Fall in New England: Ultimate Guide to Foliage, Towns, + Fun (2024)🍁

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Of all places on earth, fall in New England may be one of the prettiest. Every fall activity you could dream of can be found here, with a backdrop of brilliant foliage and quaint little New England towns.

I’ve enjoyed countless New England fall seasons, so I know just what you’re looking for, and the best places to find it!

Let me introduce you to to the ultimate New England fall guide: incredible foliage destinations, festive farms, exciting apple orchards, thriving pumpkin patches, adorable New England fall towns, fall road trip spots, fall festivals, and so much more.

Get ready to discover the best places to go and things to do in New England in the fall (plus foliage information!)

Already know where you wanna go? Check out these epic state guides next:

🍁Vermont in the Fall
🍁New Hampshire in the Fall
🍁Maine in the Fall
🍁Massachusetts in the Fall
🍁Rhode Island in the Fall
🍁Connecticut in the Fall

A hand holding a single maple leaf with splotches of orange and yellow, with a soft-focus background of a peaceful forest path in New England, a prime place to visit in the fall

New England Fall Foliage: When is the Best Time to See Fall Foliage in New England?

Fall foliage colors in New England are from late September to early November, moving from North to South. The first state in New England to see fall colors appear is Maine, and the last will be Connecticut, but there are some nuances to that across each state.

Fall foliage is the color seen on trees throughout the season, but you’ll also hear people refer to peak colors or peak season. Peak is when the fall foliage is at its most vibrant. While it’s a lot harder to pin down the dates when peak foliage will occur, it’s much easier to know the range of dates you’ll most likely see at least some fall color in the region.

Remember, fall color and peak colors depend on somewhat unpredictable natural elements, including weather and precipitation throughout the year. This means these are ranges that are typical. They are not perfect forecasts, as much as I wish I could tell you exactly when to go to New England in the fall!

We will share the ballpark for fall colors in each state, and individual fall foliage trackers so you can zero in on a location you want to visit and follow their peak color forecast. You will almost certainly find fall colors in New England in the month of October, so if you want a month to shoot for, that’s it!

Here is an excellent visual representation of how the foliage changes in New England in the autumn: Yankee Magazine Peak Foliage Map

So if you’re planning to visit New England in the fall, keep this progression in mind and try to plan your fall travels accordingly. 

Visit the New England Fall Foliage FAQ at the end of this post for more detailed info about peak colors for each state.

A vibrant display of fall in New England with a variety of pumpkins and gourds spread on a wooden pallet. In the foreground, a basket filled with small, bright orange 'Munchkins' priced at $1.49 each, beside a pair of black shoes standing on the autumnal ground.

Best Places to Visit in New England in the Fall

I may be biased, but New England is definitely the best place in the northeast to visit in the fall. There are countless New England fall getaways that would be a terrific pick. After all, this region is chock full of amazing destinations. But the following list of destinations are those which are especially beautiful spots to experience New England in fall. They are also where the autumn action is: where you’ll find loads of pumpkin patches, apple orchards, fall farms, and all the other great things to do in New England in the fall!

Stowe, Vermont

A traditional red barn in New England surrounded by a verdant lawn with autumnal foliage. The changing leaves add a pop of orange and red against the backdrop of a cloudy sky

Stowe, Vermont is a gorgeous classic village in a prime foliage spot. In a valley surrounded by Vermont’s Green Mountains, it’s a top destination to see vibrant fall colors (although you do have to plan your visit just right to catch peak foliage!)

The leaves tend to be brightest and boldest in early October, but this may change slightly according to conditions each year.

With its white-steepled church, the village of Stowe presents the perfect fall photo opportunity. While it is one of my favorite places to visit year round, Stowe is resplendent in fall.

A picturesque New England church with a tall white steeple, nestled in a landscape ablaze with the vivid oranges and yellows of fall foliage, captures the serene beauty of a New England fall.

Many come here to hike or to enjoy cycling, shopping, and art. It’s also a good place for foodies, with delicious restaurants both in Stowe and nearby Waterbury.

Fall foliage hike options in Stowe include: Moss Glen Falls, Stowe Pinnacle Trail (great views!), and Sterling Pond.

Check out some of the top Stowe hotels and vacation rentals for the perfect place to stay during your New England fall trip! I loved staying at Trapp Family Lodge with my little family.

Stowe is also on my list of New England’s top vacation spots; destinations worth visiting year-round!

The Cold Hollow Cider Mill – Waterbury, Vermont

a hand holds a cold hollow cider mill coffee cup topped with two apple cider donuts

This is hands down one of the best fall New England trips you can take.

Head just south of Stowe along Route 100 and and stop at the Cold Hollow Cider Mill in Waterbury for fresh-pressed cider and what I’d consider some of the best apple cider doughnuts on the planet. I actually still remember my first visit to this apple heaven way back in 2001.This place just SCREAMS fall, and the scent of cinnamon, apples, and happiness hits you as soon as you get out of your car. It gets me every time!

Take time to wander the adorable store filled with every apple gift and food item you could imagine, and then head across the parking lot to their onsite restaurant and hard cidery. The Vermont to the Core panini with Cabot cheddar cheese, bacon, apples, and cider jelly? OMG! Must. Eat.

Burlington, Vermont

A life-size bronze statue of a saxophonist on the vibrant, brick-lined Church Street Marketplace in Burlington, VT, captures the essence of the city in the fall with hints of autumnal foliage in the backdrop.

About 45 minutes from Stowe is the lovely lakeside town of Burlington, VT, my home for several years. I still consider Burlington to be my home away from home!

This hip, artsy town is home to numerous galleries, coffee shops, restaurants, breweries, and shopping opportunities, as well as plenty of cool hotels and vacation rentals to stay in.

It all overlooks the beautiful Lake Champlain, an enormous body of water that stretches from north to south, separating the states of Vermont and New York. The vista of the lake, with the mountains of New York in the background, is especially scenic in the fall, and there are lots of great hikes near Burlington to get out and really immerse yourself in the fall foliage!

The activities centered around the lake–boating, swimming, ferry rides, etc.–are best enjoyed in the warmer months.

However, the weather this time of year is the best time to stroll along Church Street, enjoying breweries, shops, and a fun atmosphere. Plus, the beautiful hillside neighborhoods with their unique New England architecture and the breathtaking views of Lake Champlain all make Burlington a great place to visit in New England in the fall.

Acadia National Park, Maine

A couple shares an intimate moment overlooking an expansive view of New England in fall, with a tapestry of autumn foliage spreading below and the calm waters in the distance.

Acadia National Park is a destination that offers wilderness and adventure, and it’s one of the best New England fall trips you can take.

This 47,000-acre national park (the only national park in New England) is set on the coast of Maine and countless options for hiking and camping for the outdoor lover. Many hikes offer incredible views of oceanside cliffs and inlets. My husband and I loved hiking the Beehive Loop Trail in early autumn; it was challenging and exhilarating!

Breathtaking scenery isn’t the only great thing about the area. The cozy town of Bar Harbor offers dining, shopping, and culture, so you can enjoy the best of both worlds. After roughing it in Acadia National Park, spend the night in a warm Bar Harbor hotel, inn, or B&B. Bar Harbor has some great restaurants whose chefs love using local, seasonal flavors. A fall-inspired meal on coastal Maine is incredible!

Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor are still fairly crowded in September and October, but it’s usually a break from the highest crowds of summer. It will start to grow quite chilly here by the end of September–a good thing to keep in mind if you hope to go camping.

Mid-October is generally forecast to be peak foliage, but follow local reports for the most accurate info.

PS: Don’t miss the epic natural wonder Thunder Hole, the incredibly yummy popovers at Jordan Pond House, and the iconic Bass Harbor Head Light.

Mack’s Apples – Londonderry, New Hampshire

If you’re looking for the classic, old-timey New England fall experience, Mack’s Apples will provide. This is practically an institution in NH, an 8th-generation, family-owned 400-acre farm. In early autumn, visitors can start picking apples, selecting fruit from 100 acres of trees. 

Pumpkins can be picked, too. When you’re done picking, stop by the farm stand which offers maple syrup, fresh-grown veggies, pies, pears, squash, and more.

🍎See more orchards and farms for the best places for apple picking in New England!

Manchester, Vermont

A vibrant scene for a New England fall trip, showcasing a historic monument under a canopy of brilliant orange leaves, with a classic building and mountain backdrop under a clear blue sky

Manchester is one of the best places to experience fall in New England, and is especially convenient if you’re traveling up from points south.

Located in the southwest corner of Vermont, Manchester is one of my favorite areas to visit; perfectly quaint and quiet, yet with plenty of shopping and activity.

Interestingly, the foliage here often is really vibrant, sometimes peaking earlier and brighter than points north, making this one of the best towns in Vermont to visit in fall.

There is a super fun fall spot to visit in Manchester called Equinox Valley Nursery. This farm has a massive pumpkin patch filled with some spooky characters, a corn maze to get lost in, and of course, the most important New England fall food: cider donuts!

Some of the other highlights of the Manchester area include driving up or hiking Mount Equinox (beautiful autumn views), visiting Hildene, the Lincoln family mansion, and shopping at Manchester’s luxury outlets. You’ll want to stop by Northshire Bookstore if you’re a reader: one of the top independent bookstores in New England.

There are also great restaurants and breakfast spots in Manchester, too. Don’t miss Up for Breakfast for your morning meal, and a perfect dinner choice is Ye Old Tavern.

Salem, Massachusetts

A serene Salem, Massachusetts street during a fall getaway, lined with historic homes and blanketed in golden leaves from towering trees, capturing the tranquil essence of autumn.
A photo I took during my last fall in Salem visit!

Speaking of things to do in New England in October, is there be a better Halloween destination than Salem, Massachusetts? I absolutely adore visiting Salem in the fall.

It is a bit surprising that Salem is now a destination synonymous with Halloween celebrations. Back in the 1600s, Salem was not so friendly to witches, infamous as the site of the tragic 1692 witch trials. But in Salem today, witches are celebrated, and it’s become one of the top places to go for Halloween in the entire world.

Salem Massachusetts Haunted Happenings Marketplace banner hangs above the empty downtown street
Salem in October is the place to be!

Thousands descend upon the area each October for Haunted Happenings, the town’s annual Halloween celebration.

And of course, history abounds in every direction, and you’ll be kept busy by museums, exhibits, and notable sites, such as the famous Witch House and the Witch Museum. Ghost tours offered throughout the season offer great insight into the haunted spots of Salem, and you might just catch a glimpse of something paranormal!

If you’re into more “pretend” spookiness, you can’t go wrong visiting the Hocus Pocus film sites! This 90’s classic Halloween film was largely filmed here, and it’s a blast visiting Max and Dani’s house, the site of the Halloween party, and other cool sites around town..

With its position on the coast, Salem is likely to experience peak foliage in mid-to-late October. The first photo in this section was taken on a mid-October day.

The White Mountains, New Hampshire

A panoramic view of one of the best spots in New England for fall, showcasing a serene lake surrounded by hills ablaze with the warm hues of autumn foliage, with a highway winding through the vibrant landscape
The view from Artist’s Bluff is one of the best fall spots in New England.

New Hampshire is another great state to visit in New England in the autumn. The rugged White Mountains are aflame with color and make for spectacular hiking (like Artist’s Bluff) and leaf-peeping among all the other fun things to do in the White Mountains!

New Hampshire has many choice spots for foliage, including classic-looking little towns such as Sugar Hill or Jackson as well as more tourist-centered places such as North Conway and Lincoln.

Early October is when this outdoor paradise tends to reach peak foliage, and it’s definitely worth planning ahead to catch the mountains decked out in autumnal hues.

I recently got to enjoy an early October trip to the White Mountains, and it was absolutely stunning.

A river with fall foliage in White Mountains New Hampshire on a sunny day
This was so pretty in person!

For an extra fun fall excursion, drive the famous Kancamagus Highway, a scenic stretch of road that runs 34 miles through the White Mountain National Forest. It is one of my favorite fall scenic drives in New England. It is essential to note that this road gets very busy during peak foliage, especially on weekend’s. So my advice is to prepare for delays and take it slow–that’s the best way to enjoy all the stops and views, anyway!

The Kancamagus is bookended by Lincoln and Conway, so you’ll get the chance to stop in two top destinations during your drive, and either of those are excellent spots to base yourself on a New Hampshire foliage adventure.

Want to go all out with fall charm? Yeah you do! Consider booking one of these cozy White Mountains cabins for the perfect place to stay during your New England fall trip.

A joyful mother holding her toddler while enjoying a fall trip to New England, with a backdrop of colorful autumn trees and mountainous scenery under a dramatic cloudy sky.
My son and I enjoying a scenic stop along the Kancamagus

Mount Greylock State Reservation, Massachusetts

When considering fall foliage destinations in New England, it stands to reason that we think of getting a better vantage point by going high, right? Well, Mount Greylock State Reservation in Adams is a great choice as the summit is 3,491 feet and the highest point in Massachusetts!

As an added bonus, you don’t have to be in great hiking shape to get to it! You can drive to the top, and what’s more, there’s a 92-foot tall granite Veterans War Memorial lookout tower that gives you an even greater boost. They say that on a clear day, you can see up to 90 miles away, potentially seeing parts of 4 states and 5 mountain ranges. Talk about fall foliage views as far as the eye can see!

Mystic, Connecticut

Lovely Mystic CT is one of my favorite places to visit in New England in October, not just because of the fantastic fall foliage (that you can best catch towards the middle and later part of the month), but also for the neat fall-related things to do and see both in and around Mystic:

Check out the Witch Paddle on Mystic River where you get to see what a dozen+ “witches” look like as they fly/paddle down the river, the surrounding trees just starting to burst into fall color around them.

Another popular fall attraction in this charming New England fall town is visiting B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill, the oldest steam-powered cider mill in the United States. You can watch the cider being made during weekend demos and pick up some apple cider goodies to take home with you; cider and apple cider doughnuts? A perfect New England fall combo!

There is so much to do in this cute waterfront town (like exploring the Mystic Aquarium, one of my family’s favorites) and plenty of amazing restaurants and places to stay in Mystic, so this is definitely one of the best fall towns in New England!

The inside of Alice's Little Haunted Bookshop in Mystic, Connecticut
A visit to Alice’s Little Haunted Bookshop should def be on your list of things to do in Mystic in fall!

PS: One shop in Mystic I recommend visiting is Alice’s Little Haunted Bookshop. It’s absolutely charming and so perfect for the Halloween and fall season. This small themed bookstore is located in Olde Mistick Village with dozens of other unique shops to visit, including Alice’s sister shop, The Cloak and Wand!

Freeport Fall Festival – Freeport, Maine

The first weekend in October in Freeport Maine is reserved for the Freeport Fall Festival, where Mainers come from near and far to celebrate the sights and tastes of fall in New England. Local art, live music, kid’s activities, and some of the finest food artisans in Maine are present on the campus of L.L. Bean for all to enjoy.

Plus, Freeport is also home to Wolfe’s Neck Center, where you can find one of the best pumpkin patches in Maine as well as several workshops and fall events, like their Harvest Dance.

Woodstock, Vermont

Woodstock is classic New England, with covered bridges, rolling farmland, and a tidy Main Street. This is quite possibly my favorite fall destination in New England.

A man and a woman embrace among fall foliage next to a stone wall in Vermont
My husband and I enjoying Woodstock!

If you’re looking for a small village where you can hide away for a fall weekend in New England, Woodstock is an excellent choice. Your main activity is likely to be leaf-peeping, as the foliage will explode in late September and early October.

You can also dine on cheese, apples, and other Vermont fare, with lots of autumn specialties available at the many great local restaurants. Consider booking a farm stay at the beautiful Fat Sheep Farm. 

A couple sit in chairs and look out on Vermont fall foliage
Isn’t Fat Sheep Farm beautiful?

Antiquing is also a great fall activity here, with many roadside shops stocked with eccentricities and treasures. Be sure to stop by the Quechee Gorge overlook, to have a look at the gorge in its autumn splendor.

And no matter how long your Woodstock getaway, be sure you make time for some of the top things to do in Woodstock: Billings Farm & Museum, Simon Pearce, fall views from a hike atop Mt. Peg, and a visit to an incredible general store: F.H. Gillingham & Sons.

PS: This is one destination you’ll visit if you follow my 7 day New England fall road trip itinerary!

Providence, Rhode Island

Providence is one of the biggest cities on our list of New England fall weekend getaways. There’s a lot going on in this city year-round, with cool breweries, cute coffee shops, delicious restaurants, and awesome hotels to stay in.

Within a short drive from Providence, you’ll be able to take in fall activities like corn mazes and pumpkin patches. You can plan for events like Oktoberfest and other fall festivals both in Providence and nearby Newport

Horror fans may know that author H.P. Lovecraft lived most of his life in Providence, his hometown. You can explore significant Lovecraft sites, such as his home and his grave, as well as locations that figure into his works of horror fiction.

Other fall activities in Providence: Experience the awesome WaterFire art installation, where over 80 bonfires light up the downtown rivers and create a warm, inviting atmosphere. Visit Roger Williams Park to see the changing leaves, and enjoy its zoo, botanical center, and walking paths. Discover some of Providence history on Benefit Street, lined with old homes and landmarks.

In every season, Providence is a super cool city and I can’t wait to go back and explore more!

Mike’s Maze – Sunderland, Massachusetts

Don’t just visit the best corn maze in New England, visit the best in the US, according to Yahoo.

Mike’s been creating insanely intricate mazes for nearly two decades. Check out the incredible past designs, as photographed from the sky, here. That’s some amazing stuff.

There’s way more here than just an elaborate corn maze, too. Farm animals, pedal carts, a cafe, and more make this a New England fall bucket list destination.

Close-up of two hands gently holding a vibrant red maple leaf, symbolizing fall activities in New England, with a soft focus on the green grass background

Jamestown, Rhode Island

One of the cutest little New England towns to visit in fall, Jamestown has a plethora of opportunities to get outdoors and see the fantastic fall foliage in lovely scenic settings, like the Conanicut Island Sanctuary, Fort Wetherill State Park, and the can’t miss tourist attraction, Beavertail Lighthouse and State Park; the Beavertail Trail is one of the best hikes in Rhode Island, too.

There are lots of cute small town New England things to do in charming Jamestown, but if you’re looking for a great New England fall photo op in Jamestown, swing by the historic Jamestown Windmill and snap a few pics of the picturesque scene.

Damariscotta, Maine

Looking for one of the best New England coastal towns in fall? Look no further than darling Damariscotta, home of the Damariscotta Pumpkinfest and Regatta, one of the cutest fall activities in New England.

The focus of this town’s 10 day New England fall festival is on all things pumpkin, so you’ll find all kinds of sweet small town pumpkin related foods, crafts, and events.

One of the more unique events is the 180 foot Pumpkin Drop, where a gigantic pumpkin is lifted almost 200 feet into the air and then dropped over a large inflatable beach ball filled pool!

If that doesn’t just scream Fun Small Town Fall Shenanigans, I don’t know what does. That’s not even the main event, either! The Pumpkinboat Regatta sees people racing their giant hollowed out pumpkins, fitted with motors, out in the ocean.

If you’re looking for a fun New England fall town, Damariscotta has got to be on the top of that list. 

Meredith, New Hampshire

One of the best New England fall spots near Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire’s Meredith is a charming little lake resort town that offers all kinds of fall fun surrounded by the dramatic fall foliage that New England serves up so well!

A smiling woman and child crouch among a large spread of bright orange pumpkins at a New England pumpkin patch, with lush green trees and a cloudy sky in the background, encapsulating the festive spirit of the region's fall season.
My son Malcolm and I grinning ear to ear at Moulton Farm last fall

Visit Moulton Farm’s pumpkin patch or get lost-then found-in their fun-for-all corn maze, one of the best corn mazes in New Hampshire! And YES, this New Hampshire farm does have some of those amazing apple cider donuts I can’t stop talking about. In fact, one of the ones I had at Moulton Farm was maple drizzled. :::Incoherent happy grunting:::::

Another great way to experience fall in NH is to book a ride on the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad’s Fall Foliage Train and admire the burnt oranges and dazzling golds from your seat.

The four-hour Fall Foliage Special winds its way through some of the most stunning scenic fall foliage views in New England, coming to a stop in Plymouth, New Hampshire at the Common Man Inn & Spa for lunch. PS I went to college in Plymouth! This is an incredible restaurant for your pit stop, you lucky duck.

The return trip has a couple more stops before pulling back into Meredith; this is one of those fall foliage train rides that is simply unforgettable. 

Book a Lake Winnipesaukee cabin or book a room at one of the great inns in the area. Meredith’s Mill Falls at the Lake would be perfect for a couple looking for a romantic place to stay!

There’s plenty of fun to be had all around Lake Winnipesaukee, too.

Litchfield Hills, Connecticut

hand holding a pile of fall leaves in front of a red barn

While Connecticut is the most southern New England state, it still boasts glorious fall foliage and photogenic scenes. As an added bonus, Connecticut claims to have the longest foliage season of all six states, so you’ve got more flexibility when it comes to planning a fall adventure.

The Litchfield Hills are a highly recommended spot to witness fall in Connecticut. Covered bridges, small villages, and sparkling lakes await you in this region of New England.

Many choose to drive the Litchfield Hills Ramble, a route that circles 100 miles from Torrington through Litchfield and brings passengers past lush foliage.

Here, classic farms are bordered by stone walls, covered with fallen golden leaves. Hidden waterfalls are to be found within the woods, trimmed in color.

It is best to do this road trip in late September and early October. Don’t miss the town of Kent, called one of the finest towns for foliage in all of New England.

All the trappings of a quaint New England experience are to be found here, including covered bridges, small villages, and sparkling lakes. Hiking, kayaking, fishing, and antiquing are other popular activities in the hills, and it has also recently become something of a foodie destination, so bring your appetite.

Don’t miss Hogan’s Cider Mill in Burlington, Connecticut. This picture-perfect farm serves up fall treats in an Instagram-worthy atmosphere. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at Instagram in the fall; everyone is headed here for their boozy cider slushies and a fun day out!

A hand holds a cinnamon sugar-dusted apple cider donut, a treat synonymous with New England fall activities, with a festive background of pumpkins and twinkling lights adorning a vintage red truck.

Bristol, Rhode Island

Bristol is one of the cutest small towns in Rhode Island and definitely deserves a spot on the best places to visit in New England during the fall!

One of New England’s hidden gems, ie one of those cute New England fall towns that just flies under the radar, Bristol is an excellent fall vacation spot! I admit, I have only been to Bristol in the summertime, but this town exudes charm, so I can only imagine its autumn loveliness. And many of my fellow New England travelers have recommended the area to me.

Not only will you find fantastic fall foliage at lovely Colt State Park, but beautiful Blithewold Mansion’s Gardens and Arboretum is always all done up for the season, too.

A nearby option for apple picking near Bristol, Rhode Island, is Young Family Farm in Little Compton. They offer apple picking in their orchards along with a variety of other fresh produce available for purchase. The farm provides a scenic setting and that idyllic experience: apple picking in New England’s fall season! Be sure to check their current offerings and schedules before you visit.

a bright blue sky on a sunny day provides the backdrop for the branches of an apple tree boasting full, red apples

Camden Hills State Park, Maine

One of the best spots for fall foliage viewing in Maine is Camden Hills State Park. In addition to all the great hiking opportunities in this Maine state park, there’s also a way to get spectacular fall foliage views without ever having to leave your vehicle!

Mt. Battie Auto Road makes getting that birds eye view accessible for all. In fact, you’ll be treated to expansive fall color views that include Camden, Penobscot Bay, and even Cadillac Mountain in nearby Acadia National Park!

The Berkshires, Massachusetts

In Western Massachusetts, you’ll find the Berkshires, an area that bears some similarities to the Litchfield Hills and abounds in art and culture. There are opportunities for picking fresh apples, plus a wide array of harvest festivals and fall celebrations.

Fall seems to be beloved by Berkshires residents and visitors alike, and is home to the first designated scenic road in New England, the Mohawk Trail, one of the prettiest areas of the state. You’ll find yourself surrounded by vividly colored dense fall foliage as you make your way through quaint MA towns. 

Hiking is popular here. The mountains never seem too high, and you can capture breathtaking scenes with only a short walk. The foliage routes are also home to antique stores and other small shops where you can stop and search for trinkets.

Gorgeous homes are also a lovely sight in fall; a particularly good spot to see them is the stately town of Lenox. Why not climb aboard for a horse-drawn carriage ride? Relics of amazing history abound throughout the Berkshire region in every season, but they are especially beautiful in fall.

Consider booking one of these cool Berkshires Airbnbs or cozy cabins for the perfect fall place to stay in New England!

A hand holding a maple latte at a coffee shop in Stockbridge, Massachusetts
PS swing by No. Six Depot in West Stockbridge for a maple latte, you won’t be disappointed!

Newport, Rhode Island

The Classic Coast is one of the best places to visit for New England fall foliage, particularly if you enjoy a lovely ocean view with your fall colors!

One of the best ways to get the best of both worlds is to take a stroll on the iconic Cliff Walk. This scenic walkway offers a chance to leaf peep in the backyards of famous Newport Mansions with views of the deep blue sea on the other side. 

This beautiful coastal community is full of scenic sights, and the splashes of fall foliage color in between only add to the charm. Newport, Rhode Island in the fall is so pretty!

Actually, one of the most scenic drives in New England is located in the Ocean State, and it’s a fantastic coastal fall foliage route. Ocean Drive, also known as Ten Mile Drive, offers lovely autumn views of southern Aquidneck Island. 

One particularly scenic fall foliage spot along Ocean Drive is the area of Brenton Point State Park. If you can, stop at this scenic state park and climb to the top of the stone observation tower for an even better view of the surrounding fall colors!

Of course, Newport has plenty to see and do (and eat!), so there is no shortage of fun to be had in this area. The Newport Mansions are gorgeous year round, but their meticulously landscaped grounds come alive with the brilliant colors of autumn if you plan your visit during RI peak fall foliage!

Boston, Massachusetts

A Boston statue with a row of green trees surrounding and a white steepled church in the distance in Boston, Massachusetts

Have you visited Boston in the fall? I find it positively dreamy! It’s pretty well understood that Boston has extreme temps on both ends of the spectrum, with very hot, muggy summers and very cold, snowy winters. 

In between those two is fall, and it’s perfect for exploring Boston and enjoying all the great attractions, restaurants, coffee shops, breweries, and more. 

Boston is home to some very popular fall foliage spots, as well, and if you’re not from Beantown, you might not think of it!

Boston Public Garden and Boston Common are two of the best places in Boston for fall foliage views. There are so many beautiful trees in both of these outdoor spaces, and you can expect to see vibrant oranges and bright yellows all around. 

If you’re looking for the perfect spot to enjoy peak fall colors in Boston, head to the Esplanade. There’s nothing quite like seeing the blazing colors being reflected back in the Charles River on a sunny autumn day.

For a great fall foliage tour in New England, consider booking a guided fall foliage bike tour; you’ll go through some of the most gorgeous parks in the city and be treated to the best fall colors in town! There are many walking tours and boat tours in town that are perfect for fall weather, too.

a hand delicately olds a red autumn leaf with a blurred rocky area in the background

Sleeping Giant State Park, Connecticut

Located in Hamden CT near the Southern shore of the state, Sleeping Giant State Park is a fantastic place to enjoy New England fall foliage! With 1500 gorgeous acres to be explored, there are plenty of lovely hiking trails to immerse yourself in the fall colors, but there’s an added bonus here too: The Tower Trail.

The Tower Trail leads to a four-story stone observation tower that feels positively medieval and gives the opportunity for expansive autumn color views. This is a fantastic vantage point to take in all the gorgeous fall color all around you at this popular state park, and it is a must-visit if you’re looking for fall foliage views in CT!

Smuggler’s Notch State Park, Vermont

If you’ve ever looked at a list of scenic drives in Vermont, you’ve almost certainly seen Smuggler’s Notch listed. This incredibly scenic road is nestled in between massive 1000+ feet cliffs on either side, with beautiful trees lining the way. In autumn, this road is nothing short of stunning.

Smuggler’s Notch State Park is full of fantastic hiking trails and scenic overlook opportunities that are perfect for leaf peeping. This is one of the top Vermont fall foliage sights!

The Sky

Seriously…! One of the most magnificent ways to enjoy fall foliage in New England is by getting as high as you can and seeing the autumn colors from above.

You can opt to enjoy a scenic chairlift ride from one of your favorite ski resorts in New Hampshire, Vermont, and beyond that offer fall foliage rides, or you can really head up high with a hot air balloon ride or a seaplane tour! Companies like A&A Balloon Rides in New Hampshire fly year-round.

For a seaplane tour that offers out of this world fall foliage views, check out Jack’s Air Service at Moosehead Lake – what a uniquely thrilling way to take in autumn views!

a large grassy field is set in front of a low hill that is covered in fall foliage: this is a New England autumn scene

FAQ: New England Fall Foliage By State


The Pine Tree State is the first state in the country to see fall color each year, so if you’re planning an early autumn leaf peeping trip, this is a good choice. Fall color in this New England state typically begins toward the end of September and lasts until the last week of October, North to South down the state. Coastal Maine typically sees peak color at the end of October.


The Bay State doesn’t have as long of a fall foliage season as its neighbor to the northeast. You’ll find Massachusetts fall foliage beginning in mid to late September and lasting to mid to late October, with peak colors varying across the state. Pockets of color often extend beyond this time frame on the coast, with areas like Cape Cod seeing peak colors last.

Rhode Island

While the Ocean State may be the smallest state in the US, it’s got plenty of great fall color! Fall foliage in Rhode Island typically begins in early October and lasts through the end of the month, moving from North to South. 

New Hampshire

One of the most popular leaf peeping destinations in New England, the Live Free or Die State has a lengthier peak fall foliage season than its more southern neighbors. You can expect fall colors to begin in late September in the north, ending with peak fall colors at the Seacoast at the end of October.


For many, leaf peeping New England means leaf peeping in Vermont! The Green Mountain State is absolutely stunning when peak fall foliage hits, and you can expect to see peak colors beginning in mid to late September and ending by the third week of October, moving north to south. You’ll find the higher altitude locations seeing peak colors before their lower altitude neighbors.


The Nutmeg State is especially scenic in the fall, with fall foliage beginning to peak in early October, typically lasting through to the beginning of November. If you’re planning a late fall foliage trip to New England, Connecticut is a great choice!

An old New England cemetery in autumn, where historical gravestones stand among a carpet of fallen leaves, with trees dressed in the quintessential reds and oranges of the season.

What are some fall festivals in New England?

New England is renowned for its vibrant fall festivals. I’ve highlighted some of these above, but here are a few you should consider:

  1. The Big E (Massachusetts): The Eastern States Exposition is one of the largest and oldest agricultural events in the Northeast, featuring concerts, carnival rides, and plenty of regional food.
  2. Keene Pumpkin Festival (New Hampshire): Witness thousands of lit jack-o’-lanterns in this charming town. It’s a spectacle of creativity and community spirit, with live music and fireworks.
  3. Harvest on the Harbor (Maine): Located in Portland, this festival celebrates Maine’s culinary arts with local chefs, tastings, and food-themed events showcasing the best of fall flavors.
  4. Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival (Vermont): This festival involves a competition where teams build trebuchets to hurl pumpkins as far as possible. It’s quirky, fun, and uniquely New England with food, music, and kids’ activities.
  5. Cranberry Harvest Celebration (Massachusetts): Witness the cranberry harvest, enjoy wagon rides, and dive into delicious cranberry fare in one of the largest cranberry-producing states.

Each of these festivals offers a unique taste of New England’s fall culture, from its agricultural roots to its community spirit.

Final Thoughts: New England Towns to Visit in the Fall + Things to Do

Ah, that picture-perfect autumn in New England. In this article, I’ve highlighted my favorite fall vacation spots in New England for those looking for fantastic fall foliage and good, old-fashioned New England charm.

However, if your idea of a New England October includes a bit of a scare, check out our lists of the spookiest ghost tours, haunted places, Halloween events, and haunted hotels in New England, if you dare!

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