Are you looking for some New England road trip ideas? It’s now fall, and despite the fact that we were able to spend the weekend on the beach last weekend, it’s really a great time for some fabulous fall road trips. Fall is a great time to travel on a family road trip, because the weather is usually good for travel, and the weather is still good for some outdoor activities. Of course, there is also that gorgeous world-famous New England fall foliage, so it’s the perfect time for a leap peeping trip. There are lots of great options for New England fall Road trips – here are my favorites.
Note: some of the hotels mentioned were visited at no cost, and some links are affiliate links. A purchase/click through one of these links may result in a commission paid to us. All opinions are my own.
New England Fall Road Trip Ideas
A few years ago, we road tripped up to Freeport, Maine for a weekend away. We were able to attend a fall festival at Wolfe’s Neck Farm, shopped at the outlets (including the LL Bean flagship store), and swam in our hotel’s indoor pool. It was a great getaway and the kids also had a wonderful time.
The coast of Maine would be a great road trip. If you start in Boston, you can drive up past Portsmouth, NH, Kittery Maine, and Portland, Maine. You could get some outlet shopping done in both Kittery and Freeport, and the late fall can be a great time to get started on Christmas shopping. Be sure to get a famous lobster roll at one of the many road stands throughout the state. Bob’s Clam Shack in Kittery is one of my favorites.
Nantucket isn’t technically a road trip destination, since you’ll need to take the ferry to get there. But, it’s still a great fall destination. Rates are lower in the fall, and if you travel over Columbus Day weekend, you can enjoy the family-friendly Nantucket Cranberry Festival.
Like Cape Cod, Nantucket gets significantly less crowded in the late summer/early fall, but you can still have some great weather. It’s always a good idea to make your ferry reservations in advance, because they do fill up. Depending on where you are staying, you probably won’t need your car. So, road trip to the ferry and leave your car in the lot.
Story Land NH is open through Columbus Day, and New Hampshire is lovely in the fall. Hop in the car, and travel up to North Conway to enjoy the weekend away. There are lots of other things you can do while you are up there – even visit the outlet shops for some belated back to school shopping.
For a gorgeous New England fall road trip, consider driving from the Lincoln, NH (where you’ll find the Franconia Notch State Park) to North Conway on the Kancamagus Highway. This scenic byway, which goes through the White Mountain National Forest, is a stunning ride in any season. During foliage season, it’s the perfect drive to do some leaf peeping.
See hotel reviews here.
Cape Cod, like Nantucket, is another destination that’s much more affordable in the fall than it is in the summer. Many hotels, like the Sea Crest Beach Hotel (where we stayed last week) offer indoor pools, so you can swim even if the weather doesn’t cooperate.
For a history road trip, start in Boston, and head south towards the Cape. While you are in Boston, visit the Freedom Trail and other historic sites in the city. Then stop in Plymouth on your way to the Cape to visit Plimoth Plantation. While you may also consider visiting Plymouth Rock, I prefer Plimoth Plantation for the learning experience.
Although not included here, there are lots of other gorgeous destinations for a New England fall road trip. These include Newport, Rhode Island, Acadia National Park in Maine, the Mohawk Trail in Western Massachusetts (the first scenic road in New England), and Mount Washington, NH.
Related: Day Trips From Boston
Where will you be road tripping this fall?