Top Summer Activities in New England

Top Summer Activities in New England

With long days filled with sunshine and beautiful mountains, oceans, and fields at our fingertips, is there truly anything better than summer in New England? The close proximity of all six New England States means you could pack a year’s worth of excitement into an entire week away from work or just a long weekend. Unsure of what fun activities you can plan during your staycation? Although we’ve barely scratched the surface, the list below should get your summer vacation off to a great (and busy!) start.

Maine

  1. Indulge in lobster. If you’re from Maine, you probably don’t realize the extent to which your ocean water’s crustaceans are coveted the world over. Hitting a lobster shack in the summer is an unwritten requirement for visitors to the state, and the best part is that you can find one in almost every town along the coast.
  2. Tour a lighthouse. Maine’s rocky coast is lined with an abundance of lighthouses that help prevent mariners from near disasters, some of which are open to the public.
  3. What would a trip to Maine be without a visit to Acadia National Park? From hiking to camping to viewing nature, you’ll be sure to have a memorable day trip or overnight stay in this Atlantic coast jewel.
  4. While every state is seeing an insurgence of craft breweries, Maine’s long list of breweries is sure to impress the most discriminating beer drinkers. Follow the Maine Beer Trail (responsibly, of course) for a different way to explore what Maine has to offer.
  5. Float down a river. Nothing says “relax” like putting on a bathing suit, laying on a tube, and letting the water guide your journey.
  6. Go shopping! Whether you’re in the southern part of the state and want to hit some outlets, just north of Portland and curious to see the latest L.L. Bean fashions, or in the northern coastal town of Bar Harbor and find yourself looking for something to do on a rainy afternoon, Maine shopping will not disappoint.

New Hampshire

  1. Head to the coast. There may only be 18 miles of coastline in New Hampshire, but that 18 miles is packed with a variety of activities that are sure to please anyone in your group. Spent a day at the beach or an afternoon on a whale watch, take a ferry to the Isles of Shoals, walk the boardwalk at Hampton Beach, attend a concert at Prescott Park or Casino Ballroom, or just take a leisurely drive up the picturesque coastline.
  2. Attend a fair. Mid-summer through early fall, you can find some good, wholesome family fun at one of the ten agricultural fairs around the state.
  3. Visit a tourist attraction. In the Lakes region? Try Castle in the Clouds. In the Monadnock area? Visit Parker’s Maple Barn. Near Portsmouth? Head to Strawbery Banke. Driving the Kancamagus Highway? Pull over to check out one of the many scenic waterfalls and overlooks.
  4. Drive around the state in search of one or more of New Hampshire’s 54 covered bridges.
  5. Go jump in a lake—or kayak, fish, boat, or swim in one of New Hampshire’s 1,000 lakes of various shapes and sizes.
  6. Take a train ride. Besides the commercial train that stops in Dover and Exeter, New Hampshire on its way to Boston, Massachusetts or Portland, Maine, you can spend half a day on the Notch Train, taking in the breathtaking scenery in and around Crawford Notch, or you can explore the North Conway area on a shorter trip on the Valley Train. For a truly spectacular view, check out the Mount Washington Cog Railway, which travels to the summit of the highest peak in the Northeast.

Vermont

  1. Now that the snow has finally melted, head to one of the many area ski resorts for some summer fun—zipline, hike, mountain bike, take a gondola ride, or participate in one of the many other fun activities ski resorts now offer during the summer months.
  2. Check out the attractions that bring in the visitors: Take a factory tour at Ben & Jerry’s, catch up on some history at Trapp Family Lodge, spend a day exploring the Shelburne Museum, or get lost in the largest corn maze in New England.
  3. Explore everything Burlington has to offer, from a ferry ride on Lake Champlain, to the walking paths along Waterfront Park, to the vast number of outdoor dining options.
  4. Get out and exercise! Ranked the 3rd healthiest state, Vermont gives residents and visitors every opportunity to get fit while enjoying the local landscape. Hiking, mountain biking, paddle-boarding, and kayaking are just a few of the many popular ways to keep active in the Green Mountain State.
  5. Work on a farm. Have you ever wondered what it’s like to milk a cow or harvest crops? Visit one of Vermont’s many working farms for a day or a weekend and find out what life is like in one of the world’s oldest professions.
  6. Hit the skies in a hot air balloon! Vermont is beautiful from the ground, but even more beautiful by air. Want to see what hot air ballooning is all about? Visit the Quechee Hot Air Balloon Festival from June 15-17 or the Stoweflake Hot Air Balloon Festival a few weeks later (July 6-8).

Massachusetts

  1. Spend a day (or three) in Boston. Take a tour on a duck boat for a fun overview of the city; hear about the rich history at the Boston Tea Party Museum or on a Freedom Trail tour; or visit the north end for some authentic Italian. Boston offers something for everyone to enjoy.
  2. Learn about fishing in America’s oldest seaport, Gloucester. Watch the tuna boats come in or head out on the ocean for your own fishing expedition.
  3. Visit the Cape. Cape Cod offers summer vacationers the ability to swim in warm water on unspoiled beaches, enjoy endless fresh seafood options, and participate in fun family activities like mini-golf, taking a tour of the harbor, or riding bicycles along the Cape Cod Rail Trail.
  4. Take in some live music. From Gilette Stadium, to Fenway Park, to the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, to Tanglewood, there’s no shortage of live music to enjoy in the great outdoors.
  5. Catch a Red Sox game at historic Fenway Park, home to legends like Carl Yastrzemski, Ted Williams, and Carlton Fisk. Don’t have time for a game but still want to see Fenway? Sign up for a ballpark tour and peak behind the legendary Green Monster yourself.
  6. Get your heart racing. Spend the afternoon at a theme park like Six Flags or several hours paddling down a river on a rafting tour.

Rhode Island

  1. If you want a unique way to spend an evening in Providence, schedule a trip around WaterFire Providence. Free and open to the public, the festivities include over 80 bonfires and torch-lit vessels traveling down the city’s river and performances of all kinds to entertain the 1 million visitors each year.
  2. Take a ferry to Block Island. Walk the beaches, snorkel in the ocean, dine at five-star restaurants, or just relax while being surrounded by ocean.
  3. Wear your walking shoes and tour a Newport mansion. Be dazzled by opulence and stunned by the breathtaking beauty of perfectly manicured gardens.
  4. Take up sailing. Learn how to pick up a mooring and dock a boat or just sit back and let a captain give you a tour of the local waterways.
  5. Explore the south shore town of Westerly. Located near the Connecticut border, Westerly is a great summertime destination. Spend the day at the beach and visit the nearby casinos at night.
  6. Get tickets to the Newport Jazz or Folk Both draw big names for multi-day events.

Connecticut

  1. Take a drive to Mystic. While there, take a sailboat ride, visit the aquarium, tour the Seaport Museum, and grab a pizza at the place that kicked off Julia Roberts’ acting career, Mystic Pizza.
  2. Although it’s not Napa Valley, Connecticut offers no shortage of wineries and vineyards. Follow the Connecticut Wine Trail to find your favorite wine style.
  3. Looking for a more family-friendly activity? Grab an ice cream cone at one of the many ice cream shops sprinkled throughout the state.
  4. Walk around a museum. Connecticut boasts a wide variety of museums, from American Indian studies, to a celebration of Harriot Beecher Stowe, to public art and British art. Bruce Museum, Wadsworth Museum, American Indian Museum.
  5. Ready to shop? Follow Connecticut’s Antique Trail to find historical treasures and bargains along the way.
  6. Head to a park! Whether you like nature, the ocean, or adventure, there’s a park in Connecticut that’s just right for you.