Top 14 New England towns to spot fall foliage
Crawford Notch in Bartlett, New Hampshire
Located in the heart of the White Mountain National Forest and a stone’s throw away from Mount Washington is Crawford Notch located in Bartlett, New Hampshire. You will find an abundance of hiking trails in this area, but my favorite for fall colors is Mount Willard. This is a fairly trafficked trail, and we saw hikers of all ages. I would rate its difficulty level easy to moderate, and it took us about forty five minutes to get to the top. Don’t forget your camera, the views from the summit are simply stunning!
Kancamagus Highway in Conway, New Hampshire
One of my favorite fall routes is the Kancamagus Highway. Take New Hampshire 112 from Lincoln to Conway, vice versa, or back and forth! Must see stops along the way include Sugar Hill Overlook, Sabbaday Falls, Russell-Colbath Homestead, Rocky Gorge, Lower Falls Scenic Area, and my favorite, the Albany covered bridge. When you’re in Conway, make sure to stop at Zeb’s, a favorite and classic New England general store. You can also pick up the Conway scenic railway right in town, and enjoy the colors at a higher elevation!
Are you catching on that fall foliage is beautiful in New Hampshire?! Read all about how to spend three days in the White Mountains, it’s never too early to start planning a trip to New England!
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
One of my favorite New England towns to visit in the fall, Portsmouth is a historic waterfront city located less than sixty miles from Boston. Known as ‘tugboat city,’ Portsmouth doesn’t feel too large, but you could definitely spend an entire day here as well. The Strawbery Banke Museum and its surrounding neighborhood are so idyllic in the autumn season.
Make sure to check out this blog post on how to visit Portsmouth, New Hampshire; the most idyllic New England town to spot fall foliage!
Some describe this New England town as the jewel of the Maine coast. The main reason we visited Camden during the fall season was to experience the views from Mount Battie. We chose to drive straight up to the top when we visited, but there are many hiking trails here. Don’t forget to stop in the downtown and harbor area to admire the views. Enjoy some shopping and grab a bite to eat. Don’t take my word for it, Travel and Leisure also agrees this is one of the top New England towns to spot fall foliage!
Bath is a small, coastal town in Maine not far from Freeport and Portland. We wanted to venture a bit north to see fall foliage at its prime, and this was the perfect little town to stay. Know as the ‘City of Ships’, there is a large maritime museum in town. Another reason this is a top town for fall foliage in New England is that the museum is included in Maine’s pumpkin trail. Bath Brewing company downtown was a great stop along the way, as well as the famous Red’s Eats and Doubling Point lighthouse. Red’s Eats is known to have the best lobster roll in Maine, and I would highly recommend it! Make sure to wander through Library Park, you’ll easily see why this is a top town to experience fall foliage in New England.
Who doesn’t want to spend the Halloween season in Salem, especially if you’re familiar with the Halloween classic Hocus Pocus. It’s believed Salem might throw the largest Halloween party around, and you’ll find crowds in costumes all month long. Not only can you visit some of the famous sites where the Hocus Pocus movie was filmed, you can learn more about the historic Salem witch trials and stroll around perfectly decorated New England homes amongst lots of fall foliage. If you’re looking for lunch or dinner options, I would highly recommend Ledger. Red’s Sandwich Shop is also delicious and has the cutest store front!
Beacon Hill in Boston, Massachusetts
If you’re looking for the most idyllic spot for a Boston stroll with the perfect amount of fall foliage, look no further than Beacon Hill. There is something magical about the brownstones and historical brick buildings adorned with pops of red, orange, and yellow leaves. Wander around to my favorite not-so-hidden garden on Chestnut Street, Louisberg Square, and the most photographed street in the country, Acorn Street. Make sure to make your way down to Charles Street to stop at Tatte for lunch, or browse around Covet, a women’s consignment shop selling everything from luxury to vintage items.
Thinking ahead to the springtime? If you’re heading to Boston during this bloom season make sure not to miss these top five spring bloom locations.
One of my favorite New England farm stands I’ve visited and a postcard like fall scene is Strawberry Hollow Farm in Guilford, Connecticut. It was one of the most idyllic settings to revel in the beauty of fall foliage in New England. If you’re looking for how to visit this farm stand and others in the area, VisitNewEngland.com has you covered!
Another classic New England town for leaf peeping is Essex, Connecticut. Take a stroll down Main Street, and stop for a bite to eat at the historic Griswold Inn. If you’re looking for unique leef peeping experiences, look no further than the Essex steam train and riverboat.
If you’re looking for other nearby Connecticut small towns to explore, look no further than the picturesque Stonington!
Mohawk Trail along Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts
One of the most scenic drives in Massachusetts to experience beautiful autumn hues is the Mohawk Trail. The most unique area along the trail to discover fall foliage is at The Bridge of Flowers. Another point of interest is the Golden Eagle restaurant. This is one of the oldest sites on the Mohawk trail at the famous ‘hairpin turn’. Even if you’re not able to dine at the restaurant, the views from this stop are incredible. Even the New York Times details how to visit these top towns for fall foliage in New England along the Mohawk Trail.
Looking for other autumn activities in Massachusetts? Check out how to visit these North Shore fall farm stands.
Last year my husband and I took a ‘small town tour’ in October through Vermont and the town of Bennington was our first stop. We started at First Congregational Church, and marveled in the abundance of fall foliage while walking along the marble sidewalks. Continue driving Route 7A, also known as the Shires of Vermont Byway, and make sure to wander down back roads. Here’s a similar map that we followed for our trip!
Our complete itinerary will help you plan your next trip to some of Vermont’s best small towns for fall foliage in New England!
The Vermont Country Store in Weston, Vermont
Family owned and operated since 1946, this location could not be more perfect for such an idyllic Vermont vibe. This town is also a perfect place to see fall foliage, even Boston.com agrees! After exploring this country store, head over to the Town Square or Village Green, where you’ll find lovely hues of orange and yellow all around you. Continue on to the Old Mill Museum, you’ll feel as if you’ve just stepped into a fairy tale.
Even though this town is quite small, it certainly packs a punch. Located not too far from its neighboring town Manchester, it’s nestled in the hills of the Green Mountains. Start your visit at the Dorset Union Store. You can grab an apple cider doughnut and coffee, and head to a picnic table along the Dorset Green. Make sure to explore the Green and the marble sidewalks that will take you past classic New England homes. Make sure to plan your next New England getaway at one of the town’s quaint inns. You’ll easily see why it’s such a great town for leaf peepers!
Saving the best for last, this is my all time favorite town to spot fall foliage in New England. Woodstock really is a beauty during all seasons and is no longer a secret! This town consistently makes the list for most beautiful towns in America, and one of the best small towns in Vermont! The heart of this town is the iconic and luxurious Woodstock Inn and Resort. We’ve had Christmas dinner here and even visited the spa, and it really is worth the hype. My favorite stops in Woodstock include Billings Farm and Sleepy Hollow Farm. Make sure to stop at Worthy Kitchen for a burger, or make a reservation for a unique dining experience at Simon Pearce Restaurant. It really is such a magical little town and the best to spot fall foliage in New England!