A change of season is in the air and on the trees: ruby red, golden yellow, and warm, rusty brown. It’s no secret that New England’s fall foliage is unmatched, drawing many travelers to plan annual trips to appreciate the autumnal colors (or leaf-peep), cozy up in small-town comforts, and revel in all things autumn. If you’re looking to savor the vibrant treelines and a cup of cider, there are a few spots in the northeast where you’re sure to enjoy picturesque neighborhoods and pops of color along the mountains. Snag a home with waterfront views, grab a few sweaters, pack up for a road trip, and head north.
Fall is one of the best (and most popular) times to visit Vermont since the Green Mountain State is renowned for its breathtaking fall scenery. Woodstock and Stowe, in particular, are frequently ranked as two of the best towns for fall foliage in New England. Relax into the postcard-perfect scenery, sightseeing historic buildings and covered bridges, or sampling cheeses, syrups, and jams from the local farms. Montgomery is known as “Vermont’s covered bridge town,” and nearby Jay Peak glimmers in bright yellow, orange, and red.
Bar Harbor makes for a fantastic home base for leaf-peeping, as the bayside town is also an entrance to Acadia National Park. If you prefer to stay away from the hustle and bustle, Camden offers the same mix of vivid foliage and coastal scenes with a quieter atmosphere. Lace up your hiking boots and delight in the area’s 30 miles of hiking trails and stunning views of Penobscot Bay while visiting Camden Hills State Park.
Northern Maine typically sees its peak in fall foliage from the last week of September into the first week of October, while central and southern areas enjoy autumnal colors through mid-October. Pack your camera for a scenic drive down Coastal Route 1, which parallels the Atlantic Ocean and offers unbeatable views of Maine’s rugged coastline and colorful trees.
Let the Adirondack Mountains surprise you—the park is the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United States, greater in size than the Everglades, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon combined. While you’re appreciating the treeline's bright red maples and aromatic pines, stop by the quaint mountain towns for a bite or a day on the water.
Looking to stay put and savor the view? The Finger Lakes are a great place to sit back and relax by the water as you enjoy the fall foliage, with lake houses, wineries, and antique stores. Add beautiful waterfall scenes to your sightseeing with a hike through Letchworth State Park or hit the road for Cyuga Lake Scenic Byway’s 87-mile loop.
Before snow sweeps through the White Mountains, its vistas seem bejeweled with crisp yellow and deep red leaves. Road trip, anyone? Leaf-peep to your heart’s content on the Lake Winnipesaukee Loop or the renowned Kancamagus Highway. Shake things up in Conway and sightsee the gorgeous New England fall foliage by train on the Conway Scenic Railroad.
Through your travels, you’ll find plenty of places for apple picking, farmers markets, and hiking. New Hampshire’s autumnal colors peak in early October, so be sure to save your spot.
Cape Cod, America’s summer playground, dons eye-catching colors and brings a relaxing slower pace to the Atlantic coast once fall comes around. Autumn is a perfect time to visit Massachusetts, where you’ll find there is less traffic, oysters are at their finest, and mild temperatures make it easy to adventure out. Wrap up in a warm scarf as you bike around the beach, wander the coastal small towns, and indulge in delicious fresh seafood. Head to Boston and savor the crunch of leaves underfoot while perusing bookstores, boutiques, and charming brick architecture. Depending on your preference for scenic drives, choose from Route 6A’s coastal flair, with old sea captain houses and cranberry bogs, or the Mohawk Trail’s thrilling fall foliage and mountain views.
If you’re heading to New England to leaf-peep fall foliage, the best time to visit may change from state to state. For most states, like Vermont, New Hampshire, and New York fall foliage peaks in late September to mid-October. Maine peaks between the last week of September to the first week of October, and Massachusetts sees its best colors from mid-September to mid-October.