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Best Places to Visit in the Fall – New England

Best Places to Visit in the Fall - New England

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Fall is possibly the most beautiful season to visit New England. The crispness in the air, changing color of the leaves, and pumpkin-everything, makes this time of year an especially magical season. If you’re looking for places to take your family during autumn, the 6 states in New England will not disappoint!

Whether you want a hike through forests or to explore historical sites like the Salem Witch Trials, a visit to New England in the fall will leave you with unforgettable family memories.

I’ve rounded up the best events or places to visit in each state to make your fall holiday fantastic. Bear in mind that the fall foliage is at its best from early to mid-September through to the end of October, but this varies from state to state, and also according to the weather conditions each year.

Best Places to Visit in the Fall – New England

The leaves begin to change color from north to south, so northern states like Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire will generally get peak foliage – peak colors – before the more southern states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

Best Places to Visit in the Fall - New England

Places to Visit in the Fall – Maine

Maine is the largest of the 6 New England states, and also the most northerly.

It offers cool apple-picking orchards, stunning corn mazes, freshly made cider and pumpkins galore. It also has an impressive coastline to explore, with so many adorable New England towns to visit.

Acadia National Park

If you’re looking for wilderness this fall, head for Acadia National Park. It covers 47,000 acres, encompassing woodland, lakes, mountains and coastline.

If your family loves the outdoors, the park has plenty of opportunities for you, including camping, hiking, bicycle riding and even horseback riding on the old carriage roads where cars are prohibited. Water sports are more your thing? Go for canoeing, kayaking or fishing.

If you want some comfort after a day in the wilderness, the bay town of Bar Harbor has plenty of shops and restaurants to rest in.

Foliage in Maine

New England fall foliage simply can not be beat. To see those incredible burnt oranges and fluorescent reds and yellows at their peak, go during September and early October. Maine can be so beautiful!

To find out exactly where to visit to see the leaves change color, check with Maine’s Tourism Office who provide suggested routes and the best times to see them.

Apple Orchards

There are lots of fantastic places to do a spot of apple picking while in Maine.

Lakeside Orchards have not just apples, but other fruit and veg too, including peas, blueberries, and pumpkins. There’s often weekend entertainment by way of live music so check ahead and see what’s on during your visit.

Corn Mazes in Maine

Visiting a corn maze is a fun fall activity. The corn is usually just beginning to turn yellow and the leaves on the trees are changing colour, creating an awe-inspiring scene.

The Tregworthy Family Orchard offers much more than just a corn maze, though it has to be said their corn maze is an award-winning maze that is the longest continually running corn maze in Maine.

This is a fun family activity – use the provided map with riddles and find the ‘stations’ within the maze.

They also have an apple orchard, pick-your-own fruit and veg, a pumpkin patch and pick-your-own flowers.

Add to that the cafe, homemade ice cream, and even a petting zoo, and you can see how you could spend the whole day here. Heck, why not stay a little longer and enjoy the ‘Night Maze’ in mid-October.

Fall Festivals in Maine

In Maine, there are many Fall Festivals that you can attend. Local communities celebrate the arrival of Autumn with festivals and events designed to promote a sense of community as well as provide family-friendly fun.

The Damariscotta PumpkinFest & Regatta has various events on in October – check the program for the latest line-up of activities.

Usually, Acadia National Park holds OktoberFest, a celebration of food, wine and beer, crafts and music, though due to Covid it has been cancelled until 2022.

Glamping in New England

If glamping is your thing, you’ll love the setup at Under Canvas Acadia. With gorgeous woodland behind and the shoreline in front, these luxury tents want for nothing.

Places to Visit in the Fall – New Hampshire

Cross the border from Maine into New Hampshire and head for The White Mountains.

The White Mountains

The White Mountains are a must-see on your New England road trip itinerary during the autumn months. White Mountain National Forest is a hiker’s paradise and has epic, colorful mountain views in fall. There are hiking trails for all levels if you feel like getting up close and personal with nature. And plenty of mountain resorts to rest at afterwards.

Foliage in New Hampshire

Apart from The White Mountains, there are many other choice spots for foliage, including classic-looking towns like Portsmouth or Jackson. And we can’t forget the Kancamagus highway: a 56-mile stretch of scenic views and oh-so beautiful color changes.

Apple Orchards in New Hampshire

For an apple orchard that has more than just apples (as if that wasn’t enough) head to Alyson’s Orchard. With 450 acres, as well as apples they cultivate plums, peaches, pears, nectarines and berries.

Check out their Farm Stand for locally-made produce as well as country gifts.

If you’re looking for a place to stay while in New Hampshire, Alyson’s Orchards also have farmhouses and lodges for holiday rentals.

Corn Mazes in New Hampshire

For an elaborate corn maze, check out Sherman Farm. Open weekends only, their Maize Maze changes each year, getting more elaborate each time. it includes a treasure hunt and Cornundrums (riddles). The maze has 3 different ability levels, so if you think you’re hopeless at mazes, start with the easiest level!

This 12-acre farm also has a petting zoo, pumpkin patch, and kids play area.

The Cog Railway, Mount Washington Valley

Don’t miss the ‘railway to the moon’, a quaint railroad, built in 1869. Take a steam engine up to the summit of the northeast’s highest peak and marvel at the view from the top.

Places to Visit in the Fall – Vermont

You can expect to see Vermont’s peak colors from mid to late September, through to early-mid October.

Vermont is blessed with beautiful lakes, forests and towns with endless opportunities for hiking, cruises and adventure activities.

Woodstock Vermont

Woodstock, Vermont is a picturesque town with beautiful fall colors – the perfect weekend destination for fall color enthusiasts who want a bit of everything.

Enjoy local produce in the quaint village restaurants and shop for antiques in the little stores.

Head for Woodstock’s Harvest Festival in October for local cider and food produce, craft market, and food trucks, as well a barn dance.

Burlington, Vermont

This arty, lakeside town gives you great foliage paired with fantastic eateries. You’ll find unique architecture, cafes, breweries, coffee shops, art galleries and shops that are quite different than what you’ll find in other parts of New England.

Go for a boat ride on Lake Champlain to see the fall foliage in full swing. For water enthusiasts, there are plenty of water-based activities available on the lake too.

Corn Mazes in Vermont

The Great Vermont Maze is the largest maze in New England. It covers 24 acres and takes around 3 hours to walk it! There’s also a kids play area.

The Cold Hollow Cider Mill – Waterbury

Enjoy the mountain views from Cold Hollow. They have a restaurant, shop and cider tasting room. There’s plenty for the kids to enjoy here, from watching freshly made apple cider doughnuts being made to touring the cider press.

Places to Visit in the Fall – Massachusetts

Massachusetts in the Fall

With apple orchards, abundant outdoor activities and of course, a famous historic town, Massachusetts is a fascinating place to visit in fall.

Fall foliage reaches its peak in New England around October, but this varies from year to year.

Pleasant Valley Sanctuary

It’s not a secret that this is one of the best New England fall destinations. Come here in the fall to enjoy jaw-dropping autumn colors in the 1000+ acres of lush forests, meadows and mountain slopes.

There are 7 miles of hiking trails for all levels here and if you’re lucky you’ll get to see beavers busily building dams.

Mount Greylock

If you want incredible views but don’t fancy hiking to get them, drive up to the top of Mount Greylock, the highest point in Massachusetts. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see up to 90 miles away!

There’s a visitor centre, scenic viewing areas to sit and enjoy the amazing colors, and of course for those who want to, lots of outdoor activities.

Salem, Massachusetts

Thousands of visitors come every year to celebrate Haunted Happenings, Salem’s October festival. There’s plenty of safe, family fun in the festival, including kid-friendly walking tours, trick-or-treating, storytelling sessions, thousands of carved pumpkins, and of course, the opportunity to dress up as your favorite Halloween character.

As well as the Halloween festival, don’t miss the other places of interest. Salem has lovely art shops, restaurants, and coffee shops to chill out in. Take a boat tour, or if you like spooky things, a spellbound tour!

Visit one of the many museums or historic houses. For literature fans, The House of Seven Gables is a 17th-century mansion made famous by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel that might be of interest. If you love the historic aspect of Salem, check out the Salem Witch Museum, dedicated to the Salem Witch Trials.

Massachusetts Lighthouses

For some of the best beaches in New England, head to Massachusetts. The Massachusetts coasts are a beautiful contrast to the vibrant autumn colors on land. Explore the coastline around Cape Cod and visit some of the lighthouses, many of which are now museums with small shops and tours.

The Berkshires

The Berkshires are surrounded by beautiful mountains. The region is known though for its arts and cultural activities. They have several festivals running through the year, including the ‘Fall Foliage Festival’ at the start of October.

The Lennox Apple Squeeze celebrates the apple harvest with a free street festival, markets, live music and performances.

Best Places to Visit in the Fall - New England

Places to visit in the Fall – Rhode Island

Rhode Island is the smallest of the New England states, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in impact.

Go on a Foliage Cruise

Explore the season’s colors from the water. Rhode Island Bay Cruises have narrated tours and show you several islands, lighthouses, bridges, mansions, the historic Fort Adams, as well as other famous Rhode Island sights.

Westerly

Wander along the beautiful beaches, check out the shops, enjoy lunch or dinner in one of its many fantastic eateries… Westerly is a pretty town to visit during a fall vacation in Rhode Island.

For great autumn family fun, head to Manfredi Farm where you can pick your own strawberries and pumpkins, play in the corn maze and feed the farm animals.

Block Island

Fall is the best time to visit Block Island. Peak foliage is generally around mid October.

Block Island is home to beautiful beaches, historic lighthouses, and rustic farms. Spend a day or weekend there to really appreciate its beauty.

The Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge has plenty of family activities, including fishing, hunting and viewing the wildlife of course. Plus they also have an environmental education program. Check out their website for current information.

Incredible places to stay in the Fall in Rhode Island

There are several unique Airbnbs in Rhode Island to stay in. Not only can you be in awe of the incredible autumn colors, you can enjoy them in unusual places that will make unforgettable family memories.

My favorites are a dome house close to the beach in Tiverton – this place looks like something straight out of a magazine and is perfect for larger family holidays. It even has a baby grand piano!

If your family are nature lovers, how about renting an entire tiny island with an off the grid cabin in Glocester?

Rhode Island fall destinations

Places to Visit in the Fall – Connecticut

The most southerly state, Connecticut has a longer and later peak foliage period than the rest of New England, so if you want a late fall holiday, head for Connecticut!

The Litchfield Hills, Connecticut

The Litchfield Hills are a gorgeous place to see fall in Connecticut.

Hiking, kayaking, and fishing are popular activities in the hills.

If antiquing is more your thing, this area is an antique lover’s treasure trove, with most towns having quaint stores to explore.

Kent

For incredible leaf colors, and wonderful food, head to Kent. Yankee Magazine named it as one of the best towns for fall foliage and it has many impressive eateries too.

There are lots of outdoor activities for the whole family, including kayaking, fishing and hiking.

Visit the covered bridge at Kent Falls State Park or hike the waterfalls. Kent Falls is a series of impressive, plunging cascades on a mountain stream.

Essex

Previously voted as one of the best small towns of America, Essex is quintessential ‘New England’.

Enjoy this charming town by boat and train. The Essex Steam Train & Riverboat company has lots of experiences on offer, including river cruises, train rides, and rail bike rides.

Their rail bike experience is 8 miles of rail bike pedalling adventure and is open to kids over 8 years old. Each rail bike takes 2 people and one must be an adult.

They also have narrated dinner train excursions and riverboat excursions, that will give you views you wouldn’t get from the car.

Apple Orchards in Connecticut

For some fabulous fall apple picking, head to Silverman’s Farm where they also have pick-your-own fruit and an animal petting farm.

Visit their impressive country market store for local produce including cider, bread, cheese, pies and flowers.

Corn Mazes in Connecticut

Foster Farms have not one but 2 corn mazes, covering 8 acres of land. They also do night mazes, but check their website for changing details.

The kids can pick their own pumpkins, play on the haystack, go for tractor hayrides and play in the farm play yard. They even have a pirate ship and a pedal cart track. The kids will love it.

Which state would you like to visit first?

For an unforgettable family fall vacation, New England has so much to offer. There are so many places to visit and you’ll fall in love with the fall foliage and be impressed by any one of its 6 states. Popular activities on offer include corn mazes, apple orchards, fall festivals and access to the great outdoors.

Traveling with kids and looking for tips, then make sure to click the links below and read more:

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