21 Fall in New Hampshire Things to Do 🍁 2024 Fall Foliage Info

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There is so much to enjoy about fall in New Hampshire: the perfect weather, the most gorgeous colors surrounding you in nature, and of course, fall fun and festivities.

Yes, there are so many fantastic NH things to do in the fall, like taking a fall foliage tour on the Conway Scenic Railroad, hiking Artist Bluff in Franconia, biking through peak fall colors in the White Mountains, booking a haunted hotel room, and so much more!

Fall is the ultimate fan-favorite of New Englanders and tourists who flock to this region, for very good reason. Summers are hot and muggy, winters are freezing, and spring is muddy as can be.

Fall in New Hampshire, however? That’s just right!

I am here to tell you why visiting New Hampshire in fall needs to be on your bucket list! I’m going to share my favorite fall activities and NH places to go in the fall.

When is the Best Time for New Hampshire Fall Foliage?

Early autumn colors surround a river in New Hampshire in fall
Even if you miss peak colors, early autumn in New Hampshire is still lovely!

Great question! Fall foliage in New Hampshire typically begins in late September at the Northern most tip of the state, but if you’re aiming for peak colors, aim for a little later!

“Peak colors” are these hues at their most vivid and this varies from year to year based on natural conditions such as weather, but early to mid-October is generally a safe bet for when to expect to see gorgeous autumn colors in NH. 

Color typically begins in the Great North Woods and progresses north to south down the state, starting in higher elevations first, but you can follow a real-time fall foliage tracker here.

As a loose guide for peak colors in NH, you can typically expect timelines like this:

Great North Woods – Late September to early October, typically over by October 5th

White Mountains – Early October, typically over by the second week of October

Dartmouth/Sunapee – Early October, typically over by the second week of October

Lakes Region – Mid October, typically over by the third week of October

Monadnock – Mid to late October, typically over by around October 20th

Merrimack Valley – Late October, typically over by October 25th

Seacoast – Late October and the last spot for NH peak colors, typically over by Halloween

Even outside of peak colors, New Hampshire fall foliage is a stunning visual backdrop for all the awesome things to see and do while visiting the Live Free or Die State!

Fall in New Hampshire: Things to Do

1. Put your boots on and go pick some apples

Fall foliage leaves cover the ground as someone in boots stands in them

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. September in New Hampshire is a good time for apple picking.

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!

Apple picking is one of those wholesome fall activities in New Hampshire that are just perfect for romantic day dates, fun family excursions, or a contemplative day out alone; it just checks all the boxes for New Hampshire fall fun!

2. Get outside and go explore the mountains

The view of NH fall foliage as seen at Artists Bluff in Franconia, New Hampshire
Artist Bluff, Franconia NH

You’ll be happy to know that you don’t need to buy a plane ticket out west to hike and get beautiful mountainous views – we have them here too. We have the White Mountains, and other smaller mountains all around the state.

Once you get to the top, you’ll be awed by the stunning views beneath you. The trees turn to red, orange, yellow, or green – one of the most beautiful fall views in New Hampshire.

If you’re looking for where to stay in New Hampshire in the fall, consider renting out a White Mountains cabin.

Can you get more quintessential fall in New Hampshire than a cozy little cabin nestled in the mountains, surrounded by blazing fall foliage? Nope, didn’t think so.

There are different hiking levels of difficulty, so make sure you check those out before you choose your destination. Here are a few of my favorite New Hampshire hiking trails. 

  • Mount Major – Alton, NH
  • Artist Bluff – Franconia, NH
  • Franconia Ridge Loop – Franconia Notch State Park, NH
  • Mount Chocorua – Near Conway, NH

3. Take a drive along the Kancamagus Highway

In the fall, the colors are breathtaking, so leaf-peeping is an absolute must. There are pull offs on the side where you can stop to take it all in, too!

4. Have breakfast at Polly’s Pancakes – an essential Fall in New Hampshire activity

You have to have seen real maple syrup at the grocery stores and maybe this is where you’ve seen hints of New Hampshire since normally it’s plastered all over the bottle.

I’m sure you know that maple syrup is kind of New Hampshire’s thing, and if you’re a pancake person who also enjoys pure maple syrup, then you cannot miss Polly’s. It’s been a family-owned restaurant for decades.

While it is a bigger place, the small town family vibe still exists. Their menu consists of several options including the ability to mix and match your pancake choice. There is real maple syrup and maple syrup butter on the table waiting for you – for free. Can it get any better than that?

5. Bring out the child in you and head to the fair

Fairs aren’t the most glamorous, but you’ll have a blast seeing all the locals, eating tons of fried dough and hitting up your favorite childhood rides. I personally used to love going to the fairs to meet up with friends, eat and play games.

Don’t be afraid to spend a dollar or two to try and win a stuffed animal! Also get out of your comfort zone, smile, laugh and be a kid again. Some of the best fall fairs in NH are:

  • Sandwich Fair
  • Deerfield Fair
  • Hopkinton State Fair

If you’re a beer fan and looking for things to do in New Hampshire in October, don’t miss NH Brewfest, an annual festival in Portsmouth.

6. Visit the Castle in the Clouds

Red roof castle surrounded by fall foliage.

One of New Hampshire’s remaining “castles,” Castle in the Clouds was built in 1914 as an extravagant, state of the art country estate that encompassed 6,300 acres of beautiful terrain.

Touring the mansion and hiking and exploring the gorgeous grounds and pond are fun to do any time, but come fall, this majestic castle is gloriously situated amid some spectacular fall foliage. Expansive views are found all around the property, and what better way to take in peak colors than to do so from a classic New England castle?

7. Get lost in a corn maze

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.

8. Go on a Fall Foliage Cruise

New Hampshire has some lovely lakes, and taking a lake cruise is a fantastic way to take in the fall foliage views!

Experience Squam offers a great guided lake tour of Squam Lake as autumn colors are taking over the trees that surround it. If you’d prefer a nice meal along with your tour, check out a brunch or dinner tour with Mount Washington. Enjoy the local fare while you take in the stunning fall foliage that surrounds Lake Winnipesaukee, one of the most beautiful places in all of New Hampshire.

9. Enjoy NH fall festivals

Mini pumpkins in a bucket surrounded by larger gourds in a vibrant fall scene

Autumn feels even more invigorating and lively at a good, old-fashioned fall festival, doesn’t it? You’ll find no shortage of fall festivals 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, a variety show, and great raffle prizes.

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 pumpkin bowling, duck derby, zombie walk, and, the cherry on top, a 34-foot 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 to the Loon Mountain Oktoberfest 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 New Hampshire fall festivals for even more fun around the state and specific dates.

10. Chase some waterfalls then have a picnic

NH has some amazing waterfalls that will keep you busy for hours. Many of them are just short walks from the parking lot and don’t require extensive hiking.

Turn off your phone, pick a waterfall, grab a sandwich and go have a picnic under it. Just make sure to pick up all your garbage and not leave anything behind. Here are some stunning waterfalls you can visit:

  • Diana’s Baths – Conway
  • Glen Ellis Falls – Pinkham Notch
  • Beede Falls – Sandwich
  • Profile Falls – Bristol

11. Stay at an epic Airbnb

Airbnbs are my jam. Not only am I helping and supporting local businesses, it also makes me feel more at home than a hotel would. I also love that I am able to pick and choose the type of place I want to stay at.

For example, I could stay at a treehouse, a house in the mountains or a luxury cabin. Here are a couple I’ve stayed in and recommend for where to stay in NH in fall.

 I wrote all about my technology free Treehouse weekend experience here and my weekend getaway in a rustic cabin in Jackson NH here!

More to choose from here: 10 Awesome Spots for the Best New Hampshire Airbnb Stay

12. Explore charming towns and cities 

A person's boots surrounded by fall foliage leaves on the ground

There are a lot of cute towns and cities that are perfect for wandering about after exploring the outdoors. They all have shops, good restaurants, or entertainment nearby. These are a few of my favorites.

Littleton – this small town in my eyes is a hidden gem. With a population of a little over 5,000 people, you wouldn’t think there would be much there. However, it has the sweetest downtown with a river running alongside it. It also has a historic covered bridge to visit.

Portsmouth – this may be an obvious one, but it cannot be missed. Portsmouth is in a great location on the border of Maine and Massachusetts. The downtown has a generous variety of options to do, see and eat. It is also right next to Rye, which is a beautiful town on the ocean. I would add driving along the water to your driving route to see all of the mansions.

Jackson – I recommend staying in this town for at least one night. It has incredible restaurants, and a quaint downtown area. It’s close to several mountains for hiking and a central location to explore more of the white mountain locations.

Meredith – Right on the lake, Meredith has transformed its downtown to satisfy the summer owners. It is beautifully redone with all-white exterior, shops, and delicious restaurants nearby.

13. Take a ride on the Conway Scenic Railroad

A train in the mountains in the fall, very colorful leaves all around
Editorial credit: Bob Pool / Shutterstock.com

Looking to relax back and see some of the most spectacular fall foliage in New Hampshire? Then hop aboard the Conway Scenic Railroad, offering the best scenic train rides in New Hampshire!

There are many ways to get out and do some New Hampshire leaf peeping, but a fall ride on the Conway Scenic Railroad in North Conway is one of the very best!

14. Get a birds-eye view

Yes, the autumn colors in New Hampshire are absolutely gorgeous from the ground looking up, but how about the view from above? For those looking for a nice adrenaline rush to go along with their fall foliage views, there are activities like hot air ballooning or ziplining.

This ziplining experience in Charlestown offers dramatic views of Morningside Flight Park.

If you’re looking for something that puts you high enough to see the tops of the trees without the heart racing heights and speeds, check out a scenic chairlift ride at Cranmore Mountain Resort. They also have a mountain coaster, which is another fabulously fun way to zip through the fantastic fall colors! 

15. Pedal, Paddle, and Hike!

A close up of a bike in the White Mountains with fall foliage around it
White Mountains biking is a perfect fall activity!

Available through Great American Bike Tours, Pedal, Paddle, & Hike is perfect for those looking for adventure among the NH fall foliage! Exactly as it sounds, this fun fall activity includes pedaling on a bike, paddling in a kayak, and hiking through the woods, all with knowledgeable NH guides.

This package includes glamping, meals, and bike rental, and they pick you up either at the Manchester Regional Airport or the Pemi River Campground, and drop off is where you were picked up.

This isn’t your grandma’s fall foliage tour, but it could be yours if this sounds like a good way to explore New Hampshire in autumn!

Click Here to Check Prices & Book!

16. Tour NH covered bridges

The Flume Covered Bridge in Lincoln, New Hampshire with fall colors surrounding
Flume Covered Bridge, Lincoln NH

Is there anything more picturesque than a New England covered bridge? I’d venture to say yes, there is, and it’s a covered bridge surrounded by peak fall foliage!

There are so many beautiful covered bridges in New Hampshire, add these to the list of places to go in New Hampshire in the fall!

  • Honeymoon Bridge, Jackson NH
  • Blacksmith Bridge, Cornish NH
  • Bath-Haverhill Bridge, Bath NH
  • Saco River Bridge, Conway NH
  • Flume Covered Bridge, Lincoln NH
  • Bartlett Covered Bridge, Bartlett NH
  • Albany Bridge, Albany NH
  • Henniker Bridge, Henniker Village NH

17. Visit a pumpkin patch

A young child, dressed in stripes, explores a vibrant pumpkin patch in New Hampshire, carefully inspecting the round, orange pumpkins on a sunny autumn day. The scene captures the joy and curiosity of fall activities in New England

One of the simplest yet sweetest autumn activities, be sure to visit a pumpkin patch when visiting NH in the fall!

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 farm animals.

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 single family-owned farm in the country, Emery Farm has been around since 1655! There is plenty to do and see before and after the hayride to the pumpkin patch, including a corn maze, cafe, and even a few cute farm animals that you can meet for yourself!

If you’ve never tried an apple cider donut, do yourself a favor and pick some of these up too before you go!

18. Stop by some spooky/haunted places

A graveyard with headstones surrounded by fall foliage in a spooky cemetery scene

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.

Looking to do a little ghost hunting on your own? Consider booking a self guided haunted walking tour like this one in Portsmouth!

Check out more of the most haunted places in New England!

19. See your favorite lake surrounded by NH fall foliage

When you picture a lake in the middle of peak fall colors, what do you see? Most of us immediately see the reflection of those vibrant autumnal colors in the water, and it’s always a lovely sight.

Bonus points if you decide to rent a canoe or kayak and get out on the water!

20. Stay in a haunted New Hampshire hotel

A European castle with the Alps in the background

Did you know there are a few haunted hotels in New Hampshire that have recorded paranormal activity?

Omni Mount Washington is a gorgeous place to stay in the Granite State, but if you book Room 314, you might find yourself face to face with the female ghost who is said to remain in residence here.

Click Here to Check Prices & Book!

Find more haunted hotels in New Hampshire and beyond here!

21. Hidden Gem Fall Foliage in NH (Editor’s Note)

Of course, there are the always popular fall foliage destinations like pretty much anywhere in the White Mountains or the Lakes Region, but how about what lies between? That’s right, I’m talking about Plymouth, NH, where I (Amy) went to college and fell in love with New Hampshire in the fall!

You’ve got views at picturesque Smith Covered Bridge, gorgeous fall foliage hikes up Plymouth Mountain, and all the regular fun of this cute little college town!

I recommend hiking the Rattlesnake Trail if you can because if you can make it to the top, you’ll be rewarded with 360 degree views. Whew, it’s BEAUTIFUL!

Once you’re done taking in those lovely autumnal views? Head to Biederman’s for some much deserved sustenance; it’s a must visit in Plymouth, trust me!

New Hampshire Fall: Don’t Miss Out!

A fall road in New Hampshire
Just a pretty fall road in New Hampshire!

There are so many ways to get out and enjoy the grandeur of fall foliage New Hampshire is known for and as far as New England fall foliage options go, NH is always on the top of the list. New Hampshire in the fall should absolutely be on your bucket list!

Have some great fall fun leaf peeping, New Hampshire style!

As always, if you’re looking for things to do in NH this weekend or what to do in New Hampshire today, check out a NH events calendar to see what’s happening during your New Hampshire fall visit.