New England Wanderlust

Connecticut , Fall , Maine , Massachusetts , New Hampshire , Rhode Island , Vermont  ·  June 7, 2023

The PERFECT New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary: 3, 5, 7, 10 & 12 Day Options! (2024)

There’s a reason why New England is world-famous for fall foliage, and if you’re looking to plan the most amazing New England fall road trip, you’ve come to the right place! I’ve been traveling throughout this region for over 15 years, and have done quite a few fall foliage road trips and even more fall getaways. It took me a while, but I’ve finally put together the perfect itinerary for you based on real experience.

This post details the best places to visit in New England during fall foliage season that are worth the hype, the best times to plan your road trip, and also, which places may not be worth your time. So, you can rest assured that you’re truly seeing the best of the best with my itinerary.

This itinerary is also geared toward first-timers and those looking to find the best foliage spots . If you’ve experienced New England in the fall season before, many of these locations and tips may already be familiar. However, I’ve also sprinkled in some insider tips, so it’s still definitely worth reading 😉

During this trip, prepare to see idyllic countryside landscapes, blazing fall color, beautiful covered bridges, charming towns, general stores, epic overlooks and hiking trails, and so much more. Basically, you’ll get your fill of New England charm right from the start, and it won’t stop until the trip is over. Sound good? Then let’s get started!

AM Foster Covered Bridge in Vermont is a great stop to make on your New England fall road trip!

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What Is The Best Time To Visit New England For Fall Color?

In a nutshell, the last week of September, or the first week of October. However, it does vary depending on where you’re heading.

The first thing you need to know is that foliage will peak in the northern areas first, then peak in the southern areas later . For that reason, I recommend that you start in the north if you can, especially for a longer trip, but it’s not always necessary for shorter trips.

If you’re planning a bucket list 2-week adventure, starting in the north is a good call because peak foliage can begin to diminish quickly, depending on the season and climate patterns. However, if you’re traveling for closer to a week, this won’t be as important.

Most people will choose to visit Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont during their New England fall road trip (and spoiler alert: this is also where I’ll be suggesting you go!), so this timeframe works very well for these areas.

The central part of Vermont will often peak right around Indigenous People’s weekend in October, and for a getaway to popular towns like Stowe and Woodstock, this is the perfect weekend to plan your trip.

Massachusetts often peaks right around Indigenous People’s weekend as well, with southern MA peaking a week or so later.

Many parts of Maine, including Acadia National Park, and the Midcoast, will typically peak around the middle of October.

The greater Boston area, and Connecticut will peak mid-late October, depending on the year.

Stowe also makes for a wonderful day trip in Vermont, and is one of the best places to experience fall in New England.

How Many Days Do You Need In New England In The Fall?

The great thing about New England in the fall is that you can easily do a weekend getaway and still pack a lot in, or you can plan an epic 12 day road trip for the ultimate adventure. And either way, it’s going to be incredibly memorable.

If you’re coming in from a distance, especially if you’re flying in, I would say 10 days is a great option, 12 days is even better, and 7 days is also wonderful. Of course, with 12 days, you’ll be able to see so much or plan extra time in some places. But even with 7 days, you’ll get to see quite a bit.

If you’re local to New England, and don’t have 10 days, 7 days is again a nice sweet spot. 5 days will also work in this case. And, as mentioned, even a weekend away will allow you to experience some of the best this region has to offer in the fall season.

The great thing about the best places for fall foliage are located in some of the smallest states, so you can cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time.

Best Places To See On A New England Fall Road Trip

While every New England state has something special to offer during fall foliage season, for the purpose of seeing the absolute best spots, I recommend sticking to Maine , Massachusetts , New Hampshire and Vermont . And flying into Boston.

Because these areas offer the most spectacular displays of foliage, most picturesque scenery, tons of things to do, and they’re all reasonable close to one another, allowing you to maximize your time.

Here’s why I don’t necessarily recommend states like Connecticut or Rhode Island if you have less than 10 days – they’re further away from the best places to see in the fall.

I truly love every single New England state, and I do really enjoy Connecticut in the fall. However, it’s so far west that you’ll spend more time driving to get there, and possibly forgoing some really spectacular places in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Vermont.

If you have 10 days or more for a New England fall road trip, then I would highly suggest you consider adding in the Litchfield Hills regions of Connecticut , which you’ll see I included in my itinerary. It’s also very close to The Berkshires region, so you can combine it with that part of the trip, depending on how much time you have. However, with less than 10 days, I personally don’t feel like it’s worth it. Especially for first-timers.

If you’ve already seen some of the places I’m recommending in this post, then definitely try to swing over to Connecticut and experience a new area during the fall!

If you have less than 10 days, you may even want to focus all your time on Vermont and New Hampshire. The reason for this is because some of the best places for fall foliage in Maine are further north. I think places like Acadia National Park are very worth seeing (and you’ll see I’ve incorporated it into some of my itineraries!). However, if you prefer a slower pace and less driving, Vermont and New Hampshire are the absolute best places to see .

Some Things To Know About My Itineraries

They all begin in Boston , assuming that’s where most people will fly into if visiting from a distance. If you fly into a different airport, or are driving in, you can easily adjust your plans as needed.

They’re done in true road trip style , meaning there’s a lot of driving, and mostly 1-night stays. There are some places I recommend 2 nights in, but you can adjust this based on your preferences. If you want to stay longer in one place, definitely go for it!

I give you options! Of course, I stand by all my suggestions ☺️ However, I know everyone has different travel styles and speeds, so I encourage you to to tailor this to what you think you’ll enjoy the most. I’ve given you suggestions on how to adjust the itinerary based on your preferences.

10 Day New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary From Boston

Okay, let’s get into my perfect New England fall road trip itinerary options! We’re beginning with my suggestions for an incredible 10 day adventure.

10 Day Road Trip Overview

Day 1 : Arrival In Boston Day 2 : Explore Boston Or Take A Day Trip To Salem Day 3-4 : Bar Harbor/Acadia National Park + An Optional Stop In Salem Day 5 : Jackson, NH Day 6 : Franconia, NH (Driving The Famous Kancamagus Highway To Get There!) Days 7-8 : Stowe & Woodstock, VT Day 9 : The Berkshires and/or Litchfield, CT Day 10 : Back To Boston + A Stop In Sturbridge, MA or Litchfield, CT

Breakdown Of The 10 Day Itinerary Option

Day 1: Arrival In Boston Take this time to arrive, get settled, and maybe take in a few sites around the city! Have some time on your first night here? Jump down to Day 2 for some suggestions on what to do!

Where To Stay In Boston:

  • Luxury : The Langham
  • Splurge : Boston Harbor Hotel
  • Moderate : Revere Boston Common

Pro Tip On Fall Foliage In Boston : Foliage peaks later than the rest of the places listed in this itinerary – usually mid-late October. So while you probably won’t see peak foliage in Boston if you plan your trip for peak foliage in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, it may catch a glimpse of it on your back if you’re planning a longer trip! Or, you can leave the airport to immediately begin your drive to Maine, and plan to stay a night or two in Boston before you have to fly out.

Day 2: Explore Boston

Boston during the fall season has so much to see and do, but here are some highlights to consider if it’s your first visit:

  • Public Gardens (very scenic garden area with a beautiful pond and pedestrian bridge (also makes for lovely photos!). This is a good spot for fall foliage in the city, too.
  • Newbury Street for shopping
  • The North End for history and food
  • Beacon Hill for charming cobblestoned streets at the famous Acorn Street
  • Take a food tour if it works with your schedule. There’s incredible food to be had in Boston, and taking a tour with a local expert is a great way to sample lots of delicious things in a short amount of time!

Click here to check out my post on the best Boston food tours!

Day 2: Optional Day Trip To Salem

If you would prefer to take a day trip to Salem, rather than stopping on your way to Acadia National Park, this is a great option! And really, there’s no right or wrong choice here – it just comes down to which you prefer.

Salem is an easy day trip from Boston without a car because of this convenient ferry! Click here to check out the Boston → Salem Ferry!

Psst! I have some helpful guides including planning the perfect Salem, MA day trip , and the best time to visit Salem if you need more information 😉

The Witch House in Salem, MA in the fall season. This is a great town to visit in October for the Haunted Happenings events, which takes place all month long.

Day 3: Drive To Bar Harbor & Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park is one of the best things to do in New England year-round, so this is definitely a must if you’ve never been. It also offers some really wonderful foliage, and fall is my personal favorite season to visit for this reason.

This drive from Boston to Bar Harbor takes about 5 hours without stops, which is why I usually suggest you make a pitstop to break up your journey. I actually have some posts on stops you can make along the drive, so be sure to check those out below.

But since Salem is really the ultimate fall destination in Massachusetts, I suggest you pick that as a stop on the drive 🙂

Bar Harbor is the town adjacent to Acadia National Park , and where most people will choose to stay when visiting. Once you arrive, take some time to get settled, and then head out into downtown Bar Harbor to explore this charming seaside town, visit the shops, and grab a great dinner!

Where To Stay In Bar Harbor:

  • Bayview Hotel . An oceanfront boutique hotel with awesome views. Perfect for a splurge on your trip!
  • Bar Harbor Villager Motel . Clean, updated and spacious. Also, walkable to everything in town.
  • Little Fig Hotel . A cute, modern boutique hotel walkable to town.

Here are some posts that will help you further plan this portion of your trip:

  • Best Stops To Make Driving Boston To Portland, Maine
  • Best Stops To Make Driving Portland to Acadia National Park
  • The Perfect Acadia National Park Itinerary (read this one for more information on Bar Harbor and things to do!)
  • Best Time To Visit Acadia National Park
  • Best Towns To Stay When Visiting Acadia National Park

Day 4: Explore Acadia National Park

Fall color in Acadia National Park.

Even in just 1 day, you can visit some of the best places in the park, and also some really wonderful fall foliage spots. Here how I suggest you plan your day:

If you’re up for it , starting your day with sunrise at the top of Cadillac Mountain is always incredible! It’s one of the first places in the U.S. to see the sunrise, depending on the time of year, and starting October 7 through March, it’s the very first spot in the country to see the sun come up. This will be great for fall foliage, too. You can also choose to do this the following morning before leaving.

Next, head to the Jesup Path scenic walk , which is especially beautiful in the fall season.

Then, park at the Sand Beach parking lot , and walk the Ocean Path for incredible views . This is 1-mile each way, but offers some of the most iconic views in the park, including the Otter Cliffs and Thunder Hole. It’s also flat and easy, making it very relaxing. Have your camera ready for this one!

For a more advanced hike with awesome foliage views, you can do the Beehive Trail from Sand Beach lot, too.

Continue on Park Loop Road to Jordan Pond House for lunch , and enjoy the views of the pond and mountains. You can also choose to walk around the pond if you have time after lunch.

For more foliage views, hike the Bubble Rock Trail after lunch.

Day 5: Drive To Jackson, NH + Spend The Night

Without stops, this drive takes about 4 hours and 15 minutes.

One stop I suggest making on the way if you enjoy local craft beer is the Oxbow Beer Garden in Oxford , ME . It’s got a very cool outdoor setting, and they have fantastic craft beer.

I recommend spending the night in Jackson because it’s a longer drive from Bar Harbor, and there are some fun things to do in the area. Also, there’s a very scenic drive called The Kancamagus Highway that’s stunning in the fall season with foliage, and I want to make sure you have time to drive it. But more on that in Day 6 🙂

Here are some fun fall things to check out in Jackson:

  • The Cog : This mountain railroad takes you to the summit of Mount Washington, the tallest peak in New England! It’s about 45 minutes from Jackson, but you’ll drive through Crawford Notch State Park , which is very scenic, and The Cog is simply incredible in the fall season. If you leave Bar Harbor early enough and have time to do this, I highly recommend it!
  • Honeymoon Covered Bridge & Flossie’s General Store
  • Glen Ellis Falls
  • The cute town of North Conway

Where To Stay In Jackson:

  • Christmas Farm Inn (this place is super cozy!)
  • The Inn At Thorn Hill & Spa

Option To Stay In North Conway : North Conway is only about 12-15 minutes from Jackson, so you can really stay in either. I think Jackson has better hotel options, and it’s a bit closer to The Cog, which is why I suggested you stay there. But either town works for your New England fall road trip!

Here are some fun things to check out in North Conway if you choose to visit:

  • Cathedral Ledge Distillery
  • Ledge Brewing Company (between North Conway and Jackson, technically)
  • The cute downtown area and Zeb’s General Store (one of my all-time favorite general stores!)
  • North Conway Scenic Railroad

Day 6 – Drive The Kancamagus Highway To Franconia, NH

The Kancamagus Highway (Route 112) is a scenic drive that’s regarded as one of the best drives for fall foliage, so this is something you’ll definitely want to do on your New England fall road trip. It connects the towns of Woodstock and Conway, so you can easily start this drive just a few minutes from Jackson or North Conway.

For this day, I suggest you get up early to make sure you have time to explore Franconia Notch State Park after driving The Kanc.

The Kancamagus Highway in New Hamsphire is one of the best fall foliage drives in the region.

Tips For Driving The Kanc:

  • Remember earlier in the post when I said you’ll lose cell service in much of New Hampshire and Vermont? Well, this is one of those drives where there’s no service, so offline your maps before starting!
  • There are no bathrooms or gas stations on the drive, so plan accordingly.
  • The Kanc takes about 45 minutes one-way without stops, but you’ll want to budget about 2 hours to make some stops at the overlooks.
  • During the fall season, especially on weekends, it’s possible traffic could slow down as people try to pull in and out of the parking areas. Plan for some slower traffic.

Pro Tip : Before hopping onto The Kanc, there’s a great little place called Cheese Louise just before the entrance to The Kanc, and this is an awesome place to grab some food before the drive! Especially on a chilly, fall day, a grilled cheese sandwich totally hits the spot, right? 😍

Stops To Make On The Kanc (in order from Conway to Woodstock):

  • Albany Covered Bridge
  • Rocky Gorge Scenic Area (parking can be found at 44.0016667175862, -71.27716637107925)
  • Sabbaday Falls
  • Sugar Hill Scenic Overlook
  • CL Graham Wangan Overlook
  • Hancock Overlook (this one is right at the famous hairpin turn – can’t miss it!)
  • Lincoln Woods Trailhead – Scenic suspension bridge over the river that’s not far from the parking lot.

🍁 Before hopping on The Kanc, consider downloading this great audio tour to enhance your drive – Click here to check out this audio tour!

There are also tons of hiking trails along The Kanc , so if you’re looking to squeeze in a hike on the drive, this is something to consider. But if you don’t have extra time, I would suggest moving on to Franconia Notch State Park, and only doing hikes along The Kanc if you’re able to add an extra day in.

After The Kanc, your next stop is Franconia Notch State Park . And this is where most of the top things to do are , especially in the fall season .

Flume Covered Bridge inside Flume Gorge in Franconia Notch State Park. This is one of the best things to see on a New England fall road trip.

Flume Gorge is one thing I recommend you do if you can only pick one attraction. Flume Gorge is a very fun 2-mile loop trail that takes you over 2 covered bridges, and through the granite gorge. Along the trail, you’ll have some really gorgeous spots to admire the fall foliage, too.

Not sure if this is right for your itinerary? Click here to check out my detailed post in if Flume Gorge is worth visiting , and everything you need to know to plan the perfect visit.

Pro Tip: Buy your Flume Gorge ticket online in advance to save a few bucks! On weekends in the fall season, it’s also possible that certain time slots will sell out. This is another reason to book in advance.

If you have time to explore more of Franconia Notch State Park, I also recommend these activities:

  • Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway
  • Artist Bluff Trail (famous spot that ends overlooking Echo Lake – amazing during foliage season!)
  • The views at Echo Lake Beach

Where To Stay Near Franconia:

  • Sugar Hill Inn – 15 mins from Franconia Notch Park, and is rated as the best B&B in New Hampshire!
  • Riverwalk Resort – 5-7 mins from the top attractions in Franconia.
  • Woodstock Inn & Brewery – Cozy inn with a brewery.

Here are some posts to help you plan this portion of your trip:

  • Fun Things To Do In Franconia, NH
  • Fun Things To Do In Littleton, NH
  • Fun Things To Do In Lincoln, NH
  • Where To Stay In New Hampshire In The Fall
  • Where To Stay In The White Mountains: Guide To The Towns

Day 7 – Drive To Stowe Or Woodstock, VT

Begin your day in New Hampshire with a country breakfast at Polly’s Pancake Parlor! This place is famous in New England, and truly has some of the most amazing pancakes I’ve ever had. It does get busy in the fall season, but man, it’s so worth it.

Then, on to Vermont you go! For the next 2 nights, you’ll want to choose between Stowe and Woodstock, VT as your home base. These towns are the absolute best to visit in Vermont during a New England fall road trip because of foliage views and small-town charm. They’re only 1 hour and 15 minutes from each other, so, you can choose where you want to stay, and then visit the other as a day trip.

The drive to both Stowe and Woodstock is 1 hour and 30 minutes from Franconia , and since this is a shorter drive, you can make some stops along the way, or drive straight there. Stowe and Woodstock both have a lot to do, even though they’re small towns, so it’s beneficial to drive straight there and make sure you have plenty of time to explore.

If you choose to stay in Woodstock, I suggest stopping at the King Arthur Baking Company campus on your way because it’s pretty much on the direct route. It’s a really fun place with fresh baked goods and breads, a café, and a fun shop where you can stock up on pantry staples and baking mixes.

Do I recommend you stay in Stowe or Woodstock? I honestly love both equally! There’s no wrong choice here.

The charming Main Street in Stowe in the fall season, which is one of the best stops to make on a New England fall road trip.

The biggest difference between the two is that Woodstock feels a bit more upscale, and Stowe definitely has a very casual feel to it. But the difference is minor. Both have charming covered bridges, great shops, amazing restaurants, a quaint town feel, and plenty of things to do.

Where To Stay In Stowe :

  • The Green Mountain Inn . It’s located right on Main Street, so you can walk to a lot of places.
  • Spruce Peak Resort . Perfect for those wanting a resort feel, and it’s right off the scenic Smugglers Notch drive. There are rooms with gorgeous mountain views here, too.

Where To Stay In Woodstock :

  • The Woodstock Inn & Resort . It’s referred to as Vermont’s most beautiful address, and it’s in the heart of Woodstock’s village. This is a luxury hotel that’s worth it!
  • 506 Inn On The River . Located just outside of the village, this is a modern and cozy inn, well … right on the river 😉

Here are some posts that will help you plan your time in Stowe and Woodstock:

  • Best Things To Do In Stowe
  • Best Things To Do In Woodstock

Woodstock, VT in the fall season is filled with charm and gorgeous fall color. This is one of the best towns to see on a New England fall road trip.

Day 8 – Explore Stowe & Woodstock, VT

Depending on where you stay, you’ll want to take a day trip to the other town this day. Below are breakdowns of the can’t miss things to do in each town .

Best Things To Do In Stowe :

  • Explore the cute shops along Main Street (don’t skip the Stowe Mercantile!)
  • Drive Smugglers Notch for amazing foliage.
  • Ride the gondola to the top of Mount Mansfield, the highest peak in Vermont (this is epic during the fall season!). This is located at the midway point along the Smugglers Notch drive.
  • Visit Emily’s Covered Bridge, and learn about it’s spooky history.
  • Sample the hard cider at Stowe Cider.
  • Sip on craft brews at Alchemist Brewing (one of my favorites in New England).

The drive through Smugglers Notch is especially gorgeous in the fall.

Best Things To Do In Woodstock:

  • Stroll through the charming downtown shops and eateries.
  • Pop into Mon Vert Café for a warm drink.
  • Snap a photo with Middle Covered Bridge in town.
  • Drive over Taftsville Covered Bridge to visit Sugarbush Farms. You’ll be able to sample homemade cheese and fresh maple syrup here, and also take in amazing foliage views.
  • Visit Billings Farm & Museum.
  • Drive over to Sleepy Hollow Farm to see the famous farm landscape spot.

The views at Sugarbush Farm in Woodstock, VT are incredible in the fall season.

Day 9 – Drive To The Berkshires Or Litchfield, CT

Next up – The Berkshires or Connecticut! This choice is yours entirely. Let’s start with the option to drive to The Berkshires.

The Berkshires is an iconic region in Massachusetts that’s a really great one to visit for fall foliage. Here, you’ll find cute towns, loads of fall color, lots of scenic hikes and walks, and awesome dining options.

Depending on which town in Vermont you’re coming from, the northern region of The Berkshires area will be just over 2 hours from Woodstock, or just over 3 hours from Stowe .

The drive from either town to The Berkshires will pass through Rockingham, VT, and you’ll definitely want to stop here to visit the Vermont Country Store! There’s also the very cute Kissing Covered Bridge here that makes for a fun photo.

Once you arrive in The Berkshires, I suggest you start in Williamstown, and drive the scenic Route 7 down to Sheffield. This drive without stops takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes, but I would budget at least a few hours to make stops and enjoy some other fun activities. This route packs a lot into a perfect fall day, without a lot of driving.

During this drive, these are the best stops to make:

  • The Mount Greylock Auto Road to the highest peak in Massachusetts (absolutely amazing in the fall season!).
  • Make a detour off Route 7 to Bartlett’s Orchard in Richmond for the perfect fall farm experience.
  • Continue with your short detour to Hilltop Orchards, which is 5 minutes from Bartlett’s, and where you can sip on artisanal craft ciders!
  • Walk through the charming town of Lenox.
  • Stroll through quaint Stockbridge, too!
  • Snap photos with the covered bridge in Sheffield.

Where To Stay In The Berkshires:

  • The Red Lion Inn . A historic and famous inn in the heart of Stockbridge.
  • The Dewey . A cozy, traditional New England B&B in Lenox.

The other option is to drive to Litchfield, CT , which is south of The Berkshires. It’s a longer drive from Vermont, but you could also turn this into a fun road trip day by driving the same Route 7 itinerary as mentioned above through The Berkshires, and then continue on to the Litchfield Hills. I would probably only choose this option if you wanted to take your time exploring the awesome stops along Route 7 in The Berkshires, arrive in CT in the evening, and then explore this region of CT the next morning before your drive back to Boston.

The Litchfield Hills in CT are some of the most beautiful countryside landscapes, and a drive through this region is one of the best things to do in New England in the fall.

How To Spend Your Time In Litchfield Hill, CT:

Since you’re likely coming down through the western border of Massachusetts, I would start in Kent, and work your way east. You probably won’t have time to do everything on this list, but pick and choose based on your preferences and schedule.

  • Explore the cute town of Kent, and then visit Kent Falls State Park if you have time.
  • Continue to follow Route 7 to New Milford. The drive is very scenic!
  • Stop in New Milford to enjoy the quaint town, and then visit Lover’s Leap Bridge.
  • Head over to Washington, and then continue on to Mount Tom State Park for awesome foliage.
  • End in the charming town of Litchfield.

Where To Stay In The Litchfield Hills : Litchfield Inn . Refined and still very cozy, and one of the best in the area!

Should I do The Berkshires or Litchfield, CT? Personally, I would stay stick to The Berkshires since this will allow you a more relaxed itinerary. There’s so much to do, and plenty of foliage scenery to take in. If you do the Route 7 drive quicker than you were anticipating, you could always shoot down to the Litchfield Hills for an impromptu adventure 🙂

I would choose to add on the Litchfield Hills if you’re feeling adventurous, and really want to see as much of New England as possible.

Day 10 – Drive Back To Boston, Stopping In Sturbridge or Litchfield On The Way

If you have time to explore another cute town on your drive back to Boston, I would suggest either tacking on a quick drive through the Litchfield Hills, CT if you didn’t already, or a stop in Sturbridge, MA. Sturbridge is more on the way to Boston, and offers beautiful foliage.

Sturbridge, MA in the fall season is one of the best places to see foliage on a New England fall road trip.

How to spend your time in Sturbridge, MA :

  • Visit Old Sturbridge Village for all the cozy fall New England vibes (this is a must if you have time!).
  • Pop into Saw Dust Coffee & Dessert Bar for lunch and treats.
  • Sip on craft beer at Altruist Brewing Company.

And of course, as mentioned in the previous day’s itinerary, the Litchfield Hills region has plenty to offer for foliage views, small towns, and beautiful scenery.

But, if you have a flight to catch, then don’t risk it, and head straight to the airport! 🙂

Optional Adjustments For The 10 Day Itinerary:

  • You can easily cut out Acadia National Park, and head straight to New Hampshire, and choose to spend more time there. Acadia is out of the way, and further north, so I know it doesn’t suit everyone’s plans. This would allow you time to definitely ride The Cog, and have a more relaxed schedule.
  • If you would rather have more time in Vermont, you can skip The Berkshires/CT. This is personal preference! Both areas are amazing for fall foliage, but nothing is quite like Vermont in the fall. This would allow you time to move at a slower pace. If you decide to skip The Berkshires/CT and stay in Vermont for a third night, see my 12 day itinerary, option 3 for suggestions on what to do!

12 Day Road Trip Itinerary Option

If you have 12 days (or more!), this is truly awesome. I would follow my 10 day itinerary, and then take one of these suggestions:

Option 1 : Add in 1 day to see Litchfield, CT after The Berkshires . Since you have the extra time, you can definitely see the Litchfield Hills region of Connecticut with this itinerary! I would recommend this option for those who really want to see as much of New England as possible, and make all the rounds.

Option 2 : Add an extra day to Littleton/Franconia. This region has so many great hikes and places to spot fall foliage. It’s well worth adding a day to this part of the trip if you have the extra time. This would allow you a half day to ride The Cog, and takes more scenic walks and hikes to enjoy the fall foliage.

Option 3 : Add an extra day to Vermont. On your extra day, you can take a day trip to Burlington and Shelburne, or spend the day driving the back roads .

Burlington & Shelburne, Vermont things to check out :

  • First, the drive from both Stowe and Woodstock to Burlington on I-89 is beautiful in the fall. You’ll see lots of mountains ablaze with fall color.
  • In Burlington, check out the waterfront area, and walk along Lake Champlain.
  • Burlington also has an awesome craft brewery scene, and Foam Brewers is especially great.
  • The American Flatbread restaurant in Burlington is a cozy place to stop for lunch.
  • Church Street Marketplace in Burlington is a must!
  • In Shelburne, you’ll want to spend most of your time walking around Shelburne Farms. This is a historic farm once owned by the Vanderbilt family, and has beautiful hiking trails, and you can also sample their homemade cheeses. Definitely do the Farm Trail, which takes you to an epic view of Lake Champlain.

Vermont back roads driving itinerary near Stowe :

This drive is easier to do from Stowe, but it’s also doable from Woodstock if you’re okay with a longer day. This itinerary is is order based on departing from Stowe, but you can also adjust based on which town you’re coming from 🙂

  • The covered bridges in Montgomery, including Montgomery covered bridge (which is actually in Waterville), and Longley Covered Bridge.
  • Barn Owl Bistro is a hidden gem nearby that’s a great little pitstop.
  • The town of Cabot and the nearby AM Foster Covered Bridge are really beautiful areas to visit full of rustic Vermont charm.
  • Peacham is a very small town with iconic landscapes and scenery.
  • Bogie Farm in East Ryegate is a landscape that worthy of a postcard, and is especially beautiful in the fall.
  • The drive between all these destinations will also be lovely and scenic, and packed with fall color.

A farm landscape on the backroads of Vermont in the fall season.

1 Week (7 Day) New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary

If you have 7 days, welcome to your itinerary! This option is the same as the 10 day option, but eliminates Acadia National Park to save time.

7 Day Road Trip Overview

Day 1 : Arrival In Boston Day 2 : Drive To Jackson, NH + A Stop In Salem, MA Day 3 : Drive To Franconia Along The Kancamagus Highway Days 4-5 : Drive To Stowe or Woodstock, VT + Stay 2 Nights Day 6 : The Berkshires Day 7 : Return To Boston

For this itinerary, you can also eliminate The Berkshires, and stay an extra night in Jackson or Franconia.

5 Day New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary

With 5 days, you can go in a few different directions, and below, I break down my suggested options, and the benefits of each. This way, you can tailor it to your preferences.

Option 1 : Spend two nights in Boston with a day trip to Salem, then spend 3 nights in Stowe/Woodstock, VT.

Option 1 is perfect if you prefer staying in one place longer. This itinerary will allow you to stay in the same hotel in Boston for 2 nights, and take an easy day trip to Salem for the perfect fall day of Halloween fun and history! Then you can pick up your rental car (if you haven’t already), and drive to Stowe or Woodstock, VT for 3 days to explore both towns.

With 3 days in Vermont, you can easily see both Stowe and Woodstock, and maybe even plan a day of driving around the back roads. See the 12-day itinerary option for my suggestions on driving the back roads around Vermont during foliage season .

The back roads of Stowe, VT in the fall season.

Option 2 : Spend 1 night in Boston, stop in Salem on your way to Franconia and spend 2 nights in Franconia. Then spend 2 nights in Stowe/Woodstock, VT, and then drive back to Boston.

Option 2 is perfect for those who still want to see as much as possible in 5 days. You’ll get to see a bit of New Hampshire and Vermont, while making a stop in Salem.

Note: For this itinerary, I would drive from Salem to Conway, and the drive The Kancamagus Highway on your way to Franconia so you get to experience the fall foliage along this route. But this itinerary option eliminates the stay in Jackson, as there are more fall things to do in Franconia.

Option 3 : Spend 1 night in Boston, 1 night in Salem, 3 nights in Stowe/Woodstock, VT, and then back to Boston.

Option 3 is perfect for those who really want to spend some time in Salem. This itinerary allows you to spend a whole night in Salem to really enjoy all the Halloween festivities and tours, and then you can spend 3 beautiful days in Vermont.

I excluded New Hampshire from this option because I felt like it would be too much to cram in when adding 1 night in Salem. But if you were feeling adventurous (I’ve been there, I get it! 😂), you can drive to Franconia, NH for 1 night after Salem, and then do 2 nights in Vermont instead of 3.

3 Day New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary

3 days in New England is the perfect long weekend getaway!

With 3 days, I suggest you stay in one location , and add day trips . If you’re flying into Boston, you can stay 1 night in Boston if needed, and then drive to Vermont or New Hampshire for 2 nights. If you’re not flying in, you can spend all 3 nights in Vermont or New Hampshire.

Stowe is very close to New Hampshire, and it’s only about 1.5 hours from Franconia. You can easily do a day trip from Stowe to New Hampshire, or vice versa, for this type of itinerary.

It would also be easy to work in a stop in Salem, MA, either on your way in or out of Boston.

Weekend New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary

For a weekend getaway in New England (essentially, 2 days), I would also recommend you stay in one place and take a day trip. For this itinerary, I almost always suggest Stowe or Woodstock. You can stay in either town, and spend 1 day exploring that town, and then the next day, exploring the other as a day trip.

Vermont Fall Road Trip Itinerary

Looking to just see Vermont? Excellent choice. It’s my personal favorite fall destination in New England (even though it’s a very close call 😉)

For a Vermont fall road trip , you can really do it in anywhere from 5-7 days. Of course, more is better to really see everything, but generally speaking, you can actually make it happen in a week or less. A popular route to take in Vermont is Route 100 , which runs the entire length of state, right through the middle. This allows you opportunities to veer off and see some other places as well.

The historic district of Bennington, VT is one of the best places for fall foliage in the southern part of the state. This is definitely worth a stop on a New England fall road trip.

For the purpose of this itinerary, I’m going to provide a week-long (7 day) itinerary, and you can adjust it to your own plans.

Day 1 : Bennington & Manchester Day 2 : Drive to Woodstock, stopping in Grafton and Weston on the way Day 3 : Spend the day in Woodstock Day 4 : Drive to Stowe, stopping in Montpelier if you’d like Day 5 : Spend the day in Stowe Day 6 : Staying in Stowe, take a day trip to Burlington & Shelburne Day 7 : Drive back

Day 1 Suggestions : Bennington and Manchester are pretty close to each other, so you can easily do both in one afternoon. There are some wonderful covered bridges in the area to see, and here are some more things to check out:

  • The Bennington Battle Monument for fall foliage scenery.
  • Downtown Bennington for shopping on Main Street (small, but cute!).
  • Apple Barn is a few minutes from Main Street for a fun country store and bakery.
  • Zoe’s in Manchester for lunch (great sandwiches!)
  • Downtown Manchester for shopping in a cute town (don’t skip Northshire!)

Day 2 Suggestions : Grafton is a very small town, but it’s quintessential Vermont. It has a cute little cheese shop, and a nice little market/cafe called MKT Grafton, which is perfect for a quick bite. Also, swing by Weston to visit the Vermont Country Store.

For the rest of the itinerary, refer to the 10 day option for details 🙂

Click here to check out my post on a Vermont covered bridges road trip!

New Hampshire Fall Road Trip Itinerary

My second favorite fall foliage destination! Here’s my suggested itinerary for a New Hampshire-only fall road trip.

To just see New Hampshire , you can also spend anywhere from 4-7 days.

With 4 days, you can easily just stick to the White Mountains region, but I’m here to give you all my tips on even more awesome places to see in the fall season in New Hampshire ☺️ So, this itinerary will be 7 full days , but adjust as you need to!

Day 1 : Portsmouth Day 2 : Lake Winnipesaukee Days 3-4 : Littleton/Franconia Days 5-6 : North Conway/Jackson Day 7 : Drive back

Hiking to this viewpoint on the Artist Bluff Trail is one of the best things to do in Franconia, NH in the fall. It's also one of the best things to do in New England!

Connecticut Fall Road Trip Itinerary Option

If you’ve seen all the “hot spots” around Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maine, and you’re looking to explore a new part of New England in the fall, Connecticut should be next on your list!

As mentioned, my favorite place in Connecticut for fall foliage is the Litchfield Hills region. I always like to share that this region was what inspired Amy Sherman-Palladino’s creation of Stars Hollow, so Gilmore Girls fans will especially love this area.

The Litchfield Hills is very compact, and you can easily do a lot in a weekend here. However, 3-4 nights will allow you a nice, leisurely pace to explore all the amazing things this region has to offer in the fall.

The best towns to stay in in the Litchfield Hills region are:

  • New Milford
  • Washington/Washington Depot

Of all these towns, Litchfield probably has the most options when it comes to shopping and dining, however, they’re all very quaint and charming. I would pick whichever one has the best hotel for your plans.

If you have extra time for your Connecticut fall road trip, you can tack on places like Canaan to the north of the Litchfield Hills region, drive to Glastonbury, and then through the River Valley region, which includes the adorable towns of Chester and Essex. You can also choose to end your road trip in Mystic.

What To Pack For A New England Fall Road Trip

I always start every New England packing guide with the same thing, and this post is no different: begin to check the weather reports 5 days out from your trip to get an idea of what the weather will be like . And keep checking it until the day before you leave .

This is because weather in New England can change quickly, especially in the fall season. It’s not quite as dramatic as say … Iceland 😉 But, it can change and vary a bit. Generally speaking, fall will be chilly and a bit rainy. However, you could also have warm and sunny days. For longer trips, you’ll want to pack for both scenarios.

Echo Lake Beach is especially scenic in the fall, and one of the best things to do in Franconia, NH.

Here are some things I recommend you consider when packing for a fall road trip through New England:

Waterproof hiking boots . If you plan to do any hiking, or even nature walks, you’ll want a pair of sturdy boots that are waterproof. Even some attractions like Flume Gorge and other waterfalls in New Hampshire are pretty wet, so this is a good idea to stay dry and comfortable. I really like the Eddie Bauer K-6 Hiking boots. Find the women’s version here and the men’s version here . They’re a much less expensive version of the famous Danner hiking boots featured in the movie Wild !

Good hiking socks to keep your feet dry . An awesome brand to support is Tarn Tough Socks , which is a Vermont-based company. They’re an investment, but they’re also the best, and come with a lifetime guarantee!

Waterproof rain jacket to stay dry if it rains . You won’t want to let the rain slow you down, especially if there’s a lot in the forecast! So definitely pack one that’s completely water proof ( not water-resistant).

Layers . The best way to dress in the fall season is with layers. Under your rain gear, flannels, sweaters, and lightweight t-shirts (both short-sleeved or long-sleeved) work great.

Jeans . These work really well for most days. Fall in New England is pretty casual.

Hiking clothing . For any hikes you want to do, pack whatever clothes you typically wear and feel comfortable in 🙂

Comfortable sneakers or boots . When it’s not raining, a good pair of comfortable sneakers or cute boots work perfectly, depending on your plans. Since I drive from New York, I don’t usually have to worry too much about weight limits on a suitcase, so I’ll throw a pair of sneakers, flat boots/booties, and my hiking boots into the car. This is usually all I ever need.

Dinner outfits . New England is home to incredible places for farm-to-table dining, some of which are a bit more fancy. If you plan to go out for a nice dinner or two, you’ll want to pack accordingly. New England isn’t super fancy, so women can do a casual dress/jeans and a nice top with booties in the fall, and men can easily do dark-wash jeans and a button down top.

Reusable water bottle . You’ll need to stay hydrated while out exploring!

Day pack . If you plan to do any hiking, you’ll want to bring a day pack with you to carry your essentials. If you don’t plan to do any hikes, you can probably skip this, as you can keep most everything you need in your car or room.

Tips For Planning A Trip To New England In The Fall

Anticipate all kinds of weather. I’ve done many fall road trips through this region, and have had warm, sunny days, and trips where it rained almost every single day. I’ll go more into what to pack for this trip at the end of the post to help you prepare, but this is a good thing to be aware of.

Book in advance . I can’t stress this enough. Hotels and accommodations book out well in advance for fall foliage season in prime areas, and these prime areas are where you’ll be heading! If possible, begin to book your hotels at least 6 months in advance, but even 8 months is better. For reference, while I began to plan my Vermont fall road trip for the 2023 season, my favorite place to stay in Stowe, VT was fully booked during peak foliage weeks – in FEBRUARY. Yep, February.

Offline Google Maps! I can’t tell you how important this is! Even as recent as a fall 2022 road trip, I barely had service through much of New Hampshire and Vermont. I spent a lot of time just driving around hoping my service would come back, or asking people for directions the old-fashioned way. I usually offline maps, but totally forgot that trip, and it was a harsh reminder that this is a must-do.

Be respectful of private property . Popular places in foliage towns have begun to restrict tourist access to roads because too many people have trespassed to get the perfect photo. Always have an awareness of when you may be encroaching on people’s private homes and land, and follow all signage. Trust me when I say, there are so many places around this entire region that are postcard-worthy, and you don’t need to break any rules to get amazing photos!

Stay safe while taking photos. Similar to my previous tip, never put yourself or others in danger, to get a great photo. For example, if you see a spot along a road with no safe place to pull over, or the only place to pull over is private property, move on. You’ll drive by so many postcard-worthy scenes, but you can’t snap photos of them all 😉 Allow them to safely live in your memory, and only take the photos that are safe to do so.

New England’s highways charge tolls . Recently, many parts of this region have switched to electronic tolling, meaning you don’t stop when going through, and your license plate will be billed for the charges. If you’re renting a car, your rental company will go over how this all works, but they will likely just charge your card on file for any tolls you incur during your trip, which is very easy!

Lastly, prepare to pay . Yes, the sad truth is that peak foliage season in New England is expensive, and it won’t be your most budget-friendly trip ever. There are ways to keep costs down, and I’ll go more into that later in the post as well, but generally speaking, this is an expensive time to visit New England – at least, where the foliage is the best 😉

How Do To A New England Fall Trip On A Budget

So, first thing’s first, you’ll unfortunately have to rethink what “budget” means in New England, especially during peak season in the fall. It’s generally more expensive than other areas of the country regardless of the reason, so during prime foliage times, prices will go up significantly.

Especially in the past, I never had the money to spend on several nights at hotels during this time of the year, so I have learned to do it on more of a budget. Not necessarily cheap, but not as tough on the wallet 😉 Here are my tips:

  • Stay in motels. I love a good hotel splurge, and do it more now than I did in my 20s and early 30s. But for most of my road trips when the focus is exploring outdoors, I stay in motels with efficiency kitchens . You can find some really nice ones, and while they’re likely to be outdated, they’re usually clean and cozy.
  • Efficiency kitchens allow you to make some meals at home. For a road trip style trip, this may be more challenging, as it’s hard to bring perishable items with you to store in a fridge. But I usually try to make my own breakfasts to save money, and pack snacks to have for lunch.
  • Stay outside of town. If you’re really on a tight budget, you can stay outside of the towns you’re visiting. Places like Franconia, Stowe, and Woodstock charge premium rates for peak season, so you’re likely to find deals a town or two away.
  • Go camping! If you’re really adventurous, you can go camping! There are camp sites all over New England, and this will definitely be more affordable. One thing to keep in mind is the colder weather, and for this reason, some camp sites may close down after Indigenous People’s weekend in October. But many remain open, and offer Yurt-style camping, too.

New England Fall Road Trip – FAQ

Does it snow in new england in the fall.

Here’s the thing – it might if you’re up in the mountains. However, it doesn’t usually snow during peak foliage times. Usually, New England gets its first snow of the year later in October or early November. So, I wouldn’t worry about packing any snow gear or winter boots for your fall road trip.

Is Fall In New England Worth It?

A resounding yes! I truly believe this is such a magical time to visit – if not the most magical time. Despite the crowds and the cost, it’s more than worth it. Many of the landscapes you’ll see are actual stock photos and postcards, and since so many people equate the fall season to all things cozy, there’s really no cozier place to be than in New England during foliage season.

More posts you may enjoy:

  • Fall In New England: The Best Things To See & Do
  • Vermont In The Fall: Festive Things To Do!
  • Fall In New Hampshire: The Best Things To Do
  • Fall In Massachusetts Ultimate Guide: All The Best Things To Do & Foliage Spots!
  • The Best 7 Day New England Road Trip Itinerary For Any Season
  • Best Stops To Make On A Boston To Stowe, VT Road Trip
  • Vermont vs. New Hampshire In The Fall
  • Maine In October: Best Towns For Foliage & Things To Do!
  • Best Vermont Pumpkin Patches & Farm Stands To Visit In The Fall
  • Awesome Corn Mazes In Vermont
  • Best Time To Visit New England
  • Best Time To Visit Vermont

That’s A Wrap On The Best New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary

And there you have it! All my tips and expert advice on planning the most epic New England fall road trip during foliage season! This truly is such a wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime experience that everyone should do at least once, and hopefully, you’re now well on your way to planning your own foliage adventure through New England!

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Vermont farm landscape on the left, and New Hampshire mountains on the right. Both have amazing fall color!

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5 incredible fall getaways in the Northeast

Laura Itzkowitz

This story has been updated with new information.

Summer is winding down, and autumn is close behind. Fall brings a welcome respite from summer's heat and humidity, a handful of long weekends (including Labor Day and Thanksgiving) and glorious landscapes bursting with colorful foliage .

If you live in the Northeast, you're especially well-positioned to take advantage of all the joys fall brings, from meals made with farm-fresh produce to leisurely, scenic drives through forests transformed into kaleidoscopic backdrops.

To help you sort through the region's spate of charming towns, we zeroed in on five destinations within driving distance of New York City , Boston and other Northeastern hubs — all with compelling reasons to visit this fall.

Remember to bring along a good credit card for earning points on gas purchases if you're planning on a leaf-peeping drive and be sure to book soon.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter .

The Catskills

northeast fall trips

Depending on where you live, you could escape to the mountainous, sometimes rural areas of the Catskills in just over two hours. This area of rippling terrain is punctuated by rambling rivers and waterfalls, making it perfect for scenic fall foliage hikes and drives.

Consider the Giant Ledge and Panther Mountain trails, near Big Indian; Kaaterskill Falls in Hunter, New York; the hike to the restored fire tower on Mount Tremper, near Phoenicia; and the Overlook Mountain trailhead just outside Woodstock.

The Catskills region is in the midst of another resurgence , making it easy for even frequent visitors to experience a new, undiscovered part of the sprawling wilderness areas.

Consider the Urban Cowboy Lodge in Big Indian from $360 per night (opt for a room with a clawfooted soaking tub or an outdoor cedar tub) or Kenoza Hall , from the area's esteemed Foster Supply Hospitality. The 55-acre property dates back to the 1800s and room rates start at $349 per night. Or, splurge to stay at The Chatwal Lodge , a new rustic getaway from the man behind The Chatwal, a Luxury Collection hotel near Times Square in Manhattan. Rooms here start at $1,200 a night.

Saratoga Springs

northeast fall trips

If you thought the only thing to do in Saratoga Springs was to go to the racetrack, think again. This city about four hours north of New York City is having a bit of a renaissance, thanks to some excellent new hotel openings and the Upper Hudson Wine Trail , which features an ever-growing roster of family-run vineyards and wineries.

If you visit between mid-September and early October, you might even catch the harvesting action. From here, you can easily explore scenic Lake George and the high peaks of the Adirondacks.

The Brentwood Hotel , which opened in 2016 in a revamped motor lodge, is a frontrunner on the scene. Designed by Brooklyn-based Studio Tack, the 12-room boutique hotel features equestrian motifs inspired by its location just steps from the racecourse; rooms start at $300 per night.

Joining it is the historic Adelphi Hotel , which emerged from a top-to-bottom renovation in 2017 with charming rooms starting at around $259. Even if you're not staying in the hotel, be sure to elbow up to the bar at Morrissey's, named for the yarn-spinning sportsman who brought horse racing to town.

The Berkshires

northeast fall trips

The secret's out about this mountainous region in western Massachusetts. Equidistant from New York City and Boston, the Berkshires make for a perfect fall getaway complete with excellent hiking, cultural attractions and great places to spend the night.

There are plenty of ways to fill your fall days in this area. Housed in a complex of 19th-century mill buildings in North Adams, MASS MoCA , or the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, has long been a pilgrimage site for art lovers. Don't miss Sol LeWitt's staggering wall drawings — a cornerstone of the museum since they were installed in 2008. The area is also home to the Norman Rockwell Museum (for which you should purchase timed tickets in advance of your trip) and The Mount , Edith Wharton's mansion in Lenox.

Miraval Berkshires is the third iteration of the wellness-focused chain. Guests can try horseback riding at Meadowview Stables, take classes on beekeeping, hike in the adjacent forest and enjoy relaxing treatments at the 29,000-square-foot Life in Balance spa. As part of the World of Hyatt program, an off-peak award night at this Category 12 resort will cost you 40,000 points for single occupancy, with cash rates from about $650 this fall.

Travelers can also bed down at the ajacent Wyndhurst Mansion , which occupies a Gilded Age mansion and cottage. The complex has elegant rooms, an outdoor pool, an 18-hole golf course and a fitness center. There are also two restaurants — a tavern serving breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as the upscale 1894 Fireside Bistro serving lunch and dinner.

The Hudson Valley

northeast fall trips

When it comes to an easy weekend escape from New York City, it's hard to beat the Hudson Valley. The charming town of Hudson is just two hours away via Amtrak or two and a half hours by car.

You can easily post up at the laid-back Rivertown Lodge (starting at $239 per night) or the food-focused Wm Farmer & Sons (starting at $269 per night). Another great option is The Wick, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel which opened in a reborn 19th-century candle and soap-making factory in town (though expect to pay 49,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night if you're booking this fall). There's also The Maker Hotel , an intimate 11-room property spread across three historical buildings downtown; rooms start around $450 per night in the fall, but be prepared for a two- or three-night minimum stay. For a more pastoral setting, head to Amenia and check into Troutbeck — an inn on a historic estate that once played host to Mark Twain, Henry David Thoreau and Teddy Roosevelt. The spacious, airy rooms here will set you back upwards of $435 per night.

Regardless of where you stay, be sure to go sailing on the Hudson, enjoy leisurely hikes and go apple picking. This is fall in New York state, after all.

Central Vermont

northeast fall trips

About five hours from New York City and less than three hours from Boston, central Vermont's bucolic mountain landscapes and small-town charm make it the perfect destination for an autumn getaway. The entire state has a population of around 624,000, so you'll find that even the capital of Montpelier feels like the kind of place where everyone knows each other's names.

Situated in the heart of Woodstock, the historic Woodstock Inn & Resort — established by Laurence and Mary Rockefeller — recently emerged from a $16 million renovation to the Federalist-style building and its 142 rooms and suites. You can dine on the farm-to-table fare at the Red Barns and indulge in a spa treatment at the 10,000-square-foot spa. Rates start at $342 per night.

In nearby Barnard, discover the all-inclusive Relais & Châteaux property Twin Farms — a collection of beautifully appointed, art-filled cabins spread across a 300-acre estate starting at $2,550 per night. Here, you can admire the changing leaves on the grounds, soak in the Japanese-style furo, and go canoeing or fly fishing on the property's pond.

Additional reporting by Melanie Lieberman, Madison Blancaflor and Lynn Brown.

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New England Guided Tours

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Your Guide to the Best Guided Trips for Leaf Peepers

northeast fall trips

Ron and Patty Thomas / Photographer's Choice / Getty Images

With leaf peepers descending on New England each autumn from all parts of the globe, it might be easier to leave the planning to someone else and enjoy a guided biking, hiking, walking, bus, train, cruise, or even an aerial tour of New England this fall. Even if you don't consider yourself the organized tour type, a group excursion might be your best bet for maximizing your time during New England's peak tourism season.

Tours range from day trips to full-week excursions where travelers are shuttled around across New England. Regardless of the tour duration, you'll be traveling with locals and fall foliage experts who can guarantee that you see some of the most scenic spots in the Northeast. Plus, once peak foliage arrives , New England fills with visitors and joining a tour keeps the stress level low.

Many organized tours have been cut back or canceled in 2020, so be sure to confirm with individual businesses that they are open this season. If you are unable to join a tour, you can always visit the best places in New England for fall foliage on your own.

Bus tours are one of the most popular ways to explore New England fall foliage. Leave the driving to an operator such as Caravan Tours , which offers an eight-day New England Fall Foliage guided motorcoach trip leaving from Boston on a variety of September and October departure dates. Sit back and enjoy vivid views of changing leaves in all six New England states as you visit the region's most iconic attraction.

Biking Tours

If you're passionate about biking and looking to head out on a "last hurrah" trek before autumn yields to blustery winter, a number of New England fall foliage biking tour providers will lead you on a self-powered journey to remember. Book yourself, for example, on one of VBT Bicycling Vacations ' scheduled outings this fall. This tour company offers a number of autumn trips in Vermont, Cape Cod, and Maine's Acadia National Park . Trip leaders provide support and encouragement all along the way, and your tour includes specially selected accommodations and great regional dining throughout your journey.

Train Tours

If chugging along the tree-lined tracks aboard a historic locomotive sounds appealing, then there are plenty of scenic options to choose from. Among the fall's best railroading adventures is the  Essex Steam Train & Riverboat excursion, which is like taking two trips in one. Board a historic steam train and travel through the rural Connecticut River Valley, followed by a journey through the local wetlands on a steamboat. The entire trip takes about two and a half hours and is available on weekends from September 26 until October 25, 2020.

In neighboring New Hampshire, the Conway Scenic Railroad is one of the most romantic trips in the entire Northeast. Different rides vary in time from 55 minutes to over six hours, depending on how long you want your journey to be. Most train rides also include live commentary about New Hampshire's history and local folklore to complement the autumn views outside the window.

Hiking and Walking Tours

Carl D. Walsh / Aurora Photos / Getty Images

The crunch of leaves beneath your feet adds to the charm of fall days in New England, so consider claiming a spot on one of the region's best guided hiking or walking tours. You can even get a head start on the new year by making a resolution to get fit this fall, starting with an inspiring stay at Jimmy LeSage's New Life Hiking Spa in Vermont's lush mountains near Killington. With walks and activities for all levels, from beginners to walkers seeking a challenge, LeSage's programs are designed for more than just weight loss. You'll retrain your mind in healthy ways, too.

The travel company Backroads leads hiking groups around the world, including one through the forests of Vermont and another within Acadia National Park in Maine. Group trips in 2020 have been reformatted and now include fewer people, so you can have a more intimate experience with nature while also staying safe.

Cruise New England's Waters in the Fall

A guided tour of New England's colorful coastline aboard a seaworthy vessel is sure to be a memorable outing, as is a riverboat trip as the leaves put on their annual show. Scenic tours from M/S Mount Washington are geared toward the best leaf-peeping opportunities, sailing around Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. Boat trips are scheduled daily from mid-September until mid-October in 2020, and possibly longer depending on the duration of the foliage.

For a more immersive trip, the Maine Windjammer Association sails out on the Atlantic Coast for multi-day trips. You'll be able to travel along the scenic Maine coast and even further up into Canada, depending on which tour you choose and the number of days. Each day includes about six hours of sailing time, after which you'll drop anchor and be able to explore a local fishing village or uninhabited island in order to fully take in the scenery.

Best Aerial Tours for Adventurous Leaf Peepers

Alan Majchrowicz / Getty Images

It's one thing to pick up the prettiest fallen leaves that catch your eye, but you could also soar above the foliage, tickling the treetops. Several aerial adventures offer the chance to do exactly that. When you set sail on a fall hot air balloon flight with Above Reality Hot Air Balloon Rides , for example, you'll enjoy views few other leaf peepers will never experience. This tour company flies regularly from its home base in Essex Junction (near Burlington ), Vermont. All balloon cabins are reserved for private groups in 2020, making this one of the most thrilling ways to maintain social distance this fall.

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New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary: 10 Stunning Stops

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by Mark and Kristen Morgan

Published: August 23, 2021

UPDATED: May 22, 2024

New England Fall Foliage Road Trip Itinerary Stunning Peak Colors Forest in Vermont and New Hampshire Golden Yellow Leaves and Orange Leaves on the Ground Road Running Through Forest

There are many places in the world you can see leaves turn in Autumn, but they pale in comparison to one famed and celebrated region in the US northeast where science, nature and climate combine to put on an extraordinary light show each year. We are of course talking about fabled New England and we’re going to show you 10 places you can’t miss when planning your New England fall foliage road trip, with 5 day itinerary, 7 day itinerary and 10 day itinerary examples included to help you nail down the best possible route for your trip.

We will use our first hand experiences from road tripping New England in fall to bring you tips, advice and unmissable stops to take on your visit. This is one of those true bucket list USA road trip experiences in which it pays to be organized, plan effectively and make the most of every day.

So, let’s get stuck into those 10 unmissable stops and planning your perfect New England fall foliage road trip itinerary!

The Science Behind Fall Colors

What do we know about the changing of colors to give ourselves the best chance of being in the right place at the right time?

Well, we know that fall colors peak furthest north and work southward through the latitudes. So for example, the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia and North Carolina is gorgeous in fall, but the colors won’t change there until much later in the season.

Also, we know elevation plays an important role in when peak colors will be on display. Colors will change first in mountainous regions of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont before they do at lower elevations.

But the most important aspects are weather conditions leading into Autumn, and amount of daylight. It all starts way back in Spring! A late Spring or intense Summer drought can potentially delay peak fall colors by a week or two.

Conditions Affecting Predictions For Peak Fall Colors

In addition to elevation, latitude and weather conditions before fall, there are more specific conditions that can affect peak fall once we actually reach Autumn:

  • Soil moisture levels
  • Amount of sunlight during the day
  • Length of night
  • Day and night temperature (important)

So what would constitute as perfect conditions for the best chance at ‘peak’ fall colors being their most radiant and predictable?

  • Wet and warm Spring conditions
  • Summer without drought or unusually high / low temperatures
  • Warm Autumn days and cool but not freezing nights

And what causes the colors to change once conditions are right?

Sunlight pumps leaves full of chlorophyll during Spring and Summer. Once daylight wanes in Autumn, so does the amount of chlorophyll.

That leaves room for other pigments in the leaves, such as anthocyanin and carotenoids to shine.

Why Focus On VT, NH, ME and Even NY

The region of New England technically contains 6 states; Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. In fall, this entire region transforms into an adventure playground for leaf-peeping lovers and passionate photographers.

However, there are three New England states among the six that we feel just have to be prioritized for the very best scenery and most radiant colors; New Hampshire, Maine and in particular Vermont.

But we’re also going to throw a curve ball by including a region not technically part of New England (gasp!) … New York’s Adirondack Mountains are a stone’s throw from the border with Vermont and the colors are just as special.

We want you to see the best places in New England when you take your fall road trip, but we would prefer you to see the best colors. That means skipping the likes of Boston, Portland and Providence on this particular visit to the northeast.

They’re all awesome places and we visited them all on our New England road trip in fall. But they don’t have the colors of rural Vermont and New Hampshire, plus we had days to spare.

Here’s why you should focus on the northern parts of New England for a fall foliage road trip:

Vermont’s rolling hills are overflowing with charming rural towns, barns and covered bridges. But the state is 80% covered in forest and that can only mean one thing; spectacular fall foliage everywhere you look.

Further Reading: The best places to visit in Vermont

New Hampshire

New Hampshire mixes excellent hiking options in stunning mountainous areas with staggeringly beautiful fall foliage colors.

It also has one of the best mini road trip routes in New England during fall – the Kancamagus Highway.

Maine is huge. It is much bigger than the other New England states and that means it’s hard to fit most of the northern parts in to your road trip. Unless you have more than 2 weeks of course.

However, Acadia National Park is one of the very best places you can visit in all of New England in fall so if you have the spare time, it’s hard to skip.

New York’s Adirondack Mountains, including Winter olympic town Lake Placid and its surroundings are beautiful in Autumn. The popular mountainous region is incredibly popular thanks to a host of activities and of course glorious foliage colors.

When Should You Plan Your New England Road Trip For Peak Fall Colors?

It is impossible to plan the perfect ‘peak’ fall road trip itinerary in New England. You would need to be in many places at the same time for that to be possible. We’re not quite there, yet!

Historically, the last 2 weeks of September and the first 2 weeks of October are when the colors change. So that would put October 1st in the middle of that and therefore a ‘peak’ fall foliage target.

Science tells us that colors change in the North and at elevation first, eventually working South and to lower levels.

We’ll get into example itineraries below, but here are some rough dates to use for each itinerary time frame working North to South:

  • 5 Day New England Fall Road Trip – We would suggest aiming for September 29 through October 3.
  • 7 Day New England Fall Road Trip – Add a day either side, so September 28 through October 4.
  • 10 Day New England Fall Road Trip – Add a day before and two after, so September 27 through October 6.
  • 14 Day New England Fall Road Trip – Add a day before and three after, so September 26 through October 9.

Should You Book Your Trip In Advance?

Here are two scenarios:

  • You don’t book in advance and keep an eye on live fall foliage updates to guarantee hitting peak fall. This also means you have flexibility on bad weather days. However, there are very limited hotels available and those that do have rooms will be more expensive.
  • You plan and book your whole trip in advance, getting good value in hotels and can relax. But there’s a chance you won’t time it just right and you will have to deal with whatever weather comes your way.

We can’t offer a ‘better’ solution here because both have pros and cons.

Our trip was mainly booked in advance which meant we spent less but we had to put up with a lot of disappointing rain days, as you will see in the photos below!

Need help planning your New England road trip?

Our popular New England fall travel guidebook helps you with planning every aspect of your road trip, including the best places to stop, where to see fall colors, where to eat and stay, itinerary ideas and map!

Where Are Those Morgans New England fall travel guidebook

Top Tips For Planning Your New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary

Finally, before we jump into the 10 unmissable stops and the New England fall road trip itineraries, let’s have a quick look at some important tips to consider when planning your vacation:

  • New England is insanely popular in fall.
  • Booking accommodation in advance will save you a lot of money.
  • Carefully plan where you want to spend each night based around hikes and photography.
  • Start in the North and work South through New England.
  • Expect frequent rain and clouds in fall and accept that there’s nothing you can do about it!
  • Always carry loads of water and snacks in the car.
  • Try to find elevated vantage points as often as possible.
  • Some of the best and most unique fall photos are along rural country roads.
  • You need multiple spare batteries for your camera!
  • You can use a drone in many parts of New England for aerial photography.
  • Don’t worry if you miss ‘peak’ colors.

Our popular road trip resources:

  • Road trip packing list essentials
  • How to plan the perfect road trip

10 Places You Can’t Miss On The Best New England Fall Road Trip

Let’s take a closer look at the 10 stops we think are unmissable on a first New England trip to see the fall colors.

1. Lake Placid, New York

Lake Placid New York is one of the best places to stop on a fall new england road trip mirror lake stunning colors and clouds

Lake Placid of 1980 Winter Olympics ‘Miracle on Ice’ fame is located at the heart of New York’s revered Adirondack Mountains. It is the perfect base for adventure activities throughout all four seasons, from hiking in Summer to skiing in Winter.

The charming town of Lake Placid is an incredibly popular centralized location for leaf peeping in the Adirondacks. As a result, hotels here are in high demand and not cheap from the end of September until mid October. We know from experience when our bank balance took a mighty hit!

Walk around Mirror Lake in town for the easiest way to soak up gorgeous fall colors. If you have time and enjoy challenging hikes, you can’t miss Mount Marcy. It isn’t the prettiest trail but it is the tallest peak in New York.

View over Lake Placid NY from Whiteface Mountain with clouds in sky

Things To Do In Lake Placid, NY

  • Take a relaxing walk around serene Mirror Lake.
  • Visit the Olympic ski jumping complex.
  • Photograph John Brown barn.
  • Drive to the summit of Whiteface Mountain.
  • Take the Cloud Splitter cable car to Little Whiteface.
  • Walk through picturesque High Falls Gorge.
  • Hike Mount Marcy, the tallest peak in New York.

Where To See Fall Foliage In Lake Placid, NY

  • Mirror Lake in town is gorgeous, walk through residential areas surrounded by colorful trees.
  • John Brown barn is a hidden gem for fall colors.
  • The top of the ski jump provides sweeping views over the Adirondacks.
  • Mount Marcy summit is the highest point in the entire region, providing the best views over rolling hills.
  • Whiteface Mountain and Little Whiteface offer more stunning views of fall foliage.

Read our Lake Placid guides for more information:

  • 10 best things to do in Lake Placid NY
  • Mount Marcy complete hiking walkthrough
  • 8 best hotels in Lake Placid NY

2. Burlington, Vermont

Burlington VT stunning fall foliage colors from Ethan Allen Tower perfect road trip stop in new england

Burlington in Vermont might not be the first place you think of for a New England fall foliage road trip destination. However, it is one of the easiest places outside of Boston to fly into the region if you are visiting from further afield.

The small town also happens to be filled with beautiful and radiant foliage colors at every turn. From lakeside bike paths to park towers with stunning views, Burlington is the perfect stop off between Lake Placid and the more famous foliage destination of Stowe.

Hotels in downtown Burlington can be limited and expensive in Autumn, so if you are visiting New England on a budget, try looking for hotels in surrounding villages and towns.

Ethan Allen Homestead Burlington VT gorgeous colors barn and trees

Things To Do In Burlington, VT

  • Eat, drink and soak up the atmosphere along Church Street.
  • Walk through Waterfront Park alongside Lake Champlain.
  • Cycle the Burlington bike path to Grand Isle.
  • Explore Ethan Allen Homestead and Museum.
  • Stand on top of Ethan Allen Tower for amazing views.
  • Taste chocolate at Lake Champlain Chocolates flagship store.

Where To See Fall Foliage In Burlington, VT

  • Anywhere along the Lake Champlain waterfront where there are trees.
  • Ethan Allen Park and the top of the tower in particular have the best fall foliage views in Burlington.
  • Ethan Allen homestead and museum are surrounded by beautifully colorful trees.

Read more about Burlington:

  • 10 best things to do in Burlington VT
  • 8 best hotels in Burlington VT

3. Stowe, Vermont

Stowe in Vermont smugglers notch amazing drone photograph on a new england fall road trip itinerary curving into hills

Stowe is one of the unmissable fall foliage classics on any New England road trip. The white church in town is one of the most photographed churches in the US and almost all of those photographs are taken in fall.

The town is quaint and attractive but be sure to spend the majority of your time up in Stowe Mountain Resort. This is where you will find hikes, Mt Mansfeld, waterfalls and Smugglers Notch.

Colors will change first up in the higher elevations. So, if you’re a little early, head up to the resort. On the other hand, if you’re a little late, stick to the lower elevations around Stowe town for the most vibrant colors.

Personally, we love to hike, we like flying our drone and we enjoy photographing waterfalls. Stowe was one of the best stops on our New England fall road trip circuit for allowing us to do all of those things.

Famous Stowe white church in fall with stunning colors in hills and foreground perfect fall foliage road trip in new england stop off

Things To Do In Stowe, VT

  • Photograph the famous white church in Stowe town.
  • Drive or hike to the summit of Mount Mansfield.
  • Drive through stunning Smugglers Notch pass.
  • Ride a bike along Stowe Rec Path or Lamoille Valley.
  • Take the SkyRide Gondola to Mt Mansfield.
  • Hike a wide range of awesome trails.
  • Visit both Bingham Falls and Moss Glen Falls.

Where To See Fall Foliage In Stowe, VT

  • In Stowe town, the iconic white church backed by a hill of fall colors is unmissable on your New England road trip.
  • But the best colors are in Stowe Mountain Resort. The drive up from town is gorgeous.
  • No matter how you get to the top of Mt Mansfield, you can guarantee spectacular fall foliage views.
  • Smugglers Notch is our top recommendation for Stowe. If you have a drone, this is the place to fly.

Read more about Stowe, Vermont:

  • 15 best things to do in Stowe VT
  • 12 best hotels in Stowe VT

4. Woodstock, Vermont

Sleepy Hollow Farm near Woodstock is one of the most stunning and photographed sports on a new england fall foliage road trip itinerary

Woodstock in central Vermont is arguably the most picturesque and charming town you will visit on your New England fall road trip itinerary. It truly is like something out of a fairytale. We had no choice but to include Woodstock in our popular guide to the 50 best places to visit in the USA .

Remarkably pretty farms with golden leaves dancing in sunlight and reddish-brown leaves covering the ground create picture perfect scenes. Sleepy Hollow Farm and Jenne Road Farm are featured on many fall foliage calendars you will see in shops on your visit to New England.

Don’t miss the many stunning historic covered bridges around Woodstock. Middle covered bridge is right in town, Taftsville and Quechee are very close by and Cornish-Windsor is a 30 minute drive. The beautiful bridge in the photo below is a privately owned bridge near South Woodstock on the main road to Jenne Farm.

Woodstock is one of the more expensive places to visit on a road trip through Vermont, but it is worth taking a hit on the extra chunk of budget. Simply driving around the narrow country roads near Woodstock for a few hours would provide enough fall foliage colors to last a week of photography.

Covered Bridge in Vermont rural countryside stunning bridge and colors

Things To Do In Woodstock, VT

  • Walk around the charming town and admire diverse architectural styles.
  • Photograph two postcard perfect farms – Jenne Road Farm and Sleep Hollow Farm.
  • Visit a host of historic and stunning covered bridges.
  • Explore Marsh Billings Rockefeller Park and hike to amazing viewpoint overlooking Woodstock.
  • Visit nearby Quechee Gorge and village.
  • See Jersey dairy cows at Billings Farm and Museum.

Where To See Fall Foliage In Woodstock, VT

  • Woodstock is incredibly photogenic during fall throughout the town and immediate surroundings.
  • The lookout over Woodstock from Mount Tom hike is iconic fall photography.
  • The best two fall photographs in Woodstock are at Jenne Road Farm and Sleepy Hollow Farm. They are two truly unmissable stops on your New England fall road trip itinerary.
  • Drive your car around the narrow rural roads near Woodstock for some of the most special colors.

Read more about Woodstock, Vermont:

  • 15 best things to do in Woodstock VT
  • 7 best hotels in Woodstock VT

5. Manchester, Vermont

New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary Manchester Green Mountains Rolling Hills

Similarly to Stowe, Manchester is a four season resort with skiing in Winter and hikes during Spring or Summer. In fall, the town located in the heart of Green Mountain National Forest transitions into a colorful paradise for leaf-peepers.

Manchester can be split into the old historic district and the newer modern resort town. The newer part is livelier and closer to amenities but the historic district is quieter, prettier and more colorful.

Use Manchester as a base for one night to explore nearby elevated areas for some of the most expansive views of rolling hills on a New England fall road trip.

Equinox Mountain is the tallest peak in the area. You can hike it or drive it to open up far-reaching views over three US states. But our top tip is to simply stick to the narrow country roads again and you will find more unique fall foliage photographs.

Manchester Historic Village District in Vermont Church with golden yellow leaves

Things To Do In Manchester, VT

  • Drive the Skyline Auto Toll Road to Mount Equinox summit.
  • Explore Hildene, the Lincoln Family Home.
  • Walk around quaint Manchester Historic Village District.
  • See the American Museum of Fly Fishing Museum exhibits.
  • Buy a book in popular Northshire bookstore.
  • Visit nearby covered bridges.
  • See the Bennington Battle Monument.
  • Visit Robert Frost stone house museum.

Where To See Fall Foliage In Manchester, VT

  • Manchester is the heart of the Green Mountains, so the entire area surrounding the town is staggeringly attractive.
  • Rolling hills for endless miles covered in glowing fall colors can be seen from any elevated vantage point.
  • Equinox Mountain summit provides the best panoramic views over three states.
  • Another place you jump in the car and find unique fall photography opportunities on rural roads.
  • Manchester Historic Village District is leafy and the church is surrounded by golden yellow leaves.

Read more about Manchester, Vermont:

  • 15 best things to do in Manchester VT
  • 9 best hotels in Manchester VT

6. Franconia Notch State Park, New Hampshire

Mark and Kristen Morgan Where Are Those Morgans at Artists Bluff Summit in New Hampshire with Echo Lake background one of the most famous new england fall foliage road trip hikes

Franconia Notch is one of New Hampshire’s premier tourist regions for hiking, picturesque mountains, skiing and of course fall foliage. A two lane highway mountain pass dissects the Kinsman and Franconia mountain ranges, with a number of fantastic recreational stops along the way.

Artists Bluff is a very short but steep hike leading to a rocky ledge. Its summit overlooks Echo Lake and is most popular in fall when the colors change. As you can see, we hiked the trail on an incredibly cloudy and grey day, which doesn’t help with highlighting the beauty of this viewpoint. We have included Artists Bluff in our popular guide to the 50 best hikes in the US .

Franconia Notch State Park is where you will find the stunning Flume Gorge hike. A little over 2 miles of waterfalls, narrow gorges and forested paths welcome thousands of visitors each year. For us, the best part of Flume Gorge were the two ultra-photogenic covered bridges; Flume and Sentinel Pine.

Flume Gorge Covered Bridge in New Hampshire Where Are Those Morgans walking across bridge

Things To Do In Franconia Notch State Park, New Hampshire

  • Hike the short but steep trail to Artists Bluff summit for stunning views.
  • Walk through impressive and extremely popular Flume Gorge.
  • Hike Cannon Mountain or take the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway.
  • See a whole host of waterfalls or hike one of a dozen other mountain trails.
  • Ski Cannon Mountain Resort in Winter.

Where To See Fall Foliage In Franconia Notch State Park, New Hampshire

  • The single most well known fall foliage photograph in Franconia Notch NH is from the summit of Artists Bluff.
  • However, don’t miss the chance to walk through the incredibly picturesque Flume Gorge in fall.
  • Not only are the colors vibrant, but waterfalls are attractive and two special covered bridges are incredibly photogenic.
  • Anywhere at elevation, which means every hike up a mountain side or the tramway with sweeping valley views.

Read more in our Franconia Notch guides:

  • Artists Bluff Trail Fall Foliage Hike
  • Flume Gorge Complete Hiking Walkthrough

7. Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire

Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire White Mountain National Forest is one of the most popular roads to drive on a new england fall road trip drone shot stunning colors

New Hampshire’s supremely scenic Kancamagus Highway is one of the very best parts of New England to road trip in fall foliage season. We would put it firmly in the category of ‘unmissable’.

The road between Lincoln and Conway NH is only 35 miles long, but it 35 miles of pure foliage bliss. You can either drive it in one go and simply soak up the colors roadside. Or you can stop at a multitude of overlooks, hiking trails, waterfalls, lakes and covered bridges.

If there’s one part of your New England road trip itinerary to time it right for peak foliage colors, you would do well to beat the Kancamagus Highway in its prime.

A note for photographers and videographers – You can use your drone in many parts of the Kancamagus Highway. We captured amazing photographs and videos of endless miles over rolling hills covered in radiant color.

Reflecting lake with trees on Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire

Things To Do On Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire

  • Stop at various high elevation overlooks with spectacular views over White Mountain National Forest.
  • Walk to Sabbaday Falls, Champney Falls and Lower Falls.
  • Hike Lincoln Woods or Mount Chocorua.
  • Walk out on Rocky Gorge boulders.
  • Photograph Russell-Colbath House and the picture perfect Albany Covered Bridge.
  • Explore ponds and lakes to your hearts content.

Where To See Fall Foliage On Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire

  • Views over rolling hills from every overlook are astonishing in fall.
  • Once the Kancamagus Highway reaches its highest elevation, you will see an ocean of color in all directions.
  • Walk through any forest trail or along any waterfall hike to immerse yourself into those foliage colors.
  • Albany covered bridge is one of the most picturesque bridges you will find in New England.
  • Rocky Gorge and nearby lake with reflecting fall colors are wonderful.
  • Even on both ends of the road in Lincoln (Loon Mountain) and Conway the colors are vibrant.

Read more about the Kancamagus Highway:

  • 13 best places to stop along the Kancamagus Highway in fall

8. Mount Washington, New Hampshire

Mount Washington in New Hampshire down road and colors in trees with cloudy sky

At 6,288 ft tall, Mount Washington is the tallest peak in Northeastern United States. It is renowned for wild and unpredictable weather, including the recording of a world record wind speed over over 230 mph.

As our images indicate, Mount Washington can be very wet and cloudy in Autumn. But if you get slightly more luck on your road trip and time it on a sunny day, you will enjoy some of the most beautiful colors and scenery in the entire region.

Avid hikers can climb to the summit, otherwise you can take a historic cog rail train or drive up an auto toll road to reach the top. Views from almost 2,000 meters high over an ocean of bright colors are incredible.

Incredibly cloudy day at Mt Washington NH

Things To Do Around Mount Washington, New Hampshire

  • Hike a very challenging but rewarding trail to the summit of Mount Washington.
  • Consider a night hike, fall colors won’t matter in the dark but it is hugely popular for astro and sunrise photography.
  • Alternatively, drive the Mt Washington Auto Road to the summit.
  • Or, take the most scenic and historic route to the top – by Cog Railway.
  • Conway scenic railroad nearby ventures deep into fall foliage forest.
  • Endless miles of hiking, 100 waterfalls and a handful of covered bridges to discover.
  • Crawford Notch State Park is close by and features more views, hikes and waterfalls.

Where To See Fall Foliage Around Mount Washington, New Hampshire

  • Just gain elevation in the White Mountains and you’ll open up valley views with a sea of foliage colors.
  • Mt Washington summit is the iconic NH vantage point for sweeping Autumnal vistas.
  • For a unique experience, the Conway Scenic Railroad cuts through some of the best colors in NH.
  • Crawford Notch State Park is stunning in fall, with fantastic valley views from hikes.

9. Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire

Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire on a very dull rainy day in october

Heading due South of Mt Washington you will find Lake Winnipesaukee encircled by gorgeous fall foliage colors. Unfortunately for us, the rain was back in full swing but you can still see how vibrant the colors are in this area.

You can drive an 81 mile loop road around the entirety of the lake, or take to the waters aboard M/S Mount Washington cruise boat.

Visit Castle in the Clouds for family entertainment and hiking, Weirs Beach for arcades or Wolfeboro for a more relaxing experience. The most popular trail in the area is Mount Major, which we highly recommend for hikers looking for excellent views over the lake.

Mt Major hike trailhead near lake winnipesaukee in new hampshire

Things To Do Around Around Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire

  • Take a cruise on the M/S Mount Washington.
  • Or rent a boat of your own for the day.
  • Ride the Lake Winnipesaukee scenic railroad.
  • Try your hand at arcade games in Weirs Beach.
  • Hike the popular half day trail to Mount Major summit for fantastic lake views.

Where To See Fall Foliage Around Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire

  • Elevation is your fall foliage friend around the lake if you want expansive views.
  • Mt Major is the perfect moderate hike to include on your New England fall road trip itinerary.
  • But nearby Belknap Mountain is also a popular choice for fall hikers.
  • Gunstock Mountain Resort has zip lines and ski lifts for easy elevation gain.
  • For easier and more close up Autumnal color vistas, simply hire a boat on the lake and explore.
  • Or sit back, relax and soak up the views on Lake Winnipesaukee scenic railroad foliage tour.

10. Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park is one of the best places to visit on a fall new england road trip precipice trail summit looking over ocean

Acadia finds itself in the list of top 10 most visited and best US National Parks each year. Millions of tourists descend on Bar Harbor annually to enjoy a diverse range of amazing things to do inside the awesome park.

Varied hikes suitable for all ages and abilities, including the famous adrenaline pumping climbs Beehive Trail and Precipice Trail , are a huge draw. But despite being a typical Summer destination in the north of America, Acadia is equally as popular in Autumn and that is purely down to its glowing fall foliage colors.

Sunrises from Cadillac Mountain or Schoodic Point can be extraordinarily beautiful if conditions are right, and sunset at Bass Harbor Head Light is a very highly regarded spectacle. You will need to bring your best hiking gear, spare camera batteries and a lot of energy to the wonderful National Park in Maine.

The only problem you will face with including Acadia on a New England fall foliage road trip is its location. You will have a long drive to and from Acadia from Vermont or New Hampshire. However, if you have the time, it is unquestionably worth the extra effort.

Mountain summit in Acadia National Park Maine Ocean Views

Things To Do In Acadia National Park, Maine

  • Hike various amazing trails from easy to hard (to exhilarating!).
  • Photograph stunning sunrises, landscapes and Bass Harbor Head Light.
  • Drive to Cadillac Mountain summit, the tallest peak on the US east coast.
  • Walk or cycle maze-like carriage roads through the park.
  • Explore Jordan Pond and swim in Echo Lake.
  • Eat and drink in glitzy Bar Harbor, Maine.

Where To See Fall Foliage In Acadia National Park, Maine

  • Mountain summits from any hike opens up special views over rolling hills covered in fall colors.
  • Carriage roads are the perfect way to explore forested trails which are surrounded by trees.
  • Drive the national park loop road for easiest access to fall colors.
  • Jordan Pond in particular is encircled by vibrant autumnal hues.
  • Cadillac Mountain summit opens up 360 degree views over Maine and the ocean.

Read our Acadia National Park guides to learn more:

  • 17 best things to do in Acadia National Park
  • 10 hikes you can’t miss in Acadia National Park
  • Where to stay in Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park
  • 10 key things to know about visiting Acadia in the fall

Planning Your New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary

New England is an enormous region and choosing exactly where to visit can be challenging. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you begin plotting a route:

  • Which places are top of your list? Vermont? New Hampshire? Acadia?
  • How many days can you spare on your trip?
  • Do you want to book accommodation in advance or take it day by day?
  • Are you in New England solely to see and photograph fall colors?
  • Or are you focused primarily on hiking with colors as an added bonus?
  • Do you want to use small and quaint towns as your main places to stay?
  • Or are you more interested in being rural and remote each night?
  • What is your budget? Can you afford to splurge on activities?

Once you have an idea about how you see your road trip panning out, use that idea as a guide to make the best decisions based on your travel style.

Next, we will go through a number of potential scenarios for 5 day, 7 day and 10 day road trip examples through New England in fall.

Use the examples as a reference but remember, they are generic and based on how we personally would plan our itineraries with hikes and photography in mind.

5 Day New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary

Only having 5 days isn’t as much of a negative as it might usually be. Yes, you are going to have to be selective and it is going to be none stop action. But one of the major benefits to a road trip in fall is that all of the best scenery is seen when driving.

Also, the smaller states of Vermont and New Hampshire don’t require a huge amount of drive time between their most scenic places for fall foliage. Include Lake Placid in the Adirondacks and you can easily tick off most of the places in our list in 5 days.

Another consideration is with just 5 days you don’t need to worry as much about ‘following’ peak fall colors. They won’t change too much in that time frame when compared to 10 days.

Example 1 – Lake Placid NY to Manchester VT

D1 – Lake Placid : Walk around Mirror Lake, drive up Whiteface Mountain and explore High Falls Gorge. Stay in Lake Placid.

D2 – Burlington and Stowe : Walk down Church Street, cycle Burlington bike path, explore Smugglers Notch and Stowe Mountain Resort, sunset at Stowe church. Stay in Stowe.

D3 – Franconia Notch and Kancamagus Highway : Hike artists bluff trail, walk around Flume Gorge, drive Kancamagus Highway and down to Wolfeboro. Stay in Wolfeboro on Lake Winnipesaukee.

D4 – Lake Winnipesaukee and Woodstock VT : Spend morning exploring the lake or hike Mt Major, then drive to Woodstock in Vermont via Cornish-Windsor covered bridge, Quechee Gorge and Taftsville covered bridge.

D5 – Woodstock and Manchester : Visit the farms near Woodstock, drive through Green Mountains to Manchester and end at the top of Equinox Mountain.

You could start and end in New York City if flying into Newark or JFK works from your origin and budget. Alternatively, Montreal would be a better place to start for Lake Placid, hire a car and drop it off in NYC or Boston after leaving Manchester, VT.

Example 2 – Lake Winnipesaukee NH to Manchester VT

D1 – Lake Winnipesaukee : Explore the lake, hike Mt Major, take a cruise and stay in Wolfeboro.

D2 – Kancamagus Highway and Franconia Notch : Drive Conway to Lincoln across Kancamagus Highway, hike Flume Gorge and Artists Bluff. Sleep in Franconia.

D3 – Stowe and Burlington : Stowe church, hike to waterfalls in Stowe Mountain Resort, drive Smugglers Notch and on to Burlington. Ride the bike path for sunset. Stay in Burlington.

D4 – Lake Placid : Whiteface Mountain, High Falls Gorge, Ski Jump and Mirror Lake. Or hike Mount Marcy instead but that is a full day commitment. Stay in Lake Placid.

D5 – Woodstock and Manchester : Visit the farms, covered bridges and drive through Green Mountain countryside to Manchester, finish with Equinox Mountain again.

This version would allow for a round trip loop from Boston, MA airport or Portland, ME airport.

The key to making the most of this shorter trip is to accept that you will be in the car driving a lot but that is where you will see most of the best scenery.

7 Day / One Week New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary

With a week, you can get more creative, include more places or take things slower. You have more flexibility but still not enough time to add a trip to Acadia, unless you really can’t miss it and don’t mind the driving.

Colors can change a noticeable amount in 7 days, so (if possible!) factor in starting your one week trip just before ‘peak’ begins.

Either of the 5 day examples above would work with 7 days by simply taking more time in certain spots. The alternative is to add in more places to visit. Let’s look at both:

Example 1 – Lake Winnipesaukee NH to Manchester VT

D2 – Kancamagus Highway : Take the awesome road trip slowly, stop at every attraction and stay in Loon Mountain or Lincoln.

D3 – Franconia Notch and Stowe : Hike Flume Gorge and Artists Bluff before driving to Stowe to photograph the church. Hike the waterfall trails and see Smugglers Notch. Stay in Stowe.

D4 – Burlington and Lake Placid : Church Street and Burlington bike path, then drive to Lake Placid, get stuck into the best bits of Lake Placid and spend the night there.

D5 – Lake Placid and Woodstock : Spend the morning in Lake Placid and drive to Woodstock later in the day. Hike to Mount Tom for amazing views over Woodstock. Stay in Woodstock.

D6 – Woodstock : Sunrise at Sleepy Hollow Farm, Jenne Road Farm, visit the nearby covered bridges and relax in town. Drive to Manchester later in the day to stay over.

D7 – Manchester : Hildene, Manchester old town and stunning Green Mountain country roads, finish at Equinox Mountain.

This variation could begin and end at either Boston, MA or Portland, ME as in the itinerary above. It just gives you more downtime and time to fully explore the places you will visit.

Example 2 – Manchester VT to Lake Winnipesaukee NH

D1 – Manchester : Drive from Boston airport to Manchester, spend the day at Hildene, Equinox Mountain and exploring the town. Stay in Manchester.

D2 – Woodstock : See the best of Woodstock and spend the night.

D3 – Stowe : Hit the top highlights in Stowe and stay there for the night.

D4 – Mount Washington : Take the cog train, drive to the summit or even take on the hike. Sleep in North Conway.

D5 – Kancamagus Highway : Spend a full day on The Kanc. Sleep in Loon Mountain or Lincoln.

D6 – Franconia Notch : Hike Flume Gorge and Artists Bluff but drive to Lake Winnipesaukee later to spend the night.

D7 – Lake Winnipesaukee : Spend the last day around the lake, cruising, hiking or relaxing.

This loop direction was reversed to give an idea about how you could make it work in a clockwise route. Again this would be starting and ending in Boston or Portland, with JFK or Newark as alternative options.

Instead of driving out to Lake Placid, you could stick to Vermont and New Hampshire, which is where the very best colors are found.

10 Day New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary

With a full 10 days to spend on your New England fall road trip, you can either max out your itinerary and see all of the best bits or choose to spend more time in fewer places.

Personally, we’re the max out itinerary type and we would definitely include Acadia National Park in our 10 days. It adds in some serious driving time but the journey there is picturesque, rural and most importantly colorful.

Here’s one way you can include each of the places mentioned in this list, including Acadia National Park (this is the way we drove but we spent 14 days doing this route with other non-fall foliage places included in our itinerary):

Example 1 – Lake Placid, NY to Manchester, VT via Acadia National Park, ME

D1 – Lake Placid : Spend the day hiking and surrounded by gorgeous colors. Sleep Lake Placid.

D2 – Burlington : Full day exploring town and cycle the entire bike path to Grand Isle. Stay in or near Burlington.

D3 – Stowe : Smugglers Notch, Mountain Resort, Mt Mansfield and church in town. Stay in Stowe.

D4 – Franconia and Kancamagus Highway : Hike Artists Bluff and Flume Gorge, drive The Kanc and sleep in North Conway.

D5 – Mt Washington and drive to Acadia : Drive to the summit or take the cog train before driving US-2 all the way to Acadia. Sleep in Bar Harbor.

D6 – Acadia : Sunrise Cadillac Mountain, Hike Acadia Mountain and Beech Mountain, sunset at Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse. Stay in Bar Harbor.

D7 – Acadia : Sunrise Schoodic Point, Hike Beehive Trail and Precipice Trail, Walk around Jordan Pond, Great Ocean Path and carriage roads by bike to see the best fall colors. Final night in Bar Harbor.

D8 – Lake Winnipesaukee : Final morning in Acadia, long drive to Wolfeboro and explore Lake Winnipesaukee.

D9 – Woodstock : Photograph Sleepy Hollow and Jenne Road, hike to Mt Tom, see covered bridges.

D10 – Manchester : Hildene, Mount Equinox, nearby Bennington battle monument and covered bridges.

Tips For The 10 Day Itinerary

The only concern with this itinerary is the inclusion of Acadia National Park. It’s a 4 hour drive from Mt Washington to Acadia and 4 hours 20 minutes back from Acadia to Wolfeboro.

However, if you do have more time you can include stops on the way to and from Acadia to break up the longer drives. US-1 and US-2 are picturesque but slow going. If you’re pushed for time, take the less scenic but faster I-95 instead.

Alternatively, if you’re not so bothered by Acadia, plan to spend even more time in each of the other 9 places in this list. That would give you wiggle room in case of bad weather and plenty of time to relax.

Notice how the route starts furthest north and loops around Acadia then comes back further south?

That’s because with 10 days you should try to ‘follow’ the peak colors as they transition southwards over the first two weeks of October.

Where Are Those Morgans New England fall foliage road trip guidebook for purchase

New England Fall Road Trip Map

Red Markers – Locations of the 10 best places to visit on a New England fall road trip itinerary.

Click or touch the map to activate.

Zoom in and out, move around the map of New England to find locations for the best places to visit in the area.

More From New England

  • Best things to do in Burlington Vermont
  • Best things to do in Woodstock Vermont
  • Driving the Kancamagus Highway in fall
  • How to visit Flume Gorge in New Hampshire
  • The best things to do in Lake Placid New York
  • The best things to do in Stowe Vermont
  • Top things to do in Manchester Vermont
  • Unmissable things to do in Acadia National Park

We hope this New England fall foliage road trip guide with itinerary ideas helps you plan the perfect leaf-peeping vacation!

Please let us know if you have any questions about New England or need any help planning your visit in the comments below.

Happy Travels,

Mark and Kristen

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Mark and Kristen Morgan are travel, hiking and photography experts. Over the last 6 years traveling full time, they have explored more than 40 countries and 30 US states.

Where Are Those Morgans has been featured in USA Today, Gestalten, Get Your Guide, CityPASS and Condé Nast Traveler along with various other publications. Read more about us .

29 thoughts on “New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary: 10 Stunning Stops”

I really appreciate your compressive guide to New England for travel in the Fall. We have enjoyed most of the areas you mention in years past and loved it. My sister is visiting from Australia at perfect Fall Foliage time so we’re planning to do your 10-day roadtrip this year. I was wondering if you have an App you prefer to use to plan each segment of the roadtrip. I used Roadtrippers earlier this year and found it good, but would welcome your suggestions for a roadtrip App. I plan to download your digital guide as well. Thank you and happy travels.

Hi Sharon, we’re happy to hear you will be visiting New England again and this time with your sister. If you are looking for alternatives to Roadtrippers you could check out Wanderlog which is another useful resource. But to be honest we don’t use any apps for our road trips except for the basic and free Google Maps app. We plot points for attractions, restaurants and hotels as we research before visiting a new place, and we plan ahead so we can really get organized. If you download our digital guide and go to the end, you will find a map we created that will open in your Google Maps app and it already contains the locations for top attractions, foliage photo spots, hikes, restaurants and hotels that we discuss throughout the guide. You can of course see more places but we have preloaded the map with the essential spots to visit around New England in fall. Have a fantastic trip!

@Mark and Kristen Morgan, Thank you so very much for your advice. I downloaded the digital guide to use. So looking forward to this trip and having your guide to get organized makes this a lot less daunting. Keep up the great work and happy traveling.

Hi Sharon, Visiting New England in fall is an amazing trip and you will have a wonderful time! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a nice comment and downloading our guide. Just let us know if you have any specific questions as we get closer to fall season 🙂

@Mark and Kristen Morgan, I have accommodations booked from Lake Placid to Woodstock. Since we want to add a couple of nights in Boston to walk the Freedom Trail and visit the Boston Tea Party site, would you recommend skipping Manchester, Vermont and going directly to Boston from Woodstock. Or, would we be missing out if we skip Manchester. Appreciate your advice.

Hi Sharon, you will have covered almost all of the best fall spots between Lake Placid and Woodstock. We like Manchester but it isn’t going to ruin your trip if you skip it, especially if you really want to see more of Boston. After 10 days or so you will have had your fill of fall colors anyway, so Boston will be a welcome change of scenery and pace. Have a fantastic time!

I would love a copy of the book as well, to use as we travel Thank you for a wealth of information!

Wow, amazing information, thank you. Have you written it in book form by any chance? I would love to drive with the book on hand for reference.

Hi Helen, you have asked at just the right time. We are currently in the process of creating a digital guidebook filled with key information and itinerary ideas for the New England fall road trip. It will be ready within the next week or so and we will email you once it is live. You will be able to either keep it on your smartphone or print it if you prefer to have a paper copy.

@Mark and Kristen Morgan, I’m using this article to plan our New England fall leaves trip and would also be interested in a copy of your digital guidebook, please. The information you provide is outstanding — thank you! ~ Carol

Thank you, Carol! We’re happy to hear you are planning a New England trip this fall. You can follow this link to see more details about our digital guidebook. If you do purchase the guidebook, remember to open up the map on page 45 when you are in each place to see the best hikes, foliage spots, attractions, restaurants and hotels. And if you have any specific questions, feel free to ask away. Have a fantastic trip!

Hello! What a wonderful site you have given us :). Question…do any of the New England fall road trips include the Berkshires? I would love to include a quick visit to The Mount/Edith Wharton’s home. Thanks, Jo

Thank you, Jo! Yes absolutely, you could easily add The Mount / Edith Wharton’s Home to the end of our 10 day New England fall road trip itinerary because it is just 1 hour 30 minutes drive to the south of Manchester VT (which is the last stop in our guide), before heading back to the Boston / NY airports. It wouldn’t be much of a detour and if you are heading that way you might also want to consider including a short drive along scenic highway 2, also known as The Mohawk Trail. Have a fantastic trip later this year!

Hi There! We are flying into Portland, (Sept 23rd) Maine and flying out of Boston, Mass (October 2nd) We have about one full week for our Fall Foliage road trip. Knowing we arrive Portland and depart Boston, what would you map out for itinerary.

Part II question, I prefer staying at one hotel for a few days and taking day trips as opposed to staying one night in several places.

Would it be wise to stay 3 nights near Acadia Nat’l Park and then 3 nights in New Hampshire (near all of the Franconia State Park and Kancamagus Hwy ?

Hi Erin, yes staying 3 nights in Bar Harbor and then 3 nights somewhere near Franconia Notch sounds like the best idea if you would prefer to stay in one hotel for each part of your trip. You can easily visit the most popular fall foliage areas in VT and NH from Franconia. Depending on how much driving you want to do, you could split your days into Vermont and New Hampshire. So one day you do Stowe, Woodstock and Manchester (the driving in between is just as picturesque as the towns), then another day you do Mt Washington, Kancamagus, Artists Bluff and Flume Gorge (which are all much closer together). Then stop at Lake Winnipesaukee on the way down to Boston. Hopefully the peak colors will be in north / central VT and NH early Oct for your trip – have a great time!

Love your site! we are planning a a Fall Foliage trip for 2023 over our 34th Anniversary. thinking any where from 10 – 14 days from the last week in Sept. to the first week of Oct. We are thinking to end our trip in Boston for a few days. If I followed tour 10 day trip guide would it make sense to fly into Albany, NY and out of Boston. Or are we better off to make Boston a long weekend trip?

Hi Randy, thanks for getting in touch and we’re happy to hear you’re planning a trip to New England next year, congrats on the 34th! Absolutely, flying into Albany and out of Boston makes perfect sense. If you make your trip 14 days total, you can follow the 10 day itinerary in our guide and then spend 2 or 3 days in Boston at the end. Something to consider is whether or not you want to see Acadia NP, it is a stunning place but it’s a long way out from the rest of New England’s top foliage spots. If you don’t include Acadia, you can spend longer in the fall color hotspots of Stowe, Woodstock and Manchester in VT, plus Franconia Notch, Kancamagus Highway and Lake Winnipesaukee in NH. Let us know if you have any more questions and best of luck with planning!

We are planning a trip to Maine in the fall of 2023 for our 40th anniversary for a total of 7 days. We would be interested in mainly leaf peeping,Arcadia NP, sight seeing/boat tours, driving the back roads and easy hikes. I really like the coast. Now that I have run across this post, I am rethinking our trip. What city should we fly into? Do you recommend spending 2 days in Arcadia NP? Should we hit some of the areas you mentioned in NH? I don’t think we have time to do your whole itinerary in 7 days. Your thoughts?

Hi Randi, glad to hear you have a trip planned to Maine for your 40th anniversary – congrats! Honestly, 7 days isn’t enough time to be rushing around New England trying to cram in everything. If you like the coast and you want to do Acadia, why not fly into Portland in Maine and slowly drive up to Bar Harbor via the back roads? Acadia is great but it is touristy and expensive, plus you won’t get the best fall colors (when compared to NH or VT). Boothbay Harbor is a nice place to stop between Portland and Bar Harbor, and you can do whale watching tours right out of the small town. If Portland doesn’t work for flight times or prices, Boston will be your best bet. Let us know if you need any more help before you travel next year.

Hi. I’m glad I found this. We are planning our 50th Anniversary to see Vermont and Maine in late September. Is it possible to stay in one place and drive to see the sights? We don’t want to keep changing hotels. This is a lifetime dream for us. Thank you.

Hi Jan, congrats on your 50th anniversary! Without knowing exactly which places in Vermont and Maine you want to see, it is possible to stay in one place but that would mean quite a lot of time spent in the car. If you have a 50/50 split, maybe stay somewhere in New Hampshire in the middle? Or if you plan to spend more time in VT, stay somewhere just inside VT near the NH border? Somewhere near Franconia NH might be a good fit so you are central to most of the fall hot spots and far enough North to see peak colors at the end of September. Have a great time!

Great article! While planning and researching for our New England Fall Foliage Adventure we saw right away that trying to predict “peak” conditions was a difficult proposition, at best. With that in mind and because we have a bit of time on our hands we decided our adventure would be from mid September to mid October 2022. We have booked all of our accommodations and now it’s all about deeply researching the areas and filling in the days. Finding your well written and in depth blog helped confirm our research was spot on and added to our happiness that we are actually going to pull this off. Plus, now we have an excellent study guide to boot! Bring on the trails, the mountains, the breweries, the lobster, cheese, cider donuts, Octoberfests and even the rain! Thank YOU and keep up the fantastic and insightful work!

Hi Jeff, thanks for getting in touch and we are so happy to hear you have planned a full month up in New England! Your list of activities is spot on – hiking, scenery, fall colors, food and beer … recipe for a perfect trip! Good luck filling in the days and hopefully you’ll get optimal weather conditions leading into the peak, just remember to keep an eye on the peak fall colors tracker when you are on site in New England. Have a wonderful trip!

Hello! This post is really very useful! We are planning to go to New England from September 30th to October 8th (we have already booked our flight from Italy). Since we would like to spend a couple of days in Boston too, do you recommend to begin with Boston and then start our road trip or to do the other way round? We would very glad if you could give us more details! Thanks a lot!

Hi Simonetta, thanks for getting in touch and we’re happy to hear you will be visiting New England this fall! This is a tough question because nobody can predict when “peak” fall colors will be in each part of New England. You can keep an eye on a live peak foliage tracker and book everything last minute, but that is risky as accommodation will book up. So, we would suggest starting with Boston and then driving up as far North as you will go on your trip (ie Stowe in VT or Franconia in NH) and then working down South to follow the peak. Please let us know if you have any more questions and you might even see us up there somewhere this year! Have a great time 🙂

I’m so happy to have found your blog post. I know how much time and effort goes into planning these type of trips, so I appreciate you writing about it and sharing it. We are looking at doing a mix of rural/city for both NH, VT, and ME. Looking closer to a 10 day trip and flexible on the dates. Would you say the hikes are fairly easy, medium, or difficult? Do you think looking into Air BNB’s out there would be better vs. hotels?

Hi Ani, thanks for getting in touch and we’re glad to hear you have a trip planned for VT, NH and ME. There are countless hikes spanning the difficulty range on this road trip route, so you do have a lot of flexibility over how long you want to spend hiking and how hard the trails are. Artists Bluff is short but has a steep climb, so we would say it is moderate but well worth it. Flume Gorge is easy and shouldn’t be missed. Acadia (if you make it that far) has a host of easy through hard hikes. Lake Winnipesaukee has plenty of hikes to suit all. If you’re looking for hard hikes take on Mt Washington or Mt Mansfield, tallest in NH and VT. You’ll likely only be spending one night or a maximum of 2 at any given place so we would say go for hotels. AirBnB’s are great for uniqueness and meeting people but for one night they are always more expensive with cleaning fees / service fees etc. By all means check prices and see if you can find any good deals or special places but we will be sticking to hotels ourselves the next time we are in New England. Let us know if you need any more help and have a fantastic trip!

Great information, love your post! We have never been to New England and would like to go see the fall colors in late Sept. or Oct. We also want to spend some time in Boston and Cape area. We are flexible on dates and number of days in itinerary. We would be interested in some hikes. After looking at you post I’m thinking Vermont and New Hampshire might work after seeing Boston. Can you help with an itinerary? We would be flying from San Diego, CA. Would appreciate any information! Thank You!

Thanks for getting in touch, Marilen – we’ll respond through email so we can provide more information.

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Home » Blog » The ULTIMATE New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary

The ULTIMATE New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary

New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary - Renee Roaming

The Northeast USA is arguably one of the most beautiful places in the entire world during fall. For that reason you NEED to add a New England fall road trip to your bucket list!

Prior to this trip, exploring the northeast had been on my travel radar for the longest time. I am stoked to say that New England definitely lived up to the hype and I am excited to share this New England fall road trip itinerary with you all! (3 day, 5 day and 7 day itineraries)

Read on to find out all the must-see places for fall foliage, where to stay, what to pack, the top hikes to take, photography inspiration, and more! I even provide you with a handy map to use for planning and navigation. In my opinion this is the BEST New England fall road trip and I hope you get the chance to take it!

Disclaimer : This blog post may feature some affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you make a purchase (at no extra cost to you). It’s one of the ways I can keep producing free guides and resources for my readers. Learn more about my affiliate policy  here . Thank you for the support!

New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary

Before we jump into it, I do want to add a disclaimer that this road trip was my own experience during the 2018 fall season . Every year is different, some more magical, and others less so.

I will do my best to help you plan the perfect New England fall road trip itinerary, but you will need to go in with an open mind! Honestly, some of the best trips I have ever taken have been when things haven’t gone to plan. Sometimes all the planning in the world cannot change the weather!

Okay, let’s jump into how to plan a fall New England road trip !

How to plan a New England fall road trip

There are generally two ways to approach planning for a New England fall road trip. The first is to meticulously plan everything in the attempt to not waste a moment, and the second (the option we went with) is to pretty much not plan at all. Sounds weird right? Why would you not plan and wouldn’t that potentially waste you time and money? Well, at this time of the year, it kind of works in the opposite way.

The reason for this is that fall colors gradually change from green, to yellow (or orange, red, purple) until they fall off. Not all trees in an area change at the exact same time. There’s a point in the fall transition where most trees are changed to their beautiful shades of yellow, orange or red prior to falling off and with minimal green trees. This is considered “peak fall foliage” or “peak fall color”.

Peak color doesn’t happen at the exact same time every year (usually varying a week or so either way). It can vary due to a variety of factors but this is mostly due to weather. By not booking hotels or camping prior to your Northeast fall road trip, this allows you to be flexible. You can go to the areas that are at “peak color” rather than spend time in a spot that isn’t yet fully changed or worse, the leaves have fallen.

When to start planning your New England fall road trip itinerary

Advantages and disadvantages come with this method of not planning. The major advantage of not booking all your accommodation in advance is flexibility . You won’t miss the colors because they happened to be a week late or earlier than expected. You can drive to wherever the colors happen to be best in that moment.

This comes with a downside though… accommodation prices and availability. Fall is extremely busy in this part of the country . Like you, many others choose to take East Coast fall road trips in the hope of seeing the incredible beauty that comes with the changing of seasons. This means hotels and vacation rentals can book out well in advance, leaving the remaining last-minute bookings quite expensive.

We ended up opting to mostly find accommodation as we went along, including some last-minute vacation rentals and hotels /motels. We tried to stay at a budget of around $80-150 USD per night, which did narrow down our search a little but overall the places were more than adequate, use Expedia to get price comparisons across multiple booking sites and save you time searching for a place to stay. A couple of times we did have to drive to places slightly further out of town to find a more affordable price but this was an okay compromise to have the extra flexibility.

If you need to rent a car, check out Kayak for price comparisons from rental agents. Or you could use this road trip to test out van life! Rent an RV or camper from Outdoorsy , and you won’t have to worry much about accommodations.

Another option is to bring camping gear .

Keep in mind though, at this time of the year some of the campgrounds are beginning to close. Some places we traveled through didn’t seem to have many tent camping options. In saying that, there was the possibility of sleeping in your car. I have a guide all about sleeping in your car on road trips – check it out!

If you are thinking of camping, you can check sites in the area on The Dyrt where you can see which are open and the facilities available as well as reviews from previous campers. Click here , or use my code reneeroaming for a free 30 day trial .

With all that being said, how you want to plan your Northeast fall road trip is up to you. Do you want to take the chance of potentially missing the peak colors and pre-book more affordable/convenient accommodation? Or do you want to pay slightly more for accommodation and make sure you are seeing the best of the colors? It’s up to you. Either way, we found this be the most accurate and up-to-date map of where the colors are peaking .

Mid-October is often the best time to take a New England road trip for leaf peepers, but it’s helpful if you can be flexible with your date. For reference, we took our fall New England road trip on October 8 – 12, 2018 . But don’t take those dates as a sure thing because peak color can change year to year! Just remember to pack your camera to capture those autumnal colors. You can see the equipment I use further down in the post.

Best New England fall road trip itinerary

Below I’m sharing a suggested itinerary for your New England fall road trip, based on our own adventure. First off, here is a map with all the best spots linked and pins for each day of the itinerary, see below.

Now let’s talk through the day-to-day itinerary…

Day 1 – Dixville Notch State Park

Fly into Boston , Massachusetts and pick up a rental car . From here, drive 4 hours north to Dixville Notch to begin your New England fall road trip. Dixville Notch is a very small area, but for what it lacks in size it makes up for in beauty!

The main road that travels over Dixville Notch initially winds its way past some cute farmland surrounded by rolling hills. The drive then passes stunning Lake Gloriette , up over Dixville Notch and down the other side of the pass-through incredible fall foliage to a couple of serene picnic areas and walks.

Plan to do the stunning Table Rock trail which is a short one at only 1.5 miles round-trip, but a relatively steep 700 feet climb. This gives you epic 360-degree views over Dixville Notch from above, and the photos are beautiful! If you have timed it right, you might even be able to enjoy sunset from up there.

Unfortunately when we were there, the clouds were low and covering the views.

Instead, we parked at what is labeled Whittemore Family Cemetery on GoogleMaps and hiked a short trail that leaves from the parking lot. This is a great alternative if the weather is not cooperating.

This trail made its way through a vibrant forest that leads to a cute little bridge and stream. The hike would only take 10-15 minutes round-trip without stopping. It was a great way to stretch the legs and take a moment to snap some photos of our first glimpse of fall colors.

After finishing your hike at Table Rock, or the alternative trail, head back to nearby Colebrook for dinner and a good night’s rest in your hotel . You can also book into this great cottage on a farm or Tentrr’s Signature Site for luxury glamping.

Day 2 – Stowe

Wake up early, grab some breakfast at Mostly Muffins in Colebrook (so yummy!) and then drive west towards Stowe , Vermont. On the way, you will pass loads of beautiful fall foliage and small rural towns including the memorable Island Pond. The Great Vermont Corn Maze is also a fun stop if you’re into that sort of thing.

After a beautiful drive to Stowe, you can spend the rest of the day exploring its charm, cute gift stores, and scenic walks. We had lunch at the Green Goddess Cafe and it was amazing! We then took a quick walk along the bike path which leaves from behind the Stowe Community Church and runs along the river. You can also take a brewery tour in Stowe to sample locally made beer, spirits and ciders.

From this vantage, there are some great views of the church worth photographing. Finish the night off with a delicious pizza at Piecasso in town – we definitely recommend this restaurant! Stay the night in Stowe at The Green Mountain Inn or in The Loft at Hobble Inn .

Day 3 – Smugglers Notch & White Mountains

Day 3 of your Northwest fall road trip will be a busy one! Wake up early and head to Smugglers Notch . This area has a road that goes up and through a small gap between two mountains (referred to as a “notch”). It is quite similar to Dixville Notch, but in my opinion, Smugglers is even more spectacular.

This was one of the spots we were most looking forward to on our New England fall road trip, and it didn’t disappoint! The mountains on either side are HUGE, and there are so many beautiful twists and turns in the road to photograph and check out.

Definitely drive this to the other side and back before moving on to your next location. Another option is taking the Gondola SkyRide at the Stowe Mountain Resort, for beautiful aerial mountain views.

From Smuggler’s Notch, drive south to Pomfret, Vermont .

Taking Cloudland Road south from Pomfret to Woodstock will take you along cute dirt roads lined with fall colors, rolling hills, and quaint farms. A necessary stop along this route is the farm located opposite “Elm Grove Farm” on GoogleMaps, often referred to as “Sleepy Hollow Farm” . It’s a great little photography stop that captures one of the most photogenic farm properties you will ever see.

Sugarbush Farm is another local property you can visit, though we didn’t go there ourselves. I hear their maple syrup is delicious!

Now, time to head back to New Hampshire! Your scenic drive today will take you through Franconia Notch State Park. At the base of the White Mountains, the town of  Lincoln is a good place to end day 3 of your New England fall road trip. Stay at Woodwards White Mountain Resort or the Loon Mountain Apartment .

Day 4 – White Mountains

Your New England fall road trip would not be complete without a drive along the famous Kancamagus Highway . Leaving early on day 4 from Lincoln, there are a lot of epic road-side views on this stretch of road. A number of pull-outs also allow for some great photo opportunities. Continue east until you hit the Rocky Gorge Parking Lot. Here you can take a walk along the beautiful Swift River and get views of the beautiful Falls Pond . North Conway is a cute town on the east end of the Kancamagus Highway, and a great spot for lunch or a stroll around town.

From Rocky Gorge, we backtracked a short distance to drive up  Bear Notch Road . Bear Notch provides a scenic drive along a mountainside and more roadside pullouts for some gorgeous photo opportunities.

At the end of Bear Notch Road, drive north to Crawford Notch State Park . Here, you can explore the backroads and snap photos of all the beautiful fall colors. A side-trip option in this area is a hike up the Mount Willard trail . It’s a relatively steep, but short 3.2-mile round-trip hike to a clifftop overlooking Crawford Notch. The views from there are unreal! Again, unfortunately, the weather wasn’t cooperating so we had to skip this one.

Next, continue north where you have the option of taking a short detour to the Mt Washington Cog Railway . Here, you can catch an old-school train up to the summit of Mount Washington, the tallest mountain in the northeastern US at 6,289 feet. Due to the bad weather, we kept driving, but if you are a fan of trains then this should not be missed!

To end your day, depending on availability you can stay in the nearby towns of Carroll, Franconia, Littleton, or Bethlehem.

We stayed in Franconia ourselves and chose to drive to Bethlehem to have dinner at the Cold Mountain Cafe . It if works out with timing, we highly recommend it as a delicious way to end a busy day.

There are great hotels to chose from, the Hampton Inn in Littleton and Stonybrook Motel & Lodge in Franconia are lovely options or you can opt for vacation rentals. On the Mountain Suite in Carroll, Rustic Log Cabin in Sugar Hill and Kilburn Place in Littleton are worth checking into.

Day 5 – White Mountains

Day 5 is the last day of your New England fall road trip, and what better way to start than with a sunrise hike up to Artist’s Bluff . This is a short 1.4-mile walk up to a stunning hilltop that overlooks Echo Lake , and the fall foliage here is insane! Unfortunately, it was raining when we drove past here (a common theme on our trip!) so we opted to skip the hike as the clouds were hiding most of the views.

We continued on to Flume Gorge which is a relatively easy 2-mile loop hike and one of our favorite stops of the trip. Multiple waterfalls, streams, and covered bridges keep the eyes entertained for the whole 2 miles. Do note that there is a $18 per person entry fee (I definitely recommend making advance reservations) but we felt it was very much worth it. In fact, we spent a couple of hours exploring this area and even in the rain it was absolutely gorgeous!

By now your Northeast fall road trip is coming to an end. It’s probably time to head back towards Boston to catch your flight… or onward to your next destination (see more below!)

7 day East Coast fall road trip

If you really want to take an incredible Northeast fall road trip and have some extra days ( 1 week total ), here is what I would recommend. Add a couple of days in between Stowe/Smuggler’s Notch and the White Mountains. It would be fun to spend a day in Burlington and walk along Lake Champlain, or check out Waterbury, Vermont. With these extra days, you can drive further into Upstate New York and the Adirondack Mountains , where the colors were absolutely incredible. There are also abundant hiking opportunities, and the beautiful town of Lake Placid to explore. Lake Placid has some amazing accommodation options and beautiful views so it is definitely worth spending a night there. Try the Crowne Plaza or this Rustic Room or search cabins in the area for larger groups.

As an alternative to the Adirondacks, you could scoot over to Maine and visit Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park . Acadia has some really unique scenery, boasting both coastal views and mountain tops! Bar Harbor has plenty of great vacation rentals available.

Check out my blog, How To Prepare for Hiking Trips , ahead of time to prepare!

As I know many of you will ask, we opted to take a sunset hike in the Adirondacks (see photo above), however I have been asked by locals to please not share the exact location. There are some concerns about the potential damage of increased trail traffic and it was pointed out to us that parking spots are also very limited.

I urge you to be responsible and always abide by Leave No Trace Principles when exploring the outdoors. You can read my blog, Hiking Trail Etiquette Rules You Should Know , to learn more and click here to read my in-depth guide on How To Follow Leave No Trace Principles.

3 day New England Road Trip

You could do this New England fall road trip in 3 days with some adventurous spirit! It would be kind of rushed, and you wouldn’t always be able to be in the best spots for sunrise or sunset. That being said, if it’s all you have, go for it! It’s definitely doable and would also be a blast. I hope you don’t mind missing out on some sleep though 😉

Some options to put together a shorter Northeast fall road trip itinerary would be to cut out the Pomfret / Sleepy Hollow Farm section, as that does add some driving hours. Another way to cut downtime would be to combine your visit to Stowe and Smuggler’s Notch into one day.

New England fall road trip packing guide

There are some essential items you should pack for your Northeast fall road trip to make it as enjoyable as possible! I hadn’t explored much of New England or Upstate New York before this trip and found the weather to be a little up and down. In fact, one minute it was sunny and the next freezing and rainy! You’ll definitely want to pack some additional layers for your leaf peeping adventures.

This packing guide is also tailored towards people who enjoy hiking. If you don’t plan to hit the trails, simply leave off the hiking-specific items when using the guide. For those choosing to camp, I have an entire guide and packing list for car camping essentials , so make sure to check that out!

Insulated jacket

Mid-layer :.

Perfect for chilly mornings and evenings. Opt for something lightweight like a fleece or pullover. Recommended mid-layer .

Insulated jacket :

It’s likely to get colder than you are expecting, especially if you plan to be out during sunrise and sunset hours. In fact, it even snowed in New Hampshire towards the end of our trip! So I would highly recommend packing a puffy jacket or a parka that has insulation. Recommended insulated jacket .

northeast fall trips

Rain jacket :

Do not attempt to take a Northeast fall road trip without a rain jacket/coat ! It rained at least once every day we were on the East Coast. Although it didn’t ruin our trip, it could have if we didn’t have adequate rain protection. Recommended rain jacket , recommended windbreaker .

northeast fall trips

Casual clothes :

Pack some casual and/or nicer outfits if you plan to eat out at restaurants. This is of course optional though! Check out my Favorites page on Backcountry for some recommendations.

Hiking shoes:

I was VERY happy that I packed waterproof boots for our East Coast fall adventure! We experienced wet, muddy, and cold conditions and waterproof boots made a huge difference. I suggest choosing a pair that can be worn both casually and also when hiking. If you prefer a more solid, supportive hiking boot the Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Hiking Boots are a great choice. We also have a guide on all the best hiking shoes , so don’t forget to check that out when shopping for new hiking boots!

northeast fall trips

Merino wool socks :

Wool socks are the best for preventing blisters and also letting your feet breathe. Recommended hiking socks .

Hiking pants & Leggings:

Don’t stress too much about bottom layers, just make sure they are comfortable and practical for road tripping. I personally like wearing leggings, jeggings, or comfy jeans on road trips, as then I can transition from car, to around town, to hiking, and more. Choose whatever feels comfortable and practical for you! Recommended hiking pants ; hiking shorts ; hiking skort , hiking dress , hiking leggings .

northeast fall trips

Beanie & Gloves:

As I mentioned above, it even snowed during our New England fall road trip! I would highly suggest packing a beanie and some warm gloves .

northeast fall trips

Day pack/hiking backpack :

Choose something with hip and chest straps for optimal comfort and practicality. Recommended backpack . When taking short walks or exploring roadside stops I often prefer to opt for a small hip pack instead of a backpack. Just something to fit my phone, lip balm , sunglasses , and any other essentials.

northeast fall trips

Navigation :

When driving, have Google Maps or Maps.Me handy. We often lost phone service when driving in the mountains of New England and down back roads. For hiking, carry a physical map and a compass , and download offline maps onto your phone. I use Gaia GPS – click here to get 20% off a Premium membership!

Camera + batteries :

Optional but trust me, you will want a camera to capture the incredible fall foliage! Check out the camera gear I use to capture my travel photos and the camera bag I pack it all in!

Every road trip requires snacks! We found it challenging to find food between towns and also after hours. Bring whatever your favorite snacks like nuts, seeds, granola bars, dried fruit, etc. My go-to snacks . If you enjoy drinking coffee then it’s best to bring along a reusable mug or tumbler. Recommended mug ; insulated tumbler . Having your own travel utensils / cutlery is a great way to cut down on single-use plastics when ordering take-out food.

northeast fall trips

Road trip playlist + Podcasts:

Don’t forget to download some good tunes and podcasts for your road trip. For music, check out my playlists on Spotify . For podcasts, we have an entire guide on the best road trip podcasts !

Want more packing & gear tips?  Check out our guides on what to wear hiking , car camping gear essentials , how to plan a national parks trip , and the best hiking shoes .

I hope that helps you plan an incredible New England fall road trip! With a little flexibility you’re guaranteed to have an epic road trip, even if the weather doesn’t cooperate the whole time. Have an amazing time and feel free to leave a comment and let me know how you got on 😊

PIN for later planning!

New England Fall Road Trip

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27 comments

This New England fall road trip guide captures the essence of autumn’s beauty and adventure perfectly. It resonates with my love for exploring nature’s vibrant colors, much like the Kokoda Challenge encourages perseverance and teamwork in outdoor pursuits.

Greetings!What are your suggestions for including Salem MA in a 5 day trip? Thank you so much!

  • Pingback: New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary - 4 days in New Hampshire & Vermont - Laura Peruchi | NYC

HELLO! Thank you for posting the perfect Fall road trip. I would love to take your advice and incorporate and extra two days to go up into the Adirondacks. Can you please suggest the best place to go and things to do with that two days? I need to book ASAP because we are going the last week of this September. If you could please get back to me quickly, it would be most appreciated. We are from Florida and know nothing of the area, so any advice would be very helpful. Thank you so much. Sincerely, Chris in Florida

  • Pingback: 60 Fabulous Fall Aesthetic Photos » Lady Decluttered

Your blog is packed full of helpful information and absolutely beautiful photos!

I was curious if you could recommend an itinerary that would also include Niagara Falls?

I love your photos! Do you offer tours? Thanks!

Hi Renee, Love this post! My fiancee and I are planning our honeymoon to the Adirondacks this fall, so I loved your suggestions and your photographs are beautiful! I was wondering if you knew where you got the grey hoodie you’re wearing in several of your pictures? It’s so cute and looks prefect for fall day hikes.

Hi! Thanks for the wonderful info! We’re just starting to plan a trip for next year. Question, is there nothing to see on the four hour drive from Boston to Dixville Notch? Again, we’re just starting on this, but it appears you’re going up the same way you’re coming back? Thank you so much for the help and this awesome site! 🙂

Gorgeous photos! I’ve spent time in New England in the fall its incredibly idyllic. (Lived in Maine and Massachusetts for 3 years) The White Mountains is truly one of God’s masterpieces. Excellent post!

Hey there!!! As far as the smugglers notch and Stowe area… is it redundant to do the gondola ride as well as take the drive up smugglers notch? Should we pick one or the other? Thanks!

  • Pingback: New England Fall Road Trip: The ULTIMATE Leaf Peeping Itinerary - Renee Roaming - Fitness Sport und Gesundheit

Thank you for the Google Maps — so helpful!

Planning a trip for this October, but we have only 3 days! Trying to decide how to see the most of everything! lol any recommendations for “must sees” for only 3 days!?

I can’t wait to travel to the east coast this fall! (I live in California, and we don’t get much of a fall here). Thanks for sharing your itinerary, I’m planning on a road trip and didn’t know where to start! I was wondering where the second picture was taken? (Of you and the water in the background) Thanks!

Did you find out where that 2nd photo was taken? I also would like to go there this October.

I would like to know the shooting spot of the second photo (Stowe?)

This blog post is just amazing and the pictures so beautiful ! Thank you for sharing your experience. I love travelling and was looking for new ideas, this is definitely one 🙂

Wow, these fall colors looks awesome! Thank’s for this helpful post, Renee!

Thank you for reading Laura!

Thanks for sharing your stunning pictures! I totally agree with what you said about not planning in order to find the best colors. The fall we spent living in Upstate NY and hiking all over the NE contained many of my favorite days of my life so far, there truly isn’t a bad hike when it’s that colorful! It makes up for the 6 months of winter that follows. 🙂

What a magical time that must have been!

Thankyou for all this indepth info Renee. Should be super helpful when I plan my own fall trip. And of course stunning photos that I really enjoyed.

Thank you!!

Wow, the nature there looks amazing. And your Photos are loveley. Thank you both for this blogpost. Maybe, we can travel there one day. My wife and I live in the North of Germany. Last weekend we took our own Fall Roadtrip in the Harz National Park. The first blogpost of this trip is now online. It’s about the lovely oldtown in Quedlinburg 😉 best wishes Christian

Thanks Christian! That sounds like an amazing road trip, I’ll add it to my bucket list 😉

i’d love to see Christian’s blogpost about Quedlinburg (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). I was there last year and it was wonderful. My grandparents live in the Harz Mountains, Please share a link, Christian.

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New England With Love

The Perfect 7 Day New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary (+Scenic Drives!)🍁2024

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A New England fall road trip is the best way to experience the magical season of fall. The fall foliage in the region is some of the best on earth, and everyone should see fall in New England at least once in their life. In my opinion, a New England fall road trip is a true bucket list item .

Besides the picture-perfect autumn leaves in every direction, the orchards, fairs, and fall events create a cozy and memorable atmosphere you just won’t find elsewhere.

I’ve spent dozens of fall seasons in New England, both living and visiting, and if you’re looking for the ultimate New England fall road trip itinerary, I can help! I’d love to share with you my favorite spots where you’ll see incredible views, find the most colorful of leaves, and feel entirely like you’ve stepped into an autumn storybook.

pinnable image that features four fall images with text that reads "the ultimate new england fall road trip"

PS: Don’t feel like planning your own road trip through New England? Consider joining one of these guided New England fall foliage tours which will do all the heavy lifting for you.

Table of Contents

Where Should You Go on a New England Fall Road Trip?

I want to start by saying that this itinerary is not comprehensive for all six New England states. 

If you want to see ALL of New England, you’ll need more time than what I’ve included here.

For a comprehensive regional journey, I suggest checking out my complete New England Road Trip Itinerary . This flexible road trip is designed for any time of year, not just to highlight the fall foliage, and includes every single state in New England.

In this post, I’ve included options for a 10, 7, and 5 day New England fall road trip. The itineraries I’ve put together focus largely on Vermont and New Hampshire . Both Vermont and New Hampshire are famous for their outstanding fall colors, which is why the trip focuses on this area.

But the southern New England states experience their share of gorgeous fall color as well. If time allows, I absolutely recommend venturing further into New England. Autumn’s glory is found in every single corner of this region.

gloomy image of a road stretching between fall foliage

New England Fall Foliage Road Trip: Essential Info

Let’s talk planning your fall road trip in New England.

You may be wondering: what is the best month for a New England fall road trip? When is the best time to visit New England for fall colors? When do the fall colors in New England peak?

Quick note about fall foliage in New England:

Foliage conditions vary each year due to that year’s temperature, rainfall, and other factors.  Some years have an earlier or later peak, or a more dramatic show of colors. Some foliage seasons are short, and some last a bit longer.

However, even with some variation, you can typically expect to see fall foliage in New England from early/mid-September through the end of October.

Peak foliage, when the leaves are at their best and brightest of the season, typically hits in early to mid October .

The foliage develops from north to south, with northern spots like Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire generally experiencing “peak” before Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

Yankee Magazine’s Peak Foliage Map is a perfect visual representation of the fall foliage progression in the region, and you can follow this real time fall foliage tracker for the northeast here and plan your best driving route for fall foliage colors that way, too!

Planning Your Trip

Now that you know approximately when to road trip through New England, you’ll have to decide how long your trip will be.

In my experience, 7 days is the perfect amount of time to explore. It gives you enough time to stop and visit a few destinations, while also allowing for flexibility as you go.

After all, driving is a big part of any road trip. You want to have plenty of time to take it slow, head off the beaten path, or even change your route.

It’s a good idea to stay flexible on a trip like this, as you can’t predict where the absolute best places for foliage will be, and sometimes, just heading a few miles over can make all the difference!

I’ve also created a 5 day itinerary as well as a 10 day itinerary, so you can easily customize your adventure to your needs.

Want to make your trip even longer? Go for it! You can use this northeast fall road trip itinerary as a starting point and expand as desired!

And if you only have a day or two, consider taking one of these scenic fall foliage drives . These shorter fall road trips around New England can be found in every single state.

🚗 Renting a Car: If you’re flying into New England, you’ll need to rent a car for this autumn road trip! I suggest checking out the best rates at Discover Cars.

Tips for Your New England Fall Road Trip

To have the best experience possible, here are some things to keep in mind:

closeup of fall leaves on pavement next to a car tire, fall foliage in the distance

  • Make reservations for accommodations and popular attractions well in advance, as this is one of New England’s busiest times of the year.
  • The best advice for what to pack for fall in New England is to bring layers. Temperatures can fluctuate throughout the day, and you’ll likely work up a sweat during any hikes or walks.
  • It goes without saying that you should always drive carefully, but be aware that this busy tourist season often creates crowds and may even cause slowdowns on roads along popular “leaf-peeping” routes.
  • Bring a quality camera to capture the stunning autumn landscapes, and maybe even binoculars for spotting wildlife. If you primarily use your phone for photos, like I do, don’t forget a car charger!
  • Don’t leave New England without indulging in its fall culinary delights, including apple cider donuts, pumpkin pie, and hearty clam chowder.
  • Consider downloading your road trip routes onto your phone with Google Maps to be used offline, as cell service can be spotty, especially in the mountains.
  • Admire the scenery while being mindful of the environment; practice leave no trace principles and respect wildlife habitats.
  • Pack a first aid kit, flashlight, extra water, blanket, and snacks in case of unforeseen circumstances. It’s always smart to be extra prepared for a road trip.

a pair of legs are propped against a car door window with a fall scene beyond and a hand holding red maple leaves in the front

7 Day New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary

Now let’s dive into the details: where will this New England fall foliage road trip take you?

The main itinerary I’m going to share in this post is this: a one week New England fall road trip. Later, you can read my variations, which offer options for both shorter and longer road trips. We’re going to start this road trip in Boston, which, with its massive Logan International Airport, is the most logical starting point for someone visiting New England from elsewhere.

But don’t skip Boston, if you have time! It’s a classic, deeply historic New England destination that is absolutely worth a visit at any time of year.

I highly recommend spending a few days exploring Boston before or after your road trip.

Resources for Exploring Boston: ⚓Essential Things to Do in Boston for First Timers ⚓One Day in Boston: An Itinerary ⚓ Fall in Boston : Where to Go and What to Do

Day 1: Boston MA to North Conway NH

Jump in your car and head out of Boston north toward New Hampshire. Your road trip has begun!

After your scenic drive, arrive in North Conway and check into your cozy lodging. I suggest any of these charming cabins in the White Mountains , many of which are near North Conway, or these Airbnb options .

Drop off your bags and head straight downtown for some exploring.

a yellow, vintage style train station in new hampshire with a mountain behind

Check out the charming boutiques, art galleries, and specialty stores that make up North Conway Village. Don’t miss Zeb’s General Store , a local institution since 1990, where you’ll find a classic, old-fashioned general store bursting with unique souvenirs and gourmet goodies.

When hunger strikes, hit up Moat Mountain Smoke House & Brewing Co . for some hearty comfort food and a refreshing craft brew. Enjoy the rustic atmosphere and live music as you unwind from your journey.

Then hit the hay and get ready for another busy day tomorrow.

Resources for exploring North Conway & Nearby: 🍁 15+ Best Things to Do in North Conway NH 🍁 Best Restaurants in North Conway 🍁 15 Fun Things to do in Jackson, New Hampshire

Day 2: North Conway NH

Fuel up with a hearty breakfast at Peach’s Family Restaurant , where the portions are as generous as the smiles.

Of course, it’s fall in the White Mountains: this place is likely to be packed! Go as early as possible to avoid the crowds of other hungry travelers. Now, it’s time to conquer the outdoors! You have a few options today for adventuring in North Conway and the surrounding areas.

  • Cathedral Ledge: Consider a hike up Cathedral Ledge in Echo Lake State Park. It’s a relatively short hike that rewards you with breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys and White Mountains.
  • Diana’s Baths: Alternatively, opt for the enchanting Diana’s Baths , a series of cascading waterfalls and pools accessible via a family-friendly hike. These look especially lovely surrounded by the New Hampshire foliage
  • Black Cap Trail: If you’re looking for a bit more of a challenging hike, tackle the Black Cap Trail , offering panoramic views from the summit.

a vintage black steam train chugs by through an opening in fall foliage

Later, hop on board on the Conway Scenic Railroad . This vintage-style train offers a leisurely ride through picturesque landscapes, perfect for enjoying the fall foliage from a unique perspective.

The Conway Valley Train is a 55-minute scenic ride, so is ideal for those traveling with kids or who want a quick and cool experience. The railroad also offers longer more extensive fall foliage train journeys. Definitely worth checking out!

In the evening, treat yourself to another delightful dinner at a local favorite or try a new spot for some diverse flavors.

On a past trip to North Conway, my husband and I really enjoyed May Kelly’s Cottage , a tavern serving traditional Irish dishes.

Day 3: Kancamagus Highway to Franconia Notch State Park

Another amazing fall day in the White Mountains awaits you!

Today, you’ll depart North Conway westward along one of New Hampshire’s most iconic roads: the scenic Kancamagus Highway.

Known locally as “the Kanc”, this 56 mile, 2-lane mountain highway (also known as the Kancamagus Scenic Byway ) is particularly breathtaking in the autumn, as the leaves transform into their vibrant splendor.

sign for kancamagus pass white mountain national forest new hampshire

While you could easily drive the entirety of the Kancamagus in approximately an hour (allow more time in fall), you will absolutely want to take your time.

There are numerous places to stop along the way, including scenic overlooks where you can grab a quick photo or trailheads where you can embark on a hike.

One of the first spots you’ll come across heading out of Conway is Albany Covered Bridge . There is a parking area here (a great opportunity to pay for your $5 White Mountain National Forest day use pass ).

a classic wooden covered bridge crosses a calm river in New Hampshire, with fall foliage in the foreground

Take one of the trails along the sides of the river to view the bridge, or if you desire, you can climb out onto the large rocks in the river to grab an iconic NH covered bridge photo.

You’ll also definitely will want to stop to check out Sabbaday Falls .

This pretty waterfall can be reached via an easy, flat, well-trodden 0.5 mile hike. It should take about 15 minutes, which makes it a small effort for a big payoff.

After all, there’s nothing like a gorgeous New Hampshire waterfall at the height of fall foliage.

Tips for Driving the Kancamagus in Fall: 🍁This route is popular for good reason, so expect crowds. Take your time driving and watch carefully for pedestrians. 🍁When you stop for photos, etc, make sure you’re in designated parking areas safely off the road. Be aware of the many cars on the highway and stay off the roads when on foot. 🍁Fuel up before leaving North Conway (or Lincoln, if coming from the opposite direction) as there are no gas stations or other amenities along this route.

You’ll have reached the end of the Kancamagus Highway when you arrive in the town of Lincoln . This is a smart place to stop for lunch before continuing on to explore in Franconia Notch State Park.

Franconia Notch State Park

Franconia Notch State Park is one of the crown jewels of the White Mountains. This destination is a testament to the diverse beauty of the Granite State, where rugged peaks, serene lakes, and dense forests come together to create an awe-inspiring landscape that draws thousands of visitors each year.

a wooden walkway through a narrow gorge covered in fall leaves

Head first to the Flume Gorge , an other-wordly natural gorge that features a boardwalk path through towering granite walls and past cascading waterfalls. Add to the scene fall foliage, and you’ve basically entered Tolkien’s Rivendell.

You should allow around 2 hours to explore Flume Gorge in all its winding angles.

Please note there is an entry fee for Flume Gorge, and you’ll save a couple bucks if you book in advance here .

After this busy and active day, you deserve a good meal! I’ve got lots of suggestions in my list of best Lincoln restaurants.

Then it’s time to rest your head.

You will probably love this amazing spot: Lumen Nature Retreat . This is a new glamping site located in nearby North Woodstock, and it’s an ideal place to stay in the fall, right in the heart of nature.

Some of their cozy cabins offer massive windows to look out onto the surrounding trees. Or, you can go even more rustic with tent glamping.

I’ll be staying at Lumen this fall for the first time, and I can’t wait to come back and tell you about it! I’ll definitely be sharing my thoughts here.

Day 4: Franconia Notch to Stowe VT

Get an early start today as you’re off to see Artist’s Bluff, a popular hike that ends in an absolutely spectacular view.

a gorgeous fall scene, a still lake surrounded by fall colored mountains in new hampshire

The trail starts in the large dirt parking lot off Rt 18 across the street from Cannon Mountain Ski Resort and heads steeply uphill. While the moderately-rated trail is relatively short, it is steep and robust, with some spots being a bit rocky.

You can expect to be a bit breathless by the time you reach the viewpoint overlooking Echo Lake.

Most hikers recommend starting the trail heading towards Bald Mountain, so tackling the trail clockwise. In the busy fall season, this may be a good option for avoiding the throngs that are heading straight up to the lookout counterclockwise.

Continue to Stowe

Let your GPS guide you on the road trip to Stowe, but try to avoid highways if you can. In my experience, it’s those slower, back roads that give you unexpected, amazing foliage views.

In fact, I’ve seen some incredible foliage along Route 2 near Danville while driving between these two destinations. That is an excellent road to consider taking.

All told, your drive to Stowe will take approximately an hour and a half, without including stops.

A tall white steepled church is surrounded by a dense forest that is changing colors for autumn

Check into your Stowe hotel ( Field Guide is great) and get ready to explore a bit of Stowe’s adorable Main Street.

Welcome to a quintessential New England town, the kind whose image is the subject of countless Vermont postcards and paintings. (In fact, Stowe’s white-steepled Community Church is among the most photographed buildings in Vermont).

As you explore the small, walkable Main Street and side streets, you’ll discover a terrific blend of local businesses that showcase the heart and soul of this picturesque town.

a colorful mural on the exterior wall of a blue house that looks like a vintage postcard and reads Welcome to Stowe Vermont

Small art galleries, a cozy coffee shop, an old-fashioned mercantile, and a well-stocked independent bookstore are among the shops you’ll want to visit as you explore downtown Stowe.

Don’t miss Shaw’s General Store, which not only epitomizes the classic New England general store but has done so since 1895!

When dinner hour approaches, head to Doc Pond’s . It’s a laidback restaurant with friendly vibes that is loved by locals and tourists alike. And if you’re staying at Field Guide, it’s just down the road.

Day 5: Stowe VT & Waterbury VT

It’s a beautiful day to take a hike in Stowe! There are numerous hiking trails in the Stowe area to choose from, but for this itinerary I recommend the Sterling Pond trail for a moderate 2 mile hike that ends at a glistening lake.

To get to the trailhead for this hike, you’ll have to drive up Mountain Road and into Smuggler’s Notch. This road becomes very narrow and extremely windy in the heart of the Notch, so while it’s absolutely awesome to check out, be sure to drive slowly and with caution.

And don’t try it with any kind of motorhome or RV!

overhead shot of an empty road passing between fall colored mountains, rocks in distance

After your hike, head back in the direction of town and stop at Stowe Mountain Resort. Although there’s no snow this time of year, so skiing is out, you can still enjoy the peaks on a gondola ride!

The famous bright red Stowe Gondola SkyRide takes you to the top of Mount Mansfield, which is the highest peak in Vermont.

The ride up offers splendid views over the colorful trees. Once you’re at the top, grab lunch at The Cliff House or The Waffle, two eatery options.

Now, it wouldn’t be fall in New England if you didn’t add some spookiness into the trip! in the Stowe area, you can visit one of Vermont’s classic covered bridges with a possibly haunted history! Emily’s Bridge, also known as Gold Brook Covered Bridge, is a small covered bridge located on Gold Brook Road, off of Route 100, just south of Stowe village.

bright orange fall foliage brushes against a brown wooden covered bridge in Stowe Vermont

According to legend, Emily was supposed to meet her lover at this bridge so they could run away together. But he never showed, and Emily sadly took her own life that night at the bridge. Rumor has it that Emily’s spirit may still haunt the bridge today, and reports of scratches on cars, lights flashing, and other weird happenings just might support that theory. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, this is still a beautiful example of Vermont’s covered bridges and well worth seeing-especially in the fall.

Wind up the rest of your day with a sampling of craft brews and dinner at the Trapp Brewery & Bierhall after enjoying views of Stowe from the grounds at The Trapp Family Lodge. Not in the mood for pretzels, spaetzle, and schnitzel? You might prefer to cozy up at family-owned, classic Italian restaurant Trattoria La Festa . Find more of the top-rated Stowe restaurants here .

More Resources for Exploring Stowe: 🍁 20 Best Things to Do in Stowe Vermont: Local Recs for All Seasons 🍁 15 Gorgeous VRBO & Airbnb Stowe VT Vacation Rentals 🍁 11 Best Hotels in Stowe Vermont: Where to Stay in Stowe

Day 6: Stowe VT to Woodstock VT

Today you’re leaving one gorgeous Vermont small town for another. These two destinations are definitely my top recommendations for visitors to the Green Mountain State. The road trip from Stowe to Woodstock is a fairly short one distance-wise, but you can make sure to capture the best possible foliage views by taking Route 100 south. There are also 2 essential places to stop along the way.

The first stop is the Cold Hollow Cider Mill , a Vermont fall necessity that you’re going to absolutely love.

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

This is THE spot for apple cider donuts, the best food on the planet, and truly the staple of my autumn diet. But not only is Cold Hollow the go-to for apple treats, it’s also a well-stocked, adorable country store, a tasty restaurant, and a hard cider tasting room.

Your second stop is the Ben & Jerry’s Factory . Their ice cream is world famous. Not only because it is delicious but because the company is known for championing progressive causes.

The factory tour is quite fun and it smells amazing in there! After you learn how Cherry Garcia and other favorite flavors are made, you can pay homage to flavors long gone in the “Flavor Graveyard” on a nearby hill. Does anyone remember Magic Brownies?

If you’ve got room left for lunch, grab some, and then continue on to Woodstock.

A covered bridge in Woodstock, Vermont has fall foliage behind and beside it, with a white fence and a late flowering bush in the foreground

Once in Woodstock, check into your lodging. The Woodstock Inn is the perfect luxury choice, while The Shire is a solid mid-range option. Both are right downtown. Next, get ready for some pleasant exploring.

Stroll the downtown and the wide village green, which has a covered bridge just steps away. Browse the collection of shops with a wide variety of goods, and don’t miss Gillingham’s, the oldest general store in Vermont. As the afternoon continues, choose a local farm to visit. Billings Farm is a historic working dairy farm where you can learn a lot about the animals and enjoy the surrounding property. Sugarbush Farm is a 4-generation family farm specializing in cheese and maple syrup.

Both farms are terrific, and fortunately, Woodstock is small enough that you can likely squeeze both into your itinerary!

Cows grazing in a field in fall behind a wooden fence

Dinner in Woodstock ends your day, and there are so many great restaurant options .

If you schedule well in advance, Cloudland Farm , is a true farm-to-table experience out of this world. The menu changes daily and everything is crafted completely from scratch for the most memorable Vermont culinary journey.

More Resources for Exploring Woodstock: 🍁 20 Best Things to Do in Woodstock, Vermont 🍁 10 Best Hotels in Woodstock VT: Where to Stay in 2023 🍁 These 12 Restaurants in Woodstock Vermont NEED to Be on Your List

Day 7: Woodstock VT to Boston MA

an empty road stretches away at dusk with sunlit fall trees on either side

It’s the final day of your incredible fall road trip around New England. The last leg of the journey takes you back to Boston.

Before departing Woodstock, grab coffee and a scrumptious breakfast at Mon Vert Cafe. I recommend my personal go-to: the maple latte.

Need some suggestions for road trip entertainment? You could grab one of these New England books in audio format on Audible and listen to something oh-so-appropriate for the journey.

8 or 9 Day New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary

If you’ve got an extra day or two to explore New England, you should add Salem, Massachusetts to your trip.

Because it’s such an awesome town, it’s incredibly busy in the fall. I repeat, incredibly busy .

But if you’re on a once-in-a-lifetime New England trip, you don’t want to miss this iconic spot. I get it.

Visiting Salem in the month of October is classic and so very atmospheric. My best tip for traveling to Salem is to book your lodging well in advance of this popular season and also start each day as early as possible.

The crowds can get crazy in Salem in the fall, but a 7am start gives you an hour or two for some quiet exploring (and some nice photos of the town!)

10 Day New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary

This 10 day itinerary for New England in the fall contains all of the same destinations as the 7 day itinerary, but your first stop instead will be Acadia National Park in Maine .

If you’ve got 10 days to spend exploring New England, adding a coastal stop is an absolute must. Not only is fall a fabulous and beautiful time to visit Acadia, it also tends to be somewhat less busy during this time than in the summer months. Check out all of our resources on things to do in Acadia and nearby Bar Harbor here:

5 Day New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary

Need to shorten your road trip? For a 5 day trip, consider removing either Stowe or Woodstock from the itinerary. While both are spectacular destinations, this is the easiest way to shorten your trip.

Best Fall Foliage Drives in New England

Looking for some shorter New England fall road trip routes? There are a number of scenic fall foliage drives to consider, that can be done in just a few hours or stretched into several days.

Newport’s Ocean Drive – Rhode Island

Blue body of water and vivid sunset

  • Distance: 10 miles
  • Start and End: Fort Adams Park to Bellevue Ave
  • Best Time to Go: September to Early November

I love Newport , period. This charming seaside city, located on Aquidneck Island in Rhode Island, is like an extravagant window to the past. Gilded Age mansions such as The Breakers are found all over this town, and the 19th century echoes of wealthy, lavish resort living are as strong today as they were then. 

Fall in Newport provides some great opportunities.

The summer’s peak of tourism has passed, and with it comes a refreshing ocean breeze among the colorful trees that surround mansion estates and scenic parks.

Since the fall foliage is nice, but not the primary factor for your fall road trip to Rhode Island, you can enjoy Newport anytime between September and early November.

Ocean Drive is a 10-mile seaside drive that follows the southern shore of Newport. It is not only one of the loveliest New England scenic drives as it follows along the ocean, but it’s also the perfect route for accessing all the best of Newport.

We think Fort Adams Park is a great place to start your trip! Continue from here to Brenton Cove Shore, where you’ll find the New York Yacht Club. After this, you’ll want to check out Castle Hill’s historical lighthouse in the East Passage of Narragansett Bay. 

Then spend some time relaxing at Brenton Point State Park , one of the major highlights on Ocean Drive. This wide-open green space on the south end of the island, with vast ocean views, is the perfect spot to relax, have a picnic, or go fishing.

Continue past various beaches and scenic outlooks to Bellevue Ave, where you will discover a majority of the lavish 19th century mansions. The Breakers , Marble House , Rough Point , and the Elms are a few of the best. Take a walking tour and learn all about the history of these extravagant homes.

Points of Interest:

  • New York Yacht Club
  • Castle Hill Lighthouse
  • Brenton Point State Park
  • Fort Adams Park
  • The Breakers
  • Marble House
  • Rough Point
  • The Red Parrot Restaurant

Park Loop Road in Acadia National Park – Maine

Stone bridge going across a street at near sunset

  • Distance: 27 miles
  • Start and End: Hulls Cove Visitor Center to Cadillac Mountain
  • Best Time to Go: September to Early October

Acadia National Park in Maine is somewhat of an unsung national park hero.

While people are busy praising the glory of Yellowstone and Yosemite, Acadia continues to stand its ground on the list of top 10 most visited national parks in the U.S!

And for good reason. Camping in the forest by wetlands near the craggy seaside, extensive biking and hiking trails, large ponds and lakes, rocky beaches, and all the best fall foliage is right at your fingertips.

Seaside towns like Bar Harbor also bring a lot of ease and convenience to an adventure-driven destination. 

To get the most enjoyment out of your fall trip, we’d recommend going in September before the temperatures drop significantly; the leaves will be changing, and the crowds will be light at this time!

We think Park Loop Road is the prime route to explore all of Acadia’s best adventures and natural beauty, especially during fall.

This 27-mile, mostly one-way scenic road takes you around the east side of Mount Desert Island. Get oriented at Hulls Cove Visitor Center near Bar Harbor with a map of the island.

Then drive on at your own pace, hitting Sand Beach, the uber-popular Thunder Hole, and Otter Cliffs. A major highlight you will also not want to miss is Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse .

Stunning autumn scene through fall trees and foliage toward a body of water and mountains in the distance

Further along the route is Sieur-de-Monts , where you can explore the Nature Center and Wild Gardens of Acadia.

Then head to Jordan Pond and Jordan Pond House , where you can learn the history of its important cultural legacy and hike the pond’s loop along meandering boardwalks and native wildlife.

End your national park road trip in Maine by driving to the summit of Cadillac Mountain, the perfect spot to catch an amazing autumn sunset.

Points of Interest: 

  • Hulls Cove Visitor Center – Bar Harbor 
  • Shore Path – Bar Harbor
  • Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse – Bass Harbor
  • Sand Beach – Bar Harbor
  • Thunder Hole – Bar Harbor
  • Otter Cliffs – Mount Desert Island
  • Sieur-de-Monts – Bar Harbor
  • Jordan Pond, Jordan Pond House – Seal Harbor
  • Cadillac Mountain – Mount Desert Island

Vermont’s Scenic Route 100 – Vermont

Highways cutting between Autumn trees and headed toward the mountains

  • Distance: 150 miles
  • Start and End: Wilmington to Stowe
  • Best Time to Go: September to Mid-October

Looking for that quintessential “fall in New England” experience?

You know, the one you see in movies with red barns and grazing cows, an endless expanse of green hills, orange and yellow maple trees, and locally owned shops and artisan fairs?

Well, you’re going to want to put on some cozy plaid, a beanie, and take a cruise up Vermont’s Scenic Route 100 , undoubtedly one of the best fall foliage drives in New England.

In fact, it’s one of my favorite Vermont fall road trip routes!

Vermont’s Route 100 is a winding, scenic road that traverses north for 200 miles from the border of Massachusetts to Lake Memphremagog, along the east side of Green Mountain National Forest.

Dubbed by Yankee Magazine as the best foliage drive in VT (and definitely one of the best in New England!), the variety of landscapes, points of interest, and peak foliage views are unbeatable. 

Start your journey in Wilmington , a quaint farming community with a historical downtown.

Then move north toward Weston, a stretch of highway featuring wildflower fields and cute gazebos.

Stop at the Vermont Country Store for one-of-a-kind handmade goods.

Continuing north, you will pass by beloved local landmarks like Echo Lake State Park and Lake Rescue.

And just above Amherst Lake is Plymouth, the perfect place for history buffs to explore the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site , the homestead Coolidge grew up on. 

Further north still, you’ll enjoy a 10-mile stretch of densely forested highway along the Granville Gulf State Reservation. Keep an eye out for moose and rushing rivers as you carry on toward the Mad River Valley.

This region has become a popular destination due to the area’s chic vibe, killer ski resorts like Killington and Sugarbush, and craft fairs, music festivals, and covered bridges abound.

You’ve almost arrived at the end, so why not indulge in a little Ben & Jerry’s ? Waterbury is home to the Vermont-based ice cream company we all know and love. Take a factory tour and sample some of the quirky flavors!

Last but not least, end your road trip in Stowe, a Vermont town classic with all the fixings. It’s a white-steeple church, ski bum, beer brewing, local artisan kind of village, and the perfect place to lay your head after a long New England fall foliage drive!

  • Downtown Wilmington – Wilmington
  • Vermont Country Store – Weston 
  • Echo Lake, Lake Rescue, Amherst Lake 
  • President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site – Plymouth
  • Granville Gulf State Reservation – Granville
  • Killington Ski Area – Killington
  • Sugarbush Resort – Warren
  • Ben & Jerry’s Factory – Waterbury
  • Stowe Village – Stowe

The Lake Winnipesaukee Loop – New Hampshire

Body of water with boats reflecting in the water and trees behind them

  • Distance: 100 miles
  • Start and End: Alton

Who doesn’t love a good loop route? There’s just something satisfying about perpetually seeing new sights for the entire adventure, without the backtracking.

The route around Lake Winnipesaukee in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire is the perfect New England fall road trip itinerary. With 8 unique towns bordering NH’s largest and most popular body of water, you’ll discover the ideal blend of outdoor activities and luxury lake living during the cooler, slower months. 

In reality, you can start your journey in any one of these towns and follow the lake’s edge in whichever direction your heart desires. But we think Alton – a historical bay town with a beautiful 4-mile cove – is a great place to begin (and end!).

After taking in the views from their cozy cove, head on to Wolfeboro , a crunchy lake town with its own rail trail and an outdoor art walk. In addition, Wolfeboro’s Wright Museum of World War II is a fantastic educational institution dedicated to World War II history.

And if you’re looking for a souvenir to remember your trip, stop by Black’s Paper Shop for a special gift. 

From Wolfeboro, drive on to Moultonborough, one of the oldest incorporated towns in the U.S. This charming town was founded in 1777 and has some amazing gems, especially the Old Country Store , which is considered the oldest surviving business and general store in the country!

Waste all your pennies at the candy counter, sample unique local foods, or buy some handcrafted home goods. Another gem in Moultonborough is Castle in the Clouds , a magnificent mansion high up in the hills where you can tour the grand estate and learn about the history of its original owners.

Next stop on the loop is Meredith , a central hub of the tourism, luxury lake living, and resort leisure that Lake Winni attracts. In this scenic town, you might find yourself ogling at the grand lake houses and stylish hotels lining the bay.

Pull off the highway and shop your heart out at Mill Falls Marketplace , an open-air shopping center with restaurants, a bookshop, Ben & Jerry’s, and chic indie businesses.

Meredith is a great halfway point to spend the night if the 100-mile loop is too much.

If not, carry on to Laconia while the sun is still shining. If the weather permits, visit Weirs Beach .

If not, visit Funspot , a massive entertainment center that boasts the record for Largest Arcade in the World.

Then Gilford comes next on the loop.

The biggest draw this town sees is to Gunstock Resort , which can be hiked during the off-ski season. And finally, you will arrive back in Alton to complete your epic Lake Winnipesaukee road trip.

We love the lake life, especially on a scenic fall foliage drive!

  • Alton Bay – Alton
  • Wolfeboro Art Walk – Wolfeboro
  • The Wright Museum of World War II – Wolfeboro
  • Black’s Paper Shop – Wolfeboro
  • The Old Country Store – Moultonborough
  • Castle in the Clouds – Moultonborough
  • Mill Falls Marketplace – Meredith
  • Weirs Beach – Laconia
  • Funspot – Laconia
  • Gunstock Resort – Gilford

U.S. Coastal Route 1 – Maine

Rocky shore in front of body of water with buildings in the distance

  • Distance: 200 miles
  • Start and End: Kennebunkport to Bar Harbor
  • Best Time to Go: Mid-September to Early November

We all need a little more Maine in our lives, and that’s why we felt like our Acadia Loop road trip wasn’t quite enough – so we’re throwing U.S. Coastal Route 1 into the mix!

This incredible, north-south coastal highway actually starts all the way down in Key West, and traverses 2,390 miles up the east coast to Fort Kent in Maine. 

Maine’s portion of the U.S.’ very first north-south highway system is over 200 miles of pure natural beauty. Crossing through peaceful boating towns, beachside cities, and craggy coastal landmarks, you’ll have the best of Maine’s attractions and fall foliage without all the summer traffic. 

A great place to kick things off is in Kennebunkport , a charming southern Maine beach town.

Walk around the sandy Goose Rocks Beach, then get a good look at a collection of historical streetcars at the Seashore Trolley Museum .

As you continue north through Biddeford and Old Orchard Beach, stop at one of New England’s most iconic landmarks: the Portland Head Light on Cape Elizabeth. This iconic white lighthouse was built in 1791, making it the oldest lighthouse in Maine. 

From here, you’re just a hop, skip, and jump away from Portland , one of the friendliest, “foodiest,” artsiest towns on the East Coast. If you spent an extra day or five here, you wouldn’t regret it. Well, you might regret gorging on copious amounts of Holy Donuts and Duckfat French fries, but that’s a different story. 

Beyond Portland, you’ll pass through Georgetown, Brunswick, and arrive in Rockland .

This small seaside town has lovely harbor views, a charming downtown, and great food to boot. Check out the Farnsworth Art Museum or Archipelago to satisfy your craving for fine art. And if you are in the mood for brunch, dine at the cheerful Home Kitchen Cafe . 

Colorful Autumn trees reflecting into a body of water with a white dock

We are on the home stretch now!

A great destination to end your Coastal Route 1 road trip is none other than Bar Harbor, situated on Mount Desert Island in Acadia National Park. Bar Harbor is insanely busy in the summer months but gets a bit sleepier and much more relaxing in September and October. Bar Harbor is a souvenir-hunter’s haven, as well as an adorable, quaint town to walk around and enjoy harbor views from Shore Path.

Not to mention, Bar Harbor gives you incredible access to everything Acadia National Park has to offer.

  • Goose Rocks Beach – Kennebunkport
  • Seashore Trolley Museum – Kennebunkport
  • Portland Head Light – Cape Elizabeth
  • The Holy Donut – Portland
  • Duckfat – Portland
  • Farnsworth Art Museum – Rockland
  • Archipelago – Rockland
  • Home Kitchen Cafe – Rockland

The Berkshires – Massachusetts

Mountain view of Fall trees and foliage

  • Distance: 35 miles
  • Start and End: Stockbridge to Williamstown
  • Best Time to Go: Early September to Late October

Our list of fantastic road trips in New England wouldn’t be complete without including New England’s most historical, highly educated, and diverse state: Massachusetts .

While there are many wonderful regions to explore in MA – from the Cape Cod coastline to bustling Boston – we think there is something so special about the Berkshires.

The Berkshires is a collection of towns in the rolling highlands of western MA.

The area’s pastoral beauty is matched only by its cultural and artistic sophistication. If you are looking for a scenic countryside retreat with plenty of opportunities for historical exploration, leisurely driving, and prime New England fall foliage drives, this is the destination for you.

Start off strong in the town of Stockbridge , where you will find some incredible natural and historical gems.

Explore the Norman Rockwell Museum , housing works by this famous American painter in the very place he spent the last 25 years of his life.

Then pop over to the Berkshire Botanical Garden , which highlights native plants that thrive in the Berkshires. Then continue north for 10 minutes on Route 7 to arrive in Lenox, a town best known for being the former home of author Edith Wharton. 

After touring The Mount , Wharton’s gorgeous estate, head to Pittsfield, yet another town known as the home of a reputable author (seriously – we should just call this the legendary American authors tour).

If you appreciate literature, take a tour of Arrowhead House , the home where novelist Herman Melville wrote Moby Dick. While you are still in Pittsfield, check out the Berkshire Museum , which exhibits a cool mishmash of art, natural history, and ancient civilization.

A white church steeple next to a colorful tree with Autumn leaves

From Pittsfield, another historical institution awaits you in Hancock at the Hancock Shaker Village .

And after you move along from Hancock and pass through Lanesborough, you’ll end up in North Adams , a historic college and mill town with a strong arts vibe and hiking access to Mount Greylock, the highest peak in MA.

Check out the Mass Museum of Contemporary Art while you’re here. 

Finally, end your Berkshires road trip in Williamstown, a cultural and educational hub in the Berkshires.

This beautiful, “quintessential Berkshire village” is surrounded by mountains, biking and hiking trails, and farmlands. Williams College is the heart of the town, imbuing it with a flourishing arts and culture scene.

Fall in Massachusetts is heavenly, so you’ll find plenty to do and see during a Bay State fall foliage road trip!

  • Norman Rockwell Museum – Stockbridge
  • Berkshire Botanical Garden – Stockbridge
  • The Mount, Edith Wharton House – Lenox
  • Arrowhead House – Pittsfield
  • Berkshire Museum – Pittsfield
  • Hancock Shaker Village – Hancock
  • Mount Greylock – North Adams
  • Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art – North Adams
  • Williams College – Williamstown

Connecticut State Route 169 – Connecticut

A road with Fall trees on each side at late afternoon

  • Distance: 47.3 miles
  • Start and End: Lisbon to Woodstock

We’re topping off our list of New England fall road trips with Connecticut State Route 169 , a National Scenic Byway featuring all the historic buildings, charming communities, and autumn colors that make New England so memorable.

Connecticut is the third smallest state in the nation, but it’s got a lot going for it as the home of Mystic Seaport, the Mark Twain house, the mighty Connecticut River, and Yale University. 

Starting in eastern Connecticut in the town of Lisbon and moving north to Woodstock near the border of Massachusetts,

Route 169 offers a drive through living history. Start your tour in Lisbon with a foliage stroll through Lisbon Meadows Park.

Then head north on 169 to Waterbury, where you can visit the Prudence Crandall Museum or chill on the Waterbury Green at the city’s center. 

Not much further north you will hit the town of Brooklyn, home to the New England Center of Contemporary Art.

Pay attention to the unique architecture as you meander onward to Pomfret, a town with incredible history that you can observe in the beautiful 19th century churches, homes, and libraries.

Your final destination on the Route 169 tour is the town of Woodstock, a mere 10 minutes north of Pomfret. While here, you can’t miss out on the Roseland Cottage , a historic 1846 house-turned-museum.

This signature Gothic Revival home with its bold pink exterior was once the summer home of the Bowens, one of Connecticut’s prominent Victorian Era families. Explore its ornate, patterned, vibrant rooms and learn about a unique piece of Connecticut history.

  • Lisbon Meadows Park – Lisbon
  • Prudence Crandall Museum – Waterbury
  • Waterbury Green – Waterbury
  • New England Center of Contemporary Art – Brooklyn
  • Roseland Cottage – Woodstock

No matter how long you explore New England’s 6 amazing states for, I hope you have an incredible adventure in this region I love so much!

northeast fall trips

The perfect New England fall-foliage road trip for 2023

Oct 2, 2023 • 7 min read

northeast fall trips

On this 424-mile drive through New England, the foliage will dazzle Chun Chen / 500px / Getty Images

Touring New England in search of autumn’s changing colors has become so popular it has grenerated its own subculture of “leaf-peepers.”

While admiring the leaves during foliage season is possible everywhere in the the region, here’s one road trip that will immerse you in the best of those glorious colors.

New England’s best fall-foliage road trip

Trip length : 5– 7 days; 424 miles (682km) Best time to go : Late September to mid-October Essential photo : Kent Falls set against a backdrop of autumnal colors Top experience : Zip-lining through the tree canopy in Bretton Woods

New England Fall Foliage map

Scarlet and sugar maples, ashes, birches, beeches, dogwoods, tulip trees, oaks and sassafras all contribute to the carnival of autumn color in New England. But this trip is about much more than just flora and fauna: expect to embrace the harvest spirit makes at family outings at pick-your-own farms, leisurely walks along dappled trails and tables groaning beneath delicious seasonal produce.

1. Lake Candlewood, Connecticut 

With a surface area of 8.4 sq miles, Candlewood is the largest lake in  Connecticut . On its western shore,  Squantz Pond State Park is popular with leaf-peepers who come to amble along the pretty shoreline. In Brookfield and Sherman, quiet vineyards with acres of gnarled grapevines line the hillsides; at  White Silo Farm Winery , the focus is on specialty wines made from farm-grown fruit. For the ultimate bird’s-eye view of the foliage, consider a late afternoon hot-air balloon ride with GONE Ballooning  in nearby Southbury.

The drive: From Danbury at the southern tip of the lake, you have a choice of heading north via US 7, taking in Brookfield and New Milford (or trailing the scenic eastern shoreline along Candlewood Lake Rd S); or heading north along CT 37 and CT 39 via New Fairfield, Squantz Pond and Sherman, before reconnecting with US 7 to Kent.

mist clings to the surface of a lake in Connecticut as red, orange, yellow and green leaves are reflected in its surface from a hill behind. New England fall foliage road trip

2. Kent,  Connecticut

Picturesque Kent ranks among the top spots for fall foliage in all of New England. Situated in the Litchfield Hills on the banks of the Housatonic River, the village is surrounded by dense woodlands. For a sweeping view, hike up Cobble Mountain in Macedonia Brook State Park , a wooded oasis two miles north of town. The steep climb to the rocky ridge affords panoramic views of the foliage against a backdrop of the Taconic and Catskill mountain ranges.

The 2175-mile (3500km) Georgia-to-Maine  Appalachian National Scenic Trail  also runs through Kent and up to Salisbury, on the Massachusetts  border. Unlike much of the trail, the Kent section offers a mostly flat five-mile walk alongside the Housatonic, the longest river walk of the entire trail. The trailhead is accessed on River Rd, off CT 341.

The drive:  The 15-mile drive from Kent to Housatonic Meadows State Park along US 7 is one of the most scenic drives in Connecticut. The single-lane road dips and weaves between thick forests, past Kent Falls State Park  (with its tumbling waterfall, visible from the road) and over West Cornwall’s picturesque covered bridge, which spans the Housatonic.

3. Housatonic Meadows State Park, Connecticut

During the spring thaw, the churning waters of the Housatonic challenge kayakers and canoers. By summer, the scenic waterway transforms into a lazy, flat river perfect for fly-fishing. In the Housatonic Meadows State Park, campers vie for a spot on the banks of the river while hikers take to the hills on the Appalachian Trail. Housatonic River Outfitters runs guided fishing trips with gourmet picnics.

Popular with artists and photographers, one of the most photographed fall spots is the Cornwall Bridge (West Cornwall), an antique span that stretches across the broad river, framed by vibrantly colored foliage.

The drive:  Continue north along US 7 toward the Massachusetts border and Great Barrington. After a few miles, you’ll leave the forested slopes of the park behind you and enter expansive rolling countryside dotted with large red-and-white barns. Look out for hand-painted signs advertising farm produce – and consider stopping overnight in Falls Village, which has an excellent B&B.

Fall colors fill a picturesque Massachusetts valley as a small village peeks through; New England fall foliage road trip

4. The Berkshires,  Massachusetts

Blanketing the westernmost part of Massachusetts, the rounded mountains of the Berkshires turn crimson and gold as early as mid-September. The effective capital of the Berkshires is Great Barrington, a formerly industrial town whose streets are now lined with art galleries and upscale restaurants.

It’s the perfect place to pack your picnic or rest your legs before or after a hike in the nearby Beartown State Forest . Crisscrossing its 12,000 acres, hiking trails yield spectacular views of wooded hillsides and pretty Benedict Pond. Further north, October Mountain State Forest is the state’s largest tract of green space (16,127 acres), also with ample hiking trails. The name – attributed to Herman Melville – gives a good indication of when this park is at its loveliest, with its multicolored tapestry of hemlocks, birches and oaks.

The drive:  Drive north on US 7, the spine of the Berkshires, cruising through Great Barrington and Stockbridge. In Lee, the highway merges with scenic US 20, from where you can access October Mtn. Continue 16 miles north through Lenox and Pittsfield to Lanesborough. Turn right on N Main St and follow the signs to the park entrance.

5. Mt Greylock State Forest,  Massachusetts

Massachusetts’ highest peak is not so high (only 3491ft / 1064m) – yet a climb up the 92ft-high War Veterans Memorial Tower rewards you with a forested panorama stretching up to 100 miles across the Taconic, Housatonic and Catskill ranges and over five states. Even if the weather seems drab, driving up to the summit may well lift you above the gray blanket, and the view with a layer of cloud floating between tree line and sky is simply magical.

Mt Greylock State Reservation has some 45 miles of hiking trails, including a portion of the Appalachian Trail. Frequent trail pull-offs on the road up – including some that lead to waterfalls – make it easy to get at least a little hiking in before reaching the summit.

The drive:  Return to US 7 and continue north through the quintessential college town of Williamstown. Cross the Vermont border and continue north through the historic village of Bennington. Just north of Bennington, turn left on Rte 7A and continue north to Manchester.

6. Manchester, Vermont

Stylish Manchester is known for its charming architecture. For fall-foliage views, head south of the center to 3828ft-high  Mt Equinox , the highest mountain accessible by car in the Taconic Range. Wind up the 5.2 miles – with gasp-inducing scenery at every hairpin turn – seemingly to the top of the world, where the 360-degree panorama unfolds, offering views of the Adirondacks , the lush Battenkill Valley and even Montréal ’s Mt Royal . 

If early snow makes Mt Equinox inaccessible, visit 412-acre Hildene , a Georgian Revival mansion once home to the Lincoln family. It’s filled with presidential memorabilia and sits nestled at the edge of the Green Mountains, with access to eight miles of wooded walking trails.

The drive:  Take US 7 north to Burlington. Three miles past Middlebury in New Haven, stop off at Lincoln Peak Vineyard for wine tasting or a picnic lunch on the wraparound porch.

7. Lake Champlain, Vermont

With a surface area of 490 sq miles and straddling  New York , Vermont and  Québec , Lake Champlain is the largest freshwater lake in the US after the  Great Lakes . On its northeastern side, Burlington is a gorgeous base from which enjoy the lake. Explore the lively city by foot, then scoot down to the wooden waterfront promenade, take a swing on the four-person rocking benches and consider a bike ride along the 7.5-mile lakeside path.

For the best off-shore foliage views, we love the  Friend Ship sailboat at  Whistling Man Schooner Company , a 43ft-sloop that accommodates a mere 13 passengers. Next door, ECHO Lake Aquarium & Science Center explores the history and ecosystem of the lake, including a famous snapshot of Champ, Lake Champlain’s mythical sea creature.

The drive:  Take I-89 southeast to Montpelier, passing  Camels Hump State Park and  CC Putnam State Forest . At Montpelier, pick up US 2 heading east to St Johnsbury, where you can hop on I-91 south to I-93 south. Just after Littleton, take US 302 east to Bretton Woods.

The sweeping view of the White Mountains from the 2nd floor of the Omni Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire

8. Bretton Woods, New Hampshire

Unbuckle your seat belts and step away from the car. You’re not just peeping at leaves today: you’ll be swooping past them on zip lines that drop 1000ft at 30mph. The four-season Bretton Woods Canopy Tour includes a hike through the woods, a stroll over sky bridges and a swoosh down 10 cables to tree platforms.

If this leaves you craving even higher views, cross US 302 and drive six miles on Base Rd to the coal-burning, steam-powered Mount Washington Cog Railway  at the western base of Mt Washington , the highest peak in New England. This historic railway has been hauling sightseers to the mountain’s 6288ft (1916m) summit since 1869.

The drive:  Continue driving east on US 302, a route that parallels the Saco River and the Conway Scenic Railroad, traversing Crawford Notch State Park . At the junction of NH 16 and US 302, continue east on US 302 into North Conway.

A locomotive on the cog railway on Mt Washington, New Hampshire

9. North Conway, New Hampshire

Many of the best restaurants, pubs and inns in North Conway come with expansive views of the nearby mountains, making it an ideal place to wrap up a fall-foliage road trip. If you’re traveling with kids or skipped the cog railway ride up Mt Washington, consider an excursion on the antique Valley Train with the Conway Scenic Railroad , a short but sweet round-trip ride through the Mt Washington Valley from North Conway to Conway, 11 miles south. The Moat Mountains and the Saco River will be your scenic backdrop. First-class seats are usually in a restored Pullman observation car.

This article was first published Sep 3, 2019 and updated Oct 2, 2023.

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Julie Around The Globe

14 BEST Northeast Fall Weekend Getaways

Posted on July 14, 2023 | Julie J. |

Northeast Fall Weekend Getaways

Last Updated on February 14, 2024

Planning a fall weekend getaway in the Northeast?

Travel experts share their favorite destinations in the Northeast for a fall weekend getaway. These hand-picked destinations are ideal to enjoy a romantic escape or a family trip while taking in the beautiful fall scenery this region has to offer.

Whether you’re planning a Northeast fall family vacation, a romantic fall trip, or a road trip with friends, you’ll find plenty of perfect destinations to visit in the Notheast during fall. Explore natural areas chasing for fall colors, relax at a seaside town without the summer crowds, and visit walkable cities during the best time of year temperature-wise.

Keep on reading to discover all the best Northeast fall weekend getaways and vacation spots that your whole group will enjoy!

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Boston, Massachusetts

An autumn view of Boston from the Fells

By Sam of New England Wanderlust

If you’re looking for a cozy weekend getaway in the Northeast, there’s really no better place than Boston in the fall . Between beautiful displays of fall foliage, amazing boat tours, charming cobblestoned streets, and easy fall day trip opportunities , it’s got everything you could need for the perfect fall getaway. 

For the best fall color views, you’ll want to check out the Public Gardens, Boston Common, and the Charles River Esplanade . These are the places where you’ll see the brightest foliage displays in the city. 

For a cozy and picturesque walk in the city, head to the Beacon Hill neighborhood , which is especially beautiful in the fall season. You’ll find cobblestoned streets sprinkled with fallen leaves, charming boutiques, and Instagram-worthy moments at every turn.

Before venturing to this neighborhood, stop at Tatte Bakery for a fall beverage and apple pastry to get into the spirit of the season. 

For the perfect fall day trip from Boston, head to Salem , which is just a quick ferry ride away! In Salem, you can tour the famous Hocus Pocus filming locations, visit the Salem Witch Memorial, enjoy all the cute shops, and take in even more gorgeous fall foliage colors. 

The best time to visit Boston for peak fall foliage is mid-October. This changes from year to year, and can sometimes even extend into Halloween. But mid-October is your best chance at seeing the brightest fall leaves around the city.

To get to Boston, you can fly into Boston Logan International Airport, and then rely on public transportation or ride-share services to get around. No need for a car!

A great place to stay this time of the year is Revere Hotel Boston Common , which is steps from the Public Gardens and Commons to admire the fall color. 

Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore

By Anastasia from Travel Realist

Baltimore is a nice destination for a fall weekend getaway in the Northeast . There is more to this city than true crime series. It is also famous for its historic ships collection and fall festivals.

Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is only 30 minutes away from Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) Airport via light rail. If you plan to drive to Baltimore, research your parking options in advance. Downtown parking garages charge $15-20 per car.

There is a fleet of 4 historic ships in Baltimore . The museum has a 19th-century tall ship, a lightship, a submarine, and a Pearl Harbor cutter. They are docked at different piers. The whole area will take you about 30 minutes to explore on foot.

You can see the ships from the inside as well . Admission is about $20 per adult. You can visit different ships on different days on the same ticket. It works best if you plan to stay in Baltimore for a few days.

The first half of September is the best time to explore Baltimore’s historic ships. Fleet Week and Flyover Baltimore Festivals happen around that time. This is a great way to explore even more ships (for free!) and learn about the Navy.

You can take a sunset boat tour from the harbor or enjoy an evening walk in Federal Hill Park . Get dinner with a view at Rusty Scupper Restaurant & Bar . Or get tickets to see the Baltimore Orioles play , if you’re into baseball.

Stay in the Downtown area near the Harbor. This neighborhood has lots of hotels and restaurants. It is well connected by public transport, too. Check out the 1840s Carrollton Inn , a historic boutique hotel.

Washington DC

Arlington National Cemetery in the Fall

By Linda of Linda on the Run

If you’re not sure where to go in the northeast this fall then consider booking a weekend trip to Washington DC . After all, the intense heat and crowds of summer are gone, allowing you to find great deals on hotels and flights.

And if you plan your trip any time between mid-October and mid-November, you’ll be able to see amazing fall foliage in places like The Tidal Basin, the U.S. National Arboretum, Swann Street, Rock Creek Park, and Georgetown.

In particular, Theodore Roosevelt is a great hidden gem where you can spot lots of epic fall colors. Plus, this little island in the Potomac River is overflowing with gorgeous ponds, bridges, and water fountains. You can even hike the Swamp Trail and enjoy stellar views of Georgetown’s waterfront. 

But, if you’re looking for some fall-inspired fun while you’re in the city then check out Fright Fest at Six Flags America . It’s a great event for the whole family that features haunted houses, extra creepy shows/attractions, and more. 

You can also take a day trip to Mount Vernon and see what life on a successful plantation was like in the 18th century. Because the former home of George Washington features a variety of fall-themed events that everyone will enjoy, like wagon rides, play colonial games, fall wine tastings, and family trick-or-treating. 

Then, when you’re ready to relax spend the night at The Line DC . It’s a fabulous hotel with vintage rooms that sit inside an old church from the 19th century. The property also has three great bars and restaurants on-site too.

New York City, New York

Central Park in fall, NYC

By Martha of May Cause Wanderlust

NYC is a thrilling destination year-round, but fall is a particularly good time to visit because of the relatively mild weather and the gorgeous colors around the city as the leaves on the trees change to red, orange, and yellow.

One of the classic things to do in New York City in the fall is exploring the city on foot . Whilst the summer months can be a bit too hot to be out on the concrete sidewalks for long, the cooler temperatures in fall mean the city is much more walkable.

Fall is a good time to see the iconic landmarks in Manhattan , including the Empire State Building, The Chrysler Building, New York Public Library, and Top Of The Rock. You might also want to visit the 911 Memorial and Museum to pay your respects.

You should also definitely explore the city parks . In September, Central Park can still be quite green and warm, which is lovely for boating on the lake or picnicking. And into October, as the leaves turn, the park is repainted in an autumnal palette.

You might want to get out to Queens County Farm Museum for their Fall Maize Maze or to pick a pumpkin in the run-up to Halloween.

Finally, even as the temperatures cool, it’s not necessarily too late to enjoy New York’s rooftop bars , as some open year-round and amend their menus to include seasonal drinks like hot Irish coffees and cider.  Seeing the lights of Manhattan sparkle is one of the best things to do in New York at night .

For an amazing view of Manhattan, check out Westlight , the rooftop bar at the top of the William Vale Hotel in Brooklyn, which is also a very comfortable place to stay.

Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

Martha's Vineyard

By Maria of Martha’s Vineyard Travel Tips

The charming island of Martha’s Vineyard, just 7 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, is well-known as a summer vacation destination. However, if you want to avoid big crowds and high prices, fall is actually the perfect time to visit this picturesque island. 

September and October bring very pleasant temperatures to Martha’s Vineyard. The days are still warm, making it the ideal time to explore the island’s outdoor attractions . Rent a bike and enjoy miles of cycling trails, visit Mytoi Japanese Gardens, or take a kayaking trip around Sengekontacket Pond .

With fewer crowds at this time of year, you’ll enjoy a more peaceful and relaxed atmosphere in the downtown areas. Martha’s Vineyard has 6 charming and unique towns for you to explore. Although most island businesses operate seasonally, many stores and restaurants are open through the early fall months .

As an island, Martha’s Vineyard is only accessible by boat or plane. The most frequent ferry services depart from the Cape Cod town of Woods Hole, multiple times a day. You can walk on as a foot passenger, or bring your car but an advance reservation is essential for vehicles. Alternatively, the island is a short, 19-minute flight from Boston. 

The Winnetu Oceanside Resort is an ideal base for your fall trip to Martha’s Vineyard. The hotel is within walking distance from South Beach and you can hear the waves crashing at night from the cozy comfort of your room. There is a pool, fitness center, and tennis courts on-site as well as top-class dining at The Dunes restaurant.

Bennington, Vermont

Pumpkins for sale in Bennington,VT in the Fall

By Krystianna of Volumes and Voyages

One of the absolute best places to visit in the Northeast during fall is Bennington, Vermont. This lively town in southwestern Vermont borders both New York and Massachusetts but is in a valley surrounded by the beautiful Green Mountains . Which, as you can imagine, turn vibrant colors of orange, red, and yellow come fall!

There are so many fun things to do here during the fall months , including picking apples at Terry’s Orchard , taking in the view of the town from above at the Bennington Battle Monument , pumpkin picking, and eating apple cider donuts at the nearby Apple Barn and Country Bake Shop , and of course, hiking (one of the best fall hikes is up to Bald Mountain if you’re up for an all-day hike through the fall foliage).

The downtown area of Bennington also comes alive in the fall, and it’s a great place to shop and meet the locals.

Because this is a small town, note that there’s not much public transportation. You’ll want to get there by car – most people use Vermont Route 9. Luckily, parking is fairly easy to come by because the town is so small.

You can’t go wrong by booking a stay at a local bed & breakfast, like the Four Chimneys Inn on West Road.

Burlington, Vermont

bike bridge on the Burlington rail trail in the fall

By Karen of Outdoor Adventure Sampler

Burlington, Vermont is a vibrant city located on the shores of Lake Champlain. While it is a wonderful all-season destination, Burlington in the fall is extra special due to the colorful foliage, fall festivals, and pleasant weather.

Festivals in Burlington in the fall include the South End Art Hop celebrating creativity with all types of art, while harvest festivals in the surrounding countryside are fun for the whole family.

Outdoor enthusiasts can rent a bike and ride on the Burlington Greenway path . A section of this rail trail crosses Lake Champlain on a causeway. Views of the Green Mountains and Adirondacks are phenomenal. In addition, the stunning fall foliage can be seen on day hikes within the Burlington city limits .

Church Street, a pedestrian marketplace , is a wonderful place for cute shops, fabulous restaurants, and street performers. Stroll along with an ice cream cone from the iconic Ben and Jerry’s parlor.

Burlington is known for its farm-to-table culinary scene . The local produce and cheeses find their way to restaurants in the fall so you can dine on the best of Vermont. Try the Eastern Mediterranean mezze at Honey Road restaurant.

Since Vermont has more breweries per capita than any other state, don’t miss Burlington’s craft beer scene . Look for special fall brews specially made to fill out your flight of beers. Local favorite Foam Brewery has views of Lake Champlain from its outdoor beer garden.

The sunset over Lake Champlain is the best in the Northeast. Therefore, book a lake-facing room at the Hilton Burlington Lake Champlain to watch the sunset right from your window.

The Hamptons, New York

Montauk Lighthouse

By Sam Opp from Find Love and Travel

When planning a fall weekend getaway in the northeast of the US, The Hamptons always comes to mind. In fact, this is many locals’ favorite time to visit the area.

While The Hamptons is known for its incredible beaches, beachfront rentals, and surfing culture, the fall offers a fresh perspective on this location. 

Southeast Long Island is known for having a lot of local farms, so fall farm festivities are a top attraction . One of the best things to do on Long Island in the fall is going apple picking. While there, enjoy all the apple cider and apple cider donuts. 

You can also go pumpkin picking and wander through corn mazes . If you want to enjoy something a little more upscale, visiting one of the Hampton’s vineyards is a great way to enjoy the day. 

The Hamptons have public transport options, but the best way to get around the Hamptons is by car. You’ll also find that areas are far less crowded than during the summer and spring. 

You should expect the weather to fluctuate during the fall season, but for the most part, temperatures will remain between 40’s – 60’s with it being warmer during the day and cooler in the morning and at night. Be sure to pack a couple of extra layers, just in case! 

Hotel prices also tend to be much more reasonable during the fall. The Southampton Inn is an affordable hotel with a specific cozy atmosphere. Here you’ll have access to a delicious heart-warming breakfast menu and beautifully landscaped gardens. 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia

By Jess of Travel + Tannins

Philadelphia is a bustling city in Pennsylvania that offers rich history, culture, and food that is the perfect fall weekend getaway in the northeast. With its proximity to other east coast destinations such as New York and New Jersey, it is easy to plan a perfect weekend or day trip to enjoy this beautiful city .

A car is not necessary if you plan to stay only within the city of Philadelphia due to the robust transit system. If you plan to venture outside of the city, though, I recommend bringing a car to easily get to other destinations.

Philadelphia is known as the birthplace of American Independence, as Independence Hall is where the Declaration of Independence and United States Constitution were created and signed! Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell are two highly recommended historical sites to visit while in Philadelphia.  

Longwood Gardens is a botanical garden just outside the city that is the perfect place to view fall foliage in Philadelphia! The gardens span over 1,000 acres, making it an incredible getaway to enjoy nature. 

For wine lovers, visit New Jersey wine country , located only 20 minutes outside of Philadelphia. Fall is grape harvesting season across the United States, and there are many wine festivals to enjoy in New Jersey during a weekend getaway.

Rittenhouse Hotel is a luxury hotel that I recommend staying at while in Philadelphia. It is located in a peaceful neighborhood adjacent to the city center, and has its own cocktail lounge and restaurant. 

Litchfield Hills, Connecticut

Kent Falls State Park in the Fall

Spending a weekend in Litchfield Hills during the fall season is a delightful experience, immersing in the region’s captivating natural beauty and charming ambiance. Nestled in the northwestern part of Connecticut, Litchfield Hills becomes a haven of vibrant colors as the foliage transforms into a breathtaking tapestry of reds, oranges, and yellows.

Arriving in Litchfield Hills, visitors are greeted with picturesque landscapes that seem straight out of a postcard. The rolling hills, dotted with farms, orchards, and quaint villages , create a perfect backdrop for outdoor activities and leisurely drives . As you embark on a scenic journey along Route 7 or Route 63, the panoramic vistas unfold before your eyes, revealing the magnificence of nature’s autumnal palette.

Exploring the region’s charming towns is a must during your weekend getaway. Litchfield, with its historic center, exudes a timeless appeal. Stroll along its tree-lined streets, adorned with colonial-era homes, antique shops, and art galleries. Grab a cup of freshly brewed coffee and savor a homemade pastry at Krafted Brew Lab while soaking in the small-town atmosphere.

Outdoor enthusiasts will find ample opportunities for adventure in Litchfield Hills. Hiking trails such as those in Macedonia Brook State Park or Mohawk Mountain State Forest offer rewarding experiences, allowing you to witness the fall foliage up close and personal.

Take a leisurely hike to summit peaks , where panoramic views of the surrounding countryside unfold before your eyes, showcasing nature’s artwork.

For a cultural experience, consider visiting the Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington . This grand colonial revival house houses an impressive collection of paintings , along with meticulously maintained gardens that add to the autumnal charm. Explore the museum’s galleries, stroll through the picturesque grounds, and revel in the tranquility that surrounds you.

Additionally, Litchfield Hills is home to numerous wineries and cider mills that offer tastings and tours. Indulge in the flavors of the season as you sample local wines or sip on freshly pressed apple cider, perfectly complementing the crisp autumn air.

In the evenings, cozy up in the charming Litchfield Inn , where warm hospitality and a crackling fireplace create a cozy ambiance. Before savoring a delicious meal at the popular At the Corner restaurant , you might even catch a live band playing.

Acadia National Park, Maine

Jordan Pond, Acadia National Park, in the fall

A list of the best Northeast fall weekend getaways wouldn’t be complete without including the stunnnig Acadia National Park, one of the prime location in New England to enjoy fall colors.

Situated on the rugged coast of Maine, Acadia National Park boasts stunning landscapes, breathtaking vistas, and an abundance of outdoor activities.

As you venture into Acadia National Park, you’ll be greeted by a tapestry of red, orange, and gold foliage blanketing the forests and mountains. Hiking trails like the iconic Precipice Trail or Jordan Pond Path offer a chance to immerse yourself in the park’s autumnal beauty. From rocky cliffs to serene lakes, every turn reveals a picturesque scene that showcases nature’s artistry.

Acadia National Park is also renowned for its scenic drives. The Park Loop Road winds its way through the park, offering panoramic views of the coastline, forests, and mountains . Witness the beauty of Cadillac Mountain , the highest peak on the eastern seaboard, as the sun casts a golden glow over the landscape during sunrise or sunset .

For those seeking a more leisurely experience, enjoy a picnic by Jordan Pond or take a leisurely bike ride along the carriage roads . These well-maintained paths wind through the park’s diverse landscapes, allowing you to appreciate the fall colors at a relaxed pace.

The park’s coastal beauty is equally captivating during the fall. Embark on a boat tour to explore the picturesque islands and lighthouses dotting the coastline.

During your weekend in Acadia National Park, be sure to visit the charming town of Bar Harbor , located on Mount Desert Island. Here, you can indulge in fresh seafood, browse through local shops, and immerse yourself in the welcoming coastal atmosphere.

As for places to stay, book a secluded cabin close to the park or an ocean-front cottage . You also find a range of accommodations in Bar Harbor or nearby communities, check out the well-rated the Elmhurst Inn if you want to indulge in some luxury.

Fall evenings in Acadia National Park offer a chance to stargaze under the clear night sky , appreciating the peacefulness and tranquility that the park has to offer.

Delaware Water Gap, New Jersey and Pennsylvania

View of the Delaware Water Gap from the top of Mt. Tammany

A great destination for a fall weekend getaway in the Northeast, the Delaware Water Gap offers a plethora of outdoor activities and breathtaking landscapes. As you venture into the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, you’ll be greeted by a symphony of colors as the foliage transforms into a kaleidoscope of reds, oranges, and yellows.

The hiking trails that wind through the area, such as the Appalachian Trail or the McDade Recreational Trail , offer a chance to witness the fall foliage up close. As you meander through forests, along riverbanks, and up to scenic overlooks, you’ll be rewarded with gorgeous panoramic vistas.

The Delaware River itself is a focal point of the area, providing opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, or simply enjoying a leisurely boat ride . Fall is an ideal time to explore the river, as the surrounding trees create a picturesque backdrop, reflecting their vibrant hues on the water’s surface.

For history enthusiasts, the Delaware Water Gap area is rich in cultural heritage. Take a road trip along Old Mine Road to visit the charming town of Milford, Pennsylvania , with its historic buildings and quaint shops . Explore the Grey Towers National Historic Site , once the summer home of conservationist Gifford Pinchot, or discover the fascinating history of the region at the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River Visitor Center .

In the evenings, find respite in one of the many cozy accommodations available in the area. Whether you choose a rustic cabin nestled in the woods or a charming bed and breakfast , you’ll have the perfect setting to unwind after a day of exploration.

White Mountains, New Hampshire

Franconia Notch In the Fall

The White Mountains area in New Hampshire is a perfect destinations for a Northeast fall vacations or weekend trip. Nestled in the heart of New England, the White Mountains offer breathtaking landscapes, charming towns, and a wealth of outdoor activities.

As you venture into the White Mountains, you’ll be greeted by a kaleidoscope of colors as the leaves turn vibrant shades of red, orange, and gold. Scenic drives, such as the Kancamagus Highway or the Franconia Notch Parkway, provide awe-inspiring views of the fall foliage against the backdrop of majestic peaks and meandering rivers.

The region boasts a network of hiking trails , allowing you to explore the forests, waterfalls, and mountain peaks up close. Popular hikes include Mount Monadnock, Mount Washington, and Franconia Ridge . As you ascend to higher elevations, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic vistas that showcase the breathtaking tapestry of fall colors stretching as far as the eye can see.

Charming towns like North Conway and Lincoln offer a delightful respite after a day of outdoor exploration. Browse through quaint shops, enjoy farm-to-table dining, and savor locally brewed craft beer. Don’t miss the chance to ride the Conway Scenic Railroad , which offers scenic journeys through the picturesque valleys and mountains of the region.

For a more leisurely experience, embark on a scenic gondola or chairlift ride to take in the sweeping views of the surrounding foliage . Capture the beauty of the fall colors reflected in serene lakes such as Squam Lake or Lake Winnipesaukee.

In the evenings, find comfort in cozy accommodations nestled amidst the mountains. Whether you choose a vacation home , a charming bed and breakfast , or a luxury resort, you’ll have the perfect retreat to relax and reflect on the day’s adventures.

Narragansett, Rhode Island

Narragansett, Rhode Island

Narragansett, Rhode Island, is one of the best Northeast fall trips you can take if you’re looking for a serene coastal getaway with beautiful scenery and a relaxed atmosphere. This charming seaside town, known for its stunning beaches and picturesque landscapes , becomes an idyllic destination as the summer crowds subside and the fall foliage paints the surroundings in vibrant hues.

Start your weekend in Narragansett with a visit to the town’s renowned beaches . Take a leisurely stroll along Narragansett Town Beach or Roger Wheeler State Beach , enjoying the cool ocean breeze and the sound of crashing waves. The beaches are less crowded during the fall, providing a tranquil setting to take in the coastal beauty.

Explore the historic Point Judith Lighthouse , perched on the rocky shoreline. This iconic landmark offers breathtaking views of the ocean and surrounding landscapes.

Indulge in the area’s fresh seafood at one of the local restaurants, which often feature seasonal specialties highlighting the flavors of autumn. Savor a delicious meal while enjoying waterfront views and the peaceful ambiance that Narragansett offers during the fall season.

For outdoor enthusiasts, take advantage of the milder temperatures and explore the numerous hiking trails in the area . Visit the John H. Chafee Nature Preserve or the Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge, where you can observe migratory birds and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the fall foliage.

In the evenings, relax and unwind at one of the charming accommodations available in Narragansett. Whether you choose a waterfront hotel, like the Atlantic House , a cozy bed and breakfast, like the Break Hotel , or a vacation rental , you’ll have a comfortable retreat to recharge and reflect on the day’s adventures.

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Northeast Fall Weekend Getaways

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northeast fall trips

What do fiery oranges, sultry yellows, candy-apple reds, quaint cabins, and Gilmore Girl towns all have in common? New England in the fall.

The best way to experience all that and more is with a New England fall road trip itinerary.

So in this post, we’re going to spill all the tea (or pumpkin spice?) on how to pull off the best NE itinerary including information I’ve gathered from three separate New England fall trips I’ve taken over the years.

We’ll cover multiple itineraries: 10 days, 5 days, and 3 days—mainly focused on Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine (maps included).

To start, we need to cover some must-know planning details before you embark on your trip!

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10 Day New England Fall Road Trip

Disclaimer: Hey, pumpkin spice lover! This blog contains affiliate links which means I earn a v small percentage of every purchase at no additional cost to you. These affiliate links help support me and my blog, but there is absolutely no pressure to use them!

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Planning Your New England Fall Road Trip

Let’s start with a quick peep at some planning 101’s.

Where is New England📍 — New England is a compilation of US states: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

States with the Best Foliage🍁 — New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont—all covered in this post.

When to Go❓ — Late September, Mid-October—First week of October is usually a good ballpark.

Trip Length⏰ — 10 days is ideal—5 to 7 is great too (all covered in this post)

Fly✈️ — Start in Boston or Albany, New York. Check KAYAK for flights starting at $53.

Rental Car🚗 — Also check KAYAK for the best prices in Albany or Boston !

Now, we need to dive into my top “need to knows” for planning your trip.

When is the Best Time to See Fall Colors in New England in 2024?

The best time to see fall colors in New England is beginning to mid-October.

After three years of experience, I have always had the best luck exploring the first week of October.

The peak time to see colors can change depending on how much water the trees receive leading up to the fall season. A dry season can result in less vibrant leaves!

Insider Tip: As you plan, keep a daily eye on the New England peak fall foliage map —which leads us to the next must-know.

cabin surrounded by yellow new england fall foliage

Fall Colors Are (Semi) Unpredictable

Planning fall trips to New England can be a tricky business. You see, you’re playing with a season, and seasons can be unpredictable. 

My advice: be as flexible as possible with your New England fall trips.

Daily, you’ll want to keep an eye on the leaf monitors to ensure you’re getting the most accurate reading of colors.

During my trips, I found that sometimes the leaves would change color overnight! 

Insider Tip: Don’t get tied up in going to a single spot for New England fall foliage. Instead, have a general list of places you want to see and go from there. This blog will provide you with plenty of options!

girl holding red new england fall foliage on a road

Choosing Your Starting Point

From experience, starting your New England fall road trip itinerary in Albany, NY or Boston, MA (Boston-Logan International) will give you the best flexibility and EPIC itineraries .

My favorite trips have always been a loop, beginning in NY, heading North, and ending in New York’s Adirondacks .

I want to make sure you have options, though.

So first, we’ll cover a 10-day itinerary from Albany, NY. Then as a bonus, we’ll cover starting from Boston (in case you want to do that instead).

Let’s start with the Albany itinerary.

Insider Tip: Leaves tend to change north first and gradually work their way south. When in doubt, hit your northern fall foliage destinations first and move down! 

girl standing on a deck overlooking new hampshire fall colors

10-Day New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary Starting in New York

  • Day 1 — Arrive in Albany, NY ; Berkshires
  • Day 2 — White Mountains ; Kancamagus Highway
  • Day 3 — Franconia Notch State Park
  • Day 4 — Crawford Notch State Park
  • Day 5 — Acadia National Park
  • Day 6 — Acadia National Park
  • Day 7 — Dixville Notch State Park
  • Day 8 — Stowe, VT ; Smuggler’s Notch
  • Day 9 — Lake Placid, NY ; Adirondacks
  • Day 10 — Head to Albany, NY

Below is a map that includes all the destinations I listed for the ten-day New England fall road trip and the bonus locations we’ll cover later. 

The map has layers for our alternative itineraries (coverd later), recommended things to do, and places to eat we’ll cover in this post!

Click here for a live version of the map!

You can thank me later ;).

new england fall road trip map

Let’s dive in! Each day has its own list of things to do, places to eat, and where to stay.

Day 1 — Berkshires, MA

Mount Greylock, MA in the fall

Day 1 in Sum (Total Drive Time: ~2 hours)

  • Morning: Arrive in New York and pick up car
  • Afternoon: Drive to Berkshires, ~2hrs
  • Evening: Visit Mount Greylock
  • Stay: Tourists , The Williams Inn

Now let’s look at the details!

golden and red fall foliage in new england

After flying into New York and picking up your car , your New England foliage adventure will begin in the Berkshires, MA. 

I suggest arriving to Albany the evening before day one OR early to late afternoon on day 1 .

This way, you have enough time to drive to the Berkshires and explore the area.

Insider Tip: I love this itinerary so much because starting in Albany allows you to explore the NY Adirondacks too (we discuss this in the post)!

berkshires in the fall

Your drive to the Berkshires from Albany, NY, will be about 1 hour and 20 minutes—it’s a great place to start the fall fun!

Start by heading to Mount Greylock, the highest peak in Massachusetts, which stands at 3,489ft.

Don’t worry; I’m not making you hike the very first day you get here.

Drive up to the top of Mount Greylock and admire the fall views from above!

For food in the area, Korean Garden is the place for tasty Asian dishes!

Another option is Pera Bistro which offers a Mediterranean menu.

Insider Tip: To and from Mount Greylock, you’ll have stores like Walmart available in case you need supplies and snacks!

Where to Stay Near The Berkshires

the williams inn in the berkshires ma

Adams and Williamstown are where you’ll find amazing mountain resorts tucked away in the woods—perfect for fall.

Here’s a quick list of places you’d like:

Tourists ($$$) — Luxury accommodations that will make you think you’ve just entered the mountain escape of your dreams. Pet friendly, great food, great music, even BETTER vibes.

The Williams Inn ($$$) — Luxury hotel nestled in the mountains that will make you feel like east coast royalty. Great for couples with spacious, clean rooms and super cozy beds—check out the bar and The Log restaurant!

If camping is more your vibe, you’ll be a bit out of the way, but the Savoy Mountain State Forest has options for tent camping, car camping, and log cabins.

You must reserve a spot ahead of time, though before choosing to camp here during your fall road trip in New England.

Insider Tip: Tomorrow will be one of the longer driving days because you’ll want to head to the White Mountains from here, so rest up!

Day 2 — White Mountains, New Hampshire

northeast fall trips

Day 2 in Sum (Total Drive Time: ~5 hours)

  • Morning: Drive the Mohawk Trail Scenic Drive
  • Afternoon: Drive to White Mountains, New Hampshire
  • Late Afternoon: Explore Kancamagus Highway
  • Stay: The Stonehurst Manor , Ledge & Lake Chalet , North Conway Grand Hotel

If day one didn’t satisfy your hunger for pumpkin spice and fall vibes, day two will!

Drive the Mohawk Trail

picture of the mohawk trail in ma with fall colors

Before leaving Massachusetts, you’ll drive the Mohawk Trail —one of the most scenic New England foliage drives! 

The entire trail stretches about 69 miles.

The drive includes plenty of mountainside vistas that’ll make you fall in love with MA—see what I did there ;).

Insider Tip: Make sure you bring something like a Sony a6400 and 24-70mm f/2.8 lens for some pictures!

Lincoln, NH

fall foliage over the kancamagus highway hairpin turn

After 4 hours, you’ll arrive in Lincoln, NH — a town in New Hampshire’s White Mountains and a well-known hub for visitors.

Once there, grab something to eat at Gypsy Cafe or a coffee at Half Baked & Fully Brewed ( The Moon Cafe & Bakery is a great alternative)!

Alternative: None of that your vibe? Black Mtn Burger Co is another popular place to eat in Lincoln, NH!

Explore the Kancamagus Highway

view of new england fall foliage on the Kancamagus Highway

Today, you’ll explore some popular attractions along the Kancamagus Highway !

Driving the entire Kancamagus Highway takes about an hour.

The Highway goes 37 miles through the White Mountains, starting in Lincoln, NH, and ending in Conway , NH (where you’ll be staying next). 

Unfortunately, there are no gas stations or food options along the Highway, so bring snacks!

All vehicles must pay a $5 entrance fee. You can read more online at KancamagusHighway.com

Here are a couple of my favorite stops:

Hancock Overlook —Located along the Kancamagus Hairpin Turn, Hancock Overlook will seriously leave you in awe with its view of rolling hills and mountains COVERED in vibrant fall foliage.

Sabbaday Falls —One of New Hampshire’s most visited waterfalls!

Click here to grab a Kancamagus audio tour!

Insider Tip: Lincoln, NH is pretty small, so you’ll be better off driving the entire Highway and staying in the Conway, NH, area.

Flume Gorge

girl walking near the red covered bridge in flume gorge with fall colors

A MUST on your drive is to stop at what’s called Flume Gorge.

It’s famous for its red covered bridge which makes a great photo spot.

To enter Flume Gorge , you’ll have to pay $18 (if you grab your pass online).

In-person passes are $21.  Click here for more details !

Fun Fact: covered bridges are known as “kissing bridges” because of their privacy. Make your way through the Highway until you reach Conway.

Where to Stay in Conway, NH

north conway new hampshire chalet

Conway, NH is a fairly big city and you’ll probably find more things to do in the North Conway area.

So when considering accommodations, try to stay there!

Here are some places to consider:

The Stonehurst Manor ($$$) —A glorious mansion in North Conway where you’ll enjoy a romantic-style room complete with a fireplace! With your stay you can enjoy free dinner and breakfast.

Ledge & Lake Chalet ($$) —A cozy chalet nestled in the White Mountains. Enjoy a fall foliage view from your windows before taking a short walk to Echo Lake!

North Conway Grand Hotel ($$) —A great hotel with everything you could ask for! Enjoy the spa, pool, and proximity to outdoor adventures. You can even cozy up in a king room complete with a personal hot tub (if that’s your style).

Insider Tip: Want a cabin getaway? Check out this guide: Cozy Cabin Rentals in North Conway, NH

Day 3 — Franconia Notch State Park (Amazing New England Fall Road Trip Sunrise)

girl looking at yellow and orange fall foliage in new england's franconia notch state park

Day 3 in Sum (Total Drive Time: ~2 hours)

  • Morning: Artist Bluff
  • Afternoon : Explore Franconia Notch State Park
  • Evening: Check out more of North Conway

On Day 3 of your New England fall road trip itinerary you’ll get to see the popular Franconia Notch State Park and explore one of my favorite New Hampshire towns: Conway—woohoo!

Hiking Artist Bluff Trail

girl looking at fall foliage on artist bluff trail in franconia notch state park new hampshire

First stop: Artist Bluff Trail for some leaf peeping in New England this morning!

I’ve gone here for sunrise in the past, but a mid-morning hike is a great choice too!

The drive here from Conway will be about 1 hour, but it’s worth it!

The trail is about 1.9 miles round trip with very minimal elevation gain.

Artist Bluff is where you will get the famous New England foliage view of Echo Lake — prepare for your jaw to DROP . I mean, just look at the pictures.

Insider Tip: The trail gets SO windy at the top, so don’t wear anything that can fly away. 

Franconia Notch State Park

girl standing in orange fall foliage along echo lake beach during a new england fall road trip

After your hike, take some time to explore the rest of the park!

Below are some attractions to consider:

Echo Lake Beach —You already saw the lake from above. Now go explore the fall-covered shoreline! Click here to book parking reservations —parking is limited.

Hike More Trails —Lonesome Lake Trail, Mt. Pemigewasset Trail, and the Appalachian Trail are more fall hikes you can enjoy.

Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway —Enjoy fall views from 4,000 feet in the sky! Taking the sky tram up Cannon Mountain will give you views of New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, AND Canada.

This is a pretty scenic area of New Hampshire—I enjoyed just driving around!

Insider Tip: If you don’t have time to see too much, I at least recommend exploring Echo Lake — it’s just too pretty!

North Conway, NH

view of north conway, new hampshire with fall foliage

After your adventures, head to North Conway . 

Since you already explored the Highway yesterday, you can go straight through!

North Conway, New Hampshire like the New England mountain town of your dreams, complete with a little railroad *choo choo* and boutique shops.

It’s a gem nestled in the White Mountains.

Surrounded by endless trees that go orange in the fall, North Conway is the perfect place to snack on pumpkin spice everything while you cozy up in oversized knit scarves and sweaters.

So, duhhhhhh, it has to be a stop on your itinerary.

You can shop, eat, or hang out at Schouler Park —a large grassy area perfect for a picnic.

Make time to check out the Conway Scenic Railroad. 

If you didn’t get coffee earlier,  The Met  is the place to be! Want something sweet to end your day?

I also recommend you check out the  White Mountain Cupcakery ! Chocolate peanut butter cupcakes— SIGN ME UP.

Insider Tip: Popular food spots for when you arrive in Conway include Chef’s Bistro , Vito Marcello’s Italian Bistro , and Muddy Moose Restaurant & Pub .

Black Cap Trail (Optional)

girl standing in a road covered by new england fall foliage

If you’re in the mood for another hike, Black Cap Trail is great for fall foliage!

Black Cap Trail is about 610ft in elevation gain and a 2.3 miles round trip .

At the top, you’ll have sweeping mountain views of the Presidential Range .

You’ll stay in Conway again— tomorrow will be your last night here!

Insider Tip: Black Cap is a pretty easy hike, so if you didn’t feel like doing Artist Bluff Earlier, this is a great alternative.

Day 4—Crawford Notch State Park (My Fave New England Fall Foliage Stop)

girl taking a picture in crawford notch state park new hampshire in the fall

Day 4 in Sum (Total Drive Time: ~1.5 hours)

  • Morning: Drive to Crawford Notch State Park
  • Afternoon: Visit Mount Willard Trail
  • Late Afternoon: Frankenstein Cliffs & other major attractions

Today we’re heading a little bit north and going to Crawford Notch State Park where you’ll be deep in the White Mountains—prime spot for fall colors!

Crawford Notch State Park Hiking

bright orange fall foliage surrounding the conway railway in nh

Crawford Notch makes up a large pass that carves straight through the White Mountains.

In New Hampshire’s smallest town, Hart’s Location , Crawford Notch State Park, is the hidden mountain gem you didn’t know you needed in your life.

If everything aligns, you could see peak fall colors here, which is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Fall will paint the trees with the most intense red color, leaving any fall lover speechless!

One of the best parts about Crawford is that you can bring your furry friends there!

On my last trip to NE, I brought my pup along, and he LOVED this portion of the White Mountain National Forest.

And if you’re heading to Crawford Notch, you must do at least one hike !

That’s the best way to see the colors.

Here are a couple of trails to consider:

Mount Willard Trail —Hike for a jaw-dropping valley full of fall colors. The trail is approximately 3.2 miles round trip with 950ft of elevation gain. 

Frankenstein Cliffs —A more challenging trail that will take you to Arethusa Falls. Some parts of the trail will take you close to parts of the park’s railroad (Frankenstein Trestle)! 

Insider Tip: Since the park lines a small section of the White Mountain Highway, it’s pretty easy to get around.

Crawford Notch Scenic Stops

girl admiring fall colors on a new england fall road trip itinerary through the white mountains nh

If hiking isn’t your thing, though, there are plenty of other neat fall experiences you can enjoy here:

Enjoy a Scenic Overlook —You can enjoy tons of overlooks and pullouts as you drive around Crawford. Some have views of fall foliage along the Saco Rover (the river that lines the whole park).

Ride the Conway Scenic Railroad —From Crawford Station, you can ride the Conway Scenic Railroad’s Mountaineer route, which is a ridiculously scenic fall ride through the mountains.

Go Back in Time at Willey House —Visit the historical Willey House and look at old park photographs, eat ice cream, or enjoy the surrounding outdoor scenery.

Saco River —Enjoy exploring the Saco River and the gorgeous foliage around it!

Insider Tip: For the night, you’ll stay in   Conway   again before we continue on your New England fall road trip itinerary—Maine is up next and it’ll be a longer drive!

Day 5—Acadia National Park, Maine

view of a pink sunset over acadia national park maine in the fall

Day 5 in Sum (Total Drive Time: ~4 hours)

  • Morning: Drive to Acadia National Park
  • Afternoon: Bar Harbor
  • Evening: Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse for sunset
  • Stay: The Primrose , The Inn on Mount Desert , Bar Harbor Grand Hotel

Today’s leg of the road trip will take you all the way up to Maine!

Bar Harbor, Maine

view of bar harbor maine

Maine has to be one of my favorite states for New England fall foliage because you get a unique mix of autumn colors and ocean views.

While this is a 4-hour drive, you don’t have to be anywhere until sunset hits. 

So if you have some time to spare, grab some food in Conway and some snacks for the road before continuing your leaf-peeping New England adventures!

And the drive up to Acadia will be beautiful!

You’ll be in the mountains LITTERED with fall colors—ooo la laaa!

Bar Harbor is a town on Mount Desert Island, surrounded by gorgeous cliffs and the ocean.

Known for its stunning coastal vibes and boating, Bar Harbor is the perfect place to enjoy a lobster roll after a full day of exploring the park.

If that sounds like your vibe, you must check out  The Travelin Lobster !

You’ll spend two nights in Bar Harbor—the gateway to Acadia National Park.

Insider Tip: While you’re here, I recommend you take a tour around Bar Harbor and Acadia NP !

Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse

sunset over bass harbor head lighthouse in acadia national park maine

For your first sunset in Acadia National Park, I suggest visiting the classic Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse . 

Bass Harbor Head was constructed in 1858 and was considered significant for its aid, making transportation possible in Maine.

You may not see much New England fall foliage here, but it’s the easiest way to enjoy your first evening in Acadia National Park.

Expect parking to be limited and hectic! 

For dinner, I recommend checking out  Cafe This Way !

They have something for everyone, from fresh lobster to a vegan burger!

Cafe This Way also has a great breakfast menu, just saying.

Insider Tip: Bass Harbor Head is a popular photography spot but a must-see for visiting the park—plan to get here almost an hour before sunset.

Where to Stay in Bar Harbor

The Inn on Mount Desert in bar harbor maine

The hotels in Bar Harbor are just as dreamy as the views—check them out:

The Primrose ($$) —An elegant hotel where you’ll be just a mile from Acadia! The Victorian-style rooms will leave you in awe, but so will the fluffy pumpkin pancakes!

The Inn on Mount Desert ($$) —A charming guest home is an adorable Bar Harbor neighborhood. You’ll love staying here for its proximity to downtown and cozy beds that practically hug you to sleep.

Bar Harbor Grand Hotel ($$) —A gorgeous hotel property modeled after the elegant 19th century Bar Harbor homes that used to line the city. It’s centrally located to the beach, park, and downtown—everything is within walking distance!

You’ll start tomorrow with a sunrise mission, so get plenty of rest!

Day 6—Acadia National Park

sunset over acadia national park with fall foliage

Day 6 in Sum (Total Drive Time: ~1 hour)

  • Morning: Adventure through Acadia National Park
  • Afternoon: Cadillac Mountain, Jesup Path
  • Evening: Beehive Trail for sunset

Today will be your time to see as many things to do in Acadia National Park as possible!

Cadillac Mountain

Sunrise over Cadillac Mountain in acadia national park maine in the fall

While exploring Acadia National Park in the fall, you may as well see the first sunrise in the USA!

During October, the sun rises over Cadillac Mountain before anywhere else in the country, so it’s a popular park attraction! 

Staying in Bar Harbor will put you about 15 minutes away. 

After sunrise, I suggest driving 15 minutes back into Bar Harbor for some breakfast! Try  Jordan’s Restaurant !

Insider Tip: To ensure you get parking, head there about an hour before sunrise. 

Hiking Jesup Path and Hemlock Path Loop

Fall colors along Jesup Path in acadia national park maine

In the afternoon, head to  Jesup Path and Hemlock Path Loop !

It’s an AMAZING trail for seeing New England fall foliage.

The trail is only 1.5 miles round trip and pretty much flat the entire time. 

The loop takes about 30-60 minutes to complete, and you’ll walk along tall trees covered in color the entire time.

If you’re not up for going on Jesup, try one of these awesome things to do:

3-Hour Private Tour —Take a private tour that’ll bring you through the best of what the park has to offer including Park Loop Road, Cadillac Mountain, and Sand Beach!

Foodie Tour —Spend the afternoon exploring Bar Harbor and eat your heart out! This highly rated foodie tour will have you eating lobster rolls, crab cakes and more.

Bike Around —See all of Acadia’s best views by biking around! Rent an e-bike and you’ll get to explore the entire park on your own time all while enjoying a breezy ride through fall colors.

You can also just explore more of Bar Harbor!

Insider Tip: You don’t have to hike the entire Jesup Path if you don’t want to— turn around at any point!

Beehive Trail for Sunset

female hiker surrounded by new england fall foliage on beehive trail in acadia national park, ME

And now it’s time for sunset—hit that  Beehive Trail ! Make sure you wear sturdy hiking boots !

Beehive Trail is relatively short, sitting at about 1.5 miles round trip , and will take you up a cliffside where you’ll see coastal views and an ocean of fall colors .

You can make a loop out of the hike or turn around at the top of the main cliff.

When I hiked Beehive Trail, rather than making a loop out of it, I went to the top of the cliff and then back down the same way.

It was easier to navigate back to the car since the trail was pretty dark after the sun went down.

So pro tip, bring a headlamp for your sunset excursion! 

Insider Tip: I should also note that this hike includes ladders , which adds to the adventure, hehehehe, but if that scares you, then skip this trail.

Jordan Pond (Alternative)

fall colors on the bubbles from jordan pond in acadia national park maine

An alternative would be to head to Jordan Pond and hike a 3.3-mile moderate loop around it.

You can get there by parking at the Jordan Pond parking lot on Park Loop Road.

Parking can get busy, so you’ll still have to get there early.

At Jordan Pond, you’ll get views of The Bubbles , two identical mountain formations that (you guessed it) look like bubbles—they’ll be covered in fall foliage!

Insider Tip: Tomorrow you won’t have to be anywhere until sunset for your leaf peeping New England adventure, BUT this will be a long driving day since you’ll be heading back to New Hampshire.

Day 7—Dixville Notch State Park (Best New England Fall Foliage Sunset Hike)

girl looking at a new england fall sunset from the top of table rock at dixville notch

Day 7 in Sum (Total Drive Time: ~4 hours)

  • Morning: Relax and eat in Bar Harbor, Maine
  • Afternoon: Drive to Dixville Notch State Park
  • Evening: Visit Dixville Notch, hike Table Rock
  • Stay: Northwoods House , Home with a View , Private Cabin

Dixville Notch is pretty out of the way, but trust me when I say the trail you’ll be exploring is a once-in-a-lifetime hike.

Colebrook, NH

New england fall foliage around lake gloriette in dixville notch new hampshire

Tonight, you’ll be staying in Colebrook, NH.

There isn’t a whole lot going on in this part of New Hampshire, but Colebrook will have everything you need to fuel up for the next leg of the trip.

Since you don’t have to be anywhere until sunset, you could take your time getting here .

However, you also could drive to Colebrook early (about 15min from Dixville Notch), check into your stay, get something to eat, then make your way towards your sunset hike: Table Rock.

Colebrook is a small town. Some shops and restaurants close early, so this may be a good time to stop at a grocery store for snacks or food you can eat in your hotel room!

Hiking Table Rock New Hampshire

girl admiring new england fall foliage on a road from table rock in dixville notch state park nh

It’s one of the best hikes for New Hampshire fall foliage, and it’s easy to see why—look at the pics! 

The view sits above Lake Gloriette and is a short 1.5-mile trail . 

The only downside to this hike is that it is relatively steep in a very short distance (about 750ft in elevation gain). If you’re weak on the knees, bring trekking poles .

The parking lot for Table Rock is SMALL—plan to be there about 1 to 1.5 hours before sunset. 

Getting to the trailhead early will give you more time to relax at the top! 

When you finish your hike, I suggest going to Colebrook and grabbing some dinner;  House of Pizza  is a popular food option.

Not in the mood for a hike? You can also make a pit stop at Lake Gloriette to have a shoreline view of the colors.

Insider Tip: I imagine Table Rock would look equally great for sunrise, so if that works out better for your New England fall road trip itinerary, you could go that route. 

Where to Stay in Colebrook

vrbo with a fall colors view in colebrook new hampshire

For accommodations, Vrbo could be your best bet. Check out these rentals:

Northwoods House ($$) —Stay in this cozy, updated home nestled in the woods! After you explore for the day, you can come back to this home away from home and watch Netflix while you snuggle up on your extra comfy king bed. Pet-friendly.

Home with a View ($$$) —Breakfast and panoramic views of fall colors? Sign me up! Enjoy incredible views of NH from above while you make breakfast, sit on the patio, or look out your window—pictures don’t do it justice.

Private Cabin ($$) —Escape to the woods in this private cabin. A great property to stay for the night while you fall asleep to the sounds of the running stream.

Insider Tip: Tomorrow you’ll be heading into Stowe, Vermont, which will be about a 2 hour drive, so you won’t have to be up super early to continue your leaf peeping New England adventure!

Day 8—Stowe, VT and Smugglers Notch

girl looking at new england fall foliage around stowe vermont

Day 8 in Sum (Total Drive Time: ~3 hours)

  • Morning: Drive to Stowe
  • Afternoon: Explore Stowe, VT attractions
  • Evening: Smugglers Notch
  • Stay: The Stowehof Hotel , Timberholm Inn , Green Mountain Inn

I know I’ve talked about pumpkin spice, Gilmore Girls, and fall vibes a lot, but this place feels like it is meant to celebrate fall and ONLY FALL. You’ll see.

Things to do in Stowe, Vermont for Fall

girl on a new england fall road trip itinerary tasting apple cider at cold hollow cider mill vermont

There are plenty of things to do in Stowe, VT in the fall ! So let’s talk about ’em:

Eat —If you’re a veggie lover like me, then give Green Goddess Cafe a try! Not feelin’ in? Head to Piecasso pizza ! They even have vegan cheese you can sub with.

Get Lost in a Maze —The Percy Farm Corn Maze is the place to be if you want some spooooooooky fall vibes—ooooooo, enter if you daaaaAAAre.

Grab a Coffee — Black Cap Coffee and Beer is hipster AF, and we love it, but PK Coffee is where you’ll find a bomb @$$ apple crumble that tastes like an explosion of fall in your mouth—I will NEVER FORGET IT.

Sip on Some Cider —Did I mention you can drive to an APPLE CIDER MILL WHERE YOU CAN HAVE APPLE CIDER? Scott and I love Cold Hollow Cider Mill and would recommend it to anyone as a stop on their New England fall road trip itinerary.

Hop on a Zipline —get up close and personal with the fall foliage by hopping on one of the longest ziplines in the country!

Take a Brewery Tour —Enjoy some hard cider and locally brewed beers on a 5 hour, small group tour!

Click here to book your Stowe day tour!

Insider Tip: Want to see it all? Book an epic day tour that will take you to Smuggler’s Notch, the Cider Mill, Ben & Jerry’s, downtown Stowe, and the Outdoor Center at the Trapp Family Lodge for some epic views of the Green Mountains!

Smugglers’ Notch State Park

drone shot of a windy road with fall colors in smugglers notch state park vermont

Most folks come here to explore Smuggler’s Notch Pass.

Smuggler’s Notch Pass goes through Vermont and has some fantastic New England views!

It’s well-known for its extremely windy road that bobs and weaves through endless fall colors in Vermont’s Green Mountains —don’t skip the drive!

You can spend a chill day in nature enjoying one of the Smuggler’s picnic areas.

To learn more about the park, visit  VTStateParks.com .

Insider Tip: If you want to hike around, check out Hellbrook Trail, Sterling Pond Trail, or Long Trail.

Where to Stay in Stowe, VT

the stowehof hotel in stowe vermont with fall foliage

Stowe is the place to book a BOUJIE hotel. This is a bucket list type town, and there are some beautiful resorts!

Check them out:

Timberholm Inn ($$) —The Timberholm Inn is tucked away in the Stowe mountains. This is the perfect place to get your cabin fix in a cozy environment that’ll put you in the middle of prime fall foliage! 

The Stowehof Hotel ($$) —Staying at The Stowehof will make you feel like you’re in a European country. The views here are spectacular, but the interior is extra special. The beautiful fireplaces and library you can enjoy will be the perfect places to rest up after a long day of exploring! Fab location too.

Green Mountain Inn ($$) —Located in Stowe’s Historic Center is this magical inn with an ornate lobby, romantic rooms, and a heated pool you’ll love! Being in the center of town will put you in the middle of all the action.

Insider Tip: If you want a shorter trip, check out my guide on a fall weekend in Vermont !

Day 9—Lake Placid and the Adirondacks

girl sitting on a bench looking at fall foliage around Heart Lake new york

Day 9 in Sum (Total Drive Time: ~3 hours)

  • Morning: Drive to Adirondacks
  • Afternoon: Explore Heart Lake or Indian Head
  • Evening: See Lake Placid
  • Stay: Crowne Plaza Lake Placid , Mirror Lake Inn , High Peaks Resort

The drive from Stowe, VT to the Lake Placid, NY area will be about 2 hours! This is outside of New England but it’s worth the drive.

Adirondacks

Girl sitting on a tree stump looking at fall colors along the shore of heart lake in the adirondacks ny

When you arrive, head into the High Peaks Wilderness and hike  Indian Pass and Heart Lake Loop Trail .

Heart Lake Loop is a little over a mile and is a GORGEOUS fall foliage hike! 

You can read about parking for the trailhead on the  Lake Placid website .

Another hike I highly recommend you do is  Indian Head and Rainbow Falls . It’s an easy 11mi hike that will lead to a stunning fjord-type formation surrounded by fall colors! 

After your hike, grab a caffeine fix at  Old Mountain Coffee Company  in Keene, NY. 

They sell chocolate bars there, and I have never had better chocolate—grab one!

Insider Tip: Alternatively, you can go to Mirror Lake and walk the shoreline—another popular destination in the area.

Lake Placid

girl standing in yellow fall foliage in lake placid ny

Lake Placid, New York, is known for its access to the outdoors and, more notably, the winter Olympics—and it’s where you’ll stay for the night!

Mirror Lake sits in the town center.

When you get here, I recommend taking a walk in the downtown area.

It is quaint, cute, and ADORABLE in the fall and has lake views everywhere.

You can shop along Main Street, grab a pastry, or  rent a canoe  and coast along Mirror Lake.

OR, if you want an authentic New England fall foliage adventure, you can get a view of the foliage from above by booking a scenic flight with Payne’s Air Service.

Insider Tip: For food, I suggest capping off your last official day in your fall road trip in New England with a drink and some food at  Lisa G’s !

Woodstock, Vermont (Alternative)

fall foliage in front of a house in woodstock vermont

If seeing the Adirondacks doesn’t feel like your vibe, I recommend staying in Stowe, VT, another night and taking a day trip to Woodstock, Vermont .

The drive will be about an hour.

You can enjoy more of Vermont’s fall foliage when you’re there and explore the quaint Woodstock area.

We’ll talk more about Woodstock, VT in our “BONUS” stops section—keep reading!

Insider Tip: Woodstock is also home to the Sleepy Hollow Farm—a must-see for spooky fall vibes!

Where to Stay in Lake Placid, NY

crowne plaza lake placid in the fall

Like Stowe, Lake Placid has some amazing places to stay.

Here are my recommendations based on previous trips I took here:

Crowne Plaza Lake Placid ($$) —This amazing hotel includes all the amenities you need for an extra comfortable stay and has a GORGEOUS view overlooking Mirror Lake.

Mirror Lake Inn ($$$) —A fantastic property overlooking Mirror Lake that has the perfect spa to end your trip with. The entire time you’re there, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the Adirondacks!

High Peaks Resort ($$) —Located right in the middle of all the action, this gorgeous resort has private beach access you can use to enjoy Mirror Lake and the surrounding foliage. Pet-friendly too!

Insider Tip: Tomorrow will be a travel day back to Albany, New York!

Day 10—Drive to Albany, NY

new york adirondacks in the fall

Day 10 in Sum (Total Drive Time: ~2 hours)

  • Morning: Drive to Albany, NY
  • Stay: Albany, NY, or depart

Now it’s time to wrap up our New England fall road trip!

Drive to Albany

cabin in Catskills NY surrounded by fall foliage

This day is short and sweet.

You’ll be driving the 2-hour drive back to Albany, New York, where you might be departing, or you will stay the night and leave the next day. 

Either way, plan your travel accordingly!

If you have time to grab coffee before leaving Lake Placid, I suggest trying  The Coffee Bar !

The lake views here are *chef’s kiss* and will be a great way to cap off your leaf-peeping New England adventure.

Otherwise, that’s a wrap!

Let’s quickly discuss what this trip would look like if you started in Boston, MA.

Insider Tip: Additionally, you can head to the New York Catskills to see more fall foliage (covered in the bonus sections).

BONUS New England Fall Road Trip Itineraries

Let’s quickly go over the other ways you call pull this trip off.

After this, we’ll talk about bonus stops!

10-Day Fall Road Trip in New England Starting in Boston

New England fall road trip from Boston, MA map

Alternatively, you can arrive at the Boston-Logan International Airport and drive 2 hours to Conway, NH. 

This would mean your first night would be in Conway, NH. 

You would then proceed with days: 2 through 8 from the Albany itinerary.

Then, on day 9, head towards Boston and stop in Woodstock, VT.

Woodstock, VT is where you can see the Sleepy Hollow Farm. 

Finally, on day 10, you can explore Boston, MA, and prepare to depart!

The map below illustrates what your route would look like.

5 Day New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary

5 day new england fall road trip map

Only have five days?

I recommend flying into Manchester, NH, and focusing your time and efforts on seeing New Hampshire and Vermont.

In that case, fly into Manchester, NH, and drive about 2 hours to Conway, NH.

With Conway as your hub, you can have a BLAST exploring the White Mountains (days 2 through 4) AND make a stop in Stowe, VT (day 8).

If you end in Stowe, you’ll have a 2.5-hour drive back to the Manchester area. 

3 Day Fall Foliage Trip

3 day new england fall road trip map

If you only have three days to work with, I suggest exploring New Hampshire fall foliage.

You can spend three days going around the White Mountains and have a fantastic time!

A road trip like this would look similar to days 2 through 4 on our extensive itinerary.

You’d fly into Manchester, NH, and stay in Conway, NH.

If you’re up for it, take a day trip to Stowe from Conway (about a 2.5-hour drive).

New England Fall Foliage Bonus Stops

Regardless of where you start your trip, you should know that there are plenty of unique places we didn’t cover!

Want to switch things up or add additional destinations to your fall road trips in New England?

This section is for you.

Sleepy Hollow Farm in Woodstock, VT

view of the sleepy hollow farm road trip stop in woodstock vermont new england

Spend an extra night in Stowe and take a day trip to Woodstock’s Sleepy Hollow Farm. It’s possibly one of the most photogenic farms in Vermont. The best part?

The farm is less than an hour from Stowe, so you don’t have to drive too far! 

If you can, I recommend exploring Woodstock during the day.

You’ll enjoy some hella New England vibes and great coffee (like at Soulfully Good Cafe ). 

Connecticut

Fall colors on a New England road

If you’re looking to  switch it up , add Connecticut to your list!

During your East Coast fall road trip, you can opt to take Route 9 through the Connecticut River Valley. 

And if you want a unique way to see fall colors, ride on the historic  Essex Steam Train ! 

The Essex will take you on a scenic journey through some of Connecticut’s most beautiful fall views. 

For an authentic leaf-peeping New England experience,  try a fall foliage cruise  (available in other New England states too).

Portland, Maine

table with maple syrup in new england

There is so much to do in Portland, Maine !

You can go apple picking or even take a tour of a Sugar House where a farmer will let you try some of their fresh maple syrup. 

For example, Merrifield Farm and Sugar Shack have maple cotton candy and fresh vanilla ice cream with maple syrup visitors can buy.

Of course, you can get pancakes here too!

AND…AND, if you want to have a real Portland, Maine experience, you can  book a fall foliage private sightseeing cruise . 

Honestly, I don’t think it gets any more New England than that.

Make sure you grab a lobster roll and head to Portland Head Light too!

Catskills, New York

girl looking at fall foliage from a cabin in Lake Minnewaska new york area

This region ended up being one of my favorite spots during my fall road trips in New England!

The Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway is a great place to end your fall foliage adventure. 

Minnewaska State Park will make all your leaf-peeping dreams come true! For some of the better foliage views,  hike to Kaaterskill Falls . 

If you’re into cabin vibes, I suggest booking a stay in a luxe country home like this for the night.

It is spacious and has a hot tub, one of my favorite ways to end a long trip. 

The Lake Minnewaska area is about 2 hours from Albany airport.

Finger Lakes Area

girl walking in Taughannock Falls State Park new york in the fall

In New York, I suggest visiting Taughannock Falls State Park or Watkins Glen at some point on your New England fall road trip itinerary. 

Both of these stops are in the Finger Lakes National Forest area.

It’s a bit out of the way, but it could be worth the visit if you want to explore more of New York.

You can also opt to visit the Seneca Lake area and do a whole  Seneca Lake Wine Tasting Tour . 

view of Taughannock Falls State Park in new york with fall foliage

I have PACKED this New England fall road trip itinerary with some of my best fall color recommendations.

Whether you’re a fellow PSL lover or just a fan of autumn, I genuinely hope you enjoy your East Coast fall road trip! If you want to see more epic fall adventures, I recommend checking out my New England blogs!

If you enjoyed this blog, please share it on Pinterest !

northeast fall trips

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I'm a burrito loving explorer who got fired from corporate America and turned that into my dream career as a photographer and blogger. Now I'm here to help you explore life's magic. Thanks for stopping by!

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  • The Perfect New England Fall Road Trip for 2 Weeks

Girl at Artist's Bluff, one of the best stops along a New England fall road trip

Looking to plan the perfect New England fall road trip and experience all those magical images you’ve seen online for yourself? Then you’re in the right place!

Fall is the best time to visit this region in the northeastern corner of the United States. Hiring a car and undertaking a road trip gives you the freedom to visit a variety of cities, towns, and nature areas.

As and when you like, you can pull over to take photos of the foliage and take yourself off for a hike among the beautiful nature.

But planning a New England fall foliage road trip itinerary takes a lot of time and thought. This is actually a very large area to cover and you need to plan it carefully to coincide with seeing the foliage at its peak. 

Two weeks is a great length of time for the road trip providing that you know how to maximize each day to its best.

That’s where this guide comes into the picture. This article is here to direct you to all the best fall drives in New England and help you organize the perfect adventure. 

* Disclosure: This post contains a few affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through my link. *

Table of Contents

Useful Info for Planning Your New England Fall Road Trip

Factors affecting peak fall foliage colors.

First things first, let’s take a look at when peak fall foliage colors actually occur. A few conditions must be met in order for the leaves to change color and reach peak fall colors. 

First, the nights need to be cool but not freezing. The temperatures should be in the 40s °F (5-9 °C) range. If it gets too cold, the leaves will simply fall off the trees without changing color first.

Second, there needs to be plenty of sunlight during the day. If it’s cloudy all the time, the leaves won’t break down chlorophyll (green) as fast, thus the carotenoids (yellow and orange) will be only revealed later.

Third, there needs to be little or no wind. If the leaves are constantly rustling in the breeze, they will also fall off before changing color.

Finally, there needs to have been enough rain earlier in the season. The leaves need moisture in order to produce the vivid colors that we love so much.

Now that you know the science behind fall colors, let’s get into planning the perfect New England fall foliage road trip!

Smuggler's Notch Fall Foliage

Best time to visit New England for leaf peeping

The best time to see peak fall foliage in New England is typically from the last week of September through the first two weeks of October. However, this can vary slightly depending on the year and the region. 

Generally speaking, the northernmost parts of New England will see the leaves change color first, and then it gradually rolls down into the southernmost parts. For example, you will see the leaves changing color in Upstate Vermont much sooner before you see them changing in Rhode Island.

Due to this, it’s practically impossible to experience the peak fall colors everywhere over the course of 2 weeks. Chances are that during these 2 weeks in New England you will either come across areas that are still a bit green, or that are already past their peak colors or even lost their leaves.

To get more specific information, it’s a good idea to check out the New England Fall Foliage Prediction Map .

This is updated regularly and shows where the foliage is currently at its best and where it is expected to peak in the coming week. I found that this map is pretty accurate but do keep in mind that conditions can always change and affect the timing.

My own 2-week New England fall road trip took place between 2-17 October in 2021. With this timing, Boston and Woodstock were both still a bit green but once we reached Stowe and continued onwards, we caught the peak colors everywhere else.

So if you can, you might want to consider aiming for a similar date range but do keep your eyes on the foliage predictions.

Sleepy Hollow Farm in Woodstock VT

How to get to New England

Boston, Massachusetts, is the best place to start this particular New England fall foliage road trip itinerary.

Boston is served by Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) and is well-connected to other US airports as well as destinations further afield. You can fly directly to Boston from many European destinations. One in Boston, you can rent a car and hit the road. 

Once you arrive in Boston to start this fall road trip in New England, my tip is to compare car rental prices in Downtown Boston with those available at the airport. Sometimes they work out cheaper than renting at the airport.

This itinerary starts and ends in Boston so you will rent a vehicle and return it to the same place. 

However, if you have more time on your hands, you might also consider starting your trip in New York and heading northward from there. That way you can also explore the Big Apple! Remember to consult my travel guides to New York before you go. 

Where to stay during your New England fall road trip

As you can see, predicting when the peak fall colors will occur in advance is pretty difficult, which makes planning a bit harder. You don’t want to book your accommodation too far in advance because the leaves might not be at their best yet. But if you wait too long, all the good accommodation will be gone.

Generally, you have two options when it comes to planning your accommodation. Either you can book everything in advance and hope that you timed your trip right, or you can wing it and book things as you go.

The first option has the advantage of snagging up some good deals because the best places book out months in advance. It also gives you a bit more peace of mind knowing that everything is sorted.

The second option is a bit riskier but can also be more rewarding. It gives you the flexibility to change your plans on the fly and chase the fall colors wherever they might be.

If you do choose to wing it, my advice is to have a few accommodation options in mind for each night but don’t book anything until you know for sure that you will be staying there. That way, if everything is booked up you still have a Plan B and C to fall back on.

Fall foliage in Stowe, Vermont

One more tip for booking your accommodation: If you run into issues finding a hotel in your desired town/city, I suggest looking further out. Change to a map view on the booking platform you use, set the filters to a 30-mile radius of each location, and you should find that you have better luck. 

Seeing as you will be traveling with your own rental car anyway, it shouldn’t interfere too much with this New England fall trip itinerary.

Another thing to keep in mind is that accommodation in New England can be quite expensive, especially in popular leaf-peeping towns. If you’re on a budget, I recommend staying in slightly less touristy towns and driving into the more popular ones for the day. This is what we did and it worked out great!

Another option is to stay at campgrounds. Camping is a great way to save money and it also gets you closer to nature. Just make sure to book your campsite in advance because they fill up quickly during peak season!

View from the summit of the Beehive Trail in Acadia National Park

Recommended places to stay during your fall road trip

If you follow this New England fall road trip itinerary then I recommend staying in the following cities and towns:

  • Boston: either 1 night or 2 nights depending on how your inbound flight works
  • Woodstock VT: 2 nights
  • Stowe VT: 3 nights
  • Colebrook NH: 2 night
  • Lincoln NH: 1 night
  • Bar Harbor ME: 3 nights
  • Salem MA: 1 night

As you progress through the itinerary you will see all my specific recommended hotels as per budget, mid-range, and luxury categories. 

Overview of Your New England Fall Foliage Road Trip Itinerary

Breakdown of your 2 weeks in new england.

Before we dive into all the juicy information, here is a quick overview of all the places you will visit during your New England fall road trip.

  • Day 1: Boston (I recommend arriving on Day 0 so that you can settle and then look forward to spending an entire day in the city)
  • Day 2: Drive from Boston to Woodstock, VT
  • Day 3: Woodstock, VT
  • Day 4: Woodstock, VT and drive to Stowe, VT
  • Day 5-6: Stowe, VT
  • Day 7: Hike the Mount Pisgah Trail North and drive to Colebrook, NH

Day 8: Dixville Notch

  • Day 9: Franconia Notch
  • Day 10: Scenic drive to Acadia NP via Kancamagus Highway and Conway 
  • Day 11-12: Acadia National Park
  • Day 13: Portland, Maine
  • Day 14: Salem, MA and drive back to Boston 

Map for your New England fall road trip

Below you can find a customized map that includes all the locations you’re going to visit on this New England fall road trip itinerary.

I marked the different parts of the road trip with different colors so you can easily see which places you’re going to visit each day.

How to use this map: This map is fully interactive, so you can move around, zoom in/zoom out, and click on the icons. If you want to see a larger map, click on the bracket in the upper right corner. To see more details and the different layers, click on the tab in the upper left corner. If you want to save it for later, click on the star icon next to the name of the map. Then simply open Google Maps either on your desktop or phone, go to ‘Saved’/’Maps’, and open the map whenever you need it.

New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary for 2 Weeks

Now, let’s get into the finer details of your great adventure! This New England fall foliage road trip itinerary is broken down into each of the days and is packed with advice on what to see in each spot as well as tips on where to eat and where to stay.

This suggested itinerary starts and ends in Boston and all the drive distances and time estimates are included. 

Day 1: Boston

Welcome to Boston! Boston is one of the most popular cities for national and international tourists visiting the US. There’s lots to see and do but fortunately, you can get a decent overview with only one full day in Boston.

However, if you start your fall road trip in New England a day or two early then you can spend a little longer exploring the city. Alternatively, since your road trip will also end here, you can decide to add a few more days to the end as well.

As Boston is served by public transport and many of the main tourist attractions are within walking distance, you will not need to hire a car just yet. You can pick it up when you leave on day 2 of this itinerary.

Panoramic view of Boston from Longfellow Bridge

Best things to do in Boston 

As a major city, there’s no shortage of things to do in Boston. You will need to do your research and decide how to spend your limited time in the city.

Below you can find some of the best things to do in Boston you can’t miss but if you prefer having a step-by-step itinerary, check out my guide on how to spend one day in Boston .

Walk the Freedom Trail

The Freedom Trail is the number one attraction in Boston.

This 2.5-mile (4 km) trail connects 16 of Boston’s historic landmarks that each relate to happenings from the American Revolution. Sites include Faneuil Hall, the Boston Massacre Site, the Old State House, the Benjamin Franklin Statue, and the King’s Chapel.

You can walk the Freedom Trail independently and enjoy checking out the buildings. The Freedom Trail website provides background information on each site.

Alternatively, you might rather join a guided tour if you want to hear all about the history from a local expert.

Subject to whether you complete the trail alone or join the tour, you should budget between 1-3 hours for this activity. 

Freedom Trail Boston

Boston’s North End is the oldest neighborhood in the city. It’s called ‘Little Italy’ due to the expansive Italian restaurants and bakeries. You will also see historic sites that include the 1680 Paul Revere House, Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, and the Old North Church.

Visit the Institute of Contemporary Art

The Institute of Contemporary Art is a must for artistically minded travelers!

Dedicated to all threads of visual arts, performance, film, video, and literature, the collection is vast and diverse. It will provide endless hours of chat for your New England fall foliage road trip once you leave the city behind. 

General admission is $20 and you are recommended to book tickets online in advance. The museum is open from 10 am-5 pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays and 10 am – 9 pm on Thursdays and Fridays. It’s closed on Mondays. 

In case you need another reason to visit, this contemporary art venue offers exceptional views of the harbor.

Explore the North End

The North End fits in nicely with your plans to walk the Freedom Trail as it contains some of the landmarks. Take the time to stroll around the area, through Langone Park, and along the waterfront.

North End in Boston

Tour the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum

This fascinating museum tour invites you to experience the political protest of 1773 against the British Parliament’s Tea Act. These events led to the American Revolution. 

The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum tour is fully immersive and lets you relive battles and events with live actors, 3D holograms, and replica ships. At the start of the tour, you will receive a handbill from one of the colonists which will explain what part you’ll play. 

As the tour is popular, you will need to book ahead to secure your place. And, of course, there is a tearoom on site!

Where to eat in Boston

Boston has an exemplary food scene that’s blessed with a variety of international restaurants as well as local, regional, and national dishes. 

Seafood is BIG in Boston and if you like shellfish you should try at least one lobster roll during your New England fall road trip. These are like hot dogs but with lobster meat! Clam chowder is another specialty.

These are my recommendations for where to eat in Boston.

  • Mike’s Pastry : Definitely swing by this North End bakery that specializes in the tastiest cannoli outside of Italy. It’s always busy so try to get there early. 
  • Quincy Mar ket : This covered market contains boutiques as well as a vast array of food options. You can choose from Boston favorites or international food. It’s a top pick for lunch as well as sightseeing even if you eat elsewhere. 
  • Saltie Girl : This chic restaurant in Back Bay focuses on raw dishes and seafood. Everything is artistically presented and sustainably minded. Plus, they have fabulous cocktails. 

Cannoli at Mike's Pastry, Boston

Where to stay in Boston 

Because you are only spending a couple of nights in Boston, it’s best to stay in central accommodation. Actually, despite being a prominent city, Boston isn’t so large in comparison to other US cities. 

In terms of where to stay in Boston , Downtown Boston is always convenient and has the best selection of budget-friendly accommodations. If it’s your first time visiting or you are planning a shorter stay as per this itinerary then this is ideal. 

Back Bay, the North End, and the South End are all fantastic options for sightseeing, culture, and overall experience too. However, accommodation prices tend to be costlier. 

Here are my recommendations for where to stay in Boston.

  • Luxury: The Eliot Suite Hotel
  • Mid-range: Battery Wharf Hotel
  • Budget: Moxy Boston Downtown

Day 2: Drive from Boston to Woodstock VT

Driving time: 2 hours and 20 minutes (140 miles/225 km) direct from Downtown Boston or 5 hours and 15 minutes (237 miles/381 km) via the scenic route to Woodstock VT

You will need to check out your hotel today and make a decision about what to do with the second day of your New England fall road trip.

Option A, you can spend most of the day continuing to explore Boston and then drive directly to Woodstock in the afternoon or evening. 

Option B, you can turn the drive into a scenic road trip and visit a couple of sights. If you choose to stop off at all the places listed below, this will equate to 5 hours 15 minutes of driving time plus you’ll need to allow time at each place. 

In this case, I would recommend leaving your hotel as early as possible.

Madame Sherri Forest

Driving time: 2 hours 18 minutes (110 miles/177 km) from Boston

If you choose to take the scenic route to Woodstock VT, your first stop will be Madame Sherri Forest. This 513-acre plot of woodland once belonged to a notorious French-American socialite in the early 1900s.

Madame Antoinette Sherri was known for her eccentric parties that were attended by the rich and famous.

Unfortunately, her castle burned to the ground in 1962 but today you can still see the remnants of what once was. The arched stone staircase is the most iconic feature and makes for a great photo opportunity.

The forest is a great place for a short hike and it’s especially beautiful in the fall when the leaves start to change color. But even if not, it’s a beautiful introduction to New England’s natural scenery.

Once you’ve parked up you can follow the Wantastiquet Trail into the forest and see as much of the reserve as you have time for.

The full Wantastiquet Trail is 2.4 miles (3.7 km) and it’s easy and well-marked. You’ll pass through historic ruins and a lake, and enjoy vantage points over the forest. 

Stone stairway at Madame Sherri Forest, New Hampshire, USA

Southern Vermont Natural History Museum 

Driving time: 35 minutes (19 miles/31 km) from the Madame Sherri Forest 

The Southern Vermont Natural History Museum displays taxidermy of 250 species but it also has a sanctuary for injured birds under rehabilitation.

There is a modest admission charge of $5 to visit which goes directly towards the maintenance and care of the live animals.

There is an amazing foliage viewpoint right next to the sanctuary too that you can visit for free. This stretches out atop the Hogback Mountain Conservation Area and is a photographic addition to your New England fall road trip.

Foliage viewpoint in Vermont

Driving time: 30 minutes (23.5 miles/38 km) from the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum

The small town of Bennington is one of the best places to visit in Vermont in the fall . It’s located in the southwest of the state and counts as one of the two shire towns. 

As you’re headed to Woodstock for the night, you won’t have too much time to explore. But you can wander along Main Street and grab a coffee and a snack or swing by the farmers market if your visit falls on a Saturday. 

You can also walk or drive to the Bennington Battle Monument with the option to take the elevator to the top and peer back at Massachusetts).

Safford Mills Inn in Bennington, Vermont

Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home

Driving time: 30 minutes (22 miles/35.5 km) from Bennington 

Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home is the former summer residence of Robert Todd Lincoln and his wife Mary Harlan Lincoln. It’s located a short drive out of Manchester and a fascinating attraction to include on your New England foliage road trip itinerary.

Robert and Mary oversaw the construction of this Georgian Revival mansion in 1905 and it served as the exclusive home to Lincoln’s descendants until 1975.

This handsome manor estate is open to the public for tours. You can tour the interiors of the building, the landscaped gardens, trails, goat dairy, and the greenhouse. 

Tickets may be purchased on the premises only; there is no option to pre-book your ticket in advance. Once you have a ticket you can roam at leisure but there are also options to take guided tours at select times. Admission is $23. 

Note that the grounds close at 4.30 pm so if you do want to visit Hildene, make sure you head there before exploring the town itself. 

Manchester 

Driving time: 5 minutes (1.7 miles/2.7 km) from Hildene 

Manchester is the other shire town alongside Bennington. Take a mooch along Main Street and don’t miss the picturesque white steeple church. 

There are a number of art destinations if time permits, such as the Southern Vermont Arts Center. If you time your New England foliage road trip right then this open-air sculpture gallery will look even more incredible than usual with its autumnal backdrop.

As with Bennington, Manchester has a reputation for great food so you could always eat dinner in town before completing the final leg of today’s drive. Main Street has an eclectic mix of taverns, upscale restaurants, and food trucks. 

Arriving in Woodstock

Driving time: 1 hour 20 minutes (57.3 miles/92.2 km) from Manchester to Woodstock

After a long day, it ’s time to settle in for your first night in Woodstock VT. Since you ’re looking at an almost 1.5-hour drive from Manchester to Woodstock, chances are it will be already dark outside when you arrive.

So settle in, grab dinner if you haven ’t already in Manchester, and have a good night ’s sleep!

Where to stay in Woodstock

Woodstock is a small town and it’s very popular during the fall season. Remember to book ahead to secure a hotel in the town center or plan to stay a little further out. As I mentioned before, I recommend booking 2 nights in this area.

In case Woodstock is fully booked out, you can take a look at accommodations in Quechee , Killington , or even Rutland .

Although Rutland is a 45-minute drive from Woodstock, this was the closest place where we found a room when booking our accommodation (we booked around 2-3 weeks before our trip).

We personally stayed at Days Inn by Wyndham Rutland/Killington Area , nothing fancy but it was perfect for a good night ’s sleep.

If you book well ahead of time and want to stay in Woodstock itself, take a look at these hotels depending on your budget.

  • Luxury: Woodstock Inn & Resort
  • Mid-range: 506 On the River Inn Woodstock
  • Budget: The Birch Grove

Day 3: Woodstock

Spend the whole of your third day exploring Woodstock and the surrounding area. Woodstock is a photogenic town that is exquisite throughout the year but really shines during the fall season when the colors turn.

It’s the quintessential small rural town for your New England foliage road trip itinerary. There are countless amazing things to do in Woodstock VT , below you can see my top recommendations.

Explore Woodstock The Green 

Start your day with breakfast at Mon Vert Cafe on Central Street and witness how the town springs to life.

The breakfast menu is based on organic ingredients and you can choose from the likes of eggs, French toast, avocado on toast, and sandwiches.

Don ’t forget to wash it all down with a great cup of coffee! Mon Vert Cafe has a nice patio if it’s warm enough but there’s also space inside.

After breakfast, take a stroll along Central Street and The Green and note the historic buildings in this charming town.

Mon Vert Cafe in Woodstock, Vermont

Take a photo of Jenne Road Farm

Driving time: 15 minutes (8.5 miles/13.5 km) from Woodstock

Hop into your rental and drive 15 minutes south to Jenne Road Farm. This Instagrammable farm is privately owned but tourists are welcome to briefly stop to take a photo and perhaps make a purchase of their homemade maple syrup.

This is one of the best fall foliage drives in New England as you’ll see the scarlet-colored barns against the various shades of orange, red, and yellow.

Jenne Road Farm in Vermont in the Fall

Drive through the Taftsville Covered Bridge

Driving time: 20 minutes (12 miles/19 km) from Jenne Road Farm

The Taftsville Covered Bridge is just one of many historic covered bridges in Vermont . They were built during the 19th and 20th centuries to lessen the impact of flooding, provide shelter, and assist with the herding of livestock. 

The Taftsville Covered Bridge passes over the Ottauquechee River and was built in 1836. In fact, it’s one of the oldest bridges in the region. 

You can drive through the bridge but it’s also a good idea to park and wander down to the riverside to see the waterfall. 

The Taftsville Covered Bridge is a 20-minute drive from Jenne Road Farm. 

Taftsville Covered Bridge Vermont

Explore the sights of Quechee 

Driving time: 5 minutes (3.5 miles/5.6 km) from Taftsville Covered Bridge to Quechee Covered Bridge, then 12 minutes (7.1 miles/11.5 km) from Quechee back to Woodstock

Quechee is a small village in Vermont where you can stop and have a stroll along Main Street. The Quechee Covered Bridge passes over the Ottauquechee River and marks the entrance to the town. 

This bridge is actually very young: it was only built in 1970 and renovated in 2012. It’s a wide, functional bridge with two lanes for traffic and a separate walkway for pedestrians.

Do park up and savor the experience of walking through and checking out views of the waterfall.

Quechee Covered Bridge, Vermont

You can also pay a visit to the Quechee Gorge in the Quechee State Park. The gorge is known as the “Little” Grand Canyon of Vermont and I’m sure you’ll see how it earned that name!

The gorge was formed by glaciers during the last Ice Age and has a depth of 165 feet (50 meters). 

There is a fantastic viewing platform at the Quechee Gorge Bridge. Meanwhile, the Quechee Gorge Visitor’s Center is worth a trip during your New England fall road trip in order to understand the local history. 

Quechee Gorge, Vermont in fall

Day 4: Woodstock and Drive to Stowe

This is your second day in the Woodstock area before relocating to Stowe for a couple of nights. You can check out of your hotel and visit the other places of interest near Woodstock before hitting the road for the short drive to Stowe. 

Sleepy Hollow Farm

Driving time: 7 minutes (2.8 miles/4.5 km) from Woodstock

Sleepy Hollow Farm is another private farmstead in the Woodstock area that is considered one of the best fall drives in New England. The red outhouses are set against a rich backdrop of Vermont hills and forestry. 

Although the farm is private and not open to the public, it is accepted that tourists can drive along Cloudland Road and stop to take a photo of the farm.

The drive from Woodstock takes 15 minutes and be advised that it’s a very famous photo spot. You should aim to arrive early to avoid having to wait in a long line of cars!

2024 UPDATE: Unfortunately, access to Cloudland Road was limited to locals only in 2023 (from 23 September to 15 October). They will likely make a similar restriction in 2024 too, so plan accordingly.

Girl in front of Sleepy Hollow Farm in Woodstock VT

Sugarbush Farm

Driving time: 15 minutes (4.8 miles/7.7 km) from Sleepy Hollow Farm

Your second farm of the day is one for the foodies: Sugarbush Farm is responsible for some of the tastiest cheeses and maple syrup varieties in Vermont!

This 500-acre farm is owned by the Luce family and is open to the public. You can wander around the farm grounds, follow a designated nature walk in the forest, and pop your head into workshops.

This is great if you’re curious to see how the products are made. You will also learn about how maple syrup is sourced from the land.

There is no fee to visit Sugarbush Farm. However, it’s a kind gesture to make a purchase from the farm shop to support this family-owned business. 

Sugarbush Farm is located a 15-minute drive from Sleepy Hollow Farm.

Sugarbush Farm, Vermont

Billings Farm & Museum

Driving time: 10 minutes (4.5 miles/7.2 km) from Sugarbush Farm

Billings Farm & Museum is located in central Woodstock. As well as being a working Jersey dairy farm, it has a great community ethos and hosts lots of events, and schedules educational programs with schools in the area.

There is an admission charge of $17 to enter and explore the barns, pastures, and kitchens. You can also take a look at the 1890s farm manager’s lodge and check out the collection of tractors.

You could choose to have lunch at the farm cafe or back in town before driving to Stowe. 

Billings Farm and Museum in Woodstock VT

Arriving to Stowe

Driving time: 1 hour 15 minutes (72 miles/115 km) from Billings Farm to Stowe

After having lunch either at Billings Farm or in Woodstock, get back into your car and drive straight to Stowe. You ’re looking at a 1 hour 15-minute scenic drive.

Where to stay in Stowe 

You will need to book accommodation for 3 nights in Stowe, making this the longest temporary base during your New England fall foliage road trip. 

As you’re staying for 3 nights, you might prefer to stay in self-catered accommodation while in Stowe. There are so many grocers, independent stores, and farmers’ markets where you can stock up on groceries for a couple of nights.

One thing to note though is that accommodation in Stowe is quite limited and pretty pricy, especially during the fall season.

In case you want to book something further out, you should check out Waterbury (15-minute drive from Stowe), Montpelier (30-minute drive from Stowe), or Burlington (40-minute drive from Stowe). We personally stayed in Days Inn by Wyndham Colchester Burlington .

If your heart is set on staying in Stowe (which is a very good choice by the way!), here are my top picks for different budgets.

  • Luxury: Trapp Family Lodge
  • Mid-range: Sun & Ski Inn and Suites
  • Budget: Timberholm Inn

Day 5-6: Stowe

If you loved Woodstock then you will love the next stop on your New England fall road trip as well!

Stowe is another small Vermont town with a cozy vibe and tons of remarkable nature sights and historic attractions. As there is so much to see and do in this area, it’s best to spend a whole two days exploring. 

Fall foliage in Stowe, Vermont

Best things to do in Stowe 

As the area holds so many attractions, I wrote a complete guide about all the best things to do in Stowe which you can consult for the full experience.

Otherwise, here are some of the most popular things you can take your pick from and devise your own perfect 2-day itinerary.  

Explore Main Street

Stowe Main Street is the epicenter of the town. It’s lined with pretty historic townhouses and churches. There is also the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum and The Current art gallery if you want to squeeze in a culture dose.

Naturally, Main Street is humming with cafes and boutiques so if you want to pick up souvenirs or treat yourself to a long brunch: this is the place!

Main Street in Stowe, Vermont

Drive through Smugglers ’ Notch

One of the best things to do in Stowe, Vermont is to take a drive through Smugglers’ Notch. This narrow passageway was once used by smugglers to transport their goods into the United States from Canada.

Nowadays it’s a popular scenic route and it’s especially beautiful in the fall when the leaves are changing color. The road winds its way through the mountains and there are plenty of pull-offs where you can stop and take in the view.

There are also a few hiking trails in the area if you want to stretch your legs. The Notch Visitor Center is a great place to start your exploration of Smugglers’ Notch and it has a range of maps and information about the area.

Girl at Smuggler's Notch at fall

Visit the covered bridges

If you enjoyed seeing the covered bridges near Woodstock then you can continue your investigation while in Stowe.

There are several options that are nearby. In fact, the Giles W. Dewey Memorial Bridge is right in town so you needn’t use the car for this one! 

This bridge was only built in the early 21st century, in honor of a local farmer and philanthropist who passed away in 2000. Uniquely, the Giles W. Dewey Memorial Bridge only covers a pedestrian walkway rather than the road. 

The Gold Brook Covered Bridge passes over the namesake brook. But, it’s more commonly known as Emily’s Bridge. Emily was a young woman from a poor family who fell in love with a wealthy local man during the 1850s.

After he failed to show up and elope as the lovers planned, the woman leaped from this bridge and ended her life. Local fables suggest that her spirit haunts the bridge. 

Grist Mill Covered Bridge is also referred to as the Scott Covered Bridge, the Bryant Covered Bridge, and the Canyon Covered Bridge. It’s beautifully photogenic, especially during this time of year when the structure is devoured by the foliage. Passing through the bridge is one of the best fall drives in New England.

Gold Brook Covered Bridge, Vermont

Chase a waterfall

If you love to chase waterfalls while traveling, then you have a couple of options to add to your list while in Stowe. 

One option is Sterling Gorge Falls which is a 15-minute drive north of Stowe. Access is via an easy out and back path through the Green Mountains that takes around 90 minutes to complete. 

A second is the Moss Glen Falls. These falls are only a 10-minute drive northeast of Stowe Main Street and this is actually the tallest waterfall in the state of Vermont. You can hike there in 20 minutes via one trail or take a scenic route that requires 2-3 hours. 

Walk the Stowe Recreation Path  

The Stowe Recreation Path is a 5.3-mile (8.5 km) walkway that links Stowe center with the Top Notch Resort on Mountain Road.

This entire walk is paved and is suitable for walkers and cyclists of varying levels. You don’t need to be an expert hiker and it’s a family-friendly activity. 

If you time your New England foliage road trip right then you will see the forest in its seasonal spectacle!

Fall foliage on the Stowe Recreation Path

Take a hike

In addition to the Stowe Recreation Path, there are a number of excellent hiking options around the town if you want something more challenging.

Sunset Rock is an easy hike that takes less than an hour as a round trip. You will follow a steep but short trail through the woodland to a lookout point from where you will be able to view the town and Mount Mansfield. 

Smugglers’ Notch State Park offers a nice spread of short walks that take 1-2 hours to complete as well as challenging trails of 3 hours or 4-6 hours. 

Last but not least, the Sunset Ridge Trail is one of the most popular hikes if you want a closer look at Mount Mansfield. With a length of 5.1 miles (8.2 km) and somewhat challenging conditions, it is considered a moderate hike and will take up the majority of one day. You will need decent hiking boots as well. 

Girl at Sunset Rock in Stowe Vermont

Savor the views from the Stowe Mountain Resort

Stowe Mountain Resort opens for winter sports in late November. But you can visit at any time of year to appreciate the views from the highest mountain peak in Stowe. 

You can drive up to Mountain Road which is one of the best fall foliage drives in New England.

Once you reach the resort, subject to the dates you visit, you can ride up the rest of the way to the summit of Mount Mansfield via the Gondola Skyride . This attraction typically opens from mid-June until mid-October. 

Once at the top, you will appreciate an unbeatable view of the golden foliage.

northeast fall trips

Where to eat in Stowe

Stowe’s Main Street is great for dining but as you have your car you can also check out places on the outskirts too. These are my suggestions for where to eat in Stowe. 

  • Plate : This pretty restaurant presents a fusion of California-inspired recipes using seasonal Stowe-sourced ingredients. Dishes pair to perfection with their craft cocktail menu.
  • Von Trapp Brewery & Bierhall : Visit this amazing brewery for Austrian-style brews and food that you can enjoy with a 360-degree view of the scenery.
  • Green Goddess Cafe : Pick up an organic breakfast smoothie or a deluxe sandwich or salad for lunch and you’ll feel nourished from head to toe!
  • Ben & Jerry’s : The factory for the iconic ice cream chain is located in Stowe. You can visit for a tour and pick up a new flavor while you’re there at the Scoop Shop. 

Girls at the Von Trapp Brewery in Stowe, Vermont

Day 7: Mount Pisgah Trail North and Drive to Colebrook

Today you will check out of your Stowe accommodation and drive towards Colebrook NH with the option to take a hike while on the way. 

Hike the Mount Pisgah Trail North 

Driving time: 1 hour 10 minutes (52 miles/84 km) from Stowe

The Mount Pisgah Trail North is a moderate hike of 4.8 miles (7.7 km). It has an elevation gain of 1,650 feet (503 meters) and takes approximately 3-4 hours to complete.

Parts of the trail are steep and it can be slippery after recent rainfall so dress sensibly and take care. 

Tackling this hike takes you into the Willoughby State Forest. You’ll follow a path that gradually reaches an observation clearing at the summit and provides a panoramic view of the lake.

Actually, you don ’t even need to go all the way up as there are a couple of viewpoints a bit lower as well that provide stunning views too.

Girl and boy on the top of Mount Pisgah, overlooking Lake Willoughby in Vermont in the fall

The colors at this time of year are out of this world: the hike is a must for your fall foliage New England road trip if you love to hike!

You can leave your car on the side of the road on Route 5A next to Willoughby Lake and then follow the trail.

If you have a bit more time after your hike, it ’s worth exploring the lake too. The South Beach is especially stunning!

Lake Willoughby in the fall, Vermont, USA

Drive to Colebrook NH

Driving time: 1 hour (44 miles/70 km) from Mount Pisgah

Once you’ve finished the hike you can just drive directly to Colebrook, New Hampshire, or feel free to stop off along the way.

Your drive will pass through the town of Brighton which sits on the banks of Island Pond and the Brighton State Park.

Check out Jesse’s Little Kitchen if you fancy a post-hike pizza binge or Hobo’s Cafe which offers a spread of brunches, grills, and comfort meals. 

northeast fall trips

Where to stay in Colebrook

Colebrook is a small town with a limited supply of accommodation options during your New England fall road trip. These are my picks for where to stay in Colebrook.

We personally managed to snag up a room at Colebrook C.C. & Motel and it was the perfect base to explore the Dixville Notch area.

If they ’re all booked out or you ’re looking for something else, check out my other recommendations below.

  • Mid-range: Mohawk Cottages
  • Budget: Ladd Pond Cabins and Campground

You will spend today exploring the area around Colebrook and then return to the same hotel. Here is the itinerary for the day!

Breakfast at Mostly Muffins

Mostly Muffins is a breakfast-only cafe in the heart of Colebrook on Parsons Street. They open at 6 am on weekdays and 7 am on Saturdays (closed on Sundays) in case you want to wake up super early!

Muffins are available in a variety of flavors and you can grab one to go or eat in at the rustic cafe. They also serve amazing lattes – if you love sweet drinks, you have to try their maple latte!

If you would rather dine with a scenic view, ask for a takeaway and drive 5-minutes to Beaver Brook Falls. The scenery is absolutely mindblowing and there are lovely picnic tables where you can sit down and eat your breakfast while admiring the views.

Breakfast at Mostly Muffins in Colebrook NH

Table Rock Hike

Driving time: 15 minutes (10 miles/16 km) from Colebrook

The Table Rock Hike is a short but moderately challenging hike in the Dixville Notch State Park. This 1.5 miles (2.4 km) out and back route has an elevation gain of 750 feet (229 meters) and takes around 1 hour to complete. 

The trail is easy to follow but it can be prone to mud and slippery leaves so you will need to wear hiking boots. Especially the last part is challenging but nothing you can ’t handle with some caution.

Once you reach the top, you will be rewarded with views stretching out over the dense foliage of the state park and Lake Gloriette.

One thing to note though is that you will be standing at the edge of a cliff with a huge drop so make sure to be extra careful.

It’s a truly phenomenal addition to your New England fall road trip itinerary but you’ll need a head for heights. If you have fear of heights, this hike might not be the best option for you.

The trailhead for the Table Rock Hike is located on NH-26.

northeast fall trips

Lake Gloriette

After completing the Table Rock hike, it ’s worth taking a stroll around the shores of Lake Gloriette as well. It ’s absolutely breathtaking with all the fall colors and if you are lucky and the conditions are great, you can even see some insane reflections on the surface of the water.

You might be wondering: what is the building across the lake that looks like a fairytale castle? That ’s The Balsams resort, a grandiose hotel and ski resort. Unfortunately, it has been closed ever since 2011 for development purposes and it will remain closed until further notice.

Fall foliage at Lake Gloriette, Dixville Notch

Huntington Falls

Driving time: 2 minutes (1 miles/1.6 km) from Table Rock Trailhead

Huntingdon Falls is a gorgeous waterfall located in the woodlands. Once you park up on NH-26 at the Dixville Notch Wayside parking area, you’ll see a smaller waterfall first. This one is visible from the parking lot.

But a short walk through the forest brings you to a second fall that tumbles down from the ravine. The walk is a mere 0.4 miles (0.6 km) and it’s easy and takes less than 20 minutes to reach the second waterfall. 

The waterfall is only a few minutes drive from the Table Rock Hike trailhead. 

Girl in the forest at Hungtington Falls, Dixville Notch

Dinner at Black Bear Tavern

Driving time: 15 minutes (12 miles/19 km) back to Colebrook

Once you’re back in Colebrook, my recommendation for dinner is the Black Bear Tavern .

If the weather is comfortable, you can sit out on the terrace and enjoy a sundowner before eating. In addition to wines, beers, and spirits, the tavern has a great spread of signature cocktails. 

The food is high-quality American pub fare with the likes of burgers, grills, and shareable sides.  

In a nutshell, it’s exactly what you need in between a few days of hiking.

Dinner at Black Bear Tavern in Colebrook NH

Day 9: Franconia Notch and drive to Lincoln

You will check out of your Colebrook accommodation this morning and head towards Lincoln NH with some scenic stops on the way in Franconia Notch State Park. 

Hike to Artist ’s Bluff 

Driving time: 1 hour 20 minutes (65 miles/105 km) from Colebrook

Artist’s Bluff is a 0.5-mile (0.8 km) loop trail that rewards you with magical views of Franconia Notch State Park from the lookout. It’s stunning year-round but particularly special when visited during a fall road trip in New England.

The trail is quite steep and can be a bit slippery but it’s super short – it took us a solid 10-minute to get to the top. Definitely one of the most rewarding hikes I ’ve ever done!

I recommend leaving the car in the Cannon Mountain Rv Park as this is the closest one to the trailhead. The start of the trail is on Profile Road, you will see a wooden sign pointing you in the right direction.

You will come across a fork during your climb – make sure to keep right and follow the sign to Artist Bluff! The other trail is going up to Bald Mountain which is an amazing hike as well but definitely longer.

Once you get to the top, you can enjoy the view of Echo Lake and the surrounding mountains. It was one of my favorite viewpoints during our New England fall road trip!

northeast fall trips

Flume Gorge 

Driving time: 10 minutes (6.5 miles/10.5 km) from Artist ’s Bluff

Flume Gorge is located just outside of Lincoln, New Hampshire and it’s one of the most popular attractions in the White Mountains region.

The Flume Gorge is a natural chasm that was created by glaciers centuries ago. The walls of the gorge rise to a height of 70 feet (21 m) in some places and it’s home to a number of waterfalls.

You can explore this stunning natural attraction by following a 2-mile (3.2 km) nature trail through the gorge. The walk is super easy and it’s suitable for all fitness levels.

The entire loop takes around 1.5 hours to complete and the park usually closes at 4 pm so you need to be mindful of your timing.

Online reservations cost $18 while buying on-site is $21. In the fall season, tickets sell out pretty quickly and typically they don’t accept walk-ins so it ’s best to arrive with a reservation.

northeast fall trips

Lincoln NH 

Driving time: 10 minutes (5 miles/8 km) from Flume Gorge

Another night, another cute New England town to call home! Once you’re ready, you can head to your hotel in Lincoln, NH. I recommend booking one night here because tomorrow you ’re going on another adventure!

Where to stay in Lincoln

These are my picks for where to stay in Lincoln NH with different budgets in mind.

  • Luxury: RiverWalk Resort at Loon Mountain
  • Mid-range: Woodwards White Mountain Resort BW Signature Collection
  • Budget: Riverbank Motel and Cabins

Day 10: Scenic drive from Lincoln to Acadia National Park via Conway

Today will be all about road tripping, as you will drive all the way to Acadia National Park from Lincoln! You will drive through one of the most beloved mountain roads, Kancamagus Highways, where you can stop to see different attractions.

The whole driving time is 4.5 hours (245 miles/395 km) without any stops or traffic jams so essentially, you ’ll spend the whole day in transit. I recommend leaving as early as you can as the Kancamagus Highway is known for its insane traffic, especially during fall!

Breakfast at Flapjacks 

Today has many stops so head to Flapjacks on Main Street for a decent breakfast before you leave. They are legendary for pancakes (aka flapjacks, as they call them) with a good offering of sweet and savory variations that will power you up for the day ahead.

Flapjacks is really popular among locals and visitors as well so it ’s not uncommon to see lines in front of the restaurant. As I mentioned before, I suggest starting the day early! They usually open at 7 am.

northeast fall trips

Kancamagus Highway 

Driving time: 45 minutes (35 miles/56 km) to Conway from Lincoln via the Kancamagus Highway (excluding stops and traffic)

The Kancamagus Highway is one of the best fall drives in New England. It’s technically a 50-minute drive without stops from Lincoln to Conway but I would budget at least 3 hours so that you can stop at the amazing attractions as you pass through the White Mountains. 

I’ve written a complete guide about the Kancamagus Highway fall foliage drive with every possible information you could ever need to plan your drive. However, if you’re in a rush, you can check out the most famous attractions below.

Aerial view of Kancamagus Highway with Fall Foliage

Hancock Overlook

Hancock Overlook is a viewpoint that lets you take in the mountains towering above a blanket of autumnal foliage. It’s a quick stop but extremely worth stopping for if you catch the season just right. 

northeast fall trips

Sabbaday Falls

Pull over at the Sabbaday Falls Observation Site parking lot and from there it’s a very small hike to see this magical waterfall among the woodlands.

It takes around 15 minutes each way if you want to see the falls. 

Sabbaday Falls, New Hampshire

Rocky Gorge Scenic Area

Stop at the Rocky Gorge parking lot then you can walk to this scenic lookout at the side of the Swift River.

You’ll see a waterfall coming down the side of the huge boulders and rocks with trees surrounding the area. Again, the walk only takes around 15 minutes each way.

Girl at the Rocky Gorge Scenic Area along the Kancamagus Highway

Lower Falls

The Lower Falls is another pretty waterfall on the course of the Swift River. These are viewable after a short stroll from the Lower Falls parking lot on the Kancamagus Highway.

northeast fall trips

Albany Covered Bridge

One final covered bridge to star on your New England foliage road trip itinerary! This one passes over the Swift River toward the end of the Kancamagus Highway.

It was built in 1858 and renovated in 1970. There should be enough space to pull over and pop out to get a closer look and snap a few photos. 

northeast fall trips

Conway, New Hampshire

Conway is a small town located in eastern New Hampshire that marks the end of Kancamagus Highway.

This quaint town is the perfect place to stop for a bite to eat if you’re feeling hungry. One of the best-rated restaurants in Conway is Sweet Maple Cafe , which serves up amazing breakfast dishes, sandwiches, and salads. They do close at 2 pm so make sure you get there early!

Alternatively, you can stop at Fire 21 Pizza for a quick and tasty slice of pizza. This place is located right on Main Street and it’s the perfect spot to refuel after a day of exploring.

In terms of sightseeing, there are two covered bridges in Conway that are worth checking out: Swift River Covered Bridge and Saco River Covered Bridge.

Both bridges are located close to downtown and they’re easy to find. They’re also popular spots for photographers, so make sure you bring your camera!

northeast fall trips

Drive to Acadia National Park 

Driving time: 4 hours (211 miles/340 km) to Bar Harbor from Conway

After exploring Kancamagus Highway and stopping for a quick food break in Conway, you need to get back to your car as there is a long drive ahead of you.

The drive from Conway to Bar Harbor is a solid 4-hours which is one of the longest routes you ’ll have to tackle on this New England fall road trip.

Where to stay in Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park is located on an island that is connected to the mainland via road. You can stay in the park at one of the designated campgrounds if you want an immersive nature experience. Alternatively, there are hotels and guesthouses dotted around the island.

However, the best place to stay for the course of your visit is Bar Harbor. This is the main town within Acadia NP and has the widest variety of accommodation options as well as restaurants, shops, and amenities.

As you will likely stay for two nights, you can either stay at the same hotel for both nights of your fall road trip in New England. Or, you could stay at two different places and experience different parts of the park.

Your third option is to only stay one night at Acadia NP and then drive to Portland after your second day on the island. You can then stay the night in Portland.

If you want to know more about the best areas to stay in Acadia, check out my in-depth article about where to stay in Acadia , or if you’re in a rush, take a look at my top picks below.

  • Luxury: Bar Harbor Inn and Spa
  • Mid-range: Saltair Inn Waterfront B&B
  • Budget: Bar Harbor Manor

Days 11-12: Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park is located on Mount Desert Island and comprises 47,000 acres of coniferous forest, rocky beaches, and glacier-carved granite peaks.

You will note Cadillac Mountain – the highest point on the East Coast. 

As you have a car already, you can explore the park with your own vehicle. But, if you fancy taking a break from driving, you could always consider using the bus. 

The Island Explorer is a complimentary bus service that departs from Bar Harbor and links with the tourist spots and hiking trails within the park.

In addition to being free, the bus means that you will not encounter parking issues. Spaces are limited in Acadia, and since it ’s one of the most popular East Coast National Parks, sometimes it’s impossible to score a spot.

Particularly at this time of year because the Park Loop Road easily constitutes one of the best fall foliage drives in New England.

Read Next: Acadia National Park in the Fall: Practical Info & Tips for Visiting

Sand Beach in Acadia National Park

Best things to do in Acadia National Park

Once you’ve decided how you’re going to get around, here are the best things to do in Acadia. In case you prefer a step-by-step itinerary, you can refer to my in-depth guide on how to spend 2 days in Acadia National Park .

Walk (or drive) Ocean Path

Ocean Path is a scenic route that connects Sand Beach with Otter Point. 

The trail is 2 miles (3.2 km) and an easy, flat walk. On the way, you will encounter Thunder Hole – a chasm where waves crash and create the sound of thunder. You should expect to complete the out-and-back trail in less than 2 hours.

If you would rather save time for other hikes, you can drive Ocean Path in your vehicle and enjoy the ocean views along the way.

Thunder Hole, Acadia National Park

Hike to the Beehive Lookout 

Naturally, there are dozens of hiking trails in Acadia NP that you can enjoy during the two days of your New England fall foliage road trip. 

The Beehive Lookout is one of the best places for views in the entire park. However, you should note that the Beehive Trail is an extremely challenging hike that is intended only for advanced hikers with climbing experience and no issues with heights. It requires you to shimmy along a vertical cliff.

However, you can decide to follow the Bowl Trail instead, which departs from the same trailhead as the Beehive Trail. If you take a shortcut through the forest, you will end up at the Beehive Lookout without having to do the hard climb!

Girl at the summit of the Beehive Trail in Acadia National Park

Follow the Jordan Pond Path

If you have time for another hike, the Jordan Pond Path is a lovely choice. At 3.1 miles (5 km) and with flat terrain, the hike can be completed in 1-1.5 hours and is not challenging. 

If you want to extend the hike then you can merge this route with another hike: the Bubbles Trail. The Bubbles is the name given to the two mountains, North Bubble and South Bubble. You’ll spot them as you walk around the lake but summiting them yields an incredible 360-degree view of the area. 

This results in a moderate 7.4 km (4.6 miles) loop hike beginning and culminating at the Jordan Pond Path trailhead. This option does have some pretty steep sections as you venture up through the forest but it’s worth it for the views.

northeast fall trips

Catch the sunset at Cadillac Mountain 

Cadillac Mountain is 1,530 feet (466 meters) tall and is the highest peak on the East Coast of the US. You can drive to the summit via Cadillac Summit Road and see incredible views over Jordan Pond and the surrounding ranges.

However, you must reserve your drive in advance. This is to prevent overcrowding and carries a small conservation fee of $6 per vehicle. 

30% of the allocated spaces are bookable 90 days ahead of the date. Meanwhile, the remaining 70% are released at 10 am two days ahead of your intended date. You’ll need to be super organized in advance or super crafty at the last minute!

Sunrise and sunset are the most popular times but it’s usually easier to secure a reservation for Golden Hour.

Sunset from Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park

Take a boat tour 

A boat tour is a perfect way to see some wildlife during your New England fall road trip.

Tours depart until late October from Bar Harbor and you will stand a chance of spotting eagles, porpoises, seals, whales, and other marine creatures. 

The 2-hour Sightseeing & Nature Cruise with Acadian Boat Tours is one of the most comprehensive options. On the other hand, the 3.5-hour variation takes you to see the puffins which is always going to be a win!

Where to eat in Acadia

Hiking requires a solid base of energy! Here are my recommendations for where to eat in Acadia NP. 

  • Cafe This Way : This Bar Harbor cafe opens bright and early at 6.30 am and is a great spot for breakfast before road tripping around the national park. Eggs, pancakes, French toast, and organic granola will keep you full all day. 
  • 2 Cats Bar Harbor : Another amazing breakfast place to fuel up for the day! They prepare bagels, French toast, pancakes, and nutritious homemade granola alongside bottomless coffee and freshly squeezed juices.
  • Atlantic Brewing Midtown : Sample locally brewed beer with a hot dog or pretzel at this funky brewery. There’s a terrace which is perfect for catching the last of the sunshine. 
  • Jordan Pond House : This attractive restaurant offers views of Jordan Pond and the mountains. Order catch of the day and don’t miss their popovers. 
  • Side Street Cafe : This ambient eatery focuses on burgers, clam chowder, and lobster-based dishes. 

Breakfast at 2 Cats Bar Harbor

Day 13: Portland 

Driving time: 3 hours (175 miles/282 km) from Bar Harbor to Portland

Today you will be visiting one of the prettiest places along the East Coast: Portland, Maine!

Portland is the most populous city in Maine and it’s a worthy addition to your New England fall road trip. This historic city is located on a peninsula and it’s known for its working waterfront, as well as its beautiful lighthouses.

Spending one day in Portland Maine will give you the chance to visit the highlights, however, since it ’s quite far away from Bar Harbor and you still have to drive to Salem afterward, this might feel like too much driving/not enough time to explore the city.

Therefore, an alternative option is to drive to Portland from Acadia NP the previous evening and spend the night there. You can take a look and see which option you prefer and customize the fall foliage New England road trip as you see fit. 

View of Downtown Portland from

Best things to do in Portland

Portland, Maine is known for its historic downtown area and its influx of lighthouses, many of which remain in use. Here are the best things to do when spending one day in Portland. 

Wander around the Old Port

Old Port is Portland’s historic district and features cobblestone streets and beautifully preserved buildings. The waterfront bustles with restaurants, cafes, fish markets, and shops.

This is a great place to stretch your legs after the long drive from today’s leg of the New England fall road trip while tucking into a lobster roll. 

Old Port in Portland, Maine

Visit the Portland Observatory

The Portland Observatory was built in 1807 and originally served as a communication station for the port. It is the only wooden signal towel that still exists in the area. 

After various renovation work during the 20th century and the turn of the 21st century, the Observatory was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

You can go inside the observatory during the summer season until mid-October. Guided tours run on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays while Tuesdays and Wednesdays switch to self-guided tours. 

You can book your tickets online in advance; admission is $10. 

Tick off the prettiest lighthouses in Portland

As a testament to the importance of Portland Harbor during the 18th and 19th centuries, you can find many beautiful lighthouses in Portland .

With one day in the city, you can check out a couple of them during your New England foliage road trip. If so, expect this to take up most of the afternoon. 

Bug Light sits across the bay from the Old Port in Bug Light Park. Officially it’s called the Portland Breakwater Lighthouse but it earned its nickname due to how petite it is. 

Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse is a short drive from Bug Light and you can visit it in conjunction with Fort Preble. This lighthouse sits on a rocky promenade and you can walk out to the end to get a closer look at the building.  

Portland Head Light is the most iconic of the famous Maine lighthouses. It’s located in Fort Williams Park, Cape Elizabeth – 5 miles (8 km) south of Downtown Portland. You can drive there in 15 minutes from the town center and then continue with your drive south to Salem. 

Look across the bay and you might be able to spot Ram Island Ledge Light Station!

Bug Light in Portland, Maine

Where to eat in Portland

Portland is a great place to sample local seafood and shellfish specialties. But if you’re not keen on fish, there are plenty of other options.

These are my recommendations for where to eat in Portland for lunch or before heading to your hotel in Salem.

  • DiMillo’s on the Water : This nautical-themed restaurant offers harbor and ocean views and a menu that celebrates the best seafood and shellfish dishes that Portland is known for. 
  • Flatbread Company : For those who aren’t a fan of seafood, turn your attention to this waterside pizzeria. Pizzas are prepared with a wood burner and use organic ingredients and homemade sauces. There are plenty of options for gluten and dairy-free diners. 
  • Central Provisions : Lip-smacking small plates, awesome cocktails, and an unbeatable atmosphere! Menus change seasonally and produce is locally sourced.
  • Holy Donut : If you’re not that hungry or you’re looking for something sweet, check out Holy Donut. These legendary donuts are made using a potato base and come in a variety of innovative flavors including maple bacon, dark chocolate sea salt, honey lavender, and even cannoli.

Holy Donut in Portland Maine

Drive to Salem, Massachusetts

Driving time: 1 hour 30 minutes (97 miles/156 km) from Portland to Salem

After spending the day (or at least a couple of hours) in Portland, get back to your car and drive 1.5 hours to your final stop on this New England itinerary: Salem, MA.

Where to stay in Salem

A final reminder about how quickly accommodation in New England gets booked up in the fall season. Of all the places, Salem is one of the busiest especially as you inch closer to Halloween when the town has heaps going on.

Salem offers a wonderful mix of historic hotels and cozy inns that are right in the town center. These are my top picks for where to stay in Salem.

  • Luxury: Northey Street House
  • Mid-range: The Merchant
  • Budget: Hawthorne Hotel

Day 14: Salem

It’s the last day of your fall foliage New England road trip! You’ll spend the day in Salem before heading back to Boston to complete the itinerary. Unless you want to spend a few extra nights in Salem!

Everyone’s heard of Salem and knows roughly about the history of the Salem Witch Trials. However, until you visit the town for yourself, it’s impossible to truly grasp the extent of the events that occurred in 1692.

These events are traced back to January 1692 when both the daughter and niece of Puritan Reverend Samuel Parris of Salem Village were taken ill. William Griggs, the village doctor, diagnosed the young women with bewitchment.

Thus, the trials began with accusations being cast at the women and men of Salem. 19 of the accused lost their lives to hanging while one man was pressed to death and countless other victims died in prison.

Modern-day Salem is a charming small town that recounts the events and honors those who lost their lives to the hysteria with the Salem Witch Trials Memorial.

The Witch House at Salem

Best things to do in Salem

There are lots of spooky things to do in Salem in the fall season. But, there is also a large choice of historic and outdoor attractions as well. Here are the best things to do in Salem.

See what’s on at Salem Haunted Happenings 

Salem Haunted Happenings is an annual celebration of Halloween and fall that has taken place since 1982.

The program runs across the whole month of October and has events like parades, spooky movie screenings, costume balls, performances, and bespoke ghost tours.

You can find out what’s on this year by consulting the Haunted Happenings website or by downloading the free app.

northeast fall trips

Visit the Hocus Pocus filming locations

The family Halloween movie of 1993 starring Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker was set and filmed in Salem. You can visit a number of Hocus Pocus filming locations while in town either independently or as part of a guided tour.

The Salem “Hocus Pocus” Movie Locations Walking Tour only occurs during the fall season. So, seeing as you’re planning a New England fall trip itinerary, you can seize the opportunity. 

northeast fall trips

Check out the Peabody Essex Museum

For an entirely different change of pace, visit the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM). This gallery explores American and Asian art, architecture, and design and places an emphasis on cultural understanding and the importance of innovation.

You can visit the permanent collection and check what the latest special exhibition is. 

Besides the vast art on display, PEM features a garden and a cafe space in a beautiful modern atrium that’s filled with light. Admission to PEM is $20.

Tour witchy museums

It goes without saying that most of the attractions in Salem are witch-themed. Choose to visit the Witch Dungeon Museum where actors will walk you through the happenings of the 1692 Salem Witch Trials before inviting you to explore the dungeon artifacts. 

Meanwhile, the Salem Witch Museum is a sculpture exhibit with a voiceover of the events as well as an exploration of modern-day witchcraft.

The Witch House at Salem served as the home of Judge Jonathan Corwin who presided over the Salem Witch Trial. Built in 1675, the house hosted some of the preliminary questionings.

Nowadays it contains objects and artifacts from the time of the Witch Trials and gives you a sense of how the wealthy lived during the 17th century. 

If you’re traveling with kids for this New England fall road trip, then do check out the Halloween Museum of Salem .

northeast fall trips

Where to eat in Salem

Downtown Salem offers a mix of quirky cafes, global eats, and friendly taverns with comforting American fare. Here are my suggestions for where to eat in Salem.

  • Bella Verona : This cozy trattoria whips up authentic Italian fare that will convince you that you’re in the Tuscan hills. Save space for dessert – their homemade cannoli are top-notch. 
  • Wolf Next Door Coffee : This cute cafe specializes in breakfast sandwiches and muffins, pies, baked goods, and excellent coffee. They cater well to vegans and vegetarians.
  • Mercy Tavern : A laid-back gastropub that focuses on New England comfort food and international favorites. Menus change frequently but you can expect the likes of burgers, mac ‘n’ cheese, and fish tacos. 

Drive back to Boston

Driving time: 30 minutes (22 miles/35.4 km) to Boston 

After touring all the spooky places in Salem, all that ’ s left to do from your New England fall road trip itinerary is to drive back to Boston and return your rental.

In case you have some more time on your hands, it ’s worth sticking around for a couple more days in Boston but even if you don ’t, I think you had an action-filled road trip that you will remember for a long time!

Planning a trip to New England?

Then you might want to take a look at all our other travel guides about New England. I promise, they are just as awesome as this article was!

  • Vermont in the Fall: Travel Tips & Best Places to Visit
  • 16 Incredible Things to Do in Woodstock VT
  • 17 Amazing Things to Do in Stowe, Vermont
  • 17 Incredible Covered Bridges in Vermont You Need to Visit

New Hampshire:

  • Kancamagus Highway Fall Foliage Drive: 9 Best Attractions & Tips for Visiting

Massachusetts:

  • How to Spend One Day in Boston: Itinerary & Best Things to Do
  • 13 Best Day Trips from Boston You Can’t Miss
  • Where to Stay in Boston: 8 Best Areas & Hotels
  • 19 Spooky Things to Do in Salem MA in October
  • How to Spend One Day in Acadia National Park
  • The Perfect 2 Days in Acadia National Park Itinerary
  • Acadia National Park in the Fall: Practical Info & Tips for Visiting
  • How to Spend One Day in Portland, Maine
  • 5 Prettiest Lighthouses in Portland Maine You Can’t Miss

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New England Summer & Fall 8 Day Tour from USD $1924 #1 In Value

Dear Traveler, Welcome to a great vacation at an affordable price. Your New England tour is fully guided and includes all hotels, activities, and some meals. Happy Travels! Caravan

2024 Daily Tour Itinerary

Day 1 • boston, massachusetts, day 2 • plymouth rock, hyannis, day 3 • martha’s vineyard, day 4 • rhode island, connecticut, day 5 • norman rockwell, vermont, day 6 • white mountains, new hampshire, day 7 • portland, southern coast of maine, day 8 • maine to boston, fall foliage in new england, 2024 hotels, embassy suites logan airport, days 2, 3 • hyannis, cape cod, massachusetts, doubletree hilton hyannis, day 4 • mystic area, connecticut, mystic hilton, day 5 • mount snow, vermont, mount snow grand summit resort, the glen house, day 7 • southern coast of maine, anchorage by the sea resort, ogunquit, airport transfers, arrival transfers, departure transfers, passports & visas, weather & clothing, temperature °f (high/low) rainfall (inches), clothing tips, travel tips & faqs, are meals included, children on tour, family trips, my tour price does not include, my tour price includes, age of travelers on a caravan tour, forms of payment, many tours sell out each year, fully guided tours since 1952, size of tour group, a well-paced itinerary, caravan’s $129 travel protection, customer reviews.

"This was my dream vacation and along with my husband, best friend and her husband, I couldn’t have asked for a better time. Breakfasts were amazing, the hotels very nice clean and the scenery was just beautiful. The sights were awesome, more than I ever expected. The colors were perfect and the history was out of this world. Saw everything we hoped for plus more than was planned. The fall foliage was at the perfect time and was beautiful. I would definitely take another tour with Caravan. It was a lifetime experience. Everything I wanted to see. Thank you." Mr. & Mrs. S.B., Minot, North Dakota
"Beautiful, magnificent hotels. The views from the hotels in the mountains were breathtaking. The photo stops were great and offered all the marvelous views of each state. Sightseeing was awesome, so many things to see and do." Ms. N.K., Apopka, Florida
"Thoroughly enjoyed my first trip with Caravan Tours - will return for other trips! Enjoyed all the sightseeing opportunities and added ideas from our director, who was excellent and pointed out sites to see for pictures. Gave historical info, added stories, answered questions. Provided materials and maps and was always very polite, friendly and cheerful. We had sufficient time to enjoy the surroundings and take pictures. Enjoyed the variety of activities, films, displays. All the hotels were four to five star with clean comfortable beds and self controlled environments. Just a lovely time all around. Will share with friends." Mr. & Mrs. J.A., Tucson, Arizona
"Over the top! First time to New England and I really felt we covered so much, enough to suit everyone. I’m an artist and took so many pics, I’ll be painting from them for years to come. This was the first guided tour we had ever taken so we did not know what to expect. Tour was GREAT. We thought going in that would be lots of down (boring) time. Wrong. All the activities were well-planned and fun. Tour was set up to provide much to see. The time went by fast and colorfully. We were told by a couple that wasn’t on the tour who saw our Caravan luggage tags that we would have a great time and that Caravan does the best tours. SO TRUE! Thanks for a wonderful trip." Mr. & Mrs. E.L., Aurora, Colorado
"The Caravan value is unsurpassed. We would highly recommend this tour to anyone who has never traveled to New England states, loves history and beautiful scenery. We were fortunate to enjoy a late fall foliage. Photo stops abound on the multistate tour. We really enjoyed the history and beauty of the region. Our tour guide left no question unanswered. We loved the smaller boutique hotels and the condo with the fireplace." Mrs. C.D., Reisterstown, Maryland
"This was my first guided tour, and I feel like I hit the jackpot. Our director shared insights into history and was attentive to our needs. Our team worked together to offer us the best views and colors, even making some adjustments along the way. All our short stops were for rest and conveniences and beautiful photo opportunities. All our main activities were well-planned, with plenty of time to enjoy each stop, and the colors were breathtaking. I truly enjoyed this trip. I enjoyed meeting new people and our weather was spectacular. I will definitely recommend Caravan to others." Ms. F.L., Rusk, Texas
"Excellent. We learned so much more of our country’s history, and our TD was the best. Couldn’t have asked for better. We all laughed and had a great time. We were so pleased with everything we did. All the staff at each hotel were wonderful, and the seafood was terrific. So nice to not worry about our bags and rooms. Love your company and will tell everyone what a great time we had. You are the best!" Mr. & Mrs. S.M., Bayfield, Colorado

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northeast fall trips

10 Places to Visit in New England in Fall

Already dreaming about foliage season? These 10 places to visit in New England in fall are a great way to kick off a weekend of fun.

By Yankee Magazine

Oct 06 2021

Cog Railway 1 6×9

The Cog Railway winds through colorful foliage towards the summit of Mt. Washington.

Fall is one of the best times to visit New England: the air is crisp, the apples are ripe, and the leaves are colorful. The only real downside might be that there’s just too much to experience! Never fear — we’ve compiled a list of 10 places to visit in New England in fall that will help you make the most of the season, and maybe even inspire the perfect fall weekend getaway. Read on for our picks for the best places to see fall foliage in New England.

weekend trips in new england

Ranging from the rustic to the historical, our picks are located in some of the most beautiful places in the region — from the shores of Rhode Island to the mountains of Maine. No matter where you end up going, though, you’re sure to find plenty of that stunning New England fall foliage.

Ready to start planning your perfect fall weekend in New England? We think these 10 places to visit in New England in fall are the perfect spots to inspire several days of fun.

Plan Your Perfect Summer Adventure: Get The Free Ultimate New England Summer Guide!

10 great places to visit in new england in fall.

The Great Vermont Corn Maze

The Great Vermont Corn Maze | St. Johnsbury Region, VT

Located within Vermont’s fabled Northeast Kingdom, the St. Johnsbury region is home to a multitude of outdoor fall activities. One of the best corn mazes in New England is the Great Vermont Corn Maze in North Danville, where visitors can spend hours exploring the mammoth agricultural construction (and for the more impatient among us, there are “cheater poles” along the way to permit a quicker exit). Also on the premises are a barnyard nature center and a smaller maze geared for younger children.

Everyone who finds this place is enthusiastic about it, but beware: GPS is not always reliable in Vermont. Begin at the blinking light on Rt. 2 in Danville and head north. It’s wise to download the map from the website.

For a complete list of favorite things to see, places to stay, and things to do in the St. Johnsbury region in fall, see 10 Perfect Fall Weekends in New England .

Vermont Icelandic Horse Farm | Mad River Valley, VT

Tired of enjoying those gorgeous mountain views on foot? Do it on horseback instead! At the Vermont Icelandic Horse Farm, you can take a guided ride through the beautiful Vermont countryside on an Icelandic horse. Brought to Iceland by the Vikings, these strong, pony-sized mounts are used for one- and two-hour, half- and full-day trail rides.

For a complete list of favorite things to see, places to stay, and things to do in the Mad River Valley in fall, see 10 Perfect Fall Weekends in New England .

weekend trips in new england

Mount Washington Cog Railway | Mount Washington Valley, NH

In 1869, the Mount Washington Cog Railway was such a novel idea that its creator was told he might as well “build a railway to the moon.” We’re glad Sylvester Marsh continued on with his dream. Today, the world’s most iconic cog railroad is still operating with steam engines angled for the steep (average 25% grade), 3.25-mile climb from Crawford Notch to the summit. Visit in the fall to enjoy the colorful fall foliage that lines the railway — until you hit the tree line, that is!

For a complete list of favorite things to see, places to stay, and things to do in the Mount Washington Valley in fall, see 10 Perfect Fall Weekends in New England .

10 Best Things to Do in Maine in Fall

Sunday River Resort | Bethel Region, ME

Located only minutes from the quaint mountain town of Bethel, Sunday River operates as a ski resort during the winter months, but opens its facilities for a variety of outdoor activities the rest of the year. Ride up to North Peak on an open chair or gondola lift, or take a zip line tour of nearby treetops. The resort also offers 20 miles of lift-accessed mountain bike trails and the opportunity to play at the 18-hole Sunday River Golf Club.

For a complete list of favorite things to see, places to stay, and things to do in the Bethel region in fall, see 10 Perfect Fall Weekends in New England .

10 Places to Visit in New England in Fall

Hildene | Manchester Village, VT

Many presidents have visited Manchester over the years, but it was Lincoln’s family who made the village a second home. A visit here must include a stop at the 412-acre estate created by Robert Todd Lincoln, the president’s only son to live to adulthood. Plan to spend several hours between the Welcome Center, the 24-room mansion and gardens, Hildene Farm, and the 12-plus miles of walking trails. Bring a picnic, and you’ll get the full effect for why we’ve named Hildene one of our favorite places to visit in New England in fall.

SEE MORE: Hildene | The Lincoln Family Summer Home in Manchester, VT

For a complete list of favorite things to see, places to stay, and things to do in Manchester Village, VT in fall, see 10 Perfect Fall Weekends in New England .

10 Places to Visit in New England in Fall

Mount Greylock | Williamstown Region, MA

At 3,491 feet, Mount Greylock is the highest point in Massachusetts and has views that encompass five states. The mountain is located on a state reservation that borders several nearby towns, including Williamstown, and is accessible from Rt. 2 in North Adams and Rt. 7 in Lanesborough. At the base of the mountain, you’ll find the Mount Greylock Visitor Center, where you can pick up a trail map before starting your upward trek. For the less hiking-inclined, Mt. Greylock also sports an auto road with a parking lot at the summit.

SEE MORE: The New American Hogwarts at Mount Greylock is So New England and We Love It

For a complete list of favorite things to see, places to stay, and things to do in the Williamstown region in fall, see 10 Perfect Fall Weekends in New England .

10 Places to Visit in New England in Fall

Damariscotta Pumpkinfest & Regatta | Damariscotta, ME

Every Columbus Day weekend, Damariscotta celebrates its annual Pumpkinfest and Regatta. Main events include a pumpkin parade, pumpkin boat races, and a crane-assisted pumpkin smashing! If that’s not enough to make you want to visit, let us also remind you that Damariscotta ranks among the prettiest coastal towns in Maine !

For a complete list of favorite things to see, places to stay, and things to do in Damariscotta in fall, see 10 Perfect Fall Weekends in New England .

10 Places to Visit in New England in Fall |

The Bridge of Flowers | Shelburne Falls, MA

Originally built to carry trolleys, this New England icon now serves as a unique common for the village of Shelburne Falls. The hundreds of flowers and shrubs that line the bridge’s path are beautiful, and the views of the river and nearby mountains are especially stunning in the fall. Shops on both sides of the river showcase quality works by area craftspeople, and on weekends (through Oct.) a restored 1896 trolley makes short runs from the nearby Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum .

SEE MORE:  The Bridge of Flowers│From Ragweed to Roses

For a complete list of favorite things to see, places to stay, and things to do in Shelburne Falls in fall, see 10 Perfect Fall Weekends in New England .

10 Places to Visit in New England in Fall

Kent Falls State Par k | Kent, CT

A bench-spotted trail winds up the slope beside Kent Falls, where visitors can take in a series of cascades and pools. Park facilities include picnic tables and grills, which can be found dotted among open fields. In the past, Kent was named one of the best towns for fall foliage by Yankee Magazine , so you can be sure you’ll experience a real New England fall here.

For a complete list of favorite things to see, places to stay, and things to do in Kent in fall, see 10 Perfect Fall Weekends in New England .

10 Places to Visit in New England in Fall

Coggeshall Farm Museum | Bristol, RI

Famed for its mid-September Harvest Fair, this 1790s saltwater farm is a favorite for photographers well into October, when marsh grass in the Mill Gut turn bronze and the maples still glow in Bristol, Rhode Island . A final checkmark for our “favorite places to visit in New England in fall” list? Staff in period dress work inside and out and mind the heritage breed sheep, cows, and multi-colored “Dung” chickens.

For a complete list of favorite things to see, places to stay, and things to do in Bristol in fall, see 10 Perfect Fall Weekends in New England .

What tops your list of favorite places to visit in New England in fall? Let us know!

This post was first published in 2016 and has been updated.

MORE NEW ENGLAND FOLIAGE: Best Corn Mazes in New England Prettiest Fall Foliage Villages in Vermont Best Apple Orchards in New England 5 Best Pumpkin Festivals in New England

northeast fall trips

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New England New Hampshire Fall

10 BEST FALL FOLIAGE GETAWAYS IN THE NORTHEAST

Published on February 5, 2020

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It's said that good things happen when you travel off the beaten path so why not explore one of these under-the-radar spots in New England and Canada? Hike through Acadia National Park in marvelous Maine or try your hand at rock climbing in mountainous Canmore. No matter your destination, incredible fall getaways are waiting for you. You won't regret adding these beautiful, adventure-packed gems to your bucket list.

Looking for cool things to do in New England ? New England and Canada are rife with adventurous activities — especially in these under-the-radar towns and cities. Home to the most vibrant fall scenery in North America, these destinations throughout the Northeast and Canada make for incredible fall getaways.

1. Fall for Northeast Harbor

Maine Bar harbor Acadia Park Fall Trees

Bar Harbor is a popular coastal town on Mount Desert Island in Maine. It acts as a gateway to picturesque Acadia National Park. Bar Harbor can get busy during high season, so you should head to the "quiet side" of the island, where you'll find the smaller but still photogenic town of Northeast Harbor — a summer residence for the Rockefeller family, the owners of Rockefeller Center in New York City. Just like Bar Harbor, it's very close to Acadia National Park, which is one of the 10 most-visited national parks in the United States, known for its hiking trails and spectacular fall scenery. Spend a day visiting stunning gardens like Asticou Azalea Garden and Thuya Garden. And when you get hungry, experience authentic New England with a tasty, fresh lobster roll or bowl of fish chowder from Colonel's Restaurant and Bakery. The area definitely makes for one of the best fall getaways in the Northeast. If you want to do even more exploring outside of Northeast Harbor, there's another hidden gem just across the water — Southwest Harbor.

2. Go Whale-Watching in Tadoussac

Nova Scotia Halifax Whale Tail

Tadoussac in Quebec is one of the top places to visit in Canada. The historic maritime village is conveniently located an hour-and-a-half drive from Saguenay . Founded in 1599, Tadoussac is not only one of the oldest villages in North America — it was North America's first permanent French settlement as well. It's also one of the world's best whale-watching destinations. It sits at the meeting place of the freshwater Saguenay River and the saltwater St. Lawrence River, which is a rich feeding ground for marine mammals, including minke and blue whales. Peak whale watching time in Tadoussac is between June and September. Visiting during the fall means fewer visitors but the same amount of breath-taking whale sightings. After a busy day of whale watching off the coast, settle in for some delicious French cuisine at Cafe Boheme.

3. Be Won Over by Woodstock

New England Woodstock Jenne Farm

Woodstock is a quintessential New England town and one of the best fall getaways in the Northeast. Located in Vermont and surrounded by the Green Mountains, the town is filled with locally-owned shops, craft breweries and farm-to-table dining experiences. Don't miss a visit to Woodstock Farmer's Market, which is open Tuesdays and Saturdays. Its stalls are fully stocked with locally-made products such as spreads, rows of cheese (glorious cheese), ice cream and sandwiches, if you're looking for lunch. Just outside of Woodstock, you'll find Jenne Farm, said to be New England's most photographed farm; Billings Farm & Museum, which is a working dairy farm; and the woodland trails of Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. You will instantly be charmed by Woodstock's covered bridges, natural beauty and friendly locals. One of the best places to stay in town is the Woodstock Inn and Resort, which is known as Vermont's most beautiful address.

4. Enjoy an Adventurous Vacation in Canmore

Canada Canmore Park Mountains Fall Hike Trails

Canmore is an underrated alternative to the very popular Canadian Rocky Mountain town of Banff. A quick 20-minute drive from Banff, Canmore is a mountainside town with a more relaxed and rugged feel compared to its counterpart. It's perfect for an adventurous Canadian vacation without the crowds. Canmore's Nordic Centre hosted events in the 1988 Winter Olympics and today, it's a top mountain biking and cross-country skiing destination (depending on the season), with over 160 kilometers of trails. Other thrilling experiences await you in Canmore, including white water rafting, hiking and rock climbing.

Fall is the picture-perfect time to visit Canmore. You can spot moose when they're most active and go on a hike or bike ride to see the region's stunning fall scenery. Don't miss capturing a photo of The Three Sisters, a photogenic trio of peaks. As if that wasn't enough, the mountain town also has a booming food and drink scene, as it's home to distilleries, breweries and award-winning restaurants. For mountain views and creative fine dining, try Crazyweed Kitchen.

5. Get Away to Gloucester

Gloucester Lighthouse Harbor, Boston, Massachusetts

Move aside, Cape Cod, there's a new Massachusetts Cape in town. Located on Cape Ann, Gloucester has all the best bits of Cape Cod without the masses of tourists. What more could you want from a fall getaway in New England?

Settled in 1623, Gloucester is actually the oldest seaport in the United States. Cool things to do in this New England town include swimming at Good Harbor Beach, going whale watching between May and October, visiting Maritime Gloucester and Hammond Castle, checking out the sweeping views from the village of Magnolia, and eating seafood at The Gloucester House. You also shouldn't miss Rocky Neck Art Colony, one of America's oldest continuously operating art colonies where painters, photographers and jewelry designers display their work. For anyone who loves to fish, you're in the right place. In fact, the town is the setting of the National Geographic reality TV show "Wicked Tuna" and the film "The Perfect Storm."

6. Set Sail for St. John's

St. Johns Newfoundland Quidi Vidi

St. John's is a fun and scenic city with a friendly small-town vibe. The area is steeped in history and is home to a creative and young community, brightly colored buildings begging to be photographed, and an innovative dining scene. When you arrive in St John's, take in the panoramic views from Signal Hill and Cape Spear Lighthouse National Historic Site. Spend a day visiting the charming fishing village of Quidi Vidi, and learn more about the area at The Rooms museum. Wrap up the day by checking out the colorful buildings on Jellybean Row, and spend the night eating and drinking along George Street. There's no doubt, St. John's is one of the top places to visit in Canada.

7. Sea the Sights in Stonington

Connecticut Stonington Old Lighthouse Museum

Located on the east coast, Stonington, Connecticut is less than an hour's drive from both Providence and Newport in Rhode Island . Selected as one of New England's prettiest coastal towns by New England Today, Stonington's top attractions include The Old Lighthouse Museum, Saltwater Farm Vineyard, DuBois Beach and Enders Island. You'll be swept up in Stonington's small-town charm when you take a walk down Water Street, which is lined with boutiques, art galleries and eateries. If you're traveling with the family, Mystic is just down the road from Stonington and it's home to the Mystic Seaport Museum and Aquarium. If you're feeling hungry, you can't go wrong with Noah's Restaurant or Dog Watch Cafe, which are two local favorites.

8. Take in the Interesting Flowerpot Island

Canada Ontario Boat Ride Georgian Bay Fall

Flowerpot Island is part of Ontario's Fathom Five National Marine Park. A four-hour drive from Toronto, it's only accessible by boat between May and October. Named after two beachfront flowerpot-like rock pillars (or sea stacks) located on the gorgeous eastern shore, this small island has a lot to offer. Discover its ancient caves, visit the historic Flowerpot Lightstation, and enjoy a hike along the coast and through the forest, spotting the island's population of rare plants. If you're feeling adventurous, brave the cold but clear waters of Georgian Bay on a snorkeling adventure or stay above water on a boat cruise.

9. Let Portsmouth Charm You

New England New Hampshire Strawbery Banke Museum

Portsmouth is a charming coastal town in New Hampshire and is conveniently located on the coast between Boston and Portland, Maine . It was settled in the early 1600s and you can learn more about the town's history at Strawbery Banke Museum, a 10-acre, 32-building outdoor living history museum that preserves the oldest neighborhood in the state. You can also hop aboard a traditional steamboat for a tour around Portsmouth Harbor, the Isles of Shoals and Star Island.

The town is also known for its vibrant arts scene. There are plenty of art galleries to peruse and The Music Hall, the town's performing arts center, puts on events including movie screenings and concerts. If you're visiting Portsmouth with the family, you should make a beeline for Water Country, New England's largest water park. There are thrilling water slides, a wave pool and an Adventure River. You can also go see the Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse or head to nearby beaches, including Wallis Sands State Beach in Rye, Maine.

10. Be Surprised By Sydney

Cape Brenton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia, Sydney

Located on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, Sydney is often overlooked by visitors but is one of the top places to visit in Canada. Sydney is home to the world's largest fiddle, which honors the local music scene, and is the closest major city to Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The Cabot Trail circles the national park and is known as one of the world's most scenic drives. It looks its best during the fall months, when the surrounding trees explode with color.

Back in Sydney, some of the top things to do in the seaside town include visiting the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site, learning more about Nova Scotia's Gaelic culture at the Highland Village Museum, checking out the Big Fiddle Market and enjoying a seafood lunch at Flavor on the Water.

Fall is the ideal time of year to explore these coastal New England towns and Canadian treasures. And these are only some of the extraordinary and under-the-radar destinations you'll find. Add them to your bucket list and head out to experience an incredible fall getaway in the Northeast.

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14 Fall Road Trips for Stunning Scenery Around the U.S.

Looking for the perfect fall drive to see the changing leaves? These road trips offer colorful foliage and incredible views.

Take advantage of cooler temperatures and beautiful foliage by planning a fall road trip through some of the United States' most scenic regions. In the Northeast, see the colorful changing leaves on an autumnal journey through mountain landscapes , or head south to the Gulf Coast, where you'll find warm weather and ocean views. With these 14 routes through the most picturesque states around the country, you're bound to find a perfect autumn getaway.

Blue Ridge Mountains, Georgia

When you think of places to see fall foliage, New England destinations probably come to mind, but southern parts of the country have beautiful colors, too. A road trip through Georgia's Blue Ridge Mountains offers stunning foliage without the cold weather you'd find up north.

Start at The Russell Brasstown Scenic Byway in the northern part of the state, which takes you through the Blue Ridge Mountains along the Chattahoochee River. Stop in Helen , a mountain town modeled after a quaint Bavarian village, and at Brasstown Bald, the highest natural point in Georgia and the ultimate foliage viewing vantage point. Clayton, an old mountain town with antique shops, galleries, and restaurants, is also worth a visit. Take a hike in the nearby Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, or try wineries and vineyards in Georgia Wine Country. Then, head east to the Tallulah Gorge State Park , where you can explore a 1,000-foot chasm carved over millions of years by the Tallulah River.

Rhode Island

The country's smallest state is packed with fall activities, and you won't have long drives between them. You can check out Rail Explorers in Portsmouth, where pedal-powered vehicles trace historic railroad tracks on 90-minute tours. Then head to Bristol to see historic mansions like Blithewold and finally, make your way along Rhode Island's Brewery Trail , which includes dozens of watering holes conveniently located off the main state highways. Don't miss Foolproof Brewing Company in Pawtucket, where you can also tour the brewery and learn more about how beer is made.

Finger Lakes Region, New York

Not far from the Big Apple, the Finger Lakes region is an oasis of fall foliage and quiet country scenery. Leaving from New York City, head west through New Jersey and Pennsylvania and stop at Gouldsboro or Tobyhanna State Park along the way. Make a detour to see Jim Thorpe, a borough in Pennsylvania with lovely mountain scenery and architecture. While in town, go on a hike in Lehigh Valley or visit the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway. Then head to the Finger Lakes to sample some of the region's best wines along Cayuga Lake. Stay nearby at the historic Inns of Aurora , hike at Taughannock Falls State Park , and spend a day in Ithaca to wet your whistle at Ithaca Beer Co.

Route 6, Pennsylvania

Take a trip along the historic Route 6 in northern Pennsylvania for views of color-shifting forests, mountains, and other peaceful scenery. Visit the decades-old St. Marys institution Straub Brewery while you're in the area. You can also travel along the Elk Scenic Drive , a 127-mile route that crosses through the Pennsylvania Wilds — often past large elk herds. Finally, stop at the Worlds End State Park for camping, cabins, and hiking on the Loyalsock Trail to immerse yourself in the fall foliage.

Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia and North Carolina

This winding road covers almost 470 miles to connect the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. While you drive, you'll pass split-rail fences, old farmsteads, mountain meadows, and scenic overlooks. Stop along the way at one of the many hiking trails in either national park, or visit a local farm to grab some autumnal produce.

Covered Bridges Loop, Connecticut

Take your time exploring the roughly 100-mile loop through the northwest corner of Connecticut. Pass through the Falls Village in Canaan, where the churches, streets, houses, and the railroad depot still look as they did in the 1800s. The Appalachian Trail runs right through town, so you can follow the white trail markers for a day hike. Pass through the West Cornwall Covered Bridge, which extends 242 feet across the Housatonic River, visit Lake Waramaug State Park for hiking and fall foliage, and then head to Litchfield to marvel at the gardens at White Flower Farm .

New England's Historic Trails, Massachusetts

Before you get in the car, you can start this journey on foot in Boston by walking the Freedom Trail , a 2.5-mile, red-lined route that leads you to 16 historically significant sites. When it's time to hit the road, you'll head west through Massachusetts' Berkshires, taking in plenty of fall colors along the way. Make a detour to Northampton or stop in the living museum that is Old Sturbridge Village . For more revolutionary-era history, travel south through Connecticut, leaving New England as you cross through New York to Philadelphia, and visit the Museum of the American Revolution .

Southern Pacific Coast, California

You might think a drive up the California coast is best done in the summer, but it's also beautiful in the fall and the weather is more comfortable. Start outside Los Angeles with an oceanside hike in Point Mugu State Park . Then hop in a convertible, preferably, and trace the coast on Highway 101 to Santa Barbara. Spend a night there and stroll down State Street to check out the shops and restaurants. Make a side trip to nearby Solvang, which is modeled after an old Danish town, with a windmill, plus wineries and beautiful scenery. If you have the time, continue northwest for ocean views at Jalama Beach County Park .

The Olympic Peninsula, Washington

Make your way through the rugged coast of Washington for mountain views and lush forest drives. You can start in Seattle and loop around Puget Sound, stopping for ferry boat detours to Vashon Island or Whidbey Island. On Vashon, stroll along the beaches or visit Point Robinson Lighthouse for a taste of Pacific Northwest island life. Back on the mainland, hike or camp in Olympic National Park , and then carry on to historic Port Townsend, where you can wander among the old waterfront neighborhoods and Victorian houses.

Gulf Coast, Florida

There are two main advantages of a fall Florida road trip: you'll enjoy warmer temperatures than you'd get in the north while avoiding the unbearable heat and humidity of the summer. Travel along the Gulf of Mexico, and feel free to extend it further. On South Walton's beaches, the sands are sugar-white thanks to their pure quartz crystal makeup. You can also check out the rare coastal dune lakes that exist in only a handful of places in the world. For a different kind of food truck experience, stop in the town of Seaside, where Airstream Row is a street lined with aluminum trailers serving up tasty dishes.

Northern Pacific Coast, Oregon

Irjaliina Paavonpera/Travel + Leisure

The Oregon coast has stunning coastal scenery fringed by forests. Start in Astoria, then head south. Along the way, you can hike at Lewis And Clark National Historical Park or Ecola State Park . Stay in Cannon Beach to see Haystack Rock and wander among those large beach boulders so characteristic of the Pacific Northwest. Also, locals will tell you a stop at the Tillamook Creamery for sweet frozen treats is obligatory. You can travel all the way down the coast and top off your trip with a visit to the redwood forests near the town of Brookings.

The Great Lakes, Michigan

Skirt the country's northern edge by driving along the Great Lakes. Start at the southern edge of Lake Huron and watch the tall ship schooners or shop in the downtown antiques market in Bay City. After that, head north along the lake to hike one of the state parks near Alpena . Then, drive two hours up the shore to Mackinaw City, where you can catch the ferry to the famously car-free Mackinac Island. This 3.8-square-mile National Historic Landmark is easily explored by bike or horse and buggy.

Route 66, Illinois to California

Though the iconic and historic highway has been chopped up and partially abandoned since its glory days, Route 66 has been immortalized through pop culture — you've heard about it in songs and seen it in movies. Though only parts of it remain intact and drivable today, it's worth exploring, even if you don't make it the whole way.

The best place to start a Route 66 adventure is perhaps at its eastern terminus, Chicago. Stop along the way for memorable sights, including the Polk-a-Dot Drive In in Braidwood, Illinois, the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum , the 80-foot Blue Whale of Catoosa, and Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas. Complete your journey out west at California's Santa Monica Pier.

Great River Road, Minnesota to Louisiana

Enjoy the Mississippi River by following the Great River Road, which runs 3,000 miles from Minnesota all the way down to Louisiana. Stop along the way to explore Saint Paul, Minnesota, Chicago, and Madison, Wisconsin, and consider detours to Nashville and Jackson, Mississippi. Highlights along the route include the Effigy Mounds National Monument  in Iowa, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, and the Poverty Point UNESCO World Heritage Site in Pioneer, Louisiana. There are also plenty of hiking opportunities, especially at Mississippi Palisades State Park .

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7 Breathtaking New England Fall Road Trip Ideas

Autumn in New England is when the beautiful fall colors glow, the air is crisp, and the region really shines. To “see it all”, many people will attempt a New England road trip that covers every state in just a week. But to do so means missing out on many of the hidden treasures that are found on the byways and backroads around New England. Instead, slow down and break up your visits with what we think are the best New England road trips.

While these road trips can work just as well in the summer, keep in mind that fall foliage season is “peak” season in New England. You will need to make your reservations early and keep an eye on the many foliage monitoring websites that let you see when the fall colors are expected to be at their peak in each area. Remember, the further north you go, the earlier the colors will peak, with the primary season from mid-September through mid-October.

New England Fall Foliage Reports

Here are some great resources to watch:

  • Maine foliage reports
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  • Vermont foliage reports
  • Connecticut foliage reports

Best New England Road Trips

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. All opinions are my own.

While some of these New England road trips can be completed in a long weekend, most are designed for a five to seven-day trip.

Adapt these trip ideas as you need by skipping stops or shortening your stays at each destination, or try this 4-day New England road trip . Remember, we will still be here waiting for you to explore a different corner of New England next year too!

Southern New England Coast Road Trip

Note: This trip is best in the summer or September and October, although if you are looking for peak foliage, plan on mid-to-late October.

While hitting the beach and the charming coastal towns in Southern New England makes for a popular summer road trip, it can also be very enjoyable in the fall. The crowds are gone, the ocean water is warm, and you can still get those beautiful warm beach days that say a final farewell to summer for the year.

Start off your trip in the Connecticut town of Essex with a stay at the historic Griswold Inn . You will find plenty to do in this area, including the Essex Steam Train, fall foliage cruises, Gillette Castle, lighthouse harbor cruises, and the Niantic Boardwalk.

Next, spend a day or more exploring downtown Mystic and the Historic Mystic Seaport. While there, you will want to wait in line for some of the best apple cider donuts around at B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill. (See my full list of things to do in Mystic with kids. ) Wine aficionados will enjoy a tasting and picnic at Jonathan Edwards Winery.

Your next stop will be historic Newport , but before you get there, make a stop in Jamestown to get apple cider donuts at Hardpressed Cider Company and to take in the view at Beavertail State Park. There are plenty of things to do in Newport from touring mansions, sailing in the Bay, visiting local farms and vineyards, and biking along the coast.

In town, The Vanderbilt and Hotel Viking both offer a great location coupled with historic charm. For a more modern nautical setting on the water, the Newport Marriott is a good choice. See my list of the best things to do in Rhode Island in the fall .

Continue your Southern New England coastal road trip on Cape Cod . Visiting Cape Cod in the off-season is a perfect time to avoid crowds. You can ride the bike path, enjoy the small towns of Chatham, Falmouth, Hyannis, and Provincetown, and take a dunes tour. You can also take a day trip over to Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard .

The Sea Crest Hotel in Falmouth is a good family-friendly option. If you want to finish off your trip in luxury, splurge for the Chatham Bars Inn or the Ocean Edge Resort and Golf Club, located right on the Cape Cod Rail Trail and offering family-size suites. Personally, I loved staying at AutoCamp Cape Cod for a unique glamping experience.

Finish up with a couple of days in Boston. September and October are great months for exploring the city (just avoid Labor Day weekend as that is typically move-in weekend for the colleges and hotels will be even more outrageous.) If you visit in mid-to-late October, you may get to watch the Head of the Charles regatta, but hotels will be pricey then too. (Here are some tips for visiting Boston with teens .)

Plan to walk along the Freedom Trail, try pastries in the North End, enjoy the Public Gardens, visit some of Boston’s museums (like the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum ), and maybe catch a Red Sox game at Fenway. You may also enjoy a Best of Boston food tour .

Maps courtesy of Google My Maps

If you have time, I’d also add in a day trip to Salem , Gloucester , or Plymouth .

Boston to Maine Road Trip

Note: This trip is best in the summer or in September and early October. If you are looking for peak foliage in Acadia, plan on visiting in late September or early October.

The drive from Boston to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park is best done when you take it slow, enjoying the towns of Massachusetts’ North Shore and Maine’s Mid-Coast along the way. (You can see my full detailed Boston to Bar Harbor road trip itinerary here.)

If you don’t have time for the full road trip, either skip over some stops along the way or trim this down to Boston to Portland, Boothbay Harbor , or Rockland , depending on how much time you have.

Start off with a day exploring either the historic downtown of Salem or the fishing village of Gloucester . Then head up to the historic seaport town of Portsmouth, NH before heading into Maine. Don’t forget to stop at Bob’s Clam Hut in Kittery, ME for one of the best lobster rolls on the East Coast.

Spend a couple of nights in Portland  exploring the Old Port, taking a lobster boat tour, climbing on the rocks by Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, or spending a day shopping at the L.L. Bean outlet up in Freeport or the cute boutiques of Kennebunkport.

The Press Hotel is a great option in downtown Portland, but if you are looking for something closer to the beach, try the Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth.

On Maine’s mid-coast, spend a night or two in Boothbay Harbor at the Tugboat Inn or Fisherman’s Wharf Inn . On your drive, stop and enjoy the Giant’s Stairs in Harpswell or spend some time at Popham Beach, a rare sandy stretch of sand. Be sure to line up for lobster rolls at Red Eats.

While in Boothbay, you may also want to get out on the water on a sightseeing cruise to see puffins or whales or rent a sea kayak to explore Muscongus Bay. Note that some of these activities will only run through September or mid-October on the weekends. See more full list of things to do in Boothbay Harbor .

Continue up the coast to the artistic town of Rockland and spend a night at the 250 Main Hotel . Pop into the Center for Maine Contemporary Art or the Farnsworth Art Museum or go hiking in Camden Hills State Park. See my list of things to do in Rockland, Maine .

Finish up your road trip at the scenic town of Bar Harbor, just outside of  Acadia National Park . You will want to spend 2 to 3 nights exploring the park using this 3-days in Acadia itinerary . Try to catch a sunrise or sunset from the top of Cadillac Mountain, drive the Park Loop Road, relax on Sand Beach, and stop to see the natural phenomenon at Thunder Hole.

You can also stop into the Hulls Cove Visitor Center to check out some popular hikes, take in the view from Otter Cliffs, bike the Carriage Roads, and enjoy a meal with a view at the Jordan Pond House. If you aren’t into camping, stay in town at the Bar Harbor Grand Hotel or the Hampton by Hilton Bar Harbor . One of my favorite glamping stays is at the Terramor Resort in Bar Harbor.

For your return trip, you can jump on Interstate 95 south for the fast route back to Boston. If you have more time, explore these things to do near Acadia National Park .

Western Massachusetts Road Trip

Note: This road trip has a mix of indoor and outdoor attractions that you can visit year-round. For peak foliage viewing, visit in October.

If you want to explore the scenic byways and small towns of Western Massachusetts , start off in Springfield . Here you can explore unique museums like the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Dr. Seuss Museum. As you head north up Interstate 91, you can stop off at the Yankee Candle Factory Store and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

You can also avoid the Interstate and take scenic route 47 along the Connecticut River. Be sure to stop at the North Hadley Sugar Shack for maple syrup and sugary treats. Mike’s Maze in Sunderland has also been rated one of the best corn mazes in the United States, making for a fun fall stop. Stay overnight at the historic Deerfield Inn or find plentiful options in nearby Amherst.

Next, head across Route 2, The Mohawk Trail, from Deerfield to North Adams . If you love covered bridges, take a side trip to the Eunice Williams Covered Bridge. Other stop-worthy highlights include the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls, mountain biking at Thunder Mountain, the Bissel Covered Bridge in Charlemont, and zip lining at Zoar Outdoor.

Spend a night in the town of North Adams at the Porches Inn at Mass MoCA . If it is open, make sure to take time for the Mass MoCA Museum . You may also enjoy some hiking in Natural Bridge State Park or head south to the summit of Mount Greylock, the highest point in the state.

Continue to make your way south to the charming small towns of the Berkshires . Enjoy outdoor treetop adventures at Ramblewild, ride the Mountain Coaster at Jiminy Peak, explore the historic homes and gardens, and go antiquing. If you are up for more hiking, you can also climb Monument Mountain.

Make your home base in either Pittsfield, Lenox, Stockbridge, Lee, or Great Barrington. The Red Lion Inn is always popular and we have also had a good stay at the Seven Hills Inn . From there you can loop back to Springfield across Interstate 90.

Litchfield Hills, CT Road Trip

Note: This trip is best in the spring-fall. For peak foliage, visit in October.

The charming New England towns that inspired the setting for the Gilmore Girls television show, the fruitful Connecticut Wine Trail, covered bridges, pretty hikes, and farm-fresh foods await you on a road trip through the Litchfield Hills in northwestern Connecticut.

Start off in the town of Litchfield , where you can enjoy shopping and dining at the upscale boutiques and restaurants that line the lush town green. If you want to spend some time in the area, stay overnight at the boutique Litchfield Inn .

Nearby you can take a walk through the White Memorial Conservation Center, hike in Mt. Tom State Park, check out the flower fields at White Flower Farm, go horseback riding at Lee’s Stables, or take a tour at the Litchfield Distillery.

There are a number of wineries nearby, including Hopkins Vineyard, which overlooks the beautiful Lake Waramaug. If you go on the weekend, they often host live music performances and open up their grounds for picnicking.

Be sure to stop in the town of Bantam on the way for ice cream at Arethusa Dairy, just be prepared for a long line! If you can get a reservation, the Arethusa al Tavola restaurant receives accolades from near and far.

Next, venture to the small town of Washington Depot , where you will find the Mayflower Inn & Spa , an inspiration for the Independence Inn where Lorelei worked in the Gilmore Girls. In town, you will find more Gilmore Girls lookalikes, such as Marty’s Cafe, The Washington Food Market, and The Hickory Stick Bookshop.

Your next stop should be the town of New Milford , where the gazebo on the town green will definitely call up thoughts of the fictional Stars Hollow. Nearby you can hike in Lovers Leap State Park, try local beers at the Housatonic River Brewing, browse the local art galleries, or bed down at the Homestead Inn .

From New Milford, travel up Route 7 to Kent, with a stop at Bull’s Covered Bridge on the way. Kent Falls State Park is home to a beautiful 250′ waterfall and hiking trails. In town, you can explore the bookstores, boutiques, and antique shops.

Continue north to West Cornwall , where you can bike the 37-mile covered bridge trail. Or visit Falls Village in Canaan and hike part of the Appalachian Trail. The historic Falls Village Inn makes a good home base for your exploration. After your exercise, quench your thirst at the Great Falls Brewing Company.

To finish up your trip, take the scenic backroads to return to Litchfield, or head over to the cute towns near West Hartford like Collinsville, Simsbury, and Farmington.

White Mountain Wonder Road Trip

Note: This road trip is best taken in the summer or early fall. For peak foliage, visit in late September through early-October.

New Hampshire’s White Mountains are a hikers’ paradise, but also offer plenty of opportunities for family fun and scenic drives. Start off in Lincoln to begin your loop through the mountains.

There are plenty of vacation rentals in the White Mountains and glamping resorts , or you can stay at the RiverWalk Resort at Loon Mountain . While in Lincoln, you can go zip lining at Alpine Adventures, explore the caves at Lost River Gorge, or walk along the waterfalls at Flume Gorge.

From Lincoln, make your way north along Interstate 93 towards the splendors of Franconia Notch State Park . Some of the best views in the Whites in the fall are from Artist’s Bluff above Echo Lake.

After exploring the western side of the White Mountains, head north to the highest peak in the Northeastern United States, Mount Washington. You can hike up to the top or take the easy route and drive up Mt. Washington Auto Road. Just be prepared to pay the toll and do some white-knuckle driving. And hold onto your hats because it can be very windy at the top. Of course, you can also avoid the drive and take the Mount Washington Cog Railway .

When staying in this area, you can bed down at the Omni Mt. Washington or Alpine Garden Glamping . While in this area, you can explore the White Mountains in the over 5,000 acres of Crawford Notch State Park . Another beautiful fall hike is up Mount Willard, near the AMC Highland Center at Crawford Notch. If it has been rainy, the falls should also be flowing at Arethusa Falls and a nearby hike will give you good views of the Conway Scenic Railroad.

Continue south to North Conway, where you will find outlet shopping, restaurants, and more outdoor attractions. Plan on a stop in Bartlett at the covered bridge for scenic photos.

The Residence Inn North Conway is a good budget option. For something more fun, we also enjoyed the resort-like environment at Huttopia White Mountains and glamping at Lumen Nature Retreat in Lincoln.

Complete your trip by heading back to Lincoln on the twisty-turn scenic Kancamagus Highway — called one of the prettiest drives in the state. See my full guide for where to stop on the Kancamagus Highway .

Vermont’s Scenic Rt 100 Road Trip

Note: This trip is best taken in the late spring through early fall. For ideal leaf peeping, visit in late September through mid-October.

I grew up spending my family vacations in Vermont, so it is no wonder that I have a soft spot in my heart for the Green Mountain state. Route 100 runs north to south in the center of the state, passing by small towns and ski mountain resorts along the way. Of course, I recommend getting off the path a little to visit a couple of my other favorite New England towns.

Start off in Brattleboro and begin traveling north up Route 100 past the Mount Snow ski town and then side track to Manchester . Settle in at The Equinox and spend a day or two exploring the area. You can climb or drive Mount Equinox, visit the Lincoln home of Hildene, or enjoy the alpine slide (in season) and other mountain entertainment at Bromley Mountain. In town, you can enjoy prime outlet shopping and book lovers don’t miss a visit to Northshire Books, the town’s independent bookstore.

When you are ready, continue on up Route 100, leaving time to stop at the Vermont Country Store in Weston . Make your next stop in Ludlow at the Okemo Mountain Resort. There are plenty of activities and lodging available in this four-season resort, including the fun mountain coaster. As you continue north, keep your eyes peeled for Buttermilk Falls .

As you approach Route 4 near Killington, veer off onto Route 100A and stop in to Long Trail Brewery. Then head over to the charming town of Woodstock , one of my favorite in Vermont, for a stay at the magnificent Woodstock Inn . The next day you can spend time in town or head east to Quechee Gorge and stop into the glass-blowing studio at Simon Pearce.

Next, you will want to continue heading north into the Green Mountains. Keep a look out for Moss Glen Falls in Granville. Make sure to bring your appetite because you will want to sample some of Vermont’s farm-fresh products. Visit the Ben & Jerry’s Factory for samples and a visit to the flavor “graveyard.”

Cold Hollow Cider Mill in Stowe serves up the best apple cider donuts, hot and fresh, but you may want to stop to sample the cheeses at the Cabot Factory first.

Finish up your road trip in the family-friendly Smugglers’ Notch or one of the many mountain resorts in Stowe like Topnotch Resort , Trapp Family Lodge , or the Stoweflake Resort . You can hike, drive the auto toll road, visit local breweries, and even take a llama trek. See my other recommendations for a Vermont road trip .

Maine’s Mountains and Lakes

Note: This road trip is best taken in the summer or early fall. For fall foliage, visit in late September through early October.

Maine’s Coast gets a lot of attention but that is just one small slice of Vacationland. There are so many places to get away in Maine’s mountains and lakes region. Start off in Portland and head northwest on Route 302 to the lake town of Naples near Long Lake and Sebago Lake. Take a float plane ride or a boat tour of the lake while soaking up the scenery.

Next, head up Route 35 to Bethel and Newry , home to the Sunday River Ski resort. Nearby you can go hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and even white water rafting.

Your next destination is the Rangeley Lakes region , where the Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway offers some of the best fall foliage drives in the state. Drive the Routes 4 and 17 loops around Rangeley Lake, a destination popular for its fishing, camping, hiking, bicycling, boating, and moose watching.  

The drive winds along the Appalachian Mountain and through rolling valleys. Be sure to stop at The Height of Land on Route 17, which offers sweeping views of Mooselookmeguntic and Upper Richardson lakes. Stay at the landmark Rangeley Inn or in one of the family-size cabins at the Rangeley Lake Resort .

After Rangeley, continue northeast to Moosehead Lake , the largest lake in Maine, measuring 40 miles in length. The small town of Greenville on the southern tip is your jumping-off point. Further north and you will find gravel logging roads and the 100-acre wilderness of the Appalachian Mountain Club.

Here you will find excellent hiking, fishing, canoeing, and my favorite — moose safaris! Stay at the Lodge at Moosehead Lake or rent a lakeside cabin. You can then head back to Portland via the highway. See my other recommendations for a Maine Highlands road trip and things to do in the Maine Highlands .

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The post 7 Breathtaking New England Fall Road Trip Ideas appeared first on We3Travel .

Looking to do some leaf peeping this fall? These are our picks for the best New England road trips.

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Heat lingers Thursday with some storms

SUMMER HEAT

A front arrives overnight, this will bring a few scattered showers and storms that will move through during the morning commute. Right now it looks like this will be a lower impact, with the biggest concerns being rain and thunder/lightning. Temperatures will soar to the mid/upper 80s, with 70s for the Cape & Islands. The humidity will be high, prompting a Heat Advisory for the north shore and Merrimack Valley with ‘feels like temperatures’ approaching 100 degrees. An isolated pop-up is possible, but it’s nothing to cancel plans over. Friday will be mainly dry, it will be another hot one with highs in the upper 80s yet again.

STAYING UNSETTLED

A stalled front and low pressure system will bring more rain and the risk for storms Saturday. Any storms will contain torrential rain, lightning, and the risk for gusty winds. That storm system will move offshore later in the day, giving us a little bit of dry time Saturday evening. This storm hasn’t fully formed yet, so make sure to check back in with us as we work through the timing and the weather impacts Saturday.

Sunday is the pick of the weekend. It will run dry and partly sunny. Although humidity will break slightly, it will stay very hot with high in the lower 90s. This will mark the start of another heat wave for parts of New England next week!

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Beryl maps show path and landfall forecast of storm as it reaches Texas

By Cara Tabachnick , Emily Mae Czachor

Updated on: July 8, 2024 / 11:07 PM EDT / CBS News

After hitting Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, Beryl  churned across the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall over the middle Texas Gulf Coast as a Category 1 hurricane early Monday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. Beryl began weakening after making landfall and was downgraded to a tropical depression later Monday.

The storm blew past the Cayman Islands and Jamaica last week, initially making landfall over the island of Carriacou in Grenada while tearing through the Caribbean , strengthening at times to a Category 5 hurricane — the  strongest rating .

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What is Beryl's projected path?

The hurricane center issued an update Monday evening saying Beryl was bringing flooding and the risk of tornadoes across portions of eastern Texas, western Louisiana and Arkansas.

As of 8 p.m. EDT, all  tropical storm warnings  and storm surge warnings for Texas had been lifted.

Map of Hurricane Beryl's path after making landfall in Texas

Beryl's eye "will move over eastern Texas today, then move through the Lower Mississippi Valley into the Ohio Valley on Tuesday and Wednesday," the hurricane center said. "Steady weakening is forecast, and Beryl is expected to become a post-tropical cyclone on Tuesday."

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"An additional 4 to 8 inches of rainfall with localized amounts of 12 inches is expected across portions of eastern Texas through tonight," the hurricane center said Monday evening. "Considerable flash and urban flooding as well as minor to isolated major river flooding is expected. Heavy rainfall of 3 to 5 inches, with locally higher amounts, is expected across portions of far southeastern Oklahoma, Arkansas, and southern Missouri through Tuesday."

Before reaching the U.S., Beryl made landfall in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula on Friday as a Category 2 hurricane, just northeast of the resort town of Tulum, before weakening to a tropical storm and moving back into the Gulf.

Beryl became the  first hurricane  of the 2024  Atlantic hurricane season  at the end of June and rapidly strengthened. It was the first major hurricane east of the Lesser Antilles on record for June, according to Philip Klotzbach, Colorado State University hurricane researcher.

Brian McNoldy, a tropical meteorology researcher for the University of Miami, told the AP that warm waters fueled Beryl, with ocean heat content in the deep Atlantic the highest on record for this time of year.

Beryl also set records  as the first June hurricane ever to hit Category 4, the farthest east a storm has ever hit Category 4, and the first storm before September to go from tropical depression to major hurricane in under 48 hours, CBS News weather producer David Parkinson reported.

Beryl was also the earliest Category 5 hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic basin and was only the second Category 5 storm recorded in July since 2005, according to the hurricane center.

Brian Dakss, Alex Sundby and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Cara Tabachnick is a news editor at CBSNews.com. Cara began her career on the crime beat at Newsday. She has written for Marie Claire, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. She reports on justice and human rights issues. Contact her at [email protected]

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Spirited ‘Funny Girl’ captures excitement of early musical theater

The show that made Barbra Streisand famous is playing at Maine State Music Theatre through July 13.

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Jenna Lea Rosen as Fanny Brice with the cast of “Funny Girl” at Maine State Music Theatre. Photo by MSMT/Jared Morneau Photography

Who are the luckiest people in the world? At least for theater fans, the answer is “people who need people,” a line made famous well over half a century ago by Barbra Streisand in the original production of the musical “Funny Girl.”

THEATER REVIEW

WHAT: “Funny Girl: the Musical” by Maine State Music Theatre

WHERE: Pickard Theater, Bowdoin College Campus, Brunswick

REVIEWED: June 28 (matinee); continues through July 13

TICKETS: Starting at $93

CONTACT: 207-725-8769, msmt.org

On the heels of the show’s recent Broadway revival, the Maine State Music Theatre has opened a spirited production of the classic musical on its home stage at the Pickard Theater on the campus of Bowdoin College in Brunswick.

The show primarily captures the rousing excitement of early musical theater while unavoidably making us think about how it launched the career of Streisand. At a lengthy but enjoyable two-and-one-half hours, plus intermission, it’s a show that still charms with its memorable songs, old-style comedy and bittersweet love story.

The impressive production, directed and choreographed by Kenny Ingram and with the time-honored music of Jule Styne, lyrics by Bob Merrill and book by Isobel Lennart, tells the semi-fictionalized story of Fanny Brice, a real-life figure who rose from humble origins to showbiz stardom as a give-it-everything-you’ve-got performer in the early 20th century.

At first socially awkward and vulnerable, but with a unique talent and an admirable determination to succeed, Fanny gained the attention of famed impresario Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. and went on to star in many of his glitzy stage shows. At the same time, Fanny’s personal life was a bit of a rollercoaster ride.

Jenna Lea Rosen takes the lead role and scores comedically with her initially wide-eyed approach to Fanny’s personal and professional challenges. Armed with a feisty “New Yawk” accent, the actress easily takes charge of backstage, front stage and offstage scenes. Her vocals are compelling on both comic numbers (“Sadie, Sadie” and “Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat”) and in more intimate moments (“People” and “Don’t Rain On My Parade”). Advertisement

Douglas Raymond Williams plays Fanny’s handsome rogue of a love interest who brings her to a fuller life but fails her in the end. His opera-trained vocals alongside Rosen (“I Want to be Seen With You” and “You are Woman, I am Man”) establish both the heat and uncertainties within their relationship.

Among the many standout secondary actors and choristers, Tyler Johnson-Campion is a tap-dancing whiz. His work with Sue Cella, who plays Fanny’s mom, is a treat on “Who Taught Her Everything.” Cella also has some fun moments squabbling with a competitive friend played by Maine State favorite Charis Leos.

Tommy Betz shines as a Tenor and David Girolmo returns to the Pickard stage as the stern but supportive Mr. Ziegfeld. Jeremiah Valentino Porter gets to toot a hot horn on “Cornet Man.”

The Maine State Music Theatre Orchestra, led by Jason Wetzel, mixes up the period flavors with a newer Broadway expansiveness. The costumes designed by J. Theresa Bush and scenic design by Jeffrey D. Kmiec take the audience back to a distant era when musical theater and its early stars were on the rise.

Steve Feeney is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.

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