Where to See Fantastic Fall Colors around Boston

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Cooler mornings and falling leaves has put your fam in the mood to go out in search of spectacular golden, orange and red-hued trees. And who can blame you? Leaf-peeping is a super-easy, family-friendly fall activity. So if you’re looking for that just-right spot to see fall colors in Boston, here’s the low down on where to go.

Public Garden

When it comes to leaf peeping, 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.
Boston, MA
Online: boston.gov/parks/public-garden

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.

Good to know: The Nature Center is currently closed, but the trails are open and restrooms are accessible, with limited hours.

Insider tip: Put Mass Audubon’s Autumn Colors family workshop on your calendar for Oct. 30.

500 Walk Hill St.
Boston, MA
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.

Good to know: Mark your calendars for Oct. 22, the city's annual Fall-O-Ween Children’s Festival at Boston Common.

139 Tremont St.
Boston, MA
Online: boston.gov/parks/boston-common

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.
Boston, MA
Online: boston.gov/parks/back-bay-fens

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
Boston, MA
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 Stand on your way home. It’s open Tuesdays through Thursdays, 1:30-6:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Powissett Street
Dover, MA
Online: thetrustees.org/place/noanet-woodlands

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
Boston, MA
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

—Allison Sutcliffe


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