8 Destinations for Leaf Peeping in New England


Autumn is upon us, and that means the leaves will soon be changing from their standard greens to a mesmerizing array of reds, oranges, and yellows. That is, if you are lucky enough to live in the right part of the country, and it is hard to imagine a better place to appreciate this transformative season than New England. As the days grow shorter and the temperatures drop, travelers from around the country head here to witness the beauty of fall foliage. In New England, the changing of the leaves is not just a natural phenomenon; it's a celebration of nature's artistry. These eight destinations offer a diverse range of experiences to help you immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of fall foliage. So, pack your bags, hit the road, and let New England's autumnal splendor captivate your senses.

1. Acadia National Park

A sunset over the forests of Acadia National Park

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Set along the rugged coastline of Mount Desert Island in Maine, Acadia National Park offers a real treat for fall foliage enthusiasts. The park's diverse landscape, featuring granite peaks, crystal-clear lakes, and crowded forests, explodes into a kaleidoscope of colors during the autumn months. Take a leisurely drive along the Park Loop Road and behold the fiery maples and golden oaks that decorate this coastal marvel.

2. New Hampshire's Kancamagus Highway

A bird's eye view of Kancamagus Highway

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For a gloriously picturesque scenic drive straight through the White Mountains, take a journey down New Hampshire's Kancamagus Highway. Called "The Kanc" by locals, this 34.5-mile stretch of road twists and turns through unimpeachable wilderness, offering stunning panoramic views of mountainsides covered in brilliant fall foliage. Make sure to stop at Sabbaday Falls and the Russell-Colbath Historic Site for even more natural and historical eyecandy. 

3. The Shires of Vermont

A view from atop a mountain of rolling hills covered in autumn foliage

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Vermont is well-known for its autumn aesthetic, and "The Shires," located in the southwestern corner of the state, are a prime example of why it has that reputation. Made up of Bennington and Manchester, this region features a delightful mix of quaint villages, old covered bridges, and rolling hills cloaked in a smorgasbord of vibrant foliage. Visit charming shops, sip on hot cider, and indulge in farm-to-table cooking while surrounded by the majestic colors of the changing season.

4. Montgomery, Vermont

A welcome sign at the entrance to Montgomery, Vermont

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Another destination up in northern Vermont, just East of the Shires, the picturesque town of Montgomery is a bit of a hidden gem for leaf peepers. The foliage here is nothing short of jaw-dropping, with sugar maples lending their brilliant hues over rolling hills and serene ponds. Take a luxurious drive along Route 242 to Jay Peak and you will find yourself hypnotized by the autumnal magic that unfolds before you.

5. Woodstock, Vermont

A farmhouse on a hill surrounded by colorful trees

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Woodstock, often called "The Prettiest Small Town in America," definitely earns its reputation during the fall season. Walk along the adorable streets lined with historic homes and check out the Billings Farm & Museum for an educational excursion. The vibrant colors of the trees surrounding the town square create a postcard-worthy setting for any fall getaway. If you are looking for a good place to get a good pic for Instagram, this is the spot!

6. Massachusetts's Mohawk Trail

A bird's eye view of Mohawk Trail

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In western Massachusetts, the Mohawk Trail runs through the Berkshires, providing views of stunning vistas and an abundance of vibrant foliage during the fall months. As you drive along the road, keep your eye out for historic landmarks, quaint and cozy villages, and any opportunity for a hike or picnic among the inspiringly surreal landscape.

7. Boston, Massachusetts

A colorful city park in Boston

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New England's bustling capital city of Boston isn't just for the history nerds and Red Sox fans. During the changing of summer to winter, the city's parks like Boston Common or the Public Garden burst into a fiery explosion of color. Take a walk along the historic Freedom Trail and witness the stark contrast between sites important to America’s past and the bright colors of the transforming foliage, creating a distinct blend of old-world US charm and the natural beauty of cyclical change.

8. Allegheny National Forest

A lakeside coastline adorned by colorful trees

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The Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania is a bit of a stretch for this list, as it isn’t actually in New England. But it is a little too picturesque for leaf-peeping to not at least get an honorable mention. This well-kept secret for leaf peeping is a serene escape into a wilderness adorned with the brilliant colors of fall. The Kinzua Sky Walk is a wooden bridge that extends to a raised platform with a glass bottom view of the valley below and it is the standout feature here. It provides an absolutely awe-inspiring view of the changing leaves, making it well worth inclusion on this list.

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