September is a transitional month in New England... a 30-day stretch of anything-goes weather and reestablishing routines. Even after Labor Day signals playtime is over, some September days feel decidedly summerlike with temperatures flirting with 90º Fahrenheit. And then, one eve or early morning, you feel it: That crisp tingle in the air that heralds fall's arrival. If you've not yet planned your fall foliage getaway, it's time to stop procrastinating. Lodging for peak weekends may already be tough to find.
Kids are back in school, and that makes September an ideal month to travel in New England if you're the proud parents of preschoolers or if your parenting days are in the past. It's a delightful month for a New England honeymoon, too! The first two or three weeks of the month are a best-kept secret: Lodging rates tend to be low during this brief window. That's because many families aren't able to travel, and fall foliage season is not yet in full swing. You may spy some early hints of autumn color, and you'll avoid crowds this time of year.
If you have school-age children, you may not be able to spend a week in New England in September, but consider a weekend getaway or day trip. The region's calendar is loaded with fun events this month: agricultural fairs, festivals, restaurant weeks, sporting events. Gradually shorter days and bursts of cool weather are a reminder to savor New England's harvest and to spend as much time as possible engaged in outdoor pursuits.
New England Weather in September
Average September Temperatures (Low / High)
Hartford, CT: 54º / 75º Fahrenheit (12º / 24º Celsius)
Providence, RI: 55º / 74º Fahrenheit (13º / 23º Celsius)
Boston, MA: 57º / 72º Fahrenheit (14º / 22º Celsius)
Hyannis, MA: 56º / 71º Fahrenheit (13º / 22º Celsius)
Burlington, VT: 51º / 70º Fahrenheit (11º / 21º Celsius)
North Conway, NH: 46º / 70º Fahrenheit (8º / 21º Celsius)
Portland, ME: 50º / 70º Fahrenheit (10º / 21º Celsius)
With the first official day of fall arriving in September, daylight and darkness occupy roughly equal parts of each day. Summer's humidity has mostly fled the scene, thunderstorms have quieted, and with ocean waters still retaining their warmth, the start of the month isn't a bad time for a beach vacation. As a rule, air temperatures decline as the month marches along. Over the course of September, about 3 inches of rainfall is typical, although little about the weather during this summer-into-fall season is predictable.
What To Pack
Pack lightweight clothing for visits in early September, but be sure to bring along a jacket or sweatshirt, especially in the mountains or near the coast. Temperatures will become increasingly cold at night as the month progresses, even when daytime temperatures are moderate and comfortable. You’ll want to perhaps bring along a warmer jacket or raincoat, and an umbrella is always a good idea.
Top 12 September Events in New England for 2018
It's the most wonderful time of the year for outdoor festivals and celebrations. Here are some events you won't want to miss this September in New England. Find more in this weekend-by-weekend guide to top fall events in New England.
September 4-9: Brimfield Antique Show in Brimfield, Massachusetts
September 5-9: Acadia Night Sky Festival in Bar Harbor, Maine
September 7-9: Oyster Festival in Norwalk, Connecticut
September 8: Maine Open Lighthouse Day at lighthouses statewide
September 8, 22 and 29: WaterFire in Providence, Rhode Island
September 9: Vermont Mac & Cheese Challenge in Windsor, Vermont
September 14-30: The Big E in West Springfield, Massachusetts
September 15: HarvestFest and Chowdah Cookoff in Bethel, Maine
September 21-23: 43rd New Hampshire Highland Games & Festival in Lincoln, New Hampshire
September 20-23: Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival in Newport, Rhode Island
September 22: Fluff Festival in Somerville, Massachusetts
September Holidays in New England
Labor Day: September 3
Less "Official" Holidays Worth Celebrating in New England
September 9: National Teddy Bear Day
Tour the Vermont Teddy Bear factory and learn how these cuddly companions are made.
September 9: National Pet Memorial Day
Pay tribute to a dear departed animal friend at the Dog Chapel in St. Johnsbury, Vermont
September 11: 9/11 Anniversary
Honor those who perished at Connecticut's 9-11 Living Memorial.
September 16: Mayflower Day
Mark the day the Pilgrims sailed for America by seeing a replica of their ship, the Mayflower II, currently under restoration at Mystic Seaport in Mystic, Connecticut. Mayflower II will return to Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 2020.
September 26: Johnny Appleseed Day
Celebrate the birthday of John Chapman (aka Johnny Appleseed) by exploring Johnny Appleseed Country in north central Massachusetts.
Best Destinations for September in New England
September offers options galore for travelers. Starting the day after Labor Day, coastal areas quiet and shoulder season deals kick in. By month's end, if you head to the far northern reaches of the region, you'll see the foliage colors for which New England is so well known.
One way to spend a memorable September vacation is to start out with a weekend in Bethel, Maine, where leaves should just be starting to change as the town hosts its annual harvest celebration. Then, venture south and east to the sparkling Maine coast, where summer lingers on. In Rockland, visit the Project Puffin Visitor Center, the Farnsworth Art Museum, the Center for Maine Contemporary Art and the Maine Lighthouse Museum, and go lobster fishing aboard the Captain Jack.
If you avoided Cape Cod all summer because you didn't want to pay premium prices and contend with traffic, September's an optimal time to enjoy Cape delights like golf, biking, shopping and seaside dining. Sandwich on the Cape is one of New England's best secret fall escapes.
Would-be leaf peepers who want to visit New England in September won't do much better than Greenville, Maine. A rustic stay at The Birches Resort on Moosehead Lake will put you back in sync with nature.
More September in New England Travel Tips
- Autumn is apple season in New England! Pick your own apples at one of the region's many orchards.
- Take advantage of September dining deals in the region. Nantucket Restaurant Week runs September 24-30.
- If you're gearing up for fall leaf peeping, be sure to download some of the best Fall Foliage Apps on your smartphone.
To learn more about visiting New England in the early fall, check out New England Foliage Central.