It would be ideal to have unlimited time to road trip around New England in the fall to take in the glorious colors and tastes. But even if you don’t have a lot of time, many day trips will let you have a fall New England experience. The key is to get outside and breath in the season.
Since I live in Rhode Island, most of my day trips are easily accessible from here, so I am basing this article from Rhode Island, but you can do them from anywhere in New England or even New York. There is plenty to see within Rhode Island, but it is also the perfect starting point for short, fall day trips around New England or full-day trips and overnight trips around New England. Read on for some of my family’s favorite fall day trips in New England.
Fall Day Trips within Rhode Island
A Fall Day in Middletown and Newport, Rhode Island
Autumn is an ideal time to visit this seaside area that is busy with tourists in the summer. Here are some of my favorite things to do in Middletown and Newport in autumn:
Norman Bird Sanctuary, Middletown
The trails at Norman Bird Sanctuary make my family’s top 10 New England Hikes because it has rocks to climb over and ends with a view of the ocean.
If you want less of a hike and more of a walk, fall is a great time to experience Newport’s Cliff Walk without crowds. Read on for more information about Newport’s Cliff Walk.
There is something magical about grapevines in fall colors. Newport Vineyards has a cute patio overlooking the vineyard on which you can eat lunch or grab a snack. Read more about that in Things to do in Newport, Rhode Island.
A Fall Day Trip to Jamestown, Rhode Island
The town of Jamestown lies on the farm-covered Conanicut Island. It is a quiet fall escape.
The historic windmill, built in 1787, sits on a hill overlooking the water. It is open on weekends from 1-4 pm until the middle of October.
Just up the road from the windmill, you can enjoy two of New England’s best fall foods, homemade hard-pressed apple cider and cider donuts.
Set in a waterfront park with hiking trails sits the graffiti-covered ruins of an old coastal battery. There is a beauty to be found in this destroyed human-made ruin once again becoming one with nature.
Take the last chance before it gets cold to dine al fresco in Simpatico’s treehouse.
Watch the Sunset at Beavertail Lighthouse
Beavertail is the best place in the state to watch a sunset because it faces the west, so a perfect way to end your fall day. It made my list of the most Instagrammable places in Rhode Island.
Stepstone Falls in West Greenwich
Although the road to Stepstone Falls is a little rough, this hike is an easy way to see the foliage and a series of small cascading waterfalls.
Fall Day Trips outside Rhode Island
All these trips will take a full day to complete. Consider turning any of them into an overnight or weekend trip.
Drive the country roads of eastern Connecticut for some romantic foliage. Here are a few of our favorite stops–
North Stonington, Connecticut
Try local wines in this beautiful white farmhouse.
BF Clyde’s Cider Mill
Watch apple cider being pressed in the oldest steam-powered apple press in the United States.
We love Buell’s because it has everything you want in a farm to visit in fall– pick-your-own-pumpkins, pick-your-own-apples, and a hayride. They also have some of the best apple cider donuts I have ever had.
Devil’s Hopyard State Park
East Haddam, Connecticut
Take the short hike to a waterfall and covered bridge or take a 2-mile hike to get a panoramic view of the foliage.
Kevin & Paulette are very excited to share their friendly alpacas with visitors, so stop by the farm and learn about these cute and furry creatures. Check out the turkey too!
Woodstock is quintessential New England, especially for fall. Read all about my fall weekend in Woodstock to find out what is so special about it.
Lincoln, New Hampshire
New York City
Fall brings cooler temperatures (no summer stench) and fewer tourists. Central Park is pretty magical in fall colors. Read my Tips for Visiting New York City. I know NYC isn’t in New England, but it is an easy day trip from southern New England.
Shelbourne Falls, Massachusetts
This artistic enclave in the Berkshires contains the Bridge of Flowers, a community-run floral exhibit. Volunteers maintain the bridge through the end of October.
Check out the spooky history of Salem, the ultimate Halloween destination. There is more to Salem than just the sinister. Read on to find out what in A Day Trip to Salem.
Perfect Fall Weekend Trips from Rhode Island
Acadia National Park
Although it is very north in New England, a visit to this forested national park nestled along Maine’s rocky coastline is an ideal fall trip. Read my 3-Day Acadia Fall Itinerary.
I’ll be heading to Long Island this weekend for the first time to check out their wineries. Follow along on my Instagram to see if that trip will become an addition to this list.
Enjoy your fall in New England. I would love to hear in the comments which of these New England fall day trips you plan to take and how your day went.