What do fiery oranges, sultry yellows, candy-apple reds, quaint cabins, and Gilmore Girl towns all have in common? New England in the fall.
The best way to experience all that and more is with a New England fall road trip itinerary.
So in this post, we’re going to spill all the tea (or pumpkin spice?) on how to pull off the best NE itinerary including information I’ve gathered from three separate New England fall trips I’ve taken over the years.
We’ll cover multiple itineraries: 10 days, 5 days, and 3 days—mainly focused on Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine (maps included).
To start, we need to cover some must-know planning details before you embark on your trip!
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Planning Your New England Fall Road Trip
Let’s start with a quick peep at some planning 101’s.
Where is New England📍 — New England is a compilation of US states: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.
States with the Best Foliage🍁 — New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont—all covered in this post.
When to Go❓ — Late September, Mid-October—First week of October is usually a good ballpark.
Trip Length⏰ — 10 days is ideal—5 to 7 is great too (all covered in this post)
Now, we need to dive into my top “need to knows” for planning your trip.
When is the Best Time to See Fall Colors in New England in 2023?
The best time to see fall colors in New England is beginning to mid-October.
After three years of experience, I have always had the best luck exploring the first week of October.
The peak time to see colors can change depending on how much water the trees receive leading up to the fall season. A dry season can result in less vibrant leaves!
Insider Tip: As you plan, keep a daily eye on the New England peak fall foliage map—which leads us to the next must-know.
Fall Colors Are (Semi) Unpredictable
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.
Daily, you’ll want to keep an eye on the leaf monitors to ensure you’re getting the most accurate reading of colors.
During my trips, I found that sometimes the leaves would change color overnight!
Insider Tip: 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. This blog will provide you with plenty of options!
Choosing Your Starting Point
My favorite trips have always been a loop, beginning in NY, heading North, and ending in New York’s Adirondacks.
I want to make sure you have options, though.
So first, we’ll cover a 10-day itinerary from Albany, NY. Then as a bonus, we’ll cover starting from Boston (in case you want to do that instead).
Let’s start with the Albany itinerary.
Insider Tip: Leaves tend to change north first and gradually work their way south. When in doubt, hit your northern fall foliage destinations first and move down!
10-Day New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary Starting in New York
- Day 1 — Arrive in Albany, NY ; Berkshires
- Day 2 — White Mountains ; Kancamagus Highway
- Day 3 — Franconia Notch State Park
- Day 4 — Crawford Notch State Park
- Day 5 — Acadia National Park
- Day 6 — Acadia National Park
- Day 7 — Dixville Notch State Park
- Day 8 — Stowe, VT ; Smuggler’s Notch
- Day 9 — Lake Placid, NY ; Adirondacks
- Day 10 — Head to Albany, NY
Below is a map that includes all the destinations I listed for the ten-day New England fall road trip and the bonus locations we’ll cover later.
The map has layers for our alternative itineraries (coverd later), recommended things to do, and places to eat we’ll cover in this post!
You can thank me later ;).
Let’s dive in! Each day has its own list of things to do, places to eat, and where to stay.
Day 1 — Berkshires, MA
Day 1 in Sum (Total Drive Time: ~2 hours)
- Morning: Arrive in New York and pick up car
- Afternoon: Drive to Berkshires, ~2hrs
- Evening: Visit Mount Greylock
- Stay: Tourists, The Williams Inn
Now let’s look at the details!
I suggest arriving to Albany the evening before day one OR early to late afternoon on day 1.
This way, you have enough time to drive to the Berkshires and explore the area.
Insider Tip: I love this itinerary so much because starting in Albany allows you to explore the NY Adirondacks too (we discuss this in the post)!
Your drive to the Berkshires from Albany, NY, will be about 1 hour and 20 minutes—it’s a great place to start the fall fun!
Start by heading 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.
Drive up to the top of Mount Greylock and admire the fall views from above!
For food in the area, Korean Garden is the place for tasty Asian dishes!
Another option is Pera Bistro which offers a Mediterranean menu.
Insider Tip: To and from Mount Greylock, you’ll have stores like Walmart available in case you need supplies and snacks!
Where to Stay Near The Berkshires
Adams and Williamstown are where you’ll find amazing mountain resorts tucked away in the woods—perfect for fall.
Here’s a quick list of places you’d like:
Tourists ($$$) — Luxury accommodations that will make you think you’ve just entered the mountain escape of your dreams. Pet friendly, great food, great music, even BETTER vibes.
The Williams Inn ($$$) — Luxury hotel nestled in the mountains that will make you feel like east coast royalty. Great for couples with spacious, clean rooms and super cozy beds—check out the bar and The Log restaurant!
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.
Insider Tip: 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 2 — White Mountains, New Hampshire
Day 2 in Sum (Total Drive Time: ~5 hours)
- Morning: Drive the Mohawk Trail Scenic Drive
- Afternoon: Drive to White Mountains, New Hampshire
- Late Afternoon: Explore Kancamagus Highway
- Stay: The Stonehurst Manor, Ledge & Lake Chalet, North Conway Grand Hotel
If day one didn’t satisfy your hunger for pumpkin spice and fall vibes, day two will!
Drive the Mohawk Trail
Before leaving Massachusetts, you’ll drive the Mohawk Trail—one of the most scenic New England foliage drives!
The entire trail stretches about 69 miles.
The drive includes plenty of mountainside vistas that’ll make you fall in love with MA—see what I did there ;).
After 4 hours, you’ll arrive in Lincoln, NH — a town in New Hampshire’s White Mountains and a well-known hub for visitors.
Alternative: None of that your vibe? Black Mtn Burger Co is another popular place to eat in Lincoln, NH!
Explore the Kancamagus Highway
Today, you’ll explore some popular attractions along the Kancamagus Highway!
Driving the entire Kancamagus Highway takes about an hour.
The Highway goes 37 miles through the White Mountains, starting in Lincoln, NH, and ending in Conway, NH (where you’ll be staying next).
Unfortunately, there are no gas stations or food options along the Highway, so bring snacks!
All vehicles must pay a $5 entrance fee. You can read more online at KancamagusHighway.com
Here are a couple of my favorite stops:
Hancock Overlook—Located along the Kancamagus Hairpin Turn, Hancock Overlook will seriously leave you in awe with its view of rolling hills and mountains COVERED in vibrant fall foliage.
Sabbaday Falls—One of New Hampshire’s most visited waterfalls!
Insider Tip: Lincoln, NH is pretty small, so you’ll be better off driving the entire Highway and staying in the Conway, NH, area.
A MUST on your drive is to stop at what’s called Flume Gorge.
It’s famous for its red covered bridge which makes a great photo spot.
To enter Flume Gorge, you’ll have to pay $18 (if you grab your pass online).
In-person passes are $21. Click here for more details!
Fun Fact: covered bridges are known as “kissing bridges” because of their privacy. Make your way through the Highway until you reach Conway.
Where to Stay in Conway, NH
Conway, NH is a fairly big city and you’ll probably find more things to do in the North Conway area.
So when considering accommodations, try to stay there!
Here are some places to consider:
The Stonehurst Manor ($$$)—A glorious mansion in North Conway where you’ll enjoy a romantic-style room complete with a fireplace! With your stay you can enjoy free dinner and breakfast.
Ledge & Lake Chalet ($$)—A cozy chalet nestled in the White Mountains. Enjoy a fall foliage view from your windows before taking a short walk to Echo Lake!
North Conway Grand Hotel ($$)—A great hotel with everything you could ask for! Enjoy the spa, pool, and proximity to outdoor adventures. You can even cozy up in a king room complete with a personal hot tub (if that’s your style).
Insider Tip: Want a cabin getaway? Check out this guide: Cozy Cabin Rentals in North Conway, NH
Day 3 — Franconia Notch State Park (Amazing New England Fall Road Trip Sunrise)
Day 3 in Sum (Total Drive Time: ~2 hours)
- Morning: Artist Bluff
- Afternoon: Explore Franconia Notch State Park
- Evening: Check out more of North Conway
- Stay: The Stonehurst Manor, Ledge & Lake Chalet, North Conway Grand Hotel
On Day 3 of your New England fall road trip itinerary you’ll get to see the popular Franconia Notch State Park and explore one of my favorite New Hampshire towns: Conway—woohoo!
Hiking Artist Bluff Trail
First stop: Artist Bluff Trail for some leaf peeping in New England this morning!
I’ve gone here for sunrise in the past, but a mid-morning hike is a great choice too!
The drive here from Conway will be about 1 hour, but it’s worth it!
The trail is about 1.9 miles round trip with very minimal elevation gain.
Artist Bluff is where you will get the famous New England foliage view of Echo Lake — prepare for your jaw to DROP. I mean, just look at the pictures.
Insider Tip: The trail gets SO windy at the top, so don’t wear anything that can fly away.
Franconia Notch State Park
After your hike, take some time to explore the rest of the park!
Below are some attractions to consider:
Echo Lake Beach—You already saw the lake from above. Now go explore the fall-covered shoreline! Click here to book parking reservations—parking is limited.
Hike More Trails—Lonesome Lake Trail, Mt. Pemigewasset Trail, and the Appalachian Trail are more fall hikes you can enjoy.
Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway—Enjoy fall views from 4,000 feet in the sky! Taking the sky tram up Cannon Mountain will give you views of New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, AND Canada.
This is a pretty scenic area of New Hampshire—I enjoyed just driving around!
Insider Tip: If you don’t have time to see too much, I at least recommend exploring Echo Lake — it’s just too pretty!
North Conway, NH
After your adventures, head to North Conway.
Since you already explored the Highway yesterday, you can go straight through!
North Conway, New Hampshire like the New England mountain town of your dreams, complete with a little railroad *choo choo* and boutique shops.
It’s a gem nestled in the White Mountains.
Surrounded by endless trees that go orange in the fall, North Conway is the perfect place to snack on pumpkin spice everything while you cozy up in oversized knit scarves and sweaters.
So, duhhhhhh, it has to be a stop on your itinerary.
You can shop, eat, or hang out at Schouler Park—a large grassy area perfect for a picnic.
Make time to check out the Conway Scenic Railroad.
If you didn’t get coffee earlier, The Met is the place to be! Want something sweet to end your day?
I also recommend you check out the White Mountain Cupcakery! Chocolate peanut butter cupcakes— SIGN ME UP.
Black Cap Trail (Optional)
If you’re in the mood for another hike, Black Cap Trail is great for fall foliage!
Black Cap Trail is about 610ft in elevation gain and a 2.3 miles round trip.
At the top, you’ll have sweeping mountain views of the Presidential Range.
You’ll stay in Conway again—tomorrow will be your last night here!
Insider Tip: Black Cap is a pretty easy hike, so if you didn’t feel like doing Artist Bluff Earlier, this is a great alternative.
Day 4—Crawford Notch State Park (My Fave New England Fall Foliage Stop)
Day 4 in Sum (Total Drive Time: ~1.5 hours)
- Morning: Drive to Crawford Notch State Park
- Afternoon: Visit Mount Willard Trail
- Late Afternoon: Frankenstein Cliffs & other major attractions
- Stay: The Stonehurst Manor, Ledge & Lake Chalet, North Conway Grand Hotel
Today we’re heading a little bit north and going to Crawford Notch State Park where you’ll be deep in the White Mountains—prime spot for fall colors!
Crawford Notch State Park Hiking
Crawford Notch makes up a large pass that carves straight through the White Mountains.
In New Hampshire’s smallest town, Hart’s Location, Crawford Notch State Park, is the hidden mountain gem you didn’t know you needed in your life.
If everything aligns, you could see peak fall colors here, which is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Fall will paint the trees with the most intense red color, leaving any fall lover speechless!
One of the best parts about Crawford is that you can bring your furry friends there!
On my last trip to NE, I brought my pup along, and he LOVED this portion of the White Mountain National Forest.
And if you’re heading to Crawford Notch, you must do at least one hike!
That’s the best way to see the colors.
Here are a couple of trails to consider:
Mount Willard Trail—Hike for a jaw-dropping valley full of fall colors. The trail is approximately 3.2 miles round trip with 950ft of elevation gain.
Frankenstein Cliffs—A more challenging trail that will take you to Arethusa Falls. Some parts of the trail will take you close to parts of the park’s railroad (Frankenstein Trestle)!
Insider Tip: Since the park lines a small section of the White Mountain Highway, it’s pretty easy to get around.
Crawford Notch Scenic Stops
If hiking isn’t your thing, though, there are plenty of other neat fall experiences you can enjoy here:
Enjoy a Scenic Overlook—You can enjoy tons of overlooks and pullouts as you drive around Crawford. Some have views of fall foliage along the Saco Rover (the river that lines the whole park).
Ride the Conway Scenic Railroad—From Crawford Station, you can ride the Conway Scenic Railroad’s Mountaineer route, which is a ridiculously scenic fall ride through the mountains.
Go Back in Time at Willey House—Visit the historical Willey House and look at old park photographs, eat ice cream, or enjoy the surrounding outdoor scenery.
Saco River—Enjoy exploring the Saco River and the gorgeous foliage around it!
Insider Tip: For the night, you’ll stay in Conway again before we continue on your New England fall road trip itinerary—Maine is up next and it’ll be a longer drive!
Day 5—Acadia National Park, Maine
Day 5 in Sum (Total Drive Time: ~4 hours)
- Morning: Drive to Acadia National Park
- Afternoon: Bar Harbor
- Evening: Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse for sunset
- Stay: The Primrose, The Inn on Mount Desert, Bar Harbor Grand Hotel
Today’s leg of the road trip will take you all the way up to Maine!
Bar Harbor, Maine
Maine has to be one of my favorite states for New England fall foliage because you get a unique mix of autumn colors and ocean views.
While this is a 4-hour 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!
And the drive up to Acadia will be beautiful!
You’ll be in the mountains LITTERED with fall colors—ooo la laaa!
Bar Harbor is a town on Mount Desert Island, surrounded by gorgeous cliffs and the ocean.
Known for its stunning coastal vibes and boating, Bar Harbor is the perfect place to enjoy a lobster roll after a full day of exploring the park.
If that sounds like your vibe, you must check out The Travelin Lobster!
You’ll spend two nights in Bar Harbor—the gateway to Acadia National Park.
Insider Tip: While you’re here, I recommend you take a tour around Bar Harbor and Acadia NP!
Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse
For your first sunset in Acadia National Park, I suggest visiting the classic Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse.
Bass Harbor Head was constructed in 1858 and was considered significant for its aid, making transportation possible in Maine.
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.
Expect parking to be limited and hectic!
For dinner, I recommend checking out Cafe This Way!
They have something for everyone, from fresh lobster to a vegan burger!
Cafe This Way also has a great breakfast menu, just saying.
Insider Tip: Bass Harbor Head is a popular photography spot but a must-see for visiting the park—plan to get here almost an hour before sunset.
Where to Stay in Bar Harbor
The hotels in Bar Harbor are just as dreamy as the views—check them out:
The Primrose ($$)—An elegant hotel where you’ll be just a mile from Acadia! The Victorian-style rooms will leave you in awe, but so will the fluffy pumpkin pancakes!
The Inn on Mount Desert ($$)—A charming guest home is an adorable Bar Harbor neighborhood. You’ll love staying here for its proximity to downtown and cozy beds that practically hug you to sleep.
Bar Harbor Grand Hotel ($$)—A gorgeous hotel property modeled after the elegant 19th century Bar Harbor homes that used to line the city. It’s centrally located to the beach, park, and downtown—everything is within walking distance!
You’ll start tomorrow with a sunrise mission, so get plenty of rest!
Day 6—Acadia National Park
Day 6 in Sum (Total Drive Time: ~1 hour)
- Morning: Adventure through Acadia National Park
- Afternoon: Cadillac Mountain, Jesup Path
- Evening: Beehive Trail for sunset
- Stay: The Primrose, The Inn on Mount Desert, Bar Harbor Grand Hotel
Today will be your time to see as many things to do in Acadia National Park as possible!
While 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, so it’s a popular park attraction!
Staying in Bar Harbor will put you about 15 minutes away.
After sunrise, I suggest driving 15 minutes back into Bar Harbor for some breakfast! Try Jordan’s Restaurant!
Insider Tip: To ensure you get parking, head there about an hour before sunrise.
Hiking Jesup Path and Hemlock Path Loop
In the afternoon, head to Jesup Path and Hemlock Path Loop!
It’s an AMAZING trail for seeing New England fall foliage.
The trail is only 1.5 miles round trip and pretty much flat the entire time.
The loop takes about 30-60 minutes to complete, and you’ll walk along tall trees covered in color the entire time.
If you’re not up for going on Jesup, try one of these awesome things to do:
3-Hour Private Tour—Take a private tour that’ll bring you through the best of what the park has to offer including Park Loop Road, Cadillac Mountain, and Sand Beach!
Foodie Tour—Spend the afternoon exploring Bar Harbor and eat your heart out! This highly rated foodie tour will have you eating lobster rolls, crab cakes and more.
Bike Around—See all of Acadia’s best views by biking around! Rent an e-bike and you’ll get to explore the entire park on your own time all while enjoying a breezy ride through fall colors.
You can also just explore more of Bar Harbor!
Insider Tip: You don’t have to hike the entire Jesup Path if you don’t want to— turn around at any point!
Beehive Trail for Sunset
Beehive Trail is relatively short, sitting at about 1.5 miles round trip, and will take you up a cliffside where you’ll see coastal views and an ocean of fall colors.
You can make a loop out of the hike or turn around at the top of the main cliff.
When I hiked Beehive Trail, rather than making a loop out of it, I went to the top of the cliff and then back down the same way.
It was easier to navigate back to the car since the trail was pretty dark after the sun went down.
So pro tip, bring a headlamp for your sunset excursion!
Insider Tip: I should also note that this hike includes ladders, which adds to the adventure, hehehehe, but if that scares you, then skip this trail.
Jordan Pond (Alternative)
An alternative would be to head to Jordan Pond and hike a 3.3-mile moderate loop around it.
You can get there by parking at the Jordan Pond parking lot on Park Loop Road.
Parking can get busy, so you’ll still have to get there early.
At Jordan Pond, you’ll get views of The Bubbles, two identical mountain formations that (you guessed it) look like bubbles—they’ll be covered in fall foliage!
Insider Tip: 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.
Day 7—Dixville Notch State Park (Best New England Fall Foliage Sunset Hike)
Day 7 in Sum (Total Drive Time: ~4 hours)
- Morning: Relax and eat in Bar Harbor, Maine
- Afternoon: Drive to Dixville Notch State Park
- Evening: Visit Dixville Notch, hike Table Rock
- Stay: Northwoods House, Home with a View, Private Cabin
Dixville Notch is pretty out of the way, but trust me when I say the trail you’ll be exploring is a once-in-a-lifetime hike.
Tonight, you’ll be staying in Colebrook, NH.
There isn’t a whole lot going on in this part of New Hampshire, but Colebrook will have everything you need to fuel up for the next leg of the trip.
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 stay, get something to eat, then make your way towards your sunset hike: Table Rock.
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
It’s one of the best hikes for New Hampshire fall foliage, and it’s easy to see why—look at the pics!
The view sits above Lake Gloriette and is a short 1.5-mile trail.
The only downside to this hike is that it is relatively steep in a very short distance (about 750ft in elevation gain). If you’re weak on the knees, bring trekking poles.
The parking lot for Table Rock is SMALL—plan to be there about 1 to 1.5 hours before sunset.
Getting to the trailhead early will give you more time to relax at the top!
When you finish your hike, I suggest going to Colebrook and grabbing some dinner; House of Pizza is a popular food option.
Not in the mood for a hike? You can also make a pit stop at Lake Gloriette to have a shoreline view of the colors.
Insider Tip: I imagine Table Rock would look equally great for sunrise, so if that works out better for your New England fall road trip itinerary, you could go that route.
Where to Stay in Colebrook
For accommodations, Vrbo could be your best bet. Check out these rentals:
Northwoods House ($$)—Stay in this cozy, updated home nestled in the woods! After you explore for the day, you can come back to this home away from home and watch Netflix while you snuggle up on your extra comfy king bed. Pet-friendly.
Home with a View ($$$)—Breakfast and panoramic views of fall colors? Sign me up! Enjoy incredible views of NH from above while you make breakfast, sit on the patio, or look out your window—pictures don’t do it justice.
Private Cabin ($$)—Escape to the woods in this private cabin. A great property to stay for the night while you fall asleep to the sounds of the running stream.
Insider Tip: Tomorrow you’ll be heading into Stowe, Vermont, which will be about a 2 hour drive, so you won’t have to be up super early to continue your leaf peeping New England adventure!
Day 8—Stowe, VT and Smugglers Notch
Day 8 in Sum (Total Drive Time: ~3 hours)
- Morning: Drive to Stowe
- Afternoon: Explore Stowe, VT attractions
- Evening: Smugglers Notch
- Stay: The Stowehof Hotel, Timberholm Inn, Green Mountain Inn
I know I’ve talked about pumpkin spice, Gilmore Girls, and fall vibes a lot, but this place feels like it is meant to celebrate fall and ONLY FALL. You’ll see.
Things to do in Stowe, Vermont for Fall
There are plenty of things to do in Stowe, VT in the fall! So let’s talk about ’em:
Get Lost in a Maze—The Percy Farm Corn Maze is the place to be if you want some spooooooooky fall vibes—ooooooo, enter if you daaaaAAAre.
Grab a Coffee—Black Cap Coffee and Beer is hipster AF, and we love it, but PK Coffee is where you’ll find a bomb @$$ apple crumble that tastes like an explosion of fall in your mouth—I will NEVER FORGET IT.
Sip on Some Cider—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.
Hop on a Zipline—get up close and personal with the fall foliage by hopping on one of the longest ziplines in the country!
Take a Brewery Tour—Enjoy some hard cider and locally brewed beers on a 5 hour, small group tour!
Insider Tip: Want to see it all? Book an epic day tour that will take you to Smuggler’s Notch, the Cider Mill, Ben & Jerry’s, downtown Stowe, and the Outdoor Center at the Trapp Family Lodge for some epic views of the Green Mountains!
Smugglers’ Notch State Park
Most folks come here to explore Smuggler’s Notch Pass.
Smuggler’s Notch Pass goes through Vermont and has some fantastic New England views!
It’s well-known for its extremely windy road that bobs and weaves through endless fall colors in Vermont’s Green Mountains—don’t skip the drive!
You can spend a chill day in nature enjoying one of the Smuggler’s picnic areas.
To learn more about the park, visit VTStateParks.com.
Insider Tip: If you want to hike around, check out Hellbrook Trail, Sterling Pond Trail, or Long Trail.
Where to Stay in Stowe, VT
Stowe is the place to book a BOUJIE hotel. This is a bucket list type town, and there are some beautiful resorts!
Check them out:
Timberholm Inn ($$)—The Timberholm Inn is tucked away in the Stowe mountains. This is the perfect place to get your cabin fix in a cozy environment that’ll put you in the middle of prime fall foliage!
The Stowehof Hotel ($$)—Staying at The Stowehof will make you feel like you’re in a European country. The views here are spectacular, but the interior is extra special. The beautiful fireplaces and library you can enjoy will be the perfect places to rest up after a long day of exploring! Fab location too.
Green Mountain Inn ($$)—Located in Stowe’s Historic Center is this magical inn with an ornate lobby, romantic rooms, and a heated pool you’ll love! Being in the center of town will put you in the middle of all the action.
Insider Tip: If you want a shorter trip, check out my guide on a fall weekend in Vermont!
Day 9—Lake Placid and the Adirondacks
Day 9 in Sum (Total Drive Time: ~3 hours)
- Morning: Drive to Adirondacks
- Afternoon: Explore Heart Lake or Indian Head
- Evening: See Lake Placid
- Stay: Crowne Plaza Lake Placid, Mirror Lake Inn, High Peaks Resort
The drive from Stowe, VT to the Lake Placid, NY area will be about 2 hours! This is outside of New England but it’s worth the drive.
When you arrive, head into the High Peaks Wilderness and hike Indian Pass and Heart Lake Loop Trail.
Heart Lake Loop is 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.
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!
After your hike, grab a caffeine fix at Old Mountain Coffee Company in Keene, NY.
They sell chocolate bars there, and I have never had better chocolate—grab one!
Insider Tip: Alternatively, you can go to Mirror Lake and walk the shoreline—another popular destination in the area.
Lake Placid, New York, is known for its access to the outdoors and, more notably, the winter Olympics—and it’s where you’ll stay for the night!
Mirror Lake sits in the town center.
When you get here, I recommend taking a walk in the downtown area.
It is quaint, cute, and ADORABLE in the fall and has lake views everywhere.
You can shop along Main Street, grab a pastry, or rent a canoe and coast along Mirror Lake.
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.
Insider Tip: 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!
Woodstock, Vermont (Alternative)
If seeing the Adirondacks doesn’t feel like your vibe, I recommend staying in Stowe, VT, another night and taking a day trip to Woodstock, Vermont.
The drive will be about an hour.
You can enjoy more of Vermont’s fall foliage when you’re there and explore the quaint Woodstock area.
We’ll talk more about Woodstock, VT in our “BONUS” stops section—keep reading!
Insider Tip: Woodstock is also home to the Sleepy Hollow Farm—a must-see for spooky fall vibes!
Where to Stay in Lake Placid, NY
Like Stowe, Lake Placid has some amazing places to stay.
Here are my recommendations based on previous trips I took here:
Crowne Plaza Lake Placid ($$)—This amazing hotel includes all the amenities you need for an extra comfortable stay and has a GORGEOUS view overlooking Mirror Lake.
Mirror Lake Inn ($$$)—A fantastic property overlooking Mirror Lake that has the perfect spa to end your trip with. The entire time you’re there, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the Adirondacks!
High Peaks Resort ($$)—Located right in the middle of all the action, this gorgeous resort has private beach access you can use to enjoy Mirror Lake and the surrounding foliage. Pet-friendly too!
Insider Tip: Tomorrow will be a travel day back to Albany, New York!
Day 10—Drive to Albany, NY
Day 10 in Sum (Total Drive Time: ~2 hours)
- Morning: Drive to Albany, NY
- Stay: Albany, NY, or depart
Now it’s time to wrap up our New England fall road trip!
Drive to Albany
This day is short and sweet.
You’ll be driving the 2-hour drive back to Albany, New York, where you might be departing, or you will stay the night and 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 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!
Let’s quickly discuss what this trip would look like if you started in Boston, MA.
Insider Tip: Additionally, you can head to the New York Catskills to see more fall foliage (covered in the bonus sections).
BONUS New England Fall Road Trip Itineraries
Let’s quickly go over the other ways you call pull this trip off.
After this, we’ll talk about bonus stops!
10-Day Fall Road Trip in New England Starting in Boston
Alternatively, you can arrive at the Boston-Logan International Airport and drive 2 hours to Conway, NH.
This would mean your first night would be in Conway, NH.
You would then proceed with days: 2 through 8 from the Albany itinerary.
Then, on day 9, head towards Boston and stop in Woodstock, VT.
Woodstock, VT is where you can see the Sleepy Hollow Farm.
Finally, on day 10, you can explore Boston, MA, and prepare to depart!
The map below illustrates what your route would look like.
5 Day New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary
Only have five days?
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 2 hours to Conway, NH.
With Conway as your hub, you can have a BLAST exploring the White Mountains (days 2 through 4) AND make a stop in Stowe, VT (day 8).
If you end in Stowe, you’ll have a 2.5-hour drive back to the Manchester area.
3 Day Fall Foliage Trip
If you only have three days to work with, I suggest exploring New Hampshire fall foliage.
You can spend three days going around the White Mountains and have a fantastic time!
A road trip like this would look similar to days 2 through 4 on our extensive itinerary.
You’d fly into Manchester, NH, and stay in Conway, NH.
If you’re up for it, take a day trip to Stowe from Conway (about a 2.5-hour drive).
New England Fall Foliage Bonus Stops
Regardless of where you start your trip, you should know that there are plenty of unique places we didn’t cover!
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
Spend an extra night in Stowe and take a day trip to Woodstock’s Sleepy Hollow Farm. 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!
If you can, I recommend exploring Woodstock during the day.
You’ll enjoy some hella New England vibes and great coffee (like at Soulfully Good Cafe).
If you’re looking to switch it up, add Connecticut to your list!
During your East Coast fall road trip, you can opt to take Route 9 through the Connecticut River Valley.
And if you want a unique way to see fall colors, ride on the historic Essex Steam Train!
The Essex will take you on a scenic journey through some of Connecticut’s most beautiful fall views.
For an authentic leaf-peeping New England experience, try a fall foliage cruise (available in other New England states too).
There is so much to do in Portland, Maine!
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, Merrifield Farm and Sugar Shack have maple cotton candy and fresh vanilla ice cream with maple syrup visitors can buy.
Of course, you can get pancakes here too!
AND…AND, if you want to have a real Portland, Maine experience, you can book a fall foliage private sightseeing cruise.
Honestly, I don’t think it gets any more New England than that.
Make sure you grab a lobster roll and head to Portland Head Light too!
Catskills, New York
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! For some of the better foliage views, hike to Kaaterskill Falls.
If you’re into cabin vibes, I suggest booking a stay in a luxe country home like this 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 2 hours from Albany airport.
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 it could be worth the visit if you want to explore more of New York.
You can also opt to visit the Seneca Lake area and do a whole Seneca Lake Wine Tasting Tour.
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 East Coast fall road trip! If you want to see more epic fall adventures, I recommend checking out my New England blogs!
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