Where to Find Fall’s Fabulous Colors around Boston

a boy and his father surrounded by fall colors foliage in autumn iStock

Celebrate the fall-idays with a family leaf-peeping excursion to find fall colors around Boston

Cooler mornings and changing leaves can only mean one thing in Boston. Fall is here. And while that means a trip to the pumpkin patch and a run through the corn maze, before sitting down to enjoy a hot cup of cider and a mini donut for most families, it’s also a great time to see the city awash in ever-changing shades of red, orange and gold. There’s a reason New England is a destination for leaf-peepers from all around. The whole state puts on a serious technicolor show—but these are our favorite places to find fall colors around Boston.

Public Garden

When it comes to places to find fall colors around Boston, you can’t go wrong with a trip to the Public Garden. Families can count on the first botanical garden in the country to be bursting with color in fall, thanks in part to the diverse tree and plant-life you’ll find here. The Japanese Maples with their brilliant reds are hard to miss and the chance to spot wildlife on the pond is another draw for families.

4 Charles St.
Online: boston.gov


Boston Nature Center & Wildlife Sanctuary

If you want to get away from the city, just a bit, head to this urban sanctuary in Mattapan. Its gentle trails and inviting boardwalks through wetlands and meadows are just the right speed for tots and big kids. Our suggestion? Bring your binoculars to see if you can spot any of the 150 different species of birds that call the Sanctuary home.

500 Walk Hill St.
Online: massaudubon.org

Boston Common

While there’s never a bad time to visit Boston Common, fall is definitely the right season. Is it any wonder the city’s oldest trees put on a brilliant autumn show. Maples, Oaks and Chestnut trees are dressed in their vibrant best and your kiddos are sure to find plenty of leaves to take home for their next art project on the open lawns and walkways.

139 Tremont St.
Online: boston.gov


Back Bay Fens

An Emerald Necklace highlight, The Fens is an easy spot to spy the best colors of the season and snap a few post-worthy photos too. When you’re done drinking in the color, make a playground pit stop with your leaf-peeping crew.

100 Park Dr.
Online: boston.gov

Related: 10 Family Hikes You Can Take in Any Season

The Esplanade

From the Fens, head toward the Charles River to find more red, orange and golden hued leaves. Set against the water, this open walking space is great for parents pushing strollers and toddlers who need to run. Just remember to bundle up your kiddos as it can get a bit breezy along the waterfront in fall.

Charles River Esplanade
Online: esplanade.org


Noanet Woodlands

With 16 miles of tree-lined trails families can easily spend the day at this nearby nature preserve. You’ll find all the colors of fall here, plus lots of wildlife too—including migrating hawks and turtles and bullfrogs in any of the four different ponds that dot the property. If your kiddos are up to it, make your way up the 1.5 mile trail to Noanet Peak. The view on a sunny fall day is totally worth it!

Good to know: There’s a $6 parking fee for non-Trustees members.

Insider tip: Get farm-fresh fixings for dinner when you hit the nearby Powisett Farm Store on your way home. It’s open Thursdays through Saturdays.

Powissett Street
Dover, MA
Online: thetrustees.org

Related: Mark Your Calendars! Boston's Best Fall Festivals for Families

Arnold Arboretum

On the west end of the Emerald Necklace is Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum, a living museum, and a sure-fire spot to find fall fully blooming. Although kids’ learning packs aren’t currently available, there are still plenty of ways kids can have fun (and learn something too!) during a visit. And a trip up Peter’s Hill is always a treat, especially when an abundance of color below awaits you at the top.

Insider tip: If you want to learn more about the plant-life around you, download the Arboretum’s mobile app, Expeditions.

125 Arborway
Online: arboretum.harvard.edu


Blue Hills Reservation

Head out of the city a ways to find miles of trails and lots of colorful trees at Blue Hills Reservation. Park at the Houghton’s Pond parking lot (it’s free) and then make your way to the Skyline trail to take it all in. The views from the top of Great Blue Hill are unbeatable this time of year, and it’s slight elevation gain makes it accessible to even the tiniest trail trekkers.

725 Hillside
Milton, MA
Online: mass.gov

Related: Plan a Fall Escape: 10 New England Cabins to Rent Now


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