Although fall fun can take place anywhere in the country, the annual hub of autumn adventures seems centered around New England.
Maybe it’s the trees that seem to change color on a usually predictable basis, perfect for leaf peepers wanting to get an optimal experience for their outings. Maybe it’s all the scenic, winding roads that further enhance the good vibes of a crisp, clear day.
Or maybe it’s all the exciting things to see and do besides look at leaves all day, such as exploring plenty of amazing cities and checking out tasty restaurants, cool roadside shops, and more.
Continue reading for recommended spots in the Constitution State for those excited about fall:
Mohawk State Forest
Between Cornwall and Goshen is this beautiful forest that puts on a great color show each fall. The forest has a lot of trails to explore, and one popular route is up to a lookout tower. The good news is you can hike to it or drive to it. Once there you can have a 30-foot view of the countryside.
Pachaug State Forest
Another popular locale promises – and delivers – more than 26,000 acres of beautiful trees. Visitors can hike, drive, or walk among the trails around the area. The scenery is diverse, including meadows, rock mazes, and more. The Mt. Misery overview is particularly impressive.
Two of the area’s favorite fall traditions start here: a steam train and a riverboat that both provide rides throughout the region each year. The train is a particularly impressive way to see the countryside – the slower speeds of the locomotive on the hour-long trip let you take in so much of the scenic countryside. The trip is also narrated by a local resident eager to share knowledge of the area. The 1-hour 15-minute ride aboard the Becky Thatcher also is enjoyable. Once you’re done with your rides on one or both, stop by the city’s museum to learn more about local history.
This picturesque community in the northeast part of the state has it all: gorgeous scenery, friendly people, waterfalls, and even a picturesque, covered bridge over the Housatonic River. Make this community an early stop on a future fall trip or even spend the whole day playing and sightseeing here. It’s a good way to see the Litchfield Hills area and the lovely Kent Falls State Park.
The Farmington River Valley is a prime area for leaf peeping and generally enjoying the fall experience. Located in the central part of the state, the area lets you check out a small town, and then stop to enjoy the Old Drake Hill Flower Bridge. This historic bridge is especially impressive because it’s decorated with flowers. Visitors can also climb nearby Heublein Tower, which at 165 feet tall, gives a great panoramic view of the area.
There’s scenery galore here plus the chance to visit a fun downtown. One of the highlights is the Infinity Music Hall and Bistro, a 1880s-era facility that offers tasty food and great musical performances regularly. Or if the outdoors is more of your jam, there are three surrounding state parks that are fun to check out: Haystack Mountain, Dennis Hill and Campbell Falls. Each one includes unique scenery and areas to hike to and explore. Haystack Mountain also features a 34-foot-tall observation tower.
As long as any ‘80s kids in the car promise not to start singing, this town is worth a visit. It was the scene of “Mystic Pizza,” one of Julia Roberts’ first big movies. It’s also in the southern part of the state, so often toward the end of the fall color changes. This can sometimes mean fewer crowds, which is always a plus. The town is fun to visit as is the Mystic River. The city also hosts the annual October Witch Paddle the first weekend of October where anyone is invited to dress up as a witch and float.
Sleeping Giant State Park
Trees in the area are in the southern part of the state, which means they are among the last areas to change color each season. It might be a little cooler in the season, but the crowds may have thinned nicely. It’s near Hamden, a community worth checking out, and there’s also a fun drive or hike up to the Castle Crag lookout tower.