This post is about: The only New England Fall road trip itinerary you’ll ever need. It will honestly make a Pumpkin Spice Latte lover’s heart beat right out of their chest. We’ll talk about tips for your New England fall foliage trip and more!
Ohhhhh, New England. You’re seriously missing out if you haven’t made the trek to see New England foliage yet. One of my very first fall road trips in New England was back in 2018.
During that road trip, my friends and I explored Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont for the most part. While those states don’t make up all of New England, seeing them was enough to convince me that NE is THE place to be for the fall season. I honestly can’t imagine spending time anywhere else in the United States for fall.
That’s why a year later, I convinced Scott to drive there with me in our campervan. I didn’t want to build up the suspense too much, but he was SHOCKED by the colors when we got to New England. He had never seen so many red, orange, and gold-colored fall foliage variations from Ohio.
Have I convinced you to go yet? Anyhow, in this blog, we’re going to cover quite a bit of information on fall road trips in New England. We’ll talk about what to see on your fall foliage road trip, itineraries for various date ranges, and my absolute best tips for making sure you catch all the foliage you’re hoping to see this year. Of all the East Coast fall road trips available, this one needs to be on your calendar.
Ready or not, bust out the pumpkin spice lattes and let’s goooooo!
Disclaimer: Hey, pumpkin spice lover! This blog contains affiliate links which means I earn a v small percentage of every purchase at no additional cost to you. These affiliate links help support me and my blog, but there is absolutely no pressure to use them!
Table of Contents
- New England Fall: Know Before You Go
- 10 Day New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary Starting in New York
- Fall Road Trip In New England Starting in Boston
- New England Fall Foliage Bonus Stops
- 5 Day New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary
- 3 Day New Hampshire Fall Foliage Trip
- Leaf Peeping New England Map
- Fall Trips to New England: My Final Thoughts
New England Fall: Know Before You Go
Before you start your New England fall road trip itinerary, whether it’s the ones suggested in this itinerary or another blog, there are a few things you MUST know about this portion of the United States East Coast.
Anything you have ever heard about New England is right: it is full of quaint tiny cabins, towns that look like Gilmore Girls takes place there, and some pretty unique places to see fall colors!
Planning Fall Road Trips in New England
Planning fall trips to New England can be a tricky business. You see, you’re playing with a season, and seasons can be unpredictable.
My advice: be as flexible as possible with your New England fall trips
You’ll want to keep an eye on the leaf monitors posted on Google to make sure you’re getting the most accurate reading of colors.
During our trip, we did so much driving around. Sometimes the leaves would change color overnight! So don’t get tied up in going to a single spot for New England fall foliage. Instead, have a general list of places you want to see and go from there.
Scott and I had a notes page on our iPhones with some ideas for fall road trips in New England juuuuuuuust in case one of our itinerary ideas didn’t work out. You learn to roll with the punches in a campervan – haha!
East Coast Fall Road Trip Pro Tip
Leaves tend to change north first and gradually work their way south. When in doubt, hit your most northern fall foliage destinations first and move down from there!
Also, the tourism boards for New England states have GREAT New England fall trackers that allow you to see when leaves may change color. They’re surprisingly accurate as well.
What is New England Anyways?
New England is a compilation of US states: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.
While we’ll primarily discuss New England foliage, I include some information about New York fall foliage here! New York is in proximity to these states, and quite frankly, NY’s fall scene will blow your mind too. In my opinion, if you’re following a New England fall road trip itinerary it should include the best of the best foliage locations on the East Coast – New York fall colors are a part of that.
When to Go on New England Fall Road Trips
Remember, our first rule of thumb for leaf peeping New England is to remain flexible, k?
HOWEVER, if you want your best shot at getting the most out of your fall trips to New England, plan to visit the area in early October. More specifically, the first and second weeks of October tend to be when the leaves peak in color.
Any earlier than that may result in you seeing a whole ton of green on your trip.
While I’ll be mapping out a suggested fall road trip in New England, the New England states are much smaller than those in other areas of the USA. So, if you need to, you’ll have the ability to hop around a bit to ensure you’ll catch the best fall foliage.
When is the Best Time to See Fall Colors in New England in 2021?
The best time to see fall colors in New England is beginning to mid-October. The peak time to see colors can change depending on how much water the trees received leading up to the fall season. A dry season can result in less vibrant leaves! That’s why I recommend keeping your eye on the New England peak fall foliage map. Looking at the map will be your best way to gauge when fall foliage is at its finest and, therefore, when to plan your New England fall road trip itinerary.
According to the map, New England fall foliage will peak in states like Maine, Northern Vermont, and New Hampshire as early as October 1st to 7th!
Which New England State has the Best Fall Foliage?
The New England State with the best fall foliage would have to be a tie between Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire! Each state has acres of trees that turn a vibrant red in the fall. But, of course, you’ll also see a healthy mix of gold and orange leaves there too. That’s precisely why each of those states is in this itinerary!
Ideal Length for Fall New England Trips
Okay, now listen, pumpkin spice lover, I will suggest something CRAZY here, but I have a reason for it. If you want the whole New England fall getaway package, go for 10 days.
I KNOW, crazy because who TF has that long to drive around and see the fall foliage? But hear me out: fall colors like this are a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing. Not many places in the United States have an autumn season as classic, romantic, vibrant, and awe-inducing as New England.
But don’t give up on me just yet; in this guide, I’m providing you with five-day and three-day fall road trips in New England too. You see? Your girl Dani will never leave you hanging.
New England Foliage: Getting to the Good Stuff
In my opinion, there are some different ways to go about your New England fall road trip. So let’s talk about what your journey might look like based on your starting point.
Manchester-Boston Regional Airport
DON’T GET IT TWISTED; this airport is in New Hampshire.
If time is of the essence and you don’t think you’ll have the opportunity to cram Massachusetts and New York fall foliage into your trip, skip all that and fly directly into New Hampshire. New Hampshire fall foliage is some of the best, and I’d rather have you start your trip there if needed!
The 5 day itinerary highlights this option.
Albany International Airport
Flying into Albany, NY, will allow you to see both New England foliage and New York fall foliage (my preference).
You can fly into Albany, head to New England then end your trip in New York.
Our 10 day itinerary will highlight this option for leaf peeping New England.
Your next option is to fly into JFK. During the first of my New England fall trips, I flew in and out of JFK. JFK had much better ticket prices at the time, but I also wanted to see fall foliage in New York.
However, distance-wise, JFK is a bit further from the New England locations we’ll be discussing in this blog.
Boston Logan International Airport
The final option is to fly into Boston Logan International Airport. The benefit of flying into Boston Logan International Airport is that you’ll have more of a straight shot to see New Hampshire fall foliage right away.
This option will also allow you to circle back down and catch Massachusetts fall foliage right before leaving.
You’ll find that a lot of folks choose to fly into Boston when planning an East Coast fall road trip because they’re closer to the coast and can make their journey a good mix of foliage and a good mix of beach – now someone tell Scott this so we can get to a damn beach, hahaha.
In our ten-day itinerary, we’ll discuss an option for a Boston start and end to your fall road trips in New England.
10 Day New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary Starting in New York
Below we’ll start discussing the extended and “ultimate” 10 day New England fall road trip itinerary you can take.
Our itinerary will start in New York, but I’ll provide an alternative for beginning your fall foliage adventure in Boston. That way, you have some options for your fall trips to New England.
Day 1: Transit Day – Arrive in NY and Drive to Berkshires, MA
After flying into New York and picking up your car, your New England foliage adventure will begin in the Berkshires, MA.
Exploring the Berkshires
As a first stop, you can head to Mount Greylock, the highest peak in Massachusetts, which stands at 3,489ft. Don’t worry; I’m not making you hike the very first day you get here. Instead, you can drive up to the top of Mount Greylock and admire the views from above.
Here is what your drive to the Berkshires will look like depending on where you fly into:
- Albany Airport to Mount Greylock – ~1hr 24min drive
- Boston Logan to Mount Greylock – ~2hr 53min
- JFK to Mount Greylock – ~3hr 40min
OF COURSE, if you’re arriving late to one of these locations, your best bet is to stay in one of the main cities for the night, then make your drive to the Berkshires to start your leaf peeping New England adventure.
Either way, Mount Greylock is an option, so Day 1 isn’t a complete damn wash.
Where to Stay Near The Berkshires
From my research, Adams and Williamstown will have decent options to stay for the night. To and from Mount Greylock, you’ll have stores like Walmart available and choices to eat out.
Berkshire Valley Inn is an option for accommodations when you arrive! However, if you want something a little cozier for the first night of your New England fall road trip itinerary, you can stay in a Carriage House, which will have a whole kitchen you can use for cooking!
Now, if you’re willing to spend a bit more, you can stay at the base of Mount Greylock in a pet-friendly home.
If camping is more your vibe, you’ll be a bit out of the way, but the Savoy Mountain State Forest has options for tent camping, car camping, and log cabins. You must reserve a spot ahead of time, though before choosing to camp here during your fall road trip in New England.
Where to Eat Near The Berkshires
Tomorrow will be one of the longer driving days because you’ll want to head to the White Mountains from here, so rest up!
Day 1 in Sum
- Arrive in New York and pick up car
- Drive to Berkshires, ~2hrs
- Visit Mount Greylock
- Stay in Berkshires, MA
Day 2: Berkshires to Lincoln, NH
After a first successful day of leaf-peeping FALL GOODNESS, your fall trip to New England will continue up to New Hampshire. Today will be about a 4hr driving day on our East Coast fall road trip, so plan accordingly!
Exploring En-Route to Lincoln, NH
Before leaving Massachusetts, you’ll drive the Mohawk Trail – one of the most scenic New England foliage drives in the Berkshires.
Next up is Lincoln, NH! Lincoln, NH is home to Franconia Notch State Park and the famous Kancamagus Highway, a popular leaf peeping New England spot.
Exploring Lincoln, NH & the Kancamagus Highway
Once you arrive in Lincoln, I suggest you jump on the Kancamagus Highway and take in the beautiful fall colors along the way! While driving through the Highway, you can make a stop at the famous Flume Gorge.
Flume Gorge is where you can visit the famous red Flume Covered Bridge, which, fun fact, covered bridges like this one are ‘kissing bridges’ because of the privacy they offer. To enter Flume Gorge, you should expect to pay around $18.
And if there is ONE thing you have to see on your New England fall road trip itinerary, it’s a classic covered bridge.
The Hancock Overlook is another excellent stop to consider. I’d also like to point out that if you plan on driving the entire Kancamagus Highway, expect to go 2-3hrs. The highway goes 37 miles through the White Mountains, and there are no gas stations or food options along the Highway.
However, tomorrow I’ll have you drive the Kancamagus Highway to one of my FAVORITE stops during all of my fall road trips in New England (so no rush to do all of this driving today).
An alternative to driving the Highway would be hiking Artist Bluff Trail for sunset. It’s in Franconia Notch State Park and about 15min north of Lincoln.
For the remainder of your day, I suggest exploring Lincoln, NH! It’s a quaint New England town that will 100% give you some Gilmore Girl vibes – haha!
Where to Stay in Lincoln, NH
Lincoln, New Hampshire, will be your first opportunity to explore some New England cabins in the fall! The Pemi Cabins are a popular choice in the area – they’re pet-friendly as well.
You can also rent a cabin nestled right in the White Mountains for some cozy New England fall foliage vibes.
The Holiday Lincoln Inn Express & Suites is another excellent choice if you’d instead go the hotel route during your fall trip to New England.
Where to Eat in Lincoln, NH
Day 2 in Sum
- Drive to Lincoln, New Hampshire
- Explore Kancamagus Highway
- Check out Flume Gorge and Hancock Overlook
- Walk around and explore more of Lincoln, NH
- Stay in Lincoln, NH
Day 3: Artist Bluff Trail, Kancamagus Highway, and Conway, NH
On Day 3 of your New England fall road trip itinerary, you’ll begin your leaf-peeping journey by hiking up Artist Bluff Trail.
Hiking Artist Bluff Trail
Didn’t hike this yesterday? Hike Artist Bluff Trail for some leaf peeping in New England this morning!
The trail is about 1.9miles round trip with very minimal elevation gain. This hike is where you will get the famous New England foliage view of Echo Lake. Warning: the trail gets SO windy at the top, so be prepared, lmao.
Coffee Shops in Lincoln, NH
Depending on when you did your hike, you can take a coffee pit stop (a MUST in my books) at Half Baked & Fully Brewed for a morning pastry and latte – hayyyyyy. The Moon Cafe & Bakery is CUTE AF too. So don’t miss out, fam. During your fall road trips in New England, you’ll find that the coffee shops are *chef’s kiss*.
Driving to Conway, NH via the Kancamagus Highway
And now, the fun part: we’re going to drive the Kancamagus Highway to Conway – YES. Okay, seriously, I need to take a second to talk about how Conway is the cutest damn place ever.
Conway breaks into multiple parts. As a result, you’ll likely find yourself exploring more of the North Conway area.
Scott and I have discussed moving here – haha! It’s like a New England Mountain town from your dreams with a little railroad *choo choo* and cute shops. I love the overall vibe of this place.
If you didn’t drive and stop at Hancock Overlook yesterday, you’d have the option to stop there today. Truthfully, during my fall trips to New England I wish I would have spent more time exploring the Kancamagus Highway, so take advantage of it while you’re here!
Exploring Conway, NH
Once you’re in Conway, I suggest walking around a bit! If you didn’t get coffee earlier, The Met is a great option. Also, you can check out the Conway Scenic Railroad.
Fall Hikes Around Conway, NH
If you’re in the mood for a short hike, Black Cap Trail is a fantastic option for seeing fall foliage! Black Cap Trail is about 610ft in elevation gain and a 2.3mi round trip, making it an easy stop as you work though your New England fall road trip itinerary.
Crawford Notch State Park is also in the area – you can save this for tomorrow’s leaf peeping New England adventures, though.
Where to Stay in Conway, NH
You’ll be staying in Conway for the night before taking off to see more New England foliage. The Scenic Inn of Conway is a decent budget-friendly (ish) option.
Where to Eat in Conway, NH
For veg eats (I’m plant-based, can you tell?) Table and Tonic has some great options (they’re in The Local Grocer)! I also LOVED going to The Local Grocer for some of the best little vegan chocolates when I went!
And then there’s the Valley Vegan Bakery like shut the front DOOOOOR UGH. They have vegan buffalo wings and pizza AND a peanut butter pie bar – I am deceased. Seriously, though, the food in Conway makes me wish I would’ve spent more time here during both of my fall road trips in New England. JUST SAYING.
Day 3 in Sum
- Spend the morning at Artist Bluff
- Drive the Kancamagus Highway to Conway
- Explore Conway
- Stay the night in Conway, NH
Day 4: Crawford Notch State Park
Ahhhh, another day on our East Coast fall road trip. Today we’re heading a little bit north and going to Crawford Notch State Park.
Hiking in Crawford Notch State Park
You’re going to want to make a stop in Crawford Notch State Park for a hike. I recommend the Mount Willard Trail for a jaw-dropping valley full of fall colors. The trail is approximately 3.2 miles round trip with 950ft of elevation gain.
You can also opt for a loop trail that goes to Frankenstein Cliffs. The colors will be so magical when you get to the top of the cliffs!
A famous railroad runs through the park, which is cool to photograph if you can time it right.
For the night, I suggest going to Conway again before we continue on our New England fall road trip itinerary.
Day 4 in Sum
- Drive to Crawford Notch State Park
- Visit: Mount Willard Trail or Frankenstein Cliffs
- Stay in Conway, NH
Day 5: Conway to Acadia National Park
Now here is where you’ll begin your trek to Acadia National Park. Don’t worry! While this is a 4hr drive, you don’t have to be anywhere until sunset hits. So if you have some time to spare, grab some food in Conway and some snacks for the road before continuing your leaf peeping New England adventures!
Exploring Acadia National Park
During this stop on your New England foliage trip, you’ll witness fall colors right on the coastline. I’ve honestly never seen anything like it before!
For sunset in Acadia National Park, I suggest visiting the classic Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse.
You may not see much New England fall foliage here, but it’s the easiest way to enjoy your first evening in Acadia National Park. Tomorrow you’ll do some fall hiking. And if you ask me, Maine in general has some of the best fall foliage I have ever seen during my fall road trips in New England.
Where to Stay in Bar Harbor
I suggest booking a place in Bar Harbor. For your stay, you can book a night at the Days Inn by Wyndham Bar Harbor. If it were me, though, I’d stay in a home near Acadia National Park. The Acadia Haven is in a great location in Bar Harbor and is budget-friendly too!
Where to Eat in Bar Harbor
For dinner, I recommend checking out Cafe This Way! They have something for everyone, from fresh lobster to a vegan burger! They also have a great breakfast menu, just saying.
Day 5 in Sum
- Drive to Acadia National Park
- See the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse for sunset
- Stay in Bar Harbor
Day 6: Acadia National Park
Now today is going to be a fun one! On day 6 of this New England Fall road trip itinerary, you’ll be exploring more of Acadia National Park.
Sunrise in Acadia National Park
While you’re exploring Acadia National Park in the fall, you may as well see the first sunrise in the USA! During October, the sun rises over Cadillac Mountain before anywhere else in the country, and for this reason, it’s a popular park attraction!
To ensure you get parking, head there about an hour before sunrise (staying in Bar Harbor will put you about 15min away).
After sunrise, I suggest driving 15min back into Bar Harbor for some breakfast! Jeannie’s Great Maine Breakfast is so damn cute and has a menu full of pancakes – sign me UP.
Hiking Jesup Path and Hemlock Path Loop
To pass some time, you can head to Jesup Path and Hemlock Path Loop! This is an AMAZING trail for seeing New England fall foliage. It is a 1.5mi round trip and pretty much flat the entire time.
The loop takes about 30-60min to complete.
Hiking Beehive Trail for Sunset in Acadia National Park
And now it’s time for sunset – hit that Beehive Trail! I have never seen fall colors on the coast in my life, so this trail blew my mind.
Beehive Trail is relatively short, sitting at about 1.5mi round trip. That’s a “bang for your buck” hike if you ask me. I should also note that this hike includes ladders, which adds to the adventure, hehehehe, but if that scares you, then skip this trail.
When I hiked Beehive Trail, rather than making a loop out of it, I went to the top of the cliff then back down the same way. It was easier to find the rental car that way since I was hiking back in the dark. If you’re not into sunset hikes, you can complete the Beehive Trail Loop any other time of day.
Either way, Beehive Trail is a must on your New England fall road trip itinerary! There aren’t many hikes like it in the USA.
Anyways, nuff said, this hike will blow your mind. Tomorrow you won’t have to be anywhere until sunset for your leaf peeping New England adventure, BUT this will be a long driving day since you’ll be heading back to New Hampshire. Rest up!
Day 6 in Sum
- Explore Cadillac Mountain, Jesup Path, Beehive Trail
- Stay in Bar Harbor
Day 7: Bar Harbor to Dixville Notch State Park
Day 7 will be another long driving day. You’ll be going back down to New Hampshire to explore more fall colors in the White Mountains. However, IT’LL BE WORTH THE DRIVE, I PROMISE.
Exploring Dixville Notch State Park
Here comes another spot I fell in LOVE with on my fall road trips in New England: Dixville Notch State Park.
Since you don’t have to be anywhere until sunset, you could take your time getting here. However, you also could drive to Colebrook early (about 15min from Dixville Notch), check into your hotel, get something to eat, then make your way towards your sunset hike: Table Rock.
I would like to note that Colebrook is a small town. Some shops and restaurants close early, so this may be a good time to stop at a grocery store for snacks or food you can eat in your hotel room!
Hiking Table Rock New Hampshire
Now let’s talk about this New England fall foliage hike! The trail for Table Rock is about 1.5 miles round trip and has been called one of the best hikes for New Hampshire fall foliage!
Table Rock is officially the best hike I’ve done during my East Coast fall road trips! The view sits above Lake Gloriette and is a short 1.5mi trail. The only downside to this hike is that it is relatively steep in a very short distance (about 750ft in elevation gain).
The parking lot for Table Rock is SMALL. I would plan to be there about 1 to 1.5hrs before sunset. This is what I did when Scott and I hiked Table Rock. Getting to the trailhead early gave us more time to relax at the top!
We imagine Table Rock would look equally as great for sunrise, so if that worked out better for your New England fall road trip itinerary, you could go that route.
Not in the mood for a hike? You can also make a pit stop at Lake Gloriette, the lake you get a view of by hiking Table Rock.
Where to Stay in Colebrook
Where to Eat in Colebrook
When you finish your hike, I suggest going to Colebrook and grabbing some dinner. House of Pizza is a popular food option.
Tomorrow you’ll be heading into Stowe, Vermont, which will be about a 2hr drive. So you won’t have to be up super early to continue your leaf peeping New England adventure. However, you may want to explore Stowe mid-morning/ early afternoon time. It can get BUSY once the clock strikes noon making parking difficult to find. Plan accordingly!
Day 7 in Sum
- Drive to Dixville Notch State Park
- Visit Dixville Notch & hike Table Rock
- Stay in Colebrook, NH
Day 8: Colebrook, NH to Stowe, VT, and Smugglers Notch
I’ve already explained this, but expect the drive from Colebrook to Stowe, Vermont, to be about 2hrs. If you’re rolling your eyes at the thought of driving, well, a) this is a road trip, and b) Stowe, Vermont is CUTE AF. Like, come on, this is the one New England town EVERYONE talks about. So you have to be excited to go. It’s a must-see on your fall road trip in New England.
Things to do in Stowe, Vermont for Fall
Let’s discuss Stowe, VT, a little bit more.
Coffee Shops in Stowe, VT
More Fall Fun in Stowe, VT
Stowe is full of cute shops and quirky activities like corn mazes. Did I mention you can drive to an APPLE CIDER MILL WHERE YOU CAN HAVE APPLE CIDER? Scott and I love Cold Hollow Cider Mill and would recommend it to anyone as a stop on their New England fall road trip itinerary.
It is also home to one of the longest ziplines in the country! My suggestion would be to spend the whole day in Stowe or explore Smugglers’ Notch State Park.
Smugglers’ Notch State Park
Smuggler’s Notch is a pass that goes through Vermont, which has some of the most fantastic New England views! It is spectacular in the sense that it has substantial fall-colored mountains along its sides. When you finish exploring, spend the night in Stowe.
Where to Stay in Stowe, VT
Can I suggest something for Stowe? Spend some damn money on a BOUJIE hotel. Look, I am all about budgeting, but I feel like Stowe, Vermont, is a great place to splurge. This is a bucket list type town, and there are some beautiful resorts there.
If you want to use this day to explore Stowe, Vermont, get some bomb @$$ fall foliage views, and maybe a facial, splurge a bit on the Topnotch Resort. The rooms are pricey, but like look at the spa.
The Stowehof is another beautiful property but operates at a more reasonable price point!
Now, if you’re over there like, “Dani, I want a damn cabin,” I got you. You can stay in a beautiful A-Frame in Stowe. You can also stay in a modern A-Frame near the heart of Stowe. The Timberholm Inn is another excellent option for cabin vibes – a must on your leaf peeping New England adventure.
Where to Eat in Stowe, VT
Day 8 in Sum
- Drive to Stowe
- Explore Stowe, Smugglers Notch
- Stay in Stowe, VT
Day 9: Stowe to Lake Placid and the Adirondacks
I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that the Adirondacks are a MUST on your New England fall road trip. Yes, I know, New York is not part of the Adirondacks, but they’re a must-see on the east coast.
The drive from Stowe, VT to the Lake Placid, NY area will be about 2hrs.
Explore Lake Placid, NY, and the Adirondacks
You can explore the Lake Placid area when you get here or go deeper into the High Peaks Wilderness and hike Indian Pass and Heart Lake Loop Trail. It’s a little over a mile and is a GORGEOUS fall foliage hike! You can read about parking for the trailhead on the Lake Placid website.
Mirror Lake is another popular destination in the area.
Another hike I highly recommend you do is Indian Head and Rainbow Falls. It’s an easy 11mi hike that will lead to a stunning fjord-type formation surrounded by fall colors!
Other Things to do Around Lake Placid for Fall
You can also go apple picking at Apple Jack’s Orchard – probably one of my favorite fall activities!
OR if you want an authentic New England fall foliage adventure, you can get a view of the foliage from above by booking a scenic flight with Payne’s Air Service.
Where to Stay in Lake Placid, NY
From other’s recommendations, staying in the Lake Placid reason will give you the most accommodation options. The Mirror Lake Inn is a popular option. It’s more on the expensive side, but the views are amazing! Cobble Mountain Lodge is less costly and cute AF.
Where to Eat in Lake Placid, NY
For food, I suggest capping off your last official day in your fall road trip in New England with a drink and some food at Lisa G’s! They have vegan and non-vegan options plus a full bar.
Tomorrow will be a trail day back to Albany, New York!
Day 9 in Sum
- Drive to Lake Placid
- Explore: Heart Lake or Indian Head (Adirondacks)
- Stay: Lake Placid, NY
Day 10: Lake Placid to Albany, NY
Now it’s time to wrap up our New England fall road trip! Gahhhhh, I can’t believe it.
This day is short and sweet. You’ll be making the 2hr drive back to Albany, New York, where you might be departing, or you will stay the night then leave the next day.
Either way, plan your travel accordingly! If you have time to grab coffee before leaving Lake Placid, I suggest trying The Coffee Bar! The lake views from here are *chef’s kiss* and will be a great way to cap off your leaf peeping New England adventure.
Otherwise, that’s a wrap on our New England fall itinerary!
Day 10 in Sum
- Drive to Albany, NY
- Stay in Albany, NY, or depart
Fall Road Trip In New England Starting in Boston
Alternatively, you can arrive at the Boston-Logan International Airport and drive 2hrs to Lincoln, NH.
You can still drive the Mohawk Trail if you have some time to kill! For your first night, you’d be staying in Lincoln (which would add an extra night in Lincoln).
You would then proceed with days: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Finally, on day 9, you can drive to Boston, stopping in Woodstock, VT on the way (to see the Sleepy Hollow Farm) to your Boston accommodations.
Day 9 would be a 3hr drive day! Finally, on day 10, you can explore Boston, MA, and get ready to depart!
New England Fall Foliage Bonus Stops
Want to switch things up or add additional destinations to your fall road trips in New England? This section is for you!
Sleepy Hollow Farm in Woodstock, VT
After spending the day in Stowe, you can head over to the Sleepy Hollow Farm for the day. It’s possibly one of the most photogenic farms in Vermont. The best part? The farm is less than an hour from Stowe, so you don’t have to drive too far!
Spend the night in Stowe or stay in Woodstock. If you can, I recommend exploring Woodstock during the day. You’ll get to enjoy some hella New England vibes and great coffee (like at Soulfully Good Cafe).
Depending on how much time you have on your New England fall road trip itinerary after your Woodstock adventure, you can head back to Stowe or make your way to your departure city.
- Woodstock, VT to Manchester, NH – ~1.5hrs
- Woodstock, VT to Albany, NY – ~2hrs 40min
- Woodstock, VT to JFK – 4hrs 20min (would recommend seeing some fall foliage in MA and CT if this is your route)
- Woodstock, VT to Boston – ~2.5hrs
Connecticut Fall Foliage
If you’re looking to switch it up a bit, add Connecticut to your list! During your East Coast fall road trip, you can opt in to take Route 9 through the Connecticut River Valley.
And if you want a unique way to see fall colors, take a ride on the historic Essex Steam Train! The Essex will take you on a scenic journey through some of the most beautiful fall views Connecticut has to offer.
For an authentic leaf peeping New England experience, try a fall foliage cruise (available in other New England states too.
Portland, Maine Fall Foliage
There is so much to do in Portland, Maine, that it’s a great place to see New England fall foliage! You can go apple picking or even take a tour of a Sugar House where a farmer will let you try some of their fresh maple syrup.
For example, the Merrifield Farm and Sugar Shack has maple cotton candy and fresh vanilla ice cream with maple syrup visitors can buy. Of course, you can get pancakes here too!
Catskills, New York Fall Foliage
This region ended up being one of my favorite spots during my fall road trips in New England! The Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway is a great place to end your fall foliage adventure.
Minnewaska State Park will make all your leaf-peeping dreams come true! But, of course, you can also choose to hike to Kaaterskill Falls.
If you’re into cabin vibes, I suggest booking a stay at Casa Minnewaska for the night. It is spacious and has a hot tub, one of my favorite ways to end a long trip.
The Lake Minnewaska area is about 2hrs from both the Albany airport and JFK.
Finger Lakes Area
In New York, I suggest visiting Taughannock Falls State Park or Watkins Glen at some point on your New England fall road trip itinerary. Both of these stops are in the Finger Lakes National Forest area. It’s a bit out of the way but could be worth the visit if you want to explore more of New York.
5 Day New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary
If you’re going to make a shorter New England fall foliage trip, I recommend flying into Manchester, NH, and focusing your time and efforts on seeing New Hampshire and Vermont.
In that case, fly into Manchester, NH, and drive about 1hr to Lincoln, NH. From there, you will spend the next five days exploring.
An itinerary like that would roughly include Days: 2, 3, 4, and 8. If you end in Stowe, you’ll have about a 2.5hr drive back to the Manchester area. I would therefore skip Dixville Notch.
Here’s a rough itinerary outline for you:
- Arrive in Manchester, NH
- Drive to Lincoln, NH
- Explore Kancamagus Highway
- Drive to Conway, NH
- Stay in Conway, NH
2.5hr driving day
- Hike Black Cap Trail
- Explore Conway (option to drive to Crawford Notch)
- Stay in Conway, NH
1.5hr driving day with Crawford Notch or 41min without
- Drive to Stowe, VT
- Explore Stowe, VT
- Option to explore Smugglers Notch State Park
- Stay in Stowe, VT
2.5hr driving day
- Drive to Woodstock, VT
- Explore Woodstock and Sleepy Hollow Farm
- Stay in Woodstock, VT
1.5hr driving day
- Drive from Woodstock, Vt to Manchester, NH (about 1.5hr)
- Depart or stay
3 Day New Hampshire Fall Foliage Trip
If you only have three days to work with for a fall road trip in New England and don’t feel like rushing around, I suggest exploring New Hampshire fall foliage. You can spend three days going around the White Mountains and see so much! You can certainly drive to Stowe for a day trip from Conway (about a 2.5hr drive to get to Stowe, VT).
A road trip like this would probably look similar to days: 1, 2 and 3 of the 5-day itinerary. The White Mountains are a must for leaf peeping in New England!
Leaf Peeping New England Map
So how do we put all these fantastic New England fall foliage spots together? Below is a map that includes all of the destinations I listed for the ten-day New England fall road trip and the bonus locations.
I have created different map layers for a 10 day road trip starting in Boston and a 5 day leaf peeping New England adventure beginning in Manchester, NH.
And finally, I have created a layer with the recommended places mentioned in this blog!
Fall Trips to New England: My Final Thoughts
I have PACKED this New England fall road trip itinerary with some of my best fall color recommendations. Whether you’re a fellow PSL lover or just a fan of autumn, I genuinely hope you enjoy your tEast Coast fall road trip!
If you use any of my leaf-peeping recommendations, let me know in the comments!
And remember, stay FLEXIBLE with your trip!