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

Boardwalk Across the Marsh in the Autumn
KenWiedemann / Getty Images

In September, New England, which consists of Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine, is just beginning the transition from a hot and sticky Summer to a cool and refreshing Autumn. With kids back in school at this time and the leaf-peeping season not quite begun, hotel rates tend to be low and many fun local events fill up the calendar from agricultural fairs to sporting events. Shorter days and bursts of cool weather are a good reason to get outside in New England and if you travel towards the end of the month, you may even spy some hints of the region's famously vibrant autumn colors.

New England Weather in September

Across all six states, average high temperatures usually fall between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (21 and 24 degrees Celsius), while average lows fall between 50 and 57 degrees Fahrenheit (10 and 14 degrees Celsius). It's quite comfortable overall, although visits later in the month might start to feel chilly, especially at night.

  Average High Temp. Average Low Temp.
Hartford, CT 75 F (24 C) 54 F (12 C)
Providence, RI 74 F (23 C) 55 F (13 C)
Boston, MA 72 F (22 C) 57 F (14 C)
Hyannis, MA 71 F (22 C) 56 F (13 C)
Burlington, VT 70 F (21 C) 51 F (11 C)
North Conway, NH 70 F (21 C) 46 F (8 C)
Portland, ME 70 F (21 C) 50 F (10 C)

Fall officially begins in September, which means that there is an equal balance of daylight and nighttime hours. By September, summer's humidity is on its way out, thunderstorms are quieting down, and the ocean may still be holding onto their warmth. Throughout the month, about three inches of rainfall is typical but it will vary depending on where you are, so keep your eye on the forecasts.

What To Pack

Pack lightweight clothing for visits in early September, but be sure to bring along a jacket or sweatshirt, especially if you'll be 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. In late September, you'll want at least one pair of long pants and a warmer jacket or raincoat. September isn't a particularly rainy month, but an umbrella is still a good idea.

September Events in New England

It's the most wonderful time of the year for outdoor festivals and celebrations. Many of these events may be canceled during 2020, so be sure to check the organizer's official websites for the latest updates.

  • Brimfield Antique Show: In Brimfield, Massachusetts, this six-day event draws antique-lovers from all over New England to shop at the country's oldest outdoor antique flea market. The Brimfield Antique Show was canceled in 2020.
  • Hampton Beach Seafood Festival: In Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, the seafood festival draws crowds every September to enjoy a fresh-caught feast. In 2020, the festival was canceled.
  • Oyster Festival: In Norwalk, Connecticut, this celebration of oysters, with music and a beer garden, raises money for the Sheffield Island Lighthouse every September. The Oyster Festival was canceled in 2020.
  • The Big E: In West Springfield, Massachusetts, this multi-state fair represents all of New England with a lineup of concerts, vendors, and activities for the whole family. The Big E was canceled in 2020 but returns from September 17 to October 3, 2021.
  • Maine Open Lighthouse Day: At lighthouses statewide, visitors are allowed to visit and climb any of Maine's over two dozen historic lighthouses. There may also be special activities and performances, depending on which lighthouse you visit. The lighthouses remained closed in 2020, but you can visit them on Maine Open Lighthouse Day on September 11, 2021.
  • WaterFire: September is the last chance to catch this reoccurring summer event in Providence, Rhode Island, which involves the lighting of the bonfires on the Providence River and is usually a festive scene on the street. The 2020 WaterFire season was canceled.
  • Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival: In Newport, Rhode Island, this September festival lets you take a peek into the lavish mansions the city is known for while enjoying dining seminars and wine tastings. The 2020 festival was canceled but you can tour the mansions in 2021 from September 17–19.
  • New Hampshire Highland Games & FestivalFor nearly 50 years in Lincoln, New Hampshire, has celebrated their Scottish culture with their version of the Highland Games, a traditional competition that tests the brute strength of participants. There are no live events in 2020, but the festival is moving to a virtual format that you can enjoy from home.
  • HarvestFest and Chowdah Cookoff: In the mountain town of Bethel, Maine, this is your chance to taste some of the best local clam chowder recipes. In 2020, the HarvestFest was canceled.
  • Fluff Festival: In Somerville, Massachusetts, marshmallow-fluff-lovers can check out this sweet and sticky festival that showcases unique ways to eat this fluffy condiment with musical entertainment and other activities available. The 2020 festival takes place virtually on September 16.
  • Acadia Night Sky Festival: In Bar Harbor, Maine, this festival brings people together to appreciate the park's full sky of stars. The event was canceled in 2020, but come out and star gaze at the 2021 festival scheduled September 29 to October 3.

September Travel Tips

  • Autumn is apple season in New England, so keep your eye out for orchards where you can pick your own apples and indulge in apple cider doughnuts. New England is full of them.
  • On the first Monday of September, many businesses, banks, and government offices may be closed for this Labor Day.
  • The more north you travel and the later in the month it is, the better your chances are of seeing some colorful fall foliage.
  • If you avoided Cape Cod, or other popular beach destinations, all summer because you didn't want to pay premium prices and contend with the weekend traffic, September will be a more affordable and less crowded time to go.
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