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Best Fall Vacations on the East Coast

Best Fall Vacations on the East Coast

If you are looking to plan a trip to see gorgeous fall foliage, you have to visit the East Coast. Whether you are looking to hike an awesome trail, explore a charming town, or just relax, there are so many stunning towns to visit for your next fall trip. Fall trips are my absolute favorite and I love visiting a new town every year. I’ve rounded up the best fall vacations on the East Coast that you can visit this upcoming season!

If you are looking to plan a fall trip when it is peak fall foliage, be sure to stay up to date on the fall foliage prediction map. This will help you time your trip to have the best opportunity of catching peak fall colors.

Best Fall Vacations on the East Coast

Acadia National Park in Maine

My favorite place in the Northeast is Acadia National Park. It is a national park on the coast of Maine. There are so many things to do and you will be surrounded by beautiful mountain and ocean views. The hiking trails in Acadia vary in length, difficulty, and elevation so there is something to do for everyone. Some of the best hiking trails to do is the Beehive Trail and the South Bubble Trail at Jordan Pond. You can watch the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain, which is the highest point on the United States’ East Coast. And you can end the day by watching the sunset at Bass Harbor Lighthouse.

A fun and beautiful scenic drive is through Park Loop Road. It is 27 miles and filled with a bunch of stopping points, where you can see amazing coastal views. A few of the best stops are Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, Schooner Head Overlook and Otter Point.

You can stay in the cute town of Bar Harbor. It’s filled with shops and boutiques, great restaurants, and an amazing view of the harbor! And it’s only a 15 minute drive to Acadia National Park. I highly recommend eating at Side Street Cafe and trying their mac and cheese and blueberry pie!

Fall foliage begins mid-October. Keep in mind that snow comes early in Maine so make sure to check the park about closures and weather conditions beforehand.

Check out my Acadia National Park Travel Guide

New Hampshire

New Hampshire makes a great fall vacation destination. There are so many great hiking trails in New Hampshire. My favorite hiking trails are Artist Bluff, Mount Willard, and Table Rock Trail. These hikes will give you the best views of all the pretty fall colors.

After all the hiking, you can give your legs a break and drive through Kancamagus Highway. It is a gorgeous scenic drive where you can stop along the way to see viewpoints of the White Mountains. These mountains are stunning to visit for fall foliage.

I recommend staying in the town of Lincoln or Littleton. Littleton is a cute town filled with a bunch of cool shops, restaurants, cafes, and breweries. Also, if you love pancakes, you have to visit Flapjack’s Pancake House. They are hands down the best pancakes I’ve ever had in my life!

Peak fall foliage in New Hampshire typically begins around the first two weeks of October.

Check out my Fall Foliage Trip to New Hampshire

Vermont

Vermont is an amazing place to see fall colors, especially the charming town of Stowe, Vermont. It’s actually rated one of the greatest fall destinations in the United States – making it one of the best fall vacations on the East Coast!

There are so many different things to do in Stowe, Vermont. Explore the downtown for their shops, cafes, and restaurants. Soar to the top of Vermont’s highest mountain, Mount Mansfield, in the Gondola Skyride. Visit their local cider mills and orchards for yummy apple cider and donuts. I recommend visiting Cold Hollow Cider Mill or Hunger Mountain Orchard. Check out the Ben & Jerry’s factory which is right outside of Stowe.

A cool night activity to do in Stowe is a lantern tour! Carry a candle lit lantern as you hear entertaining stories stories of the resident ghosts of Stowe. You will also hear compelling stories of early settlers and learn about Stowe’s historic buildings. Tickets are $12 for adults. All tour spots are by reservation only.Tours should be booked by calling (802) 244-1173 or e-mail Newf1Ted@aol.com

Peak fall foliage in Vermont typically begins around the first two weeks of October.

Looking for fall outfit inspiration – check out the outfits I wore to Vermont

The Berkshires

The Berkshires is a beautiful rural region located in west Massachusetts and its a great fall foliage weekend getaway. You can stay at a charming inn in the cute towns of Lenox, Stockbridge or Pittsfield.

Explore the towns, browse the local shops, and check out local wineries. Go on a hiking trail like the Hickey and Peeskawso Peak Loop Trail and see the highest point in Massachusetts at Mount Greylock. A popular activity is visiting the Normal Rockwell Museum. And for some of the best fall foliage scenery, take Route 7 and 8 from Great Barrington to North Adams.

Fall foliage usually peaks during mid-October!

Salem

If you love Halloween, you have to add Salem, Massachusetts to your fall bucket list! It’s a charming town with spooky history. During your visit, there are so many fun events and attractions like going on ghost tours and learning all about the city’s supernatural history. This town is also where Hocus Pocus was filmed!

Fall foliage usually peaks during mid-October!

Adirondacks

Another one of the best fall vacations on the East Coast is a trip to the Adirondacks. The Adirondack Mountains are located in northeastern New York. It consists over six million acres of mountain peaks, waterfalls and lakes. You can find so many different types of hiking trails like the popular Indian Head Trail with amazing views. They also have a gondola ride at White Face Mountain called the Cloudsplitter Gondola.

When visiting the Adirondack Mountains, you can stay in the cute downtown of Lake Placid. It is filled with many cool cafes, restaurants, and shops. The town sits along Mirror Lake so you can also get really nice views of the lake with fall foliage mountainous views in the background.

If you love BBQ, you have to eat at Smoke Signals. It’s so good and it was one of our favorite restaurants! Other great restaurants to check out is Luna Restaurant (a great Italian spot) and The Farmhouse Cafe (yummy breakfast spot!).

Fall foliage usually peaks during mid-October!

Check out my Lake Placid + Adirondacks Travel Guide

Catskills

Catskills is the perfect weekend getaway for a fall vacation on the East Coast. It’s filled with adventures, breathtaking views, and beautiful mountains. The Catskills is made up of a bunch of cute charming towns like Phoenicia, Woodstook, Tannersville, Hunter, and more.

There are so many fun things to do in the Catskills. You can see the beautiful two stage waterfall, Kaaterskill falls. The trail starts at a viewing platform where you can look down to the waterfall and then the trail takes you to the base of the falls. A popular hiking trail is Overlook Mountain. You get to hike to the top of a fire tower with amazing views of the Catskills and the Hudson Valley. Another fun activity is taking a tour with Rail Explorers through the fall foliage. This is a pedal powered vehicle that rides on railroad tracks. You can enjoy a scenic ride to the high summit of Hunter Mountain and book a tour with New York Zipline Adventure Tours, the longest and highest zipline tour in North America!

For restaurants, I recommend eating at Cucina – a modern Italian restaurant located in a farmhouse. Also, Bread Alone is a MUST if you are in Woodstock. It is a great breakfast spot for coffee, pastries, and sandwiches.

Peak fall foliage in the Catskills is in mid-October!

Check out my fall weekend getaway to the Catskills

Hudson Valley

The Hudson Valley in upstate New York makes a great place to visit for an epic fall adventure! It is filled with so many awesome hiking trails like Breakneck Ridge, Bear Mountain, and Gertrude’s Nose. Visit Mohonk Mountain House and go kayaking. Explore Minnewaska State Park and walk around the lake for some awesome fall foliage views.

They are also known for their local wineries. Robibero Winery is a popular one in New Paltz. It is set on a 42 acre property around the breathtaking Shawangunk Mountains. In addition to their wine tastings, they have wood fired pizza, pretzels, and a variety of cheese, meats, crackers, etc. They also host a grape stomping festival which sounds so fun! The Hudson Valley is also a perfect place to visit an apple orchard to go apple picking and try their ciders!

Peak fall foliage in the Catskills is in mid-October!

Check out my New Paltz Travel Guide

Poconos

The Poconos Mountains in Pennsylvania makes a great fall vacation on the East Coast for exploring the outdoors. There are so many fun things to do. You can go camping, hiking, fishing, apple picking, and taking a scenic drive to see beautiful fall foliage. Explore the many hiking trails in Bushkill Falls and Delaware Water Gap. It makes the perfect destination for families and adventurers.

You can stay in the cute small town of Jim Thorpe. Shop around their little unique stores and walk through their historic district. You can book a train ride through the mountains on the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway. Check out waterfalls and boulder field at Hickory Run State Park. Bike or walk along the Lehigh River.

Peak fall foliage is early to mid-October.

Shenandoah National Park

If you can’t visit the Northeast during fall foliage, there are other great places to go to like Shenandoah National Park located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. It’s filled with stunning mountain views, waterfalls, and beautiful colors in the fall.

One of the popular things to do is to take a scenic drive though Skyline Drive. It is a 105 mile drive that is filled with many stops to see amazing views. Some of the best overlook view points are Stony Man, Brown Mountain and Bacon Hollow.

Some of the great hiking trails to do are Mary’s Rock, Little Stony Man Cliffs, Bearfence Mountain Trail, Hawksbill Mountain and Old Rag Loop Trail. There are two hotels within the National Park that you can stay in: Skyland and Big Meadows Lodge.

Mid-October is typically the best for peak fall foliage.

Smoky Mountains

The Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most visited national parks in the country! This is one of the reasons the Smoky Mountains is on my list as one of the best fall vacations on the East Coast. It is located along the border of eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina.

There are so many incredible hiking trails to see fall foliage like Clingman’s Dome Trail and Little Greenbrier Trail. A fun activity is taking a scenic helicopter ride over the national park. You can also take a scenic drive on Blue Ridge Parkway which goes from Shenandoah National Park to the Smoky Mountains.

The leaves will start to change in mid-October. For peak fall foliage, I recommend going end of October or early November.

Hope you enjoyed my post on the best fall vacations on the East Coast!

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