You don’t have to drive three hours up to the mountains to get a glimpse of the gorgeous fall foliage—there’s plenty to marvel at right in our own backyard! Check out these local drives and tours through our seacoast communities and peep some leaves (and be back in time for dinner!).

Want to know how the foliage is looking in your neck of the woods? Check out these foliage reports for:
New Hampshire
Maine
Massachusetts

New Hampshire

Coastal Tours:

Drive #1: Portsmouth/New Castle
Start by taking Route 1B, which begins in Portsmouth’s historic district, over the causeway to New Castle. This narrow route winds around the island, past the grand Wentworth-by-the-Sea and tow early military fortifications, Fort Stark and Fort Constitution. When Route 1B connects with Route 1A, turn south through Rye and North Hampton to Hampton; along the way you’ll find Odiorne State Park and a series of State Parks with oceanfront beaches.

Drive #2: Hampton Beach/Hampton Falls/Exeter
From Hampton Beach, take Route 101 West to Route 1 South towards Hampton Falls and take a right onto Route 84, one of the region’s earliest roads. It will take you through Kensington to Route 150 and Exeter, one of the four original towns in colonial New Hampshire and the state capitol during the Revolutionary War. From there, follow Route 27 along the original 18th century route back to Hampton.

Drive #3: The Coastal Byway
The north end of this 18-mile byway starts in Portsmouth. Head south on Route 1 and take a left on Route 111 until you hit Route 1A. From here, take a left on 1A and travel into Seabrook. You can either backtrack home or take Route 286 in Seabrook which brings you back to I 95.

Drive #4: Greenland/North Hampton
From Route 33, connect to Route 151 in Greenland and follow all the way into North Hampton. Take a right onto Route 1 South and take a left onto Route 111 which brings you all the way to the beach (Route 111 is SKC’s FAVE drive right after a fresh snowfall—unbelievably beautiful).

A Little Bit West

Drive #1: Dover/Durham Route 4
Take Route 4 from Dover into Durham towards Wagon Hill Farm, where a picturesque scene displays a wooden wagon atop a hill. Take advantage of the many walking trails down to the bay, bring a picnic and enjoy the outdoors! Free parking, too.

Drive #2: American Independence Byway
This scenic 21-mile byway begins by going west on State Rte. 101E. Turn north on State Rte. 27 into Hampton. Continue on Route 27 to Route 108, which takes you south of Exeter. Head east on State Rte. 150 and join State Rte. 84 (soon after Kensington). Take US Route 1 North to the end of the byway (when you hit Route 101 East). Explore historic Exeter and Hampton, early colonial settlements, and Kensington with its Georgian and early Federal farms.

Massachusetts

Drive #1: Essex National Heritage Area Scenic Byway
The 24-mile Essex National Heritage Area Scenic Byway is a showcase for New England’s historic seaports, Colonial era farms, village centers, and period architecture. Set against the backdrop of The Great Marsh, New England’s largest salt marsh, the byway traverses six communities and is anchored at each end by the cities of Gloucester, a large active fishing community founded in 1623, and Newburyport, a historic shipbuilding and trade port. Along the way the route passes through Essex, a small community with extensive farmland, woodlots, marsh views, and a thriving antiques trade.

  • Start in the city of Gloucester at the intersection of Routes 127 and 133. Travel northerly along Route 133 through the town of Essex and into the town of Ipswich.
  • Merge with Massachusetts Route 1A. Follow Route 1A northerly through the towns of Ipswich, Rowley, and Newbury, and into the city of Newburyport, terminating on High Street and the Newburyport downtown loop.

Drive #2: Essex/Newburyport/Rockport
Route 133 is a gorgeous route that winds along charming country back rounds and the picture-perfect New England towns of Essex, Ipswich, Rowley and Georgetown. Route 1A from Beverly to Newburyport travels through beautiful open spaces and farms via Ipswich, which boasts more pre-1725 houses still standing than any other town in the USA. Route 127 winds along the coast through Beverly, Manchester-By-The-Sea, Gloucester and up to Rockport.

Anyone have any recommendations for local Maine routes? What are your favorite roads to travel in the autumn? Share with us your picks and inspire others to enjoy some local leaf peeping!

 

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