Without a doubt, New England reigns supreme for having some of the most breathtaking fall foliage display in the country. It does not matter whether you are scouting out for gorgeous maples, or you just want to see the colors, the New England’s last hurrah before the long winter is most definitely postcard-worthy. There are several routes that you can hike or drive while traveling through the New England region for an intimate season show courtesy of Mother Nature.
5 Places to See New England Fall Foliage
New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee Loop
The largest lake in the state of New Hampshire is Lake Winnipesaukee, and it is the perfect backdrop to view the fall foliage. The loop around the lake offers you a road trip where you will be able to see some of the most impressive and colorful foliage in the region.
However, you will not want to rush the nearly 100-mile road trip. Along the way, you can stop an enjoy a fall picnic in any of the towns that are along your route. There will even be an opportunity to participant in outdoor activities such as:
If you prefer to stay overnight, there are two inns along the lake loop that are highly recommended. They are The Wolfboro Inn and Center Harbor Inn.
New Heights on the Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire
If you want to blend in with the locals, you can call it ‘Kanc’. It is a 35-mile highway that begins in Lincoln and goes through the White Mountain National Forest. The best time to travel this stretch of road to see the fall foliage is between the end of September and the first part of October.
Be sure to take a moment and stop by the C.L. Graham Overlook that sits just below the Kancamagus Pass. For a bite to eat, picnic in Conway at Sabbaday Falls. Just a half-mile walk from the beginning of the trail will lead you to the waterfall.
After you finish your lunch, you can continue north 302 to Bretton Woods. It is here that you will be surprised with a treat. You will see the incredible views of the highest peak in the Northeast on Mount Washington.
Route 100 for Classic Vermont Sightseeing
The stretch of road is completely billboard free so tourists can enjoy looking at the vibrant colors along the countryside.
This route winds its way through some of the most quaint and picturesque villages in all of Vermont. Stop along the way and enjoy fresh cider, donuts while shopping for trinkets and souvenirs in the country stores.
For those who are looking for peak views, hike up Mount Killington before continuing on.
However, the ultimate destination when taking this route is the 11 mile Green Mountain Byway. The byway runs through Stowe and Waterbury. Spend the rest of your getaway in Stowe, or visit Mad River Valley for craft beers and delicious farm to table dining.
If you want to get your adrenaline pumping, you can zipline with Stowe’s ZipTour. This will give you the unique opportunity to fly beside the foliage.
Two choices for lodging along this route are:
- The Inn at Round Barn
- Field Guide
The Ultimate New England Fall Foliage Tours
While you’re in the Burlington and Stowe area, here’s an option to seriously consider. Every leaf-peeper has the same options of driving, walking, or hiking. The visionary few take their trip to the next level by participating in an aerial tour. Soar high above the changing of the leaves with aerial tour companies such as a hot air balloon company.
Above Reality Hot Air Balloon Rides, located just outside of Burlington, Vermont, offers sunrise and sunset flights that are serene and scenic, especially in the fall. Above Reality’s fall foliage flight specifically has been named one of the top 10 balloon rides in the world by Frommer’s and dozens of 5-star reviews confirm that it is an experience to remember for life. The best time to see fall foliage in Vermont by hot air balloon is the end of September – the third week of October. Reserve your spots for early in your trip- the fall foliage flights fill up fast and there is very limited availability.
Visit Montgomery, VT For the Best Fall Colors
This is a small town that is situated in the northern area of Vermont, and it is also considered to be the home of some of the best spots to view the foliage in New England.
Also referred to as ‘Vermont’s Covered Bridge Capital’, this tiny town is not only famous for gorgeous views, but also scenic bridges. In fact, there are six covered bridges within the town limits. While you are there, also check out the 15 miles of hiking trails that have been preserved by Hazen’s Association.
Leaves and Lighthouses on Coastal Route 1 (Maine)
Another option for gorgeous fall foliage and stunning coastal views is to begin your journey in Portland, Maine and travel north on the old Route 1. This will lead you to one of the region’s most scenic coastal drives. You can stop in Bath, Brunswick or Rockport to enjoy seaside mansions, late-season lobster rolls, and lighthouses.
At the end of the route, you will find yourself in the small and quaint town of Camden. The town has several impressive leaves watching vehicles such as Merryspring.
While traveling to New England to see the fall foliage should be on everyone’s travel bucket list, be sure to include other activities in your fall getaway itinerary. This region is full of history, culture and natural beauty that is just as unique as Mother Nature’s seasonal show.