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Looking for the best things to do in New Hampshire in fall? From scenic drives to historic train rides, from gorgeous hikes to seasonal experiences, our guide covers the whole state so you can plan your autumn adventures.
Ways to Enjoy New Hampshire in the Fall
Fall in NH means pumpkins and apple cider, foliage and hiking, special events and slowed-down traffic in scenic spots.
As such a popular destination for the season, you’ll want to plan your trip early and book accommodations ASAP before everything gets booked up.
Our guide starts in the northern part of the state, which is also where the fall foliage starts first before it makes its way south and toward the coast.
If you’re coming from Boston, we highly recommend letting someone else do the driving so you can take in all the sights safely.
This trip takes you from the city to the mountains with tons of beautiful scenery to enjoy all along the way so you don’t have to plan the route, worry about parking, or even keep your eyes open after all your fun fall activities in New Hampshire.
Dixville Notch State Park
Dixville Notch is a super small community deep in the northern part of the state, where you can’t skip Dixville Notch State Park (1212 West Rte 26).
This 127-acre park features a scenic gorge, multiple waterfalls, and two mountain brooks.
Less than 0.1 miles away from the parking area is the Dixville Flume, which is an 18-foot waterfall over three distinct drops.
Dixville Notch in fall is a dreamscape you won’t want to skip!
It’s also one of our favorite NH state parks all year-round.
Crystal Cascades in Pinkham Notch
Take the short 0.75-mile walk up a stone forest path to the pretty Crystal Cascades in Pinkham Notch.
Within just a few minutes, you’ll already hear the noise of the lower falls and get to enjoy the lovely views of the bridge spanning the two falls with pops of fall color all around.
It’s an out-and-back rocky trail that can be a great way to stretch your legs on a longer NH fall road trip itinerary.
Mt. Washington Fall Foliage
Whether it’s the view from the top of Mt. Washington or the view of the mountain from elsewhere nearby, the fall foliage in this part of the state is a stunner.
If you choose to hike Mt. Washington, know that is has a well-earned reputation for volatile weather and you must be prepared.
There is also an Auto Road so you can drive to the summit; there’s no need to book in advance but there is a fee.
Take the Cog Railway up the mountain for a unique experience — this was the first mountain-climbing cog railway in the entire world!
Enjoy the approximately 3-hour roundtrip experience going up this infamous mountain, enjoying all the views, and then making your way back down.
Bretton Woods Fall Foliage
The gorgeous Bretton Woods area is a delight in all four seasons, but you’ll want to make sure you make a stop here in the fall for leaf peeping.
Head to the Omni Mount Washington Resort and take the gondola ride to get a unique view from up high.
Or enjoy an adrenaline-fueled adventure with the Bretton Woods canopy zipline!
If you’d prefer to keep your feet on the ground, there are plenty of hiking options in and around Bretton Woods; check out the Mount Willard Trail for a great family- and pet-friendly hike.
It’s one of our favorite hikes in New Hampshire.
Saco Lake in Crawford Notch State Park
One of the loveliest New Hampshire fall destinations is Saco Lake in Crawford Notch State Park, where you can marvel at the beautiful foliage alongside the water’s edge.
This spot couldn’t be any more convenient — it’s right on the side of Crawford Notch Road (Route 302), making it a wonderfully accessible viewpoint.
White Mountains NH Fall Foliage
Throughout the beautiful White Mountain National Forest, you’ll have ample opportunities to enjoy the pretty fall colors.
There are so many things to do in the White Mountains, you could base yourself here for a week and enjoy all the fun fall activities!
The White Mountain Cider Company
Stop by The White Mountain Cider Company (207 US-302, Glen) for delicious seasonal food and drink.
With an on-site restaurant and market plus a full bar with creative cocktails, you can gather together with friends and family for a fabulous fall dining experience in a cozy setting.
Pumpkin People in Jackson
Go to Jackson for one of the most unique New Hampshire fall activities: seeing Pumpkin People!
Each year, businesses in Jackson get into the spirit of the season and create fantastic (and fantastical) Pumpkin People displays.
You can walk around following a map (printed maps are available at participating businesses) and even vote for your favorite.
While you’re in Jackson, seek out a few covered bridges for extra photo ops!
Diana’s Baths in Bartlett
Take a hike to Diana’s Baths, a beautiful spot that’s idyllic in the fall.
It’s also quite popular, so prepare for some crowds on the trails or opt to go early in the day to beat the majority.
Be ready to pay in cash at the parking lot and then go enjoy the many levels of waterfalls that are sometimes called the home of the fairies.
It’s only about 0.6 miles to walk along an ADA-compliant path, so this is a great little outdoor adventure for the whole family.
A North Conway fall getaway is ideal for the outdoor adventurer.
It is the first town on the Kancamagus Highway and it has tons of hiking opportunities.
The North Conway foliage options are plentiful.
Check out Conway Lake for fall fishing, walk around Echo Lake State Park, or even hike Cathedral Ledge from Echo Lake for incredible New Hampshire fall foliage.
You can also hop aboard the Conway Scenic Railroad and chug through the explosion of colors along the route.
The Mountaineer is a 60-mile journey offering views of the Crawford Notch and an even longer route for leaf-peeping fans to Fabyans.
Find out more about this nostalgic 19th-century train station and rides on restored locomotives in our New Hampshire train rides guide.
From Lincoln, you can drive along Rt. 112 in northern New Hampshire, which is more commonly known as the Kancamagus Scenic Highway.
The famous New England road trip route connects Bath and Conway (34.5 miles) and leads you all through the White Mountains.
This route affords amazing views of the Swift River, Sabbaday Falls, Lower Falls, and Rocky Gorge.
This is truly one of the best places to visit in New Hampshire in fall.
Franconia Notch State Park
Franconia Notch State Park is ideal for a fall hike and for enjoying one of the most scenic parts of the state.
Check out The Basin, a 30-foot-wide, 15-foot-deep waterfall that tumbles into a granite pothole bowl.
Or, for a jaw-dropping view, hike up Bald Mountain to Artist’s Bluff; it might be busy but it’s for obvious reasons!
Littleton’s Hip Main Street
We love the awesome downtown area of tiny Littleton, NH!
While this town doesn’t always make it onto a list of things to do in NH in the fall, we think it deserves a spot.
Stroll the main street, stop by the longest counter candy shop around, enjoy views of the river, and be sure to take photos under the hanging umbrellas or by the sunflower mural.
We also recommend you stop by the Schilling Beer Co. to support a fantastic local brewery.
Moulton Farm Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze in Meredith
For one of those iconic fall activities in New Hampshire, visit Moulton Farm (18 Quarry Rd) to enjoy a pumpkin patch and a corn maze.
Each year, the corn maze is grown in a unique pattern and the pumpkins are huge!
Make sure you stop by the farm market for even more goodies.
New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival in Laconia
No visit to New Hampshire in fall would be complete without a festival celebrating the season’s famous icon!
The New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival in Laconia brings people together from all over to celebrate the season with thousands of jack-o-lanterns, beer gardens, artisans and vendors, and tons of family fun!
Attendees can also book tickets for the Hobo Railroad that leaves from Laconia.
Smith Orchard in Belmont
Of course, apple-picking is one of the best things to do in New Hampshire in the fall.
A lovely family-owned orchard, Smith Orchard (184 Leavitt Road, Belmont) is a wonderful spot to go to pick some apples with the little ones in your life.
Be sure to stop into the store to buy some of their homemade jams and jellies.
Apple cider donuts are available on weekends — don’t miss out!
If you’re not as outdoorsy but still want to enjoy autumn in New Hampshire, take a trip to downtown Portsmouth, NH.
Make sure you visit Prescott Park to get the most out of the town’s fall foliage.
With plenty of benches, a fountain, and views of the water, you’ll fall in love with this quiet, little park in the center of town.
Once you’ve wandered the park, warm up with a warm slice of bread and a cup of coffee at Ceres Bakery (51 Penhallow St).
Applecrest Farm Orchards in Hampton Falls
If you want to do some apple picking, why not visit the oldest and largest orchard in the state of New Hampshire?
Applecrest Farm Orchards (133 Exeter Rd) is the oldest continuously operated apple orchard in the United States.
With a deep and rich history like that, you’ll be delighted to pick your own, indulge in cider donuts, visit any of their festivals throughout the summer and fall, and shop at the farm market.
Manchester NH in the fall is a hidden gem.
While you won’t be heading deep into the woods from this city, you can still hike around Blodget Park and enjoy Black Brook.
For more nature, be sure to head to Lake Massabesic, where more than 50 miles of fire roads are open to the public for running, hiking, and biking.
For a historic indoor experience, catch a show at the Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St), which is more than 100 years old and is almost perfectly preserved.
Carter Hill Orchard in Concord
Head to Carter Hill Orchard (73 Carter Hill Rd, Concord) to pick your own apples in a place where an orchard has existed since the 1760s — talk about longevity!
Carter Hill is very family-friendly, so bring all the little ones for a classic New England fall day out together.
Don’t forget to get a cider donut before you leave!
Gould Hill Farm in Contoocook
Perhaps the most beautiful vista from any orchard, Gould Hill Farm (656 Gould Hill Rd, Contoocook) is a must-do in the fall in New Hampshire!
Beyond the beauty, you can pick your own apples, do a cider tasting, and enjoy a variety of baked goods from the farm store.
When your goal is to enjoy the beauty of New Hampshire in fall, then it’s best to slow down to really take it all in.
What better way than to hop onto a bike and cycle your way to the prettiest sights in the state?
Enjoy picturesque covered bridges, gorgeous fall foliage, and all the lovely waterways sparkling in between.
This 2-day tour starts in Keene and includes your accommodations, meals, bike and helmet, plus a tour guide to make this the easiest adventure to plan.
Enjoy the Keene fall foliage and then continue on from there without having to worry about the route or finding the best vantage points.
Keene Pumpkin Festival
Started back in 1991, the Keene Pumpkin Festival became an enormous — essentially unmanageable — event.
Nowadays, a smaller and more family-friendly version of the event includes face painting, jack-o-lantern carving, and a trick-or-treating parade for the littles.
With a community focus and plenty of local vendors to check out, Keene is bringing back the origins of this festive event on Main Street.
Visit the beautiful Alyson’s Orchard (57 Alyson’s Ln, Walpole) for its 450 acres of lovely scenery and heirloom apples.
This is also a popular wedding venue; you’ll understand why once you visit this picturesque setting!
Pisgah State Park
Pisgah State Park is New Hampshire’s largest, and it boasts some of the best southern New Hampshire fall foliage viewing.
It’s largely undeveloped, so it’s an ideal spot for outdoor adventurers looking to bask in the natural beauty of the season without the crowds taking selfies.
Of course, we won’t judge if you quietly take a few selfies with the beautiful fall foliage in Pisgah!
Check out our other favorite NH state parks for more chances to stroll amidst the pretty scenery.
Washburn’s Windy Hill Orchard in Greenville
For one final apple orchard recommendation, head to Washburn’s Windy Hill Orchard (66 Mason Rd, Greenville).
Hayrides, pick-your-own apples, and honey made from the on-site beehives are all popular fall activities in this southern New Hampshire spot.
And don’t miss the 5-acre corn maze to complete your NH fall activities fun!
New Hampshire Fall Weather
This is a variable season, so you’ll have to plan for fall temperatures ranging anywhere between 27F and 72F, from September to November; pack layers to best deal with the variations.
Did this guide help you find some new, fun things to do in New Hampshire in the fall? We hope so!
Share your favorite fall finds in the comments below.