Massachusetts: Ideal for Fall Foliage Viewing

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fall foliage
When most of the deciduous trees in the park have lost their leaves and autumn is about to give up its reign to winter, river bitches and silver maples along the riverbank and on islands such as Poxono still retain their brilliantly colored leave until brought down by November gales.

For Leap Peepers, the Bay State Is a Classic Foliage Drive

By Max Hartshorne
GoNOMAD Editor

There’s nothing quite like taking a drive through the New England countryside in the fall. The leaves are changing color, the air is crisp and cool, and the scenery is simply breathtaking. If you’re planning a road trip to see the fall foliage this year, Massachusetts is the perfect place to go. Here are some of the best places to see fall foliage in Massachusetts.

Finger Lakes Cider house
Garrett Miller with two flights of hard cider in the Berkshires of Massachusetts.

Even though I have lived in New England since a teenager, I still notice and appreciate the world of colors that emerges here every October and compared with the West Coast, is so beautiful.

Before you set out on your road trip, there are a few key things you want to have in order

Road trips are a great way to see the country and bond with family or friends, but they can also be stressful if you’re not properly prepared. Here are a few tips to help you get ready for your next road trip:

Make sure your vehicle is in good working order. 

Before setting out on any road trip, it’s important to have your car checked by a mechanic. This will help ensure that you don’t run into any unexpected trouble along the way.

If you’ll be driving a rental, you’ll want to consider a new car insurance that has an add-on that will cover your rental car. 

Plan your route in advance

This will help you avoid getting lost and wasting time backtracking. Plus, it’ll give you an idea of what attractions you’ll be able to see along the way.

Pack snacks and drinks for the journey

Hunger and thirst can make even the shortest road trip seem endless. By having snacks and drinks on hand, you can avoid making costly (and unhealthy) stops at fast food restaurants.

Bring along some Entertainment To Go with the Foliage

Long drives can be boring, so be sure to bring along some books, music, or movies to help pass the time. And if you’re traveling with kids, don’t forget to pack some games and toys to keep them occupied. By following these tips, you can make sure that your next road trip is a fun and hassle-free experience. I especially enjoy true crime podcasts or my own GoNOMAD Travel Podcast to pass the miles as we enjoy the colorful vistas.

The Berkshires

The Berkshires region of western Massachusetts is one of the best places in the state to see fall foliage. The mountains and valleys of the Berkshires create a stunning contrast of colors, making for some truly breathtaking scenery. There are plenty of scenic routes and backroads to explore, so you can take your time and enjoy all that this beautiful region has to offer.

Fall foliage at a restaurant in Lee, Massachusetts.
Fall foliage at a restaurant in Lee, Massachusetts. Max Hartshorne photo

The Mohawk Trail

The Mohawk Trail is a scenic route that winds its way through the Berkshire Mountains from Williamstown to North Adams. The trail is actually a highway, and it takes in what locals call the Pioneer Valley.  Along the way, you’ll find plenty of places to stop and enjoy the views, as well as plenty of opportunities to get out and explore on foot. The Mohawk Trail is one of the most popular routes for leaf peepers in Massachusetts, so it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area. Visit Pine Hill Orchards in Colrain for pick your own apples and fresh-squeezed apple cider.

Route 2A

Route 2A is another great option for those looking to experience some beautiful fall foliage in Massachusetts. This route runs along the eastern edge of the state, from Greenfield all the way up to Boston. 

Along the way, you’ll pass through several somewhat down and out small towns and villages like Orange and Athol, as well as some stunning mountainous areas. Route 2A is a great option if you’re looking for a more leisurely drive with plenty of opportunities to stop and explore along the way. Several breweries can be found in these towns, including the Gardner Brewing Company.

Cape Cod Foliage

Cape Cod may not be the first place you think of when you’re planning a fall foliage road trip, but it’s actually a great place to see the leaves changing color. The Cape is home to some beautiful coastal scenery, as well as plenty of inland forests and parks. And, since Cape Cod is relatively small, it’s easy to explore the whole area in just a few days.

These are just a few of the many great places to see fall foliage in Massachusetts. So, whether you’re looking for a scenic drive or a place to hike and explore, Massachusetts has something to offer. So, get out there and enjoy the autumn colors!

Coolidge Reservation hiking path next to the Atlantic Ocean in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass.
Coolidge Reservation hiking path next to the Atlantic Ocean in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass.

The North Shore

It is a beautiful place to see fall foliage. The Cape Ann coastline is dotted with quaint towns and villages, and the inland areas are full of forests and parks. Plus, since the North Shore is only a short drive from Boston, it’s easy to make a day trip of it. So, if you’re looking for a beautiful place to see the fall colors, be sure to check out the North Shore.

There is a wonderful trail that you can hike down Route 127 in Manchester-by-the-Sea that runs along the ocean front called the Coolidge Reservation. It’s  very scenic and an easy stroll.

The South Shore

The South Shore of Massachusetts is another great place to see fall foliage. This area is home to some stunning coastal scenery, as well as plenty of inland forests and parks. And, since the South Shore is only a short drive from Boston, it’s easy to make a day trip of it.  Duxbury, Marshfield and Plymouth all have long histories going back to the 1600s and are picturesque, especially the big marsh of Marshfield and Brant Rock, hard on the ocean. 

There are plenty of great places to see fall foliage in Massachusetts. Whether you’re looking for a scenic drive or a chance to get out and explore on foot, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for in this beautiful state. So put on your hiking boots, fill up your gas tank, and hit the road—you won’t be disappointed with what you find!