Fall Foliage in New England
Beautiful Fall FoliageThe red, orange and gold colored leaves of autumn in New England delight visitors from around the world. Much of the color is from native sugar maples; only a few other places in the world have such dense and perfect concentrations of these maples.
When to Visit
Leaves change color because of a particular combination of warm, sunny days and crisp, cool nights. Color changes start in mid-September in the northern states and higher elevations in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont because nights get cooler earliest there. Moving into the start of October and through October, color changes move southward through the warmer climates of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. Color can stay as late as late October in the three southern states of New England.
A rule of thumb is that color peaks at or near Columbus Day weekend. This can vary based on temperature, rainfall and other climate factors.
Where to Stay
Decide on your dates of travel and make reservations for inns, hotels, and motels early -- preferably starting in July or August. Lots of travelers are competing for hotel rooms in the fall, especially in the northern states of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.
Where to Find Color
If climate conditions are right, color should be everywhere. For guidance, click on links below to the New England Foliage Map and New England Foliage Report. Also, take a map and explore some of the small, back roads as you wander. Look for roadside signs for pick-your-own farms and farm stands, parks, and public wilderness areas. Drive to the farm or park, get out of the car, stretch, and look around. If you feel lost, you can always backtrack to a main road and move along. Don’t be afraid to wander. Ask local people at the gas station or restaurants where to find high ground and good vistas.
Use the New England Foliage Map to determine where and when you are likely to see the best foliage. Once foliage season begins the Foliage Reports will be regularly updated.
Clothing and Gear
Even if days are warm, be prepared for chilly nights with long pants, long sleeves, and a sweater. Wear sneakers and jeans so that you can jump out of the car and scramble over a stone wall or ramble through a hillside meadow if the opportunity arises. Take a camera, but remember to put it down frequently and just look around. Take visors and sunscreen and binoculars.
Where to Drive
Click on links below for specific scenic drives in all New England states.
Scenic Foliage Drives by State: