The East Coast of the United States is arguably the best part of the country for fall foliage. The northeast, in particular, experiences cooler temperatures during autumn. As winter approaches, the leaves turn stunning shades of crimson, burnt orange, and vibrant yellow before falling to the ground. For a scenic autumn road trip or a weekend getaway, check out these ten destinations on the East Coast for the best fall foliage.
10 Salem, Massachusetts
Salem is a famous town known for being the location of the Salem Witch Trials in 1692. Due to its mysterious and tragic past, fall is a popular time to visit this town when it’s decorated for Halloween. Heading to Salem in October means Halloween decor all month long, plus magnificent fall foliage to enhance the atmosphere. However, travelers can visit as early as mid to late September to start the fall colors, with colors peaking in early October.
9 Central Park, NYC, New York
In the Eastern United States, NYC is a stunning destination for fall colors, especially in Central Park. As a naturalistic area in the middle of a bustling city, Central Park provides a scenic escape from the chaos of everyday life year-round, but during fall, its beauty is unmatched. The leaves typically begin to change color in Central Park in early to mid-October, with the peak time to see the vibrant colors being late October into early November.
8 Woodstock, Vermont
Woodstock, Vermont, is a picturesque New England town that is known for being one of the best spots in the United States to visit during the Christmas Season. However, Woodstock’s Christmas spirit isn’t its only asset. The quaint farming town, home to many entrepreneurs, is also a gorgeous spot to experience fall foliage at its finest. The leaves begin to change color in Vermont in mid to late September, with the peak colors extending through late October.
7 Boston, Massachusetts
Boston is the capital of Massachusetts and is a vast city best known for its baseball team, clam chowder, and its annual Boston Marathon. Boston is a lively city with an incredible food scene and lots of old, large trees scattered throughout the city, making it a beautiful urban destination for experiencing fall colors on the East Coast. The best time to visit Boston for peak autumn leaf colors is in mid-October.
6 Acadia National Park, Maine
Acadia National Park in Maine is one of the ten most visited National Parks in the United States annually, receiving approximately 4 million visitors per year. The park has 158 miles of hiking trails, and there are campsites available within the park, but they must be booked in advance. Acadia National Park is pet friendly, but pets must be on a leash, and owners are required to pick up and dispose of any waste. Fall colors in the park begin to appear at the higher, cooler elevations during late September, continuing into mid-October.
5 North Conway, New Hampshire
Located in Eastern New Hampshire, North Conway is part of the Mount Washington Valley and is a quaint village for viewing vintage train cars and fall foliage. It’s also a common starting point for hikers looking to explore Mount Washington. North Conway is a gorgeous destination in all four seasons but set against more than 700,000 acres of the White Mountain National Forest; it’s especially breathtaking during the fall when thousands of trees turn vibrant shades of crimson and yellow. The leaves start to change at the end of September.
4 Asheville, North Carolina
North Carolina might not be top of mind for fall foliage in the United States, but this Eastern state has gorgeous fall colors that travelers shouldn’t overlook. Asheville is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains in the western part of the state and is known for its downtown art district with galleries and museums. Travelers coming to Asheville during the fall can enjoy scenic hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains and Pisgah National Forest. Visit from late September to late October for incredible fall colors.
3 Old Lyme, Connecticut
On the Eastern side of the Connecticut River, Old Lyme is a small town in New London County with around 8000 residents. The town has a thriving art community, with the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts and the Lyme Art Association located here. Visitors can also explore the Florence Griswold Museum, which features historical art exhibits. The charming old town becomes even more beautiful in autumn when the fall colors brighten the streets from late September to November.
2 Bristol, Rhode Island
Bristol, Rhode Island, is a city worth visiting in any season. This port town has made a reputation for itself as one of the safest cities in the country and one of the best places to live in America. It was settled in 1961 and had a population of nearly 23,000 people. Bristol is a port town and is extremely walkable, making it a fantastic vacation destination for Americans from across the country. Although it gets a lot of attention during the summer months, it’s worth visiting in the fall for its gorgeous colors. To see the colors at their peak, travelers should plan a visit to Bristol during October.
1 Portland, Maine
Portland, Maine, is a coastal destination in the Eastern US that is home to many of the state’s most beautiful lighthouses. Travelers who enjoy fresh seafood will love exploring the foodie scene in Portland and can wash dinner down with a tour and tasting of the local craft beers at Allagash Brewing Company. Many people choose to visit Portland during peak season, from June to August, when temperatures are warm, and the beaches are busy. However, for more affordable prices and fewer crowds, travelers should visit Portland in the shoulder season when temperatures are slightly cooler and fall colors are at their peak during the first two weeks of October.