22 of the Best Things to Do in New England in Fall

New England is ideal for celebrating autumn with its apple orchards and quaint towns ablaze in fall’s glorious colors. Because we know winter is coming, and the earth around us is also announcing that, New Englanders really get into this season. Whether you are looking to celebrate the harvest or Halloween, I have lots of ideas for you. Here is my list of fall things to do in New England. Start making your plans for fall day trips in New England or plan a New England fall itinerary with the help of my New England Road Trip Guide.

The Best Fall Activities in New England

1. Bake a fresh apple pie after visiting an apple orchard.

A little apple love from Narrow Lane Orchard in North Kingstown, RI
A little apple love from Narrow Lane Orchard in North Kingstown, RI

Getting outside is good for the soul, and apple orchards smell heavenly. For your efforts, you will be rewarded with healthy snacks for the following weeks. Look for an apple orchard near you, or check out a few of my favorites:

  • In North Kingstown, RI, Narrow Lane Orchard has a small orchard with well-marked apples and peaches and a level hiking trail.
  • Belkin Family Lookout Farm in Natick, MA, features a more extensive orchard with a train ride into the fields and a children’s play area.
  • Dame Farm, Johnston, RI, also has gorgeous pick-your-own flower fields.

2. Be a leaf peeper.

Leaf peeping is generally more intensely colored the more north you travel. Our foliage turns first in the north, then slowly works its way south. Refer to these foliage maps to see the best place to view when you are visiting. New Hampshire and Vermont are top on my list of places to see amazing fall colors.

3.  Have a romantic sleep away among the leaves.

Long walks through the leaves, followed by cold nights by the fire, are pretty romantic.

4. Explore any of New England’s many harvest festivals.

Here are a few of the ones I go to, but there are a few in every state each weekend to choose from that you can look for here.

5. Drink freshly pressed apple cider.

  • BF Clyde’s Apple Cider Mill in Old Mystic, Connecticut, is the oldest steam-powered cider mill in the US. After your tour, you can munch on homemade cider donuts while listening to live music on the lawn.

6. Hiking is the best way to get a close-up view of our beautiful leaves.

Nature never disappoints. Get out into it, and it will elevate your mood! Here are some of my favorite spots!

7. Go to a pumpkin festival.

Best New England fall activities www.thedailyadventuresofme.com
Here are just two of the over 5,000 intricately carved Jack-o-Lanterns you can see at Roger Williams Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island.
  • Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular is a beautiful display of cut and lit pumpkins at Providence’s Roger William’s Zoo. Go on weeknights when it opens (at 6 p.m.) or expect long lines. Spooky Zoo is also at the zoo with trick-or-treating for kids in costume on designated days.
  • Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival– I  love the beauty of pumpkins, but there is something very satisfying in watching one flying through the air after being slung from a trebuchet. Apparently, enough people agree to hold a festival around this idea.

Look at the list of  New England’s Five Best Pumpkin Festivals.

8. Waterfire, Providence

Fall things to do in New England
Part of the Flames of Hope Waterfire is lighting up the Rhode Island Statehouse an uplifting pink.
One of the best things about Providence is even better in the crisp fall air. Take a stroll at Waterfire, a music and art installation that takes place on Providence’s canals. Columbus Day weekend features Flames of Hope, a special Waterfire event dedicated to breast cancer survivors, which is very inspiring.
Be sure to read my Guide to Experiencing Waterfire before you go.

9. Get scared at a haunted something.

Haunted spots abound in New England, but we put on quite a show even where we don’t have real hauntings. Check out our numerous haunted houses, hayrides, and trails.

  • Scary Acres in West Greenwich, RI, is one of our favorites and boasts four adventures, including shooting scary zombies with paintballs.

10. Carve a jack-o-lantern from a pumpkin picked from the field.

Find a pumpkin patch near you!

11.  King Richard’s Faire

This massive renaissance celebration in Carver, MA, is a recreation of England’s 16th century complete with jousts, marketplace, colossal turkey legs, and many shows. Although costly, it is always a day that my children adore.

12.  The Big E

The Eastern States Exposition takes place in West Springfield, Massachusetts. It is a huge New England fair, with everything you could imagine to eat, ride, and see. My favorite part is the statehouses, which are replicas of the New England capital buildings full of vendors with state-specific foods and items.

13.  Visit some real-life colonial history.

Nothing says fall like Thanksgiving, native Americans, and pilgrims. Take this opportunity to learn about our country’s history first hand by visiting a few of these attractions located in New England:

  • Plimoth  Plantations (yes, that’s the original spelling)- Visit this living history museum to see how the pilgrims and Native Americans lived and celebrated their first fall in the New World after fleeing England. Did you know that you can eat Thanksgiving dinner here?
  • The Mayflower Boat and Plimoth Rock– Here, you can see a model of the Mayflower and the actual Plimoth Rock, which is admittedly underwhelming.

14. Visit a vineyard.

fall things to do in New England
I was enjoying my day at Jonathan Edwards Vineyards, Connecticut.  Autumn is a perfect time to do some wine tasting while touring the changing vines.
  • We love to dine at Sharpe Hill Winery in Pomfret, CT, in the old farmhouse with fantastic food in a  rustic fall setting.  You must have reservations well in advance.
  • Jonathan Edward’s Winery- read about my fall wine tour there.
  • The Newport Vineyards is a great place to have a relaxing lunch on the patio overlooking the vines. You can read more about it and the fun you can have in Newport, Rhode Island, here.
A Romantic Day in Newport, Rhode Island www.thedailyadventuresofme.com
The vines of Newport Vineyards.

15. Take a spooky ghost tour.

Be regaled by our area’s history, both real and lore. You may find yourself hearing things or looking over your shoulder more once you hear about what things have gone on here. Find a ghost tour in any New England state.

16. Visit Salem, Massachusetts.

Salem, Massachusetts www.thedailyadventuresofme.com
Ye Olde Burying Ground in Salem, Massachusetts, which is believed to be haunted.

Salem, Massachusetts, is scary and commercial, full of tours, museums, and real and imagined haunted houses. This town was the locale of the famous Salem Witch Hunt Trials. Be sure to read my post A Day with My Boy Looking for Ghosts.

17. Embrace the season with some pumpkin-flavored everything.

  • New Englanders are crazy about fall and Dunkin’ Donuts, which makes a delicious pumpkin muffin and spiced coffee.
  • After hiking Purgatory Chasm in Sutton, Massachusetts, try some pumpkin ice cream at the West End Creamery.

 18. Take a hayride.

Best fall new england activities www.thedailyadventuresofme.com
Working your way through a corn maze, such as this one at Connor Farms in Massachusetts, is a fun family activity and a peaceful way to spend a fall day.

19. Get lost in a corn maze.

Find a complete list of corn mazes and hayrides in New England.

20. Have a picnic among the leaves.

Read on for some ideas for the best spots.

21. Learn all about how cranberries are harvested by visiting a cranberry farm.

Please read all about my time at Stone Bridge Farm in Massachusetts.

22. Take in the Highland Games and Festival on Loon Mountain in Lincoln, New Hampshire.

Grab your kilt and head into the beauty of the White Mountains to watch the strength games, listen to Scottish music, eat Scottish food and try your hand at some of the games yourself. It is officially the last weekend of summer, but feels like fall in this setting.

23. View the foliage from the top of a mountain by taking a ski gondola up.

Find one near you here.

24. Enjoy the backdrop of fall foliage against a garden built on a bridge in a typical New England village.

Read about The Bridge of Flowers and the town of Shelburne, Massachusetts in the Berkshires.

25. Visit the site of one the most famous patricides in the colonial US.

At the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast not only can you tour 92 Second Street in Fall River, Massachusetts, the house where Lizzie Borden was said to have butchered her parents with an ax, but you can also stay the night.

Please have a great fall, Y’all!

What are your favorite fall activities? I would love to hear in the comments. If you are planning a trip, be sure to read my Local’s Guide to New England and subscribe to get all my new New England posts as they are published.

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13 thoughts on “22 of the Best Things to Do in New England in Fall”

  1. I really need to get to New England and explore more, and fall seems like the perfect time! I definitely want to go to Salem and do some spooky ghost tours, and the Highland Games and Festival sounds like a lot of fun!

  2. I’ve been wanting to visit New England and learn more about it, and fall seems like the perfect time to do so! I’d love to visit Salem and do some creepy ghost tours, plus the Highland Games and Festival seems like a blast!

  3. I’ve been needing to visit New England and get familiar with it, and fall seems like the ideal opportunity to do as such! I’d very much want to visit Salem and do some unpleasant phantom visits, in addition to the Highland Games and Festival appears to be an impact!

  4. New England sounds like a great spot to explore in the Fall. I love hiking when the weather is cooler. Especially if I get a fresh hot apple pie at an apple orchard. Although I am not a pumpkin flavour fan, so I am passing on anything but looking at fun carved designs for pumpkins. But you know we won’t pass on a wine tour in the Fall.

  5. We’ve had a hot couple of weeks here in Chicago and this post is making me look forward to cooler fall weather and all these festive activities that much more! I would love to see the leaves change color in Vermont, New Hampshire, or Maine. Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular in Providence sounds awesome too! I love your tip to visit during the week for minimal crowds.


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