Autumn in the small town of Marlow, New Hampshire

New England, located in the northeastern region of the United States, is a charming and historic travel destination that offers a diverse range of experiences for visitors. From quaint coastal towns and scenic mountain ranges to vibrant cities and cultural attractions, New England is a region that truly has something for everyone.

Overview

The New England region of the United States consists of six states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. This region has a lot to love: beautiful scenery, a rich history, and charming towns.

Its picturesque landscapes, diverse cultural offerings, and unique experiences make New England a popular travel destination. New England has something for everyone, from historic Boston landmarks to hiking the White Mountains.

Getting to New England

Flying, driving, and public transportation are all options for getting to New England. Many major airlines fly into Boston Logan International Airport, which serves the New England region.

Bradley International Airport in Connecticut, Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in New Hampshire, Portland International Jetport in Maine, and T.F. Green Airport in Rhode Island.

To explore the region, renting a car is the most convenient option. However, public transportation, such as buses and trains, is also available and affordable.

Best time to visit New England

New England has all four seasons: warm summers, cold winters, and mild springs and falls. Tourist season is from June to August when the weather is warmest, and the beaches are busiest. Winter sports and skiing are popular in the winter, while fall foliage makes it a great time to visit.

Spring is a great time to visit because of the blooming flowers and the mild weather. It’s important to note that some attractions and restaurants may be closed during the off-season. Winter is the best time to visit if you like skiing. You can go hiking and do outdoor activities in the spring and fall. Summer is the best time to go to the beach.

Top destinations in New England

Boston is the largest city in New England and a must-see destination. The city is known for its rich history, including the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile trail that passes by 16 historic sites. Other popular attractions include Fenway Park, the Boston Public Library, and the New England Aquarium.

Cape Cod is a popular vacation spot known for its beaches, lighthouses, and quaint towns. The Cape Cod National Seashore offers miles of pristine coastline, while Provincetown and Chatham are known for shopping and dining.

Autumn in the small town of Marlow, New Hampshire

The Berkshires is a picturesque region in western Massachusetts known for its cultural offerings, including the Tanglewood Music Center and the Norman Rockwell Museum. The area is also popular for hiking and outdoor activities.

Portland is a charming coastal city in Maine known for its historic Old Port district and delicious seafood. Other popular attractions include the Portland Museum of Art and the Casco Bay Islands.

Must-see attractions in New England

  • The Freedom Trail is a must-see attraction in Boston that takes visitors through the city’s rich history. The trail includes 16 historic sites, including the Massachusetts State House, Paul Revere’s House, and the USS Constitution Museum. Guided tours are available, or visitors can explore the trail independently.
  • Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Islands are two of the most popular destinations in New England. These islands are known for their scenic beaches, charming towns, and luxurious resorts. Visitors can take a ferry to either island and spend the day exploring the sights or relaxing on the beach.
  • Acadia National Park in Maine is a stunning national park in Maine that offers visitors the opportunity to explore rugged coastlines, rocky beaches, and dense forests. The park is also home to Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the east coast of the United States. Visitors can hike, bike, or kayak through the park, or enjoy the breathtaking scenery.
  • The White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The forest covers over 750,000 acres and includes the highest peak in the northeast, Mount Washington. Visitors can hike, bike, or ski through the forest or take a scenic drive on the Kancamagus Highway.

Food and drink in New England

New England is known for its seafood, particularly lobster, clams, and oysters. Other regional specialties include maple syrup, cranberries, and apple cider.

Top restaurants and dining experiences

Some of the top restaurants in New England include Oleana in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland, Maine, and The Spotted Pig in New York City. For a more casual dining experience, try a lobster roll from a local seafood shack or a bowl of clam chowder from a waterfront restaurant.

Wine and craft beer scene in New England

New England is home to many wineries and breweries, producing some of the country’s best wine and craft beer. Some notable wineries include Westport Rivers Vineyard & Winery in Massachusetts and Shelburne Vineyard in Vermont. Popular breweries include Hill Farmstead Brewery in Vermont and Tree House Brewing Company in Massachusetts.

Accommodations in New England

New England offers a variety of accommodations to fit any budget, from budget-friendly hotels to luxurious resorts. Bed and breakfasts are also popular, particularly in small towns and rural areas.

Some of the top hotels in New England include The Liberty Hotel in Boston, The White Barn Inn in Kennebunkport, Maine, and The Woodstock Inn & Resort in Vermont. For a unique experience, try a stay at a historic inn or a cozy bed and breakfast.

For those who prefer the great outdoors, camping and glamping are popular options in New England. Some notable campgrounds include Mount Desert Campground in Maine and the KOA Campground in Northampton, Massachusetts. Glamping options include Sandy Pines Campground in Maine and Huttopia White Mountains in New Hampshire.

Checklist for first-time visitors by season

Fall:

  • Warm layers: The weather in New England can be unpredictable, so it’s always a good idea to bring layers. In the fall, the temperature can range from chilly to warm, so bring a mix of sweaters, jackets, and long-sleeved shirts.
  • Comfortable walking shoes: Fall is a great time to explore New England’s scenic trails and towns, so bring comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots.
  • Camera: The fall foliage in New England is a must-see, so don’t forget to bring a camera to capture the beautiful colors.
  • Apple-picking gear: Apple picking is a popular fall activity in New England, so bring a bag for apples, comfortable shoes, and clothes you don’t mind getting a little dirty.
  • Scarf and gloves: As the fall progresses, the temperature drops, so bring a scarf and gloves to stay warm.

Winter:

  • Warm coat: Winters in New England can be cold and snowy, so bring a warm coat to keep you comfortable outside.
  • Hat and gloves: It’s important to keep your head and hands warm in the winter, so don’t forget to pack a hat and gloves.
  • Waterproof boots: With snow and slush on the ground, it’s important to have waterproof boots to keep your feet dry.
  • Snow gear: If you plan to ski or snowboard, bring your gear or rent it once you arrive.
  • Indoor entertainment: When it’s too cold to be outside, bring indoor entertainment, like books, games, or movies.

Spring:

  • Raincoat: Spring in New England can be rainy, so pack a raincoat or umbrella.
  • Layers: Like in the fall, spring weather can be unpredictable, so bring a mix of clothing options.
  • Walking shoes: Spring is a great time to explore New England’s scenic trails and towns, so bring comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots.
  • Camera: Spring brings beautiful flowers and blooming trees, so don’t forget your camera.
  • Light jacket: As the weather warms up, you’ll want a light jacket or sweater for cooler evenings.

Summer:

  • Sunscreen: The summer sun can be intense, so bring plenty of sunscreens to protect your skin.
  • Bathing suit: New England has many beautiful beaches and lakes, so bring a bathing suit to enjoy the water.
  • Comfortable walking shoes: Summer is a great time to explore New England’s scenic trails and towns, so bring comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots.
  • Light clothing: New England summers can be hot and humid, so bring light, breathable clothing.
  • Picnic gear: Summer is a great time for picnics, so bring a picnic blanket, basket, and snacks.

Tips for first-time visitors

  • Embrace the weather: New England is known for its changing weather, so be prepared for anything. Bring layers and waterproof gear for rain and snow.
  • Try the seafood: New England is famous for its seafood, so try lobster, clam chowder, and other local specialties.
  • Explore the outdoors: New England has beautiful scenery, from the fall foliage to the coastline. Take advantage of the many hiking trails, beaches, and parks.
  • Visit historical sites: New England played a significant role in American history, so take the time to visit sites like Plymouth Rock, the Freedom Trail, and the Salem Witch Museum.
  • Experience the seasons: Each season in New England offers its own unique experiences, from skiing in the winter to apple picking in the fall. Try to visit during different seasons to appreciate all the region offers.
  • Plan for traffic: New England’s roads can be congested, especially during peak travel times. Plan accordingly and allow extra time for travel.
  • Respect the locals: New Englanders are known for their strong sense of community and independence. Be respectful of their traditions and ways of life.
  • Attend a festival: New England has many festivals yearly, celebrating everything from seafood to fall foliage. Check local listings and plan to attend one during your visit.
  • Be open to adventure: New England has surprises and unexpected experiences. Embrace the adventure, and don’t be afraid to try something new.