Connecticut is the third smallest state in America but has a lot to offer to both tourists and its locals. Well known for housing Yale University, one of the nation’s top Ivy League colleges, Connecticut is also a state of firsts. It was one of the first original 13 states when the country was established. It is also the place where the first hamburger was ever eaten, and you can still visit the restaurant where it was first served in New Haven.
Being so close to New York City, some consider Connecticut a NYC suburb. Towns such as Greenwich and Stamford offer a short and comfortable commute to city. With apartment prices at an all-time high, CT provides a better quality of life for those seeking more space and a slower pace, especially for millennials with families or looking to settle down. The events of 2020 accelerated this trend. According to Hartford Business, over 27.000 people left New York for Connecticut last year, over 65% more than in 2019. Moving so close to the city offers many young people the best of both worlds, making it easy to pop in whenever they have to, but having a larger space for their daily lives. It’s that time of the year when we say goodbye to summer to make way for the fall. And what better place to indulge in the crisp, fall weather and atmosphere than Connecticut. October and November have been predicted to be the best months for foliage this year, but it may start as early as mid-September.
Looking to enjoy the fall foliage? These are the best places in Connecticut to indulge in nature, take the most amazing photos and make the best memories.
Kent Falls State Park and Bridge
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!
Sleeping Giant State Park
In Hamden, you will find this state park named after the mountain Sleeping Giant, also known as Mount Carmel. Why this name, you may be thinking? It is said to resemble a giant human relaxing from a distance. Why not check it out and confirm the resemblance for yourself? This state park is also interesting for its 32 miles of hiking trails and lookout tower for the best views of New Haven and Long Island Sound.
Lover’s Leap State Park
Located at the edge of the Housatonic River in New Milford, this is the place for you if you want to combine views of the foliage with the water. You can also admire stunning views of Lake Lillinonah and Connecticut’s country landscape. The park is named after the Romeo and Juliet style, the tragic legend of two lovers, a Native American woman and an English settler, who were not allowed to be together and decided to end their life rather than spend it apart.
Don’t miss out on Lover’s Leap Bridge. This historic landmark was built in 1895, and although it is not open to car traffic, you can walk along and include this sight in your beautiful fall photo repertoire.
Talcott Mountain State Park
This park’s main attraction is the Heublein Tower. The only way of reaching it is to hike to the top of the mountain, but don’t worry! It only takes up 30 to 40 minutes, and it is most definitely worth it! Views from the top of mountains and towers tend to be the most breathtaking, so I would not skip this one! Take advantage of their extended opening days during peak foliage season.
Mohawk State Forest and Park
This forest and state park is a great place to get those scenic views you chase in the fall. It has almost 3,000 acres that serve as a wildlife sanctuary. The Black Spruce Bog is the signature tree in this forest. Definitely take your time here and explore the Mahican-Mohawk trail. If fishing is your thing, this place is also a popular spot for locals and tourists.
Macedonia Brook State Park
Also located in Kent and in the vicinity of 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 crisp, 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.
American Legion and People’s State Forest
They are located in the Pleasant Valley section of Barkhamsted and can be sighted if you decide to take the drive from Torrington to Norfolk. These parks provide the perfect place to relax and picnic and also for leaf-peeping. If you are especially interested in delving into the history and local animals and plants, visit the People’s State Forest Nature Museum.
Pachaug State Forest
This might be the ultimate place to view fall foliage in Connecticut. It is the largest forest in the state. Plan accordingly because there is a lot to cover in only one place. A must-do in Pachaug State Forest is the hike up to Mount Misery. Don’t worry, there is nothing miserable about this place. At the top, you will be rewarded with beautiful views of the multi-colored fall foliage. There are also other trails inside the park for hikers and even for horseback riders.
Connecticut State Route 169
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, which means that you can 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.
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.
In addition to the fall foliage, there are so many fall activities to enjoy during this time of the year in Connecticut. Here are a few:
Nothing screams fall like apple season. If you are a foodie, definitely sign on to this activity in Connecticut. There are plenty of orchards, farms, and apple varieties to choose from; there will definitely be something out there for you. Btw, did you know that one of the first-ever apple-pie recipes comes from Connecticut?
In Connecticut, you will find the oldest Cider Mills in the country. And not only do they serve their homemade cider, but they also bake apple cider donuts. A 100% fun and satisfying fall, foodie experience.
Some other fall popular staples: pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie, everything pumpkin! Visiting the pumpkin patches in Connecticut will also definitely be your vibe if you are a Halloween enthusiast, of course! Beautiful farm vibes and up to 40 different, delicious pumpkin varieties, what is there not to love?
Still on the theme of Halloween, what can be more fun than scaring yourself by choosing a spooky tour of a corn maze – like right out of a scary movie! Some places even have spooky tours and activities on Halloween. If you are a horror buff, make sure to check them out!
Vineyards and wine trails
There are up to 40 different wineries in Connecticut. Wherever you decide to go in the state, make sure to check out the Connecticut Wine Trail and book a full tour or a tasting. There will definitely be something for every wine enthusiast out there.
Whatever you choose to do, New England has so much for everyone. If you love the nature, but you’re also the city type, Connecticut is for you. It’s proximity to the city, amazing view and beautiful nature everywhere, just between NYC and Boston, makes it a perfect place to live in, and to visit during fall.