Experiencing the changing colors of fall foliage is truly a highlight of exploring New England. The forests are alight in brilliant hues, a display that can be shocking in its vividness.
It’s hard to plan for the perfect autumn trip, as varied weather conditions mean the leaves change at different times each year, so be sure to check an up-to-date foliage map in advance. In the northern states of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, colors begin to change in mid-September, continuing through mid-October. The first color appears at northern latitudes and high altitudes, working south and toward sea level as the season progresses.
Whether you plan to explore the northern states, the southern states, or—better yet—both, here are some of the best places to peep New England’s fall foliage.
1. Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire
The twists and turns of this 34-mile road through the White Mountains pass through gorgeous forests that are brilliant in autumn.
2. Mad River Valley, Vermont
A broad valley flanked with peaks on each side, this gorgeous spot offers wide-open views and easy access to higher-elevation terrain.
3. Acadia National Park, Maine
Offset by the island’s many evergreen trees, fall colors are especially dramatic here, with kettle ponds and harbors to reflect the leaves.
4. Cape Cod, Massachusetts
With subtler displays than in the northern forests, Cape Cod doesn’t attract crowds of leaf peepers, but autumn turns its oaks a beautiful rusty hue, plants in the dunes are frosted with gold, and the area’s cranberry harvest ripens in Technicolor.
5. Mount Greylock, Massachusetts
Climb or drive to the highest point in Massachusetts for panoramic views across the Berkshires, where gently rolling farmland is flocked with deciduous forests.
6. Litchfield, Connecticut
All white-tipped steeples and historic houses, this town offers the perfect frame for changing leaves, while local apple farms open for pick-your-own.