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The Best New England Towns To Visit This Fall

This post was updated on March 15th, 2024

New England is always a sure bet for stunning scenery, especially during the autumn months. You’ll find one of the most recognizable landscapes, thanks in part to the picturesque rolling hills dotted with red barns, historic covered bridges, and unforgettable coastal villages.

Autumn in New England is legendary. As the weather turns crisp and the days gradually shorten, nature takes its cue to bring on the color. The brightly hued trees set against a backdrop of soft rolling hills and coastal landscapes is simply unforgettable.

Here’s your guide to the best New England towns to visit this fall.

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Camden, Maine

Known as the “Jewel of the Coast”, Camden is a charming New England town about an hour north of Portland. In the summer, the residents of this coastal village spend most of their time on the water, but when fall arrives the activity shifts to the land and the bounty of the season.

New England
Camden Harbor Inn

If you’re visiting in October, attend the annual Harvest Party at the Cellardoor Winery. This elegant evening event is filled with food, music, and of course wine!

New England

If you’re more interested in hiking trails, check out Camden Hills State Park where fans of the outdoors can experience some of the most beautiful landscapes New England has to offer.

Where to stay:

Jeffersonville, Vermont

Most people have heard of Stowe, Vermont—but what about its tiny neighbor to the north—the village of Jeffersonville? From Stowe, a short scenic drive through Smugglers Notch on VT 108 (NOT a suitable route for RVs) brings you to the charming village of Jeffersonville.

New England

With a single main street lined with old Victorian buildings housing local wares and tasty eats, this small town is at its best in the fall when the leaves on the sugar maples come alive with intense shades of red and gold, and the harvest season is in full swing.

One of the most enjoyable ways to celebrate the season in the Jeffersonville area is at the Boyden Valley Winery & Spirits Harvest Festival. Enjoy grape stomping, tractor-pulled hayrides, a winery tour, grape juice tasting, wine & cider tasting, and delectable bites from local food vendors.

New England

When you’ve had your fill of the fruits of the harvest, take a drive up to Smugglers Notch Ski Area to play their award-winning disc golf course or hike through the foliage.

Where to stay:

Rockport, Massachusetts

Rockport is only a quick hour drive from Boston, making it the perfect city getaway. Miles of sandy beaches, wooded hiking trails, and a thriving downtown filled with local artists and tons of delicious cafes and restaurants to get your seafood fix make this the perfect fall destination.

New England
MA office of Travel & Tourism/Flickr

In mid-October, the annual Rockport HarvestFest Celebration features the best of the season with fresh local food, live music, and plenty of activities for families.

Get your fill of cider doughnuts and seafood chowder while enjoying regional craft beer and soda. Watch the Seafood Throwdown, a competition-style showcase between two chefs that highlights the thriving fishing industry of the area.

When you’re full of food and drink, jam out to the live bluegrass, jazz, folk, and Celtic music, or participate in the annual Scarecrow Stroll and discover creative and fascinating scarecrows throughout downtown Rockport.

Where to stay:

Sandwich, New Hampshire

On the eastern side of New Hampshire, just north of the bustling Lake Winnipesaukee region, lies the small town of Sandwich. Perhaps best known for the circa 1864 covered bridge in the center of town, this is a quintessential New England with diverse forests, winding roads, and rolling hills.

New England

Time your visit for the height of foliage season, and the annual Sandwich Fair, by arriving on Columbus Day Weekend. Dating all the way back to 1886, the fair began as an agricultural event where farmers could gather to trade and sell their cattle.

New England

Today, the fair features fun and entertainment for all ages with games, rides, shows, and a parade. The agricultural tradition continues with a large display of animals and agricultural products on display that brings to together locals and visitors alike.

Where to stay:

Kent, Connecticut

Yankee Magazine recently named Kent the #1 town in New England for fall foliage travel. Michael Blanding writes,

The heart of the New England leaf-peeping experience lies in the details: the farm stands and covered bridges, the waterfalls and antiques stores that provide the eye candy, framed by the colors of our most glorious season.

New England

Kent is located on the western border of Connecticut and New York. The town’s proximity to New York City, coupled with its natural beauty, make Kent an attractive tourist destination, especially in the fall when the area is blanketed with crisp air and bright colors.

New England

The highlight of the autumn season in Kent is the long-running annual Fall Festival held at the Connecticut Antique Machinery Association Museum. Celebrating local heritage, the festival features numerous live demonstrations ranging from a handsaw and ax skills to a working sawmill, a blacksmith, and even various antique steam engines.

Where to stay:

There’s no doubt that New England is one of the best areas in the country to experience fall.  A visit to any of these New England towns should be on your list this season!

See also: 8 Scenic State Parks With Campgrounds In New England

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