While the region’s many beaches make a persuasive argument for summer being the best season in New England, autumn also makes a particularly strong showing, thanks to the area’s incredible fall foliage. Leaf lovers flock to New England for the incredible nature views, while the locals walk their favorite trails and cruise their favorite scenic drives. Whether you are a native or a visitor, you can maximize your autumn in New England by visiting these particularly picturesque destinations.
Green Mountain National Forest (Vermont)
Vermont has the highest percentage of maple trees in all of New England and you can find many of them in Green Mountain National Forest, which combines rugged mountain peaks with quintessential Vermont villages. Visitors often stay at the Green Mountain Inn in historic Stowe, a nearly 200-year-old inn that provides a great base for foliage hikes and gondola rides. You can even get a bird’s eye view of the region’s foliage by taking one of the Above Reality Hot Air Balloon Rides offered in Stowe. The small town is also host to Crop Bistro & Brewery, which has a great selection of pub food and microbrews, and is situated near the Ben & Jerry’s factory in Waterbury.
Kancamagus Highway (New Hampshire)
Kancamagus Highway, known to locals as “The Kanc,” is a 37-mile National Scenic Byway that runs east to west through New Hampshire’s gorgeous White Mountains. In addition to trees and leaves, this fall foliage favorite is home to covered bridges and various types of mountain fun, including zip line adventures on the Bretton Woods Canopy Tour. The White Mountain Hotel and Resort in North Conway is a great place to stay during your mountain retreat, with its luxurious rooms, spectacular mountain and cliff views and fine dining at the hotel’s Ledges Restaurant.
Fall Foliage Festival (Massachusetts)
Not to put too fine a point on it, but if you’re looking for fall foliage in New England, the Fall Foliage Festival in North Adams, Massachusetts is a good place to start. This annual celebration in early October celebrates the season with a parade and family fun. North Adams is also a stop along the scenic Mohawk Trail, a former Native American trade route that takes travelers on a breathtaking driving tour of the Berkshire Mountains of northwestern Massachusetts. North Adams is also home to the renowned Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art and Porches, a hip “retro-edgy” boutique bed and breakfast located directly across the street from the art museum.
Acadia National Park (Maine)
Right off the coast of Maine, nestled on Mount Desert Island, is Acadia National Park. This location serves as a scenic getaway with many routes that lead to picturesque views of the Atlantic Ocean and nearby mountains, including Cadillac Mountain—the highest peak on the United States’ East Coast. The park offers public and private campgrounds for those wishing to experience the changing of the seasons in the element of nature. But the local Bar Harbor hotel, The Bayview, is just minutes away for those wanting gorgeous views along with the amenities of home.
From national parks to former Native American trails, New England is full of top fall foliage destinations for you to explore this autumn.