October in New England: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

A Guide to Weather, Events and the Best Things to Do in October

Mohawk Trail in Massachusetts
Make a point of driving the Mohawk Trail in the Berkshires this October. America's oldest scenic road turned 102 this year. Media photo courtesy of the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism

October is the best month in New England. You could spend an entire lifetime in the Northeast and still be amazed by the colors that erupt each autumn. A single tree that has turned just the right shade of fall coral or a deep and lustrous red can literally cause a leaf lover to gasp. Each leaf is a masterpiece meant to be saved and shared (here's how to request a free fall leaf if you can't get to New England).

Fall foliage is far from the only reason to love October in New England. This is the month when the calendar is so filled with festivals, sporting events and fun things to do, you could never do them all in a lifetime of falls. Just seeing cheery orange and spooky white pumpkins at roadside stands is enchanting. New Englanders embrace Halloween with unparalleled fervor. Get to all of the 5 Best Pumpkin Festivals in New England, and you'll be able to say you watched giant pumpkins fall onto old cars, raced a pumpkin in a Pumpkin Derby and even attempted a new Guinness World Record at the NH Pumpkin Festival in Laconia.

This is harvest season in New England, a time when everything tastes scrumptious... especially cider donuts. A time to pick your own apples and pumpkins at New England farms. A time to make fall comfort foods at home. A time to be prepared for any weather, from summerlike days to early coatings of snow.

New Englanders know that winter follows fall, so they make the most of every moment, as the world turns golden all around them. October in New England is truly an experience to 

New England Weather in October

Average October Temperatures (Low / High):

Hartford, CT: 42º / 63º Fahrenheit (6º / 17º Celsius)
Providence, RI: 44º / 63º Fahrenheit (7º / 17º Celsius)
Boston, MA: 47º / 61º Fahrenheit (8º / 16º Celsius)
Stockbridge, MA: 37º / 60º Fahrenheit (3º / 16º Celsius)
Killington, VT: 35º / 55º Fahrenheit (2º / 13º Celsius)
North Conway, NH: 34º / 57º Fahrenheit (1º / 14º Celsius)
Portland, ME: 39º / 59º Fahrenheit (4º / 15º Celsius)

October is a transitional month as Autumn comes to a close and Winter begins to creep around the corner. As days get shorter and nights get longer, temperatures start to decrease. This month can be very unpredictable with weather ranging from warm Summer temperatures to even snow. It isn't impossible for a hurricane to make it's was to New England in October, bringing damaging winds and rain. The region is bigger than it looks on a map, but for an example, Boston gets an average of 3.8 inches of rain during this month. 

What to Pack

As October progresses, temperatures begin to fall, so be sure to bring layers on your trip. Even if the day will be warm, night temperatures may be extremely cold. The farther north you travel, the colder the temperatures will be as well. Make sure to check the forecast while packing. You may want to bring along a warmer jacket, an umbrella, and boots to be prepared for any weather. 

Top 11 October 2018 Events in New England

There's non-stop fun on tap at October events in New England. Here are some top events to attend this month:

September 28-October 8: Topsfield Fair in Topsfield, Massachusetts

October 1-31: Haunted Happenings in Salem, Massachusetts

October 4-November 4: Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular in Providence, Rhode Island

October 6: North American Wife Carrying Championship at Sunday River in Newry, Maine

October 6: Harpoon Octoberfest in Windsor, Vermont

October 6: International Oktoberfest in East Providence, Rhode Island

October 6-8: Damariscotta Pumpkinfest & Regatta in Damariscotta, Maine

October 12-13: NH Pumpkin Festival in Laconia, New Hampshire

October 13-14: Wellfleet OysterFest in Wellfleet, Massachusetts

October 18-21: Harvest on the Harbor in Portland, Maine

October 20-21: The 54th Head of the Charles Regatta in Cambridge, Massachusetts

October Holidays in New England

Columbus Day: October 8

Halloween: October 31

Less "Official" October Holidays Worth Celebrating in New England

October 1: International Frugal Fun Day
Visit one of New England's 10 Best Free Attractions.

October 16: Dictionary Day
Tour the Connecticut home of dictionary inventor Noah Webster.

October 15: Sweetest Day
Take your sweetie to one of these New England Inns with a Fireplace in Every Room.

October 26: National Mincemeat Day
Make mincemeat the old-fashioned way (or a modern way) with these recipes from Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts.

Best Destinations for October in New England

October is truly a glorious month to be on the road anywhere in New England. Chasing peak fall foliage is a favorite pastime. You can check fall foliage reports online to locate places to see the region's best leaves. The three-day Columbus Day holiday weekend is typically THE busiest weekend of the year in New England. Avoid it if you hate crowds; get here if you want to join in the fun at annual events like the Damariscotta Pumpkinfest & Regatta in Maine.

One of my family's most memorable October vacations began in Providence, Rhode Island, where we marveled at the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular. Our Fall-a-Palooza's next stop was Killington, Vermont. Be sure to take a scenic Gondola Ride while you're in Killington. We continued on to East Charlotte for the Tractor Parade, which takes place on October 14 in 2018.

October is also the month to visit Salem, Massachusetts, which capitalizes on its not-so-pretty past as the scene of America's most famous witch hunt.

If you're looking for kid-friendly Halloween happenings, head to Pumpkintown USA in Connecticut, or visit the Pumpkin People in Jackson, New Hampshire. Medieval fun awaits this month, as well, at both King Richard's Faire in Carver, Massachusetts, and the Connecticut Renaissance Faire in Lebanon, Connecticut.

October is also a wonderful month for art lovers. The Paradise City Arts Festival is Columbus Day weekend, or enjoy meeting artists on a scenic drive during the Cape Ann Artisans October Open Studios Tour in Massachusetts.

More October in New England Travel Tips