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Plan Your New England Fall Foliage Trip Like a Pro

Imagine: you get home from work on an autumn Thursday — the air is fresh, and the weekend forecast is immaculate. You've got extra sick days to burn by the end of December, so this is looking like the perfect chance to hit the road and enjoy a few days of New England fall foliage. However, ten phone calls later, your weekend plan has a major hole: every inn, B&B, and hotel in every quaint town you can think of is booked solid, and even the big-name places just off the highway are priced sky high. This scenario has happened to the best of us, and it's a major reason why we recommend thinking toward fall even in the middle of a midsummer heatwave.

                                                        Explore More Fall Getaways

New England fall foliage in Vermont We've already spilled the beans on when and where to catch the brightest colors, so it's time to start planning. Be your own travel agent and choose your experience, who to share it with (or not), and how you'll get around.

To Tour or Not to Tour?

If you have the time, fall can be a great season for a New England road trip. You can start in northern Vermont, New Hampshire, or Maine and follow peak foliage south over the course of a week or two. Midweek is the time to hop between towns — you'll find more inns and resorts willing to bend their two- or three-night minimum stay policies to fill in a Tuesday or Wednesday night.

New England foliage along the road
Photo: Anthony Quintano via Flickr

Getting Around New England

If you're going a short distance or just want some extra time to yourself, driving is still one of the best ways to get to your foliage destination. That said, if you're willing to sacrifice a little extra time for travel and share your trip with a group, there are a couple of great ways to save money and avoid the stress of sitting behind the wheel. New England motor coach tours are easier than ever to book. Crowded, cramped buses are a thing of the past — unlike airlines, many bus operators are adding more leg room and complimentary amenities like high-speed WiFi. For a vintage and very scenic travel experience, hop on a New England railroad car and cruise along the countryside.

When to Book Your New England Fall Foliage Stay

The other elements of your plan dictate when it’s time to take action. For example, in the southern New England states of Connecticut and Rhode Island, you can usually get away with booking a midweek trip just two or three weeks in advance. For weekends, consider making your reservation as much as two months in advance, especially if you've got your eye on a particular room at a particular property. Further north in western Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire, consider booking before the heat of summer even arrives to New England — we can think of at least one inn whose loyal leaf peepers book their October stays in June.

Find a Special Offer That Matches Your Style

New England activities both indoors and out are more fun with a foliage backdrop. Stop and think about what you want to do on your trip, then see what specials and packages are available to help make it happen. You'll find savings for golfers, foodies, families, and adventurers of all stripes. Feeling like you missed the boat on a prime-time New England fall foliage trip this year? Fear not: not only will the leaves be back, but late fall is bargain season in New England. Consider it your chance to scope out next year's trip while being treated like royalty at an extremely reasonable rate.

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