7 Unique Ways to Enjoy Leaf Peeping in Connecticut Last Updated 9/20
Sure, you can take a scenic drive and see great fall foliage in Connecticut. But why not try a new way to experience leaf peeping this fall? Hop on your motorcycle, grab your bike, get out on a boat, zipline through the trees or savor the view from the winery, from a vintage steam train, from a hot air balloon, even from bed at a cozy B&B. Here are some of the best ways to watch nature put on the best show in New England! As always, be sure to check with each location before venturing out, as hours may have changed due to COVID-19.
Scenic Fall Rides
Connecticut is traversed by hundreds of small back roads and country lanes, which wind through areas dense in trees or spacious with rolling hills and farmlands. Even along the shoreline, the color is amazing as it plays off the deep blue waters of Long Island Sound. Here are just a few drives that will get you some great views around the state:
- In Central Connecticut, here’s a trip that follows the Connecticut River, taking in some amazing natural and man-made sights along the way.
- Driving this tour through the eastern part of Connecticut, from the “Quiet Corner” south to the coast, you’ll explore country roads, picturesque villages filled with history and beautiful state parks.
- The Litchfield Hills is always named one of New England’s top spots to view fall foliage. This tour traces Route 7 along Connecticut’s western edge, rambling across covered bridges, through charming towns and past state parks and waterfalls.
- In the Southwestern corner of the state, you’ll find a lovely autumn drive on and along Fairfield County’s Merritt Parkway, a Connecticut landmark since 1934.
- And if you are looking to view Connecticut’s foliage from a motorcycle, you’ll find some great ideas and itineraries here!
Spectacular Fall Foliage Bike Trails
This time of year is perfect for trying out the Connecticut Bed & Breakfast Bicycle Trail! With routes that take you all over the state, you can plan a day’s ride and stop for the night at one of our cozy B&Bs. Don’t forget the coastal views! The Connecticut Shoreline Bike & Boat Tour takes you through charming towns and even out to the scenic Thimble Islands. If mountain biking is more your speed, check out Powder Ridge Mountain Park & Resort.
Leaf Peeping by Vintage Steam Train
A ride on the Essex Steam Train follows the Connecticut River from Essex to Haddam, and returns on a riverboat, to give you the full effect of fall in the Connecticut River Valley. You can even climb aboard the Essex Clipper Dinner Train to savor an early supper with a view of the Connecticut River Valley. And East Haven’s Shoreline Trolley Museum hosts fall events and rides for trolley lovers of all ages.
Great Views of the Leaves from the Water
Want to experience the amazing color from the water? Connecticut offers boat cruises and canoe expeditions that give you a 360-degree view of the changing leaves. Haddam’s RiverQuest offers narrated nature cruises on southernmost portion of the Connecticut River, while a cruise on the Lady Katherine from Hartford, Middletown or Haddam gives you different views of this amazing river. If paddling a canoe or kayak yourself sounds like fun, outfitters like Clarke Outdoors in West Cornwall or Collinsville Canoe & Kayak give you a chance to experience the Farmington and Housatonic Rivers while nature puts on its spectacular show.
Soaring through the Foliage by Zipline or Hot Air Balloon
For a truly different perspective, soar above the foliage with one of many balloon tour operators. Or zip through the trees on a zip-line tour from Adventure Park in Storrs or HighFlyer in Mashantucket. Prefer to hike to the view? Look no further than some of our favorite state parks, like Castle Craig in Meriden, Old Furnace State Park in Killingly, Talcott Mountain in Simsbury, or try these hiking and biking trails with a view!
Savoring Fall's Colors in the Vineyards
All along the Connecticut Wine Trail, you’ll find vineyards that welcome wine lovers and leaf peepers, well into autumn. Many of the wineries have spectacular views of their own, whether they’re in the country or along the coast. Stroll among the vines at Sharpe Hill in Pomfret, explore Sunset Meadows Vineyards in Goshen, or sip wine near the shoreline Jonathan Edwards Winery in North Stonington.
Leaf Peeping Without Even Getting Out of Bed
In fall, Connecticut’s inns and bed & breakfasts book up fast. But fortunately, there are so many, you’re certain to find one that perfect for you. Experience class New England charm at Woodstock’s The Inn at Woodstock Hill, or get a taste of the sencic colonial era at West Lane Inn in Ridgefield. Niantic’s The Inn at Harbor Hill Marina is shoreline romance personified, while the Blackberry River Inn in Norfolk lets you experience the magical Litchfield Hills. And the majestic Stanton House Inn in Greenwich features suites with fireplaces for the perfect autumn getaway.
More Spectacular Fall Experiences
Autumn in Connecticut offers more than just spectacular leaf viewing. The crisp cool air, the colorful markets, apple orchards, corn mazes and more make it the perfect place to get the ultimate “fall fix.” See how you can "Find Fall Faster" in Connecticut right now with all kinds of amazing fall experiences!