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There is nowhere quite like New England when it comes to a quintessential autumn. Rich maroons, vibrant oranges, and subdued golds dot the countryside. Chilly mornings start creeping in more regularly, leaving dew or even frost on the ground. Apple orchards and pumpkin patches bustling with people eager to get treasured goodies.
Can you picture it yet? What about an aromatic apple pie wafting through the air? Having a blast on a hayride? Getting willingly lost inside a giant corn maze for an hour or more? Now that you’ve got that perfect image in your head, why not make it a reality this fall in New Hampshire?!
With so many great places to go and things to do in the fall in the Granite State, we had a hard time narrowing down our choices to the best ones! That being said, you won’t regret including any of these stops or activities in your autumn plans. Read on for the best apple orchards, pumpkin patches, festivals, and more to make your fall festivities complete in New Hampshire!
Best Apple Orchards
Fall fun doesn’t have to wait until the pumpkins are ready! Kick the season off with a trip to one of the dozens of apple orchards in New Hampshire and bake a delicious pie or cook up some warm apple cider with your haul.
If you’re in the southern part of the state, don’t miss out on a trip to Alyson’s Orchard, one of the most popular in NH. Located near Walpole, this farm and event venue spans 450 acres, boasting not only 37 varieties of apples, but peaches, blueberries, pears, and more. You can find a list of their apples and estimated times they will be ready for harvest on their website, which comes in especially handy if you have a favorite! You can also visit some goats and let the (human) kids burn some energy on the playground to complete your visit. Pumpkins are available as well later in the season.
Located near the village of Contoocook, Gould Hill Farm is a quick 15-minute drive west of Concord. Offering a whopping 77 different varieties of apples, you’ll be sure not to go home empty-handed. Gould also offers PYO (pick your own) peaches and blueberries, has a store where you can pick up other tasty treats, such as ice cream and maple syrup, and for the adults in your party, stop by the Contoocook Cider Company for a tasting of their hard apple cider!
Check out our list for more of the best apple orchards across the state.
Best Corn Mazes
For some, fall activities are not complete until you’ve wandered around a corn maze for a few hours. Whether you’re going during daylight hours with the family or at night for a spooky, flashlight-guided experience, New Hampshire has a ton of corn mazes to keep you busy!
If you’re looking for somewhere to keep the family busy all afternoon long, Beans and Greens Farm, near Gilford, is just the place. The corn maze is one of the best in the state and changes yearly. If you scroll to the bottom of this page, you can see maze images of years past to get an idea of what to expect. You can meander your way through the day or opt for a nighttime run for even more of a challenge. Beans and Greens Farm has tons of other fun events and activities and plenty of produce and homemade goods to take home as well!
The Maize at Sherman Farm is another popular fall attraction in the Granite State. Their maize maze changes each year as well with a new design each year, with past years including themes such as “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”, “Alice in Farmland”, and “Patriots Superbowl Champs”. After your fun on the farm, be sure to grab some ice cream, cut flowers, or other meat and dairy products before heading home.
Best Pumpkin Patches
Riverview Farm, located on the banks of the Connecticut River south of Hanover, like many others on our list, is a great place to visit even before you venture out looking for the perfect pumpkin. Stock up on blueberries, apples, and apple cider earlier in the season and come back in October for a hayride to find the perfect carving pumpkin!
If you prefer something a little more laid back, you’ll quickly fall in love with quaint McQuesten Farm in Litchfield. After you’ve taken a good ole fashioned hayride and picked the perfect pumpkins, say hello (and feed!) some of the animals on the farm. If that’s not reason enough to go, the fall foliage is said to be some of the best in the state in this area.
Known as the oldest farm in the country, Emery Farm has been around since 1660! There is plenty to do and see before and after the hayride to the pumpkin patch, including a petting zoo, corn maze, and cafe. If you’ve never tried an apple cider donut, do yourself a favor and pick some of these up too before you go!
For even more pumpkin patches and farms, check out this list from Halloween New England.
Best Spooky/Haunted Places
Being settled for such a long time in the grand scheme of modern America, New Hampshire is full of history, interesting encounters, and, well, spooky places. From widowed pirate wives to the wandering spirits of children, you’ll find an abundance of creepy ghost stories and haunted sites around the state!
If you’re a fan of Ghost Hunters or just ghost tours in general, you will love New England Curiosities. Roxie, the owner, is based out of Portsmouth and gives varying tours around town and in other New England locales, such as “southern Maine’s ghost coast”. There are trolley tours and grave tours as well, amongst many others. Prices are very reasonable and start at $14. Can’t make it for an in-person tour? Not a problem! Check out her virtual tour offerings!
Looking to do a little ghost hunting on your own? As we mentioned, there are plenty of places to check out! This list from NH Magazine is a great start for your research. As the article mentions, some of these places are private property, so they should be respected as such. However, you will find numerous public property sites as well, such as the Amos J. Blake House and Tilton Inn…If you’re feeling brave enough to spend the night there!
Check out more of the most haunted places in New England!
Best Fall Festivals
Autumn feels even more invigorating and lively at a festival, doesn’t it? You’ll find no shortage of them in New Hampshire, ranging from pumpkin festivals to Oktoberfest celebrations!
You can find a pumpkin or fall festival going on somewhere pretty much every weekend in October. Start with the Milford Pumpkin Festival on Columbus Day Weekend, which features live entertainment, a giant pumpkin contest, variety show, and great raffle prizes. The Monadnock Pumpkin Festival is also on the Saturday before Columbus Day. This celebration is especially fun because you can bring your own carved pumpkin to add to the huge display, which looks amazing after dusk! Tons of activities await, including a costume parade, kid activities (face painting, touch-a-truck, carnival rides, etc), arts and crafts vendors, and Fright Fest, if you’re up for a scare.
If you can’t make it that weekend, head over to the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival in Laconia. This fair is jam-packed with activities for kids young and old, including a pumpkin bowling, duck derby, zombie walk, and, the cherry on top, a 34ft tower of jack-o-lanterns!
What could be better than spending a fall weekend in the White Mountains? You can do just that by heading to the White Mountains Oktoberfest at the Loon Mountain Resort outside of Lincoln. They offer something for everyone, so bring the whole family or plan an entertaining adults-only weekend with your friends. Oompah music, beer gardens, games, and more await in this absolutely breathtaking fall setting. Be sure to get there early while supplies last of their commemorative glass boots. Because really, who doesn’t want a glass boot to drink out of?
Be sure to check this list of fall festivals for even more fun around the state and specific dates. (It should be noted that many have been canceled this year due to Covid-19, so make sure you check event specific websites as well.)
Best Foliage Viewing
Not surprisingly, the peak of foliage season is usually around mid-October, which works out well since that’s when most of the best festivals are! With that being said, you can enjoy the natural splendor of the season practically anywhere in the state. However, the places below are especially picturesque!
If you’re hoping to avoid large hordes of “leafers”, you might try heading up to the Great North Woods earlier in fall. NH Magazine has a nice driving route outlined in this article, taking you along the northern edge of the White Mountains and alongside the Connecticut River. Some other great places to hit up are Beaver Brook Falls, Dixville Notch, and 13 Mile Woods.
The Monadnock region comes highly recommended as well if it’s vibrantly colored leaves you seek. Atop the mountain itself, you can see for miles and miles. The trail is about 3.5-miles, round-trip, and moderate, making it a nice fall hike with the cooler air and worthwhile views from the top.
By and far one of the best (and relaxing) ways to take in the beautiful fall scenery is on the Conway Scenic Railroad. Two trips are offered, one through the Mt.Washington Valley and the other up to Crawford Notch. Neither is a bad choice. Reservations are always recommended, but especially so for “leaf peeper season”.
We hope this list helps you discover new places and aids in your New Hampshire fall travel planning! What are your favorites places to go and things to do in the Granite State during autumn?
Read these next:
- 12 of the Best Hikes in New Hampshire
- 13 of the Coziest + Best Cabins in New Hampshire
- 11 Essential Things to Do in New Hampshire in the Fall
- 14 Top Things to Do in North Conway, NH