With the longest fall foliage season in New England, and one of the most colorful in the world, Connecticut is poised to provide an unbeatable backdrop for months of seasonal fun—closer to home. From scenic drives through rolling hills and outdoor adventures by land or sea, to culinary delights on the farm and overnight getaways and camping, Connecticut provides a convenient fall getaway destination filled with both beloved and brand-new autumn experiences and events emphasizing safety at every turn.
Fall Foliage Forecast
Due to dry conditions this summer, Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is predicting leaf peepers will get to enjoy colors sooner—and for a longer period of time this year. “Current conditions are setting the stage for an earlier start to the fall foliage season, with ‘peak color’ happening not all at once, but lasting several weeks in parts of the state,” said Chris Martin, Connecticut State Forester. “Only a few regions of the world have seasonal displays of color like New England—and Connecticut offers some of the most diverse tree species in the region, which means a wider array of colors—yellow, bronze, orange, red and purple—for all to enjoy longer.”
Follow DEEP’s week-by-week Foliage Finder to learn more.
Fall is prime time to get out and explore Connecticut safely. Here are just a few ways to enjoy the season:
- Take a road trip. While there are countless scenic drives across the state, these seven loops offer some of the finest leaf peeping, hiking, shopping, dining and lodging options nearby. Take the Litchfield Hills loop, which includes historic Route 7, or the “Quiet Corner” loop, featuring Route 169.
- Hit the trails. With hundreds of miles of trails, hiking at a Connecticut park, forest or preserve is a must-do every fall. These 10 trails are well known for their views, but there are many lesser-known places to explore, too, including Mianus River State Park in Stamford and Mashomoquet Brook State Park in Pomfret.
- Visit the farm. Picking apples and pumpkins is an autumn tradition, but Connecticut’s orchards and farm wineries, breweries and cideries also offer activities for the whole family, from hayrides and corn mazes to tastings and live music. Ellsworth Hill Orchard & Berry Farm in Sharon, for example, features a 3.5-acre corn maze and vintage train display.
- Leaf peep in new places. Hiking isn’t the only way to enjoy fall foliage in Connecticut—biking, boating, paddling and zipping can offer brand new perspectives. Try the new Rail-Bike Adventures in Haddam or Mystic Boat Adventures in Mystic. Or, dine with a view at Millwright’s in Simsbury.
- Experience open air art. Plan a fall outing around new, open-air art exhibits across Connecticut, including the New Canaan Sculpture Trail, Hartford’s “Sculpture in the City” and Putnam’s “A Sculpture Affair.”
- Explore a new town. Connecticut’s 169 towns all have something unique to offer, and some are particularly charming in the fall, with scenic lookouts, dining options and lodging. Here are a few to add to your list. Don’t miss Mansfield and Barkhamsted, home to two of the state’s drive-in movie theaters.
- Save the date. Live events and Halloween-themed fun are great additions to any fall must-do list. Visit South Farms in Morris, a brand-new outdoor venue for socially distant events, featuring live concerts and comedy shows. Other upcoming events include Seaside Shadows’ Haunted History Tours and Connecticut Trolley Museum’s “Rails to the Darkside” in East Windsor.
“Connecticut offers the quintessential fall getaway experience—without all the travel time,” said Randy Fiveash, director, Connecticut Office of Tourism. “State residents and visitors can plan the perfect day, weekend or week-long fall trip to Connecticut knowing that hotels, restaurants, attractions, parks and other destinations statewide are following strict safety protocols. At the same time, we ask that anyone traveling in Connecticut adhere to the current rules and guidance in order to keep themselves, and all of us, safe,” Fiveash said.
The latest information on Connecticut’s COVID-19 response, including guidance on face coverings and social distancing, as well as details about the state’s travel advisory, is available at www.ct.gov/Coronavirus.
For more information about safe fall fun in Connecticut, visit www.CTvisit.com
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