Rhode Island in Fall: History, PYO & Foliage

Discover Rhode Island sign with fall trees.

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The smallest US state packs a lot of fun activities during the spooky season!

This guide reveals the best things to do in Rhode Island featuring hikes among nature, historic buildings, seasonal food, chilling tours, and where to see Rhode Island’s fall colors.

Plus, pumpkin picking, apple farms, and hayrides for family-friendly Rhode Island Halloween fun!

With ocean, ponds, state parks, lighthouses, cities, and cute towns; you can easily spend a long weekend or extended vacation in Little Rhody.

Plus, its proximately to Massachusetts and Connecticut help make up a dreamy New England road trip.

Plan for fall temperatures ranging between 52F and 73F, September to November.

You may also like our guide to Best places to visit in Rhode Island and Rhode Island bucket list.

Would like to see more than just Rhode Island but not sure if it is possible? Check out our one week fall road trip itinerary.

Newport in the Fall

The first of many places to visit in Rhode Island in fall is Newport. 

Some activities include ghost tours, scenic walks and drives, and a wildlife refuge.

Take a Ghost Tour

First, take a spooky tour with the Ghost Tours of Newport (25 America’s Cup Ave). 

You’ll learn about Newport’s scary history and visit all the haunted places in the city. 

Your guide has all the best stories and facts to tell as they lead you through the dark on a lantern-lit walk. 

Visit the Fortress of Nightmares

One of the scariest but most unique Newport RIi things to do in October is the Fortress of Nightmares.

Every fall, the historic Fort Adams (80 Fort Adams Dr) tunnels are transformed into a scary maze where you never know what might jump out and scare you next. 

They also have a 3D enhanced maze, zombie laser tag, and tours of the haunted officers’ quarters. 

Fort Adams also feature in our guide to Rhode Island in spring for the annual Ocean Race.

Fort Adams aerial view on Ocean Drive in Fort Adams State Park at Newport

The Breakers

The Breakers (44 Ochre Point Ave) is an old cottage owned by the Vanderbilts during the summers of the Gilded Age.

The grounds and gardens are beautiful as the leaves change color in the fall. 

You can tour the house, which spans an acre, then explore the 12 acres of land surrounding the 19th-century home.

You may also like our guides to haunted hotels in New England or if the thought of door handles turning during the night puts the fear in you, our guide to historic hotels in New England!

The Breakers also feature in our winter in Rhode Island guide — you won’t want to miss the beautiful holiday decor.

The Breakers, a Vanderbilt Mansion in Newport Rhode Island

Walk the Scenic Cliff Walk

For a less spooky daytime activity, walk along the beautiful Cliff Walk, another great activity in Newport, Rhode Island, in the fall. 

The trail has spectacular views of the water on the southern part of Newport and starts just behind the Breakers. 

You can learn about the mansions along the way through this self-guided audio tour.

Night starts to creep in around 7:30pm in October so factor this into your fall Rhode Island itinerary.

Sunset over Cliff Walk going past Rough Point mansion in Newport Rhode Island

Drive Along Ocean Drive

Or, if it’s a chilly Rhode Island autumn day, you can take a scenic drive instead. 

Ocean Drive is right by the Cliff Walk and also overlooks the water. 

You’ll see historic estates, parks, beaches, and Castlehill Lighthouse along this ten-mile route. 

This self-guided audio tour provides information on all the main attractions you drive by on the route.

Again, consider the number of hours of daylight before you embark on your Ocean Drive leisurely ride.

If you don’t have a car, hop aboard the Newport Trolley.

Castle Hill Lighthouse at Sunrise

Queen Anne Square and Trinity Graveyard

Trinity Church is located on Queen Anne Square, its white exterior framed beautifully by color during fall.

The church was founded in 1698, and its architecture is of Georgian design.

This centuries-old church has a graveyard and tours of the building run throughout the year on Sundays.

Fall tress at Trinity Church trees Newport Rhode Island

Sachuest Point Wildlife Refuge

Sachuest Point Wildlife Refuge (769 Sachuest Point Rd, Middletown), which is just east of Newport, is a wildlife park. 

You can hike two and a half miles of trails, over the 40 acres of salt marsh lands and rocky shorelines.

There are number of seasonal birds that visit Sachuest Point including the Harlequin Duck which is usually spotted eating periwinkles from November.

Sunrise at Sachuest Wildlife Refuge

Providence, Rhode Island Fall

Another one of the best places to visit in Rhode Island in the fall is Providence. 

The town also has ghost tours, leaf peeping opportunities, and some yummy fall treats. 

You may also like our guide on things to Do in Providence.

Neutaconkanut Park

Neutaconkanut Park (99 Plainfield St) is one of the places you can hike, bike, and enjoy the fall colors in Providence. 

Be sure to go to the top of Neutaconkanut Hill, where you’ll enjoy great views overlooking the fall trees and the city.

This is a great spot for leaf crunching under foot when the weather turns and the trees start to lose their leaves.

Providence Ghost Tours

Similar to Newport, there are Providence Ghost Tours (60 Congdon Street).

The tours take you through the East Side of Providence, where your guide tells you about the ghosts who roam the streets. 

Tour the campus of Brown University while hearing about the chilling history of the area.

You can also try an investigation tour where you are led by a Paranormal Investigator and use paranormal detection equipment to find ghosts. 

If visiting Rhode Island at Halloween, reserve a spot on the special spooky tour and turn up in costume!

Wrought iron fence around Brown University campus with a plaque that reads 1904

Get a PSL at Pastiche

Ready for some delicious fall treats?

Pastiche Fine Desserts (92 Spruce St) is a can’t-miss place in Rhode Island in the fall, thanks to its pumpkin spice latte. 

They also make specialty desserts in the fall, like pumpkin and apple-flavored items. 

Bike Along the East Bay Path

Overdone it on the pastries and pies and want to stretch your legs before the cozy season really kicks in?

Check out the East Bay Path during autumn in Rhode Island.

It is a 15-mile trail along the Narragansett Bay which rides through East Providence, Riverside, Barrington, Warren and Bristol, RI.

It is a great place to enjoy the fall weather and see some of the state’s fall colors before the trees lose their leaves. 

Pawtucket, RI in Fall

Pawtucket is a city just over 5 miles north of Providence.

It was an important city in textile manufacturing and is home to Slater Mill which helped found the Industrial Revolution in the States.

Downtown Pawtucket

Wander through the streets of Pawtucket’s Historic District to see the best of the city’s fall colors dotted among its impressive architecture.

Stop by the first water-powered textile mill in the US, Old Slater Mill National Historic Landmark (67 Roosevelt Ave), to see where the Industrial Revolution began.

The complex is situated on the banks of the Blackstone River.

The park is open daily but the mill museum closes at the start of October so plan ahead if you wish to visit.

Fall colors surround the historic buildings of Pawtucket

Slater Memorial Park

Slater Memorial Park (401 Newport Ave, Pawtucket) is another outdoor attraction in Newport where you can see a lot of the fall foliage. 

The park has three miles of bike trails, picnic sites, and the vintage Looff Carousel which was built in 1894 and then restored in 1978. 

Look out for outdoor Halloween events too.

Slater Park Fall Festival

Slater Park Fall Festival is a 2-day open air market hosted at Slater Memorial Park.

Start your holiday shopping at over one hundred crafters, artisans, and creators selling handmade items.

Other highlights include family-friendly entertainment, food carts, live music, and fireworks!

Corn Mazes in Rhode Island

Exploring or getting lost in a corn maze is one of the best Rhode Island fall activities. 

Cucumber Hill Farm

First is Cucumber Hill Farm (39 Cucumber Hill Rd, Foster), which has an annual corn maze created for people of all ages. 

Each year there is a theme that makes the maze educational.

And Cucumber Hill Farm has more than just a corn maze. 

You can do other fall activities in Rhode Island here, like pumpkin picking, hay rides, and ax throwing. 

Salisbury Farm

Salisbury Farm (11 Peck Hill Rd, Johnston) is another farm with a corn maze in Rhode Island in October.

The corn maze is open daily in September and October, and every year they make the maze into a different design. 

It covers five acres of corn fields, and there are more than a mile of paths to walk through. 

Escobar Farm

Finally, Escobar Farm (133 & 255(GPS) Middle Road, Portsmouth) also has a corn maze that covers eight acres. 

The corn maze is also pet friendly, so you can bring your dog as long as you keep them on a leash. 

There are also concessions for sale, hayrides, and a picnic area. 

Corn Maze Sign against corn plant

Hayrides in Rhode Island

Another one of the classic fall things to do in Rhode Island is to take a hayride. 

Seven Cedars Farm

Seven Cedars Farm (20 John Mowry Rd, Smithfield) offers haunted hayrides in the fall.

The hayride goes through 21 acres of farmland and trails where spooky surprises await. 

Every year they change the ride, so you never know what to expect, and there are concessions for sale. 

Pachet Brook Tree Farm

Pachet Brook Tree Farm (4484 Main Rd, Tiverton) also has hayrides in October, but their hayrides aren’t haunted. 

The hayrides last 30 minutes and go throughout the farm and the woods, which are good spots for foliage during peak times. 

And, at the end of the hayride, you can stay at the pumpkin patch and pick pumpkins for sale.

Woman pulling hayride trailer behind tractor at fall harvest festival — Photo

Rhode Island Leaf Peeping

Rhode Island leaf peeping is easy, thanks to all the places to drive, hike, and bike your way through the state in the fall.

Lincoln Woods State Park

First, Lincoln Woods State Park (2 Manchester Print Works Rd, Lincoln) is a 627 acres state park in northeastern Rhode Island where you can fish, hike, and bike, surrounded by colorful trees. 

There’s a paved 2.5-mile loop around Olney Pond.

Check out our guide to hiking in Rhode Island for more routes ranging from easy to challenging.

You can also boat on the pond in the park and admire the foliage from the water. 

Drive Route 102

Route 102 is a scenic highway that runs for 44 miles from north to south through Rhode Island. 

All the towns, farms, trails, and vineyards you pass along the way are worth stopping for closer looks at the fall foliage or other fun fall activities. 

The route starts in Wickford and ends at Slatersville

If you can time the drive right, you can drive the route during the peak foliage times for the best views. 

Route 102 Rhode Island Map

Scenic Rail Bike Ride

Rail Explorers (1 Alexander Rd, Portsmouth) offers a unique way to see the fall scenery in Rhode Island. 

Hop on a pedal-powered bike and ride along the Old Colony Railroad as you admire the fall trees, Narragansett Bay, the Mount Hope Bridge, and the Hog Island Lighthouse. 

There are two six-mile routes to choose from, and you can take a tandem bike with a friend or a quad bike for four. 

More Things to Do in Rhode Island in the Fall

Confreda Fall Fest

For all the fall things to do in Rhode Island in one place, visit the Confreda Fall Festival (2150 Scituate Ave, Hope). 

They have many fall activities, including a corn maze, a hayride, a pick-your-own pumpkin patch, and a children’s train ride. 

There are also food options and bounce houses. 

Pick Pumpkins at Sweetberry Farm

Sweetberry Farm (915 Mitchells Ln, Middletown) has fruits, plants, and vegetables available for you to pick year-round, but the highlight is the pumpkins in the fall. 

The pick-your-own pumpkin patch is generally open from late September through October, depending on the weather and when the pumpkins are ready for harvest. 

Other fall pickings include peaches, blackberries, fall raspberries, and apples. 

Orange and white pumpkins in a basket

Pick Apples at Rocky Brook Orchard

Rocky Brook Orchard (997 Wapping Rd, Middletown) is the perfect place to pick apples in RI.

You pick your own apples here, and more than 80 varieties are available throughout the season. 

You can also have picnics here among the beautiful apple trees. 

Rhode Island Fall Foliage Map

If you want to spend your Rhode Island fall vacation seeing the fall foliage, try to be flexible with your dates so you can visit during peak foliage. 

Utilize this New England Foliage Map to see where the foliage is peaking so you go at the best time. 

Rhode Island and its neighboring coastal regions tend to be the last to peak in New England so watch for the north turning the glorious fall colors on social media then wait for Rhode Island’s turn.

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