Fall Foliage in Massachusetts 2024

Waves of Color from the Berkshires to the Ocean

Massachusetts's Central and Berkshire Mountains regions have lofty peaks and gorgeous river valleys that are ideal for seeing the leaves change color during fall foliage season. Great views of fall color – starring the sugar maple -- also are found in the North of Boston Cape Ann region, and around Plymouth, MA, where cranberry bog harvests brighten the landscape. Choose a scenic foliage drive below. Watch for farm stands and pick-your-own farms!

Essential Information:

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Foliage Driving Routes in Massachusetts:

The Berkshires and Western Mass.

Mohawk Trail West – Greenfield to North Adams (37 mi.)

Mass. Route 2, also called the Mohawk Trail, is a historic road that travels across the entire state, from the Greater Boston Loop through to the northern Berkshire Mountains. This section of that drive takes you from Greenfield, MA in the east to North Adams, MA in the west, with a side trip to the summit of magnificent Mount Greylock. - Route Map

Points of Interest:
  • In Greenfield, MA, take a pleasant walk and wear out your kids at Rocky Mountain Park on the Connecticut River. This forested ridge stretches along the river and has hiking and biking trails and the popular Poet’s Seat Tower. Nice for walking, bird-watching, and peaceful contemplation.
  • Shelburne Falls, MA, a bit west of Greenfield on Route 2, is a pretty town on the Shelburne River. Right in its center is the famous Bridge of Flowers, a former trolley bridge that is planted with 500 varieties of flowers, vines, and shrubs (open April 1 to October 30). Stroll to the Salmon Falls Gallery, then watch the river racing over a mesmerizing series of falls.
  • Continue through Mohawk State Forest. Before you get to the next major town, North Adams, MA, you will navigate a crazy, nearly 360-degree hairpin turn.
  • With advance planning, you can schedule a zip line tour at Zoar Outdoor or Berkshire East, both in Charlemont, MA, very close to Route 2.
  • North Adams, MA is full of culture and shopping and interesting sights. Consider stopping into MassMoCA (the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art). MASS MoCA exhibits work by many of the most important artists of today; it hosts dozens of performances year-round.
  • At the Natural Bridge State Park in North Adams, MA, you will be stunning by nature’s artistic beauty when you see a naturally formed white marble arch and man-made white marble dam.

Side Trips: Before leaving or after arriving in North Adams, MA, swing southward for a drive to the stunning summit of Mount Greylock.

Fall View at Mohawk Trail State Forest - Photo Credit Joshua Bellows via Google Maps
Summit of Mount Greylock (27 miles)

The trip to the top of Mount Greylock in Adams, MA is a magnificent adventure. October foliage colors are glorious. The summit is 3,491 feet and it yields views of the Green Mountains of Vermont and the Taconic Range. At the top is Bascom Lodge, offering meals and overnight accommodations. Also at the top is an elegant tower dating from 1932 honoring the state’s fallen soldiers. The access road closes annually on November 1. The map link provides directions from North Adams, MA to the north (10 miles to the summit) and from the town of Lee, MA, on Route 90 to the south (27 miles to the summit). - Route Map

Brake for Farm Stand! – If you are headed up Mount Greylock from the south, make a stop at Lakeview Orchard in Lanesborough, MA. Enjoy the panoramic views of Hoosac Lake and stock up for your adventure with apples, apricots, plums, and homemade pierogi, golumpki, ravioli, and gnocchi.

Fall View of Mount Greylock State Reservation - North Adams, MA - Photo Credit MOTT
Connecticut River Scenic Byway in the Pioneer Valley (50 mi.)

A north-south transit of Massachusetts that more or less follows the Connecticut River southward from the town of Northfield, MA to the city of Springfield, MA takes the traveler through the Pioneer Valley. This 50-mile trek (or a bit longer, if you take a brief swing eastward to visit the beautiful Quabbin Reservoir) travels through a river valley graced with rolling hills and farmlands. The route is dotted with excellent museums, including Historic Deerfield, a living history museum in Deerfield, MA; several small colleges with public-friendly art museums and botanic gardens; and lots of opportunities for kayaking and river rafting. - Route Map

Points of Interest::
  • Springfield, MA is home to the famous Springfield Museums, including The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum, honoring the hometown hero of kids everywhere, Theodor Geisel, or Dr. Seuss. You are guaranteed to love it. .
  • On the flip side of the age spectrum in entertainment, in Springfield, MA travelers will find The MGM Grand Casino, opened here in 2018 by MGM Resorts International. It covers three blocks in the center of Springfield and presents a huge array of slots, table games, dining, and fun.
  • South Hadley, MA is home to Brunelle's Marina on the Connecticut River. You might suspend your road trip for a short river cruise on the Lady Bea, docked at Brunelle’s. The 75-minute cruise meanders up the Connecticut River to Northampton. Cruises run from Memorial Day to Columbus Day.
  • Mount Holyoke College Botanic Garden encompasses the Mount Holyoke College campus in South Hadley, MA, including an arboretum and numerous gardens, as well as the Talcott Greenhouse. Open daily, sunrise to sunset.
  • You can spend a day in old New England at Historic Deerfield, MA. The 330-year-old village center has 12 houses dating to the 1700s and 1800s, along with fascinating and always-changing exhibits and workshops at the Flynt Center of Early New England Life. Reserve your appetite for a fine meal in the nearby Champney’s Restaurant and Tavern.
  • The Quabbin Reservoir, directly east of the town of Amherst, MA, is a beautiful passive recreation area, offering year-round opportunities for walking, biking, fishing and snowmobiling.
  • Moving along routes 63 and 47, you are traveling through the bread basket of Massachusetts. Many farms that date back more than 100 years. You can indulge your sweet tooth when you reach the Northfield Creamie in Northfield, MA, the northern terminus of this drive.


This drive threads between Northampton and Amherst, MA, where several great eating places reside. Get your falafel fix and more at Pita Pockets. The Northampton Nourish Juice Bar opened the full-service Nourish Wellness Café, serving juices and smoothies and a signature Wellness Bowls. Foreign food choices in Amherst, MA also now include Lebanese cuisine at Malek Shawarma and food of Nepal, India, and Bhutan at Himalayan Friends Corner.

Brake for Farm Stand! - North Hadley Sugar Shack in Hadley, MA is a fun place to browse and stock up on maple products, honey, pancake mix, jams. Open daily. For kid travelers, the Farm Tale is a farm animal play park, May to October, where families can learn about farm animals and enjoy all of the kid friendly play equipment.

Central Mass.

Johnny Appleseed Country - North Central Mass.

Yes, Johnny Appleseed was a real person, born John Chapman in the North Central region of Massachusetts, a place that embodies Johnny’s love of nature in its scenic drives, pretty towns, small orchards and farms, hospitable wineries and breweries, forested state parks and snow-capped mountains. For indoor people, there is lots to love, like a fine art museum in Fitchburg, MA, and a great botanical garden. The region of 27 pleasant towns, farms and orchards is tucked up into the southern border of New Hampshire, along the Mohawk Trail (MA Route 2) corridor, about an hour’s drive from Boston, MA and Providence, RI. It is a fine place for a fall drive trip to admire the foliage and a great destination for families that love the outdoors. - Route Map

Hiking in North Central Mass. - Photo Credit Visit North Central MA
Points of Interest:
  • Route 2 threads straight through the North Central region, with a variety of off-ramps to various places of interest. One place to start your exploration is the Johnny Appleseed Visitors Center in Lancaster, MA. Along with maps and info, you can get a look at the Big Apple of New England sculpture and three trees on the property that are direct descendants of a tree planted by Johnny Appleseed (1774-1845). From the Visitor’s Center, various choices await in every direction, branching off Route 2 (see map link above).
  • Fitchburg Art Museum in Fitchburg, MA exhibits a surprisingly diverse collection of art for every curious visitor, with permanent and changing exhibits.
  • Also in Fitchburg, MA is the RB Racing Museum honoring the memory of local NASCAR© legend Ron Bouchard. Open to the public by appointment.
  • Moving south towards Clinton, MA, visit the unique and reverential Museum of Russian Icons for a vastly different experience from auto racing adventure.
  • In Boylston, MA, enjoy the beautiful and varied landscapes at The New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill. The garden hosts lots of seasonal celebrations, including at Christmastime.
  • Recreation areas? Got ’em, and they are lovely and alluring in all seasons. Wachusett Mountain State Reservation in Princeton, MA is home to a ski area, and also a fine place to view the colors of fall foliage.
  • Lake Dennison State Recreation Area in Winchendon, MA is a beautiful place for hiking and outdoor sports, as is Leominster State Forest in Westminster, MA.
  • For a wonderful immersion in nature, art, and Massachusetts history, visit Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, MA, a utopian community co-founded in 1843 by Amos Bronson Alcott, father of the famous author.

Brake for Farm Stand! – How about easing your hunger or thirst straight from nature? Orchards, farms and vineyards are close at hand. They include Bolton Orchards in Bolton, MA and Red Apple Farm in Phillipston, MA.

North of Boston: Merrimack Valley & Cape Ann

Greater Merrimack Valley Tour

The Greater Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts is a bit northwest of Boston, MA and a drive through this area in fall will be packed with beautiful foliage, seasonal sights of farmstands and orchards, along with stops at some monumental places that tell the story of America’s founding and character. Among these, of course, is the towns of Lexington and Concord, MA, where the battle that ignited the American Revolution is re-enacted every April. A bit farther north in the region is Lowell, MA, one of the early centers of the Industrial Revolution on this continent. American literature is celebrated at the homes and workplaces of the writers Louisa May Alcott and Henry David Thoreau. Art blooms outdoors are the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, MA. Beautiful parks and places to shop, eat, and drink make an autumn visit to Merrimack Valley a sensual pleasure, too. - Route Map

Fall on the Farm in Lincoln, MA - Photo Credit Greater Merrimack CVB
Points of Interest:
  • Minute Man National Historic Park in Concord, MA comes alive with a re-enactment of the “shot heard ‘round the world” every April. But the park is open and fun to visit at any time of the year, telling the stories of America’s revolt from British rule. It is a great place to visit with kids, with lots of outdoor and indoor places to see and stunning in the fall. Don’t miss seeing the North Bridge.
  • Lexington Battle Green in Lexington, MA is one epicenter of the American Revolution. Also, a classic New England town green that charms visitors from around the world.
  • Concord, MA’s Orchard House - See the historic 1690 house and the place where Louisa May Alcott wrote the beloved classic Little Women.
  • Walden Pond State Reservation in Concord, MA is a large and beautiful state park that pays homage to its most famous short-term resident, Henry David Thoreau, author of Walden. A universal trail leads to a replica of Thoreau's single-room cabin.
  • The deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, MA is great outdoor and indoor space displaying marvelous sculptures in permanent and rotating exhibits. Lots of seasonal events at this very welcoming place.
  • Concord’s Colonial Inn in Concord, MA is a very pleasant stop for lunch or dinner on a scenic fall foliage drive – or any time of the year. It offers dining on the porch and two restaurants, Liberty, a gastropub, and Merchant’s Row, offering a lavish Sunday brunch.
  • The Lowell National Historical Park describes the history of America’s Industrial Revolution in the very textile mills, and on the canals where it happened.
  • Mill No. 5 in Lowell, MA is an indoor reproduction of a historic streetscape from the times when this city roaring with industrial productivity. Here, visitors find lots of owner-operated shops, a farm-to-table cafe, a live music performance space, and a yoga studio.

Lexington to Lincoln to Concord

This drive, starting in the town of Lexington, MA, is only six miles, but it takes you through beautiful scenery and also the flash points of the early years of the American Revolution. History buffs may want to park in Lexington and take a narrated bus tour with Liberty Ride. The tour passes sites like the Lexington Battle Green, North Bridge, Battle Road, Orchard House, Colonial Inn, the Old Manse, Concord Museum, and Emerson House.

From Lexington, drive to the Minuteman National Historical Park at 250 North Great Road (Route 2A) in Lincoln, MA, and explore this fine park. Next, get on Route 2A and then switch to Lexington Road, into Concord, MA. This pretty town will charm you with its Colonial flavor. Stop for a meal at Concord's Colonial Inn, built in 1716 and Listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The inn is surrounded by landmarks of literary and revolutionary history. - Route Map

Fall Foliage in Massachusetts - Cyclists on the Minuteman Bikeway in Lincoln/Lexington/Concord MA - Photo Credit MOTT

Find more Scenic Drive Tours in Massachusetts.

Cape Ann Tour - Rockport, Gloucester, Essex & Newburyport, MA

This drive tour will take you past or through some of the prettiest coastal towns of New England. You will see beautiful foliage and other autumnal sights, like pumpkin patches and corn mazes. The drive comprises two sections that you can combine any way you like. One section is centered on the town of Newburyport, MA, midway between Salisbury Beach and Plum Island (details below). Great trip for people who love walking beaches and watching marine plant and animal life. The other drive begins (or ends) at a historic house, Castle Hill on the Crane Estate, with a breathtaking vista above a large estuary, and then meanders through the towns of Essex, Gloucester, and Rockport, MA. This last town, in particular, is noted for its many galleries and gift shopping, and views of the iconic Motif #1 lobster shack, painted and photographed by generations of artists. - Route Map

Rockport, Gloucester, Essex & Newburyport - Massachusetts Foliage Drives
Points of Interest:
  • Newburyport, MA is a fun town for dining, shopping, browsing art galleries, and strolling. A brick plaza – in contrast to the traditional New England green – is the heart of the town, and lots of public events happen here. If you visit in the fall, you might easily stumble upon an Oktoberfest or a family fall festival.
  • Salisbury Beach State Reservation in Salisbury, MA is a long, beautiful beach, anchoring at the north end by a slightly honky-tonk-ish commercial area where you can get ice cream and classic summer foods like fried dough, and let kids bliss out for a little while at the arcade.
  • Plum Island is an 11-mile long barrier island a short drive from Newburyport, MA. On your way out to the island, you will pass the Audubon Society's Joppa Flats Educational Center. Stop in for information about the seaside life you will encounter as you stroll the barrier beach. Inquire about bird watching tours, for today or another visit.
  • Castle Hill on the Crane Estate in Ipswich, MA. This historic home is a joy to visit. Start, if you wish, with a tour of the Stuart-style mansion (offered seasonally) and then enjoy the gardens, the spectacular Grand Allee – a wide, terraced, grassy path from the mansion to the beach, framed by marvelous statues – and the views from the whole property of the seashore and a giant estuary and marsh meadow below.
  • Essex Shipbuilding Museum in Essex, MA is a wonderful way to become immersed in the ancient ship-building culture of Massachusetts. Small museum with neat tools, boat parts, sea charts. Kids love it!
  • Gloucester, MA is a historic fishing port, made famous by the movie The Perfect Storm. Take a look at the Gloucester Fishermen's Memorial on Western Avenue. The Annisquam Lighthouse on Wigwam Point River is a beauty. Dogtown is an unusual walking park north of town, off Route 27. It is a wild area filled with mysterious mottos carved into boulders, mementos of a vanished community.
  • Rockport, MA is famous for its many great galleries. Walk out onto Bearskin Neck for souvenir shopping and look at Motif No. 1, the often-photographed fishing shack, and Straitsmouth Island Lighthouse. Dock Square and Main Street are chock full of shopping and artwork.

Brake for Farm Stand! – If you go to Ipswich, MA, be sure to stop at Russell Orchards at 143 Argilla Road. It’s a lush farm stand – actually, a beautiful barn -- with food, wines, plants, books, food and farm gifts, pick-your-own crops in season, and animals to visit.

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