Top 7 Fall Foliage Tours in New England (2024 Ranked)

by Jen
My favorite fall foliage tours in New England
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Discover the best fall foliage tours in New England with my top picks. Get ready to experience the breathtaking colors of fall!

Every autumn, I hit the road to catch New England in its most colorful attire. It’s a tradition I’ve kept for a decade, and I’m something of a leaf-peeping expert! I want to share the best spots I’ve found that turn spectacularly every fall.

You might wonder, why listen to me? Well, I’ve driven down nearly every back road and sampled almost every tour out there. My recommendations are built on years of direct experience, and I aim to guide you to places that will genuinely astonish you.

Let’s explore New England together this fall. I’ll take you through tours that offer unforgettable views, from the comfort of a train to the freedom of a road trip. Ready to discover where to see the best fall foliage in New England? Let’s dive in!

Dream tour to New England in the fall
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Best Time to See Fall Foliage in New England

Timing is everything when it comes to fall foliage in New England, one of the best fall destinations in the US. Over the years, I’ve learned that the colors start to pop in late September, particularly in Northern Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. But for the rest of the northeast, the real show doesn’t begin until mid-October. This is when you’ll see the most vibrant reds and golds.

I’ve visited each state during these peak weeks and can tell you, nothing beats the mid to late-October window. If you wait until November, you risk missing out as the leaves begin to drop. Aim for those two golden weeks in October for the best experience.

Each year can be slightly different, depending on the weather. I always keep an eye on the fall foliage reports. I recommend you do the same to catch the peak colors.

Ready to plan your trip around the best foliage views? Let’s look at the tours that will get you there.

1. New England Fall Foliage Express

The New England Fall Foliage Express, operated by Vacations by Rail, is an eight-day tour that takes you from the historic streets of Boston to the vibrant fall landscapes of New England. Starting at $2,895 per person, this tour packs in some incredible sights without you needing to plan a thing.

First up, you’ll explore Boston’s colonial past before heading out to where the real magic happens—the Kancamagus Highway. Known for its stunning displays of autumn colors, this route doesn’t disappoint. The tour also includes a ride on the Conway Scenic Railroad, giving you front-row seats to the spectacular mountain scenery.

The adventure doesn’t stop there. You’ll climb aboard the Mt. Washington Cog Railway for breathtaking views from the summit, and later, ride Amtrak’s Vermonter through picturesque Vermont. The tour wraps up with visits to the Mystic Seaport Museum and a classic mansion in Newport, offering a mix of coastal charm and historical intrigue.

Accommodations, most meals, and expert guidance are all included. It’s easy to relax and soak in the beauty of fall in New England.

Vacations by Rail's New England Fall Foliage Express offers an eight-day tour from Boston to vibrant autumn landscapes.
Vacations by Rail’s New England Fall Foliage Express offers an eight-day tour from Boston to vibrant autumn landscapes. | Image Credit: Unsplash

2. Grand New England

Looking for a solid way to see New England in the fall? Check out the Grand New England Tour by Tauck. It’s available from mid-September to mid-October, perfect timing to catch those amazing fall colors. They’ve got 17 different start dates, so it’s easy to find one that fits your schedule.

This tour isn’t just your typical sightseeing. You’ll get to hear cool stories about New England from Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan—think of it as getting a behind-the-scenes look at the area’s history. Plus, they throw in a visit to the Maine Maritime Museum and a lobster dinner that’s as fresh as it gets at Cook’s Lobster & Ale House.

You also get to experience something unique with a hands-on lobstering activity in Portland. Ever wondered how to catch a lobster? You’ll actually get to try it here. And there’s more: private tours at historical homes, laid-back visits to museums like the Shelburne, and a chance to meet some real-life meteorologists at the Mount Washington Observatory.

Everything’s included—from your meals to airport transfers, which really takes the hassle out of planning. If you want a mix of fun and learning, this New England fall foliage tour might just be what you’re looking for.

Image showing Maine Maritime Museum in New England
Image Credit: TripAdvisor

3. Classic New England Fall Colors Tour

If you’re thinking about catching New England’s fall colors, the Classic New England Fall Colors Tour by Webb Tours packs in a lot. Running from October 6-13, 2024, it’s timed just right to catch those peak colors. They’ve been doing this since 1994, so they know the best spots and hidden gems.

The tour covers all six New England states and even dips into New York. You get the White Mountains, the Green Mountains, and even the Adirondacks, all ablaze in autumn colors. They throw in some cool history too, like historic Plymouth and Boston. There’s even an authentic lunch overlooking Cape Cod that’s as scenic as it sounds.

For about $1,795, everything’s sorted—transport, meals, tickets, and stays. They handle the logistics; you just take in the sights and chill. Plus, they promise plenty of time to just enjoy the fall air and snap those perfect shots.

Honestly, if you want a no-fuss, full-color experience, this is up there as one of the best foliage trips in New England.

Experience Webb Tours' Classic New England Fall Colors Tour from October 6-13, 2024.
Experience Webb Tours’ Classic New England Fall Colors Tour from October 6-13, 2024. | Image Credit: Unsplash

4. Fall Foliage Tour: Vermont to Massachusetts

If you’re up for seeing New England when it’s decked out in full autumn colors, the Fall Foliage Tour: Vermont to Massachusetts by Go Ahead Tours could be a great pick. It runs for 8 days with an option to extend to 10 if you want more time in Boston. The price starts at $3,650, but you get a lot for that.

The tour kicks off in Vermont. You’ll get to see the Trapp Family Lodge, do a cider tasting, and even check out the Ben & Jerry’s factory. After Vermont, the trip takes you through the stunning landscapes of New Hampshire and Maine, wrapping up in Massachusetts. One of the coolest parts? Riding up Mount Washington on the cog railway—it’s a view you won’t forget.

They’ve set up the tour so you’re well taken care of without having to fuss over details. Hotels, some meals, and transport are all sorted. Plus, the groups aren’t too big, so it doesn’t feel crowded.

One of the best New England fall foliage tours, I highly recommend this trip. If you want a chill way to take in some of the best fall sights and get a bit of local flavor, this might be right up your alley.

Image showing fall foliage in Vermont
Image Credit: Unsplash

5. Fall Foliage in New England by Train

Ready to catch New England’s fall colors? I recommend the Fall Foliage in New England by Train trip operated by Sun Tours. You start in Boston, where you’ll get a good dose of history while checking out spots like Beacon Hill and the JFK Library. It’s a cool way to kick things off.

Next, you head to Maine and New Hampshire. In Maine, you’ll tour quaint coastal villages and even enjoy a classic lobster dinner. Then, in New Hampshire, you’ll take a scenic boat ride and hop on the Winnipesaukee Railroad for a dinner train experience—turkey dinner and all. It’s pretty charming.

The tour wraps up with a train ride through New Hampshire’s White Mountains and a visit to Vermont. You’ll see some gorgeous scenery, especially on the Kancamagus Highway, and finish with a stop at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. It’s a full-circle kind of trip that gives you a real taste of New England in the fall.

For about $4,095, you get all your transport sorted, some great meals, and hotel stays. Plus, you don’t have to sweat the details; they handle everything. If you love fall foliage and want a mix of nature and history without any hassle, this could be your jam.

Experience Sun Tours' Fall Foliage in New England by Train trip from Boston, a cool start to your journey.
Experience Sun Tours’ Fall Foliage in New England by Train trip from Boston, a cool start to your journey. | Image Credit: Unsplash

6. Classic Fall Foliage Tour

The Classic Fall Foliage Tour by Tours4Fun is a nine-day round trip from Boston that really shows off the fall colors in New England. It costs €3,741 and covers all the essentials.

You kick off in Boston, exploring historic spots before heading up to Maine. In Portland, you wander through charming Old Port and then hit Bar Harbor for a classic lobster bake—can’t get more New England than that! Acadia National Park is next, where the views from Cadillac Mountain are just unbeatable.

The tour then takes you through New Hampshire’s White Mountains and down the scenic Kancamagus Highway in Vermont. You’ll stop at the Billings Farm & Museum, which gives a cool peek into old-school farm life.

You wind down in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, visiting the Norman Rockwell Museum and The Breakers mansion in Newport. Both spots offer a taste of American history and culture.

This package has your hotels, meals, and entry fees covered, so all you have to do is enjoy the trip. It’s a great pick if you want to see the best of New England’s autumn without any fuss.

Image showing fall in Acadia National Park
Image Credit: TrovaTrip

7. Caravan Tours New England Fall 8-Day Tour

Caravan Tours’ 8-day New England fall tour really delivers, and at $1795, it’s one of the most affordable options out there. What makes it stand out? Well, it covers all six New England states. That means you get a full sweep of the region’s best fall foliage without missing a beat.

You start in Boston with some history, then hit up Plymouth Rock and Cape Cod, which gives you a mix of old-school charm and seaside relaxation. Martha’s Vineyard is next, where you can soak in those artsy, laid-back island vibes. Then, it’s on to Rhode Island and Connecticut for a bit of luxury and history with visits to grand mansions and the Mystic Seaport.

This New England fall colors tour explores local culture, like the lobster dinner in Maine that perfectly caps off the tour. Plus, with Caravan handling all the logistics—hotels, transport, and most meals included—you can just kick back and enjoy the colors without a worry.

In short, if you’re looking for a comprehensive tour that gives you a lot of bang for your buck, this is it. Great sights, a full experience, and an unbeatable price make it a top choice.

Caravan Tours' 8-day New England fall tour at $1795 covers all six states, offering the best fall foliage.
Caravan Tours’ 8-day New England fall tour at $1795 covers all six states, offering the best fall foliage. | Image Credit: Unsplash

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about New England’s best fall foliage tours

Get all your questions answered about the best fall foliage trips in New England with our informative FAQs.

What is the best New England state to visit in the fall?

I’d say that Vermont is the best state in New England for fall foliage. This is thanks to its iconic sugar maple trees which blaze brilliant reds and oranges. The scenic byways and quaint towns like Stowe and Woodstock add to the charm, making it one of the top places to live and visit in New England.

What is the best time to see fall colors in New England?

The peak time to see fall colors in New England is typically from late September to mid-October. This can vary slightly each year depending on the weather, so it’s a good idea to check current reports.

New Hampshire, USA: Fall lakeside scene
New Hampshire, USA: Fall lakeside scene

Is New Hampshire or Vermont better for fall foliage?

Both states offer stunning fall foliage, but Vermont usually gets the nod for its more expansive and consistent color displays across its forests, making it one of the best places to visit in New England. New Hampshire, particularly the White Mountains, is also fantastic, especially for hikers.

Does it rain a lot in New England in October?

Yes, October can be quite rainy in New England. It’s not usually torrential, but the weather is changeable. Packing a raincoat and layers is wise if you’re visiting and staying in New England during this month.

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