Fall Foliage in New England: The Most Beautiful Drives for Fall

Autumn is a magical time in New England

As the landscape’s color palette becomes flush with red, orange, and yellow hues, fall’s natural beauty makes it the perfect time to go on a road trip and witness the breathtaking fall foliage in New England. You’ll find yourself immersed in some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. In this guide, we’ll take you through the most scenic drives for fall foliage in New England, providing tips on the best routes, foliage maps, and must-see stops along the way. Hint: If you prefer everything planned for you, check out our guided tour here.

Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire

The Kancamagus Highway, also known as “The Kanc,” is one of the most famous routes for fall foliage in New England. Stretching 34 miles through the White Mountain National Forest, this scenic byway offers stunning views of the mountains, rivers, and forests adorned in autumn colors. Click here for a


  • Sabbaday Falls: A short hike leads to this lovely waterfall framed by the rich autumn foliage.
  • Rocky Gorge Scenic Area: Stop here for a beautiful view of the Swift River and its surrounding vibrant leaves
  • Hancock Overlook: This vantage point provides panoramic views of the White Mountains, making it a perfect spot for photography.


  • Timing: The peak foliage season usually occurs from late September to mid-October.
  • Foliage Maps: Use online foliage maps to track the best viewing times and locations.

Route 100, Vermont

Route 100 is an ideal New England drive, stretching over 200 miles from the Massachusetts border to the Canadian border. This route is renowned for its stunning New England scenic landscape and charming small towns.


  • Stowe: It is a must-visit town known for its beauty, shops, and restaurants.
  • Moss Glen Falls: A short walk from the road brings you to this stunning waterfall surrounded by vibrant fall colors.
  • Green Mountain National Forest: Drive through this expansive forest to experience the full spectrum of Vermont’s fall foliage.


  • Accommodations: Book your stay in advance, as fall is a popular time for tourists.
  • Local Events: Check out local harvest festivals and events in the towns along Route 100.

Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts

The Mohawk Trail is one of the oldest and most scenic routes in New England. Running for 63 miles through the Berkshires, this drive offers a mix of forested landscapes, charming villages, and historic landmarks.


  • Shelburne Falls: Visit the Bridge of Flowers, a former trolley bridge transformed into a floral walkway.
  • Mount Greylock: The highest point in Massachusetts, offering panoramic views of the surrounding foliage.
  • Hairpin Turn: This famous bend in the road provides a stunning overlook of the valley below.


  • Historical Sites: Explore the historical sites and museums along the trail to add a cultural touch to your road trip.
  • Scenic Stops: Plan plenty of stops to enjoy the viewpoints and take photographs.

Ocean Drive, Rhode Island

Ocean Drive in Rhode Island combines coastal scenery with autumn colors for a different take on fall foliage in New England. This 10-mile drive around Newport offers stunning views of the ocean, mansions, and historic landmarks. For more about New England’s charming coastal towns, check out our blog post “Charming Coastal Towns in New England


  • Brenton Point State Park: Enjoy this beautiful park’s blend of ocean views and colorful foliage.
  • The Breakers: Tour this grand mansion and its gardens, framed by the vibrant fall leaves.
  • Ocean Cliff Walk: A scenic walk along the cliffs offers stunning views of the coastline and foliage.


  • Timing: Early October is typically the best time to see the foliage in coastal Rhode Island.
  • Local Cuisine: Don’t miss out on enjoying fresh seafood at one of Newport’s many waterfront restaurants.

Acadia National Park Loop Road, Maine

Acadia National Park is a gem in New England, and its Loop Road offers some of the best views of the fall foliage in New England. This 27-mile drive takes you through the park’s most scenic areas, with plenty of opportunities for hiking and sightseeing.


  • Cadillac Mountain: Drive to the summit for a panoramic view of the park and surrounding islands, especially breathtaking at sunrise.
  • Jordan Pond: The clear waters of Jordan Pond reflect the surrounding foliage, making for a perfect photo opportunity.
  • Sand Beach: Enjoy the contrast of autumn colors against the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean.


  • Park Pass: Purchase your park pass in advance to avoid lines at the entrance.
  • Hiking Trails: Try different hiking trails to get up close to the park’s natural beauty.

Connecticut River Byway, Connecticut and Massachusetts

Following the course of the Connecticut River, this byway offers a mix of pastoral landscapes, historic towns, and vibrant fall foliage. The route runs for over 400 miles, but the section between Hartford, Connecticut, and Greenfield, Massachusetts, is particularly scenic.


  • Hadley and Sunderland Bridges: These historic bridges offer beautiful views of the river and surrounding foliage.
  • Historic Deerfield: Explore this living history museum and its beautifully preserved colonial homes.
  • Mount Sugarloaf: Hike or drive to the summit for a panoramic view of the Connecticut River Valley.


  • Antique Shops: Browse the antique shops along the route for unique finds.
  • Local Markets: Most towns also have small local markets that are worth the time to visit : )

Planning Your New England Road Trip

When planning a New England road trip to see the fall foliage in New England, it’s essential to consider timing, routes, and accommodations. Here are some tips to ensure a memorable and enjoyable journey:


The peak foliage season varies by location and year but generally falls between late September and mid-October. Use foliage maps to help plan your trip and catch the best colors.


Select your routes based on your interests, whether it’s coastal scenery, mountainous landscapes, or historic sites. The routes mentioned above are some of the best for experiencing the New England Scenic landscape.


Book accommodations well in advance, as fall is a popular time for travel in New England. Consider staying in charming bed and breakfasts, historic inns, or cozy cabins to enhance your experience.


Plan for a mix of driving and outdoor activities. Hiking, visiting local attractions, and attending fall festivals can add variety to your trip.


Carry some extra warm clothing to survive the variable autumn weather. Don’t forget your camera, binoculars, and a good pair of walking shoes.


Experiencing the fall foliage in New England through its scenic drives is a journey that offers unparalleled beauty and tranquility. Whether you’re winding through the White Mountains on the Kancamagus Highway, exploring Vermont’s Route 100, or enjoying the coastal views of Rhode Island’s Ocean Drive, the most scenic drives for fall foliage promise unforgettable memories.

If you want a completely guided tour by our expert team, contact us instead to take advantage of curated routes and insights into the best New England scenic landscape spots. Enjoy the vibrant colors, charming towns, and natural beauty that make New England a top destination for fall foliage enthusiasts.