foliage road trips maine

Best “Leaf Peeping” Road Trips to Take in Maine

Almost as soon as the weather turns in New England, the leaves start to change. Fall foliage is renowned in New England, especially in Maine, where the incredible reds, oranges and yellows of leaves seem to set the trees on fire to create a breathtaking landscape. In fact, many Mainers (and lots of out-of-staters, too!) hit the highways to take in the natural, scenic beauty of our state in autumn. We’ve put together a few of the best “leaf peeping” road trips Maine has to offer below!

Rangeley, Maine

Route 17 or by way of Newry

Rangeley is heaven for sightseers – you’ll find nearly non-stop foliage as you drive past mountains, fields and farms. This would make for an ideal weekend away or even just a relaxing Sunday drive!

Head up towards Augusta to Manchester, Maine and jump on Route 17 to Rangeley. You may even find yourself at a scenic overlook view of Rangeley Lake and Mooselookmeguntic Lake, where the foliage reflects off the calm water.

Another route to take is by way of Newry, Maine, following ME-26 N up through Grafton Notch State Park. Rangeley is about an hour and a half from Newry, with a drive packed with attractions including waterfalls and scenic pull-over spots.

Kancamagus Highway

While this is partially in Maine, it’s also partially New Hampshire, which is another stunning leaf peeping destination. This route takes you from Portland to Conway, New Hampshire, where you’ll hop onto 112 after you pass through the small town. Mountain views are aplenty, and the anticipation of what’s over each mountain pass will keep you on the edge of your seat! This route is also full of wonderful stops along the way, including shops and delicious restaurants, which would make for a fun-filled weekend trip.

Maine Lighthouse Tour

This isn’t particular to foliage season – it would be a beautiful drive no matter the time of year – but seeing Maine’s classic lighthouses with a brightly-hued backdrop of leaves is truly a unique experience. The tour starts in York and takes you up through Bar Harbor 

  • Cape Neddick Lighthouse (Nubble Light) – York
  • Goat Island Light – Kennebunkport
  • Portland Head Light – Cape Elizabeth
  • Bug Light – South Portland
  • Monhegan Light – Monhegan Island
  • Pemaquid Point – Pemaquid
  • Owl’s Head Light – Owls Head State Park
  • Dyce Head Lighthouse – Castine
  • Bass Harbor Lighthouse – Mount Desert Island

Once in Acadia National Park, there are many lighthouses best seen by boat tour! These include but are not limited to Great Duck Island Light, Egg Rock Light, Bakers Island Light, Mount Desert Rock Light, and Winter Harbor Light.

Acadia National Park

Route 3 and carriage roads within the park

Route 3, also called the Acadia Byway, brings you through Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Island. This route offers incredible views of the rugged Maine coast, dotted with vibrant forests of all colors. It’s easily drivable, but another great way to experience the foliage (and stay active while doing so!) is to bike Acadia’s interconnected carriage trails.


At Cumberland Crossing by OceanView, our active senior retirement community is conveniently located just a few miles from the beautiful city of Portland, allowing you to easily make any of these incredible foliage road trips Maine has to offer! To learn more about our community, please contact us today.