Crisp and chilly air, mulled cider, pumpkin pie, wool hats, scarfs, and foliage in shades of red, orange, and gold are the beloved icons of autumn. New England in the fall is an inspirational time of year when those icons are everywhere.
A scenic road trip is one of the best ways to experience an area’s traditions. From the winding Connecticut River Ramble to the historic Old Canada Road Scenic Byway in Maine, there is no shortage of colorful drives to explore. The Lakes Region Loop in New Hampshire and the Crossroad of Vermont Byway are must-drives. Whatever your route, be sure to stop and take in the sights, smells, and flavors of fall in New England.
1. Merritt Parkway, Connecticut
Merritt Parkway is a beloved scenic route located in southern Connecticut. It was built in the 1930s and is known for its unique Art-Deco architecture and tree-lined roadways. The parkway is a designated National Scenic Byway listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The road stretches for 37 miles and is surrounded by beautiful natural scenery, including parks, forests, and streams. It features several historic landmarks and rest areas to stop and enjoy the view. If you’re looking for a peaceful and picturesque fall drive in Connecticut, the Merritt Parkway is the place to start.
2. Connecticut State Route 169, Connecticut
Connecticut State Route 169 is a lovely drive through the Connecticut Quiet Corner’s small towns and villages. The route stretches for 32 miles, from Lisbon to Woodstock, and is known for its Colonial architecture, rolling hills, and charming New England scenery.
You can stop in towns like Canterbury and Brooklyn to explore historic sites, antique shops, and local eateries along the route. Fall is the perfect time to take this scenic drive as the foliage in this region is stunning and the crisp autumn air only adds to the beauty of the tour.
3. Old Canada Road Scenic Byway, Maine
Following the Kennebec River, Old Canada Road Scenic Byway is a 78-mile drive in western Maine. The road meanders through beautiful forests, rolling hills, and charming towns, providing exquisite views of the fall foliage.
You can stop at several scenic overlooks, hiking trails, and historical sites, including the Coburn Covered Bridge and the Holeb Falls Scenic Area. The route is particularly popular for its wildlife viewing opportunities, with moose and other wildlife often spotted along the way. Whether you’re a nature lover or simply seeking a quiet and scenic drive, Old Canada Road Scenic Byway is a winner.
4. Lakes Region Scenic Byway, New Hampshire
To experience the beauty of fall in New England, try the Lakes Region Scenic Byway in New Hampshire. The route stretches for 34 miles and takes you through some of the region’s most picturesque towns, including Meredith, Center Harbor, and Moultonborough.
While touring, you’ll be treated to splendid views of the surrounding mountains and Lake Winnipesaukee, the largest lake in New Hampshire. The route is popular during the fall when the foliage peaks and the air is crisp and cool. Stop and explore the charming lakeside towns and take in the stunning scenery along the way.
5. River Heritage Tour, New Hampshire
The River Heritage Tour in New Hampshire follows the Connecticut River. It takes you through some of the state’s most captivating towns. The route stretches for 34 miles and passes through eight historic communities, each offering unique cultural and scenic attractions.
You’ll see covered bridges, old mills, impressive river views, and surrounding foliage. Fall is the perfect time to take this drive as the colors of the leaves are at their peak and the air is delightfully cool. When exploring towns along the way, take a cider break and soak up the beauty of New England.
6. Crossroad Of Vermont Byway, Vermont
Stretching 90 miles through the heart of Vermont, take the Crossroad of Vermont Byway. The route takes you through enchanting towns, rolling hills, and rural farmland with unmatched views of fall foliage.
You can stop at historic sites, covered bridges, and old-fashioned country stores to sample local cheeses, maple syrups, and other Vermont specialties.
The drive is well-traveled during autumn when the foliage peaks and the air is clear and chilled. Outdoor enthusiasts, antique hunters, or those seeking a serene and scenic drive will be delighted by the Crossroad of Vermont Byway.
Fall road trips in New England are a perfect way to experience the season’s beauty. From stunning foliage in shades of red, orange, and gold to crisp and refreshing air, there is something special about this time of year.
Driving through New England’s small towns and inviting villages allows you to soak up the sights, smells, and flavors of autumn. Stop at historic landmarks, local eateries, and scenic overlooks to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of autumn. There’s no better way to experience New England’s fall traditions than a road trip through its scenic routes.
To find leaves at peak times, visit Fall Foliage in New England in 2023.