Autumn is my favorite season. However, growing up in New England, I couldn’t understand why people planned vacations to come look at our leaves. I thought it was just normal Autumn beauty … but then I went to college in Ohio and understood completely.
Foliage season and October in New Hampshire is MAGICAL in my very biased opinion.
And if you are planning a trip to New England to peep some leaves, I understand and have some tips that I think will help get you through foliage season in New England.
WHEN IS FOLIAGE SEASON? AND WHERE ARE THE BEST PLACES TO SEE FOLIAGE?
Foliage season, in general, is late September-mid October. The further north you go, the earlier in the season you will reach ‘peak foliage.’
So if you are looking for the best place to go to see foliage: Earlier in the season – the best place is going to be further North / later in the season – the best place is heading South.
When planning a foliage trip, look at past years in a specific area to get an idea of when the foliage was out, and then plan your trip with a little wiggle room for things to shift based on this year’s foliage.
Follow a foliage report/tracker to help shift your plans for the current year:
**These are 2021 links. They may change year to year.
**I also couldn’t find a good Rhode Island tracker. If you have one, please let us know in the comment section.
WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE?
The weather is unpredictable and Mother Nature rarely plays nice (at least for my trips).
Depending on when you go (late September / October), the temperatures will be around 60, maybe 70, during the day – perfect ‘sweater weather.’ But make sure to bring layers because you may get an unseasonable cold day or rain during your trip. That’s very common.
WHAT ELSE WOULD YOU TELL SOMEONE PLANNING A FOLIAGE TRIP?
Get up, and get out on the road early.
If you are looking to do a hike, get up and on that trail.
If you are looking to do a scenic drive, get up and drive during golden hour.
The later in the day you go, the more crowded it will be. If you want to take a nice, leisurely drive without traffic, where you can pull over when I see a pretty view, you need to be on the road early.
Just like you, everyone is on the road looking at the pretty trees. And because everyone is so mesmerized by the views, they aren’t paying attention to the road.
Be aware of the ones taking photos, or the ones swerving a little, or the ones who just walk out into the road under the trance of a tree … we try to send the leaf peepers back home in one piece.
If that is not possible, planning a weekend trip with at least a Thursday or Monday will help give you a day of slightly less crowds.
You want a gorgeous foliage shot? Try to find some of the covered bridges that are on back, dirt roads around New England. The dirt roads can have some beautiful foliage, and a photo with foliage AND a covered bridge? … how perfectly New England.
If covered bridges aren’t quite your thing, that’s fine. At least take a drive on some of those back roads and get a little lost. You’ll find some of the best foliage just driving around (which is why, again, watch out for the leaf peepers on the road!).
Don’t just go to New England for the foliage. What makes New England a prime spot for Autumn adventures is the atmosphere in Autumn. Go apple picking, go to a pumpkin patch, get lost in a corn maize, go to a local 4H fair, shop at a general store, and have a drink on the patio of a microbrewery.
There is so much more to do then just look at the leaves so make sure to check out some of that New England, too.
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