Nothing can quite compare to the beauty of the fall foliage in New England.
Leaf peepers come from all over to see the vibrant bursts of color that make up nature’s fireworks. Head to Boston and check out these top areas for prime New England foliage viewing.
When is the Best Time to See New England Foliage?
Wondering when to plan your Boston visit to coincide with when the foliage is at it’s peak?
This fall foliage map will help you to make sure you catch the peak of color!
Each year, the changing of the leaves tend to begin at different times. However, generally speaking, you’ll start to see splashes of color around mid-September.
By early October, fall leaf colors becomes more pronounced. Peak season usually comes in about the 3rd week of October.
By early November, the most vivid fall leaf colors may unfortunately be gone, so be sure to get here sooner rather than later.
Check out Boston Common & The Public Gardens
Head here to see a rich array of golds, yellows, and reds against the city skyline and manicured walkways, ponds, and statues.
The Boston Public Gardens are a short walk from Beacon Hill, a neighborhood full of 19th century charm, where you can warm up with cider or coffee in any of the coffeehouses along Charles and Cambridge streets.
Many of the trees in the gardens change color earlier in the season, so splashes of autumn color can usually be seen first here. It’s an excellent place to snap photos, too, with the contrast of beautiful trees against grand buildings.
While you won’t be seeing many of the picnickers or frisbee throwers that throng the park in the summer months, keep an eye out for kids flying kites and plenty of excited furry friends.
Getting In: Admission to the Boston Public Gardens and Boston Common is free.
Plan a Visit to Harvard Yard
Littered with students, professors, dogs, and children, Harvard Yard is a great spot for leaf peeping.
As you stroll through the tree-lined grassy common, stop by the infamous John Harvard Statue, a frequent target of local pranks, to give your New England fall day a collegiate twist (don’t forget to rub the statue’s feet for good luck!).
Take the Hahvahd Walking Tour if you’ve got some free time and/or interest in the school – it’s the most popular tour of Harvard University and you will be sure to learn a great deal about the school while taking in the beautiful colors of the changing leaves.
While you are here, be sure to check out the Harvard Museum of Natural History, which contains a one-of-a-kind glass display of over 3,000 plant species which will be sure to amaze botanists and tourists alike. Plus, they’ve also got a nice little collection of fossils, gemstones, and other natural artifacts.
Enjoy the Boston Fall Foliage on a Bike
Consider taking a beautiful bike ride around Boston, which is one the best ways for tourists and Boston residents alike to see some of the best sights, smells and scenes that the Hub has to offer in the Fall.
A few areas that you should consider checking out for some great Boston Fall foliage include:
- The Boston Common and Public Garden
- The famous Charles River Esplanade (filled with cyclists, runners, and more basically year round)
- The Museum of Fine Arts (included with the Go Boston® Card)
- Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (included with the Go Boston® Card)
- The Rose Kennedy Greenway
- The Arnold Arboretum
Getting In: Boston bike rentals are included with the Go Boston® Card; Museum of Fine Arts tickets are included with the Go Boston® Card; Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum tickets are included with the Go Boston® Card.
Take a Charles River Tour to See Beautiful Boston
The Charles River Cruise or Boston’s famous Duck Tour in the fall months are especially scenic as the leaves reflect off the water of the Charles River.
The Charles River Cruise is a serene 70-minute excursion around the Charles River Basin, filled with great photo opportunities and informative yet engaging narration. It’s a lovely way to sightsee in general.
The Boston Duck Tour is more interactive but just as educational. Spend part of your time on land, and part in the Charles River for a truly unique sightseeing experience.
Both tours are available through October — prime New England foliage time!
New England Foliage Outside of Boston
It wouldn’t be a proper New England fall visit without a taste of life outside of Boston.
Visitors to the area really should experience the gently rolling New England foliage along the countryside and take in all the hues that are produced by a slowly departing summer.
Watching the leaves change color while traveling past quiet ponds, historic farms, weathered roadside taverns colonial churches and quaint village greens is a great way to spend a day.
Another great place to visit during the Fall that will give you a firsthand view of what the historic region has to offer is a Lexington and Concord Tour.
The 90-minute tour will take you on a trolley ride along historic Battle Road as you visit some of the most important sites of the American Revolution.
Guests of the tour will visit the Lexington Battle Green, Buckman Tavern, the Hancock-Clarke House, Minute Man National Historical Park, Meriam’s Corner, the North Bridge and many other historic places.
Getting In: Lexington & Concord Tour tickets are included with the Go Boston® Card.