As the leaves start to change and the air turns crisp, it’s the perfect time to plan a fall getaway. The East Coast of the United States is home to some of the most beautiful autumn scenery in the world, with vibrant foliage, charming small towns, and cozy accommodations. Whether you’re looking for a romantic fall honeymoon or a family-friendly adventure, there are plenty of charming spots for the best fall vacations on the East Coast.
From hiking in the mountains, and exploring a colorful city, to sipping cider at an orchard, we have the perfect locations to enjoy during this magical season.
Let’s explore some of the top destinations and activities starting at the top at Maine and working our way down to South Carolina for the ultimate East Coast autumn escape.
Happy leaf peeping!
Best Fall Vacations East Coast-Camden Maine
Camden, Maine, is renowned for its stunning coastal beauty and is often referred to as the “Jewel of the Maine Coast.” Ideally settled between the Camden Hills and Penobscot Bay, the town offers breathtaking views of the ocean, islands, and sailboats. During the enchanting fall season, where nature’s vibrant colors paint a mesmerizing backdrop to this idyllic New England destination.
Those who love to hike or explore will delight in Camden Hills State Park, where scenic trails lead to panoramic vistas of the surrounding landscapes adorned with colorful fall foliage. Visit local gardens like Merryspring Nature Center, where one can explore the beautiful grounds, do an ecology walk, and learn about fall perennials.
Savor the flavors of the season at Long Grain, a beloved eatery known for its delectable Thai cuisine, or indulge in fresh seafood at Camden’s waterfront restaurants.
For a luxurious stay, immerse yourself in the elegance of the 250 Main Hotel, a boutique hotel offering breathtaking ocean views and impeccable hospitality. Or a cozy quintessential New England experience at the Blackberry Inn.
Venture beyond Camden to nearby small towns like Rockport and Belfast, where coastal charm and fall festivities await, making Camden one of the best fall vacations on the east coast and capturing the essence of Maine’s coastal beauty and rich fall landscapes.
Bar Harbor Maine
Bar Harbor, located on Mount Desert Island in Maine, has a rich history as a popular summer resort destination for the affluent during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Bar Harbor was and is a favorite retreat for some of the wealthiest families in America, including the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, and Astors.
You can embrace the most beauty of Bar Harbor, Maine, during the captivating fall season, where this charming coastal town becomes a mesmerizing harbor for autumn enthusiasts.
Take in the mesmerizing beauty of Acadia National Park, where the foliage transforms the rugged landscapes into a vivid tapestry of red, orange, and gold.
Hiking enthusiasts will be enthralled by Arcadia’s scenic trails, including the iconic Jordan Pond Path (which has stunning fall foliage) and the Cadillac Mountain Summit Trail, where panoramic vistas await.
For a truly immersive east coast fall vacation, venture to nearby Echo Lake Beach or Long Pond, where kayaking and canoeing offer the perfect way to soak in the fall beauty.
Savor the flavors of fall at local eateries like Jordan Pond House, famous for its popovers and delightful views of Jordan Pond.
Stroll along the charming streets of Bar Harbor’s village, where boutique shopping and art galleries invite exploration. Don’t miss a scenic boat tour to witness the area’s stunning coastal landscapes.
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It’s autumn when Kennebunkport, Maine, transforms this charming coastal town into a mesmerizing wonderland, making it a must-visit fall vacation on the east coast for leaf peepers. As the leaves turn into a vibrant tapestry of red, orange, and gold, the town’s beauty reaches its peak.
Strolling along Dock Square, travelers will find themselves surrounded by charming boutiques, art galleries, and cozy cafes. Don’t forget to grab some shells from the Shell Shack.
In the spirit of coastal Maine, seafood aficionados are in for a treat. Dine at The Clam Shack, where succulent lobster rolls and freshly caught clams await in the most adorable hut.
For a fine dining experience, White Barn Inn offers an exquisite menu featuring locally-sourced ingredients, showcasing the best of the region’s culinary prowess.
Embrace the season with scenic drives along Ocean Avenue, offering sweeping views of the rugged coastline and iconic Walker’s Point, the Bush family’s beloved summer residence. For a more active adventure, hike through the nearby Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, where you can witness migratory birds amid the colorful foliage.
Within Kennebunkport’s historic district, book a stay at the Captain’s Collection, Kennebunkport’s oldest and most distinguished mansions. With a rich legacy, these stately homes have been handed down through generations of seafaring families, and now come together to create a luxurious boutique experience that beautifully captures the essence and history of this iconic Maine seaport.
Indulge in a touch of history by visiting the Seashore Trolley Museum or exploring the town’s historic homes turned bed-and-breakfasts, providing a unique glimpse into Kennebunkport’s past.
North Conway New Hampshire
Step into the captivating embrace of North Conway, New Hampshire, during the fall season, where the picturesque White Mountains transform into a breathtaking canvas of autumnal splendor.
This quaint town offers an idyllic fall escape, blending outdoor adventures, charming farms, scenic drives, and delightful accommodations like The Inn at Thorn Hill & Spa capturing the essence of New England.
For leaf peepers, embark on an expedition along the Kancamagus Highway (Route 112), offering miles of scenic beauty adorned with vibrant foliage.
Some say this is the best fall foliage in the world.
Immerse yourself in the season’s spirit with a visit to local farms like Sherman Farm or the Applecrest Farm Orchards, where apple picking, hayrides, and pumpkin patches invite cherished autumn memories.
Outdoor activities like hiking at Echo Lake State Park or taking the Conway Scenic Railroad for a scenic ride through the dazzling fall landscapes should be on the itinerary.
Fall Vacation East Coast- Sandwich New Hampshire
Surrounded by the breathtaking landscapes of the White Mountains, Sandwich, New Hampshire offers a serene autumn retreat with a charming village center, historic buildings, artisan shops, and timeless appeal.
For an immersive autumn experience, head to local farms like Moulton Farm, offering apple picking, pumpkin patches, and delightful hayrides.
Explore the nearby White Mountain National Forest, where hiking trails lead to picturesque vistas that come alive with fall foliage. Don’t miss a visit to the scenic Squam Lake, a haven for wildlife and nature lovers.
Woodstock, Vermont, during the fall season, is one of the best east coast vacations. This charming town transforms into a breathtaking tapestry of autumn colors.
Nestled amidst the Green Mountains, Woodstock Vermont offers a beautiful escape for leaf-peepers and travelers seeking a quintessential New England experience.
Stroll along the picturesque streets, lined with historic architecture and boutique shops that exude timeless charm. Immerse yourself in the season’s spirit with a visit to local farms like Billings Farm & Museum, where pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and farm animals enchant visitors of all ages.
Outdoor enthusiasts will revel in the myriad of activities, from hiking trails that wind through the surrounding forests to scenic drives along Route 4, offering panoramic views of the foliage.
Savor the flavors of fall at renowned eateries like Simon Pearce Restaurant, where farm-to-table cuisine is complemented by stunning riverside views.
Indulge in the breathtaking beauty of Stowe, Vermont, during the captivating fall season, where this charming town in the Green Mountains offers an unrivaled autumn escape.
Known for its postcard-perfect landscapes, with red barns, dairy cows, and captivating buildings, Stowe is the best east coast fall vacation not to be missed.
Explore local farms like Boyden Valley Winery & Spirits, where apple orchards and vineyards provide the perfect setting for picking and sipping.
Countless hiking trails wind through the colorful mountains, offering panoramic views of the vibrant foliage.
Embrace the season’s spirit with a visit to Cold Hollow Cider Mill, where freshly pressed apple cider and cider donuts tempt your taste buds. Or for a cold treat, visit Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory nearby.
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Experience the vibrant city of Boston, Massachusetts, in all its fall splendor, where the historic streets come alive with the colors of autumn.
Stroll through the iconic Boston Common, Public Garden, or Harvard University campus, where the trees transform into a breathtaking canvas of fall foliage.
Visit nearby local farms like Wilson Farm, where pumpkin patches, hayrides, and apple picking create autumn memories.
One will love the opportunity to explore the Emerald Necklace, a series of interconnected parks and green spaces that showcase the beauty of fall in the city.
For a unique stay, at the base of Beacon Hill, The Liberty Hotel is a remarkable reinvention of the renowned Charles Street Jail, a cherished national historic landmark dating back to 1851. Situated in one of Boston’s most enchanting neighborhoods, Beacon Hill.
Venture beyond the city to nearby small towns like Concord and Salem, where historic charm and fall festivities await, making Boston an irresistible fall vacation on the east coast.
Providence Rhode Island
Fall is the perfect time to explore Providence, Rhode Island, as the city bursts into a vibrant tapestry of colors. Stroll along the scenic Waterplace Park and Riverwalk, where the mesmerizing WaterFire installation illuminates the river against the backdrop of fall foliage.
Embrace the season with apple picking and hayrides at local farms like Dame Farm & Orchard. For delectable dining, indulge in wood-fired dishes at Al Forno.
Stay in the amazingly beautiful Wedding Cake House, a B&B in the sweet neighborhood of Federal Hill. Take a tour of the Dunkin Donut Center or Brown University just a few miles away.
With its artsy vibe, cultural treasures, and picturesque landscapes, Providence is an irresistible fall vacation on the east coast.
Newport Rhode Island
Picturesque Newport, Rhode Island, where fall enchants travelers to experience the quintessential New England charm of vibrant autumn colors.
Stroll along the rugged coastline, Cliff Walk, where fall foliage, provides a scenic escape unlike any other. Visit local farms like Sweet Berry Farm, where apple picking and pumpkin patches will have you in the fall spirit.
The trails at the Norman Bird Sanctuary, offer panoramic views of the coastal landscape, and after savoring the flavors of the season at the White Horse Tavern, a historic eatery serving comfort dishes for a soul-warming meal.
Book a stay at the Chanler at Cliff Walk, an oceanfront retreat atop the famous Cliff Walk. This historic boutique hotel is one offers guests the chance to experience the gilded-age charm, stunning views of the sparkling Atlantic, and elegant accommodations.
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Discover this east coast fall vacation hidden gem of Norfolk, Connecticut. Tucked away in the scenic Litchfield Hills, Norfolk offers an unhurried retreat when the weather starts a crisp transformation.
Take a leisurely hike through the Great Mountain Forest, or drive to the adorable Maple View Horse Farm, where one can enjoy a beer from their brewery among the farm’s horses, ponies, and pigs, creating memories that will last a lifetime.
Nestled along the banks of the Mystic River, Mystic offers an array of activities that capture the essence of the fall on the east coast.
Explore the historic charm of the Mystic Seaport Museum, where the 19th-century village and ships, provide a glimpse into the region’s maritime heritage. Visit nearby orchards like Holmberg Orchards for fall activities of apple picking and corn mazes to get you in the fall spirit.
Stroll along the picturesque streets of downtown Mystic for boutique shopping and art galleries. Take in the flavors of Mystic at award-winning eateries like Oyster Club, where dishes showcase the freshest Mystic ingredients.
Explore nearby towns for more fall sightseeing, Newport, Rhode Island, Greenwich, and Norwalk Connecticut.
Fall Vacations on the East Coast-Lake Placid New York
In the majestic Adirondack Mountains, Lake Placid, New York, emerges as a captivating and one of the best fall vacations on the east coast, enticing travelers with its breathtaking beauty and an array of delightful autumn experiences.
Partake on a journey of fall splendor with a hike up Whiteface Mountain, where the panoramic vistas of the surrounding wilderness paint a picture-perfect backdrop of seasonal colors. For an adrenaline-pumping adventure, explore the region’s network of mountain biking trails, immersing yourself in the crisp mountain air.
Relax after an adventure at Eastwind Hotel Lake Placid. This captivating mountain retreat in the Adirondack High Peaks, offers stylish accommodations, outdoor adventures, and a serene escape. Embrace nature’s beauty, unwind in the chic cabins, and savor the tranquility of this unique mountain hideaway.
Indulge your taste buds at Lake Placid’s renowned eateries, such as The Cottage, where farm-to-table delicacies are served against the backdrop of Mirror Lake. Experience the town’s thriving craft beverage scene at Big Slide Brewery or sample the exceptional wines at Goose Watch Winery.
As the sun sets, take a serene boat ride across Lake Placid, admiring the reflection of fall’s brilliance on its mirrored surface. With its stunning landscapes and an abundance of autumnal activities, Lake Placid welcomes you to revel in the splendors of the season in true Adirondack style.
Annapolis, Maryland, entices travelers to experience its enchanting beauty during autumn. Take in the charm in this historic city by dining at Annaplois’s award-winning restaurants, and shopping at the charming boutiques that line the brick sidewalks of Historic Annapolis.
Discover the Naval Academy’s elegance and its gleaming white buildings or activities like sailing on the Chesapeake Bay, exploring historic landmarks, or attending the annual United States Sailboat Show amidst a backdrop of colorful trees.
For a cozy stay, immerse yourself in the comforts of the stately 134 Prince, in the heart of downtown Annapolis. This historic mansion offers warm, personal hospitality, impeccable elegance, and perfect, wide-open landscapes.
Asheville North Carolina
Fall unveils the most captivating colors in Asheville, North Carolina, in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Explore the vibrant arts scene in downtown Asheville, where local galleries and craft studios showcase the talents of regional artisans.
Fall activities in Asheville include hiking, leaf-peeping, and outdoor adventures in the surrounding national forests and state parks.
Just a few minutes from Washington DC, this is one of the best fall vacations on the east coast because one can explore the big city and then head on over to the cobblestone streets of Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.
The historic architecture of Alexandria is adorned with vibrant fall foliage, providing a picturesque setting for sipping coffee at adorable cafes like Virginia’s Garden or boutique shopping.
For an authentic fall experience, visit George Washington’s Mount Vernon, where the estate’s gardens and scenic vistas come alive with the colors of autumn.
Take in the crisp fall air and take the opportunity to explore the nearby Mount Vernon Trail, offering sweeping views of the Potomac River framed by the changing leaves.
Savor the flavors of fall at Vermilion, a restaurant known for its farm-to-table cuisine and warm ambiance. For a luxurious stay, immerse yourself in the elegance of The Alexandrian, Autograph Collection, a boutique hotel right at the center of Old Alexandria’s historic charm.
Greenville South Carolina
In the heart of the Palmetto State, Greenville, South Carolina, emerges as an irresistible fall travel destination, celebrated by CNN as one of the world’s top places to visit during the fall season.
Take a long walk along the Greenville Swamp Rabbit Trail, where the foliage-lined path offers a scenic escape amidst the city’s urban landscape.
The local culture includes the Greenville County Museum of Art, with an impressive collection of American art, including masterpieces by Andrew Wyeth.
Fall activities abound in Greenville, with nearby farms like Happy Cow Creamery and Strawberry Hill USA inviting visitors to savor the joys of hayrides, corn mazes, and apple picking.
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