As the days get shorter and the nights get colder, a magical thing happens across the country. The leaves begin to change color and put on a spectacular display of fall foliage.
For many people, including myself, traveling to places to witness these changes is a time-honored tradition.
Some of the best ways to see the vibrant fall foliage is by hiking in the woods, going on scenic car rides or enjoying the splendor while eating at an outside restaurant or brewery.
All of these things are perfect activities you can to do with your dog in tow.
Join us as look at dog friendly fall getaways in the Northeast, along with places to stay, eat and things to do with your dog.
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First time traveling with your dog?
If you have never traveled with a dog before, you might not know where to start or what to bring. To help you, we have put together a couple of posts with our best tips for traveling with a dog and also tips on hotel stays with a dog.
Peak Foliage for your Dog Friendly Fall Getaways
Trying to plan the perfect time for your dog friendly fall weekend getaways is difficult at best. Unless you can get away at a moment’s notice and already have a place to stay, you will need to plan your getaway in advance.
However, you can expect to see some fall foliage in the Northeast from early to mid-September through the end of October. The further north you venture the earlier you will see the leaves change color.
Many northeastern states offer foliage reports or tracker to keep you informed on the changes. Here are a few of them.
- Maine Foliage Report
- Visit New Hampshire Fall Foliage Tracker
- I love NY Fall Foliage Report
- New England Foliage Map
8 Dog Friendly Fall Getaways in the Northeast
1. Bar Harbor, Me – Acadia National Park
The first spot on our list is also the furthest north. Acadia National Park offers 49,000 acres of forest, lakes and shoreline to see the fall colors. The majority of Acadia National Park sits on Mount Desert Island in down-east Maine.
This area will typically reach its peak colors around the second or third week in October, but that will vary from year to year. Mainefoliage.com can provide you with weekly updates so you can see what it may be like when you go.
The largest town on Mount Desert Island is Bar Harbor, Me. It’s also the closest one to the main entrance of Acadia. The town of Bar Harbor makes a great home-base for exploring Acadia and the surrounding areas. Here you will find plenty of dog friendly options for accommodations and places to eat.
From Bar Harbor you can catch the dog friendly Island Explorer bus. The Island Explorer offers routes linking lodging with destinations in Acadia National Park and neighboring villages.
Dog friendly things to do during Fall Getaways in Bar Harbor – Acadia National Park
- With more than 125 miles of interconnected and looping hiking trials Acadia was designed for hiking. Here you will be able to find trails with breathtaking views for every skill level.
- If you would prefer wide paths to walk on, Acadia is home to 45 miles of crushed stone paths that run through long stretches of woodlands making it an ideal place to see the autumn colors.
- If driving is more your style, Acadia also has the park loop road. This scenic 27-mile rides takes you around the east side of Mount Desert Island. Along the way you will find views of Acadia’s lakes, mountains and shoreline. Stop along the way at one of the many pullovers to enjoy the view.
If you are looking for dog friendly vacation ideas check out our posts Dog Friendly Island Vacation Ideas in the USA and Dog Friendly Family Vacations in the U.S.A.
2. Lakes Region in New Hampshire
Next on our list is the Lakes Region in New Hampshire. Here you will find the third largest lake in all of New England. Nestled in the foothills of the White Mountains, Lake Winnipesaukee makes the perfect backdrop for the autumn season.
At 21-miles long and up to 9-miles wide the lake and its surrounding areas offer plenty of opportunities for dog-friendly activities, like hiking and boating.
While Lake Winnipesaukee may be the largest lake in the lake’s region (actually it’s the largest lake in New Hampshire) it is far from the only lake there. There are 273 lakes and ponds ready to explore.
If you are looking for a bird’s eye view of the fall foliage, the Lakes Region Conservation Trust maintains 28 miles of hiking trails in the area. Trails for all levels will bring you past waterfalls, and beautiful vistas.
While there are many small towns to visit in the area, the two most popular ones are Meredith, NH and Wolfeboro, NH.
The town of Wolfeboro which sits on the Northeastern shoreline of Lake Winnipesaukee ‘s is considered to be the oldest summer resort in America. Here you will find plenty of places to stay with your dog and a few places to eat with them.
Meredith sits on the northern tip of Meredith Bay in Lake Winnipesaukee. Here you will find plenty of things to do with your dog as well as places to stay and eat with them.
Dog friendly things to do in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire
- If you are looking for a scenic drive the Lake Winnipesaukee loop is sure to please. The total drive is 75 miles round trip. This scenic drive will take you all around Lake Winnipesaukee and Squam Lake. Along the way you will find breathtaking scenery, and plenty of stops. You can find driving directions for the loop at Yankee Magazine.
- There is no better place to see the fall foliage in full view then on the lake. You will find dog friendly kayak outfitters and boat tours in Meredith, NH.
- Looking to go on a hike? The West Rattlesnake Mountain Old Bridal Trail is rated moderate on AllTrails.com but the views of the surrounding mountains and Squam Lake below are worth it.
3. Stowe, Vt
Nest on our list is a historical town in the Green Mountains of Vermont. With three quarters of the state of Vermont covered in forests of yellow birch, sugar maples, hemlocks and white pines, it’s no wonder that the state is called the Green State.
All that green means that come fall Vermont is a blazed with yellow, orange and red foliage. It’s no wonder that Vermont is consistently on the top ten lists of best places to see amazing fall foliage, making it a great place to spent a fall weekend.
The best place to witness the splendor of Autumn is in the Green Mountains. The Green Mountains run north to south in the center of Vermont. One of the ways to experience the Green Mountains is by driving the scenic Route 100 byway. Here you will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the mountains and Mad River Valley.
Route 100 runs right through a number of resort towns including Stowe on its northern end.
Stowe makes a great dog friendly home base to explore the surrounding area. Here you will find plenty of dog friendly activities, like a hiking along the trails at Smuggler’s Notch State Park. Just make sure you pick a trail that meets you and your dog’s activity level. Some of the trails might be too difficult for small dogs.
Dog friendly things to do in Stowe, Vt
- If you are looking for an easy stroll, the Stowe Recreation Path is an international recognized Green-way that goes from Stowe Village to Top Notch Resort. The 5.3-mile paved path will take you over the West Branch of Little River and provide beautiful views of mountain vistas.
- Or you can take the Auto Toll Road to the Summit of Mt Mansfield were you will find stunning views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains. There is a fee for this road.
- After a long day of sightseeing you can head to the dog-friendly outdoor Cider Garden at Stowe Cider located at 17 Town Farm Lane, Stowe, Vt. Dogs must be kept on leash and cleaned up after here.
4. Adirondacks, New York State
As we move west the Adirondacks offer the longest fall foliage season in the country. This is due to the six million acres of forest that make up the Adirondack region.
Here the fiery colors come early to the upper half the of the Adirondacks. The best time to visit places like Lake Placid is the last week of September to the first week of October. Of course, timing may change from year to year depending on the weather conditions during the summer and fall.
To see fall colors in early October try visiting the Lake George Area. Lake George sits in the Southern foothills of the Adirondack Mountains resulting in the colors turning a little later in the season. But in early October you should be able to see the mountains light up in a blaze of reds, oranges and yellows.
Dog friendly things to do in Lake George, NY
- There are plenty of forest preserves near the village to take a hike with your pup. We chose to take the Sleeping Beauty Trial to the Summit to get a 360 view of the Adirondacks
- If you would rather drive up to a summit, Prospect Mountain offers an easy ride with spectacular views. There is a fee to drive to the top.
- Go on a cruise – the Horicon in Lake George offers lake cruises for well-behaved dogs
- Grab meal at a lake-front dog friendly patio.
- Drive up the west side of the lake to visit the charming and very dog friendly Bolton Landing, NY
- Read our post on our trip to Lake George to find more dog friendly things to do.
5. Saratoga Springs, NY
When you think of fall getaways you probably think of heading out to the mountain, but dog friendly Saratoga Springs is the perfect place for a fall getaway that includes lots of fall foliage.
Within the city limits you have the 2,379-acre Saratoga Spa State Park. Here you will find 15-miles of trails that crisscross the park, most of the groomed. You can also visit Yaddo Gardens with your pup in tow if you prefer.
Saratoga Springs offers an abundance of places to stay and eat with your pup. Even many of their downtown stores allow dogs inside.
Just down the road from Saratoga Springs is Dog Friendly Albany, NY, if you would prefer a trip to the city.
Going on a dog friendly vacation shouldn’t have to cost a small fortune, you are looking for ways to keep the costs down, read our post on: Cheap Vacations With a Pet: Budget Friendly Ideas
6. Finger Lakes
There is something about seeing the fall colors reflected in the blue waters of a lake or pond that seems to make the whole experience intensify.
Maybe it is the fiery reds and oranges against the cool blue waters that make the colors pop. Whatever the reason, the forest preserves that surround the Finder Lakes are sure to please the annual leaf peeper looking for some amazing shots.
The Finger Lakes is a fairly large area that includes 14 counties and 11 lakes between Lake Ontario in the north and Pennsylvania to the south. The colors begin to peak here in the first two weeks of October, but more northern areas and higher elevations will change colors before the lower ones.
Since it is such a large area many of the parks and towns are spread out. If you are looking to get away for just a weekend you will need to pick one area to explore.
Ithaca, NY is a good place to choose since the area is home to many parks, dog friendly restaurants and accommodations. This college town boosts at least nine dog friendly stores, 7 dog friendly restaurants and 4 craft beverage establishments.
This doesn’t include the dog friendly places outside of Ithaca but close enough to visit.
Dog friendly things to do in the Finger Lakes. NY
- One of the most popular spots to see the fall foliage near Ithaca, NY is Taughannock Falls State Park. Here you will find the namesake Taughannock Falls. It’s the tallest single drop waterfall in the East. Of course, if it hasn’t rained much in the fall it may be more of a trickle then a waterfall, but the explosive colors all around you will be enough to make the trip worthwhile. Leashed dogs are allowed on the trials.
- If a long scenic drive is more your style than hop on New York State Route 89 north from Ithaca and head towards Seneca Falls. Here you will pass through Cayuga Lake State Park, where you can get out and take a walk with your pup. Cayuga Lake State Park Pet Policy: A maximum of two pets are allowed in day use areas unless prohibited by sign or directive.
7. Cape Cod, Massachusetts
The last place on our list is Cape Cod, Ma. Cape cod is probably not the first place you think of when looking for a fall getaway, but fall is a great time to visit. Not only have the crowds from the summer died down, but many of the public beaches are open to dogs making dog friendly Cape Cod a perfect choice.
If you are wondering where to find fall foliage, take a ride along Cape Cod’s north shore and you will see plenty of seasonal colors. Start your ride in the beautiful town of Sandwich, the Cape’s oldest town, then continue down route 6a until you get to Brewster. In Brewster you will find Nickerson State Park.
Nickerson State Park offers 1,900 acres of wooded trails, and ponds to explore. Plus, you can catch the 22-mile Cape Cod Rail Trail here. Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed on the beach in Nickerson State Park.
For more pet dog friendly beaches in Massachusetts, visit our post: Dog Friendly Beaches in Massachusetts (MA) and Dog Friendly Beaches in Cape Cod.
Dog friendly things to do during Fall Getaways on Cape Cod
- Take a scenic ride along route 6a on the northern shore of the Cape
- Go for a hike in Nickerson State Park
- If your dog needs some off-leash time, Cape Cod has a few Off-leash Dog Parks and trails to keep them happy.
8. Shenandoah National Park
Technically Shenandoah National Park is not in the northeast. It’s actually in the north west corner of Virginia making it park of the Mid-Atlantic region. But it has fabulous fall foliage as you can see from the picture above, so I couldn’t not at least mention it.
Plus, Shenandoah is very dog friendly with dogs allowed on most of the park’s trails and at one of its full-service restaurants on the outside terrace.
One of the most popular things to do in Shenandoah National Park in the fall is to take a ride on the 105-mile long Skyline Drive. There are 75 overlooks on the drive that offer breathtaking view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley.
Dog friendly things to do during Fall Getaways in Shenandoah:
- Hiking is another popular dog friendly activity in the park.
- There are also multiple underground caverns in the area that are open to the public for tours. Small dogs are allowed to be carried on some of the tours.
- Enjoy a dog friendly winery or brewery in the area.
For more things to do, check out our post on Dog Friendly Shenandoah National Park & Vicinity. For places to stay visit Shenandoah National Park Dog Friendly Lodging.