21 Best Places to See Fall Foliage in New England

From shorelines to mountains, national parks, and everything in between, here’s where to savor the cozy season

New England is renowned for its stunning fall foliage, and for many good reasons. Every year, millions of tourists flock to this region to see the most colorful fall foliage, a mix of burnt orange, red, yellow, and brown. And that’s why you see Instagram and Pinterest flooded with New England fall foliage pictures and travel guides.

Pro Tip: The intensity of fall foliage colors depends on the amount of rain each location gets. The more rain, the brighter the colors and long-lasting the leaves before falling off for winter. And with such a humid, rainy summer this year, New England is expecting to have some of the most vibrant and rich hues of fall foliage.

Autumn holds a special place in the hearts of many New Englanders and tourists alike. Waking up to the crisp mornings with a pumpkin spice latte and an apple cider donut, cozy evenings in front of a crackling fire, apple picking, pumpkin patches, lots of fall events and festivals across the region, lovely homes decorated pretty for autumn… everything is magical during this time of the year. Lots to see and do for fall lovers in this region, from north to south, but these are our 21 favorite places in New England to see fall foliage:


  1. Woodstock, VT

farm in rural Vermont, during fall
Sleepy Hollow Farm, Vermont. By Jake Doucette

Best time to visit: Late September to Mid-October

Vermont is well-known for its picturesque scenery, quaint small towns with warm, rural vibes, and vibrant fall foliage,  a place where covered bridges and stores filled with maple products are the norm. 

The picturesque town of Woodstock, located in the southeast of the state, seems straight out of a postcard, especially during fall. Walking along Central Street allows you to take in the crisp fall air as you’re surrounded by boutique storefronts and quaint homes covered in pumpkins and fall decor. Visit the Vermont Eclectic Co. to bring home hats, mugs, shirts, and other items, exclusively made by Vermont artists. Also, stop by the Vermont Flannel Company for a classic flannel. There is so much to do and see in Woodstock year round, and especially in the fall, but we’ll keep it short, because we have so many other places in New England we wanna highlight in this article. You can read more about Woodstock in the fall in this article.


  1. Stowe, VT

A quaint small village in Stowe, Vermont, during peak fall foliage season in New England
Photo by Jeffrey Clayton on Unsplash

Best time to visit: Last Week of September to Mid-October 

The bustling little town of Stowe is located in the heart of Lamoille County, at the foot of Mount Mansfield (the highest peak in Vermont). If you are looking for the quintessential fall foliage town, this is the one! 

Leaf peeping in Stowe is not a hobby but a professional pastime! You can take a science drive down the Green Mountain Byway, or pull up a chair to the Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival, where locals make homemade vegetable launchers and see who can crush it the furthest. Finish your trip with a visit to the nearby Cold Hollow Cider Mill for a tasty apple treat. 

  1. Burlington, VT

Best time to visit: Early September to Mid-October

We’re going to head west now, to the bustling lakeside city of Burlington. Its proximity to Lake Champlain offers some of the best fall foliage in New England.

The first stop on this visit must be the Centennial Wood Natural Area. Rent a bike and get deep into the forest of vibrant colors for amazing photos. You can also hike up Mount Philo for a panoramic view of the Champlain Valley and the surrounding Adirondack Mountains. But the insiders’ favorite location is to swing by Shelburne Farms. 


  1. Killington, VT

Best time to visit: Late September to early October

You will need to head to the middle of Vermont into Rutland County to experience Killington’s awe-inspiring New England fall foliage. The first stop will have to be the Killington Ski Resort, where you can hop on a lift and get picturesque images of trees up and down Killington Mountain.

The Instagram-loving readers need to hit up Thundering Falls along the Appalachian Trail. Just be sure to pick up passes first so you don’t get a ticket. Next, it’s dinner at Killington Mountain Lodge, where a tapestry of colors lay in front of you along the terrace. If you want the authentic local experience, be sure to stop in at the Killington Distillery. The maple cask bourbon is to die for! 


  1. Grafton, VT

Best time to visit: Late September to early October

Grafton is a picture-perfect village to enjoy the change of season in the rolling hills of southern Vermont. Small but mighty, Grafton has rich art and history, with lots of museums and art collections, delicious dairy, and some of the prettiest fall foliage. The Jud Hartmann Gallery, located on Main Street, features bronze depictions of Native Americans. The attention to detail is quite stunning. 

Stop by the Grafton Village Cheese if you’d like to see the process of cheese making. TAll products come from their local dairy cows. The Garden Market and The Country Girl Diner provide plenty of delicious lunch and dinner options. Rowell’s Inn, located in Andover, surrounded by mountains, is a lovely choice to spend the night.


  1. Acadia National Park, ME

Coastal Maine in the fall
Photo by Cole Miller on Unsplash

Best time to visit: Late September to early October

Spanning across Maine’s Mount Desert Island, Acadia National Park features some of New England’s most vibrant fall foliage. The park boasts 47,000 acres of mountains, rugged coastlines, quiet ponds, and scenic cliff trails perfect for exploring during the fall season. The scenic 27-mile Park Loop Road winds through picturesque sights and takes you to the pick of Cadillac Mountain ( the highest point on the East Coast) to enjoy breathtaking views. 


7. Cape Elizabeth, ME

Portland Head Light, in Cape Elizabeth, on the coast of Maine, duringfall foliage
Portland Head Light, in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. By Jean Cousins.

Best time to visit: early-mid October

Cape Elizabeth, Maine, offers stunning fall foliage experiences with its coastal beauty and iconic lighthouses complemented by vibrant autumn colors. Known for its picturesque ocean views and rocky shores, Cape Elizabeth becomes even more charming when surrounded by the rich hues of fall foliage. Go for a drive along Shore Road, and visit attractions like Two Lights State Park and Fort Williams Park, where the Portland Head Light shines amid the fall splendor, making it an ideal destination for leaf-peeping enthusiasts.

Of course, the biggest attraction here is the iconic Portland Headlight, the first lighthouse in the state, and one of the most photographed on the East Coast. It was established in the late 1700s to mark bustling Portland Harbor, then the nation’s busiest port. Located in Fort Williams State Park, Portland Headlight is a must-see through any season, especially during peak foliage season in the fall. 

8. Rangeley, ME

Best time to visit: Early October

An hour from the Canadian border and west of New Hampshire is the charming small town of Rangeley, Maine. With only 1,200 full-time residents during the cold months, this idyllic small town you don’t hear much about is such a well-hidden gem.

Despite the town’s remote location, the 3-hour drive from the nearest airport is worth it. Rangeley offers various lodging options, including The Loon Lodge, a lakeside retreat with a restaurant serving seafood, steak, and burgers. Enjoy cocktails on the patio or the lodge’s amenities.

For apple-picking enthusiasts and leaf peepers, check out Ricker Hill Orchards in Turner, ME. Just about an hour away, this place offers a wide variety of fall activities. Explore apple orchards, tour the apple/cider plants, and check out the country store.

  1. North Conway, NH

Train in New Hampshire surrounded by mountains and fall foliage
Photo by Neil Mewes on Unsplash

Best time to visit: Early to Mid-October

You must bring a jacket. North Conway is located in the Whtie Mountains of New Hampshire, far from any major road or highway. This area is packed with stunning panoramas of fall colors reflecting off the nearby Echo Lake surfaces at the base of Cathedral Ledge and Crystal Lake in Eaton (which has a fantastic B&B near the Little White Church you should visit). 

When you’re done, head up to the town center and enjoy some fresh popcorn and old-fashioned cream soda from Zebs General Store before boarding the Conway Scenic Railroad. If you are a careful planner, time your trip to coincide with the Fryeburg Fair, only about 12 miles across the border of Maine. This is the biggest fair in the state, with experiences you cannot find anywhere else in the world. 


  1. Kancamagus Pass Highway, NH 

valley and lake in New Hampshire, New England, during peak fall foliage
By Jake Doucette

Best time to visit: First Two Weeks of October

This is the natural next stop on our tour of the best areas in New England for fall foliage. The Kancamagus Highway runs east to west from Lincoln, NH, back to Center Conway, NH. This is one of the most famous fall foliage locations any ambitious traveler will want to visit. However, a small word of caution: if you are not used to driving on slick roads, leave that to a local! 

This highway could have an article all on its own with the number of little nooks and eateries around the road. The entire route is about 35 miles long, so it only takes 45 minutes to an hour. You may want to couple this with your North Conway trip. The trick here is to only stop at the locations where you see older vehicles with NH license plates. Those will be the “must-dos” for your visit (and be sure to bring an umbrella and picnic). 


  1. Laconia, NH

Best time to visit: Early to Mid-October

Laconia, NH is a hidden gem. You won’t find it on many lists because it is nestled deep in the Lake Winnipesaukee area of the state. Stop trying to see the entire region in an hour. It is simply too large. Stick to this tiny hamlet to get all the fall foliage you could ever want, alongside incredible dining and lake tours to wet any leaf peepers’ appetite. 

Bring your hiking boots for Gunstock Mountain and try to get a spot on the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad for a day trip. Walk over to the Belknap Mill for a bit of history and reflective photos of fall foliage along the water. When you’re done, take in a show at the Lakeport Opera House to finish your visit. 


  1. Boston, MA

Best time to visit: Mid-September to Early October

Boston in the fall is for lovers. This gorgeous city is full of unending events and secret meeting spaces that look straight from your favorite rom-com film. If you don’t know where to start, head to Quincy Market and follow the yellow Freedom Trail around the city. 

Now that “normal” activity is out of the way, it’s time for the good stuff! The secret here is to visit the private library of the Boston Athenaeum in Beacon Hill. Buy a member day pass and head up to the fifth-floor terrace for intimate views of the fall foliage in the city. As for gardens, you’ve got plenty. Hit up the Public Garden for the Victorian age, Boston Commons for delicious treats from street vendors, and the Esplanade, where you’ll want to pack a takeaway lunch from a nearby café and secure an Adirondack chair along the floating docks. 


  1. Salem, MA

White church in rural New England
Photo by Todd Diemer on Unsplash

Best time to visit: Mid to Late September (Around Indigenous Peoples Day)

Located on the north shore of Massachusetts, Salem is famous for its 1692 witch trials, when several locals were executed for practicing witchcraft. Yes, this is that same Salem you remember from tales of witch trials and Disney movies, now referred to as the Witch City. This charming New England coastal town turns into a spooky place during the month of October. Every Holloween enthusiast has Salem on top of their list; therefore, October is really crowded.  

Salem is a great weekend destination, a very walkable town, easy to explore on foot as a tourist, but rich in history, filled with historic buildings, monuments, and delicious local foods.

If you visit the first week in October, watch the Haunted Happenings Grand Parade. The following day, swing by the Witch House at Salem and House of the Seven Gables before exploring the town center and local parks for fantastic shots of color-changing leaves. If you wanna see more foliage and embrace the spookiness of Salem, go for a walk around the graveyards. They date back to the 1600s!


  1. The Berkshires, MA

Best time to visit: Mid-September to Mid-October

The reason to single out the Berkshires from the rest of our list is because of the Inns, B&Bs, and hotels dotting its region. You’ll want to enjoy all the quiet countryside by traveling Route 7 and stopping in at local haunts around Stockbridge and Lenox. If your vehicle can handle it, drive to the summit of Mount Greylock in Adams for a stunning view of bright autumn colors.

The other reason to enjoy the Berkshires is the festivals. This area has terrific cultural events for foodies, adventurers, and music lovers. You can find everything from Shakespeare in Lenox to modern bands at Tanglewood. Be sure to pop over the border to the Hawthorne Valley Fall Festival for a bit of home cooking and folk music.  


  1. Mohawk Trail State Forest, MA

Best time to visit: Mid-September to Mid-October

The Mohawk Trail is named so because of the rich cultural history of the indigenous people. Here, you can enjoy a 60-mile stretch of beautiful New England fall foliage views dotted with colonial architecture near Deerfield. First things first, this is a state forest. To enjoy the best of it, you should plan camping, fishing, hunting, or canoeing in the early morning mist rising from the local waterways.

Besides that, put on your adventure hat and hit up the Berkshire East Canopy Tours outside the Berkshire East Mountain Resort. Afterward, quickly hop over to the A.L. Avery & Son General Store for local treats and hot cocoa.


16. Provincetown, MA

Best time to visit: Mid-October

A very popular summer destination, this coastal town is equally charming during fall. Hikes are slowly substituting long beach walks; (even though beach walks have a soothing vibe even in the freezing winter months). But hitting up the hiking trails allows you to enjoy the foliage and take in the beauty of fall foliage. The Beach Forest Trail and the Dune Shacks Trail are highly on our list!


  1. Providence, RI

Best time to visit: Mid-October

The capital city of Rhode Island makes a great choice for a scenic stroll through Roger Williams Park. Bristol, a favorite among architecture buffs, has a lot of charm, especially during fall. Stroll through Colt State Park and enjoy some of the best foliage. No matter the season, Newport never disappoints. If you’re a Halloween fan, The Newport Mansions offers some spooktacular Halloween shows.


Let’s wrap up our list with the southernmost New England state, which is also an autumn haven for leaf-peepers and nature enthusiasts. Connecticut, the third smallest state in America, and one of the first original 13 states, is home to some of the best state parks and hiking trails, all of which offer great foliage views. Here are 4 of our favorites:

lake house in Connecticut, New England, surrounded by fall foliage
Lyme, CT. By Jesse Romano

18. Kent Falls State Park and Bridge

Best time to visit: Mid-October

Located in the northeast of the town of Kent is Kent Falls State Park. As you can guess by its name, this park’s main attraction is the waterfall. Just picture the fallen, crisp leaves combined with the falling water for some fantastic fall scenery. There is a trail that allows you to follow the waterfall, so you can hike along while admiring the view. What could pair better with the beautiful fall foliage than a historic covered bridge? Kent Falls Bridge is the perfect complement for your fall-themed photo session. Make sure to watch out for it when you drive through the area!


19. Macedonia Brook State Park

Best time to visit: Mid-late October

Also located in Kent and near Mohawk State Forest and Kent Falls State Park. This makes it ideal to combine all three places for fall foliage watching in one day. The best views of the fall colors are from the top of the Cobble Mountain Trail. This point will provide a view of the Harlem Valley and the Catskill Mountains.


20. Connecticut State Route 169

Best time to visit: Mid-late October

If hiking and parks are not your thing, there are other ways to enjoy the fall foliage in Connecticut. The Connecticut State Route 169 is considered a National Scenic Byway, so you’ll enjoy beautiful sites along the 32-mile route that runs from the border with Massachusetts to Lisbon, CT. You will get to admire farms, small historic towns, hills, and woodland, all from the comfort of a road trip.


21. Merritt Parkway

Best time to visit: Mid-late October

This is another great one for those looking for a road trip rather than a hiking trip. This scenic route is perfect for driving and admiring the landscape. It is considered a historic route with low bridges, so don’t expect to find heavy traffic since trucks and buses aren’t allowed here. 


No matter where exactly you’ll end up in New England during the fall, this region will reward you with the most beautiful fall colors and an awe-inspiring road trip packed with wonderful memories and Instagram reels that might make you go viral.