On the East Coast, the New England area holds many of the best places to visit for the perfect fall getaway. Between Late September and early October is peak fall foliage season in the region, and these towns, roads, and parks are decorated ever so brightly with leaves transforming into the autumn colors indicate that the season has arrived. The best places to see falls colors in New England really highlight the magic behind the trees turning from their usual greens to lively yellows, oranges, and reds.
Not only are these areas rich in history and culture with museums, local stores, and restaurants, but they’re also some of the most breath-taking places to chase the best fall foliage. So whether you want to take a road trip on a scenic drive, hike a well-known northeast trail, or bike a classic New England scenic route, check out these places to find the best New England fall foliage.
The 12 Best Places to See Fall Colors in New England
1. Kancamagus Highway
Located in New Hampshire, this scenic byway begins in the city of Lincoln and goes through White Mountain National Forest, with many picturesque stops to offer along its 34.5-mile path. The foliage drive itself is characterized by the colorful trees that line the highway, so you might want to make sure you’re aware of what stops you want to make before getting lost in how gorgeous the drive is. Stop in Conway to picnic at Sabbaday Falls, and then head north from the trailhead to intake the most magnificent views of Mount Washington.
2. Route 100
If you really want to submerge yourself in nature, take Route 100 in Vermont, which is billboard-free and full of fall colors. The path takes your through some of the smaller, more inherent villages of the state, full of cider donuts and country stores that you won’t find anywhere else in the U.S. Hike Mount Killington before continuing on the 11-mile Green Mountain Byway to check out some incredible mountain views. Spend a weekend in the city of Stowe, and fly (literally!) through the fall foliage by taking a two-mile zipline on Stowe’s ZipTour.
3. Route 7
In Northwest Connecticut, take this drive that begins in coastal town of Norwalk and trails through Kent Falls State Park, where waterfalls accompany your quest to behold the best fall foliage of the region. You can explore the Litchfield Hills area, full of rolling hills and river views, by foot, horseback, or even hot air balloon. If you choose to book a hot air balloon trip, you’ll get an aerial view of fall foliage like you’ve never seen before.
4. The Mohawk Trail
In Western Massachusetts, there is the Mohawk Trail, a 62-mile trail that was once a Native American trade route. It straddles the Berkshire Mountains between Hudson and Connecticut River valleys, taking your through mountain streams and iconic city pit stops that offer spectacular views, and ends in the city of North Adams, where you can pay a visit to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MassMoCA)- one of the biggest museums in the country.
5. City of Montgomery
Known as “Vermont’s Covered Bridge Capital,” this small town is known to have some of the most eye-catching foliage views in northern part of the state. Along the paths you’ll take, you’ll go through one of the six iconic covered bridges in the city, so take a warm drink with you on your leisurely stroll. If you’ve hit all the bridges and still want to explore the area, there are also 15 miles of trails that have been preserved by the Hazen’s Notch Association.
6. City of Woodstock
Woodstock is not only known as the “quintessential New England village,” but is also considered one of the best places to see fall foliage in the area. Also located in Vermont, this quaint town is full of lush trees, painted by the colors of autumn. Take a hike through woodlands of Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park to really submerge yourself within the foliage firsthand, or stroll through the bustling city and have the foliage accompany you while you shop and explore.
7. Acadia National Park
In Maine, Acadia National Park holds 47,000 acres on Mount Desert Island and is probably one of the first places you should consider visiting the the northeast if you want to see incredible fall foliage. You can stay the night in the city of Bar Harbor and check out the 27-mile Park Loop Road during the day, making stops to really intake the colorful views of the trees. You’ll also get to behold the striking views of Cadillac Mountain and opt to camp if you’re truly a nature lover.
8. Coastal Route 1
Also known as “Old Route 1,” this route is one of New England’s most coastal scenic drives. Visitors normally come to Maine in the fall for the lighthouses and late-season lobster rolls, but the state is full of amazing places to see fall foliage. One of the most prime leaf-peeping spots is Merryspring, a 66-acre park and nature center that is made for you to lounge around and observe all the autumn beauty around you.
9. Route 7A
This historic route runs through southwest corner of the state?known as the Shires of Vermont?and through 17 charming towns along the route, including Bennington and Manchester. In Bennington, climb to the top of the Bennington Battle Monument, 306-foot magnesian limestone construction built in 1891 to commemorate the Battle of Bennington, to switch up your perspective and see fall foliage from a bird’s eye point of view.
10. Ocean Drive
Rhode Island might be the smallest state in the U.S., but it’s also full of the most gorgeous sights to survey. Check out the famous Ocean Drive Loop, an 11-mile waterfront route that passes through Bellevue mansions, adorned with colorful American yellow-woods and European beeches. It’s recommended that you bike, as that is the best way to explore this path. It ends at Newport Harbor, offering views of the Rhode Island Sound on your left and all the colorful fall foliage on the right along your way.
11. City of Bethel
This mountain town is considered one of the best places to check out fall foliage while walking around. It holds well-known hiking trails in standout conservation lands including White Mountain National Forest, Grafton Notch State Park, and the Appalachian Trail. It’s recommended that you check out the Androscoggin River Recreation Trail specifically, where you’ll not only see gorgeous fall foliage, but also unique and interesting wildlife within.
12. City of Boston
Skip small towns and their iconic trails and head to the bustling city of Boston, where colorful leaves decorate sidewalks and buildings. The big city is crowded but energetic, and full of historical places that are also enriched by the fall foliage that fills those areas. Head to Walden Pond to see Henry David Thoreau’s tiny cabin embellished with pockets of fall colors, or head to the Arnold Arboretum- an outdoor museum of trees that is the oldest public arboretum in North America.
Have you ever explored the best places to see fall foliage in New England? Share your experience with us on our Wide Open Roads Facebook!