.
Mount Monadnock is often cited as one of the most frequently climbed mountains in the world. The trails are relatively easy and well-marked for beginner hikers and it’s close proximity to Boston makes it an excellent day trip from the city to experience nature at it’s finest.
The main trail hike, starting at Monadnock Headquarters, to the summit, is 3.8 miles roundtrip, and roughly 3-4 hours to hike. There are additional trails that lead on from the Old Toll Road (4.4 miles) or Gilson Pond (7 miles), which have a few more challenges and are longer. The Old Toll Road route has many side-trails and alternative paths that can be taken as well for further exploration of the mountain.
One of the best autumn experiences visitors can have in New England would be to hike one of the White Mountains. Mount Monadnock is by far the most easily accessed and one of the easier hikes to enjoy. The views are unparallel at the summit due to the unobstructed views and the chance of seeing the Boston skyline over 62 miles away. If you’re looking for a great day trip from Boston, look no further!
Submitted by Karen Warren at Outdoor Adventure Sampler
Lake Willoughby is considered to be the clearest lake in Vermont. This glacially formed natural wonder near Westmore in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont is a perfect fall destination. It’s the deepest lake in Vermont and has been named a National Natural Landmark.
The crystalline waters are surrounded by towering mountains that look like they are on fire in the fall. At peak foliage season, a hike up any of the surrounding peaks will give awesome views all the way to Canada.
The most popular hike is up Mt. Pisgah next to the lake. The 4-mile out-and-back hike ascends the ridge to several lookouts. From the lookouts, the fall foliage on Mount Hor and Mount Wheeler across the lake is stunning. Get an early start on this hike to avoid the crowds.
Other activities to do around Lake Willoughby include swimming, boating, and fishing. There is a public swimming beach at the south end of the lake. Just be aware that the ice-cold water makes for a very refreshing dip.
Campers will enjoy the campground located right on the lake. At the end of the day, there is nothing like a sunset over Lake Willoughby lighting up the sky with colors.
Brattleboro is a small town located in southern Vermont, just over the border from Massachusetts, and within the Connecticut River Valley. It’s surrounded by rural beauty from mountains to rivers and streams and represents the best on offer for New England in autumn.
The town itself is a vibrant small town with amazing craft breweries, a local theatre, and a variety of small-town shops. There are numerous used bookstores dotted throughout the town as well that are worth visiting. For a great meal and a pint check out the Whetstone Station Restaurant and Brewery. And for a great show with an old-world theatre visit the Latchis Theatre.
Vermont, like much of New England, is home to some really charming covered bridges. West Dummerston Covered Bridge is located not far outside of Brattleboro, and just up the road from the incredible Grafton Village Cheese Shop. Vermont is well known for its cheese products and this is a great place to stop off and buy a few of the local delicacies.
There are many hiking opportunities in and around Brattleboro to really immerse into the fall foliage and enjoy the natural beauty of Vermont. Some local favourites include the Retreat Tower hike, Wantastiquet Trail, Fort Dummer State Park, or Sweet Pond State Park.
Submitted by Jumana from PlanetHopperGirl
Jamaica is a cute little town with charming stores located in the South of Vermont. The main attraction here is the Jamaica State Park which is a perfect outdoor destination for hiking, biking, fishing, and swimming all year round. However, the autumn colours make this scenery special. There is a renowned campground just 1 mile away from the park known for its hot showers and well-maintained bathrooms, which attracts many camping enthusiasts.
The closest international airport to Jamaica is the Albany International Airport and is a great place to start a fall road trip adventure through Vermont from South to North.
Jamaica ticks all the boxes for one of the top locations to explore, with some stunning scenery around this region. Jamaica State Park trail leads to the Ball Mountain Dam covering the Ball Mountain Lake, which offers a spectacular view. Make sure to plan enough time to not miss this hike if you go there.
Another famous trail here is the Hamilton waterfalls, which is well known for its fall foliage during this season. The first two miles here are relatively easy, with the last mile being the challenging one. Once you reach the waterfall you can find pools which you can swim in.
Jamaica is an ideal destination for those who would love a peaceful location and enjoy the visual display of the classic autumn colours in the midst of nature, forests, lakes and leaves. It’s a great start to a leaf-peeping drive through Vermont beginning with the Green Mountain National Forest, and don’t miss stopping by the Portmouth village for some amazing fall reflection scenery. There are plenty of hotels and B&Bs to stay near this area if camping is not for you.
Burlington is the northernmost city in Vermont and a beautiful college town located on the shores of Lake Champlain. It has a regional airport with flights to New York and 6 other airport-hubs including Chicago and Orlando. This makes the city easily accessible and a great place to act as a hub for your leaf-peeping activities.
Downtown Burlington is a historic area with fantastic shops and restaurants and beautiful architecture. Church Street Marketplace is a fantastic place to visit the downtown area for shopping and enjoying the local vibe of Burlington. Burlington Waterfront Park is a beautiful park area on the waterfront of Lake Champlain. It’s a great area to watch the stunning fall foliage over gorgeous Lake Champlain and get some spectacular views. There’s also a fantastic open-air museum, the Shelbourne Museum, just outside of Burlington which depicts the buildings and ways of life from different eras of Vermont’s past.
There are cruises available of Lake Champlain, on the Spirit of Ethan Allen, through mid-October. This gives you a really great view of Lake Champlain, Burlington’s waterfront, and the fall-foliage present in early October. The Green Mountain Railroad is another great way to see the local surrounding scenery.
Burlington is home to several breweries and distilleries – like Mad River Distilleries and Foam Brewers. These are just a few of the fantastic craft brewers and distilleries in the area. There are also fantastic restaurants and other foodie experiences to enjoy in Burlington – like Lake Champlain Chocolate Factory Tours.
Stowe is a beautifully idyllic and peaceful town in northern Vermont. Autumn is a beautiful season in Stowe and extremely festive, with a celebration of harvests and the incredibly vibrant foliage.
Located deep within the Green Mountains of Vermont the area around Stowe has fantastic hiking opportunities. Popular local trails include Mount Mansfield, Sunset Rock, Kirchner Woods or Stowe Pinnacle. There are even guided hikes available in and around Stowe.
Vermont is well known for its craft brewery scene and there are two fantastic ones within Stowe – von Trapp Brewery and Idletyme Brewing Company. Cider is also a popular drink in Vermont and there are two cider mills are well worth a visit as well – Stowe Cider and Cold Hollow Cider Mill. Cider Donuts are a popular treat as well and can be found at Cold Hollow Cider Mill.
The quaint town itself has a charming main street with a general store and a variety of shops, and a farmer’s market. There are also local lantern tours that are a unique way to experience the town.
Tip: Route 100 is a great drive to appreciate the fall foliage and experience leaf-peeping.
Portland is the second-largest city in the state of Maine at around 66,000 residents. It’s a charming port-based city with exceptional seafood and a collection of islands in Casco Bay. These are sometimes referred to as the “Calendar Islands” because there is a long-standing myth that there are 365 of them, but in truth, there are only 136 that are named and listed.
The city has an absolutely charming harbour district, historic buildings, a great nightlife and fantastic craft breweries. Each autumn Portland is host to the “Harvest on the Harbor” event – a celebration of the incredible food and beverage offerings found in Portland and throughout Maine. It’s a great way to celebrate and experience the best of New England in autumn. The craft beers in Portland are exceptional but Allagash is a popular brewery in the area and well worth a visit.
There are many outdoor excursions as well. Portland Head Lighthouse offers beautiful scenic views of the ocean and a fantastic area for walking and light hikes. There are multiple trails around the Portland Head Lighthouse to take advantage of. Or you can take a ferry out to Peaks Island or Long Island in Casco Bay for another unusual and fun experience, with plenty of areas to explore the islands are a great way to appreciate all that the Portland area has to offer.
Tip: For the best view in the city climb to the top of Portland Observatory to get a panoramic view of Portland and it’s fall foliage.
Kennebunkport is a beautiful coastal town in southern Maine that is particularly popular in the summer. But the autumn is a fabulous time to visit this small Maine town as well. There are fabulous beaches nearby for crisp autumn strolls. Gorgeous lighthouses to capture your imagination and a coastline that is incredibly beautiful.
The Seashore Trolley Museum also runs an event for the Pumpkin Trolley Patch; where you can pick your own pumpkin in a truly festive environment.
Cosy is something that Kennebunkport does very well. Every hotel I’ve stayed at has a roaring fire and all the hearty delicious food will make you feel right at home. It’s the perfect weather and season for a good cup of New England Clam Chowder at any of the number of fantastic restaurants in town. There are dozens of historic inns in and around Kennebunkport to really enjoy that warm, cosy and welcoming vibe that Maine does so well.
There are many outdoor activities available to enjoy in Kennebunkport; from kayaking along the river to apple picking in nearby Wells. There are even ample opportunities to take boat tours from the town to see the coastline of Maine from the sea – framed by the stunning fall foliage that Maine is known for at this time of year.
Tip: For a fun vibe and great food check out The Ramp Bar and Grill.
Wolfe’s Neck State Park
Submitted by Moshe from The Top Ten Traveler
Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park is one of the gems of New England. It is a relatively smaller park in the south of Maine, 5 minutes’ drive from the lovely town of Freeport, on the water of Casco Bay. The park is a popular recreation area with a few trails along the rocky shores of the Bay, and it’s a beautiful place to experience autumn colors.
As soon as you park your car, you realize you are in the middle of a beautiful white pine forest. Once you pass the hut and the information boards, just start exploring the trails around you. They are easy to walk on, some are also accessible for wheelchairs, and they go inside the forest and along the coastline. You will encounter a few small bridges and wooden benches to sit on and enjoy the nature around you. During the fall season, the paths are covered with an amazing yellow-brown carpet of leaves, while the trees can still be green. When you get close to the water, you see the islands of Casco Bay, and if you are lucky, you might catch sight of some ospreys, usually close to Googins Island. They are here for the summertime, and in the fall, they start their journey south.
For a quiet stroll in the park, try to make it here on weekdays, as the park gets busy during the weekends. On your way in or out, make a stop for coffee, meal, or even some shopping, in the charming streets of Freeport.
Submitted by Taryn from ChasingTrailsBlog
For outdoor enthusiasts, there’s no better autumn destination than Maine’s Kennebec Valley. Centered around the Kennebec River and Moosehead Lake, the valley offers hiking, fishing, some of the best whitewater rafting on the east coast, camping, wildlife watching (there’s even a moose safari!), and more. It’s also aglow with vibrant shades of red, orange, and gold in the fall.
Starting from “The Forks,” the confluence of the Dead and Kennebec rivers, hit the Old Canada Road National Scenic Byway. There are tons of scenic overlooks along the route for leaf-peeping, but Moxie Falls is an absolute must. The falls are the state’s highest and easily accessible year-round ‒ just a quick detour and a short, family-friendly hike on a well-maintained trail.
If you’re looking for a more adrenaline-pumping hike, take Old Canada Road to the Appalachian Trail. Both Bald Mountain and Pleasant Pond Mountain are moderate trails with spectacular autumn colors.
Of course, The Great Outdoors isn’t the only thing the Kennebec Valley has to offer. The capital, Augusta, is largely considered one of the most underrated cities in New England. Shop downtown on Water Street and sample local beers and lobster rolls (hey, when in Rome) at one of several craft breweries. If you’re a history buff, don’t miss Old Fort Western, the oldest wooden military garrison in the US (built in 1754!).
Insider tip: If fall foliage is your priority, aim to visit Kennebec Valley the last week of September or first half of October.
Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park is one of the United State’s 63 national parks, and is the only one located in Maine and New England. It’s a highly popular destination during the summer months and quiets down a little during fall. However, the fall months are where Arcadia really shines with it’s stunning foliage and fewer crowds.
There is so much to do in Acadia National Park:
- Hike Cadillac Mountain
- Drive the Park Loop Road
- Watch the sunset at Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse
- Ride a bike on the Carriage Roads
- Listen to the roar at Thunder Hole
- Enjoy the views at Otter Cliff
- Take a leisurely stroll at Jordan Pond
- Challenge yourself on the 2-mile long Precipice Trail
- Stargazing unspoiled by light pollution
- Kayak to Seal Cove
- Join an Acadian Boat Tour
The opportunities in Acadia are endless but it is a fantastic way to enjoy the very best of what nature in New England has to offer.
Bar Harbor is the local town to Acadia National Park and has a vibe and charm all of its own. It’s home to many local choices for accommodation and restaurants. And has some of the best harbor views in northern Maine you could imagine.
Tip: Lobster season extends through fall in Maine and no trip would be complete without indulging in a proper Maine Lobster.
Wine Tasting at Truro Vineyards on Cape Cod
Submitted by Brittany from Cape Cod Travel Tips
Off-season travel on Cape Cod should not be missed! Sure, swimsuit weather is long gone, but there are a lot of positives about visiting Cape Cod in the fall. There is ample free parking, no traffic, and the best of all, no big crowds!
One must-do fall activity is visiting Truro Vineyards for some wine tasting. A flight of five wines costs $15, and the selection changes weekly. An employee leads you through the flight while describing the wines and the grapes from which they are made.
Or skip the flight and order your favorite wine by the glass or bottle. Bring your own snacks from home or buy artisanal cheeses and other local goods at the gift shop. There’s also usually a food truck parked on-site that serves snacks and meals, too. Sit at one of the picnic tables or chairs on the front lawn. Or on a chilly day, sit near the fire pit behind the gift shop.
While you’re there, join a free guided tour of the vineyard and winery. You’ll learn about maritime grape growing and winemaking. Plus, the history of the land as a working farm over the last 200 years.
It will take about an hour to drive to Truro Vineyards from Hyannis on Rt 6. Take the Rt 6A Exit in North Truro and the vineyard will be on the right. Also worth visiting in Truro is Cornhill Beach, Ballston Beach, and Chequessett Chocolate.
Submitted by Monica from PlannerAtHeart
Mount Greylock State Reservation is a 1,200-acre park with the highest peak in Massachusetts. You can enter the park in two ways. From the South take Rockwell Road, and from the North take Notch Road. Due to weather, the park is only open from May through November.
Start (or end) your visit at the Summit. On a clear day, you can see the Green Mountains, Adirondacks, the Catskills, and even the White Mountains of New Hampshire from various looking out points. You can explore historic buildings and climb the beautiful War Memorial tower for another viewpoint of the surrounding states. If you dreamed of stepping foot on the Appalachian Trail, you can cross that off your bucket list here! The park has limited food service options, so pack food and lots of water. Grab one of the picnic tables for lunch with a view.
Whether you’re looking for a full day challenging hike or an easy nature walk with toddlers, Mount Greylock has it all. Ground yourself with a stop at the Visitor’s Center off Rockwell Road where you can also learn about ranger-led activities in the park. Open from dusk to dawn, you can spend a part of or your whole day here. For those with mobility challenges, you can enjoy the scenery from your car, as well as vista views from various parking lots at the Summit.
Submitted by James from Travel Collecting
Autumn is harvest season for cranberries and seeing the harvest is a highlight of any trip to New England at this time of year. Cranberries grow on vines on the ground and the most common way to harvest them is to flood the fields they grow in and then shake the vines so that the fruit floats to the surface. They are then vacuumed up and into the back of waiting trucks. This means that entire fields are completely covered in bright red berries. The sight is incredibly beautiful!
The farms are called bogs and there are several cranberry bogs in Massachusetts that open up for visitors to see the harvest. A couple even give you the opportunity to be a cranberry farmer! You get to put on some waders and go into the flooded bog and help push the cranberries towards the waiting suction hose. This is a unique fall experience few people have.
One of the farms that give you this experience is Benson’s Pond farm in South Middleboro. You will need to drive there from Boston. They also offer tours if you want a drier experience, and have a store, picnic area and even offer a full farm-to-table dinner package.
The harvest season is short and this is very popular, so book well ahead. The season is typically October in this area.
Old Sturbridge Village
Old Sturbridge Village is a living museum featuring over 40 buildings across 200 acres of land in central Massachusetts. It features buildings and the ways of life between 1790 and 1830s in rural New England. The village is populated with costumed staff and guides who partake in traditional activities, from tending to animals to weaving or blacksmithing.
The museum even offers historical craft classes where guests can participate in tinsmithing, woodworking, blacksmithing, and a variety of cooking and baking lessons. These are usually held on Saturdays, and the occasional Sunday. Even if you don’t take one of the classes you can still see demonstrations of the craftmanship. The blacksmith shop is an active exhibit throughout the year. The classes are not the only hands-on element within the village. There is even a functional water pump and visitors are encouraged to touch a variety of exhibits and displays.
The live actors who act as guides in the village are a great way to learn about history without stopping to read signs and plaques.
During autumn Old Sturbridge Village is alive with the beautiful colours of fall foliage and various harvest and fall-themed events. It’s a great way to experience the true New England way of life with the beautiful crisp and cool air of autumn. And the fall foliage surrounding your explorations through this wonderful 200 acres museum. With much of the village covered in trees, it really comes to life with vibrant foliage.
Tip: Old Sturbridge Village is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, so plan accordingly!
Boston is the largest city in New England and the capital of Massachusetts. It has the region’s biggest international airport with direct flights to London and beyond. The city is packed with history and culture and is the birthplace of the American Revolution. It comes to life in autumn with all the trees showcasing the foliage colours in the Public Gardens, on Beacon Hill, and all along the Charles River.
The Esplanade on the banks of the River Charles offers some spectacular views of the city and the foliage. The Boston Duck Tours and their amphibious army boats can take you into the River Charles. And this will give you a unique perspective on the city and skyline.
To escape the hustle and bustle of the vibrant city you can jump on a ferry to the Boston Harbor Islands. On the islands, you can enjoy a quiet hike and exploration of the nearby islands.
Beacon Hill is iconic and charming year-round but especially so during autumn. Enjoy a walk through Boston Common and the Public Gardens before exploring the cobbled winding streets of Beacon Hill for a quintessential Boston vibe.
If you visit in late September or early October you may still be able to catch a baseball game at iconic Fenway Park. Or even grab a day tour of the park to learn all about its incredible history as America’s oldest ballpark.
Tip: It may be touristy but the Cheers bar is well worth the visit for some nostalgia!
Corn Maze at Davis Farmland
The Mega Maze at Davis Farmland is a fantastic way to experience New England in autumn. It’s great for adults, families and kids of all ages.
This massive corn maze is located across 8 acres of land in Sterling, not too far from the city of Worcester in central Massachusetts.
The maze is designed for a variety of visitors and can take anywhere from 30 to 3 hours. For those who get stuck, there are helpful human guides in the maze who can help you along. Throughout the maze experience, there are different adventures and mini-games to enhance the experience.
Beyond just the maze Davis Farmland is known as a great destination for families. There is an animal showcase with all the local farm animals where you can feed them, groom them and in some cases pet them.
Davis Farmland also offers a one-stop-shop for all your autumnal experience needs. They have both apple picking and pumpkin picking on-site as well.
Tip: No need to worry about bathrooms or breaks as there are portajohns in the Maze and a snack bar at the halfway point.
Apple Harvest Festival in Southington
Submitted by Constance at A Well-Read Wanderer
Take my advice, and mark your calendars for the annual Apple Harvest Festival that takes place over two weekends every October in Southington, CT.
A tradition more than 50 years running, the festival attracts over 100,000 people each year.
You can look forward to an impressive town parade, live entertainment, carnival rides, fireworks displays, an arts and crafts show, a 5k road race, and food vendors galore.
Of course, what the festival is most known for amongst locals are the hot, cinnamony apple fritters that have been sold at the Zion Lutheran Church booth for the last 50 years. These freshly fried, deliciously sweetened donuts draw crowds lining up over multiple city blocks all day long. The church sells so many apple fritters every year that they purchase nearly 20,000 lbs. of flour to ensure they have enough. So line up early, because these are worth the wait.
The timing of the festival in early October couldn’t be more perfect. You’ll get to enjoy the peak of fall foliage in a charming small town, surrounded by those classic New England church spires. The chilly, brisk weather will make the hot apple fritters and warm drinks all the more enjoyable.
This annual event is traditionally free to attend with free parking and shuttles available.
Tip: Southington is perfectly positioned for a day trip to or from Boston, Massachusetts, another great place to visit in the autumn or any time of year. While you’re there, be sure to check out these three can’t miss indie bookstores in Boston.
Apple Picking at Lyman Orchards
Submitted by Lyndsay from The Purposely Lost
For a quintessential New England in autumn experience, you need to visit Lyman Orchards in Middlefield to find the best apple picking in Connecticut. Lyman Orchards is recognized as the 12th-oldest family-owned business in the United States, and in 1986, the Lyman Homestead was included in the National Registry of Historic Places.
The farm was established in 1741 after John and Hope Lyman bought 37 acres of property. By the turn of the 20th century, they had spread to more than 1,500 acres of farmland, which included their produce, hay, and livestock fields. They also built the Apple Barrel, where you can buy a range of their goods and sweet treats today.
The farm creates a beautiful Sunflower Maze and Butterfly Garden, but the fall is when the orchard comes to life. With 25 different apple varieties, you’re sure to find your favorite apple available for the picking with their Pick-Your-Own opportunities, in addition to several other pick-your-own fruits and vegetables throughout the season. Many of the Pick-Your-Own fields are on hilltops, which will give you incredible views of the area. Make sure you call ahead to find out what varieties are ready for the picking on the day you decide to go.
Submitted by Pamela from The Directionally Challenged Traveler
Located on Aquidneck Island, Newport is quaint surrounded by breathtaking beaches and sea cliffs. Autumn is the perfect time to visit Newport since the summer crowds are leaving, but the weather is still warm enough to walk around.
Take a stroll along the Cliff Walk to take in the nature of the area. The Cliff Walk is 3.5 miles long and has beautiful views of beaches and the famous Newport mansions. There are a few parking areas so you do not have to do the whole thing if you’re short on time. Park near The Breakers, one of the most famous mansions so you can do that when nearby. The mansions of Newport are famous for their history and architecture. Some of the mansions were built in the 1850s!
Any visit to Newport wouldn’t be complete without delicious food! If you arrive in Newport for breakfast, head to Cru Cafe near the Audobain Museum – the blueberry stuffed french toast is delicious! For lunch, visit the Fifth Element for classic American fare with a New England twist. It wouldn’t be New England without a seafood meal. Tennis fans would enjoy a tour of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Be sure to get some fresh seafood at the Lobster Shack.
The beautiful mansions and views of nature encompassed with the fall foliage makes Newport a great autumn destination in New England.
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How beautiful do all of these locations look with the autumn colours? I would love to go on walks and take photos of these places.
Wow! Thanks for the great collection of experiences in New England. I saved this so I can come back when planning my fall New England road trip!
I am in love with these places. I am not very aware of New England but I can see there are so many places to visit and so many things to do there. I am surely going to plan something for my upcoming vacation.
There are just so many beautiful places to see in New England during the fall.
Ah New England looks so pretty in autumn! The colours are incredible and the Mount Washington Cog Railway looks adorable! It looks like such a quaint destination to visit in Autumn! I hope I get to experience it for myself one year! Thanks for the great guide!
I have dreamt of coming back to New England in the fall. It is so pretty and this list has really inspired me to try and make it happen this year. Thank you – I am now full of new and fresh ideas!
The photos and colours are soooo nice. I would definitely come back to this post if I was visiting New England in Autumn!
I missed the Fall season in New England this year as I was quarantining! I’ll save this for next year, looking forward to it.
I loved reading about some of my favorite places to visit in New England. And also get a few ideas about new places. I enjoyed being part of this fabulous collaboration post.
When I think of New England I usually think of bustling and packed cities, but I was surprised to see so many beautiful landscapes on this list! I’ve never been apple picking but I would love to give it a try. Also Mount Monadnock is beautiful! I’d never heard of it but I’m sure it would be a place I’d visit!
I just missed the fall and the changing colours of the leaves when I did my only trip to New England many years ago and I so need a return visit to see the area in the fall. I have done all the states but only hit up the main places. I much prefer the countryside to the cities/towns in New England. Dont get me wrong, Boston, Providence, Augusta, Portland etc, great places and warm welcomes, but it will always be the countryside which I will always remember. 🙂
New England for the fall colours has always been on our travel wish list. Seeing the waterfalls with the fall colours would add another treat for sure. We do love railways of all kinds so would want to check out the cog railway in the White Mountains. I hardly believed you were in Vermont when I saw the blue of the waters of Lake Willoughby. A great reason to send us back to Vermont in the fall. So many reasons we should head to New England one fall.
Visiting New England in the fall is one the things that I want to do. It’s good to know about the best time to see the fall foliage. I hope schools are back in session during those times, so weekdays won’t be pack like weekends. I’m speechless seeing the colors at White Mountains. We don’t even have 1/4 of it here in Texas.
Its perfect that I landed on your post at this time because I am planning a trip to New England in July this year and although it wont be autumn, I’d still love to explore the places you’ve mentioned. Unfortunately, I won’t have more than 5 days so I will have to pick and choose the places I can visit, but I want to go to Jamaica Vermont and Lake Willoughby for sure!
I have been to many places on this list and there are many more that I want to visit! New England is truly a magical place in the fall. I have yet to visit a Cranberry Bog but it is on my bucket list. I found that most of them were not open to the public this past year, but I hope to make it to one in the near future. I was able to visit Acadia in 2020, but it was in the summer. I would love to return and visit in the fall, I can imagine how much more beautiful it is.
This is so stunning. I have admired this area for so long when it comes to autumn foliage. I guess I need to get busy and plan a trip there for next fall! Thanks for the inspiration!
I’ve been to New England once in Fall and loved the autumn leaf colour, but definitely didn’t see everything in your post on that one two-week trip! There are some spots you’ve suggested that really appeal – the small town charm of Portsmouth, the natural beauty of Mount Monadnock (and the views!), and the many beautiful lakes, rivers and landscapes in the whole region!
This part of the US I am not very familiar with. Would love to explore it in the future since I always looking to explore lesser known places. Mount Monadnock looks stunning and so is Mount Monadnock. So many breathtaking places.
Beautiful. Would love to visit! Most flights from where I live go to NYC. And to be honest, the place I would love to return to for my first US trip in years is NYC. Is it feasible to drive or take a coach/train up or do you recommend taking a flight from NYC?
Cranberry Bogs – my first pick for New England and that too, in Autumn. For one I love the berries and 2nd, those colors – I got to photograph for myself. The Mount Washington Cog track sounds interesting with its history. Love the Apple picking idea and of course the vineyards! Sounds like a perfect trip
This post is packed with sooooo many goodies! I absolutely love New England in the fall. The colors are so so pretty. I hope to be able to explore more of the area and check some of these places off of my list this year!
There is so much to see and do in New England. The fall colors look absolutely amazing everywhere – the mountains, the lake, towns and the national park. It seems that fall is the best time to visit the places.
I definitely want to take a guided “leaf peeping” bus tour and help harvest cranberries in a cranberry bog. Both of those things are on my bucket list.