"Honey, pull over!"
Choruses of that phrase are sure to be echoing throughout New England in the fall months as "leaf peepers" descend upon the region. You're sure to stumble across great spots to pull off New England's scenic, winding highways and byways to savor a picnic or to capture special photographs or just to breathe in the crisp autumn air and appreciate and contemplate the beauty of nature's dazzling display.
But, why leave those "Kodak moments" or "Instagram Instants" (thanks to @mvshaw!) to chance? With a little planning, and the vast resources of the Internet, you can map out scenic driving routes through one or all of the six New England states that are sure to take you past the best fall foliage viewing spots.
Use this guide to find the best fall foliage driving tours in each of the six New England states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, plus neighboring New York. You'll find everything from a covered bridges driving tour in Vermont to a trip along Massachusetts' Mohawk Trail, to suggested motorcycle driving tours in New York's picturesque Dutchess County. And don't miss my Northwestern Connecticut Fall Foliage Tour, which originally appeared in Yankee Magazine.
"Are we there yet?"
(Hopefully you won't hear that phrase too often!) Just to be safe, print these Free Fall Leaf Coloring Pages to keep kids amused in the car.
My Best Fall Foliage Driving Tour Tips
While writing Backroads of New England and Backroads of New York, and in the course of my travels for TripSavvy (formerly About.com) and Yankee Magazine, I've driven thousands of miles of scenic roads... probably hundreds of thousands! Here are a few things I've learned:
- Keep snacks in the car! The prettiest roads for fall foliage are not lined with fast-food joints. The Yelp app is a helpful tool for finding decent dining options when you're driving off the beaten path.
- Fill your car up with gas when you're down to a half tank. Nothing detracts more from the leisurely experience of country driving than fretting about running out of gas on remote roads.
- If you're pulling over to take pictures (and it's tough to resist the urge when fall foliage is at peak), be sure you have ample room to get off the road, and use your four-way flashers.
- Don't let rain deter you. Some of the best fall foliage photos I've ever seen feature rain-slicked roads and glistening wet leaves.
- That said, be careful to allow extra stopping distance if you're driving on wet leaves, which can be slick. Also, stay alert for deer and moose in the road: Fall's the season when antlered creatures are active and frisky.
- Steal my fall playlist! These songs are the perfect soundtrack for fall foliage trips in New England.