Fall Foliage Road Trip Itinerary for New England
Updated: Sep 22
New England is a classic American destination. As a born/bred/educated New England girl myself, I think the Northeast USA is arguably one of the world's most beautiful places in the fall. Country roads wind through dense forests, stone walls, covered bridges, and idyllic farm properties. Orange, red, and gold colors explode, rippling across the mountains. It's the stuff of dreams.
New England is also tailor made for road tripping, my preferred way to travel. If you want to escape the crowds and fall back into nature, I recommend adding a New England fall road trip to your USA bucket list. Here's my sample one week itinerary, taking in the best fall foliage stops in New England.
I spill the beans on the must see scenic spots in New England to experience the festival of colors, where to stay and eat, the top hikes, and photography inspiration. You'll start in the historic New England city of Boston and then head to the Berkshires, Vermont, and New Hampshire.
I think New Hampshire and Vermont are the best place to see fall foliage, though I may be a tad biased. If you have more than a week for your New England fall road trip, I give you some other options in Connecticut and Rhode Island to extend your time in this rural playground. You can easily turn a 7 day road trip into a 10-14 day itinerary for New England.
Adjustable Itinerary and Road Trip Destinations for Seeing the Fall Foliage in New England
Let's begin the leaf peeping! Here's where to go on your fall foliage drives in New England.
Day 1: Boston, Massachusetts
Begin your fall foliage road trip by flying (or driving) into Boston. Beautiful Boston Massachusetts is one of my favorite city in the United States. And fall is the perfect time to visit.
The country's oldest city, Boston is steeped in American history. Boston played a pivotal role in the Revolutionary War. Boston's sometimes called the "hub of the world" or the "cradle of liberty" because it was the source and inspiration for key ideas that shaped America.
Boston has a great foodie scene, wide open green spaces, quaint neighborhoods, and first rate museums. And it's got loads of gorgeous fall foliage. To see the colors, head to Boston Public Garden, Boston Common, the Boston Esplanade along the Charles River, Beacon Hill, and Back Bay.
If you have more time for visiting Boston, click here for my detailed 3 day itinerary. After touring the city, pick up your rental car. Now, it's time for some classic new England fall foliage. If you want to skip the big city altogether on this fall foliage trip, just add in one of my bonus destinations instead.
Where to say: The Revolution Hotel, Klimpton Nine Zero, The Boxer Hotel
Where to eat: Barcelona Wine Bar, Yvonne's, Beehive, Giacomo's
Day 2: The Berkshires, Massachusetts
The Berkshires is a place of autumnal glory. It's full of winding roads with rolling meadows and trees ablaze. For some of the best fall foliage scenery in the Berkshires, take Route 7 and 8 from Great Barrington to North Adams (1:10 hours without stops). You'll go past storybook farms, wooden barns, and stone walls. And through the cute towns of Stockbridge, Lee, Lennox, and Pittsfield.
Stockbridge and Lenox are the two prettiest towns in the Berkshires, and make a great base for exploring. Stockbridge is home to the Norman Rockwell Museum and some of the Berkshires' beautiful Gilded Age castle-cottages. Lenox is home to The Mount, Edith Wharton's home, more iconic properties, and fantastic restaurants.
The quaint town of North Adams is an arty town with an eye catching row of multi-colored Victorians called The Porches. If you're in the mood for a museum, try the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum (in nearby Adams) or the spectacular Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.
The Notch Road leads to Mt. Greylock State Reservation. You can drive up to the summit for Massachusetts' highest viewing point. There are plenty of marked hiking trails that start from the parking lot. Click here for the online trail map.
Then descend back down, exit the park, and take Route 7. This will take you to the small town of Lanesborough, where you'll see pastures and horse farms. You can pick your own apples at Lakeview Orchard.
Near Route 7, you can also visit the home of Edith Wharton in Stockbridge. On your way back to North Adams, you can stop in Cheshire at the Whitney's Farm Market.
Click here for my complete guide to visiting or road tripping in the Berkshires.
Where to stay: The Porches Inn, Blackinton Manor, Blantyre, The Inn at Stockbridge, The Red Lion Inn
Where to eat: Gramercy Bistro, Nuedel, Grazie, Mezze, Bistro Zinc
Day 3: Dixville Notch State Park, New Hampshire
On day 3, get up early and drive 4.5 hours north to Dixville Notch State Park to venture into New Hampshire. Dixville Notch is a very small area. But what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in unadulterated beauty.
The main road through Dixville features rolling hills and stunning scenery, including beautiful Lake Gloriette. Once there, hike the famed Table Rock Trail. You'll need to pull off the shoulder and park on Route 26.
Table Rock Trail is a 1.5 mile out and back trail, with a relatively steep 700 feet climb. You'll be rewarded with panoramic views over gorgeous Dixville Notch from above. If you've timed it right, you can even enjoy the sunset from your perch.
Another trail leaves from the parking lot of the Whittemore Family Cemetery on Google Maps. The trail winds its way through a vibrant forest, leading to a cute little bridge and stream. When you're done hiking, head back to the nearby town of Colebrook for dinner and shut eye.
Where to stay: La Maison Bleue du Lac, Mohawk Cottages
Where to eat: Black Bear Tavern, Parsons Street, Wilderness
Day 4: Stowe, Vermont
Wake up early, grab some breakfast at Mostly Muffins in Colebrook. Then drive 2 hours west towards Stowe Vermont. Along the way, you'll pass scads of beautiful fall foliage and adorable rural towns, like the memorable Island Pond in Brighton.
Spend the day exploring the charming town. Where mountainous Stowe really shines is its hiking trails, with a range of options to suit every level of experience. Some take you to towering peaks, others end in waterfalls.
For beautiful fall views of Vermont's Green Mountains, you can ride the ferry across Lake Champlain. Another option is taking the Gondola Sky Ride at the Stowe Mountain Resort, for more beautiful aerial mountain views.
When you're done hiking, snack on some apple cider donuts. Stowe also has a romantic and picture perfect downtown. Its white steepled church is the focal point. Tiny Main Street is filled with boutiques, crafts stores, and antique shops. There are libraries, museums, theaters, and cultural organizations to keep your entertained.
Where to eat: Plate, Cliff House, Bistro at Ten Acres, Green Goddess Cafe
Where to stay: Stowe Mountain Lodge, Trapp Family Lodge