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New England is a charming region in the northeastern United States, beloved for its quaint villages, history, and breathtaking autumn foliage. It is the most beautiful area in the world for a fall foliage road trip. It took me a while to finally make it to New England during fall, but once I did, the colors completely blew me away!
There’s a lot to see in New England, but of course, the major highlight is the autumn leaves that paint the landscape in many hues. The colors only pop for a few weeks every year based on several factors. Make sure to look at the fall foliage reports in each state to get an idea of when the colors will be at peak. Usually, the end of September through Mid October will see the best colors, but each state and region are different. Higher altitudes change first, and too much rain or wind will affect how and when the leaves change.
In this post, I’m sharing some of the best fall things to do in each New England State and three epic itineraries for the best New England fall foliage road trips that can easily be altered to accommodate any trip length. Along the way, expect to see a breathtaking array of colors as the leaves change, ranging from deep reds and oranges to bright yellows and golds. You’ll stop at small towns and charming villages, sample local cuisine, and enjoy cultural activities.
A New England fall road trip is a must-do for any nature lover or adventure seeker. It is one road trip I look forward to every year. While there are many areas in the United States for fall foliage, New England is the epicenter of all things fall, from pumpkin patches and foliage-lined streets to fall festivals and freshly baked goodies.
There are so many fun fall things and unique neighborhoods to experience on every New England road trip, so buckle up and get ready for a road trip of a lifetime!
The New England States
The charming states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut make up the New England region. Each New England state has its own unique flavor, making a fall foliage road trip through this beautiful part of the US an unforgettable experience.
Here’s an overview of each New England state and what you’ll find there in autumn.
Bonus State; New York: While New York isn’t technically in New England, it’s super close and offers an equally dreamy autumn road trip experience. Head to Upstate New York, the Finger Lakes region, or the stunning Adirondack mountains for some epic New York fall foliage road trips. The road trip itinerary section includes parts of New York on Route 2’s road trip.
Besides visiting in summer to enjoy the beaches, autumn is the best time to visit Maine. This coastal state is a quintessential New England leaf-peeping destination, with a plethora of must-see highlights in the fall.
You absolutely can’t miss a scenic drive through Acadia National Park. This serene park offers colorful hiking trails along Park Loop Road, and magnificent vistas from Cadillac Mountain.
Or swing through the small town of Kennebunkport, with postcard-worthy historic homes and stunning fall foliage lining Kennebunk River.
New Hampshire offers some of the best New England fall foliage road trips in the entire country! This New England state has many gorgeous natural features and quaint towns with the best fall atmospheres.
The Kancamagus Highway is perhaps the most popular scenic drive on a New England fall road trip. Drive this switchback-filled route for awe-inspiring views of the White Mountains bursting with vivid foliage colors.
While adventuring along the Kancamagus, you can’t miss exploring summit trails or the magical Flume Gorge in Franconia Notch State Park.
Looking for more of a charming cultural experience with good foliage views? Definitely check out the town of North Conway in the White Mountains.
There are a unique variety of local shops, eateries, and historical landmarks to explore here, with colorful mountains in the backdrop. Hitch a ride on the Conway Scenic Railroad to get up close and personal with the deep red, yellow, and orange forests.
Vermont is a state that closely borders New Hampshire to the left with a huge reputation for showcasing the best New England fall villages. Vermont is an idyllic spot for a fall foliage road trip with verdant pastures, beautiful mountain ranges, and a quintessential small-town feel.
One highlight of Vermont in autumn is the charming town of Stowe at the base of Mount Mansfield. Visit to enjoy scenic drives, hikes, or bike rides in the surrounding area, taking in the stunning views of the colorful foliage along the way.
Hiking is a fantastic activity to do when visiting Vermont to leaf-peep. The Green Mountains offer an awesome range of hikes, from easy family-friendly strolls to challenging climbs.
Hike the Camel’s Hump Trail or Mount Mansfield Trail for breathtaking panoramic views. The Stowe Pinnacle Trail is another great option for beginners, with rewarding views of the valleys below.
Massachusetts is a New England state esteemed for its U.S. historical landmarks, world-class universities, cultural cities, and picturesque seaside towns.
There are many memorable things to see here on a fall foliage road trip, including brilliant foliage and unique towns.
North Adams in the scenic Berkshire Mountains is a perfect example. Admire the stunning foliage while exploring its museums and shops.
The Berkshires themselves is an enchanting region to visit in autumn. Don’t miss scenic Berkshire drives and trail hikes around its network of beautiful agricultural towns.
In the town of Stockbridge is the Norman Rockwell Museum, an iconic token of New England’s visual beauty.
Connecticut is another excellent state to visit on an unforgettable fall foliage road trip, with state parks that look stunning in autumn with colors that last longer than the other New England States with fewer crowds.
One of the top Connecticut highlights in autumn is the Connecticut River Valley, which offers some of the most beautiful leaf-peeping views in the state.
From early October to early November, you can take a scenic drive along the Connecticut River, explore the small towns as you go, and hike to the abandoned fire towers for great views.
Another must-visit in the fall is Kent Falls State Park, with its series of waterfalls framed by colorful leaves. Embark on one of the many hiking trails, bundle up to enjoy a picnic lunch, and soak in the area’s natural beauty.
Rhode Island may be the smallest US state, but it is certainly a mighty fall foliage destination! If you’re visiting in autumn, definitely add the gorgeous seaside town of Newport to your list.
Its historic mansions, coastal drives, and cliff-walk strolls will wow you with framed foliage scenes around every corner.
You can also explore Block Island or take advantage of the hiking trails and birdwatching opportunities at the colorful Norman Bird Sanctuary.
The Best New England Fall Foliage Road Trip Itineraries:
No matter how much time you have, you can soak up the magic of fall with these 3-10 day fall road trip itineraries. They are easily customizable and can be done with any amount of time. There is much to see and do within these fall road trip itineraries, but make sure to plan some relaxing time into your day to take in all the scenery and the small towns with gigantic personalities.
These three itineraries are all loop routes. Each originates in different areas of New England from different airports, giving you the most variety when choosing the best New England road trip route itinerary.
Route 1: Round Trip from Boston, MA | 3-10 days | New Hampshire + Maine
3 Days Overnight Stops: Plymouth (NH), Lincoln (NH), Conway (NH)
5 Days or More Optional Add-Ons:
- Alton, Wolfeboro, Meredith (NH, Lake Winnipesaukee Loop)
- Bar Harbor & Acadia National Park (ME), Portland (ME), Portsmouth (NH), Salem (MA)
- Closest International Airport: Boston Logan International (BOS) Airport (110 miles to first overnight stop)
- Driving time: 6-11 hours
- Must See Stops: Concord, Plymouth, Welch-Dickey Loop Trail, Squam Lake and covered bridge, Kancamagus Highway, Franconia Notch State Park, Flume Gorge, Clark’s Covered Bridge, North Conway, Diana’s Baths, Alton Bay, Wolfeboro Art Walk, Wright Museum of World War II, Black’s Paper Shop, the Old Country Store, Castle in the Clouds, Mill Falls Marketplace, Weirs Beach, Gunstock Resort, Old Port, Cape Elizabeth, Portland Head Light, Two Lights Lighthouse, Tate House Museum, Portland Observatory, USS Albacore, U.S. Navy submarine (Portsmouth), Market Square,
The first half of this gorgeous fall road trip in New Hampshire is all about the White Mountains, scenic highways, and historic towns, perfect for 3-day trip. It’s hands-down one of the best New England fall foliage road trips for its sheer visual beauty.
For historic charm and a coastal New England fall vibe, add on some coastal towns, such as Bar Harbor (ME), Portland (ME) and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. If you love Halloween, stop in Salem on the way back to Boston. October is a great time to visit the town known for the witch trials of 1692.
For an even longer trip, including the beloved Lake Winnipesaukee with overnight stops in Alton, Meredith or Wolfeboro.
First Night in Plymouth
Head to Concord, New Hampshire’s capital city, and travel along forest-lined Route 93 up to the colonial college town of Plymouth, NH. You can spend the night here.
As one of the best places in NH for foliage, you’ll want time to explore its quaint downtown, stroll around colorful Squam Lake, or summit the Welch-Dickey Loop for a breathtaking perspective.
Optional Add-On: Lake Winnipesaukee loop
From here take the optional Lake Winnipesaukee loop through Meredith, Wolfeboro and Alton. It takes about 1.5 hours to drive around the lake but spending a few nights along New Hampshire’s largest lake is ideal.
As you drive around the lake, visit Alton, NH, a historic bay town with forest-framed bay views.
Then make your way to Wolfeboro, a year-round lakefront town with plenty of shopping, restaurants, and outdoor activities. Explore the colorful rail trail and outdoor Wolfeboro Art Walk. Then continue on to the historic Moultonborough to wander the 1700s Old Country Store and buy fun penny candy.
Next up is Meredith, replete with upscale lake living and fun cultural activities. Shop and dine overlooking the water at Mill Falls Marketplace and go for a crisp Weirs Beach walk. Meredith is a great area to spend a night or two.
Wrapping up the loop, you’ll continue on to Gilford, home of Gunstock Resort. This spot is excellent for a moderate hike with rewarding leaf-peeping vistas. Finally, finish back where you started in Alton and continue north to Lincoln, New Hampshire, for more scenic leaf-peeping views.
2nd night in Lincoln, NH
After enjoying Lake Winnipesaukee, head to Lincoln, NH, a beautiful town in the White Mountains. While here, don’t miss a visit to Franconia Notch State Park right off the Kancamagus Scenic Byway. A hike up to Artists Bluff is a great way to start the day for scenic views, or walk through Flume Gorge, an area with hiking trails and a path through a natural gorge and waterfalls with a red-covered bridge and many scenic views.
Third Night in Conway, NH
For your final night on a shorter road trip, head to North Conway along the famous scenic route “the Kanc.”
The Kancamagus route weaves through the White Mountains National Forest, revealing magnificent fall foliage views, peaceful streams, and hiking trails along the way.
While in Conway, take a scenic drive along Crawford Notch Road, an autumn train ride on the Conway Scenic Railroad, or wander to Diana’s Baths to see waterfalls.
For a three-day road trip, Conway will be your final stop. It is a 2.5-hour drive back to Boston’s Logan Airport.
Optional Add-On: The Coast
For a 5 to 10-day New England fall road trip, consider heading back to Boston along the coast with additional stops at some fantastic charming towns, including Portland, ME, Bar Harbor, ME, Portsmouth, NH, and Salem, MA. This will add a few hours to your journey, but with an overnight stop or two, you will be able to wander through these quaint towns, explore their downtown shops, restaurants, and museums, learn about the local history, and try delicious cuisine. You can even take a trip to the east coast’s most beautiful National park in Bal Harbor, Maine, Acadia National Park.
Portland is a popular stop along the coast of Maine known for its working waterfront lined with fishing wharves, lighthouses, and Victorian Architecture. It downtown shows off local cultural and culinary treats with cobblestone streets and authentic New England Charm. Portland offers many outdoor opportunities, from biking along its scenic shores or kayaking through its many islands. Enjoy downtown shopping, maritime history, and historical landmarks in this vibrant New England Town.
Bar Harbor, ME
With a few more days, head to Acadia National Park near Bar Harbor for its stunning fall beauty and iconic coastal views. Just under 3 hours from Portland, it’s worth an extra night to see the sunrise from Cadillac Mountain, the highest peak in the eastern United States’. Look out for wildlife, including moose, bears and whales.
Portsmouth is New Hampshire’s oldest settlement, only an hour north of Boston it’s a great road trip stop on your way back to where your road trip started. It is known for its historic small-town charm, lush history, and 17th-century architecture. It is a fantastic walkable town with a downtown Market Square filled with excellent restaurants, boutique shops, pleasant water views, and a fun atmosphere.
During fall opt for a river cruise down the Piscataqua River to enjoy the foliage views from the water or take a stroll in Prescott Park’s tree-lined brick pathways.
This is a small historic town that really pays homage to the heinous witchcraft trials of 1692. There are some historic homes and landmarks to see, and they go all out for Halloween. You can explore the town in a few hours with a self-guided walking tour, explore a museum and go window shopping through the main town square.
Route 2: Round Trip from Albany, NY | 3-10 days | Vermont and New York
3 Days Overnight Stops: North Adams (MA), Wilmington (VT), Albany (NY), or spend 3 nights in the nearby Catskills soaking in the best of mother nature.
5 or More Days Optional Add-ons:
- Plymouth (VT), Stowe (VT), Burlington (VT)
- Adirondacks Mountains (NY)
- Lake George (NY), Saratoga Springs (NY)
- Catskills (NY)
- Closest International Airport: Albany International (ALB / KALB) Airport (60 miles from the first overnight stop)
- Driving time: 4-11 hours
- Must See Stops: Norman Rockwell Museum, Jacob Ladder’s Scenic Drive, Downtown Wilmington, Vermont Country Store, Bartonsville Covered Bridge, Granville, Mohawk Scenic Route, President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site, Gifford Woods State Park, Killington Ski Area, Sleepy Hollow Farm in Woodstock, Mount Mansfield, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory, Smuggler’s Notch, Lake Placid, Keene Valley, Prospect Veterans Memorial Highways, New York State Capitol Building, The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Saratoga Race Track, Kaaterskill Falls, Giant Ledge
Ready for the quintessential autumn in New England experience of a lifetime? Embark on this multi-day road trip through iconic fall in the beautiful Berkshires up through Vermont’s Scenic Route 100 before looping back south through lively Lake George with optional add-ons in New York’s famous Adirondacks Mountains or the Catskills, known for its deep valleys, ski resorts, and vast hiking trails.
First night in the Berkshires, MA (North Adams)
From Albany, take I-90 towards Lee in the southern Berkshires to journey out on the Jacob’s Ladder Road (Route 20), one of the best scenic routes in Massachusetts, before heading north along Route 112 and picking up the famous Mohawk Trail, known for its Native American origins, historic towns, and rolling hills.
Spend some time hiking and enjoying the historic towns and scenic drives along the way.
Head west along Route 2 (Mohawk Trail) into North Adams for your first night.
From Adams, you will head north to Wilmington, VT, for your last night on a 3-day road trip before returning to Albany the next day.
Second Night in Wilmington, VT
Wilmington is your stereotypical New England small town that makes a great stop on a fall foliage road trip. Its main street is saturated with specialty shops, boutiques, and art galleries with scenic mountain views nearby. After exploring Wilmington’s historic downtown and admiring the roads lined with fields and cute gazebos, head north toward Stowe, VT. If you only have three days, Wilmington is a good point to head back to Albany, NY.
On your way back to Albany along Route 9, you will pass through Bennington, one of Vermont’s most historically charming towns. Spend some time walking downtown, enjoying the tree-lined streets, and visiting a museum or two for insight into Vermont’s history.
Optional Add on for 5+ days
After your second night in Wilmington, take the state roads or I-91 north. You will be heading a little more northwest towards Plymouth and Killington before heading up to Stowe along Vermont’s scenic Route 100.
While headed north, add the Vermont Country Store in Bellow Falls, VT, as a must-see along the way. It makes a great pit stop for snacks and goodies to devour along your road trip. It is also only 4 mins from the Bartonsville Covered Bridge, another New England road trip highlight.
Stowe is a fantastic area to stay for a few nights enjoying the town’s iconic landmarks and fall foliage. If you are running out of daylight, stay the night in Plymouth, another charming New England town rich in American history.
In Plymouth, tour the historic Calvin Coolidge Homestead and quaint downtown. The Coolidge Forest is a fantastic area for leaf peeping and a picnic lunch.
More north, you’ll pass Granville’s colorful, dense forests before arriving in Killington, a beloved region for nature and recreation lovers known for its fall foliage.
Here you can mountain bike in Killington’s Bike Park, enjoy tree-lined hiking trails or golf at Killington Golf Course.
Another thing that might entice you on your way to Stowe is, a stop at the famous Ben & Jerry’s factory. Their campus in Waterbury is the birthplace of this famed ice cream. Enjoy samples, tours, a gift shop and the clever Flavor Graveyard.
Stowe is another nature lover’s paradise with all the classic hallmarks of a magical Vermont town. Savor slow living, vibrant back roads beaming with colorful foliage and charming farms, covered bridges, and fresh farm-to-table restaurants.
From Stowe, you won’t be very far from the Adirondacks, another amazing fall foliage destination.
Optional Add-on: Adirondacks
A road trip through the northern Adirondacks could add another 3 or more days to your road trip. You could take a quick day trip through the Keene Valley, but I recommend spending at least a few days exploring one of New York’s most sought-after destinations, especially during peak fall.
If you don’t have 10+ days and must fly out of Albany, I’d skip the northern Adirondacks, so you are not so rushed. There are some great spots to explore along your way south through Lake George, which is also part of the Adirondacks.
The Adirondack Park encompasses over 6 million acres of wooded land in northern New York. The Adirondacks are a nature lover’s paradise where hiking and biking trails, lakes, rivers, valleys, and many mountains offering fantastic fall foliage views are found. Plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities exist, from fishing and water sports to hiking and biking trails through gorges and along waterfalls. It is the largest park in the continental US and is a top choice for exploring the northeast in the fall. Although not a part of the New England region, the leaf peeping in the Adirondacks is out of this world. The small towns with quaint downtown streets and local boutiques with a cozy rustic feel are some of my favorites to enjoy. If you have some extra time, I highly recommend a few nights enjoying the area around Lake Placid and take a few scenic hikes for the best foliage views. Indian Head (11 miles return) is my ultimate favorite (requires an advanced permit) day hike, with Roaring Brook Falls a close second.
From Stowe, head toward Burlington, Vermont.
This crunchy, cultural town represents the best of Vermont’s undeniably charming personality.
Browse the local shops and eateries of the beloved Church Street Marketplace.
And don’t miss a breezy picnic, bike, or stroll along the Burlington Bike Path. This long pedestrian path trails the shores of pristine Lake Champlain, a breathtaking spot framed by vivid autumn colors.
Here you can take a quick car ferry across Lake Champlain to port Kent in NY if you have time to explore the northern Adirondacks, which includes the world-famous Lake Placid and the cozy small town Saranac Lake.
Your next overnight will be in Lake George, about 2 hours south of Burlington.
Ticonderoga is a lovely hamlet to stop through along the way to Lake George. Its Bicentennial Park is always popping with fall trees surrounding the waterfall, Falls of the La Chute. There is not too much going on in town, but it makes a great stop to stretch your legs and enjoy some crisp autumn air before arriving in Lake George and returning to Albany.
Lake George, NY
Apart of the southern Adirondacks, Lake George is a popular tourist area known for its old-growth forests, glistening lakes, and many outdoor activities perfect for the entire family. Many other smaller lakes, islands, and villages in the area light up with colors every fall. The Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway is a must-see, offering a scenic drive to the summit of Prospect Mountain with hiking trails, campsites, and many overlook with sprawling views of the lakes, forests, and towns below.
From Lake George, you are about one from Albany, where you started this road trip. You will go through Saratoga Springs, which makes a great road trip stop, especially if you are into horseracing.
Saratoga Springs, NY
Best known for horse racing and the world-famous Saratoga Springs Race Course, Saratoga Springs is also known for mineral hot springs and a charming downtown with plenty of unique boutiques and restaurants. Enjoy leaf-peeping among the many parks and area preserves, including Saratoga Springs State Park and the 150 acres of North Woods near Skidmore College.
New York’s capital city, Albany, is filled with cultural landmarks, such as the Egg, a performing arts venue; Schuyler Mansion, the New York State Capitol Building; and the Historic Cherry Hill home. Albany is home to a hearty art scene with over two dozen commissioned murals in the downtown area. Nearby is Lark Street a must-see when visiting Albany for its historic buildings, funky art galleries and museums, and the overwhelming variety of delicious world cuisine. The best leaf peeping is found in downtown Washington Park and iconic John Boyd Thacher State Park, 30 mins outside of downtown.
Albany has a great base for leaf peeping and an International airport offering many domestic flight options.
Optional Add-on Catskills:
Another stunning wooded area perfect for leaf peeping is the Catskill Mountains between New York City and Albany in southern New York. Although considered mountains, the Catskills is a dissected plateau area encompassing around 700,000 acres. Its valleys, gorges, flowing rivers, and streams offer hiking, biking, skiing, and rock climbing opportunities for the many nature lovers who escape to this serene area just a short drive from the bustling city. Leaf peeping here is world-class, and the many historic towns known for their new-world charm offer the perfect fall oasis.
Make sure to hike to some iconic areas, including Red Hill, a fire lookout that stands 60 ft tall; the stunning two-tiered waterfall of Kaaterskill Falls and Giant Ledge, often considered the Catskill’s best views.
Route 3: Round Trip from Hartford, CT | 3-10 days | Connecticut and Rhode Island
3 Days Overnight Stops: For a three-day fall road trip, base yourself in western Connecticut, Kent, Norfolk, or even Hartford. These areas are an hour’s drive or less from many state parks, making a great day trip for hiking and enjoying the foliage from one of the many fire towers or historic castles.
If coastal vibes are more your thing, head east through Providence to Newport and New London along the coast to enjoy the gilded age mansions, museums, galleries, unique boutique shopping, and quaint neighborhoods nestled between tree-lined streets. It is about a 4-hour round trip drive from Hartford to Newport and New London.
5 or More Days: Kent (CT), Stockbridge (MA), Providence (RI), Newport (RI), New London (CT), Hartford (CT)
- Closest International Airport: Bradley International Airport (BDL) near Hartford, CT.
- Driving time: 2-7 hours
- Must See Stops: The Chauncey Peak, Bulls Bridge, Norman Rockwell Museum, Haystack Mountain Tower, Mount Tom State Park Tower, Talcott Mountain State Park, Macedonia Brook State Park, West Cornwall Covered Bridge, Dennis Hill State ParkTrail, Peoples State Forest, St Mary Roman Catholic Church (where Jackie and JFK were married), Cliff Walk, The Breakers Mansion, Watch Hill Lighthouse, Mystic Seaport Museum, Mark Twain House & Museum.
This fall foliage road trip loop starts in Hartford, CT and continues through some of New England’s most celebrated small towns with plenty of opportunities for leaf peeping, scenic drives, cultural immersion, and delicious cuisine.
First Night in Kent, CT
On your first day, head towards west Connecticut, the best area in the state for changing colors with plenty of rolling hills, state parks, and perfect foliage views.
Head towards New Milford and then north along Route 7 to Kent for your first night. Check out Chauncey Peak, Mount Tom Tower Trail, Kent Falls State Park or Lovers Leap State Park along the way.
The Bulls covered bridge, and West Cornwall Covered Bridge (north of Kent) are two fun stops serving up some New England charm.
It is only an hour to your next overnight stop, so enjoy the surrounding areas and more state parks on day 2 before driving along US 7 up towards Canaan. Route 7 is one of Connecticut’s most scenic routes taking you through rolling hills and picturesque farms and boutique towns surrounded in foliage.
Second night in Stockbridge, MA
Visit Haystack Mountain Tower and Macedonia Brook State Park to soak in those autumn colors and scenic views. The People’s State Forest is a little out of the way but constantly voted a top place to see foliage in Connecticut. The Jessie Gerard Trail is one of the most popular trails for panoramic foliage views from Chaugham Lookout.
Next up on this New England fall road trip itinerary is the famous Berkshires, another iconic leaf-peeping destination in New England. The cozy small town of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, makes a great base to explore the many museums, galleries, and historical homes nearby and is only a 2-hour drive to your next stop in Providence, RI.
Arriving in Stockbridge, you’ll be in the heart of the Berkshires. This scenic region is replete with pastoral recreation and cultural sophistication.
During your Stockbridge stay, stroll through the colorful Berkshire Botanical Garden. If the weather’s crummy, the Norman Rockwell Museum is a can’t-miss. And if you’re taking this road trip in October, definitely attend the autumnal Stockbridge Harvest Festiva
Third night in Providence, RI, or continue to Newport, RI
Once in Providence, enjoy this charming, historical city in the Connecticut River Valley, which transforms with vibrant autumn foliage in late September through early October.
Explore Waterplace Park and enjoy a cozy picnic, or experience the dynamic Italian personality of Federal Hill.
Heading towards the coast, enjoy the beautiful seaside town of Newport, RI. Enjoy a scenic drive down Ocean Drive, stroll the Cliff Walk to see autumn foliage lining the ocean, or enjoy a sunset cruise.
Newport hosts the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Gilded age mansions along Bellevue Avenue, and many charming streets perfect for strolling on a fall day.
Taking this road trip in September? Immerse in local culture in an opulent setting at the Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival.
Continue your coastal journey from Newport back to Hartford through the small seaside towns of Westerly, Mystic and New London to finish your New England fall foliage road trip.
This epic drive is chock-full of scenic ocean-side strolls, opulent mansions, cobblestoned neighborhoods, and harbor-front magic.
A predominate beach community along Rhode Island’s coast, Westerly is known for its exciting downtown scene with trendy shops, delicious restaurants, and beautiful seaside homes. Enjoy fall foliage in Wilcox park or hike through the Napatree Point Conservation Area. Enjoy miles of beaches and visit the iconic Watch Hill Lighthouse.
This small village is a fantastic road trip stop along Rhode Island’s coast. Once known as a key shipbuilding destination, its rich Maritime history comes together at the popular Mystic Seaport Museum and Village, the largest maritime museum in the United States. Its downtown is a joy to explore with popular eateries such as Ford’s Lobster and French Bakery, Sift. Enjoy quintessential New England villages nearby, including Stonington and Old Mystic for their charming old-world streets, local wines, casual boutiques, and delicious restaurants. If you are a fan of the movie Mystic Pizza, take a tour of town to spot some famous shooting locations.
New London, CT
Another Rhode Island coastal town, New London, was once a mecca for the whaling and sealing industry. It is saturated with maritime history and has a delicious Waterfront Historic District named to the National Register of Historic Places in the 1970s. With more of a city vibe, it shows off a unique New England perspective with historic buildings, cultural centers, and a bustling beach boardwalk.
Your starting and ending point on this New England Road Trip, Hartford, is Connecticut’s capital city and worth exploring even for half a day. Its one of the oldest cities in the United States and has a beautiful Victorian Gothic capital building, thriving arts and cultural centers with the museum and historic homes, including the Mark Twain House, and beautiful parks and gardens perfect for enjoying the best of fall.
As some of the best New England fall foliage road trips, these 3-10 day options will lead you from the most iconic fall destinations through rolling hills, covered bridges, charming farm stays, and cozy neighborhoods flanked with unique boutiques, tree-lined streets, and delicious eateries to vibrant coastal cities filled with opulent charm and historic mansions.
Whether you wind up in upstate New York or cruising through the Berkshires or beautiful Vermont on your New England fall road trip, be prepared for iconic fall personalities and even bigger fall views that will absolutely blow you away.