Travel

Where to go leaf peeping in New England

Discover the best drives, hikes, and getaways in the region during fall foliage season.

Equinox Pond in Manchester, Vermont. Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing

There’s nothing like fall in New England.

“I think it connects people with the natural world,” said Jim Salge, foliage expert for Yankee magazine.

New England foliage is famous, of course. But some destinations are especially stunning, say the experts. Ahead, discover some of the recently recommended hikes, drives, and getaways across New England during the fall season.

Mount Greylock in the fall. – The Boston Globe

Massachusetts

Bellows Pipe Trail on Mount Greylock was selected as one of the best fall hiking trails in America by Conde Nast Traveler in 2020. “The view at the top includes a lighthouse-looking structure (the Massachusetts Veterans War Memorial Tower) and in the distance, Vermont’s Green Mountains, the Catskills, and on a clear day, New Hampshire’s White Mountains,” the publication wrote.

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The Essex Coastal Scenic Byway, a 90-mile roadway connecting 14 coastal communities from Lynn to Salisbury, was named one of the best fall foliage trips in the U.S. in 2021 by Fodor’s Travel. “Stunning displays of fall color greet visitors driving along the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway, but it’s the journey through coastal communities and porches prettified with pumpkins that sets the backdrop for this memorable drive,” the site wrote.

Lenox in the Berkshires was called one of the 25 best places to spot fall foliage in America by Reader’s Digest in 2021. “Travelers flock to the Berkshire town of Lenox for its blend of heritage and natural beauty,” the publication wrote. “Starting in late September, the landscape is ablaze with red, yellow, and green.” Also, USA Today called Blantyre, a Tudor mansion estate, a great fall getaway in 2021.

The Skyline Trail at Blue Hills Reservation was named among the best fall hiking trails in America by Conde Nast Traveler in 2020. “The three-mile Skyline Trail loop winds up to Great Blue Hill, the highest coastal peak on the Atlantic south of Maine,” the publication wrote.

For more fall foliage destinations, check out where to go leaf peeping in Boston and across Massachusetts.

Maine

Bar Harbor was named among 20 breathtaking places to see fall foliage in 2021 by OprahDaily.com. In Bar Harbor, travelers can join kayaking and boat tours and choose from 125 miles of trails at Acadia National Park, according to the site.

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Camden is great for exploring Camden Hills State Park, cruises from Camden Harbor, and the view from the Camden Snow Bowl lift, according OprahDaily.com, which named it among 20 breathtaking places to see fall foliage in 2021.

Kennebunkport makes a great fall getaway, USA Today wrote in 2021, because it offers excursions such as lobster fishing and “some of the country’s most striking color changes.”

Fall foliage along the Kancamagus Highway in the White Mountains. – Nic Antaya for The Boston Globe

New Hampshire

Bretton Woods visitors can go cross-country mountain biking, fly fishing, and hiking, all “under the canopy of the fall colors,” wrote OprahDaily.com, which named the destination among 20 breathtaking places to see fall foliage in 2021. Also, Omni Mount Washington Resort is a great fall getaway, USA Today wrote last year.

Lisbon is a small mountain town that is great for a fall escape, Fodor’s Travel wrote in 2020. Travelers who stay at Rustic Log Cabins along Salmon Hole Brook find an “authentic way to experience some time away from crowds,” the publication wrote.

The White Mountains were named the best destination for fall foliage in the U.S. by USA Today readers in 2021. “The annual display of fall color in the White Mountains of New Hampshire typically takes place each September and October, attracting millions of visitors from around the globe. One of the best places to take it all in is along the 34-mile Kancamagus Highway as it cuts through White Mountain National Forest,” the publication wrpte.

Vermont

Killington visitors can ride the gondola during the fall season for “a true bird’s eye view of the brilliant leaves below,” wrote OprahDaily.com, which named it among 20 breathtaking places to see fall foliage in 2021.

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Manchester was named one of the best small towns for a fall getaway in 2021 by Travel + Leisure. The publication called it a “quintessential autumn destination,” writing, in part: “Set between the Taconic and Green Mountain Ranges, the area is perfect for hiking along leafy trails to look for waterfalls and stunning views. Restaurants, shops, boutique hotels, inns, and historic buildings attract visitors to its downtown, recently updated but still maintaining its welcoming atmosphere with new benches, landscaping, and vintage-style streetlights.” OprahDaily.com also named Manchester among 20 breathtaking places to see fall foliage in 2021.

Stowe was highlighted among the best fall foliage destinations in the U.S. by USA Today readers in 2021. “Vermont is well known for its fall foliage, particularly in the Green Mountains. For the best leaf peeping, make the drive along the Green Mountain Byway between the towns of Waterbury and Stowe. Mount Mansfield, the state’s highest peak, sits along the way,” USA Today wrote. Also, The Lodge at Spruce Creek is a great fall getaway, according to the publication.

The treehouse cottage at Winvian Farm. – Winvian Farm

Connecticut

Litchfield is a “bucolic” destination where visitors are treated to “postcard-worthy” covered bridges and colorful hikes on the Appalachian Trail, wrote OprahDaily.com, which named it among 20 breathtaking places to see fall foliage in 2021.

Winvian Farm in Morris, called a great fall getaway by USA Today in 2021, offers guests 18 themed cottages in the woods (including a helicopter and treehouse) and they experience a “truly special autumn retreat.”

The 165-foot Heublein Tower in Simsbury, which sits at the top of Talcott Mountain State Park, is one of the best lesser-known leaf peeping spots in New England, according to the Associated Press, which noted it has “spectacular views that on a clear day extend north to the Berkshires in Massachusetts and south to Long Island Sound.”

Rhode Island

Newport has “plenty of fall splendor,” USA Today wrote in 2021, writing that “the fall season in this quintessential nautical town boasts impressive fall foliage.”

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On Benefit Street in Providence, which the Associated Press called one of the best lesser-known leaf peeping spots in New England, “hundred-year-old elms and other mature trees provide a canopy of spectacular color over brick sidewalks.” The scenic mile-long street is full of historic churches as well as Colonial, Federal, and Greek Revival-style homes.


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