Photo credit: Me in ME
America's Northeast isn't a long haul from major Canadian cities like Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. Even better, the Northeast is one of the best areas throughout the United States to admire fall's photogenic colours. Planning a getaway to the following must-visit fall foliage destinations throughout New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine and New York is easier than most Canadians think, and the region offers far more than colourful leaves.
Acadia National Park, Maine
Maine's Acadia National Park offers a snapshot of America's East Coast in roughly 19,000 hectares of space. Visitors can admire the changing colours while overlooking the deep blue Atlantic Ocean, offshore islands and steep granite peaks. However, you don't have to just sit back and admire the fall colours in Acadia National Park; you can hike, climb, bike or even take a carriage ride among them. Fall is one of the quieter times of year in the park, but lingering summer temperatures and uncrowded trails make this park worth the wait.
Adirondack Mountains, New York
Photo credit: Lida
The fall colours are even more enjoyable when you're sipping a beer at Lake Placid's annual Oktoberfest or cruising the Adirondack Coast Wine Trail. New York's Adirondack Mountains cover a massive 2.4 million hectares of land, making Adirondack Park larger than Yosemite, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon national parks combined. Lake Placid is just one of many picture-perfect home bases for hiking, mountain biking, climbing, driving and camping adventures among some of the Northeast's best fall scenery.
White Mountains, New Hampshire
New Hampshire is one of the Northeast's most underrated states. However, those who are in the know (and that's millions of people) visit the Granite State when the reds, yellows and oranges show. New Hampshire's White Mountains are far from white in the fall months, when visitors enjoy the area's scenic railways, the famous Mount Washington Auto Road, the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway and numerous other attractions that turn admiring the fall colours into big adventures.
The Berkshires, Massachusetts
Photo credit: Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism
Western Massachusetts is the place to be for family-friendly fun this fall. The Berkshires are a highland region known for their vibrant fall tourism scene, complete with its Berkshire Botanical Garden Harvest Festival and numerous other opportunities to take in the local art, music and culinary scenes. Visitors can admire the fall colours from places as mellow as scenic roads and adventurous as hiking trails and ziplines. The area's local farms are fun for activities like pumpkin picking, hayrides, cheese tastings, beer and wine sampling and more.
Stowe, Vt., is a true vacation destination in all times of year. However, the town seems to come even more alive when the sugar maples of the Worcester and Green mountain ranges change colour in late September and October. Fall foliage enthusiasts can visit the area's Foliage Central webpage for continuously updated fall foliage reports. And when you're not hiking, kayaking or biking among the bright fall colours, you can be submerging yourself in Stowe's live music scene, funky shops, craft breweries, award-winning restaurants and more.
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See More of America's Best Towns for Fall ColorsOakland took top honors as the best town in America for leaf-peeping, thanks primarily to the blazing colors found just nine miles north of town at Swallow Falls State Park. As the Youghiogheny River flows through rock gorges, the oldest stands of eastern hemlock and white pine—more than 360 years old—blanket the area in gold, orange, and red. For five days in early October, residents turn out for the annual Autumn Glory Festival, including two parades, concerts, and band competitions. Oakland also embraces the Halloween spirit, hosting a hayride along the lakefront that passes scenes of zombies and ghosts. Photo: Pat & Chuck Blackley / Alamy
See More of America's Best Towns for Fall ColorsThe Adirondack Mountains are famed for their fall colors, and T+L readers gave Lake Placid the silver medal for autumn foliage. Red and silver maples, birch, aspen, oaks, and beech trees stretch out along the Olympic Trail scenic byway (which runs through Lake Placid), providing a striking show of color for its 170 miles. Or take the Fall Foliage Train tour on the Adirondack Scenic Railroad. Prime viewing time tends to be in early to mid-October, which conveniently coincides with the Lake Placid Brewfest. Photo: Lake Placid CVB/lakeplacid.com
See More of America's Best Towns for Fall ColorsWhen the leaves start showing their colors in Stillwater—on the western banks of the St. Croix River dividing Minnesota and Wisconsin—visitors converge on the town’s many Victorian bed-and-breakfast inns. One of the best ways to take in nature’s show is by river cruise on a replica of an 1890s paddleboat. Autumn here kicks off with the annual grape stomp competition, with prizes given for best style, and culminates in the long-running fine-art and music festival. Photo courtesy of DiscoverStillwater.com
See More of America's Best Towns for Fall ColorsAs the air gets crisp in Stowe, the sugar maples come alive in intense shades of gold, orange, and scarlet blanketing the surrounding Green and Worcester mountain ranges. In general, the best time to capture these brilliant hues is the end of September through mid-October; the Trapp Family Lodge (“the family that inspired The Sound of Music”) makes a charming base of operations, especially during the popular Stowe Oktoberfest. Photo: Don Landwehrle / Alamy
See More of America's Best Towns for Fall ColorsBefore the snow bunnies take over Okemo Mountain and its ski resort, the 3,344-foot peak is one of the loveliest places in the valley for fall colors—with a 360-degree view that includes the Green Mountains to the west and the Okemo Valley region to the east. Just drive to the top, park, and hike the short distance to the fire tower. Other prime viewing spots are along the nearby Scenic Route 100 Byway: the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site and Coolidge State Park, both affording panoramic, mountaintop views. Photo: Haley Sorbel
See More of America's Best Towns for Fall ColorsLike so many New England towns, Portsmouth is awash in early American history. At Strawbery Banke Museum—a 10-acre outdoor museum—you can take in the fall color as you roam the waterfront district and its restored homes built in the mid-1600s. By car, watch the foliage as you drive down the 18-mile scenic Coastal Byway. Or leave the driving to the captain on a 2.5-hour inland river cruise highlighting foliage and local lore. Photo: Nicki Noble
See More of America's Best Towns for Fall ColorsThe mountains framing Whitefish—doorway to Glacier National Park in the Flathead Valley—are a dramatic study in contrasts in autumn, when the golden aspen and larch flash against a backdrop of dark evergreens. Kayaking or canoeing on Whitefish Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake in the West, is one of the best ways to catch views of Big Mountain and the forests around it. If you prefer driving, follow Highway 35 along the east side of the lake and return in time to polka the night away at the annual two-weekend Oktoberfest. Photo: Brian Schott