10 Must-Visit Small Towns in New Hampshire for Fall Leaves



It’s never too early to start planning for fall excursions, and if you’re a fan of breathtaking autumn leaves, New Hampshire’s charming small towns more than deliver. Home to gorgeous backroads and cozy villages, you’ll dream of red maples, bright yellow birches and deep orange oaks once you’ve read this list. From scenic drives and bike tours to boat rides and train trips, New Hampshire’s small towns are brimming with autumn adventures.


Train moving along the Conway Scenic Railroad. Photo Credit: Bob Pool / Shutterstock.com.

All aboard! Conway is a hub for the Conway Scenic Railroad, a historic passenger railway that launches from an 1874 depot. Enjoy dramatic views of the thickly forested White Mountains, one of New England’s premier mountain ranges for fall colors. As the train travels along the Saco River, it’s a great way to relax and kick back, with rides ranging from an hour to more than five hours. Conway also bookends the famous Kancamagus Highway, a remarkable 34-mile journey through some of the nation’s best fall foliage that earned the road an American Scenic Byway designation.


The bridge that separates Jackson from Conway in New Hampshire.

Jackson is a town that knows how to make an entrance. The highway into town greets you with a delightfully photogenic historic covered bridge and the towering White Mountains surrounding town, blanketed in a swatch of red and yellow leaves. Hike the trails around Mt. Washington, take a scenic drive along the Mt. Washington Auto Road or enjoy a bike ride along the Jackson Scenic Loop on Highway 16B.


Echo Lake during the fall in Franconia, New Hampshire.

Take the road less traveled to Franconia, a wonderful White Mountain burgh that was home to the famous poet Robert Frost. The area is home to the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway, which crests the 4,080-foot-high Cannon Mountain. There’s no better way to view vibrant fall colors than from a mountain peak. Nearby attractions are Bridal Veil Falls – the perfect hike for gorgeous views and roaring cascades, or head south of town and visit Robert Frost’s former home. Cowboy up for horseback rides through the autumn leaves at Franconia Notch Stables and get picturesque views from your room at the historic Franconia Inn that opened in 1863!


A beautiful lake in Tamworth, New Hampshire. Photo Credit: Rhona Wise / Shutterstock.com.

Autumn transforms the mountains and lakes of Tamworth into a breathtaking collage of oranges, reds and yellows. Take a stroll across the historic wooden dam in the nearby Chocorua Park or enjoy breakfast with a fall leaves view at Rosie’s, a classic diner right on Route 16 – home to one of the best scenic drives in the area. Cruise around Silver Lake, where the leaves reflect on its glassy surface or enjoy a stroll to the Great Hill Fire tower, a trailhead just minutes from town where you can immerse yourself in the autumn glow.


The town of Walpole during the fall.

Home to 19th-century buildings, rustic farms and the lazy flow of the Connecticut River, Walpole is a blast from the past. Enjoy a scenic drive along Highway 12, where the riverbanks showcase a burst of fall colors that stretch the length of the New Hampshire-Vermont border. While in town, take a detour to Alyson’s Orchards, where you can pick apples and peaches.

Sugar Hill

Scenic vista in Sugar Hill, New Hampshire. Photo Credit: Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock.com.

In the land of Maple Syrup, Sugar Hill is aptly named – and the perfect place for a renowned pancake eatery. Get fueled for adventure at Polly’s Pancake Parlor, then explore some of the best hilltop views in the state. The area’s elevated perch gives it a great view of the surrounding mountain ranges. If you’re visiting before the fall colors pop, Sugar Hill is a great place to view wildflowers like Lupines. There’s great access to hiking and driving loops in the White Mountain National Forest.


An aerial view of Wolfeboro’s historic town center at Back Bay at Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire.

Dive into lake life in Wolfeboro, a town on Lake Winnipesaukee’s shores known as “The Oldest Summer Resort in America.” But we’re not here for summer, it’s autumn when the real magic happens. There’s nothing like a cruise around the lake and seeing hues of red and yellow reflect off the water and the leaves. Several businesses offer boat rides or rentals so you can spend a day on the water snapping photos for your next Instagram story.


The Pierce Bridge east of Bethlehem, New Hampshire. Photo Credit: Jimmy Emerson, DVM.

Take in fall views on two wheels in Bethlehem, a certified bike-friendly community, along with nearby Franconia and Littleton. See stunning fall leaves on world-class mountain bike trails, from backroad blacktops to relaxed rails-to-trails paths. For a great driving route, cruise Highway 302, which slices through the White Mountains.


An old cemetery in the fall, Dublin, New Hampshire. Photo Credit: Rob Weir.

This town’s namesake is on the Emerald Isle, but reds and yellows stand out here. The vibrant autumn leaves transform Monadnock Mountain into a visual feast of colors that dominate the skyline of southern New Hampshire. Several hiking trails lead up the mountain from town or soak in the views from a canoe on Dublin Pond at the Dublin Lake State Scenic Area.


A beautiful shot of the Sandwich new Hampshire church surrounded by autumn trees.

Nestled at the edge of New Hampshire’s lake country, Sandwich makes a great base camp for the 134-mile Lakes Region Loop – one of the nation’s most scenic fall colors driving tours. A charming village with a quaint downtown area, you can enjoy the fall leaves with a scenic drive or hikes around Squam Lake and the foothills of the White Mountains. The fall is also the time of the Sandwich Fair, a village tradition of more than 100 years. Take in the beauty of autumn while enjoying animal demonstrations, oxen pulling, parades and pumpkin carving.

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