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17 Great Places to Enjoy Massachusetts Fall Foliage

17 Great Places to Enjoy Massachusetts Fall Foliage

Experience the awe-inspiring beauty of the Massachusetts fall foliage season, as the state undergoes a remarkable transformation into a mesmerizing vista of amber, gold, and crimson hues. Whether you choose to wander the lively streets of Boston or explore the peaceful trails of the Berkshire region, every nook and cranny of Massachusetts showcases a captivating display of nature’s brilliant masterpieces against a crisp blue sky!

Ready to venture out on a picturesque road trip across the state? Any of these extraordinary regions will satisfy your craving for color, and don’t forget to bring your camera to seize these enchanting moments.

Fall foliage in Massachusetts tends to start at different times but catch the leaves changing mid to end of September with the peak of the transition happening in October! 

Massachusetts in Fall- Places to Enjoy Massachusetts Fall Foliage

1. Boston Common

Boston Common is a great place to enjoy Massachusetts fall foliage,

Nestled within the bustling cityscape of Boston, the Boston Common stands as a serene oasis, especially during the fall season. This 50-acre park serves as a peaceful retreat, providing solace to city dwellers seeking respite from the urban chaos.

As the leaves transition from summer greens to captivating autumnal hues, the Common transforms into a picturesque haven that offers a golden opportunity for both relaxation and reflection.

Boston Common is not only home to natural beauty but also serves as the backdrop for several iconic landmarks. Amidst the vibrant foliage, you can catch glimpses of the elegant Massachusetts State House, its golden dome reflecting the warm autumn sunlight.

Nearby, the charming Frog Pond stands as a tranquil mirror, reflecting the colorful foliage that surrounds it. These architectural marvels, against the vibrant leaves, create a breathtaking scene that embodies the spirit of the season. 

Visiting Boston Common is one of our favorite things to do in Boston with kids.

2. Boston Public Garden

Boston Common in the Fall

Just across the street from Boston Common, the Boston Public Garden transform into a captivating wonderland during the autumn season. As the colors of summer fade away, vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows take their place, infusing the gardens with an irresistible charm.

Whether you visit to marvel at nature’s artistry, seek a moment of tranquility, or simply revel in the autumnal ambiance, visiting the first public botanical garden in America during fall foliage season promises to be an unforgettable experience. 

Within the gardens lie iconic features that are further enhanced by the hues of autumn. The historic Garden Bridge, adorned with its elegant wrought-iron railings, harmonizes with the season’s warm tones.

The charming George Washington statue, nestled amidst a cluster of trees wearing their fall best, symbolizes the rich history and heritage that permeates the gardens. 

3. Arnold Arboretum

Arnold Arboretum in the autumn

The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University in Jamaica Plain is a living museum of trees and offers a perfect setting for enjoying fall foliage. The Arboretum has a diverse, extensive collection of trees from around the world which gives a wide range of vibrant colors. 

The arboretum spans over 281 acres, providing ample space for the trees to flourish as is the perfect place to appreciate the beauty of fall foliage. There is a a network of walking paths and trails that wind through the Arboretum where you can enjoy changing trees and plants like maples, oaks, and birches. While typically associated with spring, the arboretum’s Lilac Collection offers vibrant fall foliage as the leaves change colors.

4. Franklin Park

17 Great Places to Enjoy Massachusetts Fall Foliage 1

As the largest park in Boston, Franklin Park offers acres of wooded areas that transform into a beautiful tapestry of fall foliage. With its meadows, trails, and picturesque vistas, it’s a great place to explore and enjoy the vibrant colors of autumn.

This Jamaica Plain park is adjacent to the Arnold Arboretum, so it is easy to make a day out of enjoying them both. Franklin Park is home Zoo New England, several playgrounds, and even a golf course. If you just want to get some exercise surrounded by changing trees, check out the Circuit Drive which is popoular with walkers, joggers, and bikers.

5. Fall Color in Cambridge

Mount Auburn Cementery in fall
Photo by BostonPhotoSphere

Though a cemetery, the Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge is renowned for its stunning landscape and fall foliage. Its rolling hills and diverse assortment of trees provide a serene and picturesque environment for immersing yourself in the beauty of autumn colors.

Harvard Yard in Fall

Harvard Yard, the historic heart of Harvard University, also offers a charming display of fall foliage. The iconic campus setting is a picturesque setting of Harvard Yard, with its iconic brick buildings and charming pathways, provides a beautiful backdrop to witness the changing foliage. As the leaves turn vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow, it adds an extra layer of beauty to the already stunning campus.

As you wander through tree-lined walkways of Harvard Yard, you’ll encounter various historic landmarks, including Harvard’s oldest buildings and significant structures like Memorial Church and the John Harvard Statue. The combination of these landmarks with the vibrant fall foliage creates a unique and picturesque scene.

While Harvard Yard may not have the same extensive collection of trees as botanical gardens or arboretums, it still offers a delightful setting to appreciate the colors of fall. Whether you’re a student, a visitor, or simply an admirer of autumn foliage, Harvard Yard provides a charming and historic location to enjoy the seasonal transformation.

6. Mount Wachusett

Mount Wachusett in the fall
Photo by Robert Judge

Situated in Princeton, Mount Wachusett offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. You can hike to the summit or enjoy the scenery from the auto road to see the foliage in all its splendor. Be sure to stop at the visitor center at Mount Wachusett provides information about the park and the current foliage conditions.

The mountain is crisscrossed with hiking trails, the most popular of which is the Pine Hill Trail that leads to the summit. There are also mountain biking trails if you want to zip down the mountain with the crunch of leaves under your wheels and a whirl of autumn ccolors surrounding you.

Wachusett Mountain Ski Resort hosts a variety of festivals on weekends in the fall like Applefest and Boofest. During these festivals you can purchase tickets for the Skyride lift and view the brilliant colors from above.

7. Minute Man National Historical Park

Minute Man National Historical Park
Photo via Massachusetts Office of Tourism

Just outside of Boston, Minute Man National Historical Park is known for its historical significance as well as its natural beauty. With trails winding through fields and forests, it offers a unique setting to witness the fall foliage.

This park commemorates the Battle of Lexington and Concord, which took place on April 19, 1775, at the beginning of the Revolutionary War. The 5.5-mile Battle Road Trail follows the path of the battle and is a great way to experience the fall foliage while retracing the steps of American patriots.

The park’s landscapes, which include rolling fields, woodlands, and meandering rivers, transform into a tapestry of autumn colors. The lush maples, oaks, and other deciduous trees that line the historic roadways create a vivid display of red, orange, and yellow leaves.

8. The Berkshires

Berkshires fall foliage

The Berkshires offer spectacular views of rolling mountains adorned in colorful foliage. Many visitors relish driving along the picturesque Mohawk Trail. This popular activity is a must for locals and tourists alike.

You’ll be surrounded by breathtaking foliage or park and appreciate the view from several lookout points. The trail stretches for about 63 miles through the Berkshire Mountains for an unforgettable experience!

One of the most scenic drives in Massachusetts, the Mohawk Trail spans across the northern part of the state. This winding road offers lovely vistas, charming towns, and numerous viewpoints to enjoy the fall foliage.

Read our full guide to the region packed with 18 Fun Berkshires Fall Foliage Activities.

9. Mount Greylock State Reservation

Road to Mount Greylock

Mount Greylock State Reservation is home to the highest peak in the state, Mount Greylock. The reserve is truly a sight for sore eyes with the summit and trails becoming a kaleidoscope of hues of red, orange, and yellow. Mount Greylock State Reservation is ideal for immersing yourself during this season. 

The Mount Greylock Scenic Byway, also known as Rockwell Road, takes you to the summit and offers opportunities to see the changing leaves from your vehicle. On the summit of Mount Greylock, you’ll find Bascom Lodge, a rustic stone lodge that offers accommodations, meals, and information about the park.

The area boasts a network of hiking trails that lead through the woodlands and to the summit. The Gould Trail and the Appalachian Trail are popular choices for leaf-peeping hikes.

10. Cape Cod

17 Great Places to Enjoy Massachusetts Fall Foliage 2
Photo by Slack12

While visitors head to Cape Cod for 40 miles of coastline and stunning beaches, they will be happy to discover that the region also boasts breathtaking autumn scenery. The crowds thin out this time of year and the weather is usuually comfortable. Drive along Route 6A for the best views! The picturesque foliage against the coastal scenery is truly breathtaking.

Activities here include exploring the Cape Cod National Seashore, going on bike rides along the Cape Cod Rail Trail, visiting charming villages like Chatham or Provincetown, and indulging in fresh delicious seafood. A trip to the Cape isn’t complete without feasting on clam strips or a lobster dinner!

11. Salem

SAlem MA fall foliage
Photo by MassMatt

Salem welcomes visitors to enjoy leisurely strolls along historic streets. It is the perfect walking destination for exploring the town’s rich witchcraft history, or walk to the waterfront and visit Salem Willows Park.

Salem Common is a historic park in the center of the city. It features a collection of mature trees, which put on a colorful show in the fall. Known as one of America’s most beautiful streets, Chestnut Street is lined with historic homes and trees which change into marvelous colors during the fall.

The area also provides ample opportunities to visit various nature reserves such as Salem Woods or Winter Island Park. The trails in the reserves offer beautiful views of gorgeous fall colors.

Explore more of the state! Here are over 25 Things to do in Massachusetts with Kids!

12. Newburyport

Merrimack River in Newburyport

Newburyport is the perfect coastal location, surrounded by natural beauty and forests as well as a boardwalk, and a historic downtown area. The town’s tree-lined roads and historic homes are surrounded by trees that transform into a vibrant display of red and gold during the fall. Market Square, State Street, and High Street are particularly scenic areas for a stroll.

The Newburyport Harborwalk, also known as the Clipper City Rail Trail, provides a scenic path along the Merrimack River. During the fall, you can enjoy river views along with the colorful foliage that lines the trail.

Other activities in Essex County include visiting local farms for apple or pumpkin picking or taking in the scenic beauty of the Essex River during a boat cruise.

13. North Shore/Cape Ann

Cape Ann in the fall

The North Shore exudes New England charm and is renowned for its beautiful coastline. In places like Marblehead, Ipswich, or Gloucester, visitors can partake in coastal hikes, visit lighthouses, explore art galleries, or savor fresh seafood at waterfront restaurants. The fall foliage on the North Shore is ravishing along Route 1A or Route 133.

Ravenswood Park in Gloucester is a nature reserve with a network of trails that lead through woodlands, wetlands, and glacial rock formations. The park’s diverse tree species make for colorful fall foliage.

Also in Gloucester, Dogtown Common is a historic area with wooded trails and glacial boulders. The remnants of a colonial-era village add to its charm.

Crane Beach, located in Ipswich features a combination of coastal beauty and woodlands. Hiking the trails at Castle Neck and Crane Wildlife Refuge allows you to experience both the beach and the changing leaves.

14. Halibut Point State Park and the Middlesex Fells Reservation

Halibut Point
Halibut Point via the MA Office of Tourism

Halibut Point State Park in Rockport is coastal state park with ocean views. While the park isn’t densely wooded, the blues and grays of the ocean are complemented by the colorful foliage of the small trees and shrubs in the area.

Middlesex Fells
Middlesex Fells by RDA

Middlesex Fells Reservation is a wooded natural area with a network of trails. It’s a haven for hikers and nature enthusiasts. The deciduous trees here turn into a brilliant display of red, orange, and yellow during the fall.

Take time to visit Spot Pond and Bellevue Pond which reflect the foliage. The Skyline Trail is a favorite for panoramic views and fall colors.

15. Pioneer Valley

Pioneer Valley in the fall

Nestled in the Connecticut River Valley, the Pioneer Valley offers breathtaking fall foliage views. Places like Northampton, Amherst, and Deerfield are celebrated for their vibrant foliage, inviting downtown areas, and access to scenic hiking trails.

The Pioneer Valley boasts numerous state parks and natural areas where you can immerse yourself in the fall beauty. Consider visiting Mount Sugarloaf State Reservation, Skinner State Park, or Robinson State Park for hiking and leaf-peeping.

If you prefer to explore on two wheels, the Norwottuck Rail Trail, Manhan Rail Trail, and Farmington Canal Heritage Trail are popular choices for cyclists looking to experience the fall foliage. Excellent roads for fall drives include the Mohawk Trail, the Historic Route 7A, or the Connecticut River Scenic Byway.

16. Mount Holyoke Range State Park

Mount Holyoke
Photo via Emily Barney

Mount Holyoke Range State Park located in Haley, visitors can take in sweeping views of the surrounding valley including the Connecticut River. There are numerous trails and overlooks that provide gorgeous scenes of the autumnal season.

M&M Trail to to Mount Holyoke this is a moderate, 4.3-mile hike that takes you to the summit of Mount Holyoke. The summit offers fantastic vistas of the Connecticut River and the changing leaves of the valley below. The Robert Frost Trail is a more level and less strenuous option for enjoying the fall foliage.

17. Quabbin Reservoir

Quabbin Reservoir in fall

Quabbin Reservoir is located in Belchertown. The Quabbin Reservoir is one of the largest man-made public water supplies in the country. The reservoir offers picturesque landscapes during the autumn season.

Visitors can take a scenic drive along one of the several routes along the reservoir such as Quabbin Tower Road or Daniel Shays Highway, providing a look at the sensational colors of foliage. Other activities include hiking, fishing, or taking leisurely drives through the surrounding towns.

We recommend checking with local foliage reports when planning your visit as specific timing and peak foliage season can vary year to year depending on weather conditions.

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