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

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Mohawk Trail in Massachusetts

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 peaks and fades, and winter begins to creep around the corner. As days grow shorter and nights get longer, temperatures start to fall. This month can be very unpredictable with weather ranging from warm summer temperatures to occasional snow. It is even possible for a hurricane to make its way to New England in October, bringing damaging winds and rain. The region is bigger than it looks on a map, and rainfall totals can vary widely, but to give you an idea of what to expect, Boston gets an average of 3.8 inches of rain during October.


What to Pack

As October progresses, temperatures begin to slide, so be sure to bring layers along on your trip. Even if the day will be warm, nighttime temperatures may be rather cold. The farther north you travel, the colder the temperatures will be. 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. 

October 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:

  • Topsfield Fair: This agricultural fair is celebrating its 200th anniversay in 2018. For 11 days visitors can listen to music and learn about traditional agriculture in Topsfield, Massachusetts.
  • Haunted Happenings: Throughout the month the town of Salem celebrates Halloween with parades, haunted houses, film nights and much more.
  • Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular: Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence puts on a display of more than 5,000 carved pumpkins until early November.
  • North American Wife Carrying Championship: The Wife Carrying race is based on a 19th century Finnish legend and the championship race in Newry, Maine determines the North American winners who can then compete for the world championship title.
  • Harpoon Octoberfest: Celebrate fall with beer and music at Harpoon Brewery's annual Octoberfest in Windsor, Vermont
  • Damariscotta Pumpkinfest & Regatta: Learn all about giant pumpkins in Damariscotta, Maine at this event. Experts share how grow enormous pumpkins and competitor race in hollowed-out pumpkin boats.
  • NH Pumpkin Festival: Enjoy live music, jack-o-latern towers, games and more at this fall festival.
  • Harvest on the Harbor: This festival in Portland, Maine is all about food so prepare to indulge.
  • Wellfleet OysterFest: Enjoy an abundance of oysters, music and crafts at this two-day festival in Wellfleet, Massachusetts.
  • The 54th Head of the Charles Regatta: Some of the best crew teams in the work flock Cambridge, Massachusetts for the largest rowing event in the world. Over 11,000 athletes compete in 55 races.
  • King Richard's Faire: The biggest renaissance fair in New England has pony rides, live entertainment, giant turkey legs and more.
  • Connecticut Renaissance Faire: Step back in time at the Lebanon, Connecticut renaissance fair. For two weeks the Lebanon fairgrounds are transformed into a 16th century village with plenty of markets to browse and shows to watch.


    More October in New England Travel Tips

    • Autumn is pumpkin season in New England! Pick your own pumpkin at one of the region's many pumpkin patches, then use these pumpkin carving patterns to make cool jack-o-lanterns.
    • Take advantage of October dining deals during Cape Cod Restaurant Week.
    • Columbus Day weekend is usually the busiest weekend of the year in New England so be sure to book accommodations far in advance
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