Ultimate Guide to Fall: Fall Foliage Hikes Perfect for the Whole Family
If you need something different to do with the kids once fall hits, taking them out for some fresh air and exercise may be just the thing you need to check off some of your fall bucket list.
Not only are the below hikes nearby, but they are family-friendly and offer some of the best leaf-peeping the SouthCoast has to offer. Pack some juice boxes and get your kids ready to explore.
Mill Pond Conservation Area: 21 Reed Rd, Westport, MA. This is THE trail you want to try if you have small kids who've not been hiking yet. The trail is small and simple: one way in, one way out. It goes through an orchard, up the hill into the woods and down to the Noquochoke River shoreline. You'll find an old mill dam and plenty of soothing water sounds. Get the trail map here.
Forge Pond Conservation Area: 251 Forge Rd, Westport, MA. If you can find parking, this is a fun hike that puts your legs to work with all of its inclines. It's also one of the most colorful hikes you'll find at the peak of foliage season and very photo-friendly. Find the trail map here.
LaPalme Farm: Blain St, Acushnet, MA. Your family will find critters large and small on the LaPalme property, so pack a magnifying glass! Find wetlands, views of a private cranberry bog, and more, in just a little more than a mile of trails. This scenic trail is easy to get to and hidden just minutes from St. Xavier School off Main Road. Find the trail map here.
Acushnet Sawmill: 32 Mill Rd, Acushnet, MA 02743. What we love about this property is how easy it is to navigate and how much wildlife there is, right down to the caterpillars and butterflies. It's only a half-mile long, making it the perfect thing to do after dinner or just to kill time. Download the trail map here.
Lloyd Center: 430 Potomska Rd, South Dartmouth, MA. Little legs will tire after a trip through Lloyd Center's many trails. These seven trails cover 82 acres of land that will take you through vernal pools, freshwater ponds, saltwater ponds and more. Our favorite is to head south towards the bird blind and over to the pier and back up again. Plenty of hills and plenty to see along the way, but quick enough to make sure you're not carrying any tired bodies by the end. See the full trail map here or pop into their visitor's center to grab a hard copy.
Cornell Farms/Frank Knowles Little River Reserve: 520 Smith Neck Rd, South Dartmouth, MA 02748. Cornell Farms is a local favorite and relatively easy to hike with kids. However, this property quickly turns into the Frank Knowle Little River Reserve property once you get to the first of two long boardwalks. The tricky part about these properties is you'll have a lot of fun going one way before you realize you have to turn around and go back to your car. Definitely download the map for Cornell Farms here and Little River Reserve here and do NOT forget which lot you parked in.
Paskamansett Woods: Chase Rd, Dartmouth, MA. If you have friends who are big into local nature walks, you've likely seen photos of Paskamansett's famed Old King's Bridge. This was the area's original King's Highway. This property spans 11.2 acres and includes a man-made pond, towering pines, and the Paskamansett River. Grab the map here.
- Fort Barton: 340 Highland Road, Tiverton. This hike includes 3.5 miles of moderate trail. There are a few hills and some steep sections with rock and root surfaces. Our favorite part of this trail is the scenic lookout tower at the trailhead. get your cameras ready! Download the trail map here.
Of course, there are way more trails than just the few listed above. If you're looking for something closer to you or maybe more advanced, you can start with the Hiking & Walking trail list from Buzzard's Bay Coalition here or this list from the Hike Trustees list from the Trustees here.