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Mystic, Newport, Rhode Island, Boston, Massachusetts Fall Foliage and Colors Tours

Things to do / Travel Guide

Rhode Island, Boston and Massachusetts Fall Foliage Tours

Click for Fall, 2010 foliage report and map, updated every three days.

The geography of this region is much flatter than most other New England areas. Here the “leaf-peeping” experience is a combination of fall color with historical and attractive landscapes. Some of the best views are in the local towns and around the region's farms. The foliage can be appreciated even in and close by the major urban areas - Boston, Newport, Providence, and Mystic.

Peak viewing time is typically during the middle of October.

Massachusetts, West of Boston Fall Foliage Tours and Routes

Concord, situated a half hour drive northwest of Boston, is a fine starting point for a local fall foliage safari. Besides the obvious historic interest of Concord, it is located smack in the middle of the most popular leaf-peeping sites in the area.

Paddling the Concord River from Concord north to Billerica through the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, offers a pleasant way to view the foliage and wildlife. South of Concord, Walden Pond State Reservation is a well-preserved historic attraction as well as an excellent fall foliage destination. Hike the trails and enjoy the views that inspired Henry David Thoreau.

Driving from Concord to experience the fall season, one can head in several directions. Head east towards Lexington on historic State Road 2A, or south to Sudbury on Sudbury Road/Concord Road. U.S. Highway 20 heads east toward Boston from South Sudbury to Waltham. These routes are short, and are a pleasant way to enjoy the fall season and experience the historic charm of the area.

Massachusetts, North of Boston Fall Foliage Tours and Routes

The Cape Ann towns of Rowley, Ipswich, Essex and Rockport are popular among Boston-area leaf-peepers. Halibut Point State Park and other coastal locations add the excitement of a rough autumn sea to the fall foliage experience.

Maudsley State Park, in Newburyport on the shores of the Merrimack River, is on the well-laid-out grounds of the former Moseley family estate. Enjoy the color and the water views while walking, biking, or horseback riding on the park's paths.

Three popular foliage viewing routes north of Boston, connecting the Cape Ann towns, are:
  • State Road 128 and State Road 127 - between Halibut Point State Park and Beverly
  • State Road 133 - between Gloucester and Georgetown
  • State Road 1A - between Beverly and Newburyport

Massachusetts, South of Boston Fall Foliage Tours and Routes

The cranberry country area near the sea south of Boston offers fall color foliage, lakes, ponds, small towns, and picturesque farmland. The best routes for viewing the foliage are:
  • State Road 105/State Road 18 - from Bridgewater to Rochester, passing by the ponds around Lakeville
  • State Road 104/State Road 106 - from Bridgewater to the coast near Plymouth
  • State Road 58 - from Halifax south to I-495 at Wareham

Providence and Newport, Rhode Island Fall Foliage Tours and Routes

The Rhode Island fall foliage experience is affected by the flat landscape, and by the multi-colored trees reflecting in the ever-present water. Due to the small size of the state and based on the details provided below, you are never far from a popular foliage viewing area.

The fall colors on the tree lined streets of Newport provide a striking backdrop to the lavish mansions of Bellevue Avenue. Also in Newport, Ocean Drive provides nice views of the trees and the Atlantic Ocean. Nearby Conanicut Island is home to the quaint village of Jamestown, with great views of Narragansett Bay and some more beautiful fall colors.

In the Providence area, the best bet for fall foliage viewing is in Riverside Cemetery. Those looking for something more lively might consider taking a walk along Benefit Street and admiring the historic houses and the flora. Further south, parts of Goddard State Park in East Greenwich are heavily wooded with miles of hiking and bridle trails.

Popular and short routes that will maximize the autumn experience in Rhode Island are, starting from the north:
  • U.S. Highway 44 - from Greenville, west of Providence to West Glocester at the Connecticut border
  • State Road 94 - from West Glocester south to Foster Center
  • Looping around Scituate Reservoir, west of Providence, on State Road 14/State Road 12/State Road 116. Enjoy the sight of acres of forests reflected by the water.
  • State Road 3 - from Hopkinton at the Connecticut border, in the south to West Greenwich, near the center of the state
  • State Road 138 - across the southern portion of the state, from Hope Valley in the west to North Kingstown in the east
  • State Road 1A - along the southern coast of Rhode Island, from Westerly, close to the Connecticut border to South Kingston

Mystic and Eastern Connecticut Fall Foliage Tours and Routes

The small sliver of Connecticut included in the Coastal Massachusetts and Rhode Island region contains two areas of interest to leaf peepers. A visit here can easily be combined with a visit to some of the fall foliage sites across the border in Rhode Island.

Pachaug State Forest offers miles of hiking and riding trails. The park is located inland, not far from the Rhode Island border. Recommended views are from Mt. Misery Overlook.

State Road 169 north from Newent to Woodstock, is probably the most scenic route in the eastern part of the state, and fall season especially. State Road 49, further south and closer to Rhode Island, is popular as well. A short loop around Mystic on U.S. Highway 1/State Road 27/State Road 234 combines fall colors, sea views and historic sights.

Fall Foliage Spots in Boston, Cape Cod, Newport, Connecticut, Coastal Massachusetts and Rhode Island

Sort By: Rating | Name
Bellevue Avenue
Benefit Street
Conanicut Island
Essex , MA
Goddard State Park
Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
Halibut Point State Park
Ipswich, MA
Loop around Mystic
Looping around Scituate Reservoir (Rockland - Rockland)
Maudsley State Park
Newport's Ocean Drive Fall Foliage
Pachaug State Forest
Paddling the Concord River
Riverside Cemetery
Rockport , MA
Rowley, MA
SR104/SR106 (Bridgewater - Plymouth Bay)
SR105/SR18 (Bridgewater - Rochester)
SR128 and SR127 (Halibut Point - Beverly)
SR133 (Gloucester - Georgetown)
SR138 (Hope Valley - North Kingstown)
SR169 (Newent - Woodstock )
SR1A (Beverly - Newburyport)
SR1A (Westerly - South Kingston)
SR2A (Concord - Lexington)
SR3 (Hopkinton - West Greenwich)
SR58 (Halifax - Wareham)
SR94 (West Glocester - Foster Center)
Sudbury Road/Concord Road (Lexington - Sudbury)
US20 (South Sudbury - Waltham)
US44 (Greenville - West Glocester )
Walden Pond State Reservation