Sure, Boston-area residents and visitors can go to Western Mass. or up into northern New England to watch the leaves turn this fall. But, really, they don’t have to leave the region. Here are 10 solid options for basking in all the autumnal glory.Read More
Where to see fall foliage without leaving the Boston area
These easy-to-reach spots include Stony Brook Reservation, Fresh Pond, and the Public Garden
1. Fresh Pond Reservation
Cambridge, MA 02138
A few minutes inside this 162-acre park surrounding Cambridge’s water supply and visitors feel like they’re in the countryside. It’s dense and verdant, and the leaves pretty much explode come October.
2. Stony Brook Reservation
This 616-acre park cuts through the lower reaches of Boston into Dedham. A couple of minutes in, and woodlands surround and abound. Because of its size and infrastructure, Stony Brook might be a particularly good fit for leafers on bikes.
3. Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University
The 281-acre, Harvard-owned public oasis includes more than 4,000 species of trees, plants, and vines. It positively pops this time of year, and its wide bike and pedestrian paths offer a lot of views.
4. Middlesex Fells Reservation
Get to the country without going all that far from Boston proper. This 2,200-acre state park unfolds over several towns, including Medford and Malden, and offers more than 100 miles of trails.
5. Franklin Park
The city itself suggests that residents and visitors “perambulate” in this 485-acre expanse. Its dense woodlands make for some beautiful sights during the fall—never mind a bit of quiet respite—and there’s a 72-acre zoo within its boundaries.
6. Charles River Esplanade
The 3-mile park along the Boston side of the Charles River includes 64 lush, leafy acres. It’s also easy to slip over to the Cambridge side for more kaleidoscopic views.
7. Public Garden
The lusher, more curated neighbor of the Common dates from the early 19th century, and includes 24 acres of statuary, flowers, trees, and assorted other plantings as well as plenty of bench seating. It can be particularly gorgeous in late October and early November.
8. Boston Common
America’s oldest public park dates from way, way back in 1634. Its 50 acres are particularly inviting and scenic in the cooler months, with the trees changing over amid wide walkways and plenty of seating.
9. Neponset Trail
The 2.5-mile trail runs along the Neponset River, the river estuary, and the Neponset Marsh, with a further 1.8 miles in Milton and Hyde Park and another mile in Mattapan. It’s another urban redoubt that can very quickly feel rural.
10. Deer Island
Winthrop, MA 02152
Deer Island—which is actually a peninsula—includes not only 2.6 miles of shoreline but 5 miles of often tree-lined trails. Pro tip: While you’re there, why not check out the super-cool sewage treatment plant that turns the region’s wastewater nearly pristine?