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Discover New England

Discover New England (DNE) is a regional destination marketing organization founded in 1992 by the six New England state tourism offices. DNE is a nonprofit (501c6) association dedicated to promoting travel to and within the member states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Discover New England provides cooperative marketing opportunities to reach the global market and attract more international visitors. It works with travel trade professionals (travel agents, tour operators and receptive operators) to showcase New England and book more business, while providing our regional tourism businesses with the tools they need to competitively market themselves internationally.

By connecting the industry with the latest research, educational tools and travel trends, it also helps ensure that New England’s tourism offerings remain appealing to international consumers, and travel planners have the resources they need to showcase the best New England has to offer.

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Internationally, Discover New England inspires more interest in visiting the region by marketing all the region’s assets under a cohesive, compelling New England brand – one that is filled with rich history, cultural attractions, fascinating cities, scenic villages, and outdoor adventures at every turn.

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New England Wanderlust

Connecticut , Maine , Massachusetts , New Hampshire , Rhode Island , Vermont  ·  January 9, 2024

The Best Time To Visit New England In 2024 + A Month By Month Guide

Planning a trip to New England and overwhelmed by when to visit? I totally get it, and you’ve come to the absolute right place to help you decide! Between stunning and dramatic coastal landscapes, mountain regions, and exciting cities, this region of the country really has it, and picking out the perfect time to visit can seem daunting.

Hi! My name is Sam, and I’ve been traveling throughout New England for over 10 years, and I’ve been all over this region in all the seasons, so I’m here to tell you what the best time to visit New England is. Throughout the post, I’ll be sharing some tips for visiting, too, like the cheapest and most expensive times to visit, when to visit for seasonal activities, and lots more.

With that, let’s help you decide when you’re coming to New England!

A collage of all four season in New England for this guide that will help you decide the best time to visit!

New England Wanderlust contains affiliate links, and is a member of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. We may earn a commission from any purchases you choose to make from our links, at no additional cost to you. For more information, please refer to our  Privacy Policy .

So, When Is The Best Time To Visit New England? A Quick Guide

Okay, here’s the deal: there’s no one time that’s best for visiting New England, and that’s because the four-season climate makes it pretty great year-round. Picking the best time to visit will depend entirely on what you want to focus on during your visit , the weather you’re hoping for, your budget, and the regions you want to visit.

Here are some general breakdowns to give you an idea of when to visit:

Generally, May – September is the best time to visit overall if you’re looking for mild or warm weather. These are also great months to take a road trip through the entire region or along the coastline.

July and August are the best times to visit the coastal or summery destinations, including Cape Cod, Maine’s coastline, Rhode Island, and pretty much any beach town if you’re wanting the most authentic summer experience. July and August have the best and warmest weather for beach days, and all seasonal businesses will open.

June and September are shoulder months for the popular beach and coastal regions. They’re not quite as crowded as July and August, but are gaining popularity and not as quiet as they used to be. Especially late June and early September. But if you’re hoping for a mix of summery weather and want to avoid some crowds, this is an ideal time to visit.

October is when you want to visit for fall foliage throughout most of New England, especially popular places in Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. Expect to pay top-dollar to travel to foliage hot-spots in October, and brace for the crowds. Is it worth it? Oh yes! There’s a reason New England is famous for its foliage!

December is, of course, the best time to visit for all things Christmas and the holidays.

January-March is the best time to visit for a winter wonderland or ski vacation. While ski resorts open as early as November in some areas, I recommend not booking a winter trip until after the New Year when it’s snowing more consistently, and you’ll get that idyllic, wintery scenery.

My Personal Favorite Months To Suggest A Visit

Late spring at Marshall Point Lighthouse in Maine, is a great time to visit New England's coast before the crowds begin to set in.

May, early June , and September if you’re looking for nice, mild weather, lower prices, and fewer crowds, especially at top coastal and beach destinations. May will be the chillier of these times to visit, but usually the least crowded.

July and August for a beach-focused trip like Cape Cod, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, or coastal Maine. I honestly think summer in New England is such a cool experience and worth braving the crowds for (and this is coming from someone who doesn’t like crowds!).

October for fall foliage.

Honorable mention : I really love New England in November ! Because the region is transitioning from fall to winter, many hotels and resorts offer amazing deals, and this is not a super busy month for tourists. In fact, it’s usually rather quiet in November before Thanksgiving!

Visiting New England: Seasonal & Month By Month Guide

Okay, now that you have a general idea of when to visit, let’s get into a month-by-month breakdown. In this section, I’ll share what to expect each month in terms of weather and general activities, as well as budget considerations.

New England In The Winter

The ice rink at Spruce Peak in Stowe, VT.

Overall, winter in New England is typically what you’d expect, with one recent exception. Over the last few years, especially, this region has been impacted by global warming and the temperatures have slowly begun to trend higher. In fact, the winter season has seen the biggest jump in rising temperatures than any other season in New England.

So, I feel it’s important to be honest about what to expect during a winter trip, as experts are saying this is the new norm for the region. While there’s still a good chance it’ll be beautiful and snowy, there’s also a chance it could be warmer than you’re expecting. For example, the last three years during my own winter trips and getaways in New England, I’ve experienced a lot of days where it was cold and snowy, and other trips, it was almost 50°F and sunny in February.

Another example is the 2023-2024 ski season. Much of New England didn’t see a lot of snow (or any snow!) in December 2023, and it wasn’t until January that we started to see regular snow falls. With this trend of more extreme weather that can swing in either direction in the winter months, it’s good to set expectations and plan accordingly.

Okay, now that that’s out of the way, winter is obviously the perfect time to visit if you’re looking for a cold-weather getaway, and places up in the mountains are often a winter wonderland this time of the year.

Driving around New England in the winter is also a concern, but generally, safe . If you’re traveling in from another region, you’ll just want to be aware of weather reports, and choose to not drive during a significant snow fall or blizzard. However, snow plows run and lay down salt often, so driving is still pretty safe, even in the winter.

Where to go in New England in the winter:

  • Any ski resort, with Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine having the best ones.
  • Stowe, VT for an especially idyllic and quaint New England charm at a top ski resort in New England.
  • White Mountains in New Hampshire for outdoor fun, cozy cabins, and stunning drives through the mountains.
  • Kennebunkport, Maine for their Paint The Town Red festivities, cozy winter dining, and historic hotels.

Off-season winter recommendations for lower prices and fun things to do:

  • Boston, MA for low hotel prices, and to visit the aquarium, take in a show, and enjoy the history.
  • Portland, ME for low hotel prices, enjoy the museums, and dive into the culinary scene.
  • Cape Cod – this region tends to have more mild weather compared to the rest of New England, and you’ll enjoy low hotel rates, stunning coastline, and scenic trails all to yourself.

New England In January

Views from Waumbek Station on Mount Washington in the winter.

Average January Temperatures : 30°F during the day, 10-13°F at night*

January is a great month for outdoor winter sports, including skiing, and is usually the first month of the winter season that sees consistent, fresh snow on the slopes. January also has some of the shortest days of the year, but usually offers the most snow fall of the winter months. Snow fall changes from year to year, though, so it’s always good to check weather reports beforehand.

New England In February

The cross-country ski area in Jackson, NH. Winter is the best time to visit New England if you're looking to ski or want a cozy getaway.

Average February Temperatures: 33°F during the day, 14°F at night*

February starts to see longer days, but is still a great month for a winter wonderland vacation. Typically, the snow continues to fall, and ski resorts and winter activities are still in full swing.

With the Valentine’s Day holiday during this month, it’s also a great time to visit a fancy resort, spa, or book a cozy cabin in the mountains to celebrate.

In February, these are some of my favorite places for a romantic getaway:

  • Kennbunkport, Maine
  • Portland, Maine
  • Chatham, MA to stay at the Chatham Bars Inn

New England In March

Average March Temperatures: 35-40°F during the day, 25°F at night*

March offers the warmest temperatures and the longest days of all the winter months, so if you’re looking to be outside as long as possible, March may be the best option for you. Higher elevation destinations in the mountains continue to see snow falls in March, but the lower elevations tend to see a decline in snow fall this month.

Mountain destinations will usually start to lower hotel rates later in the month, and many other places around New England are usually very reasonable around this time, too.

Here are some of my winter guides you may find helpful:

  • Best New England Winter Getaways (Even If You Don’t Ski)
  • Winter In Massachusetts
  • Winter In New Hampshire
  • Winter In Maine
  • Winter In Vermont
  • Winter On Cape Cod
  • New England In The Spring

The tulip fields at Wicked Tulips is open in May for u-pick, making this a great month to visit New England.

Spring in New England usually comes with finicky weather, but mid-May through mid-June are some of the best times to visit this region if you’re looking to avoid crowds, and are on more of a budget.

Generally, the first part of the season feels a lot like winter, especially late March. Once April hits, mud season is usually in full swing, which is the aftermath of all our winter snow melting for the year. But keep in mind, April can bring some snow, too! Once mud season is over in early-mid May, though, that’s when most places in the region are worth visiting.

Starting in April, spring flowers like daffodils are in bloom around New England (with a few places celebrating with spring festivals!), and u-pick tulip fields begin to open in May. More and more gardens also begin to open, and this is a great season to travel and avoid crowds.

Where to go in New England in the spring:

  • Nantucket for the Daffodil Festival
  • Woodstock, VT for their Baby Animal Days
  • Brewster on Cape Cod for their Brewster in Bloom festival
  • Boston for the tulips at the Public Gardens
  • Coastal Maine to beat summer crowds, and to see the lupines in bloom in June

New England In April

Average April Temperatures: 55°F during the day, 35°F at night*

April is much like November in that it’s a month of transition, and it’s one of the lowest tourist seasons in New England. Many ski resorts have, or plan to, close up for the season, but the weather isn’t quite nice enough for exploring a lot of outdoor attractions, depending on the day. The general scenery tends to still be pretty gray, especially early in the month.

That said, with the daffodils beginning to bloom in April, there are pockets of life and color around, and the odd nice day with warm, sunny weather. Generally, this is one of the cheapest times to visit the region.

New England In May

May brings longer days and nicer weather after a usually rainy April season. While May does usually have some rain, there are often more days of sun and warm weather this month. This is also when the general scenery begins to really come back to life, with trees in bloom, flowers growing, and the grass turning back to green.

If you’re looking to travel to popular places around New England, especially the coastline or beaches, but you’re trying to save some money and don’t care about the weather or ocean water being super warm, I usually recommend booking a trip starting in mid May. You’ll save a good amount on hotel rates compared to the summer months, and prices continue to rise in June.

The one things to keep in mind is that some seasonal businesses along the coast and in beach towns, like seafood shacks, ice cream stands, and boat tour companies, may not open until Memorial Day weekend. But having traveled along the New England coastline a lot in May, I can tell you that you’ll always be able to find places that are open, so don’t let that worry you!

Average May Temperatures: 65°F during the day, 45°F at night*

New England In June

The wild lupines along the coast of Maine in June, making this shoulder season one of the best times to visit New England.

Average June Temperatures: 70-75°F during the day, 55-60°F at night*

June in New England is the first month of the year that it really feels like summer, and it tends to have perfect weather. While there’s still a chance of rain, there are usually more sunny and warm days than there were in May, but it’s not as hot as July and August. This is another great time to explore the coast and beach towns before the biggest crowds settle in.

One thing to keep in mind is that the later in June you book travel, the more expensive it will be. The first two weeks of June will have cheaper hotel rates than the last two weekends, since that’s about when summer tourism officially begins in popular coastal areas.

Here are some of my spring guides you may find helpful:

  • Spring In Vermont
  • Maine In The Spring
  • Spring In Massachusetts

New England In The Summer

Summer on Nantucket island.

Summer is peak season for pretty much any destination along the coastline in New England, and this is when you can expect the most crowds and highest prices in these areas.

That said, I think it’s worth it! As much as I’m not usually one to travel anywhere in peak season, I actually love the New England coastline in the summer! I love how the cool Atlantic ocean water feels on a hot summer day, getting an ice cream cone, and enjoying the lively buzz these areas have this time of the year.

I’ve traveled to Cape Cod for at least a week every summer for the last 10+ years, and also used to go there as a kid in the summers. The entire coastline in this region just feels so special in the summer because of how long our winter season is.

The summer along the coast is also when all the seasonal business are open, so you’ll have the most options when it comes to seafood and lobster shacks, ice cream, and boat tours.

In the summer, you’ll want to prepare for hot and humid weather. Humidity averages around 75% in July and August, so it often feels warmer than it actually is. In recent years, the humidity has been even higher than that due to the impacts of global warming. And while the summer season offers the best weather, there is still a chance of rain – this is New England, after all!

July is one of the best months to visit New England for beaches and to see the hydrangeas.

Where to go in New England in the summer:

  • Cape Cod, Nantucket & Martha’s Vineyard
  • Massachusetts North Shore (Gloucester, Rockport, Newburyport/Plum Island)
  • Ogunquit, Maine
  • Westerly, RI
  • Newport, RI
  • Madison, CT

Fun destinations that are usually less expensive to visit than the coastline in the summer:

  • White Mountains, NH
  • The Berkshires in MA
  • Litchfield Hills, CT

New England In July

Chatham is the best town to stay in on Cape Cod if you're looking for tons of charm. All the houses and cottages here are really beautiful.

Average July Temperatures: 80°F during the day, 60°F at night*

July is a fantastic summer month to visit New England because you’ll likely have great weather, and the hydrangeas are in bloom. New England is, of course, famous for its hydrangeas, and you’ll see them in places all over, especially in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha’s Vineyard happen to be especially great for seeing hydrangeas.

New England In August

August on a beach on Cape Cod.

Average August Temperatures: 80-85°F during the day, 60-65°F at night*

August is the hottest month of the year in New England, and another perfect month to visit the coastline. The cool Atlantic ocean water will feel especially great on hot August days, and everything is still very much abuzz this month.

Hydrangeas usually begin to fade for the season at the end of July, but they will still be alive in August – they’ll just likely have lost some of their color.

New England In September

Average September Temperatures: 70°F during the day, 50°F at night*

September has become one of the more popular months to visit New England in the last five years or so because it’s a great shoulder season. Children are back at school once Labor Day is over, so many people aren’t traveling this time of the year. This usually means fewer crowds at popular places, and prices begin to drop.

That said, I’ve noticed that September continues to be a popular month for travel along the New England coast. It’s definitely been busier than it was than five years ago, so keep in mind that it won’t feel deserted. The first two weeks are more busy than the last two weeks, usually. But you definitely won’t see the crowds that July and August bring.

September weather the first half of the month tends to feel a lot like summer, and many locals refer to it as “second summer.” It often begins to cool down later in the month when you can enjoy more mild weather, but this varies from year to year.

The very end of September begins peak foliage season in New England in the northern regions, too. While I usually recommend that people plan their foliage trips in the first half of October, places in northern Vermont and northern New Hampshire begin to peak the last week in September. So, if you can’t make it in October, this is a good time to visit.

Here are some of my summer guides you may find helpful:

  • Summer In New England
  • Summer In Connecticut
  • Summer In Maine
  • Best Beach Towns In New England

New England In The Fall

Stowe, VT in October, which is the best time to visit New England for fall foliage.

I’m just gonna say it – fall in New England is magical , and it’s definitely one of my favorite seasons to travel around this region! Peak foliage typically happens the first two weeks of October, depending on where you are, but foliage season can also last through November in some parts, so there’s a lot of opportunity to see fall color throughout fall.

But because the fall foliage is so stunning, it attracts a lot of tourists. I won’t sugarcoat it for you – the hotel rates are high, and the crowds are intense at the most popular foliage destinations. But honestly, it’s so worth it.

A note on the crowds – I’ve been to the top foliage spots right at peak time, and while there are a lot people around, it’s always possible to avoid them. So, I don’t want to deter people when I talk about how crowded foliage locations can be. I just want to allow you to adjust expectations, while also being excited to go. It’s a bucket list trip for many people for a very good reason!

Where to go to New England in the fall:

  • Stowe, VT (peaks around Indigenous People’s weekend)
  • Woodstock, VT (peaks around Indigenous People’s weekend)
  • White Mountains, NH (peaks in early October)
  • The Berkshires, MA (peaks early-mid October)
  • Boston, MA (peaks late October)
  • Salem, MA (peaks late October)

New England In October

Flume Covered Bridge in Franconia is one of the best things to see in fall in New Hampshire.

Average October Temperatures: 55-60°F during the day, 40°F at night*

October is the best month to visit for fall foliage in most locations around New England, as the best spots will peak during this month.

As far as weather goes, it’s also good to know that the fall season has been trending warmer the last few years with the impacts of global warming, so while you can (and should!) anticipate chillier weather in October, you could also have some warm, sunny days that feel a bit more like spring or summer.

The higher elevations in the mountains, like Vermont and the White Mountains in New Hampshire, will also usually see their first snow fall in October. But most other regions won’t see their first snow until November or December.

Generally speaking, October is a season of magic and coziness in New England – you’ll find idyllic foliage scenery at every turn, including amazing apple cider donuts, farm stands, fall decorations, and restaurants highlighting the seasonal ingredients. And it’s just so exciting to see all the fall landscapes ablaze with color. It truly feels like stepping into a postcard.

  • New England In November

Squirrel Point Lighthouse in Maine in November.

Average November Temperatures: 45°F during the day, 30°F at night*

I think November is such an underrated month to visit New England, and I often plan at least one getaway this time of the year. November is a transitional season in this region because fall foliage is pretty much over is most areas, but winter has yet to arrive.

If you’re looking for fall foliage in November, your best chance at catching it is the first week of the moth along the Massachusetts coast – specifically Plymouth and possibly Boston. Other places where it may linger into early November are southeast Connecticut, and the southern coast of Maine. But usually all foliage has fallen off the trees by November in most places.

There’s also a good chance for a light snow fall in November, and the higher elevations, as mentioned, have likely already had snow once November rolls around. You’ll want to prepare for chillier weather and more bland scenery as leaves have fallen from the trees, but the upside is cheaper hotel rates and far fewer crowds everywhere.

I always like to suggest booking more expensive places in November because you’ll save the most money – this is the month I’ll usually splurge on a fancier resort or a spa stay.

New England In December

Old Sturbridge Village's Christmas celebration in December.

Average December Temperatures: 35°F during the day, 20°F at night*

I know it seems weird to include December under my fall section, but since winter doesn’t officially begin until December 21st, it seemed like this was the right place for it!

December in New England is all about holiday festivities, and this is one of the best places in the country to visit those charming small towns Hallmark movies are made of! I have an entire post on all the best Christmas towns in New England if you’re looking to plan a holiday getaway.

Weather in December has also fallen victim to global warming over the last few years, and snowy Christmas seasons have become less likely – especially in the last couple of years. While a white Christmas had been the norm in years past, the last few years have been either rainy or sunny.

So, when visiting New England for Christmas festivities, keep in mind that you may not experience snow. While it’s possible, and likely in some higher elevation areas, it’s not guaranteed. However, it’s still usually pretty chilly in December, so you’ll want to pack warm sweaters, coats, and boots.

Overall, expect crowds and high prices in popular Christmas towns like Kennebunkport, Nantucket, and Stockbridge. But you can also book mid-week travel, or travel closer to the Christmas holiday to save some money.

Most Christmas festivals in New England take place the first two weeks in December, which is why hotel rates will start to drop later in the month.

Here are some of my fall guides you may find helpful:

  • New Hampshire In The Fall
  • Maine In October
  • The PERFECT New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary
  • Fall In New England
  • Boston In The Fall
  • Vermont In The Fall
  • Fall In Massachusetts
  • New England Thanksgiving Getaway Ideas

* Please keep in mind that these averages are based on historical data, and with the new weather and temperature patterns emerging in the last few years due to global warming, temperatures could fluctuate a lot more, and/or trend warmer. I always suggest you check weather forecasts a few days prior to your visit to see what the weather is predicted to be like when you’ll be there.

Most Expensive Times To Visit New England

Nantucket in the summer season.

This will depend on where you’re planning to travel to, but here’s a guideline on the most expensive times and places in New England:

July & August : Coastal and beach towns are the most expensive these months, with late June and early September also having high prices (not as high as July/August, though). Boston and Portland, Maine also usually see high hotel prices around this time.

October : Top fall foliage destinations are most expensive, including the White Mountains, Vermont, The Berkshires, Boston, and Salem.

January – Mid March : Top ski and winter getaway destinations are most expensive, including Vermont, White Mountains, and Maine ski areas.

Cheapest Times To Visit New England

This will also depend on where you plan to visit, but here’s a guideline on the least expensive times and places in New England:

Late March – April: Tends to be one of the cheapest time to visit most of New England as we transition from winter to spring.

November : Also tends to be a cheap time to visit because the ski resorts aren’t in full swing yet, and fall foliage season is pretty much over.

Early May : Another affordable time to visit. Prices will be higher than April, but still much less than peak summer and fall foliage pricing.

January – March : Along the coastline, you’ll find amazing hotel deals in the winter, especially in places like Cape Cod and coastal Maine.

Editor’s Note on Pricing in New England : It’s good to keep in mind that New England, in general, is a more expensive region to visit compared to other parts of the country. Prices trend higher, and even affordable times of the year can bring a little sticker shock. I just like to make folks aware of this as they’re pricing out hotels and accommodations!

Best Time To Visit For Fall Foliage

Kennebunkport fall foliage in late October.

As mentioned, October the best month to visit for fall foliage. While some parts of the region will begin to peak the last week in September, October is the month where almost all of New England will begin to peak.

Popular places like the White Mountains, The Berkshires, and much of Vermont will peak the first half of October, central New Hampshire peaks mid October, and places like Boston, Salem, and the Massachusetts coastline peak toward the end of October. So really, you could spend the entire month in New England and chase the foliage the whole time!

Best Time To Visit The New England Coast

The Cape Cod National Seashore is home to some of the best beach towns in New England.

As mentioned, I really love the coastal destinations in July and August. July will put on a show of the blooming hydrangeas, which is really special to see!

But the best weather is in July and August. The tradeoff is that this is the most expensive time to visit the coastal areas, and also when you’ll see the most crowds. However, because all the seasonal businesses like seafood and lobster shacks, ice cream places, and tour companies are open, I think it’s definitely worth it.

When To Visit For Skiing & Winter Fun

Stowe ski resort in Vermont, which is one of the top ski destinations in New England.

While ski resorts will begin to open in November, I think the best time to visit New England for skiing is January-early March. This is when the region will see the most snow fall, and feel like a true winter wonderland.

For non-skiers, places offering sleigh rides, ice skating, and snow tubing will also be fully open during this time.

When To Visit New England For The Best Weather

Step's Beach on Nantucket island in the summer.

July and August have the best weather in New England. These are the months you’ll see the most warm and sunny days, and the fewest rain days.

That said, keep in mind that New England does experience rain year-round, so while July and August are the driest months, there will likely still be a few days of rain.

Best Time To Visit For Whale Watching

Whale watching in Massachusetts. The best time to visit New England for whale watch tours is May-October.

Whale watching season in New England is between May and October, but some companies will begin to offer tours toward the end of April, and through early November. Whale watching tours are not offered in the winter months in New England.

The most common types of whales to see in New England on a tour are humpback, finback, and minke. Most tours guarantee a whale sighting, or you’ll receive a voucher for another tour.

Off the coast of Massachusetts is the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary , and this is regarded as one of the top whale watching destinations in the entire world. Yep, you read that right – the world! So when you visit New England, a whale watching tour is always one of my top suggestions.

Best Time To Visit New England For Seafood & Lobster

A lobster roll along the coast one Maine.

Coastal New England is famous for its incredible seafood, so this is something you’ll definitely want to try during your visit. And good news! You can get fresh seafood year-round in this region.

When it comes to lobsters, they’re harvested year-round, but since they’re most active in the summer and fall seasons, they tend to be less expensive abundant around this time. The hauls are a bit smaller in the winter and very early spring months, so you’ll usually see higher prices for them these times of the year.

It’s also good to be aware that a lot of the best and most popular seafood and lobster shacks along the coastline are seasonal, and only open late spring through Labor Day, or sometimes Indigenous People’s weekend. So if your primary goal when visiting New England is to get a lobster roll or lobster dinner at the best seafood shacks along the coast, you’ll want to visit in the summer.

That said, tons of restaurants around New England are open in the winter and serving up awesome seafood year-round. It’s really just the casual shacks that close down off-season.

Other seafood that’s local to the area like clams, oysters, cod, and hallock are also available year-round.

If you happen to visit in the winter, scallops are harvested this time of the year, and are especially fresh and delicious in the winter months! When you order, remember to pronounce them as “SKAHL-ups” so that you’ll fit right in 😉

More of my New England travel guides you may find helpful:

  • The BEST 7 Day New England Road Trip Itinerary (Plus 5 & 10 Day Options)
  • Best New England Resorts & Spas
  • Must-See Towns On The New England Coast
  • Most Incredible Things To Do In New England For Your Bucket List
  • Fun New England Day Trips
  • Best New England Islands Worth Visiting
  • Best Time To Visit Vermont
  • Best Time To Visit Salem, MA
  • My Unforgettable Boston To Bar Harbor, Maine Road Trip Itinerary

That’s A Wrap On The Best Time To Visit New England

And there you have it! Now you’ve got the inside scoop on the best time to visit New England. The thing is, there’s really no bad time to visit because there’s truly something exciting to check out year-round with the changing seasons. But based on your plans, priorities, and budget, I hope this guide has been helpful. Happy planning!

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Chatham is one of the best towns to stay in on Cape Cod for charm and gorgeous hydrangea displays.

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The ultimate 10-day new england road trip itinerary.

New England, with its quaint villages, idyllic landscapes, rich history, and mouthwatering culinary experiences, is a treasure chest of delights waiting to be unlocked. From the rugged beauty of the Maine coastline to the vibrant, artistic vibe of Providence, this is a region that never fails to enchant.

If you’re up for the crisp smell of the ocean mingled with pine trees, the rustic charm of cobblestone streets lined with centuries-old houses, and the taste of the most succulent seafood freshly plucked from the sea, then you have to start planning your New England road trip!

» You might be interested in a shorter version with this Boston to Bar Harbor road trip itinerary.

Mt. Battie, Maine

» Looking for more travel inspiration in the United States ? See our U.S. Summer Vacation Ideas and 12 U.S. National Parks to Visit . Here are a few more fabulous U.S. Cities to visit .

The only real problem is deciding what to do and see and how to fit everything into ten days. Lucky for you, we’ve done this road trip multiple times and have passed through these states on a number of different trips, so we have the knowledge to help you plan an amazing time on one of the best road trips in the United States .

Table of Contents

Essential New England Road Trip Info

Comprising six states – Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont -there’s a lot of ground to cover during a New England driving tour. It’s not a small amount of driving, despite how close together many of these states are. So if you’re planning to embark on this road trip, keep this in mind.

You can either fly into a set starting point – we recommend Boston – or you can drive in from where ever you’re located in the United States. In any case, you’re going to need a car – either your own or a rental car . If you’re renting, we suggest going through Discover Cars to get the best deals from all the top car rental companies in one place.

How to Get to New England

If traveling from Europe or another destination outside the States, you’ll fly into Boston for this itinerary. Considering the region’s most popular international airport, Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) is where your trip will start and end.

If Boston doesn’t work for you, you can also fly into New York City , Philadelphia, or even Washington, DC. It will just take you a little longer to drive to the start point of this road trip, but there is plenty to see along the way.

Connecticut in Fall

When Should You Do on a New England Trip?

Unless you’re a winter die-hard, the best time to visit New England is undoubtedly during the fall, from September to December, or spring, from March to June. 

Fall is when the landscape takes on a magical element with changing colors in every shade of gold, orange, red, and brown imaginable. Aside from that, the crisp, clear fall air and the New England sun bursting through the morning mists are second to none, making it one of the best fall destinations in the USA .

If you can’t swing a fall road trip, the second best time is during spring. This is before the heat of the summer really sets in, so temperatures will be mild and enjoyable. I would definitely not go in summer, if at all possible, because it can get really hot and humid.

New England Road Trip Itinerary

Are you ready to buckle up and join me on a 10-day road trip across these six picturesque states? I’m thrilled to share this thoroughly curated itinerary that will ensure you make the most out of this journey, exploring the hidden gems as well as the must-see spots.

Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, a nature enthusiast, or simply someone who enjoys the thrill of exploring new places, this 10-day New England road trip has something for everyone. So pack your bags, put on your favorite road trip playlist, and let’s hit the road.

Boston, Massachusetts (Day 1)

boston harbor

After arriving in Boston, Massachusetts , you can jump directly into the first day of your trip by visiting Boston. Drop off your bags at the hotel and explore Beantown (as it’s locally known). 

In a city defined by a rich history and vibrant sports culture, you’ll find a million historical things to see alongside plenty of sports bars to grab a beer in at the end of your day. While there’s no way to see the best of Boston in one day, we suggest you include these highlights on your first day:

  • Walk the Freedom Trail past some of the most important sites that shaped the American Revolution
  • Explore the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museums
  • Head to the Italian cuisine-filled North End of Boston for either lunch or dinner
  • Grab a few snapshots of America’s most photographed street, Acorn Street
  • Visit the Boston Library and marvel at its exquisite architecture

Where to stay: The Newbury Boston

Salem, Massachusetts & Portland, Maine (Day 2)

salem

Your second day of this New England vacation itinerary involves the first stretch of road to tackle. Heading out north via the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway (or Route 127), you’ll drive for about 40 minutes to reach Salem.

Infamously known for being the site of the Salem witch trials of 1962, the town is a global epicenter for everything occult. If you’re visiting during October, prepare for an overload of everything spooky. No matter when you’re in town, here are some spots you shouldn’t skip:

  • The Salem Witch Museum
  • Salem Witch Trials Memorial
  • The House of the Seven Gables

When you’re done exploring spooky Salem, jump back on Route 127. After about an hour and forty minutes, you’ll reach Portland, Maine. 

Similar to its west coast counterpart in Oregon , Portland, Maine, is a city with a bustling passion for the arts, the outdoors, and local microbrews and distilleries. Arriving in the city, you can leave your bags at your hotel and set out for a taste of Portland.

Some of the top things to see and do while you’re in town include:

  • Visit Fort Williams Park and the Portland Head Light
  • Tackle a brewery tour of Portland to some local craft breweries
  • Shop the local boutiques and specialty shops of Old Port
  • Grab a sunset view along the Eastern Promenade
  • Eat lobster rolls at Luke’s Lobster on the pier

Tours to look out for while you’re in Portland:

  • Old Port Culinary Walking Tour
  • Cusco Bay Sea Kayaking Tour
  • A Walk Through Time Tour in Portland 

Where to stay: Portland Regency Hotel & Spa

Bar Harbor & Acadia National Park, Maine (Day 3)

Bar Harbor, Maine

Your third day along this New England trip requires an early start and a three-hour drive, but the rewards are totally worth it. Driving from Portland to Bar Harbor, the beach town gateway to Acadia National Park, prepare for some out-of-this-world scenery.

Along the route, you’ll pass through a few towns worth a stop. The first is Bristol, where you can spend a minute or two at the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse , then stop at the Camden Hills State Park in Camden to see the view from the top of Mt. Battie.

After dropping off your belongings at your overnight spot in Bar Harbor, it’s time to head into Acadia National Park. You need a U.S. Park Pass to get in. If you’re going to be visiting more than one park in the year, you should definitely consider getting the America the Beautiful annual pass, which is just $79.99 from REI.

On Maine’s largest island, Mount Desert Island, the 47,000-acre Acadia National Park has dramatic mountains, picturesque lakes, and endless miles of hiking trails. It’s one of the biggest draws to this part of the U.S.

The top three things to add to your Acadia itinerary include:

  • Hiking to the summit of Cadillac Mountain (vehicle reservations are required for Cadillac Summit Road from May 25 through Oct 22). Book online.
  • Kayaking on Swan Lake
  • Biking or driving the Park Loop Road. The Park Loop Road can be very crowded. Have a backup plan if the area you wish to visit is full.

Where to stay: Bar Harbor Inn

White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire (Day 4)

White Mountain National Forest

While you technically did venture into stunning New Hampshire earlier in your road trip, day four is all about heading to and roaming around one of the state’s top attractions. The drive to get there is another 3 hours 30 min drive, so get up early!

Topping most driving tours of New England, especially those focused on New Hampshire, White Mountain National Forest is a beautiful collection of natural landscapes. The best thing about the National Forest is that there are many unique activities to indulge in regardless of what time of year you’re visiting.

  • In springtime, thanks to warmer weather and melting snow, the forest delivers the perfect setting for hiking and camping.
  • During the summer, you can fill your day by hiking, fishing, or canoeing.
  • When fall arrives, you should set out to drive New Hampshire’s scenic Kancamagus Highway.
  • Wintertime brings with it a lot of snow-capped mountains fit for winter sports enthusiasts at numerous ski resorts.

Where to stay: The Inn at Thornhill & Spa

Stowe, Vermont (Day 5)

Stowe

Once you’ve said farewell to New Hampshire, it’s time to head to NEK or the North-East Kingdom of Vermont. It’s a 1 hour 30 minute drive. Known for its spectacular green mountains, eye-catching lakes, and charming small farms, the state is a buzzworthy must-visit.

On the way to Stowe, you’ll stop in Waterbury for a genuine pilgrimage to the ice cream empire and the original store of Ben & Jerry’s.

Next up is a short 20-minute drive north to the ski resort town of Stowe. This world-famous ski destination showcases an authentic small-town charm, a lively main street, and some iconic steepled churches.

Be sure to check out some of Stowe’s one-of-a-kind local favorites, such as Laughing Moon Chocolates, Shaw’s General Store, and The Deep End (the hippest pizza place in the state). Other options here include:

  • Skiing at the Trapp Family Lodge
  • Hiking in Green Mountain National Forest
  • Heading on a scenic drive on Mountain Road

Where to stay: The Lodge at Spruce Peak

Litchfield & Mystic, Connecticut (Day 6)

Mystic Seaport Connecticut

Another early start on day six, you’ll drive down the Route 100 Scenic Byway, Vermont’s longest highway, through Wilmington, across the border into Connecticut. First stop of the day? Litchfield; a charming New England town brimming with local history. It’s a 4-hour drive to get there.

Founded in 1719, today, the town is a popular tourist destination known for its antique shops, numerous art galleries, and historic homes.

Delving further into Connecticut, you’ll head east to the town of Mystic. This historic seaport sits snuggly on the Mystic River and is most famous for its maritime heritage and the setting of the 1988 film Mystic Pizza .

Here are some highlights in Mystic:

  • Visit the Mystic Seaport Museum , one of the largest in the world
  • Explore early colonial farm life at the Denison Homestead
  • Dive into some aquatic adventures at the Mystic Aquarium
  • Hike a trail or two in Bluff Point State Park

Where to stay: Hilton Mystic

Newport, Rhode Island (Day 7)

newport coast

Continuing the coastal New England road trip, the next stop along your journey is in Rhode Island. Although it’s the smallest state in the US, it is home to some of the country’s most historic towns, most notably Newport. This is only an hour drive.

This seaside town, once a summer retreat for America’s most wealthy families, boasts breathtakingly stunning mansions built during the Gilded Age and is quite the sight to behold. Beyond that, you’ll find pristine beaches and some of the best seafood in the country here.

When you’re planning your day in Newport, be sure to include these must-do activities:

  • Stroll along Cliff Walk, a coastal 3.5-mile pathway hugging the Atlantic Ocean
  • Indulge in some retail therapy along Bellevue Avenue and Thames Street
  • Head out wine tasting at Greenvale Vineyards
  • Tour the famous Newport Mansions
  • Explore Bowen’s Wharf or take a boat cruise from Long Wharf
  • Relax on the sands of Easton Beach

Where to stay: Newport Marriott

Cape Cod (Day 8)

cape cod

Next up, and after an entire week on the road, it’s time for some rest and relaxation on the flexed arm of Massachusetts, in Cape Cod, a 1-hour 30-minute drive. Sitting on a peninsula in the state’s southeastern region, Cape Cod has long been a summer destination for the rich and famous.

Now if you’ve ever wondered why New England beach vacations are so popular, the almost 560 miles of coastline that encircle Cape Cod provide a clear answer. Yes, there are many great towns here worthy of a stay, but for this road trip, you’ll spend the day and night in Sandwich.

The official oldest English settlement in Cape Cod, Sandwich, dates back to 1639 and stuns with calm beachfront, quaint eateries, and a vibrant historic district. Fill your day in Sandwich with some of these standouts:

  • Breakfast at Cafe Riverview
  • Stroll along East Sandwich Beach
  • Visit Sandwich Boardwalk
  • Explore the Sandwich Historic District
  • Indulge in the best lobster in town at Mattakeese Wharf

Where to stay: Sandwich Lodge & Resort

Plymouth, Massachusetts (Day 9)

Plymouth Massachusetts

What would an itinerary for a New England road trip be without a stop in Plymouth? That’s why your second-to-last day in the area is all about exploring the town that dates back to 1620. It’s a 30-minute drive from Cape Cod.

Today this quintessential New England town is most known as the site where the very first Thanksgiving took place and is home to Plymouth Rock. Steeped in history, this is where the Pilgrims first landed way back when.

With all that history, here are a few top spots you should visit while in Plymouth:

  • Explore Plimoth Patuxent , a living history museum with a replica of the Mayflower ship
  • Grab a few snapshots at Plymouth Rock and delve into the Pilgrim Hall Museum
  • Roam around Plymouth’s historic downtown harbor area, home to several notable buildings such as the Plymouth Courthouse
  • Cap off your day with a stroll along Plymouth’s famously historic waterfront and catch the sunset over Cape Cod

Where to stay: Thomas Sea Suites at Harbourtown

Boston, Massachusetts (Day 10)

Boston harbor

Finally ending your epic 10-day New England road trip, you’re back in Boston . Luckily the drive from Plymouth to Boston is only 45 minutes to an hour, so you can start the day a bit later and still be back in Beantown with some time to spare for any extra activities.

We’d recommend fitting anything you didn’t have time for on day one into your final day. If you’ve got a few extra hours, here are some other Boston highlights to add:

  • For history lovers, pay a visit to the USS Constitution Museum or the Paul Revere House
  • Art lovers should definitely head to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts
  • Sports fanatics should take a one-hour tour of Fenway Park or catch a Boston Red Sox game ( check their calendar here )
  • For food lovers, be sure to check out our foodie guide to Boston .

Where to stay: Hyatt Centric Faneuil Hall Boston

Wrapping Up Your Road Trip Through New England

There you have it – the best road trip through New England you could possibly do in ten days. Although numerous other attractions and standout activities can be included on any trip, this New England trip itinerary features the best of the best.

Of course, you can play around with other vacation ideas in New England or discover hidden travel tips heading off-the-beaten-path. Now all you have to do is decide when to go and prepare for some exciting road-tripping in New England.

Be Prepared For Travel Planning is the most important part of any successful trip. Do it the easy way:

🧳 Travel Packing List | ✔️ Why You Need Travel Insurance | ✈️ What to Do Before You Leave Home

  • Find and book the best hotel (our favorite booking site is Expedia)
  • Research flight options (our favorite tool is Skyscanner )
  • Book a tour (we always use Viator to find the best tours)
  • Rent a car through Discover Cars (they search the best deals for you!)

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Laura

Laura Lynch, creator and writer of Savored Journeys, is an avid world traveler, certified wine expert, and international food specialist. She has written about travel and food for over 20 years and has visited over 75 countries. Her work has been published in numerous guidebooks, websites, and magazines.

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  • Travel Resources

Inspiring You to Explore More!

Get inspired with our great New England travel insights. Yes - Inspire Me!

Tucked away in the northeast corner of the United States is a cluster of 6 small states known as New England . This region, which includes Massachusetts , New Hampshire , Vermont , Maine , Rhode Island and Connecticut , is one of the most historic and culturally rich areas of the country. 

Each New England state has its own distinct charm and offers a bounty of natural beauty, stunning fall foliage and fun and exciting activities. 

how to visit new england

About This Guide…

What is new england best known for, what are the best things to do in new england, when is the best time to go to new england.

  • What is New England’s Weather Like?
  • How Big is New England?
  • Facts about New England's Geography

To learn more about each state and the best places to visit, check out Which New England State is Best to Visit?

New England is a special place to visit and people all over the world come to see what our little region has to offer all year long. What makes New England such a popular destination?

Its Rich History

As the oldest region of the United States, New England is steeped in history.

how to visit new england

From the arrival of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock in 1620, to the infamous Salem Witch trials of the 17th century, along with the pivotal role it played in the American Revolution , New England has a amazing story to tell.

Each state has their own personality and incredible history which makes them what they are today. When you come to New England, you will surely get your history lesson while you are here.

Charming Towns

From its urban cities to the picturesque towns and lively seaports , New England is a delight for all.

Seaside Town

Explore cities like Boston , Providence or Portland for a bit of city excitement, wander around seaside towns with cute boutiques , cafes and art galleries or step back in time as you travel the many back-roads, past white steepled churches , over covered bridges and along miles of farmland . 

Fresh Seafood

With the Atlantic Ocean bordering the majority of the region, seafood is a prime attraction for visitors of New England.

Lobster

Enjoy some incredible lobster , perfectly fried clams or some famous creamy clam chowder . There are so many options for tasting the freshest seafood at every turn, from tiny seafood shacks, to oceanfront restaurants and fine dining establishments.

Stunning Autumn Foliage

Each year, towards the end of September through early-October, the leaves on the trees transform into a kaleidoscope of bright yellows, oranges and reds in each and every New England state.

how to visit new england

It is absolutely stunning to see this transformation of the landscape and its the highlight of the autumn season, along with the crisp air and fall flavors of pumpkin spice and apple crisp. Fall in New England is an absolute wonder.

Beautiful Beaches 

how to visit new england

With over 500 miles of coastline, New England has plenty of options for enjoying the sun, sand and surf. Beaches vary in style with some offering a relaxed atmosphere while others have exciting boardwalks , seaside amusement parks , shopping and music events . You are sure to find one that fits your mood.

In New England, finding something fun to do is easy – the hard part is figuring out what to do first!  

Each state has so much to see and do – it is truly a destination for everyone.

Which New England State is Best to Visit?

Outdoor enthusiasts have thousands of acres of forests and state parks to enjoy hiking , biking , camping and exploring .  

Biking in New England

Foodies will be in heaven sampling the region’s famous iconic foods like famous fried clams, lobster, clam chowder, Indian pudding and Boston baked beans.

History buffs will be eager to learn about the region’s past with all of the historic sites and monuments . 

Culture vultures will be impressed by the diverse theater performances and assortment of museums showcasing everything from contemporary art , classic masterpieces , historical artifacts and fun pop culture.   

Ogunquit Playhouse

Beach bums have plenty of options for enjoying the sun , sand and surf with over 500 miles of shorelines along beaches , lakes and rivers .  

Boating enthusiasts can explore the waters with a variety of cruises , sail boating or by renting a canoe or kayak .

Music lovers will find a venue for almost any style of music including classical symphonies, jazz and folk festivals and rhythm and blues . There are plenty of outdoor concerts and other options to listen to live music .

Wine and beer connoisseurs will be in awe when visiting all the vineyards to sample great wine and the breweries to try some world-class craft beer .  

Adventurer seekers will find over 60 4000+ foot summits to climb, 14,000+ miles of snowmobiling trails in Maine and an abundance of black diamond trails to conquer on the ski slopes .

Bargain Hunters will be thrilled to find deals at all the factory outlets and antique shops while hard-core shoppers can shop til they drop at the city malls and marketplaces . If you are in Boston, take some time to do some window shopping at the upscale boutiques and shops on Newbury Street. 

how to visit new england

One of the best things about New England is we get to enjoy 4 distinct seasons and each one brings its own uniqueness. The best time to visit will depend on what you want to do.

Fall is by far the pinnacle time to visit New England with the crisp air and stunning colors of the autumn leaves peaking from the end of September through mid-October.

how to visit new england

This is a perfect time to go leaf peeping or enjoy other outdoor activities. You’ll also find plenty of fall festivals at farms throughout the region where you can pick pumpkins , make your way out of a corn maze , or go apple picking where you can sample some famous apple cider donuts . 

New England really comes alive during the summer months with countless outdoor activities throughout the region such as concerts , fairs , festivals and Farmers’ markets . With the warmer weather, its the perfect time to get out on the water whether its a whale watch , boat cruise , kayaking or a white water rafting trip.

Being the birthplace of America, the Fourth of July is a very popular time to visit and there are lots of celebrations around the region with Boston’s festivities at the top of the list.

how to visit new england

Insider Tip: While the months of July and August tend to be the warmest to enjoy swimming , boating and other water activities, you may still find the water in the ocean and lakes to be a a bit chilly, especially in the northern regions.

Winter is a chance to hit the slopes and experience some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the east. Not up for downhill skiing? Explore the many trails by snowmobile or cross-country skis. For those not interested in playing in the snow, there are still plenty of indoor activities to keep you busy this time of year.

skis at base of the mountain

The holidays in New England are absolutely beautiful with displays of tree lightings and festival of lights in many towns. Many of the mansions and historic houses are also beautifully decorated for the season and available for touring, with some even hosting gingerbread house competitions. 

Spring brings maple syrup , blooming flowers and the melting of all the snow up in the mountains to bring much needed water to the lakes and rivers for summer water activities. Get out to one of the maple farms and see how maple syrup is made or check out the spring blooms all over the region.

maple-sugar-trees-with

Depending on the season, Spring skiing may be an option or you can learn how to tap a maple tree at one of the many maple farms.

If you are visiting over Patriot’s Day, you can even cheer on the runners along the Boston Marathon route.  

What is New England’s Weather Like?

Anyone who lives in New England will tell you that the weather can be quite unpredictable . While there are average temperatures published, you really need to plan for anything. It is not uncommon to have a 20-30 degree temperature difference in the same day or within the same week. 

It can be 80-90 degrees during the day and then plummet to the 50s or 60s overnight. We have had blizzards in April and heat waves in November. As the local saying goes “Only in New England” is the consensus when it comes to our weather – so be prepared. 

Typical Weather in New England

Each season usually does have its distinct climate with the southernmost points being a bit warmer than the more northern areas.

Spring in New England can still be chilly, with average night time lows in the 20s and highs reaching mid-60s as it gets closer to summer. Known to locals as “Mud Season”, this time of year tends to be a bit rainy and muddy so plan to bring a raincoat, umbrella and some rain boots. You may want to have some indoor activities planned as well.

splashing in puddle with rubber boots

Summer temperatures can reach into the 90’s and can be hot and humid . Typically, it will be a little cooler the farther north you go. Don’t forget the sunscreen if you plan to be in the sun and always bring a sweater or sweatshirt as temperatures tend to fall at night or near the water. Mosquitoes and ticks can be an issue when outdoors so make sure you have bug spray.

beach

Fall has the perfect crisp air which warrants a lightweight jacket for your leaf-peeping activities. If we are lucky, we may get what is called “Indian Summer” where there is a warm stretch around the end of October or early November. If you are planning on hiking at any elevation, be sure to pack extra layers as weather can change drastically. November can also be wet so be careful not to slip on the falling leaves and plan for early snow – you just never know.  

how to visit new england

Winter can be quite frigid from December through February with a good amount of snow accumulating, especially in the northern regions. A warm coat, hat and gloves and a good pair of waterproof or insulated boots are a must if you plan to spend time outdoors.  

how to visit new england

What is a Nor’easter?

New England can also have its share of severe weather at times. It is famous for its Nor’easters which are storms known to bring howling winds and deep snow – especially up north which helps to make great conditions on the ski slopes. 

Mount Washington is also notorious for having some of the worst weather on the planet with the strongest winds ever recorded happening on this peak. If you plan to visit the summit be sure to check the weather and plan accordingly.

How Big is New England?  

At 71,988 square miles, New England is roughly the size of the State of Washington. Maine, the largest state, takes up half of that area.  The states are fairly small so it is easy to travel between them with many destinations just a few hours apart. Rhode Island is the smallest state at only 1,545 square miles.

The region is bordered by Canada in the North and North East and by the state of New York to the West and South. It’s extensive coastline along the Atlantic Ocean stretches from Connecticut to northern Maine.

Facts about New England’s Geography

New England Coast

While the region is small, it has very diverse landscapes and ecosystems including its jagged rocky coastline along the east coast, mountains , sandy beaches , extensive salt marshes , dense forests , cranberry bogs and numerous lakes and rivers.

  • The Appalachian mountains run through Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine with almost 700 miles of trails.  
  • Mt. Washington is the highest Mountain peak at 6228 feet. 
  • Lake Champlain is the largest lake bordering Vermont, New York and Quebec, Canada
  • The Connecticut River is the longest river, running 407 miles from northeast New Hampshire to Connecticut. 
  • The Great Marsh , the largest Salt Marsh in New England, extends along the east coast from Gloucester to New Hampshire providing a natural flood barrier to inland towns and a haven for wildlife.  
  • Massachusetts is one of only five states in the US that have cranberry bogs and is the 2nd largest supplier of cranberries. 

Have you been to New England? What is your favorite place to visit?

Learn more out each New England State and the most popular places to visit.

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Top 10 Must-Do Activities When You Visit Faneuil Hall (2024)

Faneuil Hall Marketplace is one of Boston’s most popular destinations and stop #11 on the Freedom Trail. It’s lively atmosphere makes it a great place to grab a bite to eat, do a little shopping or spend some time watching the talented street performers you’re bound to see.  While it may have a touristy flair, […]

How to Spend a Winter Weekend in Newport RI (2024)

How to Spend a Winter Weekend in Newport RI (2024)

While Newport is best known for its summer fun and yachting history, visiting during it’s off-season winter months can be quite magical. After Thanksgiving, this city-by-the-sea transforms into a Christmas Wonderland with tree lightings, festive boat parades and of course, the mansions all decked out for the holidays. With its cobblestone streets, gas lit sidewalks […]

Up, Up and Away at the Quechee Hot Air Balloon Festival

Up, Up and Away at the Quechee Hot Air Balloon Festival

Quechee is a small little village in the town of Hartford, Vermont with just about 300 residents. Each year, people from all over flock to this place for a chance to see up to 20 bright colored Hot Air Balloons sail across the sky and over the Quechee Gorge.  The annual Quechee Hot Air Balloon, […]

How to Spend 48 Hours in Burlington Vermont

How to Spend 48 Hours in Burlington Vermont

Situated on the scenic shores of Lake Champlain, in northern Vermont, is the vibrant city of Burlington. This city has a nice blend of small town charm and urban city excitement and while it is Vermont’s largest city, it is still relatively small with just over 40,000 people.  Burlington Vermont is a great place to […]

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Home » North America » USA » New England

EPIC New England Road Trip Itineraries (2024)

Going on a New England road trip  has to be one of the best ways to experience the region! With your own vehicle, you’ll be able to go wherever you want, stay where you like, and see whatever you fancy.

New England has been charming visitors for a long time. Of all of the regions in the USA, New England has some the richest history (being the birthplace of the nation and all), some of the most exciting locals, and best seafood, period.

And the fall foliage in New England? What more can be said about this phenomenon that hasn’t be said by dozens of movies – it’s simply one of the most romantic sights in the USA.

New England is by no means cheap nor easy to travel without some guidance. In order to see the best of New England, and not drop a fortune while doing so, you’re going to need a little assistance.

Don’t worry – we have the insider information you need for an EPIC journey. So what are we waiting for?! Let’s get the ball rolling on your New England road trip itinerary!

Best Time of Year to Road Trip New England

Best new england road trip itineraries, places to visit in new england, off the beaten path new england road trip ideas, new england road trips costs, final thoughts about new england road trips.

With something always going on, a road trip to New England is possible at any time of the year! In New England, summers are for beach trips, fall is for the foliage, winter is for skiing, and spring is for festivals.

If you can stand the occasional poor weather – the blinding snow and sometimes uncomfortable humidity – then you’ll do just fine in New England.

The climate in New England isn’t always agreeable, a fact that many residents will remind you of when you’re there. Winters are long and can be bitter cold and summers feel unfairly humid and short.

snowy new england scene frozen trees and pond

The weather in New England has a habit of being bipolar as well, appearing beautiful one moment only to turn to shit in a moment.

This doesn’t stop New Englanders from having a good time though as they seem to have something to do 365 days of the year. They take the weather with a grain of salt, as they should, and simply say, “if the weather’s no good, just wait 15 minutes (and it’ll be better).”

Outside of the mountainous regions, which can have Arctic qualities, there are no huge climatic swings in New England. Overall, temperatures are relatively cool and precipitation is spread throughout the year.

What makes New England feel so cold is the Canadian winds that come down and wreak havoc. These winds penetrate to the bone and can really ruin your day.

A thermometer may read 30 Fahrenheit but with the wind chill, it could feel like 0. Be sure to bring lots of layers and a windbreaker in the winter.

Fall in New England means changing foliage, the astounding beauty of which attracts every Joe Schmoe and his family to visit. If you’re on a road trip during this time, expect much higher prices and much less availability. Having said that, it’s one of the best places in the world to visit in September and October, so it’s worth it!

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Get 15% OFF when you book through our link — and support the site you love so dearly 😉

Booking.com is quickly becoming our go-to for accommodation. From cheap hostels to stylish homestays and nice hotels, they’ve got it all!

Below is a list of sample New England road trip routes, from East Coast budget adventures to more comprehensive trips that cost a bit more. Varying from 4 to 14 days in length, they cover many of the top destinations in New England. Each itinerary provides day-by-day highlights, which are meant to give you some good New England road trip ideas.

how to visit new england

The USA is  blisteringly beautiful. It’s also blisteringly expensive! Visiting two national parks in day can run you $70+ in entry fees.

Orrrr… you kick those entry fees to the curb, buy an annual ‘America the Beautiful Pass’ for $79.99,  and get unlimited access to ALL 2000+ federally managed sites in the States totally FREE!

You do the math. 😉

4-Day New England Road Trip Itinerary: Boston and the Cape

road trip in new england map 4 day itinerary

4 Days: Boston and the Cape

Arrive in Boston via Logan International Airport or by other means. Once you’re checked into your lodge and settled in, get ready to see the town!

Our  Boston itinerary  includes a visit to downtown Boston to see:

  • Fenway Park
  • The Freedom Trail
  • Acorn Street
  • Trinity Church
  • Boston Commons

After that, head to bed because the next day we start again!

Today you’ll be getting off the beaten path in Boston.

  • Southend for an authentic Bostonian experience
  • Cambridge for Harvard and MIT
  • East Boston for good food and views
  • Walden Pond for transcendental fans
  • Bunker Hill for history

Today we’re officially starting the drive, so have your car organized for a road trip to Cape Cod. Start driving on Highway 6 and then transfer to Highway 3 prior to the Cape Cod Canal. Once you’ve arrived, find your Cape Cod lodge/campsite and get set up.

Next, we’ll explore the Cape. Activities include:

  • Lighthouses
  • Charming settlements
  • Trinket shopping
  • Historical landmarks
  • Biking and hiking
  • Cape Cod Rail Trail

This is the last day of your short road trip from Boston. You can opt for a few different choices today.

Either consider visiting Nantucket Island or Martha’s Vineyard via the ferry. If not though, you can continue exploring the island and seeing what’s around.

When all is said and done, pack your things for a late flight in the evening or a flight the next day.

cape cod sandy beach and ocean

7 Day New England Road Trip Itinerary: New England’s Best Fall Foliage

road trip in new england map 7 day itinerary

7 Days: New England’s Best Fall Foliage

  • Arrive at Logan International and organize your car; skip this if you’re coming by road from elsewhere.
  • Hit the road immediately and head west on the I-90 and I-84 for Hartford, CT.
  • Pass Hartford and continue onto the Litchfield Hills in West Connecticut.
  • Spend the night in Kent, Cromwell or elsewhere.
  • Admire the foliage.
  • Depart from your lodge and head north on I-7 through the Housatonic Valley; red and gold foliage in abundance.
  • Arrive at the junction between I-7 and Highway 2 near Williamstown.
  • Highway 2 is colloquially referred to the Mohawk Trail, which offers some of the best of New England as well as excellent fall colors.
  • Stay nearby and drive along the 2 to your heart’s desire.
  • Drive on the Mohawk Trail if you haven’t already.
  • When ready, head for Green Mountain National Forest of Vermont via I-7 again.
  • Drive through the Green Mountains until Burlington.
  • Grab a beer and chill for the night.

Today is a long but rewarding day.

  • Depart from Burlington and head for Cambridge, VT.
  • Hit the 108 and Smuggler’s Notch for excellent mountain views and foliage.
  • Make your way east towards Bath, New Hampshire.
  • Turn onto Highway 112 before Bath, which is the beginning of the Kancamagus Highway.
  • Continue onto Lincoln, admiring the scenery along the way.
  • Stay in Lincoln, North Conway or elsewhere in the White Mountains.
  • Finish the Kancamagus Highway (112), which terminates at Conway.
  • Head north upon reaching Conway on Highway 16.
  • Enjoy Mt Washington and White Mountain National Forest, which is particularly fantastic in fall.
  • Turn onto I-2 and then again onto 113 to reach Evans Notch.
  • Finish up and head south towards Portland for the night.
  • Drive to Acadia National Park , which is one of the best places for fall foliage in New England.
  • Make a tour around Mt Desert Island and get a full dose of autumn splendor and coastline.
  • Spend the night around Acadia or back in Portland.
  • Consider spending the night in Camden as there is excellent foliage here.
  • Pack up and head back to Boston.
  • Spend the day exploring the city.
  • Get ready to depart that evening or the next day.

14-Day New England Road Trip Itinerary: Ultimate New England

map of new england road trip 14 day itinerary

14 Days: Ultimate New England Road Trip

Follow the first East Coast itinerary listed here  except  instead of returning to Boston at the end of day 4, relax and stay the night in Cape Cod. We’ll be moving on from there the next day…

  • Depart from Cape Cod and hit I-6, which will take you all the way to Providence, Rhode Island.
  • Explore the city and its architecture.
  • Be sure to drop by one of the many breweries and brewpubs.
  • Spend the night in or around Providence.
  • Wake up and head directly for Newport via Highway 114.
  • Spend the day exploring the opulent town.
  • Be sure to visit the many mansions and estates as well as Fort Adams in the south.
  • Depart when you’re ready.
  • Drop by Narragansett for some beach time if you have time.
  • Stop in Old Saybrook for the night or continue onto New Haven.
  • Depart from your lodge and make your way north.
  • Head to the state capital Hartford.
  • Wadsworth Falls
  • Buttermilk Falls
  • Settle in Hartford for some culture and good partying or…
  • Head to Litchfield Hills for a quieter night.
  • Make your way up Knowledge Corridor or Housatonic Valley towards Vermont.
  • Be sure to drop by the Mohawk Trail in Northwest Massachusetts for some scenery and history.
  • Hit highway 7 and make the long drive to Burlington.
  • Reward your hard work today with a beer.
  • Spend the day exploring the Green Mountains of Vermont.
  • Climbing the  Camel’s Hump .
  • Hiking around  Mt Mansfield .
  • Check out  Smuggler’s Notch .
  • Rafting on the  Mad River .
  • Spend the night in Burlington again.
  • Depart from Burlington and head east towards Lincoln, New Hampshire via I-89.
  • Arrive in the White Mountains and settle into whatever lodge/campground you have booked.
  • Spend the remainder of the day in the mountains.
  • Flume Gorge
  • Mt Washington
  • Franconia Notch
  • Arethusa Falls
  • Lonesome Lake
  • If you arrived early enough, considering overnighting in a backcountry campsite.
  • Wake up and knock off any remaining activities.
  • Consider doing the full-day Presidential Traverse but, full-warning, it’s quite arduous.
  • Lay your head down for the night, preferably around a campfire with a drink.
  • Depart from the White Mountains and travel on Highway 302 to Portland, Maine.
  • If you stay in Portland, visit the many maritime landmarks, trinket shops, and breweries.
  • Spend the day exploring Acadia National Park.
  • Taking a road trip around  Mt Desert Island .
  • Climbing  Cadillac Mountain .
  • Visiting  Jordan Pond .
  • Relaxing on  Sand Beach .
  • Walking around  Bar Harbor .
  • Head to your lodge for the night.

fresh caught lobster from maine

Below is a list of the best road trip destinations in New England. Study them well and decide which ones you like the most.

Road Trip to Boston

Boston is the largest city in New England and, honestly, one of the coolest cities in the entire United States. With gorgeous architecture, some of America’s most important history, and hugely diverse demographics, there’s little chance you’ll run out of things to do in Boston .

Downtown Boston – the area with all the skyscrapers – is where you’ll find the majority of the city’s attractions. Notable points of interest in Boston Downtown include Fenway Park , the Trinity Church, Boston Commons, Acorn Hill , and the North End. You could easily hit all of these places in a few hours by walking.

North across the Charles River is Cambridge , home to the famously exclusive Harvard College and MIT . Both campuses are worth visiting – the former for traditional architecture and the latter for ultra-modern. The whole of Cambridge is pretty affluent, being inhabited by students and leaders in tech, but thankfully doesn’t suffer from too much snootiness.

boston skyline from the bay new england road trip

South Boston is the home of the “southies” aka those people that sound like Matt Damon from Good Will Hunting . Aside from the impressive JFK Library, there isn’t a whole lot to do here besides people watch, which is, admittedly, awesome.

Finally, across the Boston Channel and next to Logan International is East Boston, which is where most of the immigrants live. These means this is one of the best places in Boston to grab food! The views ain’t bad either.

While you’re travelling around Boston , be sure to also get outside of the city of as well! The historical city of Concord , as well as the hallowed Walden Pond , are both worth a day trip.

Road Trip to Cape Cod and the Islands

Cape Cod is a large, prominent peninsula located south of Boston. It is an immensely popular getaway destination due in part to its extensive coastline and profuseness of quaint coastal towns.

Combined with the ever-enchanting Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Island , both located nearby, and you have an assembly of some of the best of New England.

Cape Cod is a very large region, surprisingly so, and is broken into several districts. Because of its size, history, and prosperity, Cape Codians are very proud of their home and consider it more than just a tourist destination. There are loads of great places to stay in Cape Cod , if you fancy extending your trip!

cap cod beach and fences romantic new england coast road trip

There are several charming towns on Cape Cod that are worth visiting. Hyannis is most notable for the Kennedy Compound , which served as the holiday home for JFK and his family, as well the enormous Beech Tree on Main Street .

Fans of Kurt Vonnegut may also be interested in nearby Barnstable as it was his home for several decades. Affluent Chatham has one of the best lighthouses and local baseball teams on the Cape (Cape Codians are crazy for the sport).

Finally, Provincetown is famous for its artsy and expressive LGBT community.

Most everyone comes to Cape Cod to play in the sea as the peninsula has some of the best beaches in New England. Make no mistake, there are a lot of them too.

Stunning stretches of sand can be found at Nauset Beach, Lighthouse Beach, Sandy Neck Beach, Mayflower Beach, and pretty anywhere else along the Cape Cod National Shoreline Park . You may get lucky and even see a migrating humpback whale!

No road trip to Cape Cod is complete without a trip to Nantucket Island or Martha’s Vineyard – both are among the most desirable places to visit in New England, during summer especially so.

Martha’s Vineyard is full of grand residences for the rich as well as picturesque beaches. Nantucket is similar to Martha’s Vineyard but smaller and quieter. You can catch a ferry to either at Hyannis.

Road Trip to Rhode Island

Rhode Island has a little bit of everything. The largest city, Providence , is often considered a good alternative to Boston, and the surrounding state offers quintessential scenery including rugged coastline, quaint townships, and, of course, the fall foliage New England is so beloved for.

Providence is the third largest city in New England. For a long time, Providence had a bad reputation for being sketchy, crime-ridden, and corrupt but, following massive economic pushes, is currently undergoing an urban renaissance. It’s now a very appealing city thanks to its history with a bustling college scene, solid nightlife, and heaps of stuff to do .

marble house newport rhode island

Providence is a small city so getting around on a foot is a very reasonable task. Walk around and take note of the diverse architecture. Be sure to see the State House, the eclectic Brown University, the restored Arcade, and the First Baptist Church , among others, for a lesson in American architectural history.

For a languid afternoon, try visiting one of the many museums and/or parks in Providence. Certain neighborhoods, like Federal Hill, College Hill, and Downcity all offer nice urban panoramas as well. End your day at one of the many breweries in the city.

Rhode Island’s other noteworthy city is Newport . An opulent town, full of mansions and elegant avenues, Newport is a prime example of New England decadence. Rosecliff estate served as a setting in the recent Great Gatsby film and its neighbors – The Beakers and Marble House – are equally grandiose.

There is a thriving art scene in Newport and jazz, in particular, is praised here. There is an awesome jazz festival at Fort Adams. Festival or not, Fort Adams is worth seeing because it is one of the most important historical structures in New England.

Newport has many beautiful city beaches including Bailey’s, Easton, and Gooseberry. To see some real contenders for “best beaches in New England,” head across the Jamestown Verrazano Bridge to Narragansett . If you’re ever wondering where to stay in Newport, you should definitely consider staying in one of the more historic bed and breakfasts in Rhode Island there.

Coastal Connecticut Road Trip

Connecticut is an eclectic state visited often by both New Englanders and New Yorkers, the latter of which only live a short train ride away. It is a popular getaway for city folk who need a break from the grind and some time in rural New England.

With a lovely coastline, romantic countryside, and a number of dynamic cities, Connecticut is a great stop along any New England road trip route USA.

Connecticut can be broken down roughly into three parts: the coast, the “Knowledge Corridor,” and the countryside. This section will cover coastal Connecticut , which is a part of Southern New England.

Driving west along Highway 95 from Rhode Island, you’ll pass by some of the most beautiful beach towns in New England. Stonington is a good place to learn about the maritime history of the state – particularly at the Old Lighthouse Museum .

yale university new haven coast new england road trip

Old Saybrook is one of the prettiest coastal towns in Connecticut and is also a stone’s throw away from Gillette Castle . On the way to New Haven is Hammonasset Beach , which is the longest and busiest beach in the state. Make sure to stay in one of the stunning cabins in Connecticut to make the most out of all this natural scenery.

New Haven marks the beginning of a long stretch of urban development that spans all the way to New York state.

New Haven is most famous for Yale University , which is arguably the top attraction in the city. Being a college town, New Haven has a great art scene and nightlife. The pizza is also particularly good in this town.

As we continue further west along 95, we’ll pass by many more beautiful New England towns. There’s quiet Milford , which has a great beach called Silver Sands .

Next, you’ll pass through industrial Bridgeport . After that is upscale Stamford , glorified dockyard for millionaires from New York (there are some good beaches as well).

Finally, you’ll end up in Greenwich , which is one of the most admired towns in New England, due in part to its beauty and close proximity to New York.

There are a ton of awesome B&Bs in Connecticut where you can stay in a historical building and enjoy that welcoming East Coast hospitality.

how to visit new england

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Road Trip through Connecticut and Massachusetts

The interior of Connecticut is dominated by the Knowledge Corridor , which hosts one of the densest collections of higher learning institutions, not to mention one of the largest populations in New England.

Travel outside this packed area and you’ll find some of some of the best of New England pastoralism including traditional townships, rolling hills, and a distinctive tranquility. Visiting either on a New England road trip provides excellent insight into the region.

Let’s start with the quieter section – the western part of Connecticut referred to as the Litchfield Hills. This part of the state is very rural with few inhabitants and even fewer visitors.

There are a number of beautiful New England towns here, including Kent , Cornwall , and New Milford , as well some lovely natural attractions like Kent Falls, Burr Pond, Candlewood Lake, and Mohawk Mountain . These are also some of the best places to visit in New England in the fall.

an assortment of orange and red trees as seen from above on an autumn hike in connecticut new england usa

Moving along to our main destination, we first make for Hartford , Connecticut’s state capital and the beginning of the Knowledge Corridor. Hartford is considered one of the great culture capitals of the region.

There are several libraries and art collections dedicated to various historical figures, including Mark Twain, spread throughout the city. Reportedly, West Hartford also has a fairly active nightlife.

Outside of Hartford are a number of parks worth visiting. Examples include Enders State Forest/Falls, Buttermilk Falls , and Wadsworth Falls .

We continue our New England road trip north on Highway 91 through the Connecticut River Valley. This is the heart of the Knowledge Corridor, a title that refers to the huge concentration of colleges and universities in the area. This corridor runs all the way into Massachusetts and terminates in Springfield.

Springfield is a great city full of Victorian architecture and some of the coolest museums in New England. Be sure to visit the NBA Hall of Fame , if you’re interested in sports, as well as the Dr. Seuss Sculpture Museum , if you had a childhood.

Vermont Road Trip

True to its nickname, Vermont aka The Green Mountain State is a wild wonderland and a favorite playground for New England outdoors people. With some awesome skiing and hiking in addition to several fall foliage drives, which are among the best in New England, Vermont is a great escape from the more developed CT, MA, and RI. Here is the best opportunity to stay in a cabin in Vermont for a truly off-the-grid experience.

Starting in the south of Vermont, you’ll first arrive at the mountains from which the state gets its name, the Green Mountains . A subrange of the Appalachia, the Green Mountains are home to the state’s highest peaks as well as the best mountain activities.

Some of the best ski resorts in Vermont are Sugarbush, Stowe Mountain, Killington, Mount Snow , and Jay Peak. Though the slopes aren’t as epic as say those in Colorado or Oregon, they still get dumped on with snow and have decent runs.

vermont snowy geen mountains new england road trip

If skiing isn’t your bag, why not try portions of the Green Mountain Long Trail ? This extension of the Appalachian Trail is noteworthy for hitting all the range’s highest peaks but is, for this reason, difficult at times.

Casual hikers and campers can also take advantage of the many free backcountry campsites and quaint bed and breakfasts in Vermont .

Other natural attractions worth visiting in Vermont are the Mad River, Quechee Gorge, Camel’s Hump , and the many gorgeous lakes – most notably Lake Willoughby and Lake Champlain.

Montpellier is the state capital of Vermont though Burlington is the largest and most exciting in the state.

Burlington is famous for being a hippy town as well as drop dead gorgeous because it lies on the banks of Lake Champlain. Burlington makes for an excellent base for exploring Vermont’s outdoor spaces with many quality bike paths for cycling enthusiasts.

Like any good liberal college town, Burlington has plenty of bars, and the breweries, in particular, are excellent. You ca check out Airbnbs in Vermont for cozy and comfortable stays.

Road Trip to New Hampshire

New Hampshire is very similar to Vermont in that it’s mostly visited for its epic settings and free-spirited culture. With the highest peak in all of New England, Mount Washington , as well as the beautiful White Mountains , New Hampshire is another great New England road trip destination for adventurous travelers.

If you’re on a summer New England road trip, then you’ll obviously want to hit the trails in New Hampshire. This state has some of the best hikes in New England in addition to some decent summits.

As previously mentioned, Mt Washington is the highest peak in New England and can be summitted in a day either by foot or by cog train (that’s cheating though). Be mindful of foul weather.

New Hampshire’s Mt Monadnock is argued to be the second most climbed peak in the world next to Mt Fuji, but many don’t count Monadnock because it has no glacier. (Mt Hood in Oregon is the second most climbed glaciated peak in the world.)

white mountains of new hampshire new england

Another rewarding and arduous hike is the Presidential Traverse where you navigate across 11 of the state’s highest peaks. Also consider visiting Lake Winnipesaukee , Franconia Notch, Arethusa Falls, Lonesome Lake , and the Flume Gorge .

Those on a winter or spring New England road trip will be happy to hear the skiing is also quite good in New Hampshire. Popular ski resorts include Loon Mountain, Bretton Woods, Cannon Mountain , and Waterville Valley .

New Hampshire is pretty sparsely populated and there aren’t too many bustling urban centers here. There are a couple of little towns worth stopping in still.

Hanover is home to the famous Dartmouth University and is gorgeous in its own right. Jackson is a gorgeous place to stay in the White Mountains and makes for a great base. Finally, Portsmouth is one of the most historically significant towns in New England and, more importantly, has great breweries.

Road Trip on the Maine Coast

Maine will be a highlight for any New England Coast road trip! With epic seascapes and even more epic seafood, Maine has a lot to offer.

Many people have fallen in love with Maine’s coastline, too many perhaps. Coastal Maine isn’t exactly hidden these days and so anyone on a summer road trip in New England will have to deal with large crowds.

You can definitely get off the beaten path in Maine but that is a topic that we will be discussing in the next section .

Driving from Portsmouth, NH, you’ll head north on the 95 to Portland , Maine, catching glimpses of the shoreline along the way. You’ll pass by several of Maine’s best beaches and towns including York, Ogunquit, Cape Elizabeth , and Goose Rocks . Upon arriving in Portland, you may think that it’s a small coastal town but is, in fact, the largest “city” in the state.

rugged maine coastline and lighthouse

Portland is one of the best places in New England, ridiculously charming and full of quaint little attractions. You’ll learn a lot about its maritime history at the Old Port and also be afforded the opportunity to shop for artisanal souvenirs. The seafood is obviously excellent in Portland and the beer is especially delicious if not abundant.

Moving on from Portland, we continue our New England coast road trip deeper into the state. Driving on the 1 you’ll have lots of opportunities to visit the coast. Boothbay is an elegant destination, Camden is gorgeous, and Popham Beach is arguably one of the best beaches in New England.

Our ultimate destination is Acadia National Park , the only national park in New England. It is a superlative place with some astounding scenery, not to mention some of the best hikes in New England.

Spend the night in the charming seaside town of Bar Harbour , where you’ll get to try Maine’s famous cold lobster roll. You’ll find some epic Maine B&Bs here run by friendly locals.

Then go for a drive around Mt Desert Island , the island on which Acadia is located, and then explore local sites like Jordan Pond and Sand Beach . Note that you’ll have to pay an entry fee for Acadia.

Below is an overview of the Great North Woods of New England, arguably the wildest place in the Northeast. Those with the will and proper transport will be rewarded with virgin woods, pristine rivers, and an abundance of local wildlife.

Great North Woods

The Great North Woods is one of the quietest, most underdeveloped, and most beautiful places in New England. It refers to the extremely wild and untouched woodlands of northern New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine that separate New England from Canada.

With little, if any tourist infrastructure, the Great North Woods should be an awesome adventure for anyone looking for a proper USA backcountry experience on their New England road trip.

There are a fair bit of activities in the New Hampshire part of the Great North Woods. Many of New England’s best waterfalls are in this region including the spectacular Beaver Brook Falls . There’s a very complex and thorough network of trails here as well that penetrates deep into the woods.

great north woods new hampshire new england road trip route

You can drive to Great North Woods in Maine from New Hampshire via Highway 16 and pass some excellent scenery along the way. This area is one of the best places to visit in New England in the fall because of the spectacular foliage. Be careful of moose though! These giants will run into the road sometimes and seriously ruin your car.

Maine’s North Woods is expansive and is probably the most remote part of New England. It is, in fact, so out-there that certain counties like Aroostook are not even officially incorporated into the state and so have no “official populations.”

Stories of the wood’s frightful and fantastic inhabitants still circulate to this day as well, like that of the vengeful wendigo or of the murderous ding-balls.

Interior locations like Baxter State Park and Mt Katahdin are the most “accessible” places in Maine’s North Woods. Surrounding these is 100 Mile Wilderness , which is often visited by ACT hikers. If you want to travel further than these locations you may need a 4×4 as paved roads are no longer guaranteed.

If you can make it, the Allagash Wilderness is one of the great river adventures in America. Navigable only by canoe or raft, there is nothing out here besides moose, fish, and untouched landscapes.

A road trip through New England ain’t going to be cheap, folks. With the high costs of living and high demand, New England has some of the steepest hotel rates and dining prices in the USA.

That’s no reason not to visit New England in the first place though! You have us, after all. 🙂

We at The Broke Backpacker are constantly looking for new ways to save on travel and have a whole repertoire of useful tips to share with y’all. Even if we are unable to travel for $10/day like in our favorite countries (let’s be real here), we can at least help you minimize expenses to the utmost degree.

The average daily budget for a New England road trip is between $200-$250 – this includes gas, a rental car, lodging, food, drink, and entry fees.

mit docks and boston skyline new england road trip roaming ralph

On any road trip, New England or otherwise, the largest cost will be gas . This expense will always sneak up on you because it can be difficult to properly gauge how much you will actually use.

Lodging is also expensive in New England. Try and camp out as much as possible to lower your daily budget significantly. Take advantage of the cheaper public campsites and occasional backcountry site, which are sometimes free. Stay in hostels as well – they’re not so bad in New England.

Food costs are something you can control as you will have the option of cooking cheaply at home or the campsite. Dining is expensive in New England so be picky about how many lobsters you eat and clam bakes you attend.

Below is a breakdown of the average costs of a road trip in New England.

Average Costs of a New England Road Trip

Rental car : $50-$150

RV rental :  $100-$300

Gallon of gas:  $2.74

Private AirBnB home:  $140

Hotel room:  $150

Hostel:  $25-$35

Campground:  $10-30 (sometimes free!)

Sandwich:  $6-$9

Beer at a bar:  $5-$8

Coffee:  $3-$4

Bottle of Whiskey from the market:  $25

Dinner for two:  $35-$60

maine coastline at dawn rocky and rugged

Best Places to Stay in New England on a Budget

Camping in new england.

Camping in New England is either done on public land, private land or in the backcountry . Each type offers different sorts of amenities and at different prices.

Private campgrounds usually have more amenities and can accommodate more types of campers. RV parks, hookup sites, and other sorts of demanding camping (we hesitate to use the word “glamping”) are usually found at private camps.

Private camps usually have lots of communal facilities like a kitchen and showers. Because of their greater comfort, private campgrounds are usually more expensive.

Camping on public land, run either by the state or the feds, is usually more basic. Electricity is possible as is the occasional shower but don’t expect the resort-like services that private campgrounds have. Fortunately, prices are far more reasonable at public campgrounds.

cows grazing in connecticut new england under fall trees

Both public and private campsites fill up quickly in the fall. Many take reservations though and we suggest you do this if you’re going on a fall foliage road trip in New England.

Backcountry campsites, being located on either private or public land, are harder to access but have the benefit of being extremely cheap if not totally free . These campgrounds usually require a hike or maybe a water taxi to reach, which makes them difficult and unattractive for the average camper.

The backcountry campgrounds are also very primitive, often with no restrooms and maybe running water. For the intrepid, these campgrounds can be very ideal as they’re super quiet, wild, and, as previously mentioned, usually free!

Backcountry campsites are usually found in the mountains, around the lakes, and on the remote islands of New England. Use this search engine for a compendium of free camping in New England .

Always have of plenty of powerful bug spray and mosquito repellent on you. Mosquitoes are a plague in the summer. Be sure to also wear long clothing to protect yourself from ticks when hiking in the backcountry. Local ticks often carry Lyme Disease, which is an autoimmune disorder with no cure.

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Renting a Car or Campervan in New England

Renting a car is the most popular way of getting around New England. There are a myriad of car rental agencies here that offer varying deals and varying models.

To find the best rental car deal in the USA, use search engines that compare the prices from individual companies. We personally like using rentalcars.com as they’ve never failed to give us a great price.

You can also rent and travel in a campervan , which means you don’t have to worry about packing camping gear. You will have to empty and refill the various wascampete and water tanks though, which will require a visit to the proper facilities. RVs also cost more to rent, use more gas, and demand higher prices at campgrounds. We suggest booking a campervan with Outdoorsy as they usually have a good selection and good prices.

Make sure you also purchase a RentalCover.com policy to cover your vehicle against any common damages such as tires, windscreens, theft, and more at a fraction of the price you would pay at the rental desk.

The roads in the Northeast are generally very good and a sedan or economy car should deliver you to most of New England’s top destinations. Only in the most remote portions of the Great North Woods, will the roads be so bad that you need 4×4 or at least high clearance.

If you’re on a road trip in New England during the winter and want to go to the mountains, you will definitely need all-wheel or 4-wheel drive.

fall foliage drive in new england

Getting Insured for a Road Trip through New England

Concerned about staying safe in the USA? Well don’t be! Just make sure you’re insured, and you drive carefully.

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing .

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

how to visit new england

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

New England is no doubt one of the most idyllic regions of the US. Quaint coastal towns and some of the best foliage in the country are but two reasons to take a road trip here–but there are so many more.

Hopefully, you now feel more prepared on where to go and what to do on YOUR New England road trip.

But rest assured that regardless of which spots you’re bound to find beauty, history and a whole lot of delicious seafood.

So what are you waiting for? The open, rural roads of New England awaits!

woman taking photo with new england foliage

Updated February 2023 by Samantha Shea

how to visit new england

And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links . That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!

Ralph Cope

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how to visit new england

Wow! great article and suggestions.

thank you for all of the advinces it helps, can t wait to visit New England Vermont Maine, xxx

Lake placid in the Adirondack Mountains also a try while stop. There are several private and New York State campgrounds nearby.

Thank you for mapping this all out. I live in New England and would love to visit many of these places.

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New England With Love

24 Best Places to Visit in New England: Vacation Spots (2024)

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Discover the best places to visit in New England, a region celebrated for its unique charm and beauty. Drawing on over 20 years of my own experience exploring this region, I’ve curated a list of top New England vacation spots for you. From quaint coastal towns to historic landmarks, this guide reveals the must-see destinations across New England.

Whether you’re planning a New England road trip or a focused visit, you’ll find the perfect spots to add to your itinerary. Let’s explore the hidden gems and popular highlights of New England together!

pinnable image that reads best places to visit new england and has a collage of fall photos and a lighthouse image

Table of Contents

Best Places to Visit in New England: Vermont

Burlington, vermont.

an image of an empty shopping street on a sunny day. colorful banners cross over the blue sky and a long bricked walkway leads to a distant church

One of the best places to visit in New England is Burlington, Vermont, a place I lived for several years!

Do you like the outdoors, craft beer, and progressive-minded folk? You will love the hip city of Burlington and the many fun things to do here . Set on the shores of Lake Champlain, Burlington has a small-town vibe but plenty going on.

The greater Burlington area is a must-visit mecca for foodies and craft beer lovers . There are tons of breweries around here and an explosion of farm-to-table cuisine that is well worth the trip. Hard cider is making a strong showing in New England , too, and Foam Brewers is a great place to try it in Burlington. They’re located near the Lake Champlain waterfront, making it a great place to be on a summer afternoon.

A placard reading

From cool coffee shops to great places to stay to fun, free things to see and do , Burlington is one of the best places for a New England vacation!

Church Street Marketplace is one of the most popular places to go in Burlington, with great shopping, restaurants, and a whole lotta entertainment, both on the streets and in the businesses surrounding.

The lake is the focus of much of the Burlington’s outdoor activities. The Burlington Bike Path skirts the edges for several miles, providing an ideal route for a bike ride or a run. There’s lots of great hiking nearby , too.

Getting out on the water is a must, whether you want to try sailing, stand up paddle boarding or kayaking. You can also hop aboard one of the bigger boats, the scenic ferries. These will take you across to the other side (NY state) or around for a scenic cruise of this miniature “Great” lake. Check out some of the best ways to get out on Lake Champlain here!

Read Next: 10 Best Airbnbs in Burlington Vermont

Stowe, Vermont

Aerial view of the mountains with fall leaves and a white church with steeple in the midst of them at a New England vacation destination

Stowe, Vermont, renowned as a skiing paradise, is a year-round New England gem. In winter, the town truly shines.

Stowe Mountain Resort beckons with top-tier skiing and snowboarding, while the town, illuminated with holiday lights, offers a warm welcome with its quaint streets. Cozy up in local cafes or glide across the Stowe Ice Rink.

For a unique experience, embrace the Austrian charm of the Trapp Family Lodge, famous for its connections to “The Sound of Music.” I stayed here myself last spring and absolutely adored its classic, rustic vibe.

Autumn in Stowe is equally enchanting. The area boasts some of the most spectacular fall foliage, creating a vivid backdrop for seasonal activities.

A short drive to Waterbury brings you to the Cold Hollow Cider Mill, one of my favorite New England places to visit for its renowned apple cider donuts and a glimpse into traditional cider-making processes.

Stowe has miles of fantastic hiking trails, and in fall, the views are particularly exquisite. Not into hiking? View the colors from above via the Stowe Gondola Skyride, which will carry you to the top of Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak.

A colorful Welcome to Stowe mural on the side of a blue building

Read Next: Where to Go for the Best Breakfast in Stowe VT

Woodstock, Vermont

Another place to visit in New England I recommend is the town of Woodstock, VT. This scenic New England destination is a breath of fresh air and absolutely one of my favorite New England towns to visit.

Its picturesque downtown area, complete with its own historic covered bridge, captures the region’s essence. Explore the unique shops and cozy cafes, all set within historic buildings, and each offering a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

a couple walks towards a classic vermont covered bridge on a summer day

The Billings Farm & Museum is another highlight, showcasing Vermont’s agricultural history in an engaging way. You can meet the cows and see how an actual working farm is run. My little family had a blast here!

For nature enthusiasts, the stunning views at Quechee Gorge – Vermont’s ‘Little Grand Canyon’ – are essential. This spot offers impressive vistas and is perfect for photography and nature exploration.

Annually, thousands visit Woodstock to enjoy its seasonal beauty, from summer’s lush greenery to autumn’s foliage. It’s also known as a fabulous Christmas town , with its Victorian-style Wassail Weekend taking center stage.

Best Places to Visit in New England: New Hampshire

Portsmouth, new hampshire.

New Hampshire has a very small stretch of coastline and Portsmouth is a small city located here. Portsmouth is very historic, which is great for visitors to New England.  Settled in 1623, it is actually the third oldest city in the nation, and one of my favorite places to visit.

To explore some of this history, check out Strawbery Banke, an outdoor history museum with more than 30 restored buildings built between the 17th and 19th centuries. This is a living history museum, too, with actors portraying historic residents of the town and what life may have been like.

A body of water with boats and buildings in the distance in New England.

In Portsmouth, you can also wander along the waterfront. For shopping and dining (Portsmouth has a very lively food scene) Market Square is the center of things. There are some pretty cool bars and breweries in Portsmouth, too!

Read Next: Where to Go for Breakfast in Portsmouth NH

North Conway, New Hampshire

New Hampshire’s White Mountains are impressive, exciting, and draw thousands of outdoorsy folk each year. These mountains, the tallest in New England, offer spectacular hiking and more.

North Conway is one of my favorite places for a New England vacation , providing the perfect gateway to the attractions of the White Mountain National Forest.

Someone sitting on a rocky ledge looking at a view of water and mountains with fall leaves in New England

Conway is a mountain town providing a great mix of shopping, restaurants , and outdoor activities. The Saco River runs nearby, so Conway is a good jumping-off point for tubing or paddling in the river, with lots of cool places to stay .

Pop up to the towns of Bartlett and Jackson if you want to head even more into the mountains. Both are very nice areas with lots to do and see. Near Bartlett you can stop by Diana’s Baths, a beautiful area of cascading waterfalls and gentle pools. On a hot summer’s day, it’s the perfect place to cool off.

Got extra time in NH? Check out the town of Lincoln, too.

Read Next: Your Guide to Mt Washington NH: The Highest Peak in the Northeast!

Plymouth, Massachusetts

Of course, you’ll want to have America’s Hometown on your list of places to visit in New England!

One of the most charming historic towns in the region, Plymouth is full of historical sites like Plymouth Rock and Mayflower II , a scale replica of the historic vessel that carried the Pilgrims across the sea in 1620!

Also in Plymouth are a variety of fantastic restaurants and places to stay, including Mirbeau Inn and Spa. History, culture, and a little spa-cation? Why not?

The Lakes Region, New Hampshire

Green trees on the left with a body of water on the right and puffy white clouds in the sky in New England.

If you’re looking for a place to spend summer in New England , we can’t recommend enough the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. Here you’ll find lakes on lakes on lakes.

In the summertime, these alluring bodies of water are refreshing and calm. They are perfect for swimming with family and friends, boating, or even as a backdrop to your barbecue.

The Lakes Region of NH includes the area surrounding Lake Winnipesaukee , Winnisquam Lake, Squam Lake, and Newfound Lake, among other smaller lakes and ponds (there are 273 in total!).

Some of the towns not to miss include adorable Meredith (right on Lake Winnipesaukee), fun Laconia, and pretty Center Harbor.

Best Places to Visit in New England: Massachusetts

Martha’s vineyard, massachusetts.

A body of water with a lighthouse and houses in the distance in New England

This island off the coast of Massachusetts is one of the most beautiful New England spots, especially for a summer trip.

Martha’s Vineyard is a fun getaway . While you’re not coming here for the nightlife, you’re coming here for relaxation and luxury (and delicious restaurants, beautiful inns and hotels, and cool vacation rentals !) Oak Bluffs is an especially cool town to explore.

One of the best things to do on the island is simply to rent a bike and go for a ride. Explore lighthouses as well as the six towns that make up the island. Shopping and art are also things you’ll find on Martha’s Vineyard in abundance.

The Berkshires, Massachusetts

In Western Massachusetts is the region known as the Berkshires. This area is worlds away from Boston, but it’s not very far as the crow flies. If you’re looking for a bit of country living in MA, this is the region to visit.

This area is a popular destination for travelers, especially in the warmer months.

Culture abounds in the Berkshires, from spots like Mass MoCA and other museums to venue Tanglewood , where you can enjoy concerts from leading symphonies and folk artists like James Taylor to theatre productions put on by the well-known, professional Shakespeare & Company .

A tree with fall leaves next to a yellow two-story house in New England

In addition to culture, you will find plenty of history. In Lenox, visit the Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum , an 1890s home that’s open for tours. If you have literary interest, you may also wish to stop by The Mount , Edith Wharton’s turn-of-the-century estate.

There are many opportunities for outdoor adventuring in the Berkshires. Plenty of hiking trails snake the region, bike routes, and even some ski resorts, plus plenty of cool vacation rentals , cute cabins , and great places to eat .

It’s a great place to visit in the winter , too!

Boston, Massachusetts

Aerial view of tall buildings in a vacation destination in New England

Some of the best New England vacations start in Boston, and many stay there! It’s one of my favorite places for a wonderful New England vacay.

Boston has so much to do for locals and visitors alike. Sports fans, history lovers, culture snobs? Whatever your pleasure, Boston has a site, walking tour, attraction, or event you’ll be psyched about.

Walking the Freedom Trail is a Boston bucket list item , whether you’re a history buff or not. This 2.5-mile path takes you past 16 historic sites, each a chapter in the story of America’s fight for independence, and it’s a super easy walk.

As you walk the trail, you’ll encounter iconic colonial sites like Boston Common, the Paul Revere House, Old North Church, and Bunker Hill Monument.

Here are some more resources for your trip to Boston:

  • These are the Top 10 Things to Do in Boston with Kids
  • 15 Unique Boutique Hotels in Boston to Book

Rockport, Massachusetts

A woman stands with her back to the camera, facing the sea in Rockport, Massachusetts

Rockport is a wonderful place to visit. It’s just an hour or less from Boston to find yourself in an adorable New England seaside town. There are art galleries galore to soak up, many delicious places to eat (including a spot selling some of the BEST lobster rolls in New England.)

We love Rockport and have a whole list of things to do there, including where to find the best breakfast. It’s also one of the best New England day trip destinations .

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

My son's first trip to New England at 2 months old - Chatham, MA

We couldn’t choose just one Cape Cod town , so we’ll just give you a gentle nudge in the right direction here so you can explore and discover for yourself what makes the Cape one of the most popular New England vacation spots!

You’ve got peaceful walking trails and scenic views along Cape Cod National Seashore, beautiful beaches, lighthouses, and so much more.

Go whale watching , stroll the darling downtown areas and their art galleries and gift shops, visit the wineries, and fill your belly at the top restaurants on the Cape . Truly, Cape Cod is home to some of the best seafood restaurants in New England, so seafood lovers will rejoice!

You’ll find excellent places to visit and stay all around the Cape , so you won’t go wrong wherever you choose! We especially loved our stay at the charming Captain’s House Inn in Chatham .

More About Cape Cod:

  • Cape Cod in the Fall: 15 Things to Do
  • 13 Things to Do in Wellfleet MA: A Cape Cod Getaway
  • 21 Terrific Things to Do in Provincetown MA

Nantucket, Massachusetts

Nantucket, an idyllic island off the coast of Massachusetts, stands as one of New England’s premier vacation destinations. Known for its pristine beaches, Nantucket offers a serene escape with its vast stretches of sand and crystal-clear waters, perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and sailing. The island’s rich history is woven into the cobbled streets of Nantucket Town, where visitors can explore unique museums, charming boutiques, and dine in exquisite seafood restaurants.

The iconic Brant Point Lighthouse provides a picturesque backdrop for sunset viewing. Nantucket’s natural beauty extends beyond its beaches to the conservation lands, offering miles of biking and hiking trails. With its blend of natural splendor, historical charm, and a relaxed, upscale atmosphere, Nantucket truly captures the essence of a quintessential New England retreat!

While Nantucket is a lovely New England summer destination, it has its off season charm, too! Consider a winter trip to Nantucket , a unique experience which gives you the opportunity to have one of New England’s most popular islands feel like it’s all yours.

Salem, Massachusetts

A woman stands in front of a Hocus Pocus filming site in Salem, Massachusetts

Salem is one of my all time favorite New England vacation destinations, for many reasons! For one, I’m a child of the 90s and thus, Hocus Pocus was a part of my early Halloween experience. Being able to explore the filming sites and see places in person for Halloween is a BLAST.

Secondly, it’s just a very cool seaside town to visit. There are a ton of excellent restaurants , neat shops, informative tours (including spooky ghost tours !), historical sites, and more.

I recommend everyone add Salem MA to their New England bucket list!

Best Places to Visit in New England: Maine

Acadia national park, maine.

how to visit new england

Maine is home to some of the best vacation spots in New England and Acadia has to be near the top of that list. Acadia National Park is unlike any other part of New England. This breathtaking national park, spanning a vast 47,000 acres and renowned for its extraordinary natural beauty, ranks among the top 10 most visited national parks in the United States. Here, the mountains and the ocean collide, and visitors can engage in hiking, camping, and exploring, all with spectacular views surrounding them.

Speaking of views, one of the most memorable things to do in Acadia is to watch a sunrise from the top of Cadillac Mountain. Did you know, this is one of the first spots the sun touches on the entire East Coast? So by witnessing a Cadillac Mountain sunrise, you will actually be one of the first people to greet the new day.

An expansive view of fall colors in Acadia National Park, Maine, with the ocean in the background

The town of Bar Harbor is also located on Mount Desert Island, just a few minutes from Acadia. Bar Harbor is filled with restaurants, shops, and great places to stay , as well as home to a beautiful harbor.

Many day cruises and trips depart from this harbor, and it is definitely worth heading out for a quick sail on the water. In fact, it’s essential to see the gorgeous cliffs of the coastline from the water. Such epic views.

Read Next: 15+ Best Hotels in Acadia National Park | 21 Best VRBOs & Airbnbs in Acadia and Bar Harbor

Midcoast Maine

Many boats in a harbor with buildings in the background in a popular New England getaway spot

One of the best New England vacation destinations has to be the coast of Maine. But with hundreds of miles of coastline, where do you start? We recommend Maine’s Midcoast.

Generally speaking, this region runs from Brunswick (just north of Portland) up to around Belfast, just south of Mt. Desert Island. This whole area is beautiful and, as you can imagine, very coastal-focused.

In addition to museums, art, history, and food, MidCoast Maine is home to many exciting events and festivals.

As Visit Maine says: “Speaking of festivals, catch Weinerfest (that’s all things Dachshund) in Belfast, the  Maine Lobster Festival  in Rockland , and Damariscotta’s  Pumpkinfest . And let the good times and big cheese roll at the  Highland Games & Scottish Festival in Topsham.”

Most of all, you’ll want to get out on the water. Our favorite way is to head out on an overnight, multi-day schooner adventure ; it’s a very unique New England vacation idea!

Read Next:   10 Coastal Towns in Maine That are Hidden Gems

Portland, Maine

amy is wearing a bright orange sweatshirt and holding her toddler son in the air, both are smiling and there is a famous maine lighthouse beyond

Portland is one of those quintessential New England vacation spots that has something to offer everyone, really!

You’ll find arts and culture, excellent shopping opportunities, a solid craft brewery scene , fantastic restaurants, bakeries , coffee shops and so much more in this classic port town.

The nearby lighthouses , including Portland Head Light on Cape Elizabeth, are some of the most frequently photographed lighthouses in New England! Getting out on the water for one of the popular Portland boat tours is one of the best ways to see these beauties.

Are you a seafood lover? You’ll love the lobster roll selection in Portland!

As far as where to stay in Portland goes, you’ve got excellent options with cool boutique hotels and unique vacation rentals.

This fun New England city is a wonderful place to visit, so be sure Portland is on your New England bucket list!

Read Next: 11 Fun & Free Things to do in Portland Maine | How to Spend the Perfect Weekend in Portland

Best Places to Visit in New England: Rhode Island

Newport, rhode island.

A grey castle in the distance with brown grass in the foreground in New England

Aquidneck Island is the home of Newport, RI, a place known for its luxury and glamour. Newport is a great New England destination year-round, and becomes especially charming at Christmastime !

One of the main attractions here is visiting the opulent Newport Mansions , Gilded Age dwellings that you can tour and fawn over. I especially recommend The Breakers and Marble House, two of the loveliest and most ornate mansions.

A woman stands in front of a coffee shop in Newport, Rhode Island, dressed for winter.

Aside from the area’s history, you’ll also find plenty of opportunities for dining, shopping, beach walking, and museum-hopping. There’s also the beautiful Cliff Walk, the perfect way to enjoy the coastal scenery of Newport!

Read this article for more info on Newport , and this article on romantic things to do in Rhode Island for couples !

Read Next: 15 Best Hotels in Newport RI: Where to Stay in Newport | 12 Stunning Luxury Hotels in Newport RI | 8 Best Airbnbs in Newport RI

Providence, Rhode Island

Providence, Rhode Island’s capital, ranks among the top New England vacation destinations, boasting excellent accommodations. The city pulsates with activities, from the esteemed RISD Museum showcasing art and history to a vibrant downtown offering an array of free experiences. Time your visit with Waterfire, the renowned fire festival along the river, for an unforgettable experience.

Providence is a culinary delight, particularly renowned for its Italian cuisine.

For an optimized weekend itinerary in Providence, explore our expertly curated vacation guide.The capital of Rhode Island is definitely one of the top places for a New England vacation and has some fantastic places to stay.

As with any city, there is plenty to do along the lines of museums, art, and events – it’s home to the prestigious RISD Museum! There are so many great spots to explore downtown and free things to see and do.

If you can plan your visit to coincide with Waterfire, the famous fire sculpture festival held on the water, that’s a perfect time to come visit. There are also tons of great restaurant in PVD , especially Italian restaurants! Check out this ready made weekend in Providence itinerary for vacation ideas!

Read Next:  12 Best Breweries in Providence Rhode Island

Block Island, Rhode Island

One of the most gorgeous vacation islands in the region, Block Island should absolutely be on your list of New England vacation spots!

Your journey to Block Island begins by ferry, and once you arrive, you’ll find yourself in one of the most beautiful places in the Northeast.

There are beautiful beaches, excellent restaurants , and some of the most stunning scenery in New England. The views of the Atlantic Ocean are absolutely marvelous!

Best Places to Visit in New England: Connecticut

New haven, connecticut.

Home to Yale, one of the most prestigious universities in the United States, New Haven is a definite must visit in New England. It’s one of those towns that is small in size but big in attractions!

This Long Island Sound town has plenty of arts, culture, and attractions, with a variety of museums, libraries, coffee shops , parks, theaters, and restaurants to choose from – there’s always something happening in this Connecticut town!

Book a room at The Blake and you’ll get to enjoy their art gallery expos and concert series that they host throughout the year. Live music at one of the trendiest boutique hotels in Connecticut? Heck yes!

Click Here to Check Prices & Book!

The Litchfield Hills, Connecticut

Looking for a fun day trip from Boston ? Consider the enchanting Litchfield Hills . This spot in the northwest corner of Connecticut seems like a hidden gem .

Here you’ll find all the classic New England pastimes you know and love. In particular, there is an abundance of outdoor activities (hiking, paddling, fishing) as well as exceptional Antique shops and farm to table restaurants .

The Litchfield Hills make up a fair portion of the region, and include towns such as Torrington, Woodbury, Kent, Cornwall, and Washington (very English-sounding names, aren’t they?).

If you’re looking for a lovely place to stay, consider The Mayflower Inn & Spa in Washington. Not only is this a perfectly classic New England hotel, legend has it it was also the inspiration for Lorelei Gilmore’s inn The Dragonfly in the popular tv show Gilmore Girls.

Mystic, Connecticut

A long walking pier beside the Mystic River in Mystic Connecticut

Next up is Mystic, Connecticut: one of the best vacation spots in New England. This is a classic New England seaside destination, known for its marine trade legacy and shipbuilding. Today it is a charming waterfront village on the Mystic River. Prior to its fame from the 1988 film “Mystic Pizza,” the Mystic region was renowned for constructing wooden clipper ships. The Mystic Seaport Museum, a top maritime museum in the nation, is the place to go to learn more about this. Here you can discover more about New England’s maritime history, see historic ships, enjoy interactive exhibits, and wander through the recreated 19th-century village and historical trade shops.

Downtown Mystic features quaint buildings and the 1922 Mystic River Bascule Bridge, which raises every hour in the summer months to allow boats to pass beneath. You can visit boutique shops, restaurants, and the original Mystic Pizza shop.

a smiling beluga whale peeks out from behind a stroller where a toddler boy sits smiling

That’s not all there is to do in Mystic either . The Mystic Aquarium is a must; it’s the only New England aquarium with beluga whales (my personal favorite) as well as just one of two aquariums in the U.S. featuring Steller sea lions.

Mystic is also just a hop, skip, and jump from other Connecticut attractions. It’s a very small state, after all! Plus, you’ll find plenty of great places to eat and stay in this cool coastal New England vacation destination.

Whether you’re interested in historical tours in vibrant cities or relaxing on sandy beaches in quaint seaside towns, these New England places to visit have all that and more!

You might also like:

  • Boston to Acadia National Park: A New England Coast Roadtrip
  • 8 Amazing New England Fall Road Trip Ideas
  • 60 Awesome Things to Do in New England with Kids

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12 Day New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary (Vermont, New Hampshire, & Coastal Maine)

Last updated on March 11th, 2024

In this guide we’re sharing a 12 day New England fall road trip itinerary that includes some of the best sights to see in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, based on our own trip to the area. Visiting New England in the fall was a dream of ours for YEARS! And finally, in 2021 we were able to make it happen and it exceeded all of our expectations.  For over a month, we drove around parts of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine in search of the best fall foliage, cute towns, delicious food, and beautiful nature. And what we found were some of our top hikes of the year, one of our new favorite national parks, some of the friendliest locals, and more colorful trees than we had ever seen in our lifetime. New England in the fall gets a lot of hype, but we can confirm, it’s 100% magical.

The Best Things to do in Acadia National Park

Watch all of our adventures across New England, including Vermont, New Hampshire’s White Mountains, and coastal Maine!

And we’re excited to help you experience it for yourself! In this 12 day New England fall road trip itinerary we’re sharing a condensed version of our road trip (cutting out all of our boring work days we had between adventuring), plus all of our tips for visiting the region in the fall, where to stay each night, and so much more!

Looking For More Things To Do In New England?

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  • The BEST things to do in the White Mountains in New Hampshire
  • The Best Things to do in Acadia National Park
  • How to backpack the Cutler Coast in Maine
  • Acadia National Park Itinerary

About New England

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Stowe, Vermont

New England is the northeast region of the United States and includes Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. This area got the name “New England” back in 1616 from an English explorer named John Smith and was soon settled by English immigrants.  It’s known for charming towns, coastal views, delicious and fresh seafood, epic fall foliage, mountainous adventures, ivy league schools, cold winters, loads of history, and so much more. There’s a little something for everyone in New England!

Important disclosure about this guide:

This guide is only covering Vermont, New Hampshire, and coastal Maine and is based on our experience and the places we were able to visit. While we unfortunately couldn’t visit all of New England and there are many amazing locations not included in this guide, we highly recommend these spots and itinerary to see some of the best scenery the region has to offer!

Before embarking on your adventure, please review the  Leave No Trace principles  to ensure you leave every place better than you found it, so that others can enjoy these beautiful places for many years to come! These seven principles include planning ahead and preparing, hiking and camping on durable surfaces, disposing of waste properly (pack out what you pack in!), understanding campfire rules and always fully extinguishing your fires, respecting wildlife, and being considerate of other visitors. 

Below is a map of the general route that we’ll be covering in this itinerary, to help give you an idea of where you’ll be going. This route was created with the intention of visiting places in order of when they experience peak foliage, but we cannot guarantee that you’ll hit peak in every spot. We’re sharing more information about fall foliage and when to plan your trip a little further down in this guide! 

Flying to New England

The route map above assumes you’ll be flying to visit New England and the best airport to fly into will be the Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) , which is a massive airport that is serviced by all major airlines and offers nonstop flights from many destinations in the United States. The drive from Boston to the first stop on this itinerary is about 3.5 hours, so we highly suggest booking an early flight so you can take advantage of extra time in New England. 

Driving to New England

If you’re driving to New England, the road trip route above may need to be modified a bit, as your road trip will possibly start in a different city than Boston. One thing to keep in mind when driving to New England is that many routes have tolls. If you want to avoid paying for tolls, make sure to turn off tolls on your Google Maps settings. We were able to get around New England by avoiding tolls and didn’t spend too much extra time in the van.

Harvest Host Vermont

How to get around New England

Since this is a road trip itinerary, you’ll definitely need to rent a car or drive your own to fully enjoy all of the sights on this guide, as public transportation isn’t really an option between all of the towns without hiring a tour guide. When visiting New England in the fall, any type of vehicle will work just fine on a road trip, as none of these stops require 4×4 to get to and you should not encounter snow. Our Sprinter van was able to navigate New England well and we didn’t run into too many issues parking a larger vehicle either!

While New England offers activities for all four seasons, including skiing in the winter, fresh maple syrup in the spring, and hiking in the summer, one of the best times to visit is in the fall, when the trees explode with oranges, reds, and yellows, the air is crisp, and the fresh cider donuts just taste extra heavenly. However, visiting in the fall can require a bit more planning, tracking, and things to know, as the window to see this foliage can be unpredictable and small. Below is everything you need to know before visiting New England in the fall.

Lake Willoughby

During our month in New England we experienced highs in the 50s-70s, and lows in the 30s-40s, making the days not too chilly, but cold enough that in the mornings a hot cider just really hits the spot. While most days were sunny or partly sunny, we did have a handful of days where it was foggy or there were torrential downpours. We thankfully had the flexibility to adjust plans and avoid adventuring on most rainy days, but do expect some variety of weather and come prepared to enjoy the area rain or shine. 

What causes the leaves to change colors?

We aren’t scientists, but the quick explanation of why leaves change is that during the spring and summer, the leaves are rich in chlorophyll, which absorbs sunlight and turns it into food for the tree through photosynthesis. This gives the leaves the bright green color you see during this part of the year. During the fall, as the days become shorter and cooler, the leaves stop this process and the chlorophyll breaks down, which causes the colors of the leaves to change to the red, orange, and yellows you see in the fall. A big factor of when this process happens is the weather. The perfect equation is a mix of sunny, warm days and cool (but not freezing) nights. And since it requires such science, we hear that some years can be less vibrant than others, but regardless of the vibrancy, it will be beautiful. 

Vermont's Northeast Kingdom

When is peak foliage?

Since fall foliage relies on weather, peak foliage varies year to year and is hard to predict. One good thing to know is that leaves change in higher elevations first and then work their way down to lower elevations. So if you find yourself on the coast of New England in early October and the leaves have yet to change, you can likely find colors if you go up into the mountains. While the timing of peak foliage does vary, here are some general timeframes where each region on this guide experiences the best colors, as well as what dates we visited this region and what our experience was like, plus the fall foliage trackers we used. Tip: Besides the trackers we are including below, we suggest looking at AllTrails and Instagram for recent photos of spots you plan to visit to get a better idea of what fall foliage is currently like.

Vermont's Northeast Kingdom

Vermont was the first stop on our New England fall road trip and while we timed our visit a bit too early, we still did get to see some colors in higher elevations. For Vermont, we used this tracker to see current reports of foliage conditions, as well as signed up for these reports . But here are general timeframes for both Vermont regions we will cover in this guide. Stowe: Early October We were in the Stowe area from September 26-29, 2021 and there was still a lot of green. A week or two after this would’ve been extra colorful we think. We were slightly bummed to not see this area popping with color, but the spots later on during our road trip made up for it. Northeast Kingdom: End of September-early October We visited this region on October 1, 2021 and the colors were definitely a lot more colorful than Stowe. We think we were there within a week of ultimate peak foliage, but what we saw was phenomenal. 

Mount Willard | Things to do in the White Mountains New Hampshire | New England Fall Road Trip

New Hampshire

The only region of New Hampshire we are covering on this guide is the White Mountains, which is home to the highest elevations in the state and therefore peaks earlier than the more southern areas of New Hampshire.  We used this tracker for New Hampshire and read these reports and found them to be pretty accurate. It appears that the White Mountains typically peak around the second week of October (starting October 7). We visited October 6-8 and the colors were probably the best we saw the entire trip!

South Bubble Best Hikes in Acadia National Park | New England Fall Road Trip

Coastal Maine

Coastal Maine is one of the later regions to experience fall color, as it is at or only slightly above sea level. For Maine, we used this tracker to track the foliage.  Acadia National Park: Mid-October We visited Acadia October 18-19 and we believe this was around peak. Since there is a large mix of types of trees in the park, not every tree will be colorful, but there are still good pops of color. Portland: Mid-October We visited Portland on October 21-22, which was the timeframe that the coastal cities in Maine were experiencing peak foliage. While Portland isn’t really a foliage hotspot (you go more for the coastal aspect than the foliage in our opinion), it was still nice to see some color!

Our suggestion of when to visit

Overlooks Kancamagus Highway New Hampshire

For this itinerary, we suggest timing your road trip somewhere between the last week of September-mid October. During our visit, the first couple weeks of October proved to be the best time for foliage for the majority of areas, but this can vary every year.  It’s extremely hard to perfectly time your trip to have every spot be at peak foliage, so our top tip for exploring New England in the fall is to be flexible and enjoy what you can see! While some spots may be a bit duller, others will likely be bursting with color. 

Since this road trip itinerary covers quite a bit of ground, we’d suggest staying in different places throughout the trip to limit how much time you spend driving each day. We will include suggestions of places to stay under each day of the itinerary, including hotels, Airbnbs, campgrounds, and boondocking (if applicable). 

Curious how we get FREE flights and hotels? Check out our list of our favorite travel cards that have saved us thousands of dollars!

Before you go, here are a few important things to know before hitting the road on your New England road trip!

Download offline maps

There were a few areas where we didn’t have the best cell phone service, which can be tricky if you’re trying to figure out where to go, both on the road or on the trail. We highly recommend downloading offline AllTrails Maps and offline Google Maps so you can navigate without cell phone service and don’t get lost!

Want to get 30% off an AllTrails+ membership ? Use our code aplusk30 (you must redeem this code on the website, not the app)! We use AllTrails+ on every single hike and it is the most helpful hiking tool out there! Some of the features we love are offline maps (so we can navigate even without cell service), wrong-turn alerts, and its 3D maps feature, so we can get a feel for trails before we hike.

Traveling in an RV? Harvest Hosts are a lifesaver!

Since we travel in a van, we typically sleep in our van at night, instead of hotels or Airbnbs, and preferably for free. While we found a couple free camping areas in New England, as well as slept at many Walmarts, boondocking out east in general can be pretty tricky, with very limited free public land, but thankfully there are many Harvest Hosts in the area! Harvest Hosts is a paid membership that lets you stay at farms, breweries, wineries, golf courses, and other spots for FREE, with the expectation that you will support the business. While this means you do need to spend some money and it’s not totally free, it’s usually a unique experience and you get to support a local business.  We slept at a total of 4 Harvest Hosts while in Vermont, including a cider mill, farm, golf course, and maple syrup farm, with other options of places to stay we did not use Harvest Hosts in New Hampshire or Maine. If you’re also traveling in a van or RV, we highly recommend Harvest Hosts while in the area.

Want to get 15% off a Harvest Hosts membership? Click this link and then use the code HHFRIENDS15 !

Want to find campsites all over the US? Try the Dyrt PRO for FREE for one month! The Dyrt is the #1 camping app in the US! Sign up for a FREE 30 day trial of their PRO version using our code AplusK ! The Dyrt PRO offers many incredible features to make finding campsites even easier (+ cheaper). Some of our favorite features are: -Offline maps, so you can find campsites without cell service -Map layers to find free camping areas (+ cell phone service map layers) -Discounts from PRO partners and on campground bookings (up to 40%!)

Gorham Mountain Loop Best Hikes in Acadia National Park | New England Fall Road Trip

Almost everything is dog friendly

The majority of the spots on this guide are dog friendly, including most of Acadia National Park! It is pretty rare that dogs are allowed on trails in a national park, so this was a very awesome surprise. To see which trails in Acadia allow dogs (and which do not), check out this page .

Learn how we travel with a dog and what we do with Kona when she cannot join us on our adventures.

Start early

Our #1 tip anywhere we go is to start early! It can get crowded with tour buses (we got stuck behind a few huge bus groups), as well as other leaf peepers during peak foliage. We tried to start our days early and hit the trails around sunrise and it paid off every time! And if you can, try to avoid hot spots like Stowe, Acadia National Park, and the Kancamagus Highway on the weekends in the fall. They’ll be extra busy from New England locals trying to sneak a peek of the foliage. 

The Best Things to do in Acadia National Park

A common question we get when sharing our adventures is what we bring with us. We have almost all of our gear listed here , but here are some items we especially recommend bringing to New England!

Hiking Gear

Since most of the best things to do in New England include outdoor activities, you’ll want to bring plenty of outdoor gear and clothing. To see everything we take hiking, as well as our favorite clothing, check out our hiking gear . 

The weather can vary in New England, so layers are good to have! During our trip we experienced warmer days, colder days, and rainy days, so having a variety of jackets, hand warmers , beanies, and scarves will be helpful. We also suggest bringing a mix of nicer and outdoorsy clothing so that you have options for both city and nature adventures.

Visiting New England in the fall is a photographer’s dream! If you like to snap photos, don’t forget to pack your camera gear, a tripod, extra batteries, and a charger. If you’re curious what photography gear we use, you can check it all out here . Note: Some areas on this guide do NOT allow drones, like the Kancamagus Highway and Acadia National Park. Please read up on drone laws for each area if you plan to fly your drone.

Below is our suggested 12 day New England itinerary, which includes the best spots to experience fall in Vermont, New Hampshire, and coastal Maine, based on our experience. It is almost identical to our trip, minus a couple spots that would be a bit more out of the way if you’re short on time. This itinerary can of course be adjusted to what you want to do, how much you want to do in a day, and how much time you have. We have also included a variety of activity options for some days, that way you can adjust it to your preferences and abilities. We have also included some add-on options if you have more time and are looking for more things to do!

Day 1: Travel to Vermont (+ enjoy Maple Syrup!)

Baird Farm Maple Syrup | Vermont Road Trip Itinerary

For the first day of your New England road trip, head to Stowe, Vermont, which is about a 3.5 hour drive from Boston, for those flying to the area. If you arrive early enough, we suggest spending part of the day learning and tasting one of the most iconic food items in Vermont…maple syrup! Vermont is the largest maple syrup producer in the United States, with 2.22 million gallons produced last year, over half of the total production for the US. Every year, starting in late January or early February, sugaring season occurs, which is when sap is collected from trees and maple syrup is actually made. This process lasts for 4-6 weeks and although fall is not during the sugaring season, it’s still worth visiting a farm to learn about the process and of course, try maple syrup! The easiest way to learn about maple syrup is to go to Sugarbush Farm , who offers self guided tours of their farm. While there, make sure to get a maple creemee, which is an extra creamy maple soft serve ice cream. They have a delicious sweet, maple taste. We LOVED them! For a more in-depth maple syrup tour experience, we HIGHLY recommend touring Baird Farm , which is in Chittenden, Vermont. This is a 4th generation family farm that is located on a gorgeous property and has incredibly kind, passionate, and knowledgeable owners. And unlike Sugarbush Farm and many other maple syrup farms in Vermont, who offer self guided tours where you can watch videos and see some equipment, Baird Farm actually takes you on a tour themselves (for FREE)!  The only downside of Baird Farm is that they only offer tours in the mornings on certain days of the week, so it may not work with your schedule. If it does, please book in advance!

Watch part of our tour at Baird Farm to get a better idea of what to expect and learn some maple syrup facts!

Regardless of which tour you experience, it’ll be a sweet start to your road trip! After getting a bit of a sugar rush, head to the Waterbury and Stowe area for the night. For dinner, some suggested spots to check out are:

  • Piecasso (a pizza spot we loved!)
  • Idletyme Brewing Company
  • von Trapp Brewery and Bierhall (the family from the Sound of Music!)
  • Trattoria La Festa

Where to stay

For day 1, we suggest staying in the Waterbury and Stowe areas, which is where the next two days of your road trip will be. Here are some suggestions of where you can stay there! Hotels: Best Western Plus Waterbury-Stowe , Fairfield Inn & Suites Waterbury Stowe , Trapp Family Lodge , Green Mountain Inn , and Timberholm Inn . Airbnbs: The Coffee Roost , True Vermont Cabin , Bright & Airy Guest House , Cozy Bungalow Home , and Classic Stowe Ski Chalet . Campgrounds: Smuggler’s Notch State Park Campground , Gold Brook Campground

Optional Add on: Day in Burlington, Vermont Burlington is a vibrant, welcoming, and beautiful city that is located on the shore of Lake Champlain. It is the most populous city in Vermont and is home to the University of Vermont, many local restaurants and shops, parks, and lake views.  We really enjoyed spending one day here ( watch our experience ), but since it doesn’t boast as much fall foliage as other areas, we are not including it in the main itinerary. But to see how we suggest spending a day in Burlington, check out our Vermont road trip itinerary , where we share tons of tips!

Day 2: Waterbury + Stowe

Stowe | Vermont Road Trip Itinerary

Watch us explore Waterbury and Stowe, including apple cider donuts, a corn maze, and a covered bridge!

About Waterbury & Stowe

Waterbury and Stowe are likely some of the most popular areas to visit in Vermont and it’s no secret why! Nestled in the Green Mountains, the towns are quaint and charming, the views are amazing, there are great local businesses, both small and large, and plenty of activities year round. The two towns are located about 15 minutes apart and connected by the Green Mountain Byway, with Waterbury to the south and Stowe to the north, making them easy to visit together. There are many things to do and places to eat or drink in the area, so we’re providing many options in this day’s itinerary so you can choose what you’re most interested in.

Cold Hollow Cider Mill | Vermont Road Trip Itinerary

  • Have a sweet start to the day with apple cider and apple cider donuts at Cold Hollow Cider Mill ! This place is so amazing and makes some insanely fresh tasting cider and donuts, both of which you can watch them make! They have a room in the back where you can learn a bit about the apple cider process and watch them work and in the front, you can see them frying up fresh donuts.  If you want something savory as well, they have a restaurant next door that serves breakfast, lunch, and hard cider. For the coffee lovers, some good coffee shops in the area are Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea (Waterbury), Black Cap Coffee & Beer (Stowe), Woodland Baking and Coffee (Stowe), and PK Coffee (Stowe).
  • Spend the morning and afternoon exploring Waterbury and Stowe! Here are some options, listed in order from Waterbury up to Stowe, which you can mix and match to plan your perfect day. Kayak on the Waterbury Reservoir : The Waterbury Reservoir is the 9th largest body of water in Vermont and was created in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservations Corps as a way to protect nearby towns from floods. There is a state park on the reservoir called Waterbury Center State Park , where you can rent kayaks and enjoy the mountain views from the water. Note: dogs are not allowed here. Visit Ben & Jerry’s : Ben & Jerry’s started in a renovated gas station in Burlington, Vermont in 1978 and today its factory and headquarters are located in Waterbury. They offer factory tours (currently closed until sometime in 2022), ice cream by the scoop, and even a flavor graveyard where you can see flavors from the past, with headstones. See the Gold Brook Covered Bridge: There are 104 covered bridges in Vermont, the highest density of covered bridges in the US, which were originally created to protect bridges from the harsh New England weather. Today they make for great photo opps and a popular covered bridge between Waterbury and Stowe is the Gold Brook Covered Bridge , also known as Emily’s Bridge because of a very sad story of a girl named Emily who hung herself from the bridge after her lover that she was supposed to elope with never showed up. Hike up to the Stowe Pinnacle Overlook: Just down the road from the Gold Brook Covered Bridge is the Stowe Pinnacle Trail , which is 3.7 miles with 1,604 feet of gain (so it’s pretty steep!) and takes you to an overlook with views of the Green Mountains. Walk around Stowe: When we think of a classic New England town, we think of Stowe. The town is tucked in the mountains, has beautiful Colonial style buildings, and an iconic New England church steeple. It’s a great place to walk around, shop a bit, and has some good spots if you need lunch, a sweet treat, or beer. Here are some spots to check out: – Grab a sweet treat at Laughing Moon Chocolates . – Grab lunch or beer at Idletyme Brewing Company . – Tour The Alchemist Brewery , which is currently only offering daily tours at 5 PM. Bike the Stowe Path: A popular thing to do in Stowe is to go on the Stowe Recreation Path . This is a 5.5 mile (one way) path that takes you through Stowe and by farms and restaurants. This pathway is best on a bike, but we enjoyed walking Kona on part of the path as well! Get lost in a corn maze: For a fun fall activity, make sure to check out the Percy Farm Corn Maze . Every year Paul Percy mows a unique maze in his farm’s corn field, which costs $8 per adult (cash or check only), for visitors to try to conquer. We found it to be trickier than expected and it took almost an hour to get out! Chase some waterfalls: The Stowe area is home to a handful of beautiful waterfalls. We hiked to Moss Glen Falls , which is only about 0.25 miles from the trailhead (parking is pretty limited) and takes you to a gorgeous, multi-tiered waterfall. Another popular option in the area is Bingham Falls , which is a 0.5 mile round trip hike!
  • Have dinner at Piecasso , which is a delicious pizza spot in Stowe (we loved it!). A couple other options are Idletyme Brewing Company , von Trapp Brewery and Bierhall (the family from the Sound of Music!), or Trattoria La Festa , an authentic Italian spot.

We suggest staying in Waterbury or Stowe again for this night!

Day 3: Mount Mansfield

Mount Mansfield Vermont

Watch us hike to the top of Mount Mansfield on a foggy day!

About Mount Mansfield

Mount Mansfield is the tallest point in the state of Vermont at 4,393 feet. The mountain is known for looking like someone laying down and different portions of the mountain are named after different features, including the forehead, nose, upper and lower lips, and the chin, which is the summit. 

How to get to the top of Mount Mansfield

There are three main ways to get to the top of Mount Mansfield: hiking, driving, or a gondola. Hiking (our top pick!): If you choose to hike to the top of Mount Mansfield (which is what we did), there are tons of trail options, but we suggest the Mount Mansfield Loop , which is 7.3 miles and gains 2,880 feet. This trail starts at Underhill State Park ($4 per adult fee), which is about 45 minutes to 1 hour from Waterbury and Stowe. If you go this route, we suggest taking the Maple Ridge Trail up and Sunset Ridge Trail down, as the Maple Ridge Trail has two trickier spots, including a gap to jump and a rock wall you have to climb up, which is easier going up than down. We show these spots in better detail in this video and these spots can be tricky with a dog, but we were able to get Kona through them safely. You can also hike up and down the Sunset Ridge trail, which is still steep and rocky, but has less tricky spots. Despite us having ZERO views at the top, we had a blast hiking this trail, as it offered some challenges along the way to keep things interesting! We suggest arriving early, as parking can get full on a busy day, as can the summit, since there are many ways to get to the top. Driving: To drive up Mount Mansfield you’ll take the Auto Toll Road , which costs $29 per car + $11 per passenger. The road takes you to 3,850 feet, where you can either enjoy the views from there, or continue on the Long Trail for about 1.25 miles each way. Note: RVs and campers, bicycles, motorcycles, or dually trucks are NOT allowed on this road. Gondola: The final way to the top is to ride the Stowe Mountain Resort Gondola , which costs $37 per adult and $26 per child for the ride up and down the mountain. Once off the gondola, you can take the Cliff Trail to the Long Trail to the summit for under 1 mile each way. 

Piecasso | Vermont Road Trip Itinerary

What to do after Mount Mansfield

After making it to the top of Mount Mansfield, we suggest driving the Smugglers Notch Scenic Drive (Route 108) back towards Stowe, which goes through the forest and has unique rock outcroppings. Once back in Stowe, grab food at one of the spots we shared on day 2 (we loved Piecasso!) and if you have more time, do any other activities listed on day 2 that you didn’t have a chance to check out!

For day 3 you could either stay in Waterbury or Stowe one more night or head towards your final destination in Vermont, the Northeast Kingdom, which is under 1.5 hours from Stowe. This will give you an early start for your final day! If you choose to stay closer to the Northeast Kingdom, here are some options: Hotels: Comfort Inn & Suites Near Burke Mountain Airbnbs: Cozy Cottage in the Northeast Kingdom , Waterfront Lake House on Crystal Lake , and Remodeled 2 bedroom + loft lakefront cottage Campgrounds: Whitecaps Campground , Will-O Wood Campground , Belview Campground , and Kingdom Campground

Day 4: Northeast Kingdom

Mount Pisgah Vermont

Watch us explore the Northeast Kingdom, including two epic hikes! And to learn more about our favorite hikes in the area, read our Mount Pisgah and Bald Mountain guides!

About the Northeast Kingdom

The Northeast Kingdom (abbreviated NEK) is an area in northeast Vermont, which got its nickname from a former US Senator and governor, George Aiken, who loved the area and thought it should be a kingdom. And we couldn’t agree more…it is magical! The Northeast Kingdom is home to small towns, forests, farmland, mountains, and beautiful Iakes, including Lake Willoughby, which is the second largest lake in the state and looks like a mini Norwegian fjord. This region of Vermont was our absolute favorite and we highly recommend the trek up there, especially if visiting during fall foliage.

Bald Mountain Fire Tower Vermont

  • Get an early start and hike up Mount Pisgah (4.1 miles round trip, 1,653 feet of elevation gain), which has phenomenal views of Lake Willoughby from a few different viewpoints. It is relatively short, but steep, and it can get busy, so we recommend starting around sunrise if you can. You can learn more about the hike, including what to expect and photos from the different viewpoints in this guide .
  • Spend the rest of the morning hanging out at Lake Willoughby! Lake Willoughby has two beaches, with the North Beach being much larger and more of a “lay out” kind of beach, while the South Beach is more of a cove for boats, but in our opinion has the better view. There is also a clothing optional cove near South Beach. If you want to kayak on the lake, White Caps Campground offers rentals to the public, as does Clyde River Recreation , which is located north of the lake, but they can drop off the kayaks for you!
  • Grab lunch at The Parker Pie Company , which is about 25 minutes away from Lake Willoughby.
  • End the day with a late afternoon or sunset hike up Bald Mountain (4.2 miles round trip, 1,463 feet of elevation gain), which takes you to an old fire tower, with incredible 360º views at the top. We share more about the hike, including more information about the fire tower in our Bald Mountain guide!

You could stay in the Northeast Kingdom one more night, but we suggest driving 1-1.5 hours to the White Mountains so that you can get an early start in the morning! There are quite a few options when it comes to where to stay in the White Mountains, including Littleton, Lincoln, and the North Conway area. For a longer list of options, check out our guide to the White Mountains , but here are a few choices to consider. Hotels: Hampton Inn Littleton , Holiday Inn Express & Suites Lincoln , Residence Inn North Conway , Home2 Suites North Conway , White Mountain Hotel and Resort Airbnbs: Dream A-Frame , Relaxing Resort Getaway , The Overlook , Mountain Chic New Hampshire Family Getaway   Campgrounds: Twin Mountain/Mt. Washington KOA , Lafayette Place Campground , Hancock Campground , Big Rock Campground   Boondocking: Haystack Road , Gale River Road , Walmart in Littleton

Day 5: White Mountains

Artist Bluff White Mountains New Hampshire

Watch us explore the White Mountains, including shorter hikes, scenic drives, unique sights, and delicious food! And to learn about even more things to do in the White Mountains, check out this guide !

About the White Mountains

The White Mountains are quite possibly the best kept secret in the US. Covering about 25% of New Hampshire, plus part of Western Maine, these mountains are some of the most rugged in all of New England. The range is a part of the Appalachian Mountains, with a high point of 6,288 feet, the highest point in the northeast. In this area you can find small towns, waterfalls, ski resorts, state parks, unique activities, and tons of mountain peaks, including the majority of the state’s 48 4,000 footers , which are peaks over 4,000 feet tall and with a prominence of at least 200 feet.

Flume Gorge White Mountains New Hampshire

  • Start your time in the White Mountains with sunrise at Artist Bluff , which is a short, 1.5 mile trail that takes you to an overlook of Echo Lake and part of Franconia Notch. Because of its short distance (although it is pretty steep and rocky at the end) and beautiful view, it is a very popular spot. We suggest arriving around sunrise for the best chance of some solitude, however, don’t expect to be alone. It was very busy even on a cloudy weekday morning!
  • Grab breakfast at Polly’s Pancake Parlor . This is said to be THE PLACE to get breakfast in the White Mountains. We suggest calling them right as you’re finishing the hike to get your name on the list, as the wait can be long.
  • Make sure to make a reservation for a time slot in advance, as it can get busy and certain times may fill up. 
  • Dogs are not allowed in the Flume Gorge, so make sure they have a safe place to be.
  • The gorge closes in mid to late October and while part of the park is accessible in the winter, the actual gorge is not (they remove the walkways).
  • Travel up Mount Washington , the highest peak in New Hampshire and the northeast! It is known for having some of the most insane wind at the top, with the highest recorded being 231 MPH in 1934, the second highest wind speed ever recorded on earth. And it still has hurricane force winds about once every three days, which means you never really know what you’ll get at the top! You can either get to the top by car, cog railway, or by foot (but we suggest dedicating an entire day to hiking to the top). Driving If you drive , it costs between $39-$45 for the car and driver, with additional fees for passengers ($14-$20), children ($9), and motorcycles ($45). So while not a cheap experience, it makes for a memorable drive! There are vehicle restrictions though and our van was not allowed to drive this road. Make sure you know the rules beforehand so you don’t have to find out the hard way when arriving. Cog Railway The Cog Railway is a unique way to get to the top of the Mount Washington summit! This was the world’s first mountain cog railway, created in the 1860s, and on the 3 hour ride you will get to experience history and see amazing views. There is also a museum at the base, where you can learn more about the history of the cog railway. This experience is not cheap, which is why we skipped it, although it did look like a blast. Pricing does vary based on the type of train and you can see rates and the schedule here .
  • Have dinner at either Black Mtn. Burger Co. (Lincoln), Rek-Lis Brewing Company (Bethlehem), or Wicked Fresh Craft Burgers (North Conway). 

You will want to stay the night in the White Mountains. We provided some suggestions under day 4!

Day 6: White Mountains

Sabbaday Falls Kancamagus Highway New Hampshire | New England Fall Road Trip

  • Today’s big activity: driving the Kancamagus Highway (Kanc-ah-mah-gus), also known as the Kanc. This 34.5 mile scenic drive is named after Chief Kancamagus, who was a Native American known as the “Fearless One” and ruled Southern New Hampshire in the 17th century. The road started as two separate, unconnected roads, one road from Lincoln and one in Conway, and in the 30s, the CCC worked to connect the two roads, which took 25 years to finish. It’s now one of the most popular and accessible things to do in the White Mountains! There are many stops to make along the way, but for the sake of keeping this itinerary somewhat short, check out this detailed guide to driving the Kancamagus Highway to see our must-visit stops. Tip: We suggest starting right before sunrise so you can see the sunrise at the Hancock Overlook. This will also help you beat the crowds. Plan to spend half a day driving and stopping.
  • At the end of the Kanc is a magical stand full of cheesy goodness called Cheese Louise . We highly recommend grabbing a fancy grilled cheese here after your drive!
  • If you still have some time left, spend the rest of the day at Crawford Notch State Park , which has a gorgeous drive with towering peaks, but also has different hikes and sights to see! Our favorite stop was the 3.1 mile hike to Mount Willard , which has epic views of the valley below and if you time it right with peak colors, is an explosion of golden trees!
  • Have dinner at Wicked Fresh Craft Burgers or Flatbread Company in North Conway. 

We suggest staying one more night in the White Mountains!

Day 7: White Mountains + Drive to Maine

Falling Waters trail New Hampshire

For your final day in the White Mountains, we suggest doing a longer hike in the area. We recommend the Franconia Ridge Loop , which is 9.3 miles and gains 3,809 feet of elevation as it takes you to the top of Little Haystack, Mount Lincoln, and Mount Lafayette, plus by a hut that sells goodies. It took us a total of 7 hours to hike this, including stops. This hike has been rated the #1 trail on AllTrails for New Hampshire and is said to have some of the best views in New England. While we still need to hike more in New England to confirm that, we can say that the views on this hike are INCREDIBLE!

Watch us hike the Franconia Ridge Loop, the #1 hike in New Hampshire! And for more information, check out our detailed guide for the hike!

If you want some other trail ideas, we share more hikes in this guide ! We suggest starting your hike at sunrise to beat crowds and get done early enough because after your hike, it’s time to drive to Maine! And first up: Acadia National Park, which is about a 5 hour drive. This will be a long day, so if you’re not up for this much in one day, you could just spend the day driving to Maine and skipping a hike. 

We suggest staying near Acadia National Park so you can get an early start tomorrow! Here are some lodging options: Hotels: Atlantic Oceanside Hotel , The West Street Hotel , The Inn on Mount Desert , Hampton Inn Bar Harbor , Hampton Inn Ellsworth Vacation Rentals: Secluded Hilltop Home , Renovated downtown Bar Harbor apartment , Amazing Ocean Front View Campgrounds: Acadia’s two campgrounds , Bar Harbor Campground , Smuggler’s Den Campground , KOA Bar Harbor/Oceanside Holiday . Boondocking: Walmart in Ellsworth

Optional Add on: Cutler Coast The Cutler Coast is one spot we visited that we did not include as its own day and it’s not because we didn’t love it (we thought it was incredible!), but more so because it’s remote and would be hard to do in this timeframe.  Located near the Canadian border, it’s about 5.5 hours from the White Mountains, 4 hours from Portland, and 2 hours from Acadia. We’d suggest adding this on as your first stop in Maine if you choose to visit, that way you can work your way down the coast from there. To learn more about visiting the Cutler Coast, including how to backpack it or day hike it, check out this guide .

Day 8: Acadia National Park

South Bubble Best Hikes in Acadia National Park | New England Fall Road Trip

Watch our first time at Acadia National Park, including sunrise at Cadillac Mountain, hiking the Precipice Trail , and a delicious iconic food! For more information about Acadia, read our guides with more things to do in Acadia National Park and 2-4 day Itinerary for Acadia National Park .

About Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park is primarily located on Maine’s Mount Desert Island, with 5% of the park also on the Schoodic Peninsula, on the Atlantic Ocean and is the only United States National Park in the Northeast. The park is the 8th most visited US National Park and for good reason. With gorgeous scenery everywhere you look, a mix of easy and challenging hikes, an iconic food item, and a great town nearby, Acadia offers something for everyone.

Sunrise at Cadillac Mountain | New England Fall Road Trip

  • The best way to start your time at Acadia National Park is sunrise on top of Cadillac Mountain ! Cadillac Mountain is the highest peak on the North Atlantic seaboard at 1,530 feet and from early October to early March it is the first place in the United States to view the sunrise. This is one of the most iconic things to do in Acadia National Park and over the years has become so popular and busy that the park now requires a vehicle reservation to drive the road anytime of the day, including at sunrise. These reservations can sell out VERY fast (in under a minute!) and if you’re unable to get one, you do have other options and can hike to the top on a couple different trails or ride a bike. Read our guide to learn more about how to see the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain, including when permits become available and how we were able to snag one.
  • It gets pretty steep and rugged towards the top and requires use of your hands. 
  • Dogs are technically allowed, but Kona had a hard time with the top part and we wouldn’t take her again.
  • Enjoy popovers and tea at the Jordan Pond House Restaurant , which is a classic Acadia experience that dates back over 100 years! This restaurant gets very busy, so try to arrive right before they open to get your name on the list. It’s worth it though to sit outside on their back lawn and enjoy popovers with a view. Curious what a popover is? It is a light roll made from an egg batter, with a high proportion of liquid in the batter that creates steam that causes the popovers to puff up, similar to Yorkshire Pudding in England.
  • Head over to the west side of Mount Desert Island and hike the Beech Cliff Ladders (1.8 miles round trip), which is one of the four iron rung hikes in the park, which are hikes that have ladders, iron rungs, ledges, and other challenging features to use to climb up steep rock faces. This is one of the easiest iron rung hikes and was one of the best surprises of our time in the park. Located in a less busy area of the park, we hardly saw any people on this trail and the mix of challenging features and views made it a blast! Once you get up the four ladders, you have great views of Echo Lake. Continue onto the Beech Cliff loop for even more views!
  • Head into Bar Harbor and grab dinner. There are tons of restaurants to choose from and while we personally did not eat a meal in Bar Harbor, we can attest that Mount Desert Island Ice Cream is amazing! 

You’ll want to stay at the same lodging as the night before, as you have one more day at Acadia National Park.

Day 9: Acadia National Park

Hiking the Precipice Trail at Acadia National Park | New England Fall Road Trip

  • Head to the park right before sunrise and hike either the Beehive Loop (1.4 miles round trip) or Precipice Loop (2.1 miles round trip). These are the two most popular iron rung hikes in the park. During our visit we did the Precipice Loop, which is the most challenging and exposed of them all and LOVED it. You can watch our experience here and learn more about the hike in this guide . Regardless of which you choose, make sure to start early to ensure you have time to enjoy it without lots of people!
  • Head to Sand Beach, which is a 290 yard long beach and is the only sandy beach at Acadia National Park. The clear, bright blue water and soft sand will transport you to somewhere more tropical. While there, hike the Great Head Trail (1.6 miles), which is an easy stroll with great views of the coast.
  • If you are up for more, continue onto the Ocean Path , which is a flat, well maintained path that takes you along the ocean and Park Loop Road, with different sights along the way. From there, you can also go up Gorham Mountain for stunning views of Sand Beach, the coast, and Mount Desert Island from above. We did Great Head, Ocean Path, and Gorham Mountain as one big 5.6 mile loop and loved it!
  • Spend the rest of the day in Bar Harbor, grabbing dinner and walking around town. If you time your visit correctly, you can also go to Bar Island , which is an island right across from town. This island is actually part of the national park and during low tide, you can walk across to it! If you do this, it is only safe and accessible to walk across 1.5 hours before and after low tide. So please make sure to study tide charts to ensure you stay safe and don’t get stuck! 

We suggest staying one more night near Acadia!

Day 10: Drive to Portland, Maine + go lobstering!

Lobstering in Portland, Maine | New England Fall Road Trip

Watch us go lobstering in Maine, which was one of our favorite experiences in New England!

Today’s big goal is to drive to Portland, Maine, which is about 3 hours from Acadia National Park. Depending on how early you leave, you could stop in some of the coastal towns along the way, like Camden , which is a charming town (we recommend driving up Mount Battie !), grabbing a tasty treat at Wild Oats Bakery & Cafe , and swinging by the massive L.L. Bean flagship campus in Freeport. Once arriving in Portland, we HIGHLY recommend going on a lobstering cruise with Lucky Catch Cruises . This was one of our favorite things we did in New England!  On this lobstering tour you get to not only go out on the water and learn about how lobsters are caught, but you also get hands-on experience, from baiting and emptying traps, measuring lobsters, banding claws, learning the difference between males and females, and so much more.  The crew really makes you feel like you’re a fisherman and puts you to work. It was one of the most fun and educational tours we have ever been on! (Watch our full experience here ) And at the end, you have the option to buy a lobster from the boat at market price (ours was $10) and then can take it over to Portland Lobster Company , where they’ll steam it and provide some sides, like fries, corn, and coleslaw for only $12. While we definitely preferred our lobster in roll form, it was so fun to catch lobsters and eat one fresh right afterwards! Tip: make sure to bring cash to buy a lobster AND for a tip!

Hotels: Hampton Inn Portland Downtown – Waterfront , Canopy by Hilton Portland Waterfront, Hyatt Place Portland – Old Port , Hilton Garden Inn Portland Downtown Waterfront , Courtyard by Marriott Portland Downtown Waterfront Airbnbs: East End, Walk to the Old Port , Extraordinary Architectural Masterpiece Downtown , Bright & Spacious Apartment with Amazing Shower Campgrounds: Bayley’s Camping Resort , Saco / Old Orchard Beach KOA Holiday , Old Orchard Beach Campground Boondocking: Falmouth Walmart , Freeport Village Station

Day 11: Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine

Watch how we spent one day in Portland, Maine, hitting up the spots on this day’s itinerary! For more ideas of things to do in Portland, Maine, check out this guide .

About Portland Maine

Portland is the largest city in the state of Maine, with 40% of Maine’s residents living in the general area. But despite this, it still retains a small city feel, with historic buildings and no giant skyscrapers (the tallest building will soon be an 18 story building).  And while the city itself is beautiful to look at, what we loved about Portland is that it has a little something for everyone. Whether you’re a fine dining foodie or prefer a good food truck (like us!), enjoy museums and art, love to walk around parks and experience history, or prefer to be out on the water, there is no shortage of things to do in Portland, Maine for any type of traveler.   While not a fall foliage hot spot, this is a great city to end your adventures!

Portland Head Light | Best things to do in Portland, Maine

  • Grab coffee at Tandem Coffee Roasters , which not only roasts their own coffee, but also makes breakfast biscuits that we hear are solid (arrive early to snag one). This coffee shop is located in a converted 1960s gas station and you know it’s good when locals are lined up before it even opens.
  • Enjoy donuts at The Holy Donut for their famous Maine potato donuts, which have a unique texture from a regular donut, but are so hearty and delicious. We got three donuts total, including a Chocolate Sea Salt (this flavor is their most popular), Pumpkin Head, and Maple Bacon, which was hands down our favorite. They also have gluten free and vegan donuts too!
  • Head to Fort Williams Park for the morning and afternoon. This is a free park that was formerly a military fort. Construction of the fort began in 1873 and the fort became officially named Fort Williams in 1899. During World War 1 the fort was manned by artillery companies and National Guard troops and during WWII it served as the headquarters of the Harbor Defenses of Portland, before becoming more of a training site in 1951. Today there are a couple batteries to check out, an old mansion , and one of the most iconic lighthouses in the US, called the Portland Head Light . This lighthouse was the first lighthouse completed and put into service by the government under the Lighthouse Act of 1789. It was first lit in 1791, using 16 whale oil lamps. The tower and keeper’s quarters have changed a bit over time and the tower now stands at 80 ft tall. And it is said to be the most photographed lighthouse in America, and also the oldest in Maine.
  • Right in Fort Williams Park is Bite Into Maine , which was said to have one of the best lobster rolls in town. We tried their Maine style rolls, which are cold and are tossed in mayo and have chives on top, and the Connecticut style, which is hot and has melted butter that they pour on top right in front of you. We loved them both! They also have delicious homemade Whoopie Pies, which is Maine’s official state treat. It’s two chocolate cake-like rounds with a creamy filling between them and is said to have been popular in Maine since 1925. It was delicious! And we washed it all down with the state fruit of Maine, but in soda form, Blueberry soda. Lobstered out? Try Eventide Oyster Co. for oysters and other seafood, Duckfat for duck fat fries (they also have a frites shack in town), poutine, and sandwiches, or Terlingua for BBQ.
  • Walk around the Old Port neighborhood, which is extremely walkable and has so much historic charm, different shops and boutiques, and tons of restaurants.
  • Enjoy your final meal at one of the spots we suggested above!

We suggest staying one more night in Portland!

Day 12: Head back home

And now for the worst part of the road trip…leaving! Whether you have more adventures planned in New England (or elsewhere) or are heading home, this officially marks the end of our itinerary. We hope you enjoyed these areas of New England as much as we did and got to experience some great foliage!

Ready to experience the beauty of New England in the fall?

Pin or save this New England fall road trip itinerary to help your planning!

12 Day New England Fall Road Trip | Things to do in New England | Fall New England | Vermont Road Trip | New Hampshire Road Trip | Maine Road Trip

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4 thoughts on “ 12 day new england fall road trip itinerary (vermont, new hampshire, & coastal maine) ”.

Thank you so so much for your blogs on Vermont on New Hampshire! My wife and I are going there in 3 weeks time and we are so excited! You’re blog is the best travel blog I have ever read, so informative and helpful and well written with perfect level of detail! It’s funny because the 2 of you remind me of my wife and I. We are also very adventurous and have enjoyed some great hiking trips in the last couple of years. we like to blog on our trips too but only for our families to read. I am excited to follow you guys on your adventures, you are very inspiring! Thank you so much!

We hope y’all have the BEST time! It’s sooo gorgeous there! Thank you for the kind words about our website, we really appreciate it, as we try to make these guides as helpful as possible. 😀

Adam and Kathryn, your videos are both entertaining and informative! My wife and I very much appreciate that you always put the date that you visited a city so that viewers can get a good idea of what to expect regarding weather and in this case, peak colors. You might be surprised at how many vloggers do not share that info. We watched a few of your videos before we road-tripped to Oregon from southern California (Silver Falls, Haystack Rock, Portland, etc.) and received excellent tips on things to do, so thank you very much for that. You always have good suggestions of places to visit and food to eat.

We just booked a 14 day trip to see the autumn colors of New England from October 5th to the 18th. Hopefully, we will get to experience some peak foliage and good weather in that time frame. The plan is to visit many of the cities and trails that you guys did, both in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine (lobster rolls!), then work our way over to Saratoga Springs, visit Howe Cavern and chase a few waterfalls in Ithaca and the Catskills. It’s an epic color tour! I’m originally from the New York and Connecticut area, but never experienced autumn in the states above and in iconic places such as Stowe and the Kanc. We’re so looking forward to it!

As filmmakers, we commend you on your production. We know how much time and effort goes into researching, writing and filming, but can only imagine how much more challenging things get when on the road. This comment is to thank you both and to encourage you to continue your adventures. I’m sure you’re having the time of your lives, but on top of that, many people are receiving great value and inspiration – a true win win. 🙂

PS What was your favorite place to get a creemee? We plan to enjoy several on our trip, but wanted to get your opinion on which one is best. Are the ones with the maple crunchies better than the ones with the maple filling?

Hi! Thank you for the kind words and for following along! We hope you have a great fall trip to the Northeast, it’s so beautiful that time of year. Regarding creemees, our favorite is probably from Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks! Our favorite maple syrup farm is hands down Baird Farm, but they don’t offer creemees unfortunately.

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Best weekend getaways in new england.

Known for its historical roots, rugged landscape, savory seafood and rich sports culture, New England is home to a variety of vacation destinations. But with so many picture-perfect towns spread from the coast to the mountains, it's hard to decide where to head for a weekend getaway. That's why U.S. News took into account sights, culture, food and more to determine the best weekend getaways in New England. Cast your vote below to help us decide next year's ranking. Considering a fall trip to New England? Read our top travel tips »

Newport, RI

Portland, me, martha's vineyard, acadia national park, kennebunkport, white mountains, block island, the berkshires, sugarloaf mountain.

how to visit new england

Visitors heading to Newport, Rhode Island, will be treated to breathtaking coastal vistas, glamorous seaside homes and top-notch sailing. Soak up some sun at Easton's Beach, or enjoy the sound of crashing waves while strolling the scenic Cliff Walk. If you'd rather treat yourself during your trip, hit up Thames Street, a bustling strip with delicious eateries, small boutiques and historic Colonial structures. Don't forget to save time for a tour (or two) of Newport's elaborate mansions, including The Breakers and Marble House.

how to visit new england

An ideal destination for foodies and culture hounds, Portland, Maine, is filled with award-winning restaurants, museums, breweries, art galleries, boutiques and more. Spend some time wandering the cobblestone streets of the historical Old Port, where boats line the harbor and seafood is aplenty. Or, venture southeast of the city to Cape Elizabeth to snap a picture of the iconic Portland Head Light – one of the most photographed lighthouses in America – and hike or picnic in Fort Williams Park.

how to visit new england

A popular summertime island retreat for New Englanders and politicians alike, Martha's Vineyard appeals to all types of travelers. Fly or take the ferry from the mainland to explore the Massachusetts island's six towns and numerous beaches. Don't miss the colorful gingerbread cottages in Oak Bluffs, the fresh seafood in the village of Menemsha or the boutiques in Vineyard Haven. While the island's eastern side is walkable, it's best to take a bus or car to the dramatic Aquinnah Cliffs on the more rugged western side.

how to visit new england

Many pass through Bar Harbor on their way to Acadia National Park , but this charming seaside town is definitely worth a stop. Located on Maine's Mount Desert Island, Bar Harbor is bursting with locally owned boutiques, fresh seafood restaurants and gorgeous coastal views. Walk the scenic Shore Path for views of Frenchman Bay and multimillion-dollar mansions, or take a ride on a lobster boat to learn about the craft firsthand. While the town is popular in summer, its smaller crowds and vibrant foliage in autumn make it equally appealing during the shoulder season.

how to visit new england

For a quintessential New England getaway, head to this Massachusetts peninsula known for its laid-back vibe. Vacationers can bask in the sun somewhere along Cape Cod National Seashore's 40 miles of sand before digging into a plate of fried clams or retreating to a quaint bed-and-breakfast . When planning your visit, keep in mind that each Cape Cod town is a little different. You'll find upscale shops in Chatham, historical landmarks in Sandwich, sky-high sand dunes in Wellfleet and a thriving LGBTQ community in Provincetown. Cape Cod's ample restaurants, boutiques, art galleries and ocean views are enough to keep you busy for days.

how to visit new england

In the mood for an adventure? This more than 47,000-acre national park in Maine, one of the state's top attractions , is perfect for hiking, biking and rock climbing, among other outdoor activities. Your top priority should be to hike 1,530-foot-tall Cadillac Mountain – it's the first spot in the country to catch a sunrise from October to March. If you're not a fan of hiking, rent a car and make the drive along the 27-mile Park Loop Road. You'll pass the dramatic edge of Otter Cliffs and the cave at Thunder Hole, as well as other wonders visible from the road's pull-off observation areas.

how to visit new england

The largest city in New England is fairly compact and walkable – perfect for sightseeing in just a few days. History buffs can follow the Freedom Trail to learn about the American Revolution before stopping for a beer at the historic Bell in Hand Tavern. Foodies can get a taste of Italy in the North End or indulge in some fresh oysters and clam chowder in the Seaport District. Meanwhile, fashionistas can browse the many shops on Newbury Street, and souvenir hunters can visit Faneuil Hall Marketplace. No matter your interests, your trip to Boston would not be complete without visiting Fenway Park.

how to visit new england

Despite its small size, Nantucket has no shortage of activities. Board a ferry from Cape Cod or fly into the island's airport to enjoy a unique Massachusetts vacation. Visit Cisco Brewers for private brewery, vineyard and distillery tours, or simply enjoy the food trucks and live music. While Nantucket is a walkable island, many visitors enjoy renting bikes or mopeds to explore the area, especially tiny Siasconset Village. You'll want to also save time for watching the sunset at Madaket Beach on the island's west coast.

how to visit new england

It doesn't get more relaxing than Kennebunkport, Maine. You can lay on sandy beaches, stroll through quaint boutiques and sample local specialties like lobster rolls, oysters and blueberry pies. There are also plenty of unique ways to see the town, including on foot during a food tour, by boat while on a lobster boat tour and by trolley with Intown Trolley. Plus, you can stop along the way to take pictures of Walker's Point – the Bush family compound. Keep your eyes peeled for other famous faces, as Kennebunkport is a popular celebrity vacation destination.

how to visit new england

Although Stowe's small-town charm and dramatic vistas make it a beautiful destination year-round, snow lovers won't want to miss this Vermont retreat in all its winter glory. Stowe is dubbed the "Ski Capital of the East," but this New England hideaway is also ideal for snowboarding, snowshoeing and dog sledding. If you'd rather visit during the warmer months, consider hiking the Stowe Recreation Path or driving the Auto Toll Road to the top of Mount Mansfield for unbeatable views of the Adirondack Mountains. Whichever season you prefer, fans of "The Sound of Music" can't miss a visit to Stowe's Trapp Family Lodge.

how to visit new england

If historic walking tours, charming bistros and tax-free shopping describe your ideal New England weekend, book your ticket to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, today. Take a narrated boat tour of the Isles of Shoals, or spend the day exploring Market Square, the gem of downtown Portsmouth. For a breath of fresh air, sink your toes in the sand at nearby Wallis Sands State Beach or stroll through the gardens at Prescott Park. Time your visit for summer to attend the Prescott Park Arts Festival, which transforms this beautiful green space into a vibrant outdoor performance venue.

how to visit new england

Whether you're looking for a quiet mountain hideaway or an activity-filled weekend, potential abounds in the White Mountains. Designated as a protected national forest, the White Mountains cover parts of New Hampshire and Maine. Take the scenic route along the Kancamagus Highway, and consider stopping at a campground along the way. If you're visiting in summer, hike, drive or take the Mount Washington Cog Railway to the summit of its namesake for spectacular views. In winter, shred powder on some of the best ski slopes in New England before curling up with a cup of hot cocoa at a bed-and-breakfast.

how to visit new england

Walk any direction on Block Island and you'll end up at a free public beach. This oasis off the southern coast of Rhode Island features 17 miles of shoreline, as well as old-fashioned cottages and two historical lighthouses. Take in sweeping ocean views from Mohegan Bluffs, or look for animals at Block Island National Wildlife Refuge. If you want an adrenaline rush, try snorkeling in the island's crystal-clear waters, biking around its picturesque perimeter or hiking its Clayhead Trail. A quick ferry ride from the mainland will take you to Block Island, making it an easy weekend retreat.

how to visit new england

The rolling mountains of the Berkshires attract everyone from artists to nature lovers to city dwellers looking for an escape. This region of western Massachusetts has long been a culture and history hub. Charming towns like Great Barrington and North Adams draw visitors with their quaint main streets and historic homes. The town of Lenox is home to the famous Tanglewood concert venue, while the town of Pittsfield boasts many theaters and art galleries. You'll find a variety of festivals to attend in summer, vivid foliage in fall and plenty of skiing in winter.

how to visit new england

Situated in western Maine's Carrabassett Valley, Sugarloaf Mountain has a lot to offer travelers looking for an exciting weekend getaway in New England. In winter, enjoy a range of cold-weather activities – including cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, ice skating, tubing and more – at the mountain's namesake ski resort. In summer, take advantage of the warmer temperatures by mountain biking, zip lining or hiking sections of the famous Appalachian Trail.

how to visit new england

About 20 miles northeast of Boston, this Massachusetts town is best known for the witch trials of the late 17th century, which you can learn all about on a historical walking tour. For an even bigger dose of local culture, visit in October when the town hosts Halloween-themed events all month long. You'd also be remiss to skip top sights like the Peabody Essex Museum and The House of the Seven Gables, the setting of Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1851 novel of the same name.

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how to visit new england

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Where Are Those Morgans

New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary: 10 Stunning Stops

By: Author Mark and Kristen Morgan

Posted on Published: August 23, 2021  - Last updated: December 8, 2023

Categories North America Travel Blog

New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary: 10 Stunning Stops

There are many places in the world you can see leaves turn in Autumn, but they pale in comparison to one famed and celebrated region in the US northeast where science, nature and climate combine to put on an extraordinary light show each year. We are of course talking about fabled New England and we’re going to show you 10 places you can’t miss when planning your New England fall foliage road trip, with 5 day itinerary, 7 day itinerary and 10 day itinerary examples included to help you nail down the best possible route for your trip.

We will use our first hand experiences from road tripping New England in fall to bring you tips, advice and unmissable stops to take on your visit. This is one of those true bucket list USA road trip experiences in which it pays to be organized, plan effectively and make the most of every day.

So, let’s get stuck into those 10 unmissable stops and planning your perfect New England fall foliage road trip itinerary!

The Science Behind Fall Colors

What do we know about the changing of colors to give ourselves the best chance of being in the right place at the right time?

Well, we know that fall colors peak furthest north and work southward through the latitudes. So for example, the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia and North Carolina is gorgeous in fall, but the colors won’t change there until much later in the season.

Also, we know elevation plays an important role in when peak colors will be on display. Colors will change first in mountainous regions of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont before they do at lower elevations.

But the most important aspects are weather conditions leading into Autumn, and amount of daylight. It all starts way back in Spring! A late Spring or intense Summer drought can potentially delay peak fall colors by a week or two.

Conditions Affecting Predictions For Peak Fall Colors

In addition to elevation, latitude and weather conditions before fall, there are more specific conditions that can affect peak fall once we actually reach Autumn:

  • Soil moisture levels
  • Amount of sunlight during the day
  • Length of night
  • Day and night temperature (important)

So what would constitute as perfect conditions for the best chance at ‘peak’ fall colors being their most radiant and predictable?

  • Wet and warm Spring conditions
  • Summer without drought or unusually high / low temperatures
  • Warm Autumn days and cool but not freezing nights

And what causes the colors to change once conditions are right?

Sunlight pumps leaves full of chlorophyll during Spring and Summer. Once daylight wanes in Autumn, so does the amount of chlorophyll.

That leaves room for other pigments in the leaves, such as anthocyanin and carotenoids to shine.

Why Focus On VT, NH, ME and Even NY

The region of New England technically contains 6 states; Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. In fall, this entire region transforms into an adventure playground for leaf-peeping lovers and passionate photographers.

However, there are three New England states among the six that we feel just have to be prioritized for the very best scenery and most radiant colors; New Hampshire, Maine and in particular Vermont.

But we’re also going to throw a curve ball by including a region not technically part of New England (gasp!) … New York’s Adirondack Mountains are a stone’s throw from the border with Vermont and the colors are just as special.

We want you to see the best places in New England when you take your fall road trip, but we would prefer you to see the best colors. That means skipping the likes of Boston, Portland and Providence on this particular visit to the northeast.

They’re all awesome places and we visited them all on our New England road trip in fall. But they don’t have the colors of rural Vermont and New Hampshire, plus we had days to spare.

Here’s why you should focus on the northern parts of New England for a fall foliage road trip:

Vermont’s rolling hills are overflowing with charming rural towns, barns and covered bridges. But the state is 80% covered in forest and that can only mean one thing; spectacular fall foliage everywhere you look.

Further Reading: The best places to visit in Vermont

New Hampshire

New Hampshire mixes excellent hiking options in stunning mountainous areas with staggeringly beautiful fall foliage colors.

It also has one of the best mini road trip routes in New England during fall – the Kancamagus Highway.

Maine is huge. It is much bigger than the other New England states and that means it’s hard to fit most of the northern parts in to your road trip. Unless you have more than 2 weeks of course.

However, Acadia National Park is one of the very best places you can visit in all of New England in fall so if you have the spare time, it’s hard to skip.

New York’s Adirondack Mountains, including Winter olympic town Lake Placid and its surroundings are beautiful in Autumn. The popular mountainous region is incredibly popular thanks to a host of activities and of course glorious foliage colors.

When Should You Plan Your New England Road Trip For Peak Fall Colors?

It is impossible to plan the perfect ‘peak’ fall road trip itinerary in New England. You would need to be in many places at the same time for that to be possible. We’re not quite there, yet!

Historically, the last 2 weeks of September and the first 2 weeks of October are when the colors change. So that would put October 1st in the middle of that and therefore a ‘peak’ fall foliage target.

Science tells us that colors change in the North and at elevation first, eventually working South and to lower levels.

We’ll get into example itineraries below, but here are some rough dates to use for each itinerary time frame working North to South:

  • 5 Day New England Fall Road Trip – We would suggest aiming for September 29 through October 3.
  • 7 Day New England Fall Road Trip – Add a day either side, so September 28 through October 4.
  • 10 Day New England Fall Road Trip – Add a day before and two after, so September 27 through October 6.
  • 14 Day New England Fall Road Trip – Add a day before and three after, so September 26 through October 9.

Should You Book Your Trip In Advance?

Here are two scenarios:

  • You don’t book in advance and keep an eye on live fall foliage updates to guarantee hitting peak fall. This also means you have flexibility on bad weather days. However, there are very limited hotels available and those that do have rooms will be more expensive.
  • You plan and book your whole trip in advance, getting good value in hotels and can relax. But there’s a chance you won’t time it just right and you will have to deal with whatever weather comes your way.

We can’t offer a ‘better’ solution here because both have pros and cons.

Our trip was mainly booked in advance which meant we spent less but we had to put up with a lot of disappointing rain days, as you will see in the photos below!

Need a hand planning your New England fall road trip? Our popular 40+ page New England Fall Road Trip Guidebook includes the 10 best places to visit, 8 example itineraries ranging from 5-14 days and an extensive interactive map to help you plan a successful leaf-peeping vacation.

Top Tips For Planning Your New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary

Finally, before we jump into the 10 unmissable stops and the New England fall road trip itineraries, let’s have a quick look at some important tips to consider when planning your vacation:

  • New England is insanely popular in fall.
  • Booking accommodation in advance will save you a lot of money.
  • Carefully plan where you want to spend each night based around hikes and photography.
  • Start in the North and work South through New England.
  • Expect frequent rain and clouds in fall and accept that there’s nothing you can do about it!
  • Always carry loads of water and snacks in the car.
  • Try to find elevated vantage points as often as possible.
  • Some of the best and most unique fall photos are along rural country roads.
  • You need multiple spare batteries for your camera!
  • You can use a drone in many parts of New England for aerial photography.
  • Don’t worry if you miss ‘peak’ colors.

Our popular road trip resources:

  • Road trip packing list essentials
  • How to plan the perfect road trip

10 Places You Can’t Miss On The Best New England Fall Road Trip

Let’s take a closer look at the 10 stops we think are unmissable on a first New England trip to see the fall colors.

1. Lake Placid, New York

Lake Placid New York is one of the best places to stop on a fall new england road trip mirror lake stunning colors and clouds

Lake Placid of 1980 Winter Olympics ‘Miracle on Ice’ fame is located at the heart of New York’s revered Adirondack Mountains. It is the perfect base for adventure activities throughout all four seasons, from hiking in Summer to skiing in Winter.

The charming town of Lake Placid is an incredibly popular centralized location for leaf peeping in the Adirondacks. As a result, hotels here are in high demand and not cheap from the end of September until mid October. We know from experience when our bank balance took a mighty hit!

Walk around Mirror Lake in town for the easiest way to soak up gorgeous fall colors. If you have time and enjoy challenging hikes, you can’t miss Mount Marcy. It isn’t the prettiest trail but it is the tallest peak in New York.

View over Lake Placid NY from Whiteface Mountain with clouds in sky

Things To Do In Lake Placid, NY

  • Take a relaxing walk around serene Mirror Lake.
  • Visit the Olympic ski jumping complex.
  • Photograph John Brown barn.
  • Drive to the summit of Whiteface Mountain.
  • Take the Cloud Splitter cable car to Little Whiteface.
  • Walk through picturesque High Falls Gorge.
  • Hike Mount Marcy, the tallest peak in New York.

Where To See Fall Foliage In Lake Placid, NY

  • Mirror Lake in town is gorgeous, walk through residential areas surrounded by colorful trees.
  • John Brown barn is a hidden gem for fall colors.
  • The top of the ski jump provides sweeping views over the Adirondacks.
  • Mount Marcy summit is the highest point in the entire region, providing the best views over rolling hills.
  • Whiteface Mountain and Little Whiteface offer more stunning views of fall foliage.

Read our Lake Placid guides for more information:

  • 10 best things to do in Lake Placid NY
  • Mount Marcy complete hiking walkthrough
  • 8 best hotels in Lake Placid NY

2. Burlington, Vermont

Burlington VT stunning fall foliage colors from Ethan Allen Tower perfect road trip stop in new england

Burlington in Vermont might not be the first place you think of for a New England fall foliage road trip destination. However, it is one of the easiest places outside of Boston to fly into the region if you are visiting from further afield.

The small town also happens to be filled with beautiful and radiant foliage colors at every turn. From lakeside bike paths to park towers with stunning views, Burlington is the perfect stop off between Lake Placid and the more famous foliage destination of Stowe.

Hotels in downtown Burlington can be limited and expensive in Autumn, so if you are visiting New England on a budget, try looking for hotels in surrounding villages and towns.

Ethan Allen Homestead Burlington VT gorgeous colors barn and trees

Things To Do In Burlington, VT

  • Eat, drink and soak up the atmosphere along Church Street.
  • Walk through Waterfront Park alongside Lake Champlain.
  • Cycle the Burlington bike path to Grand Isle.
  • Explore Ethan Allen Homestead and Museum.
  • Stand on top of Ethan Allen Tower for amazing views.
  • Taste chocolate at Lake Champlain Chocolates flagship store.

Where To See Fall Foliage In Burlington, VT

  • Anywhere along the Lake Champlain waterfront where there are trees.
  • Ethan Allen Park and the top of the tower in particular have the best fall foliage views in Burlington.
  • Ethan Allen homestead and museum are surrounded by beautifully colorful trees.

Read more about Burlington:

  • 10 best things to do in Burlington VT
  • 8 best hotels in Burlington VT

3. Stowe, Vermont

Stowe in Vermont smugglers notch amazing drone photograph on a new england fall road trip itinerary curving into hills

Stowe is one of the unmissable fall foliage classics on any New England road trip. The white church in town is one of the most photographed churches in the US and almost all of those photographs are taken in fall.

The town is quaint and attractive but be sure to spend the majority of your time up in Stowe Mountain Resort. This is where you will find hikes, Mt Mansfeld, waterfalls and Smugglers Notch.

Colors will change first up in the higher elevations. So, if you’re a little early, head up to the resort. On the other hand, if you’re a little late, stick to the lower elevations around Stowe town for the most vibrant colors.

Personally, we love to hike, we like flying our drone and we enjoy photographing waterfalls. Stowe was one of the best stops on our New England fall road trip circuit for allowing us to do all of those things.

Famous Stowe white church in fall with stunning colors in hills and foreground perfect fall foliage road trip in new england stop off

Things To Do In Stowe, VT

  • Photograph the famous white church in Stowe town.
  • Drive or hike to the summit of Mount Mansfield.
  • Drive through stunning Smugglers Notch pass.
  • Ride a bike along Stowe Rec Path or Lamoille Valley.
  • Take the SkyRide Gondola to Mt Mansfield.
  • Hike a wide range of awesome trails.
  • Visit both Bingham Falls and Moss Glen Falls.

Where To See Fall Foliage In Stowe, VT

  • In Stowe town, the iconic white church backed by a hill of fall colors is unmissable on your New England road trip.
  • But the best colors are in Stowe Mountain Resort. The drive up from town is gorgeous.
  • No matter how you get to the top of Mt Mansfield, you can guarantee spectacular fall foliage views.
  • Smugglers Notch is our top recommendation for Stowe. If you have a drone, this is the place to fly.

Read more about Stowe, Vermont:

  • 15 best things to do in Stowe VT
  • 12 best hotels in Stowe VT

4. Woodstock, Vermont

Sleepy Hollow Farm near Woodstock is one of the most stunning and photographed sports on a new england fall foliage road trip itinerary

Woodstock in central Vermont is arguably the most picturesque and charming town you will visit on your New England fall road trip itinerary. It truly is like something out of a fairytale. We had no choice but to include Woodstock in our popular guide to the 50 best places to visit in the USA .

Remarkably pretty farms with golden leaves dancing in sunlight and reddish-brown leaves covering the ground create picture perfect scenes. Sleepy Hollow Farm and Jenne Road Farm are featured on many fall foliage calendars you will see in shops on your visit to New England.

Don’t miss the many stunning historic covered bridges around Woodstock. Middle covered bridge is right in town, Taftsville and Quechee are very close by and Cornish-Windsor is a 30 minute drive. The beautiful bridge in the photo below is a privately owned bridge near South Woodstock on the main road to Jenne Farm.

Woodstock is one of the more expensive places to visit on a road trip through Vermont, but it is worth taking a hit on the extra chunk of budget. Simply driving around the narrow country roads near Woodstock for a few hours would provide enough fall foliage colors to last a week of photography.

Covered Bridge in Vermont rural countryside stunning bridge and colors

Things To Do In Woodstock, VT

  • Walk around the charming town and admire diverse architectural styles.
  • Photograph two postcard perfect farms – Jenne Road Farm and Sleep Hollow Farm.
  • Visit a host of historic and stunning covered bridges.
  • Explore Marsh Billings Rockefeller Park and hike to amazing viewpoint overlooking Woodstock.
  • Visit nearby Quechee Gorge and village.
  • See Jersey dairy cows at Billings Farm and Museum.

Where To See Fall Foliage In Woodstock, VT

  • Woodstock is incredibly photogenic during fall throughout the town and immediate surroundings.
  • The lookout over Woodstock from Mount Tom hike is iconic fall photography.
  • The best two fall photographs in Woodstock are at Jenne Road Farm and Sleepy Hollow Farm. They are two truly unmissable stops on your New England fall road trip itinerary.
  • Drive your car around the narrow rural roads near Woodstock for some of the most special colors.

Read more about Woodstock, Vermont:

  • 15 best things to do in Woodstock VT
  • 7 best hotels in Woodstock VT

5. Manchester, Vermont

New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary Manchester Green Mountains Rolling Hills

Similarly to Stowe, Manchester is a four season resort with skiing in Winter and hikes during Spring or Summer. In fall, the town located in the heart of Green Mountain National Forest transitions into a colorful paradise for leaf-peepers.

Manchester can be split into the old historic district and the newer modern resort town. The newer part is livelier and closer to amenities but the historic district is quieter, prettier and more colorful.

Use Manchester as a base for one night to explore nearby elevated areas for some of the most expansive views of rolling hills on a New England fall road trip.

Equinox Mountain is the tallest peak in the area. You can hike it or drive it to open up far-reaching views over three US states. But our top tip is to simply stick to the narrow country roads again and you will find more unique fall foliage photographs.

Manchester Historic Village District in Vermont Church with golden yellow leaves

Things To Do In Manchester, VT

  • Drive the Skyline Auto Toll Road to Mount Equinox summit.
  • Explore Hildene, the Lincoln Family Home.
  • Walk around quaint Manchester Historic Village District.
  • See the American Museum of Fly Fishing Museum exhibits.
  • Buy a book in popular Northshire bookstore.
  • Visit nearby covered bridges.
  • See the Bennington Battle Monument.
  • Visit Robert Frost stone house museum.

Where To See Fall Foliage In Manchester, VT

  • Manchester is the heart of the Green Mountains, so the entire area surrounding the town is staggeringly attractive.
  • Rolling hills for endless miles covered in glowing fall colors can be seen from any elevated vantage point.
  • Equinox Mountain summit provides the best panoramic views over three states.
  • Another place you jump in the car and find unique fall photography opportunities on rural roads.
  • Manchester Historic Village District is leafy and the church is surrounded by golden yellow leaves.

Read more about Manchester, Vermont:

  • 15 best things to do in Manchester VT
  • 9 best hotels in Manchester VT

6. Franconia Notch State Park, New Hampshire

Mark and Kristen Morgan Where Are Those Morgans at Artists Bluff Summit in New Hampshire with Echo Lake background one of the most famous new england fall foliage road trip hikes

Franconia Notch is one of New Hampshire’s premier tourist regions for hiking, picturesque mountains, skiing and of course fall foliage. A two lane highway mountain pass dissects the Kinsman and Franconia mountain ranges, with a number of fantastic recreational stops along the way.

Artists Bluff is a very short but steep hike leading to a rocky ledge. Its summit overlooks Echo Lake and is most popular in fall when the colors change. As you can see, we hiked the trail on an incredibly cloudy and grey day, which doesn’t help with highlighting the beauty of this viewpoint. We have included Artists Bluff in our popular guide to the 50 best hikes in the US .

Franconia Notch State Park is where you will find the stunning Flume Gorge hike. A little over 2 miles of waterfalls, narrow gorges and forested paths welcome thousands of visitors each year. For us, the best part of Flume Gorge were the two ultra-photogenic covered bridges; Flume and Sentinel Pine.

Flume Gorge Covered Bridge in New Hampshire Where Are Those Morgans walking across bridge

Things To Do In Franconia Notch State Park, New Hampshire

  • Hike the short but steep trail to Artists Bluff summit for stunning views.
  • Walk through impressive and extremely popular Flume Gorge.
  • Hike Cannon Mountain or take the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway.
  • See a whole host of waterfalls or hike one of a dozen other mountain trails.
  • Ski Cannon Mountain Resort in Winter.

Where To See Fall Foliage In Franconia Notch State Park, New Hampshire

  • The single most well known fall foliage photograph in Franconia Notch NH is from the summit of Artists Bluff.
  • However, don’t miss the chance to walk through the incredibly picturesque Flume Gorge in fall.
  • Not only are the colors vibrant, but waterfalls are attractive and two special covered bridges are incredibly photogenic.
  • Anywhere at elevation, which means every hike up a mountain side or the tramway with sweeping valley views.

Read more in our Franconia Notch guides:

  • Artists Bluff Trail Fall Foliage Hike
  • Flume Gorge Complete Hiking Walkthrough

7. Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire

Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire White Mountain National Forest is one of the most popular roads to drive on a new england fall road trip drone shot stunning colors

New Hampshire’s supremely scenic Kancamagus Highway is one of the very best parts of New England to road trip in fall foliage season. We would put it firmly in the category of ‘unmissable’.

The road between Lincoln and Conway NH is only 35 miles long, but it 35 miles of pure foliage bliss. You can either drive it in one go and simply soak up the colors roadside. Or you can stop at a multitude of overlooks, hiking trails, waterfalls, lakes and covered bridges.

If there’s one part of your New England road trip itinerary to time it right for peak foliage colors, you would do well to beat the Kancamagus Highway in its prime.

A note for photographers and videographers – You can use your drone in many parts of the Kancamagus Highway. We captured amazing photographs and videos of endless miles over rolling hills covered in radiant color.

Reflecting lake with trees on Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire

Things To Do On Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire

  • Stop at various high elevation overlooks with spectacular views over White Mountain National Forest.
  • Walk to Sabbaday Falls, Champney Falls and Lower Falls.
  • Hike Lincoln Woods or Mount Chocorua.
  • Walk out on Rocky Gorge boulders.
  • Photograph Russell-Colbath House and the picture perfect Albany Covered Bridge.
  • Explore ponds and lakes to your hearts content.

Where To See Fall Foliage On Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire

  • Views over rolling hills from every overlook are astonishing in fall.
  • Once the Kancamagus Highway reaches its highest elevation, you will see an ocean of color in all directions.
  • Walk through any forest trail or along any waterfall hike to immerse yourself into those foliage colors.
  • Albany covered bridge is one of the most picturesque bridges you will find in New England.
  • Rocky Gorge and nearby lake with reflecting fall colors are wonderful.
  • Even on both ends of the road in Lincoln (Loon Mountain) and Conway the colors are vibrant.

Read more about the Kancamagus Highway:

  • 13 best places to stop along the Kancamagus Highway in fall

8. Mount Washington, New Hampshire

Mount Washington in New Hampshire down road and colors in trees with cloudy sky

At 6,288 ft tall, Mount Washington is the tallest peak in Northeastern United States. It is renowned for wild and unpredictable weather, including the recording of a world record wind speed over over 230 mph.

As our images indicate, Mount Washington can be very wet and cloudy in Autumn. But if you get slightly more luck on your road trip and time it on a sunny day, you will enjoy some of the most beautiful colors and scenery in the entire region.

Avid hikers can climb to the summit, otherwise you can take a historic cog rail train or drive up an auto toll road to reach the top. Views from almost 2,000 meters high over an ocean of bright colors are incredible.

Incredibly cloudy day at Mt Washington NH

Things To Do Around Mount Washington, New Hampshire

  • Hike a very challenging but rewarding trail to the summit of Mount Washington.
  • Consider a night hike, fall colors won’t matter in the dark but it is hugely popular for astro and sunrise photography.
  • Alternatively, drive the Mt Washington Auto Road to the summit.
  • Or, take the most scenic and historic route to the top – by Cog Railway.
  • Conway scenic railroad nearby ventures deep into fall foliage forest.
  • Endless miles of hiking, 100 waterfalls and a handful of covered bridges to discover.
  • Crawford Notch State Park is close by and features more views, hikes and waterfalls.

Where To See Fall Foliage Around Mount Washington, New Hampshire

  • Just gain elevation in the White Mountains and you’ll open up valley views with a sea of foliage colors.
  • Mt Washington summit is the iconic NH vantage point for sweeping Autumnal vistas.
  • For a unique experience, the Conway Scenic Railroad cuts through some of the best colors in NH.
  • Crawford Notch State Park is stunning in fall, with fantastic valley views from hikes.

9. Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire

Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire on a very dull rainy day in october

Heading due South of Mt Washington you will find Lake Winnipesaukee encircled by gorgeous fall foliage colors. Unfortunately for us, the rain was back in full swing but you can still see how vibrant the colors are in this area.

You can drive an 81 mile loop road around the entirety of the lake, or take to the waters aboard M/S Mount Washington cruise boat.

Visit Castle in the Clouds for family entertainment and hiking, Weirs Beach for arcades or Wolfeboro for a more relaxing experience. The most popular trail in the area is Mount Major, which we highly recommend for hikers looking for excellent views over the lake.

Mt Major hike trailhead near lake winnipesaukee in new hampshire

Things To Do Around Around Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire

  • Take a cruise on the M/S Mount Washington.
  • Or rent a boat of your own for the day.
  • Ride the Lake Winnipesaukee scenic railroad.
  • Try your hand at arcade games in Weirs Beach.
  • Hike the popular half day trail to Mount Major summit for fantastic lake views.

Where To See Fall Foliage Around Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire

  • Elevation is your fall foliage friend around the lake if you want expansive views.
  • Mt Major is the perfect moderate hike to include on your New England fall road trip itinerary.
  • But nearby Belknap Mountain is also a popular choice for fall hikers.
  • Gunstock Mountain Resort has zip lines and ski lifts for easy elevation gain.
  • For easier and more close up Autumnal color vistas, simply hire a boat on the lake and explore.
  • Or sit back, relax and soak up the views on Lake Winnipesaukee scenic railroad foliage tour.

10. Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park is one of the best places to visit on a fall new england road trip precipice trail summit looking over ocean

Acadia finds itself in the list of top 10 most visited and best US National Parks each year. Millions of tourists descend on Bar Harbor annually to enjoy a diverse range of amazing things to do inside the awesome park.

Varied hikes suitable for all ages and abilities, including the famous adrenaline pumping climbs Beehive Trail and Precipice Trail , are a huge draw. But despite being a typical Summer destination in the north of America, Acadia is equally as popular in Autumn and that is purely down to its glowing fall foliage colors.

Sunrises from Cadillac Mountain or Schoodic Point can be extraordinarily beautiful if conditions are right, and sunset at Bass Harbor Head Light is a very highly regarded spectacle. You will need to bring your best hiking gear, spare camera batteries and a lot of energy to the wonderful National Park in Maine.

The only problem you will face with including Acadia on a New England fall foliage road trip is its location. You will have a long drive to and from Acadia from Vermont or New Hampshire. However, if you have the time, it is unquestionably worth the extra effort.

Mountain summit in Acadia National Park Maine Ocean Views

Things To Do In Acadia National Park, Maine

  • Hike various amazing trails from easy to hard (to exhilarating!).
  • Photograph stunning sunrises, landscapes and Bass Harbor Head Light.
  • Drive to Cadillac Mountain summit, the tallest peak on the US east coast.
  • Walk or cycle maze-like carriage roads through the park.
  • Explore Jordan Pond and swim in Echo Lake.
  • Eat and drink in glitzy Bar Harbor, Maine.

Where To See Fall Foliage In Acadia National Park, Maine

  • Mountain summits from any hike opens up special views over rolling hills covered in fall colors.
  • Carriage roads are the perfect way to explore forested trails which are surrounded by trees.
  • Drive the national park loop road for easiest access to fall colors.
  • Jordan Pond in particular is encircled by vibrant autumnal hues.
  • Cadillac Mountain summit opens up 360 degree views over Maine and the ocean.

Read our Acadia National Park guides to learn more:

  • 17 best things to do in Acadia National Park
  • 10 hikes you can’t miss in Acadia National Park
  • Where to stay in Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park
  • 10 key things to know about visiting Acadia in the fall

Planning Your New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary

New England is an enormous region and choosing exactly where to visit can be challenging. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you begin plotting a route:

  • Which places are top of your list? Vermont? New Hampshire? Acadia?
  • How many days can you spare on your trip?
  • Do you want to book accommodation in advance or take it day by day?
  • Are you in New England solely to see and photograph fall colors?
  • Or are you focused primarily on hiking with colors as an added bonus?
  • Do you want to use small and quaint towns as your main places to stay?
  • Or are you more interested in being rural and remote each night?
  • What is your budget? Can you afford to splurge on activities?

Once you have an idea about how you see your road trip panning out, use that idea as a guide to make the best decisions based on your travel style.

Next, we will go through a number of potential scenarios for 5 day, 7 day and 10 day road trip examples through New England in fall.

Use the examples as a reference but remember, they are generic and based on how we personally would plan our itineraries with hikes and photography in mind.

5 Day New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary

Only having 5 days isn’t as much of a negative as it might usually be. Yes, you are going to have to be selective and it is going to be none stop action. But one of the major benefits to a road trip in fall is that all of the best scenery is seen when driving.

Also, the smaller states of Vermont and New Hampshire don’t require a huge amount of drive time between their most scenic places for fall foliage. Include Lake Placid in the Adirondacks and you can easily tick off most of the places in our list in 5 days.

Another consideration is with just 5 days you don’t need to worry as much about ‘following’ peak fall colors. They won’t change too much in that time frame when compared to 10 days.

Example 1 – Lake Placid NY to Manchester VT

D1 – Lake Placid : Walk around Mirror Lake, drive up Whiteface Mountain and explore High Falls Gorge. Stay in Lake Placid.

D2 – Burlington and Stowe : Walk down Church Street, cycle Burlington bike path, explore Smugglers Notch and Stowe Mountain Resort, sunset at Stowe church. Stay in Stowe.

D3 – Franconia Notch and Kancamagus Highway : Hike artists bluff trail, walk around Flume Gorge, drive Kancamagus Highway and down to Wolfeboro. Stay in Wolfeboro on Lake Winnipesaukee.

D4 – Lake Winnipesaukee and Woodstock VT : Spend morning exploring the lake or hike Mt Major, then drive to Woodstock in Vermont via Cornish-Windsor covered bridge, Quechee Gorge and Taftsville covered bridge.

D5 – Woodstock and Manchester : Visit the farms near Woodstock, drive through Green Mountains to Manchester and end at the top of Equinox Mountain.

You could start and end in New York City if flying into Newark or JFK works from your origin and budget. Alternatively, Montreal would be a better place to start for Lake Placid, hire a car and drop it off in NYC or Boston after leaving Manchester, VT.

Example 2 – Lake Winnipesaukee NH to Manchester VT

D1 – Lake Winnipesaukee : Explore the lake, hike Mt Major, take a cruise and stay in Wolfeboro.

D2 – Kancamagus Highway and Franconia Notch : Drive Conway to Lincoln across Kancamagus Highway, hike Flume Gorge and Artists Bluff. Sleep in Franconia.

D3 – Stowe and Burlington : Stowe church, hike to waterfalls in Stowe Mountain Resort, drive Smugglers Notch and on to Burlington. Ride the bike path for sunset. Stay in Burlington.

D4 – Lake Placid : Whiteface Mountain, High Falls Gorge, Ski Jump and Mirror Lake. Or hike Mount Marcy instead but that is a full day commitment. Stay in Lake Placid.

D5 – Woodstock and Manchester : Visit the farms, covered bridges and drive through Green Mountain countryside to Manchester, finish with Equinox Mountain again.

This version would allow for a round trip loop from Boston, MA airport or Portland, ME airport.

The key to making the most of this shorter trip is to accept that you will be in the car driving a lot but that is where you will see most of the best scenery.

7 Day / One Week New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary

With a week, you can get more creative, include more places or take things slower. You have more flexibility but still not enough time to add a trip to Acadia, unless you really can’t miss it and don’t mind the driving.

Colors can change a noticeable amount in 7 days, so (if possible!) factor in starting your one week trip just before ‘peak’ begins.

Either of the 5 day examples above would work with 7 days by simply taking more time in certain spots. The alternative is to add in more places to visit. Let’s look at both:

Example 1 – Lake Winnipesaukee NH to Manchester VT

D2 – Kancamagus Highway : Take the awesome road trip slowly, stop at every attraction and stay in Loon Mountain or Lincoln.

D3 – Franconia Notch and Stowe : Hike Flume Gorge and Artists Bluff before driving to Stowe to photograph the church. Hike the waterfall trails and see Smugglers Notch. Stay in Stowe.

D4 – Burlington and Lake Placid : Church Street and Burlington bike path, then drive to Lake Placid, get stuck into the best bits of Lake Placid and spend the night there.

D5 – Lake Placid and Woodstock : Spend the morning in Lake Placid and drive to Woodstock later in the day. Hike to Mount Tom for amazing views over Woodstock. Stay in Woodstock.

D6 – Woodstock : Sunrise at Sleepy Hollow Farm, Jenne Road Farm, visit the nearby covered bridges and relax in town. Drive to Manchester later in the day to stay over.

D7 – Manchester : Hildene, Manchester old town and stunning Green Mountain country roads, finish at Equinox Mountain.

This variation could begin and end at either Boston, MA or Portland, ME as in the itinerary above. It just gives you more downtime and time to fully explore the places you will visit.

Example 2 – Manchester VT to Lake Winnipesaukee NH

D1 – Manchester : Drive from Boston airport to Manchester, spend the day at Hildene, Equinox Mountain and exploring the town. Stay in Manchester.

D2 – Woodstock : See the best of Woodstock and spend the night.

D3 – Stowe : Hit the top highlights in Stowe and stay there for the night.

D4 – Mount Washington : Take the cog train, drive to the summit or even take on the hike. Sleep in North Conway.

D5 – Kancamagus Highway : Spend a full day on The Kanc. Sleep in Loon Mountain or Lincoln.

D6 – Franconia Notch : Hike Flume Gorge and Artists Bluff but drive to Lake Winnipesaukee later to spend the night.

D7 – Lake Winnipesaukee : Spend the last day around the lake, cruising, hiking or relaxing.

This loop direction was reversed to give an idea about how you could make it work in a clockwise route. Again this would be starting and ending in Boston or Portland, with JFK or Newark as alternative options.

Instead of driving out to Lake Placid, you could stick to Vermont and New Hampshire, which is where the very best colors are found.

10 Day New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary

With a full 10 days to spend on your New England fall road trip, you can either max out your itinerary and see all of the best bits or choose to spend more time in fewer places.

Personally, we’re the max out itinerary type and we would definitely include Acadia National Park in our 10 days. It adds in some serious driving time but the journey there is picturesque, rural and most importantly colorful.

Here’s one way you can include each of the places mentioned in this list, including Acadia National Park (this is the way we drove but we spent 14 days doing this route with other non-fall foliage places included in our itinerary):

Example 1 – Lake Placid, NY to Manchester, VT via Acadia National Park, ME

D1 – Lake Placid : Spend the day hiking and surrounded by gorgeous colors. Sleep Lake Placid.

D2 – Burlington : Full day exploring town and cycle the entire bike path to Grand Isle. Stay in or near Burlington.

D3 – Stowe : Smugglers Notch, Mountain Resort, Mt Mansfield and church in town. Stay in Stowe.

D4 – Franconia and Kancamagus Highway : Hike Artists Bluff and Flume Gorge, drive The Kanc and sleep in North Conway.

D5 – Mt Washington and drive to Acadia : Drive to the summit or take the cog train before driving US-2 all the way to Acadia. Sleep in Bar Harbor.

D6 – Acadia : Sunrise Cadillac Mountain, Hike Acadia Mountain and Beech Mountain, sunset at Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse. Stay in Bar Harbor.

D7 – Acadia : Sunrise Schoodic Point, Hike Beehive Trail and Precipice Trail, Walk around Jordan Pond, Great Ocean Path and carriage roads by bike to see the best fall colors. Final night in Bar Harbor.

D8 – Lake Winnipesaukee : Final morning in Acadia, long drive to Wolfeboro and explore Lake Winnipesaukee.

D9 – Woodstock : Photograph Sleepy Hollow and Jenne Road, hike to Mt Tom, see covered bridges.

D10 – Manchester : Hildene, Mount Equinox, nearby Bennington battle monument and covered bridges.

Tips For The 10 Day Itinerary

The only concern with this itinerary is the inclusion of Acadia National Park. It’s a 4 hour drive from Mt Washington to Acadia and 4 hours 20 minutes back from Acadia to Wolfeboro.

However, if you do have more time you can include stops on the way to and from Acadia to break up the longer drives. US-1 and US-2 are picturesque but slow going. If you’re pushed for time, take the less scenic but faster I-95 instead.

Alternatively, if you’re not so bothered by Acadia, plan to spend even more time in each of the other 9 places in this list. That would give you wiggle room in case of bad weather and plenty of time to relax.

Notice how the route starts furthest north and loops around Acadia then comes back further south?

That’s because with 10 days you should try to ‘follow’ the peak colors as they transition southwards over the first two weeks of October.

Where Are Those Morgans New England fall foliage road trip guidebook for purchase

New England Fall Road Trip Map

Red Markers – Locations of the 10 best places to visit on a New England fall road trip itinerary.

Click or touch the map to activate.

Zoom in and out, move around the map of New England to find locations for the best places to visit in the area.

More From New England

  • Best things to do in Burlington Vermont
  • Best things to do in Woodstock Vermont
  • Driving the Kancamagus Highway in fall
  • How to visit Flume Gorge in New Hampshire
  • The best things to do in Lake Placid New York
  • The best things to do in Stowe Vermont
  • Top things to do in Manchester Vermont
  • Unmissable things to do in Acadia National Park

We hope this New England fall foliage road trip guide with itinerary ideas helps you plan the perfect leaf-peeping vacation!

Please let us know if you have any questions about New England or need any help planning your visit in the comments below.

Happy Travels,

Mark and Kristen

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Mark and Kristen Morgan are travel, hiking and photography experts. Over the last 6 years traveling full time, they have explored more than 40 countries and 30 US states.

Where Are Those Morgans has been featured in USA Today, Gestalten, Get Your Guide, CityPASS and Condé Nast Traveler along with various other publications. Read more about us .

Share this article!

Monday 24th of July 2023

I really appreciate your compressive guide to New England for travel in the Fall. We have enjoyed most of the areas you mention in years past and loved it. My sister is visiting from Australia at perfect Fall Foliage time so we're planning to do your 10-day roadtrip this year. I was wondering if you have an App you prefer to use to plan each segment of the roadtrip. I used Roadtrippers earlier this year and found it good, but would welcome your suggestions for a roadtrip App. I plan to download your digital guide as well. Thank you and happy travels.

Saturday 5th of August 2023

@Mark and Kristen Morgan, I have accommodations booked from Lake Placid to Woodstock. Since we want to add a couple of nights in Boston to walk the Freedom Trail and visit the Boston Tea Party site, would you recommend skipping Manchester, Vermont and going directly to Boston from Woodstock. Or, would we be missing out if we skip Manchester. Appreciate your advice.

Friday 4th of August 2023

@Mark and Kristen Morgan, Thank you so very much for your advice. I downloaded the digital guide to use. So looking forward to this trip and having your guide to get organized makes this a lot less daunting. Keep up the great work and happy traveling.

Mark and Kristen Morgan

Tuesday 25th of July 2023

Hi Sharon, we're happy to hear you will be visiting New England again and this time with your sister. If you are looking for alternatives to Roadtrippers you could check out Wanderlog which is another useful resource. But to be honest we don't use any apps for our road trips except for the basic and free Google Maps app. We plot points for attractions, restaurants and hotels as we research before visiting a new place, and we plan ahead so we can really get organized. If you download our digital guide and go to the end, you will find a map we created that will open in your Google Maps app and it already contains the locations for top attractions, foliage photo spots, hikes, restaurants and hotels that we discuss throughout the guide. You can of course see more places but we have preloaded the map with the essential spots to visit around New England in fall. Have a fantastic trip!

Saturday 15th of July 2023

I would love a copy of the book as well, to use as we travel Thank you for a wealth of information!

Thursday 22nd of June 2023

Wow, amazing information, thank you. Have you written it in book form by any chance? I would love to drive with the book on hand for reference.

Sunday 9th of July 2023

@Mark and Kristen Morgan, I'm using this article to plan our New England fall leaves trip and would also be interested in a copy of your digital guidebook, please. The information you provide is outstanding -- thank you! ~ Carol

Friday 23rd of June 2023

Hi Helen, you have asked at just the right time. We are currently in the process of creating a digital guidebook filled with key information and itinerary ideas for the New England fall road trip. It will be ready within the next week or so and we will email you once it is live. You will be able to either keep it on your smartphone or print it if you prefer to have a paper copy.

Friday 17th of February 2023

Hello! What a wonderful site you have given us :). Question...do any of the New England fall road trips include the Berkshires? I would love to include a quick visit to The Mount/Edith Wharton's home. Thanks, Jo

Thank you, Jo! Yes absolutely, you could easily add The Mount / Edith Wharton's Home to the end of our 10 day New England fall road trip itinerary because it is just 1 hour 30 minutes drive to the south of Manchester VT (which is the last stop in our guide), before heading back to the Boston / NY airports. It wouldn't be much of a detour and if you are heading that way you might also want to consider including a short drive along scenic highway 2, also known as The Mohawk Trail. Have a fantastic trip later this year!

Tuesday 9th of August 2022

Hi There! We are flying into Portland, (Sept 23rd) Maine and flying out of Boston, Mass (October 2nd) We have about one full week for our Fall Foliage road trip. Knowing we arrive Portland and depart Boston, what would you map out for itinerary.

Part II question, I prefer staying at one hotel for a few days and taking day trips as opposed to staying one night in several places.

Would it be wise to stay 3 nights near Acadia Nat'l Park and then 3 nights in New Hampshire (near all of the Franconia State Park and Kancamagus Hwy ?

Thursday 11th of August 2022

Hi Erin, yes staying 3 nights in Bar Harbor and then 3 nights somewhere near Franconia Notch sounds like the best idea if you would prefer to stay in one hotel for each part of your trip. You can easily visit the most popular fall foliage areas in VT and NH from Franconia. Depending on how much driving you want to do, you could split your days into Vermont and New Hampshire. So one day you do Stowe, Woodstock and Manchester (the driving in between is just as picturesque as the towns), then another day you do Mt Washington, Kancamagus, Artists Bluff and Flume Gorge (which are all much closer together). Then stop at Lake Winnipesaukee on the way down to Boston. Hopefully the peak colors will be in north / central VT and NH early Oct for your trip - have a great time!

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Solar eclipse to pass over new england; what to expect, how to watch.

Parts of northern New England will be in the path of totality

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A total solar eclipse is set to pass over parts of New England on April 8 but only some parts of the region will be in the eclipse’s path of totality and Storm Team 5’s Chief Meteorologist Cindy Fitzgibbon says weather will play a crucial role in our view.

We asked Fitzgibbon to explain what happens during a solar eclipse, what New England might expect to see and how to safely view the eclipse.

She also reflected on her most recent eclipse-viewing experiences in New York and Mexico.

Northern parts of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine will be in the path of totality on April 8, while a near-total 93% eclipse will be seen from the Greater Boston area.

Total eclipses happen about every 18 months, but often, they cross over remote areas where few people see them. This will be the first total eclipse to plunge millions of people in North America into midday darkness since Aug. 21, 2017 . That event brought a 63% eclipse to Massachusetts.

Parts of 13 states will be in the path of totality this time: Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

You can find out if your eclipse glasses are safe to use here.

Local News | 2024 total solar eclipse: Tips for planning to…

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Local news | bruins come back again and again – and again – to beat panthers, 4-3, local news | 2024 total solar eclipse: tips for planning to see the the spectacle in new england.

(Alexandra Wimley/Chicago Tribune)

With the solar eclipse two weeks away, planning for the best seats around New England is kicking into high gear. Here are some tips.

The eclipse is set to plunge a long arc of North America into darkness on April 8, including a stretch of the Northeast from New York to Maine. It is expected to be another 20 years before another total eclipse passes through the contiguous U.S., according to NASA.

The path of “totality,” where the sun will be completely blocked, is 115 miles wide, according to NASA . This path includes swaths of New York, Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire. Areas in states including Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island will see a partial eclipse.

Weather will be a major factor for those looking to plan how they’ll view the eclipse — and is so far uncertain. The biggest concern for many in April is the higher probability of clouds, in addition to potentially wet, snowy and muddy seasonal weather for the area.

“There’s not really much to say about what specific viewing conditions can be like yet, but we can talk about it climatologically for April, and it’s kind of a 50-50 split,” said Stephen Baron, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Maine. … “Looking at cloud climatology, for a lot of those towns, there’s really two options: its going to be overcast, or its going to be clear. And obviously we hope for the clear day.”

The Gray – Portland, Maine office of the National Weather Service has launched a page dedicated to tracking weather updates around the eclipse . The page includes seasonal averages for towns along the eclipse path and will be updated with forecasts as the eclipse nears.

For most of the area, the average seasonal temperature for the day is in the 40s, Baron said, and snow and mud are among a variety of factors people may want to consider in their plans.

In the 10 day window, Baron said, there will be “a lot more confidence” in the forecasts.

“The biggest tip I can can give everyone is just keep an eye on on the forecast for the area you’re planning on visiting,” Baron said. “So you have the latest information on what to prepare for.”

Many of the cities and town along the route are planning for events and festivals to mark the eclipse, including many listed on the dedicated pages on sites for the Maine Office of Tourism, New Hampshire and Vermont .

Eyewear is also an important element to planning to see the event. Eclipse glasses can be found at many online retailers ahead of the event.

The American Astronomical Society provides a list of retailers that sell reliable glasses options to see the eclipse safely. Glasses may also be available at eyewear stores and other retailers, but are prone to sell out closer to the event.

The moon transits the sun during the 2017 total solar eclipse as seen from Weiser, Idaho. (Kyle Green/Idaho Statesman/TNS)

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Nike’s new England men’s soccer shirt is causing a stir with its recolored flag

A view of Nike's designed St George's Cross on the back of the collar of the new England shirt at St. George's Park, Burton upon Trent, England, Friday March 22, 2024. England's new men's soccer team shirt is out and it's causing a bit of a stir. And it's not just the price that's vexing some. The decision by Nike to change the color of the St. George’s Cross on the new shirt from the traditional red and white has even prompted the prime minister and the man who is favored to succeed him to make their displeasure known. (Mike Egerton/PA via AP)

A view of Nike’s designed St George’s Cross on the back of the collar of the new England shirt at St. George’s Park, Burton upon Trent, England, Friday March 22, 2024. England’s new men’s soccer team shirt is out and it’s causing a bit of a stir. And it’s not just the price that’s vexing some. The decision by Nike to change the color of the St. George’s Cross on the new shirt from the traditional red and white has even prompted the prime minister and the man who is favored to succeed him to make their displeasure known. (Mike Egerton/PA via AP)

England manager Gareth Southgate, left, with assistant Steve Holland leads training session ahead of Saturday’s friendly soccer match against Brazil, at St. George’s Park, Burton upon Trent, England, Friday March 22, 2024. (Mike Egerton/PA via AP)

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LONDON (AP) — England’s new men’s soccer team shirt is causing a bit of a stir. It’s not just the price that’s vexing some.

The decision by Nike to change the color of the St. George’s Cross on the shirt from the traditional red and white has even prompted the prime minister and the man who is favored to succeed him to make their displeasure known.

A petition on Change.org calling for a design change attracted more than 22,000 signatures by early afternoon Friday.

The new Nike-designed shirt, which has been modeled by England captain Harry Kane , is being rolled out in the run-up to the European Championship in Germany. The altered cross on the back of the shirt collar has purple and blue horizontal stripes.

Nike says it’s a “playful update” to the shirt and harks to the training kit England wore at the 1966 World Cup, the only major tournament won by the men’s team. England will be starting Euro 2024 this summer as one of the favorites.

Keir Starmer, leader of the main opposition Labour Party and a fan of English Premier League leader Arsenal, said he believed the flag, which is marked by an image of the St. George’s Cross, was a “unifier” and Nike needed to “reconsider” its decision to modify it.

Brazil's Rodrygo, centre right, tries to get past Spain's Rodrigo, left, Alvaro Morata, 2nd left and Lamine Yamal during a friendly soccer match between Spain and Brazil at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, March 26, 2024. (AP Photo/Jose Breton)

“It doesn’t need to be changed,” he told the Sun newspaper. “We just need to be proud of it.”

Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak , on a visit to the north of England, was also asked about the altered cross.

“I prefer the original and my general view is that when it comes to our national flags, we shouldn’t mess with them because they are a source of pride, identity, who we are and they’re perfect as they are,” said Sunak, who supports Southampton, which is vying for promotion back to the Premier League.

Nike and the English Football Association have indicated they are not going to change tack.

Despite the criticism, the FA defended the design, saying it was “not the first time” different colored St. George’s Cross-inspired designs have appeared on England shirts and it was “very proud” of the traditional cross.

“The new England 2024 home kit has a number of design elements which were meant as a tribute to the 1966 World Cup-winning team,” a spokesperson said. “The colored trim on the cuffs is inspired by the training gear worn by England’s 1966 heroes, and the same colors also feature on the design on the back of the collar.”

England coach Gareth Southgate said the furor has “not been high on my list of priorities” this week as he prepares to lead the team into friendly matches against Brazil on Saturday and Belgium on Tuesday.

“It’s a hard question to answer really because it is presumably some artistic take which I am not creative enough to understand,” Southgate said when asked about his thoughts on the new design.

“What you are really asking,” he said, “is should we be tampering with the cross of St. George? In my head, if it is not a red cross and a white background, then it isn’t a cross of St. George anyway.”

Southgate added that, for him, it was more important that the symbol of the three lions stayed on the shirt than the St. George’s Cross.

“It’s our iconic symbol — it is what distinguishes us not only from football teams around the world but from England rugby and England cricket,” he said of the three lions.

John Barnes, one of England’s best players, said he could not understand what all the fuss was about.

“It’s a much ado about nothing,” the 60-year-old former winger said.

For most people, the problem will be less the color of the flag and more its price tag. An “authentic” version for adults will cost 125 pounds ($155) and 120 pounds for children. That’s quite an outlay at a time when household budgets have been stretched as a result of one of the most acute cost-of-living crises in decades.

The Football Supporters’ Association has long bemoaned the high cost of replica shirts and suggested that a “sell-by” date should be put on kits so buyers know how long it will be in use before a newer version is released.

“An unwitting parent could easily buy a kit for Christmas or a birthday to find it’s ‘old’ within a matter of months,” a spokesperson for the group said.

AP Sports Writer Steve Douglas contributed to this story.

AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

how to visit new england

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Planning to see the 2024 eclipse in New England? We have tips

A little girl with eclipse glasses leans back as she looks up at the sky

On Monday, April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse will cross North America, and it will be visible in parts of New England. It’s a rare opportunity to experience what can be, by most accounts, an awe-inspiring natural event.

If you haven’t already made plans to see it, it’s worth considering.

Jump ahead: Tips & Advisories | Eclipse events in New England

Exactly where and when can you see it in New England?

All of New England will experience some form of an eclipse – either partial or total – on April 8, but experts agree a total eclipse is a more powerful experience worth seeking out .

In New England, the path of totality will encompass parts of northern Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Burlington, Vermont’s largest city, and Montpelier, the state’s capital, are in the path. Many of the other communities along the path are small cities and rural towns like St. Albans, Vermont; Lancaster, New Hampshire and Houlton, Maine.

The totality will occur at around 3:30 pm on Monday, April 8, 2024.

Click here for an interactive eclipse map .

This part of New England is close to much larger population centers like Boston and New York, and people in the region are bracing for a large number of visitors from around the Northeast and even the world.

There’s little to go on as public officials prepare. Past Phish concerts, which drew tens of thousands of fans to rural areas , are helping them imagine the potential crowds and anticipate any problems.

Should you travel to see the eclipse in New England?

It’s not often that a total solar eclipse happens so close to home. It will be another 20 years before people will be able to see a total solar eclipse anywhere inside the contiguous United States.

For months, businesses and tourism officials in the three states have been talking up the local attractions and suggesting visitors make a long weekend of it . Many of these northern communities offer natural beauty, great restaurants and local shopping. And April can be a beautiful time of the year in New England.

Hands spread out a sheet of paper with different versions of an illustration of a town building and an eclipse in the sky.

April can also be a terrible time of the year in New England. The biggest concern for eclipse experts is the high probability of clouds , which would obscure the view of totality. There is also a good chance it will be cold, rainy or even snowing. And of course, it’s mud season.

Tips & Advisories

First things first: eye safety

You need eye protection if you plan to view the eclipse from anywhere - the risks are real .

Eclipse glasses are widely available online, and you might also find them locally at places like libraries and planetariums.

There are also other gadgets you can make to experience the eclipse. A device that converts light to sound can help people in the blind and low vision community experience the eclipse.

Maine Public has put together tips on how to safely take photos and video of the eclipse .

A smiling boy with red shorts and a grey shirt stands in a city square looking at the sky through eclipse glasses.

Tips on finding lodging

Some visitors made their plans long in advance. Many hotels and short term rentals in northern New England are fully booked or booking up fast .

Looking across the full range of totality could help you find a community where there are still lodging options.

If you’re thinking about making your eclipse experience a camping trip, you may find limited options. Maine’s Baxter State Park , which is in the line of totality, is closed to camping. State park campgrounds across the region generally don’t open until May.

You may find more luck with private campgrounds in Maine , New Hampshire or Vermont .

With camping, officials are issuing strong warnings. Maine officials say camping on public lands in April is “inadvisable to all but those who are self-sufficient and fully prepared to deal with difficult and highly changeable conditions .”

Road and off-road conditions 

People who have experienced a total eclipse in the past recommend not traveling on the day of the eclipse to avoid traffic.

Officials are anticipating much more traffic than normal on April 8, with people driving both long and short distances for a better view.

In New Hampshire, state officials are urging visitors to “arrive early, stay late” and to expect delays, given the limited number of roads in and out of the state’s North Country. In addition, they say drivers should not pull over on the side of the road to view the eclipse, lest they get stuck in mud or snow (and get laughed at by the locals).

Ski areas in Vermont and Maine that are in the path of totality say they will close lifts during totality.

Staff at Vermont’s Jay Peak have a plan to set up safety cones and clear the roads, if on-site parking fills up and people park on highways.

And several state officials have warned people to stay off dirt roads and hiking trails. The Green Mountain Club of Vermont has said most trails in that state will be closed . In Maine, officials at Baxter State Park are suggesting visitors consider other venues .

Eclipse events in New England

A woman crouches to hug a person in a wheelchair as they both use eclipse glasses to look at the sky, in a field with other people.

For those of us already well-placed to see the eclipse, there are many options for celebrating the experience with others in New England.

Cities and towns along the path of totality are planning viewing parties, parades and concerts. These events will also help them manage crowd flow and enforce designated parking areas.

For ticketed events, be sure to check availability before you get your hopes up: some are sold out.

Dozens of events are scheduled across the wide portion of Vermont that will experience totality on April 8.

The city of Burlington has a full calendar of eclipse events including talks, comedy shows and parties. The city has designated seven official viewing sites for viewing totality.

In Glover, the Bread and Puppet Theater will hold an eclipse ritual , involving hymns to the sun and exorcism to banish everything evil.

The Camp Hochelaga YMCA camp in South Hero is hosting a non-ticketed gathering with local musicians and vendors, with a suggested donation.

Click here to see a full list of eclipse events from Vermont Public .

New Hampshire

The state of New Hampshire has a list of public events, celebrations and eclipse gatherings .

Some are in areas with totality:

  • The Great North Woods Center for the Arts near Colebrook is hosting an eclipse concert on the evening of the big event, at 7 p,m.
  • Coleman State Park in Stewartstown, right in the path of totality, is hosting something they’re calling Total Eclipse of the Parks . (Get it?) The park will be open for eclipse viewing, with food, refreshments, and activities for kids. Parking is limited, so you’ll need a reservation.

Further south, some events will celebrate the partial eclipse:

  • You can watch the partial eclipse and participate in a drum circle at Mystery Hill (aka America’s Stonehenge) in Salem, NH.
  • The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord is throwing a viewing party from noon to 5 p.m.

You can find a list of Maine events, safety reminders, and some accommodation tips from the Maine Office of Tourism.

Houlton will host a major celebration leading up to and on April 8. Events include a metaphysical eclipse tent and a bus tour to a nearby planetarium.

In Millinocket, runners will gather for Millinockeclipse , a casual run set to take place during the length of the eclipse. There will also be a town festival , which includes a whoopie pie bake-off.

In Rangeley, the Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust is holding a Shadow of the Sun Festival and highlighting International Dark Sky Week.  

Tell us about your plans!

We’re curious to hear how you’re planning to view the total eclipse in New England. Share your ideas with Maine Public, NHPR, and Vermont Public through this call out from the NPR Network .

And if you have to miss this one, there will be others in the next couple of years, you’ll just need to travel .

Note: We'll update this post as we continue to cover the eclipse.

Bennett Walsh, the former superintendent of the Holyoke Soldiers' Home, exists Hampshire Superior Court on Tuesday, March 26, 2024.

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Watch CBS News

Robert Kraft would like to see Patriots draft "top-rate, young quarterback" but team is open to dealing No. 3 pick

By Matt Geagan

March 26, 2024 / 12:13 PM EDT / CBS Boston

BOSTON -- The New England Patriots will be drafting a quarterback a month from now, and Robert Kraft is hoping that quarterback will lead the franchise to glory for years to come. But when the Patriots draft that quarterback will not be up to the owner.

Kraft held court with reporters down in Orlando, Florida at the NFL owners meetings on Tuesday, and went back and forth between being "Robert Kraft, Patriots owner" and "Robert Kraft, Patriots fan." But no matter which hat he wears, Kraft is going to let the football minds in New England make the football decisions when picks start flying off the board on April 25.

With the third overall pick, New England is in a good spot to land one of the top passers available this year. Caleb Williams is expected to go first overall to the Chicago Bears, but no one knows what the Washington Commanders will do at No. 2. Washington also needs a quarterback and are reportedly high on LSU's Jayden Daniels, which could leave UNC's Drake Maye available for the Patriots at third overall. There are also rumblings that Michigan's J.J. McCarthy is rocketing up draft boards, and could be a potential selection for the Commanders.

There's also the chance that with several other holes on the roster -- most notably at left tackle and wide receiver -- the Patriots could trade out of that third selection and acquire more picks to fill other needs. That would likely mean taking a quarterback later in the draft.

There is a lot that is unknown with the Patriots and the quarterback position right now, but Kraft is confident that the team will be adding a talented player no matter where they pick. 

"You know, I guess as a fan, I put my fan hat on and I definitely would [like us to draft a quarterback.] In the end, you can't win in this league consistently unless you have a first-rate quarterback and a first-rate coach," Kraft told reporters. "On the other hand, you're in a different position. We've never been in the third draft position since we've owned the team, and what happens a lot of people behind are really desperate to move up. 

"So we're gonna be open to whatever can come our way," Kraft added. "But in the end, I'll let the team make the decision what they think is best. One way or another, I'd like to see us get a top-rate, young quarterback."

During his chat with reporters on Monday, head coach Jerod Mayo gave a rave review on Maye, whom he'll get an up-close look at on Friday when Mayo and the New England brass attends UNC's pro day. The Patriots' brain trust will be in Louisiana on Thursday to check out Daniels at LSU's pro day.

The Patriots obviously failed quarterback Mac Jones, whom they traded away this offseason for a late-round pick after drafting him 15th overall just three years ago. While Jones had his own issues, the team did him no favors with a revolving door of offensive coordinators, including the failed experiment of Matt Patricia and Joe Judge as his lead offensive coaches in 2022. 

Kraft believes that the Patriots are in a much better spot to develop a young quarterback. 

"Definitely. I think Alex Van Pelt has had great experience. I don't think the last couple of years how we handled the offense -- speaking as a fan -- was the kind of approach we wanted," said Kraft. "Look, one way or another, we know at some point we're gonna get a young quarterback who will be gifted. And fortunately there's a number of them in this draft, and where we take that position will depend on what comes to us. But I hope our personnel people do a good job in that area and I really believe we have the coaching to support that."

Matthew Geagan is a sports writer and producer for CBS Boston and wbz.com. He has been part of the WBZ sports team for nearly 20 years.

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Winter storms to bring heavy snow and flash flooding to the Midwest and the Northeast

Two winter storms are expected, starting Friday into next week.

Two winter storms are expected to bring heavy snow, strong winds, severe thunderstorms and flash flooding to many parts of the northern United States starting Friday into next week.

Winter alerts are up for 32 million people Friday and Saturday, from the northern Rocky Mountains and the Upper Midwest through the central Great Lakes region and into New England.

The first storm will move quickly and bring snow to eastern Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan on Friday, and the interior Northeast and New England on Saturday. Light to moderate snow is expected in an area stretching from the Upper Midwest to the Great Lakes, where 2 to 7 inches of snow will fall overnight.

Snow amounts Saturday and into the night in northern New England will be as high as 12 to 18 inches.

The second storm will kick off Sunday and could bring higher accumulations of snow and stronger winds to the Upper Midwest than the first storm. Unlike the first storm, however, it will not bring accumulating snow to New England.

Sunday's snow and wind will impact North Dakota and South Dakota, Minnesota and northern Wisconsin. On Monday the storm will slow down and strengthen over the Upper Midwest, bringing continuous snow and strong wind gusts to the Dakotas and Minnesota. The snow will continue until at least midday Tuesday.

Snow accumulations during the storm could be as high as 12 to 18 inches in parts of Minnesota, including the Minneapolis metro area and Duluth.

The area spanning from the Dakotas into western Minnesota is known as "blizzard alley," and this region may live up to its name early next week. Winds are forecast to be as high as 35 to 40 mph, which could bring blizzard conditions, especially Monday and Tuesday.

In South Florida and southern New England, 53 million people are under flood watches. Cities in the risk zone include Miami, Washington, D.C., New York City and Boston.

On Friday, the flood risk is highest for South Florida, where 6 to 7 inches of rain could fall. Severe thunderstorms capable of high winds and isolated tornadoes will also be possible, especially for the Florida Keys.

The flood risk will shift to southern New England on Saturday, where a widespread 2 to 4 inches is expected, including for the Interstate 95 corridor. Isolated areas of more than 4 inches cannot be ruled out, especially for coastal areas.

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Kathryn Prociv is a senior meteorologist and producer for NBC News. 

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