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new england mountain trips

I grew up in the ski and  snowboard  industry. My parents ran a little ski area in

Vermont called Maple Valley and had a travel agency called

New England Action Sports. Fast forward a few decades,

New England Mountain Trips arrived.

I want to share my passion for the mountains by  providing  public and private

trips to New England Mountains and every now and then, a trip to Austria. 

I hope you join me to the slopes!

Sheri Miller-Bedau

new england mountain trips

Top 5 Scenic New England Mountain Drives

new england mountain trips

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If you think the New England scenery is spectacular at ground level, wait until you see it from up high. New England is tops for scenic mountain summit drives that take you above the trees for an entirely different view of autumn's brilliant foliage or the lush greens of late spring and summer.

Best of all, you can arrive at the mountaintop fresh as a daisy in the comfort of your own vehicle. Even if you like to hike, driving to the peak allows you to save your energy for exploring once you've reached the point of most panoramic views.

Here are some picks for the five best mountains you can drive. Keep in mind that access to these mountain roads is seasonal, so it's a good idea to call ahead from late fall through early spring.

The Mt. Washington Auto Road

The Mt. Washington Auto Road is the mother of all New England mountain drives. That's because New Hampshire's Mt. Washington is the region's tallest peak. Don't be surprised to find the weather atop Mt. Washington radically different from what you left behind when you began the eight-mile journey. Often, there is still snow in June.

Mt. Washington didn't earn its reputation as the home of the world's worst weather for nothing. The 6,288-foot peak set a world record in 1934 for the strongest wind—231 miles per hour—and it was only determined in 2010 that a stronger, 253 mph gust had hit Australia's Barrow Island during a cyclone in 1996. You're likely to need a jacket at the summit, even on the hottest summer days.

The "Road to the Sky" opened to horse and carriage traffic in 1861—it is quite an engineering marvel. Reputed to be the nation's first man-made attraction, the Auto Road continues to provide travelers with an opportunity to reach the "top of New England" in just about a half hour. At the summit, you can enjoy spectacular views of the Presidential Range and beyond, plus visit Extreme Mount Washington .

Fees and some vehicle limitations apply. If you don't think your car is up for the climb, guided van tours are also available.

Directions: The Mount Washington Auto Road is accessible from Route 16 north of Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire.

For Information: Call 603-466-3988.

Mount Equinox Skyline Drive

Serious drivers will love the Mount Equinox Skyline Drive 's hairpin turns and dramatic climb to the 3,848-foot summit of the highest mountain in the Taconic Range. The 5.2-mile upward climb is the longest, privately owned, paved toll road in the U.S. Interestingly, it's owned by monks. The road and about 7,000 surrounding acres on Vermont's Mount Equinox were given to the Carthusians, a Roman Catholic monastic order, by their former owner, the prolific inventor and former President and Chairman of Union Carbide, Dr. Joseph George Davidson.

The Carthusians' quest for serenity can be yours when you embark on this breathtaking trip, and your tight grip on the wheel will be rewarded with majestic views that stretch as far north as Canada and encompass parts of five different mountain ranges. Fees apply.

Directions: The entrance to the Equinox Skyline Drive is on Route 7A south of Manchester, Vermont.

For Information: Call 802-362-1114.

Mount Ascutney Summit Drive

Mount Equinox is on the western side of Vermont, but if you're staying on the eastern side of the state, there's a mountain for you, too.

Visit Mt. Ascutney State Park for your chance to drive to an elevation of 2,800 feet on the Mountain Road, which carries you almost to the summit of Mount Ascutney. From the parking area, the actual peak is a short hike of not quite a mile. You can also climb a fire tower for expansive views in all directions.

In addition to crisp, clean air and 360-degree views, you may also be in for an added bonus when you drive up this mountain. Mount Ascutney is a popular hang gliding take-off spot on clear days. Fees apply.

Directions: The entrance to Mount Ascutney State Park is on Route 44A in Windsor, Vermont.

For Information: Call 802-674-2060.

Cadillac Mountain

At 1,530 feet, Cadillac Mountain in Maine's Acadia National Park can't rival the big peaks of New Hampshire and Vermont. However, it can boast of being the highest point on the entire Eastern Seaboard, and even more intriguing, it's one of the first spots in the USA to see the sunrise each day.

It's quite a unique experience to stand atop a seaside mountain and gaze out at the view of islands in Frenchman Bay. You can get a sense of the glacial boulder-strewn mountaintop terrain in this photo, too. An entrance pass is required to drive your vehicle inside Acadia National Park.

Directions: Follow the Park Loop Road within Acadia National Park to the well-marked access road for Cadillac Mountain.

For Information: Call 207-288-3338.

Mt. Greylock

Massachusetts' tallest mountain, Mt. Greylock , is the focal point of its first State Park, Mount Greylock State Reservation. Though this 3,491-foot western Massachusetts peak can't rival Mt. Washington for height, it offers its own array of enticements. For starters, the road over the mountain is open to the public absolutely free from late May through November 1. There is a small fee for parking at the summit.

When you drive the eight-mile road to the summit, you'll immediately notice the beacon-like structure at the top. This 92-foot Veterans War Memorial Tower was originally intended to serve as a lighthouse on the Charles River in Boston. Climb the tower for views of five states.

Another surprise awaits atop Mt. Greylock. Bascom Lodge , a stone and wood retreat built in 1937 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, actually accommodates overnight guests. You'll find a full-service restaurant and restrooms inside, and if you don't mind rustic accommodations with shared facilities, call 413-743-1591 to book a bed in one of the co-ed bunkrooms for the night. A few private and family rooms are also available at affordable rates.

Directions: From Route 7 North in Lanesborough, Massachusetts, turn right on North Main Street. Turn right on Rockwell Road and follow to the summit of Mount Greylock. Drive down the mountain on Notch Road, heading north toward North Adams. At the base, turn sharp right near the Mt. Williams Reservoir to stay on Notch Road, then turn right onto Route 2 East, the Mohawk Trail . The road over the mountain may also be driven in reverse.

For Information: Call 413-499-4262. The Mount Greylock State Reservation Visitors Center is located at 30 Rockwell Road in Lanesborough, MA.

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Best Hikes in New England: 17 Unmissable Trails

In our guide, you’ll discover some of the most spectacular hiking trails in all of New England. From 4,000 ft peaks and rolling green mountains to vast seascapes, there are awesome hikes to suit all abilities.

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Changing fall foliage, gentle seascapes, wild mountain tops, quaint fishing villages, dense forests – New England is one of the best hiking destinations in the United States. From backcountry expeditions to lakeside family picnics, an epic adventure awaits for everyone.

New England comprises the states of Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. It is home to some of the most varied flora and fauna in the country, and there is almost too much variety of landscape to soak up in one day – almost.

While some folk might consider a New England hike to be ‘less epic’ than a walk out west, we’re here to debunk that myth. The sheer variety and density of rock, woodland, and history in the Northeast is unrivaled anywhere in the country.

Table of Contents

1. Mount Washington

2. mount katahdin, 3. cadillac mountain, 4. franconia ridge loop, 5. mount moosilauke, 6. north & south baldface, 7. mount cardigan west ridge trail, 8. beehive trail, acadia national park, 9. ocean path trail, acadia national park, 10. precipice trail, acadia national park, 11. west rattlesnake mountain, 12. flume gorge trail, franconia notch state park, 13. cannon mountain, franconia notch state park, 14. diana’s baths, white mountains, 15. bash bish falls, massachusetts, 16. mount mansfield, stowe, 17. freedom trail, boston, best hikes in new england: happy hiking.

mount washington new england

  • Type: Out and Back/Loop
  • Difficulty: Moderate/Strenuous
  • Length: 7/8.5 miles 

Mount Washington stands high above the White Mountain National Forest and is part of the Presidential Mountain Range, the highest in the Northeast. Frequented year-round by hikers, skiers, and rock climbers, New England’s highest peak can be ascended by foot, by car via the Mount Washington Auto Road, or the famous Cog Railway! 

The most popular hiking trails up the mountain start from the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center and rise 4,300 ft to the summit. 

From the Notch, head for ‘Tuck’s Trailhead’. Soon after passing a waterfall, the trail forks. For those seeking a quieter slog, the Lion’s Head Trail rises steeply and offers incredible views down into the ravine.

Alternatively, the Tuckerman Ravine Trail offers great views of the Lion’s Head, the ravine, and the headwall. For the best experience, we recommend going up one and down the other!

The ‘easiest’ hiking trail up Mount Washington, the Jewell Trail, begins at the Cog Railway side.

This trail provides quite a day out with splendid views over the White Mountains, the most rugged range in the Northeast, as well as the rising cog train! From this side, the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail rises steeply past large waterfalls and the Lake of the Clouds AMC hut. Hikers often choose to go up one trail and down the other for a memorable loop. 

kid staring at mount katahdin new england

  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Length: 9 miles 

In the northeasternmost state of Maine, a sharp knife-edge ridge cuts the skyline: Mount Katahdin. It is the final destination for many Appalachian Trail thru-hikers, and perhaps one of the most photographed mountains in New England. 

Over 10 trails lead to its summit. In our opinion, a traverse of the Knife Edge Trail between Pamola Peak and Mount Katahdin is the most exhilarating day out. However, this is a challenging day. This long trail requires careful planning, fitness, and experience, and should never be attempted in arduous conditions.

From the Roaring Brook Campground, follow the blue blazes for the Helon Taylor Trail. Soon, you leave the trees and the exposure is striking. From Pamola Peak, traverse the 1.1-mile-long Knife Edge Trail. This airy traverse, at times only 4 ft wide, is lined with 2000-foot drops. It requires careful stepping, agility, and confidence. However, relish the incredible position! 

From Baxter Peak, either descend the Saddle or Cathedral Trails, the latter being shorter but much steeper. These connect to Chimney Pond Trail, which brings you back to Roaring Brook Campground. 

Note: Baxter State Park limits access to Mount Katahdin to protect natural resources and wildlife. Reserve a parking spot at one of their three trailheads (make sure you know which hike you are doing) on weekends, and in July and August.

cadillac mountain new england

  • Difficulty: Easy/Intermediate
  • Length: 3/7 miles

Sitting at 1,530 ft on Mount Desert Island within Acadia National Park , Cadillac Mountain is the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard. This glaciated-scoured peak overlooks rocky beaches, bays, lush forests, and the quaint village of Bar Harbor. The best part? These views are accessible by foot, bike, and car!

North Ridge Trail (4.4 miles round trip) is the most popular route to the summit and offers an all-around great experience. 

The shortest and steepest way up, West Face Trail (3.1 miles), offers great views over Bubble Pond and Eagle Lake and is the option for rock-savvy folk. 

The South Ridge Trail (7 miles) is one of the longest in Acadia and offers the widest breadth of views. 

You can also drive up Cadillac Mountain, though during the busy months, we advise checking Acadia National Park to see if bookings are required. 

Regardless of how you get up, we recommend leaving well before first light to ensure you catch the full sunrise. 

Franconia Ridge Loop New England

  • Length: 8.9 miles

The Franconia Ridge Loop traverses peaks of the second-highest mountain range in the White Mountains: Mount Lafayette, Mount Lincoln, and Little Haystack. The trailhead is only 2 hours and 10 minutes north of Boston, in New Hampshire. This long trail is a must-do when in New England! 

Start on the Old Bridle Path Trail on the Northside of I-93. Soon, you arrive at a fork with two trail options: go up one, down the other! 

The Falling Waters Trail is the more popular ascent. It crosses several creeks and waterfalls in dense woodland, then suddenly pops out over the treeline onto the summit of Little Haystack. The views over the White Mountains are great, and the 1.7-mile traverse to Mount Lafayette is nothing short of thrilling!

Climb steadily up Mount Lincoln then Mount Lafayette. From here, descend via the Greenleaf Trail, where you will pass the AMC Greenleaf Hut , which is one of eight lodging locations in the White Mountains. From here, head down toward the trailhead by the Old Bridle Path Trail.

This loop is also done in reverse, by continuing on the Old Bridle Path Trail at the fork. This way is steeper but also quieter. It offers more expansive views toward the Franconia Ridge you’ll soon be traversing. 

Mount Moosilauke New England

  • Difficulty: Easy/Challenging

Mount Moosilauke’s name comes from the language of the Abenaki people – ‘bald place’. There are four different trailheads, though regardless of which you choose, the mountain’s exposed and treeless summit will provide exceptional 360-degree views. 

The easiest ascent is via the Gorge Brook Trail, which has an elevation gain of 2,400 feet and begins from the Ravine Lodge Trailhead. 

Cross over the Gorge Brook, pass a memorial, and wind through the forest. Relish the views over the Sandwich Range, the Kancamagus Highway, Lincoln, and the Franconia Ridge. From the windy summit, either retrace your steps for an out-and-back hike or descend the Carriage Road to Snapper Trail, then down to form a loop. 

The most challenging hike up has 3,100 feet of total elevation gain in 3.8 miles. It is part of the Appalachian Trail. 

From the Beaver Brook Trailhead, you’ll soon meet the Beaver Brook Cascades. Here, the going gets tough. Caution is required as there are slippery rocks and this is one of the steepest hikes in the Whites. After 2 miles, the trail merges with the Benton Trail in the alpine for the final summit push. Carefully descend the same way. 

Baldface Circle Trail New England

  • Difficulty: Challenging
  • Length: 9.8 miles

The Baldface Circle Trail might fall off the peak bagger’s radar because it doesn’t reach 4,000 ft, but this is an epic hike with 3,569 ft of elevation gain. This long trail provides consistently sumptuous scenery and a jaw-dropping view of Mount Washington over the Carter Range. 

Start at the Baldface Circle trailhead. The most common way up is via the South peak first. From the Emerald Pool junction, head up for 2.3 miles to the summit. Be careful in wet conditions as this open rocky section can be slippery. It may require light scrambling. 

Once on the South summit, follow the Circle Trail toward the summit of North Baldface. To continue the loop, keep following the trail down. 

Mount Cardigan New England

  • Type: Out and back
  • Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
  • Length: 3 miles

This easy-to-moderate hike is a great way to spend a day outside with the family, for trail runners who want a quick blaze up and down, for a rest day, or simply for anyone who wants great, accessible views! This trail can be tackled year-round, too. 

From the trailhead in the parking lot, follow the orange-blazed trail markers over wooden bridges and through the forest. The trail is straightforward, with an elevation gain of 1,225 ft. When the trees clear, the views open up and the fire tower on the summit is seen. Retrace your steps to descend.

Beehive Trail Acadia National Park New England

  • Length: 1.4 miles

This is one of the most unique hikes in Acadia National Park . It is a great way for thrill-seekers to prepare for the Precipice Trail since it features a cliff walk and climbing metal rungs on a short, exposed granite rock face. 

Numerous trails start from across the Sand Beach parking lot. Follow signs for the Beehive Loop Trail. A flat section meanders through the forest until reaching a junction. Head right. It is best to walk this trail counter-clockwise for traffic flow. 

Now, the fun begins! Walk above big boulders and staircases, narrow ledges, then climb the rung ladders. During the 450 ft of elevation gain, the views get more expansive until, at the summit, the horizon is fully outstretched: Sand Beach and Great Head, Thunder Hole, and the Gulf of Maine.

Ocean Path Trail, Acadia National Park New England

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 2.2 miles

From the south end of the Sand Beach parking lot, follow signs for the trail. The walk is flat, so enjoy the many different rocky viewpoints. Halfway to Otter Point, we highly recommend stopping at Thunder Hole. Why thunder? Well, if it’s high tide, the billowing waves crashing into the sea cliffs sound like Thor himself is throwing a tantrum in very close proximity! 

Onward, there is the option to deviate up the Gorham Mountain Trail (2 miles), a great vantage point. Then, near Otter Point, a small trail leads down to Monument Cove, where you can watch rock climbers abseiling. The light here is incredible at sunrise!

Precipice Trail Acadia National Park New England

  • Length: 2.5 miles

The Precipice Trail to the summit of Champlain Mountain is one of the most exposed trails in all of New England. Experienced hikers will climb boulders, ladders, and metal rungs, and walk along narrow ledges over steep drops. The psyche is guaranteed to be high!

The best time to tackle this challenging trail is in August and early autumn. The trail is closed from March-July for peregrine falcon nesting. In winter? Icy and dangerous conditions await. 

The trailhead on Park Loop Road is ten minutes from Bar Harbor. Get there early! Once you set off, it’s uphill for the strenuous 1,060 ft elevation gain. One minute you’ll be slogging up a big staircase, the next you’ll be climbing beneath car-sized boulders! Keep an eye out for the blue blazes on the rocks. 

Tread across the narrow cliff walk and relish the exposure. The views over the water and the foliage below are magnificent, though careful stepping is required. Soon, you enter the famous part of the trail – steep, metal rungs. Climb these until you pop onto the summit. 

Descend via the Champlain North Ridge Trail to the Orange and Black Trails. Don’t worry, this is just a walk!

West Rattlesnake Mountain New England

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 2.0 miles

The viewpoint from the West Rattlesnake outcrop offers superb views over Squam Lake and its many islands. This hike can be done year-round, however, trail closures due to mud maintenance might affect access in the spring. 

Follow signs for The Old Bridle Path. As you gradually ascend, notice the oak, beech, hemlock, and pine forest. Continuing below the outcrops, there is a shift in the community of trees. Now, look for red and white oaks, red pine, staghorn sumac, and maple trees. Near the summit, look out for Douglas’ Knotweed, a rare herb found in only a few places in New Hampshire.

To get to the true summit, East Rattlesnake, continue over the ridge. Alternatively, go down Five Finger point. 

Flume Gorge Trail Franconia Notch State Park New England

At the base of Mount Liberty, New Hampshire, you can watch as water rushes 800 feet between the high walls of Conway granite as it has for thousands of years, slowly forcing a 12-20 foot pathway of rock. Standing between 70 and 90 ft, the gorge walls are impressive!

This is one of the most popular New England hikes , and a fee is often required between May and October. Plan ahead and reserve. 

The Flume Gorge Trail begins at the Flume Visitor’s Center. The moderate trail follows boardwalks, goes over bridges, and up many stairs, offering incredible views into the gorge, of the moss-covered walls and glaciated boulders, and of the flora surrounding you.

Cannon Mountain, Franconia Notch State Park New England

  • Length: 5.6/4 miles

Nestled in Franconia Notch State Park , this 4,100-footer is part of the Western White Mountains in the Kinsman Range. Cannon Mountain is one of New England’s most popular ski destinations. However, the off-season offers numerous mountain hikes for the keen walker!

From just off the I-93, the Hi-Cannon Trail rises steeply from the Lafayette Campground for 2.8 miles to the summit. This way offers a great view over Lonesome Lake for when you need to wipe your brow!

The shortest and most popular way up Cannon Mountain is via the 2-mile Kinsman Ridge Trail. This is an absolute calf-burner, but the views at the top are rewarding. 

Pretty Echo Lake lies about halfway up. Soon after, the rewards of a steep hike are relished. A trail to the left brings you to the top of a large outcrop, with a stunning view spanning many aforementioned New England classics: Mount Lafayette, Lincoln, Little Haystack, and Mount Moosilauke. 

From here, hike up to the summit, which has a lookout deck with binoculars! 

Diana's Baths, White Mountains New

  • Length: 1.2 miles

This short trail in Bartlett, near North Conway, is perfect to squeeze in either before or after hiking one of the larger peaks in New Hampshire, or for anyone seeking the cool shade. This mellow jaunt to ‘Diana’s Falls’ – fed by the Big Attitash Mountain – brings you past many rocks, pools, ledges, streams, and small waterfalls.

The first activity in the area was in the 1860s when George Lucy built a house, barn, and water wheel-powered sawmill here. In the 1890s, he built a boarding house for tourism, then in the 1930s upgraded his water wheel and sawmill by building a concrete dam with a turbine system.

The original buildings were removed nearly 100 years after they were first built, but hikers can still see remains.

The trail begins on a gravel-paved trail in the forest. Soon, you will begin walking up toward the falls. On the way, sunbathe on a rock, cool off in a pool of crystal-clear water, slide down a natural rockslide, and enjoy the clean air. This is a beautiful respite, and it is understandable why the Lucys stayed for over 100 years!

After reluctantly leaving your walk, continue to the crown jewel: Diana’s Falls, which measures nearly 75 ft.

Bash Bish Falls Massachusetts

  • Length: 1.2/1.5 miles

There are two starting points to get to the impressive Bash Bish Falls, which are in the Taconic Mountains of Berkshire County: Mount Washington Road, Massachusetts; or at Taconic State Park, New York. If you are meeting someone, make sure you know which parking lot you’re headed to! Phone reception is minimal in these mountains.

The Bash Bish Falls trail from Massachusetts is shorter, but steeper and more rugged, making for a challenging hike. Leave the lower car park on Fall Roads. Ascend steeply over boulders, exposed roots, wooden steps, and stairs along Bash Bish brook through dense forest. Soon, the twin falls colliding down for nearly 80 feet reveal themselves.

Alternatively, the ascent from the Taconic State Park car park in New York is a little longer but more easy-going. This is the better option for those with young kids, and a great way to cross the state line on foot! 

Mount Mansfield New England

  • Type: Loop/Out and back
  • Length: 6.6/6/9.4 miles

Mount Mansfield, in Smugglers Notch State Park, dominates the Northeast skyline and is Vermont’s highest peak. It is home to some of the best skiing New England has to offer, but in the summer and early autumn, it is a day hiking paradise, receiving over 40,000 visitors. 

While the Long Trail is the classic and most frequented on the mountain, the Sunset Ridge Trail (3.3 miles one way) is shorter and offers equally-sublime views since it is above the treeline. 

In contrast, the Laura Cowles Trail (2.7 miles) steeply climbs the side of a ravine and is largely sheltered. 

Both of these trails form a fantastic loop, though we recommend coming down the Sunset Ridge Trail.

The mountain’s classic trek is via the Long Trail South (9.4 miles out and back) from Route 108. This is one of the best hikes in New England and is almost all above treeline – one of the few alpine zones in the Green Mountain State! 

From the east side of the mountain, ascend the trail for 1.7 miles until reaching the Taft Lodge, built in 1920. Continue up the slabby rock – careful when wet! – to meet the Hell Brook and Adam’s Apple Trails. 

Soon, leave the trees to embark on the best part of this epic hike: the ridgeline to the Chin. This is a difficult and exposed section, and perhaps best for experienced hikers, however, it is one of the finest treks in New England.

Once on the summit, bask in the views of the surrounding mountains and Lake Champlain. Pay attention to the time and the weather. Getting caught in a storm up there is dangerous. 

The easiest way to the top is via the Auto Toll Road at Stowe Mountain Resort. Walk the ridgeline from the Nose to the Chin. 

freedom trail boston

Unlike our New England nature hikes, the Freedom Trail is a collection of 16 nationally significant historic sites in Boston and Charlestown, Massachusetts . 

Connected by a physical red line embedded into the city sidewalks, sites include churches, burying grounds, benches, ships, monuments, bookstores, meeting houses, and more. Collectively, they tell the story of the American Revolution and will bring you all the way back to the 17th century. 

There are many different ways to enjoy the Freedom Trail, and how long it takes will largely depend on your interests. You can use a map, audio guide, brochure, guidebook, or smartphone app to help guide you from one place to another. Each historic site will also have docents or an exhibit to provide more information. 

Visitors also have the opportunity to join a 90-minute Foundation’s tour (1 mile) with an 18th-century costumed guide. The tour leaves the Visitor’s Center four times a day.

New England is undoubtedly one of the greatest places to hike in the United States. From leisure day hikes on the coast of Maine to full-day epics ascending the 4,000 ft peaks in New Hampshire and Vermont, there is a New England hike for everyone! 

If you liked this post, please feel free to share it with your friends! And if you have any questions or comments then drop us a line in the box below.

Last update on 2024-04-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Alexandre Marceau

Alexandre Marceau is a French-Canadian writer, editor and keen mountaineer based in Edinburgh, UK.

During his undergrad in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, at the confluence of the Saint-François and Massawippi Rivers, he discovered that literary timelines, much like veins, carry the timeless stories that shape the regional identities of place. As a result, in 2019, he co-founded  yolk , a Canadian literary journal for which he serves as Fiction Editor.

Alexandre’s work has appeared in various journals, newspapers and websites in Canada and Scotland, and he is the  Creatives  Editor for the Scottish Mountaineering Press. His time is divided between climbing, trail-running, snowboarding and writing.

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A Peak Experience

Much of what lends New England its rich character and stunning beauty is found in the region’s ever-changing topography, which includes some of the most beautiful and exploration-worthy mountains in the entire U.S. From the lofty peaks of New Hampshire's White Mountains, to the smaller summits of Connecticut’s Taconic Range, you’ll find ample opportunity to reach your peak.

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Closer to the Sun

While New England’s mountains come in all shapes and sizes, there are 67 peaks that bear the distinction of rising above 4,000-feet in elevation. Many avid hikers consider it a badge of honor to stand atop as many of these impressive peaks as possible, and some  go so far as to hike all 48 of New Hampshire’s  4,000’s, while an even more ambitious few tackle the full 67. Of course, even a single 4,000-foot summit is an achievement to be proud of. 

If you’re a hiker, New England is your playground

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Family Friendly Summits

Here are three hikes that are suitable for families or any casual hiker. 

  • Jerimoth Hill, Rhode Island. At 812 feet in elevation, this mountain, er, hill is a relatively easy, .3-mile ramble. 
  • Mount Tom Tower Trail, Connecticut. This short loop covers 1.3 miles and delivers beautiful views of Mount Tom State Park. 
  • Mount Independence, Vermont. With four trail options ranging from .2 to 2.5 miles, Mount Independence makes it easy to find the perfect hike. 

Check out the mountains in the snowy months

The Language of the New England Mountains

Peak or Summit  The very top of a mountain.  Gap  A low point or opening between mountains or in a ridge or mountain range. Pass  A navigable route through a mountain range or over a ridge.  Notch  Similar to pass, but named after the cuts settlers made in logs to hold their cabins together. 

First snow in mountain washington with lake in the foreground

The Best at Being Worst

At 6,288 feet, New Hampshire’s Mount Washington is the highest peak in the eastern U.S. It also holds the distinction of being home to the world’s worst weather. In fact, Mount Washington holds the Northern and Western Hemisphere records for the highest directly measured surface wind speed at 231 mph, and on January 16, 2004, the wind chill temperature plummeted to -104.59 ℉. Fortunately, summer temps are routinely in the 50’s and 60’s, so don’t let its fearsome reputation keep you from exploring.  

Wait until you see the views in the fall

View of mountains with sunshine breaking through the clouds

Views to Drive For

  • Mount Greylock, Massachusetts. The Bay State’s highest peak offers incredible views of the Tatonics and Southern Green Mountains. 
  • Mount Washington Auto Road, New Hampshire. This vertiginous drive offers some of New England’s most spectacular views. Plus, you can snag a “this car climbed Mount Washington” bumper sticker. 
  • Mount Battie, Maine. An easy, 1.6-mile drive delivers you a vantage point high over Penobscot Bay… and the views to go with it. 

Take a break from the mountains, and enjoy a spa trip 

Uniquely New England

Explore activities unique to New England. From maple sugaring to hiking the Appalachian Trail. 

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Best Beginner Backpacking Trips in New England

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New England hiking and backpacking

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

New England often gets painted as a land of suburban sprawl, bustling traffic, and secluded old tourist towns. However, this interpretation fails to mention the remote wilderness, sparkling mountain lakes, and rugged peaks. After all, New England is the outdoor recreation hub of the Northeastern United States — and for good reason. 

New England offers spectacular backpacking opportunities, from the Green Mountains of Vermont to the coast of Maine. These backpacking trips are even better due to New England’s incredible access. Even the most remote parts of the Northern White Mountains are only a three-hour drive from Boston.Thus, hikes of all difficulty levels are available to millions of people who live in the region.

Not sure where to start? We got you covered. We have compiled a list of five of the best beginner backpacking trips in New England. Each of these treks has plenty to offer new and veteran backpackers alike. You can customize each itinerary to fit your needs; many of the hikes listed below have alternate routes, short-cuts, or skippable sections that allow you to choose your own adventure.

Always remember to hike your own hike and make any changes you need to meet your skill level, gear, timeline, or personal goals. After all, backpacking is meant to be fun! 

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how to choose an appropriate trail

While each new backpacker is entering into the sport with a different set of skills and fitness levels, we’ve crafted a list of trips with all beginner backpackers in mind. These trips fit a few criteria:

  • You’ll hike relatively low mileage for the length of the trip.
  • The trails don’t have extreme elevation gain for the region (However, Washington mountains are known for being steep and rugged due to the intense amount of rainfall, so you can’t escape elevation gain here!) 
  • You’ll travel on well-maintained trails and avoid tricky terrain like boulder fields. 
  • You’ll get a lot of bang for your buck, whether in the form of peaks, alpine lakes, or lush meadows. (Many people neglect this crucial factor.)

However, backpacking is never easy (or else we’d never do it!) — so,  if you want to maximize your fun, be sure to train for your backpacking trip .

1. Little Rock Pond, Green Mountain National Forest, Vermont

Little Rock Pond, Long Trail Vermont

Photo by Jacob Deutsch

Mileage: 4.8 (out-and-back) – 10 (loop)| Length: 2 – 3 days | Elevation Gain/Loss: 500 – 3000 feet

Little Rock Pond is a crystal blue gem tucked in the heart of the Green Mountains where the iconic Long Trail (which coincides with the Appalachian Trail) runs along the eastern edge of the pond. Little Rock is home to a fantastic shelter (that sleeps a whopping 16 people!) with a full-time warden and plenty of tent or hammock sites. On your way to the pond, you will hike up a well-maintained trail until you see the shimmering light of the sun bouncing off the gentle waves of Little Rock Pond.

Why is it great for a beginner?

This trail is extremely accessible and has a moderate grade, making it the perfect place to shake down your gear, skills, and comfort level. If this is your first trip or you’re looking for a short overnight you can hike 2.4 miles to the shelter and back. At this popular shelter, you’ll be surrounded by other hikers and have an easy bail back to your car if you ever feel uncomfortable.

In addition, Little Rock offers tons of opportunities to customize your hike. If you want to tackle some extra miles after a night at the shelter, you can hike up the Green Mountain Trail and tack on an extra 4.5 miles (and 2000ish feet of elevation) before you loop back to your vehicle. Want to go even further? Follow the LT/AT in either direction and spend an additional night at one of the adjacent shelters. The opportunities here are limitless.

logistics and permits

The Big Branch parking lot, which is right across from the trailhead, is the perfect starting point for this trip because you are allowed to park here overnight. Just make sure not to park at the Big Branch Lookout (which is about a quarter-mile down the road), as that parking lot is day use only.

One benefit of hiking in Green Mountain National Forest is that you don’t need permits to camp overnight. If crowded shelters aren’t your jam, you can dispersed camp along the trail as long as you follow LNT principles . If you stop by the shelter, the warden might even give you some tips on where to find the prime camping spots. If you are planning to stay in the shelter, bring $5 in cash to give to the warden upon arrival.

Hike to Vermont with a Guide

2. Brush Mountain Conservation Area to Royalston Falls, New England Trail, Massachusetts

NET Trail in Massachusetts

Mileage: 20 miles point-to-point | Length: 3 – 4 days | Elevation Gain/Loss: 3,700 feet

Northern Massachusetts is a hidden gem full of wonderful hiking opportunities. From the Appalachian Trail (AT) in the west to the New England Trail (NET) & Mattabesett, Metacomet, and Monadnock (M-M-M) trail systems in the east, the state features some of the best hiking within two hours of a major US metro area. This hike, which encompasses sections 17 and 18 of the NET, winds through beautiful old-growth forest, offering up unparalleled north-facing views into Vermont and New Hampshire. On this extremely accessible wilderness experience, you’ll also hike past waterfalls, stay in beautiful shelters, and climb fire towers with seemingly never-ending views. When I thru-hiked the 220-mile NET earlier this year, this section was by far my favorite.

This portion of NET is well-graded, frequently marked, and has some of the most incredible shelters I have seen (with seriously stunning views). All of these factors pair up to make it a perfect beginner hike. This section of the NET is also much less rocky/rooty than many of the earlier sections. 

It is also a perfect weekend/long weekend hike.  You can hike a few miles to the Richard-Zlogar cabin and be rewarded with a view of Mt. Grace (where you will be staying the following night) and Mt. Monadnock. The next day, you’ll push a bit harder to get to the Mount Grace lean-to, but your legs will be warmed up and ready for the challenge. On the third day, you’ll round out your backpacking trip with a short hike to Royalston Falls on the Massachusetts-New Hampshire border. Here, you can either stay the night or hike two miles back to the trailhead. 

Dispersed camping is not allowed on the NET, as much of it runs along private property. So, you have to use the shelters, but most of them have tent sites nearby if you prefer sleeping under the stars. 

Each overnight shelter along the NET has its own set of rules. Some require reservations and fees, while others are available for free on a first-come-first-served basis. Always make sure to check the NET website for information about overnight stays, as they regularly update the public on trail/shelter closures.

As this is a point-to-point hike, you will need to arrange transportation from one end to the other. There will be limited (or more likely non-existent) Lyft/Uber service. Therefore, you will need to arrange a shuttle or take two cars and park one at each trailhead.

3. Cutler Coast and Inland Trails, Cutler Coast Public Reserved Land, Maine

Cutler Coast trail in Maine, great beginner backpacking destination

Photo by OakleyOriginals (CC BY 2.0)

Mileage: 11-mile loop | Length: 2 – 3 days | Elevation Gain/Loss: 1000 feet

The Cutler Coast Public Reserved Land in Maine provides hikers with a truly New England hiking experience. Its remote beaches and stunning ocean vistas rival that of Acadia. Backpackers of all levels will enjoy the seaside cliffs, whale watching, and beachfront backcountry camping.

If you can get to northern Maine, this trail is a memorable beginner-friendly option. Northern Maine is one of the most remote places in the lower 48, so this trip will give beginners a true wilderness experience – despite the fact that you’ll never be more than five miles from the trailhead parking lot. 

This trail also features minimal elevation gain, so it’s the perfect reprieve for newer hikers who want to test out a full-weight pack for the first time.

This loop provides easy parking/transportation logistics for those willing to make the trip to Northern Maine. You do not need a permit to visit the Cutler Coast Trail, and there are no fees to use the backcountry campsites. However, this area only has five first-come-first-served backcountry campsites, and you’ll need to stay in one of them. (No dispersed camping allowed!) So plan ahead and get to camp early enough to claim a spot. Also, potable water is not available at camp. Be sure to pack enough water for your trip and plan your backpacking meals accordingly.

4. High Peaks of the Pemigewasset Hut-to-Hut Trek, White Mountains, New Hampshire

White Mountains in New Hampshire

Mileage: 15+ point-to-point  | Length:  2 – 4 days | Elevation Gain/Loss: 3,300 feet

The White Mountains offer some of the most rugged and scenic hiking available east of the Rockies, and the Pemigewasset (“Pemi”) is the largest designated wilderness in the White Mountains, so it sure has a lot to offer. Are you looking to hike in a pristine wilderness full of wildlife? You can do it in the Pemi. Do you want to stay at an amazing hut system? The Pemi has dozens of them. Looking for a wide variety of difficulty levels and lengths in potential backpacking trips? The Pemi has hundreds of trails to explore. On the High Peaks of the Pemigewasset Hut-to-Hut trek , you will follow the Appalachian Trail across some of the most iconic peaks in the range – South Twin and Mt. Guyot.


This is a great hike for any backpacker building up to a thru-hike. You’ll get into the wilderness for multiple nights, gain some experience on the AT, and have the opportunity to test out your gear system on one of the most rugged sections of the AT. In addition, the Pemi hut-to-hut trek is not one formal trail but rather a connection of trails. So, you’ll have the opportunity to develop your own itinerary and refine your planning and route-building skills. 

The full-fledged hut system provides you with so much flexibility. You can break down the hike into manageable chunks, and based on hut locations, you’ll never need to go more than five to seven miles in one day. Trust us, you won’t regret taking your time on this spectacular hike.


At most of the trailheads along the route, you will need to pay for a day-use recreation pass. Don’t fear though, the day passes are only $5 (or you can buy the annual WMNF recreation pass for $30). 

If you are planning on utilizing the services available at the huts, you will need to reserve ahead of time with the Appalachian Mountain Club . Fair warning, these huts can be expensive (up to $120 a night) so it is highly recommended to book ahead and use your Appalachian Mountain Club membership to get a discount. For those who prefer to keep costs down, backcountry camping in the Pemigewasset Wilderness is free as long as you follow LNT principles. 

If you’re hiking unguided, you will need to arrange a shuttle as this is a point-to-point hike.  You can find plenty of information online to help you plan and prepare for your hike, however, guide books are also excellent resources. While any guide focused on the NH section of the AT will work, the AMC’s White Mountain Guide is the ultimate repository of information about the Whites. It will provide you with all the information you need about water sources, parking lots (and overflow parking lots), and the hut system.

Guided Trip Options

Wildland Trekking offers this High Peaks Hut to Hut Trek as a guided backpacking adventure. This guided trip will give you access to expert guides, gear, meals, transportation — everything a beginner could want! Since the White Mountains are known for being rugged and hard to approach as a beginner,  this guided trip would be the perfect way to dip your toes into this unique mountain range.

Hike New Hampshire Huts With WildLand

5. Stratton Mountain and Pond Loop, Green Mountain National Forest, Vermont

Stratton Pond in Vermont

Photo by John Hayes (CC BY 2.0)

Mileage: 11-mile loop | Length: 2 – 3 days | Elevation Gain/Loss: 2,000 feet

Stratton Mountain is one of the most iconic peaks in Vermont. Sitting at 3944’, it just barely misses out on the elusive 4000-foot designation. Don’t let this deter you: the fire tower at the peak provides the best 360-degree view in Vermont. 

The Stratton Mountain and Pond Loop is the perfect way to experience all the glory that backpacking in southern Vermont has to offer. On day one, the six-mile hike to Stratton Pond is gentle and packed with beautiful hardwood forest walking. Once you arrive at the pond, you can spend the night right on its shores if you stay at the Stratton View Tenting Area which, as the name suggests, features a killer view of the peak.) The next day, you’ll continue your hike towards the summit. While the climb up Stratton is fairly steep — 1500 ft over roughly two miles — you will be rewarded with a stunning view across southern Vermont and the option to climb the fire tower for even more expansive scenery.

This loop will give you a taste of wilderness in a controlled setting. As this hike is a loop, you will never be too far away from your vehicle should you run into inclement weather or realize you left some gear in the trunk. In addition, you can easily expand this route to create a longer trip. Just two miles to the west of Stratton Pond is Bourne Pond, which has two additional tenting locations. If you don’t want to dispersed camp (which is perfectly allowed in Green Mountain National Forest), this pond is the perfect destination to extend your backpacking trip.

While other parts of the Green Mountains are extremely remote, the Stratton region is extremely accessible and fairly well-trafficked. Despite that, you will still get the same wilderness immersion and experience some of the best hiking trails in the east. 

Green Mountain National Forest allows hikers to dispersed camp permit-free as long as you follow LNT principles, so the sleeping options here are virtually limitless. In addition, the parking lot is easily accessible (for southern Vermont) and has no overnight fee. Water is plentiful along the loop, so just bring a filtration device!

All-inclusive Backpacking Adventures

About Jacob Deutsch

new england mountain trips

Jacob is a communications professional and freelance writer based out of Vermont. When I am not hiking, or writing about hiking, you can find me playing video games with friends, traveling across the North East, or cooking up a storm. You can follow him on Instagram @laddiefortynine.

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New England's best hikes can be enjoyed during the winter

Amy C. Balfour

Nov 12, 2021 • 13 min read

An IT Observer works just off the summit of Mt. Washington in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

New England's beautiful landscape offers up some fantastic hiking during the winter months © Jose Azel / Getty Images

The best part about hiking in New England ? The sheer diversity. Stroll along the rugged Maine coast, scramble up a sheer cliff on iron rungs, follow a stream to a gorge-carving waterfall or huff-and-puff to the top of New England’s highest peak where the weather is notoriously wild.

Two classic trails are always a good bet for exploration: the 273-mile Long Trail , a mountainous corridor running the length of Vermont from Massachusetts to Canada, and the 2179-mile Appalachian Trail (AT), which blazes through Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

But if you're looking for other hikes that aren't quite so long or so famous, these are some of the best spots in New England, from the Green Mountains of Vermont to the White Mountains of New Hampshire to the summit of Mt. Katahdin.

Here are New England's best hiking trails. 

Brillaint sunset and Mount Monadnock reflecting on a small pond

Mount Monadnock, New Hampshire 

Best hike for those looking for a workout  4.2 miles (6.8km) roundtrip, 4-5 hours, strenuous

Author and nature lover Henry David Thoreau climbed New Hampshire's  Mount Monadnock for the first time in 1858. He enjoyed it so much he returned two years later to tackle it again. Thoreau’s not the only person to enjoy the hike to the top of the 3165ft peak, which is climbed by more than 100,000 people every year.

Monadnock derives from an Abenaki tribal word meaning “special” or “unique”. The word is now used geologically to describe a residual hill that rises alone on a plain. The most direct path to the summit is the steep and rocky White Dot Trail. And oh, that summit. It’s a breezy rock pile ready-made for picnicking, view-appreciating and, well, selfie-taking. For variety, return on the less steep White Cross Trail.

Ladder Trails, Maine 

Best hike for experienced hikers  1 to 4.3-miles roundtrip;   strenuous

Hmm. Why are there iron rungs on this trail? And what’s up with that thin iron grate? Is it a bridge or a trap door to oblivion? Oh yes, the joys of the short but treacherous Beehive Trail, one of several “ladder” trails in Acadia National Park . And by ladder, we mean just that: iron rungs that climb up boulders and steep cliffs. 

The Beehive ends at the 520ft summit of a granite dome, offering a superb view of Sand Beach far below. More challenging is the Precipice Trail, where ladders climb the steep Champlain Mountain.

Bridges, railings and more ladders help hikers ascend a sheer cliff on the Jordan Cliffs Trail, which summits the 1194ft Penobscot Mountain near Jordan Pond. To escape the crowds, try the short Beech Cliff Trail, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. It’s located near Echo Lake west of Cadillac Mountain .

Note: The Precipice, Jordan Cliffs and Beech Cliff Trails may close from mid-March to mid-August during peregrine falcon nesting season.

A young woman hiking on a sunny, snowy winter day in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

Mount Washington, New Hampshire 

Best hike for the highly trained  8.4 miles roundtrip, 6-8 hours, extremely strenuous

The hike to the summit of the highest mountain in New England is one for the bucket list. But you don’t want to kick the bucket while climbing it, so come prepared. The 6288ft summit, dubbed "The Rock Pile”, sees some of the most extreme weather in the US, experiencing hurricane-force winds every three days or so.

The summit clocked the second-highest wind speed ever recorded when gusts reached 231mph in 1934. The trails to the top also experience extreme – and fickle – weather conditions. Dozens have died while attempting the hike.

The popular Tuckerman Trail is a thigh-burning, knee-scrambling ascent. The final push stretches across a rocky headwall and barren cone exposed to the weather. But these elements are what make bagging this peak such a feat.

You won’t find many day hikes like it and the experience of reaching the top is exhilarating – even if you do discover a parking lot filled with cars that drove to the top. Prior to your hike, check the weather at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center . If you proceed, make sure you have warm, windproof clothes and shoes. Turn back if the weather starts to look bad.

New England's best road trips

Bash Bish Falls and Green Pool

Bash Bish Falls, Massachusetts

Best hike for artists  2 miles roundtrip, 40-60 minutes, easy to moderate

In the very southwest corner of the state, near the New York state line, is Bash Bish Falls, the largest waterfall in Massachusetts. The water feeding the falls runs down a series of gorges before the torrent is sliced in two by a massive boulder perched directly above a pool.

There it drops as a picture-perfect double waterfall. These 60ft-high falls are a popular spot for landscape painters to set up their easels.

A short, steep trail leads directly to the falls from the Massachusetts parking lot. For a gentler walk, continue driving 1 mile west across the state border to the New York parking lot, from where a more level path takes you to the water's edge. Hikes from both starting points take about 20 minutes each way.

To get to the Taconic Mountains from Great Barrington, take MA 23 west to South Egremont. Turn onto MA 41 south and then take the immediate right onto Mt Washington Rd (which becomes East St) and continue for 7.5 miles. Turn right onto Cross Rd, then right onto West St and continue 1 mile. Turn left onto Falls Rd and follow that for 1.5 miles. The parking lot and trailhead will be on your left.

A woman wearing a large backpack hikes on a grassy trail at Mount Mansfield in Vermont

Mount Mansfield, Vermont 

Best hike for extraordinary views    3 to more than 6 miles roundtrip; half day; strenuous

Several trails lead to the top of Vermont’s highest peak, located in the Green Mountains. From the summit, the panoramic view stretches from Lake Champlain and New York’s Adirondacks in the west to New Hampshire’s Mount Washington in the east.

To some observers, the summit ridgeline looks like the profile of a human face. The Long Trail passes several features on the profile, climbing north from the forehead to the nose to the chin, which is also the 4343ft summit. Short cross-trails link these summit trails, making it easy to set up a loop hike with varied scenery, from treeline tundra to leafy corridors of green.

The rocky Sunset Ridge Trail offers a prime view of the nose and chin as you climb. Above the treeline, stay on the trail and avoid walking across the delicate alpine tundra. Several summit trails start in Underhill State Park .

Sabbaday Falls

Sabbaday Falls, New Hampshire 

Best hike for all experience levels  0.4 miles roundtrip, 20 minutes to 1 hour, easy

The problem with driving the Kancamagus Highway? It’s lined with trailheads and pull-offs – all beckoning with promises of adventure and beautiful scenery. One sure thing is the hike to Sabbaday Falls on the Sabbaday Brook Trail in White Mountain National Forest.

It’s not an undiscovered gem. It’s not off-the-beaten-path. And it’s certainly not a secret. It is, however, awesome. What awaits at the end of this short stroll through the hardwoods? A gorge waterfall, powering through narrow granite walls into lovely pools. Stairs lead to overlooks with mesmerizing views of the flume. Sabbaday is an old term for the Sunday Sabbath, a day of rest.

According to legend, road workers hid their tools near the falls on a Sunday before heading home for the season. Never, apparently, to return for them. The trail is handicapped-accessible.

Cutler harbor, Maine

Cutler Coast, Maine

Best hike to avoid the crowds   9 miles roundtrip, 7 hours if you complete the full loop, strenuous

This little-known reserve a few miles northeast of Cutler has hiking trails amid spectacular coastal scenery. If you've visited  Acadia National Park  and wondered what the shoreline trails would be like without the crowds, this is the place to come.

This 12,000-acre expanse encompasses lush forests thick with moss and ferns, blueberry barrens and jagged headlands overlooking hidden coves and rocky beaches.

The well-marked trail from the starting point is 1.4 miles one-way to the shoreline; from there, the path continues another 3.4 miles before looping inland and returning to the trailhead. Allow seven hours to do the entire 9.2-mile loop or just tackle one stage of it.

Parking for the trailhead is 4 miles northeast of Cutler (and about 21 miles from Machias). There are also five first-come, first-served backcountry campsites scattered along the trail (these are 3 to 5 miles from the trailhead, so pack light!).

A red spruce tree grows at the summit of Mt Greylock, the highest peak in Massachusetts

Mount Greylock, Massachusetts 

Best hike for nature writers   8.2 miles roundtrip, 6 hours, strenuous

An inspiration to several of America’s most admired nature writers – Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville – this lovely and leafy peak in northwestern Massachusetts is also the state’s highest, topping out at 3491ft.  

The Appalachian Trail and several others lead to the summit, which sits on a long ridge. For waterfalls and an old-growth spruce forest, try the popular Hopper Trail which follows a carriage road and climbs a ravine before joining the white-blazed AT just below the summit. If it’s open, climb the 92ft War Memorial Tower and take in the 360-degree view of Massachusetts, Connecticut , New York, Vermont and New Hampshire.


Coastal Trails, Maine 

Best hike for those who don't mind getting a little wet   Marginal Way – 1 mile; Ocean Path – 2.2 miles, 30 minutes to 1.5 hours, easy

The Maine shoreline stretches nearly 3500 rugged and rocky miles. Dotted with lighthouses, lobster shacks and tidal pools, it can be a scenic yet strangely moody place to explore by foot. One perennially popular trail is the paved Marginal Way , a one-mile footpath in Ogunquit winding high above the crashing waves. It traces a “margin” of the sea. Dotted with inviting benches, the path links Beach Street with shops and restaurants beside Perkins Cove.

The Ocean Path , which stretches 2.2 miles along the coast in Acadia National Park is a bit wilder. Running south from Sand Beach to Otter Point, it swings past rocky outcrops, booming Thunder Hole and the towering Otter Cliffs. Level but occasionally rocky, the trail is easily reached from Park Loop Road.

Squam lake in on a windy October morning

West Rattlesnake Trail, New Hampshire 

Best hike for those with limited time  1.8 miles round-trip, 1-2 hours, easy

Sometimes you just want to pull over, hike a short distance, look at a stunning view and say “Duuuude…” The trail up West Rattlesnake Mountain near the town of Holderness offers just this experience. From the parking area, pick up the Old Bridle Trail.

It climbs 0.8 miles through oak and pine trees to a collection of pink granite outcrops. Your view? Gorgeous Squam Lake and a cluster of forest-covered islands, all shimmering before you like a fairy-tale realm. Although on a summer weekend you’ll likely be sharing your kingdom with the masses. This hike is nice for families.

From the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center follow Rt 113 for five miles. The trailhead is a short distance beyond Pinehurst Road. Park on the west side of the road then walk across Rt 113 to access the trail.

Cadillac Mountain Ledge Sunrise Morning Pilgrim People Silhouettes

Cadillac Mountain, Maine

Best hike to watch the sun rise (or set)  4.5 miles roundtrip, 2-4 hours, strenuous

Don't leave Acadia National Park without hiking to the 1530ft summit of Cadillac Mountain. The summit is a popular place in the early morning because it's touted as the first spot in the USA to see the sunrise. Not an early riser? The sunset is always a good bet, too. For panoramic views of Frenchman Bay, walk the paved 0.5-mile Cadillac Mountain summit loop.

There are numerous trails to the top, leading from north, south, east and west. The easiest to access is the Cadillac North Ridge trailhead, located about 3 miles southwest of central Bar Harbor (and about 3.5 miles south of Hulls Cove Visitor Center).

From the trailhead, it's a moderate 2.2-mile (one-way) climb to the summit, with fine views of Eagle Lake off to the west on the way up.

Mt Washington and AMC's Lakes of the Clouds Hut

Hut-to-Hut Hiking in the White Mountains, New Hampshire 

Best hike for adventurers 

1.6 to 4.6 miles one-way;  1.25 to 3.5 hours, moderate to strenuous

Home-cooked meals. Evening entertainment. And convivial strangers who share your love for the outdoors. And we haven’t even mentioned the gorgeous mountain views. Sold? Yep, day-hiking between the eight huts maintained by the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) in the White Mountains is one of the most enjoyable outdoor adventures in New England.

The first hut opened more than 125 years ago and today they are going strong. The huts dot a 56-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail, which is reached by a network of trails unfurling from the Highland Center at Crawford Notch, the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center and various roadside pull-offs.

The New Hampshire trails all swoop along the Presidential Range, with streams, waterfalls, wildlife sightings, alpine views and plenty of trees along the way. A small but dedicated “croo” maintains each hut.

New England's best beaches


Mount Katahdin, Maine

Best hike for scrambling  3-5 miles roundtrip, 8-12 hours, strenuous

The towering endpoint of the Appalachian trail, Mt. Katahdin (kuh-tah-duhn) means "the greatest mountain" in the language of the Indigenous Penobscot people. It's easy to see why – and why this peak is on many hikers' bucket lists. Maine's highest summit (elevation 5267ft) is one of the most challenging and rewarding day hikes in the state.

There are a number of ways you can get to the top, with trails leading up from Abol, Katahdin Stream and Roaring Brook campgrounds. All are rated by the park as being 'very strenuous' and will involve some degree of scrambling over boulders above the tree line. 

The most popular route is the Hunt trail – also the final section of the Appalachian Trail (AT) – which leads up from Katahdin Stream. This 5.2-mile (one way) hike involves a 4188ft elevation gain and takes you past the scenic Katahdin Stream Falls. If you do the hike from late July to early October, expect to see some AT thru-hikers (those who've already hiked the 2000-plus miles from Georgia).

The hardest way to get to the top involves taking the 3.2-mile Helon Taylor trail (starting at Roaring Brook) up to Pamola Peak, and continuing via the Knife Edge for the final 1.1 miles to the summit. This last bit lives up to its name, as you'll be traveling along a narrow rocky traverse (4ft wide in part) with steep drop-offs on both sides. It's more of a technical hike, and you'll need focus and agility. Those afraid of heights should not attempt it.

Arathusa Falls, White Mountains of New Hampshire

Arathusa Falls Trail, New Hampshire

Best hike for photographers  2-5 miles, 3 hours, moderate to difficult

You might think you've strolled through a portal to the mid-1700s on this leafy hike through the woods – until that guy walking his dog bounds around the bend, breaking your pioneer reverie. The 200ft-high Arethusa Falls are a highlight of Crawford Notch, a mountain pass cleaved from the landscape when the continental ice sheet spilled over the mountains and carved its way south.

The ice eventually melted, leaving a V-shaped “notch” in its wake. The gentle streams that once flowed east toward the Saco River were disrupted by the formation of the notch. Once the ice was gone, the channels became “hanging valleys,” their tributaries left to plunge down the slopes of the steep notch as waterfalls.

The blue-blazed  Arethusa Falls Trail  begins at the back of the parking area's upper lot (the parking area is 6 miles south of Crawford Notch Depot on the west side of the road). After 0.2 miles it meets the Bemis Brook Trail.

The latter runs steeply alongside Bemis Brook for 0.4 miles before reconnecting with the Arethusa Falls Trail. On your climb, and it's mostly a climb, the trail twists through a thick forest of northern hardwoods. The final 0.2 miles descend to the base of the falls, which drop commandingly down steep stone ledges flanked by soaring trees.

Consider returning on the Arethusa-Ripley Falls and Frankenstein Cliff Trails. The latter features a dramatic clifftop view of the southern reaches of the notch. The round-trip distance jumps to 5 miles if you hike the loop instead of backtracking on the Arethusa Falls Trail.

Autumn mist in the village of Tyringham in the Berkshires

What you should know before going on a hike in New England 

Seasonal black flies can make hiking in the region a miserable experience; they’re typically at peak annoyance between mid-May and mid-June. Also note that some recreation areas charge an entrance fee. 

Additional resources:

Appalachian Trail Conservancy : Provides trail alerts, hiking tips and state-by-state details about various hikes.

Green Mountain Club :   The Green Mountain Club maintains the Long Trail. Its website shares trail news, information about camping and shelters along the trail, and brief details about a few selected hikes.

You might also like:  Top 10 US long-distance hikes  The ultimate New England fall foliage road trip   Historic taverns of the Eastern US: A toast to the past

This article was first published April 2016 and updated November 2021

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Best weekend getaways in new england.

Known for its historical roots, rugged landscape, savory seafood and rich sports culture, New England is home to a variety of vacation destinations. But with so many picture-perfect towns spread from the coast to the mountains, it's hard to decide where to head for a weekend getaway. That's why U.S. News took into account sights, culture, food and more to determine the best weekend getaways in New England. Cast your vote below to help us decide next year's ranking. Considering a fall trip to New England? Read our top travel tips »

Newport, RI

Portland, me, martha's vineyard, acadia national park, kennebunkport, white mountains, block island, the berkshires, sugarloaf mountain.

new england mountain trips

Visitors heading to Newport, Rhode Island, will be treated to breathtaking coastal vistas, glamorous seaside homes and top-notch sailing. Soak up some sun at Easton's Beach, or enjoy the sound of crashing waves while strolling the scenic Cliff Walk. If you'd rather treat yourself during your trip, hit up Thames Street, a bustling strip with delicious eateries, small boutiques and historic Colonial structures. Don't forget to save time for a tour (or two) of Newport's elaborate mansions, including The Breakers and Marble House.

new england mountain trips

An ideal destination for foodies and culture hounds, Portland, Maine, is filled with award-winning restaurants, museums, breweries, art galleries, boutiques and more. Spend some time wandering the cobblestone streets of the historical Old Port, where boats line the harbor and seafood is aplenty. Or, venture southeast of the city to Cape Elizabeth to snap a picture of the iconic Portland Head Light – one of the most photographed lighthouses in America – and hike or picnic in Fort Williams Park.

new england mountain trips

A popular summertime island retreat for New Englanders and politicians alike, Martha's Vineyard appeals to all types of travelers. Fly or take the ferry from the mainland to explore the Massachusetts island's six towns and numerous beaches. Don't miss the colorful gingerbread cottages in Oak Bluffs, the fresh seafood in the village of Menemsha or the boutiques in Vineyard Haven. While the island's eastern side is walkable, it's best to take a bus or car to the dramatic Aquinnah Cliffs on the more rugged western side.

new england mountain trips

Many pass through Bar Harbor on their way to Acadia National Park , but this charming seaside town is definitely worth a stop. Located on Maine's Mount Desert Island, Bar Harbor is bursting with locally owned boutiques, fresh seafood restaurants and gorgeous coastal views. Walk the scenic Shore Path for views of Frenchman Bay and multimillion-dollar mansions, or take a ride on a lobster boat to learn about the craft firsthand. While the town is popular in summer, its smaller crowds and vibrant foliage in autumn make it equally appealing during the shoulder season.

new england mountain trips

For a quintessential New England getaway, head to this Massachusetts peninsula known for its laid-back vibe. Vacationers can bask in the sun somewhere along Cape Cod National Seashore's 40 miles of sand before digging into a plate of fried clams or retreating to a quaint bed-and-breakfast . When planning your visit, keep in mind that each Cape Cod town is a little different. You'll find upscale shops in Chatham, historical landmarks in Sandwich, sky-high sand dunes in Wellfleet and a thriving LGBTQ community in Provincetown. Cape Cod's ample restaurants, boutiques, art galleries and ocean views are enough to keep you busy for days.

new england mountain trips

In the mood for an adventure? This more than 47,000-acre national park in Maine, one of the state's top attractions , is perfect for hiking, biking and rock climbing, among other outdoor activities. Your top priority should be to hike 1,530-foot-tall Cadillac Mountain – it's the first spot in the country to catch a sunrise from October to March. If you're not a fan of hiking, rent a car and make the drive along the 27-mile Park Loop Road. You'll pass the dramatic edge of Otter Cliffs and the cave at Thunder Hole, as well as other wonders visible from the road's pull-off observation areas.

new england mountain trips

The largest city in New England is fairly compact and walkable – perfect for sightseeing in just a few days. History buffs can follow the Freedom Trail to learn about the American Revolution before stopping for a beer at the historic Bell in Hand Tavern. Foodies can get a taste of Italy in the North End or indulge in some fresh oysters and clam chowder in the Seaport District. Meanwhile, fashionistas can browse the many shops on Newbury Street, and souvenir hunters can visit Faneuil Hall Marketplace. No matter your interests, your trip to Boston would not be complete without visiting Fenway Park.

new england mountain trips

Despite its small size, Nantucket has no shortage of activities. Board a ferry from Cape Cod or fly into the island's airport to enjoy a unique Massachusetts vacation. Visit Cisco Brewers for private brewery, vineyard and distillery tours, or simply enjoy the food trucks and live music. While Nantucket is a walkable island, many visitors enjoy renting bikes or mopeds to explore the area, especially tiny Siasconset Village. You'll want to also save time for watching the sunset at Madaket Beach on the island's west coast.

new england mountain trips

It doesn't get more relaxing than Kennebunkport, Maine. You can lay on sandy beaches, stroll through quaint boutiques and sample local specialties like lobster rolls, oysters and blueberry pies. There are also plenty of unique ways to see the town, including on foot during a food tour, by boat while on a lobster boat tour and by trolley with Intown Trolley. Plus, you can stop along the way to take pictures of Walker's Point – the Bush family compound. Keep your eyes peeled for other famous faces, as Kennebunkport is a popular celebrity vacation destination.

new england mountain trips

Although Stowe's small-town charm and dramatic vistas make it a beautiful destination year-round, snow lovers won't want to miss this Vermont retreat in all its winter glory. Stowe is dubbed the "Ski Capital of the East," but this New England hideaway is also ideal for snowboarding, snowshoeing and dog sledding. If you'd rather visit during the warmer months, consider hiking the Stowe Recreation Path or driving the Auto Toll Road to the top of Mount Mansfield for unbeatable views of the Adirondack Mountains. Whichever season you prefer, fans of "The Sound of Music" can't miss a visit to Stowe's Trapp Family Lodge.

new england mountain trips

If historic walking tours, charming bistros and tax-free shopping describe your ideal New England weekend, book your ticket to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, today. Take a narrated boat tour of the Isles of Shoals, or spend the day exploring Market Square, the gem of downtown Portsmouth. For a breath of fresh air, sink your toes in the sand at nearby Wallis Sands State Beach or stroll through the gardens at Prescott Park. Time your visit for summer to attend the Prescott Park Arts Festival, which transforms this beautiful green space into a vibrant outdoor performance venue.

new england mountain trips

Whether you're looking for a quiet mountain hideaway or an activity-filled weekend, potential abounds in the White Mountains. Designated as a protected national forest, the White Mountains cover parts of New Hampshire and Maine. Take the scenic route along the Kancamagus Highway, and consider stopping at a campground along the way. If you're visiting in summer, hike, drive or take the Mount Washington Cog Railway to the summit of its namesake for spectacular views. In winter, shred powder on some of the best ski slopes in New England before curling up with a cup of hot cocoa at a bed-and-breakfast.

new england mountain trips

Walk any direction on Block Island and you'll end up at a free public beach. This oasis off the southern coast of Rhode Island features 17 miles of shoreline, as well as old-fashioned cottages and two historical lighthouses. Take in sweeping ocean views from Mohegan Bluffs, or look for animals at Block Island National Wildlife Refuge. If you want an adrenaline rush, try snorkeling in the island's crystal-clear waters, biking around its picturesque perimeter or hiking its Clayhead Trail. A quick ferry ride from the mainland will take you to Block Island, making it an easy weekend retreat.

new england mountain trips

The rolling mountains of the Berkshires attract everyone from artists to nature lovers to city dwellers looking for an escape. This region of western Massachusetts has long been a culture and history hub. Charming towns like Great Barrington and North Adams draw visitors with their quaint main streets and historic homes. The town of Lenox is home to the famous Tanglewood concert venue, while the town of Pittsfield boasts many theaters and art galleries. You'll find a variety of festivals to attend in summer, vivid foliage in fall and plenty of skiing in winter.

new england mountain trips

Situated in western Maine's Carrabassett Valley, Sugarloaf Mountain has a lot to offer travelers looking for an exciting weekend getaway in New England. In winter, enjoy a range of cold-weather activities – including cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, ice skating, tubing and more – at the mountain's namesake ski resort. In summer, take advantage of the warmer temperatures by mountain biking, zip lining or hiking sections of the famous Appalachian Trail.

new england mountain trips

About 20 miles northeast of Boston, this Massachusetts town is best known for the witch trials of the late 17th century, which you can learn all about on a historical walking tour. For an even bigger dose of local culture, visit in October when the town hosts Halloween-themed events all month long. You'd also be remiss to skip top sights like the Peabody Essex Museum and The House of the Seven Gables, the setting of Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1851 novel of the same name.

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How to book your trip

Unforgettable New England road trip

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  • Post last modified: March 18, 2024

You are currently viewing Unforgettable New England road trip

Planning a road trip through New England ? Get to the heart of the United States ‘ most idyllic corner with this ultimate itinerary, where soothing nature, delightful towns and proud tradition abound. Buckle up — here are all the gems you don’t want to miss.

Disclosure: All listings are independently selected. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more ›

New England route

  • Start: Boston
  • North Conway
  • North Adams
  • Stockbridge
  • Finish: Boston

Begin with a salty trip up along New England’s coast, where Portland, Camden and Acadia NP are highlights. While Interstate 95 is usually quicker, consider sticking to the parallel, more scenic Route 1.

Then, the character of the itinerary changes dramatically. Head west to see the White Mountains, Green Mountains and Berkshires, with the lofty scenery peaking along the iconic Kancamagus Highway.

Back on the coast, explore Mystic, Newport and Cape Cod. Home to Cape Cod National Seashore, Cape Cod provides some of America’s best beaches, making for the perfect finish to your epic drive.

Isn’t Boston the optimal starting point for you? Feel free to start the loop at the location that suits you best.

Map showing the most scenic route through New England

  • Total distance: 1,213 mi / 1,952 km
  • Total driving time: 25 h

1. Boston, MA

Massachusetts ‘ largest city, Boston is certainly a convenient place to begin a Northeast road trip. There’s the well-connected Logan Airport and an array of rental car companies to choose from.

But — most of all — Boston is a fun city to explore before you get deeper into the New England itinerary.

If one thing to do in Boston is mandatory, it’s the Freedom Trail . Walking the 2.5-mile (4 km) path, which presents top historic sites in the heart of Boston, is a one-of-a-kind activity.

After touring Boston, you don’t have to like baseball to enjoy a visit to Fenway Park. In all honesty, many visitors don’t even know the baseball rules when they enter Fenway Park for the first time.

However, baseball is an American tradition, and the Red Sox is the team in Boston. Catching a game and feeling the atmosphere at Fenway Park is a memorable experience before heading north — baseball fan or not.

More info: Where to stay in Boston

Cozy street with American flag in Beacon Hill, Boston

2. Portland, ME

  • Driving distance:  112 mi / 180 km
  • Driving time:  2 h

On Maine’s southern coast, Portland offers a lot for anyone looking for a good time.

In particular, the historic Old Port — characterized by cobblestone streets, red-brick buildings, quaint wharves and fishing piers — is the crown jewel. While its facades remind you of past glory days, the district is a modern-day gold mine with eclectic boutiques, watering holes and restaurants.

Capturing at least one of the many lighthouses in the Portland area is also a must, and especially one stands out: Portland Head Light was completed in 1791, making it Maine’s oldest lighthouse.

White Portland Head Light on the Maine coast

3. Camden, ME

  • Driving distance:  81 mi / 130 km
  • Driving time:  1 h 45 min

Countless scenic towns hug Route 1. Camden may be the most picturesque of them all.

Picture a small town lacing an Atlantic cove (Penobscot Bay) with steep slopes (Camden Hills). If you’re short on time, stretch your legs while you browse the stores on the timeless Main Street or sit down in the Camden Amphitheater, a small oasis facing the harbor.

With more time, hike into the rising Camden Hills State Park. But if you don’t want to work for it, you can also drive up to the top of Mount Battie, brilliantly capturing the scenery.

4. Acadia NP, ME

  • Driving distance:  77 mi / 124 km

Welcome to the only national park in New England, Acadia. Calling Mount Desert Island home, it encompasses some of the Atlantic’s most untamed coastline — this is one of the most beautiful places in the US .

Although you find awe-inspiring nature all over the island, the eastern half of Mount Desert Island holds most of the park’s big-ticket spots.

An unrivaled eastern highlight is Cadillac Mountain. The views of Acadia are just spectacular from Cadillac Mountain’s summit, both the tallest point of the park and the USA’s eastern seaboard.

Cadillac Mountain peaks at sunrise and sunset but is a beautiful experience throughout the day.

On Mount Desert Island’s quieter western half, another photogenic spot not to miss is Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse. Built in 1858 on the island’s southern tip, it’s not quite as old as Portland Head Light — but no less pretty.

More info: Where to stay near Acadia NP

View from Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park during sunrise

5. North Conway, NH (White Mountains)

  • Driving distance:  212 mi / 341 km
  • Driving time:  4 h 15 min

New Hampshire ‘s White Mountains region is filled with great things to do, boasting both stunning natural beauty and cozy towns to relax in.

A shining example of the latter, North Conway is the perfect White Mountains gateway when you come from the east. From here, you effortlessly reach many highlights in the dense White Mountain National Forest.

Within a few miles, Diana’s Baths Cascade — a series of waterfalls dropping 75 feet (23 m) — is a spellbinding place. Another nearby stop is Cathedral Ledge Lookout, offering White Mountains vistas destined for Instagram fame.

When traveling further west, you unlock even more of the White Mountain National Forest.

Driving the famous Kancamagus Highway — one of New England’s most scenic drives — is a jaw-dropping experience. As it runs from Conway to Lincoln, it also takes you right to your next base on the itinerary.

Person standing on the edge of lookout in White Mountain National Forest, facing vivid fall-colored forests

6. Lincoln, NH (White Mountains)

  • Driving distance:  41 mi / 66 km
  • Driving time:  1 h

Ready for more gorgeous terrain? At the end of the scenic Kancamagus Highway, Lincoln is a practical White Mountains gateway for highlights in the western part of White Mountain National Forest.

The Flume — a natural gorge offering a scenic pool, stunning waterfalls and, of course, mesmerizing White Mountain views — was discovered in 1808 by Jess Guernsey. She came upon it by accident while fishing in the Lincoln area.

After the finding, as the story goes, Jess first had trouble convincing her family about the discovery. It just sounded too magical to be true — but the rest is history.

Today, the Flume is a highlight in Franconia Notch State Park. You find a good variety of hiking trails in Franconia, letting you explore the White Mountains and its dense forests, stunning lakes and majestic peaks further.

Road surrounded by vibrant fall foliage colors

7. Stowe, VT (Green Mountains)

  • Driving distance:  85 mi / 137 km

A Vermont village with a postcard-worthy downtown area, Stowe sits at the foot of the Green Mountains.

Just strolling down Main Street in Stowe is an appreciated thing to do. It’s a small town, but thanks to its peaceful aura, a walk couldn’t be more rewarding.

When visiting Stove, you’re never far from fresh air and beautiful views. Stowe Recreation Path provides a convenient way to explore Stowe and the village’s lovely surroundings.

Walk, run or bike the paved trail — just be prepared that you will want to stop to take pictures.

Not in Stowe, but just a short drive away, you find the ice cream lover’s dream. Be careful so you don’t get a brain freeze at the original Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory in Waterbury.

White church nestled among trees and mountains in Stowe.

Extra stop: Consider stopping in Burlington, VT, a fun city on the shore of Lake Champlain. Because it’s just 36 miles (58 km) between Stowe and Burlington, you can easily include both on your New England itinerary.

8. North Adams, MA (The Berkshires)

  • Driving distance:  159 mi / 256 km
  • Driving time:  3 h 15 min

It’s the rolling hills and captivating culture that define The Berkshires region. Marking its northern end, where Vermont meets Massachusetts, North Adams is a great place to start exploring.

Be inspired by evocative galleries and performances at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, set on the Hoosic River in downtown North Adams.

Or, simply cruise onwards, letting the peaceful landscape wash over you. North Adams sits along the Mohawk Trail, one of New England’s most scenic drives, finishing in nearby Williamstown.

9. Stockbridge, MA (The Berkshires)

  • Driving distance:  35 mi / 56 km

America’s favorite illustrator, Norman Rockwell called Stockbridge home for 25 years. Here, with hundreds of original works, the Norman Rockwell Museum honors and showcases his legacy.

Before Rockwell, the writer Edith Wharton lived in the Berkshires, too. Visit her historic Lenox residence, the expansive Mount Home (maybe on your way from North Adams to Stockbridge), to learn and absorb the idyllic setting.

These are cultural treasures, but don’t forget that what makes the Berkshires outstanding is the mix of culture and nature.

For hiking, a beautiful spot is October Mountain State Forest . At roughly 16,500 acres, it’s Massachusetts’ largest state forest, offering both easy and strenuous trails.

More info: Where to stay in The Berkshires

Wooden trail in October Mountain State Forest

10. Mystic, CT

  • Driving distance:  127 mi / 204 km
  • Driving time:  2 h 15 min

On the Connecticut coast, the village of Mystic peacefully sits. Get ready to discover its proud history as a waterside community and center for shipbuilding.

By the Mystic River, Mystic Seaport Museum is one of the USA’s leading maritime museums, preserving an array of seafaring artifacts. Enjoy an impressive collection covering 19 acres, with four National Historic Landmark vessels as the biggest draws.

Compact Historic Downtown Mystic has you covered for authentic shopping, diverse eateries and charming waterfront views. Especially pay attention to the Mystic River Bascule Bridge, a still-in-use drawbridge — nowadays a rare sight.

Quiet Mystic River in Connecticut

Extra stop: An alternative to Mystic or an additional stop on the itinerary is New Haven, CT, the home to the famous Yale University.

11. Newport, RI

  • Driving distance:  48 mi / 77 km

The shore of Rhode Island is an essential ingredient on your New England road trip itinerary. On Aquidneck Island, Newport is an old colonial city with attractions covering a wide spectrum.

Walking the renowned Newport Cliff Walk, 3.5 miles (5.6 km) long, is a beautiful way to appreciate the Atlantic coast. Tracing Newport’s rocky coastline, it offers stunning natural scenery and fresh salty air.

As a bonus, eye-popping mansions frame the trail.

For the full experience, take a Newport Mansion tour to see how America’s wealthiest and most influential families used to live. The Breakers stands out for its extreme luxury, but the Elms and Marble House are also impressive.

More info: Accommodation in Newport, RI

Person sitting with newspaper on green mansion lawn in Newport, Rhode Island

12. Cape Cod, MA

  • Driving distance:  120 mi / 193 km
  • Driving time:  2 h 30 min

These 120 miles (193 km) take you all the way to the northern tip of Cape Cod , a peninsula separated from the mainland by the Cape Cod Canal since 1914. Be sure to make plenty of stops along the way.

Cape Cod Rail Trail, excellent for walking or biking, presents a healthy way to sightsee. Paved and extending for 25 miles (40 km) from South Yarmouth to Wellfleet, it follows the 19th-century rail lines that used to carry tourists to Cape Cod.

At the trail’s end, the landscape of Cape Cod National Seashore takes over. Hang out on the seemingly never-ending beach — seals thrive in the waters here — or hike around marshes and ponds.

The finish every peninsula should have, Race Point Beach, as far north as you get, is a phenomenal beach with huge sand dunes. On a sunny day, you might ask yourself: Is this Massachusetts or Florida?

More info: Best areas in Cape Cod

House at Race Point Beach during sunset.

13. Boston, MA

  • Driving distance:  116 mi / 187 km

It’s time to round off your unforgettable New England road trip. The last leg is the drive back to where the adventure started, Boston. From the isolated Provincetown, it’s 116 miles (187 miles) to Boston, but it’s shorter if you base yourself elsewhere on Cape Cod.

Seagull sitting at the entrance to a beach in Cape Cod

Where to stay when you road trip through New England

New England takes pride in its atmospheric, often historic inns. Consider making your road trip even better by booking one of our favorite places to stay on Cape Cod.

Appreciate the English Country style at the Old Harbor Inn , a luxurious bed and breakfast set in Chatham. Each of the twelve rooms is unique and the location spot-on for day trips across Cape Cod.

Or, stretch your budget by staying at the Breakwater Hotel , slightly outside Provincetown, at Cape Cod’s northern tip. Drive 5 minutes or walk 30 minutes to get to Provincetown’s heart.

New England itineraries with days

For the full New England road trip, we recommend allowing at least 3 weeks. If you have less time, it’s a good idea to break up the itinerary to focus on your favorite parts.

Ultimate itinerary (3 weeks)

  • Day 1-3: Boston (2 nights)
  • Day 3-5: Portland (2 nights)
  • Day 5-8: Acadia NP (3 nights)
  • Day 8-10: North Conway (2 nights)
  • Day 10-12: Lincoln (2 nights)
  • Day 12-14: Stowe (2 nights)
  • Day 14-15: The Berkshires (1 night)
  • Day 15-16: Mystic (1 night)
  • Day 16-18: Newport (2 nights)
  • Day 18-21: Cape Cod (3 nights)

2 week road trip (Atlantic coast)

  • Day 1-2: Mystic (1 night)
  • Day 2-4: Newport (2 nights)
  • Day 4-7: Cape Cod (3 nights)
  • Day 7-9: Boston (2 nights)
  • Day 9-11: Portland (2 nights)
  • Day 11-14: Acadia NP (3 nights)

7 day road trip (Mountain trip)

  • Day 1-4: White Mountains (3 nights)
  • Day 4-6: Green Mountains (2 nights)
  • Day 6-7: The Berkshires (1 night)

Kancamagus Highway in the White Mountains painted in orange fall colors

New England road trip FAQ

This ultimate New England road trip is 1,213 miles (1,952 km) long, taking 25 hours excluding the time you need for the stops along the way.

The journey includes six states: Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

The main stops on the itinerary are Boston, Portland, Acadia NP, White Mountains, Green Mountains, The Berkshires, Mystic, Newport and Cape Cod.

For the full loop, we recommend allowing 3 weeks or more. But you can break the itinerary up and enjoy a shorter journey, too, for example, focusing on the coast or the mountains.

With 7 days, it’s as good idea to concentrate on a certain area. To see both a lively city and New England’s timeless coastal environment, a popular combo is Boston and Cape Cod.

More New England guides

  • Cape Cod vacation guide
  • Where to stay in Cape Cod
  • Lodging near Acadia NP
  • New England bucket list

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Home » North America » USA » New England

EPIC New England Road Trip Itineraries (2024)

Going on a New England road trip  has to be one of the best ways to experience the region! With your own vehicle, you’ll be able to go wherever you want, stay where you like, and see whatever you fancy.

New England has been charming visitors for a long time. Of all of the regions in the USA, New England has some the richest history (being the birthplace of the nation and all), some of the most exciting locals, and best seafood, period.

And the fall foliage in New England? What more can be said about this phenomenon that hasn’t be said by dozens of movies – it’s simply one of the most romantic sights in the USA.

New England is by no means cheap nor easy to travel without some guidance. In order to see the best of New England, and not drop a fortune while doing so, you’re going to need a little assistance.

Don’t worry – we have the insider information you need for an EPIC journey. So what are we waiting for?! Let’s get the ball rolling on your New England road trip itinerary!

Best Time of Year to Road Trip New England

Best new england road trip itineraries, places to visit in new england, off the beaten path new england road trip ideas, new england road trips costs, final thoughts about new england road trips.

With something always going on, a road trip to New England is possible at any time of the year! In New England, summers are for beach trips, fall is for the foliage, winter is for skiing, and spring is for festivals.

If you can stand the occasional poor weather – the blinding snow and sometimes uncomfortable humidity – then you’ll do just fine in New England.

The climate in New England isn’t always agreeable, a fact that many residents will remind you of when you’re there. Winters are long and can be bitter cold and summers feel unfairly humid and short.

snowy new england scene frozen trees and pond

The weather in New England has a habit of being bipolar as well, appearing beautiful one moment only to turn to shit in a moment.

This doesn’t stop New Englanders from having a good time though as they seem to have something to do 365 days of the year. They take the weather with a grain of salt, as they should, and simply say, “if the weather’s no good, just wait 15 minutes (and it’ll be better).”

Outside of the mountainous regions, which can have Arctic qualities, there are no huge climatic swings in New England. Overall, temperatures are relatively cool and precipitation is spread throughout the year.

What makes New England feel so cold is the Canadian winds that come down and wreak havoc. These winds penetrate to the bone and can really ruin your day.

A thermometer may read 30 Fahrenheit but with the wind chill, it could feel like 0. Be sure to bring lots of layers and a windbreaker in the winter.

Fall in New England means changing foliage, the astounding beauty of which attracts every Joe Schmoe and his family to visit. If you’re on a road trip during this time, expect much higher prices and much less availability. Having said that, it’s one of the best places in the world to visit in September and October, so it’s worth it!

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Below is a list of sample New England road trip routes, from East Coast budget adventures to more comprehensive trips that cost a bit more. Varying from 4 to 14 days in length, they cover many of the top destinations in New England. Each itinerary provides day-by-day highlights, which are meant to give you some good New England road trip ideas.

new england mountain trips

The USA is  blisteringly beautiful. It’s also blisteringly expensive! Visiting two national parks in day can run you $70+ in entry fees.

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4-Day New England Road Trip Itinerary: Boston and the Cape

road trip in new england map 4 day itinerary

4 Days: Boston and the Cape

Arrive in Boston via Logan International Airport or by other means. Once you’re checked into your lodge and settled in, get ready to see the town!

Our  Boston itinerary  includes a visit to downtown Boston to see:

  • Fenway Park
  • The Freedom Trail
  • Acorn Street
  • Trinity Church
  • Boston Commons

After that, head to bed because the next day we start again!

Today you’ll be getting off the beaten path in Boston.

  • Southend for an authentic Bostonian experience
  • Cambridge for Harvard and MIT
  • East Boston for good food and views
  • Walden Pond for transcendental fans
  • Bunker Hill for history

Today we’re officially starting the drive, so have your car organized for a road trip to Cape Cod. Start driving on Highway 6 and then transfer to Highway 3 prior to the Cape Cod Canal. Once you’ve arrived, find your Cape Cod lodge/campsite and get set up.

Next, we’ll explore the Cape. Activities include:

  • Lighthouses
  • Charming settlements
  • Trinket shopping
  • Historical landmarks
  • Biking and hiking
  • Cape Cod Rail Trail

This is the last day of your short road trip from Boston. You can opt for a few different choices today.

Either consider visiting Nantucket Island or Martha’s Vineyard via the ferry. If not though, you can continue exploring the island and seeing what’s around.

When all is said and done, pack your things for a late flight in the evening or a flight the next day.

cape cod sandy beach and ocean

7 Day New England Road Trip Itinerary: New England’s Best Fall Foliage

road trip in new england map 7 day itinerary

7 Days: New England’s Best Fall Foliage

  • Arrive at Logan International and organize your car; skip this if you’re coming by road from elsewhere.
  • Hit the road immediately and head west on the I-90 and I-84 for Hartford, CT.
  • Pass Hartford and continue onto the Litchfield Hills in West Connecticut.
  • Spend the night in Kent, Cromwell or elsewhere.
  • Admire the foliage.
  • Depart from your lodge and head north on I-7 through the Housatonic Valley; red and gold foliage in abundance.
  • Arrive at the junction between I-7 and Highway 2 near Williamstown.
  • Highway 2 is colloquially referred to the Mohawk Trail, which offers some of the best of New England as well as excellent fall colors.
  • Stay nearby and drive along the 2 to your heart’s desire.
  • Drive on the Mohawk Trail if you haven’t already.
  • When ready, head for Green Mountain National Forest of Vermont via I-7 again.
  • Drive through the Green Mountains until Burlington.
  • Grab a beer and chill for the night.

Today is a long but rewarding day.

  • Depart from Burlington and head for Cambridge, VT.
  • Hit the 108 and Smuggler’s Notch for excellent mountain views and foliage.
  • Make your way east towards Bath, New Hampshire.
  • Turn onto Highway 112 before Bath, which is the beginning of the Kancamagus Highway.
  • Continue onto Lincoln, admiring the scenery along the way.
  • Find a Lincoln Airbnb or stay in North Conway or elsewhere in the White Mountains.
  • Finish the Kancamagus Highway (112), which terminates at Conway.
  • Head north upon reaching Conway on Highway 16.
  • Enjoy Mt Washington and White Mountain National Forest, which is particularly fantastic in fall.
  • Turn onto I-2 and then again onto 113 to reach Evans Notch.
  • Finish up and head south towards Portland for the night.
  • Drive to Acadia National Park , which is one of the best places for fall foliage in New England.
  • Make a tour around Mt Desert Island and get a full dose of autumn splendor and coastline.
  • Spend the night around Acadia or back in Portland.
  • Consider spending the night in Camden as there is excellent foliage here.
  • Pack up and head back to Boston.
  • Spend the day exploring the city.
  • Get ready to depart that evening or the next day.

14-Day New England Road Trip Itinerary: Ultimate New England

map of new england road trip 14 day itinerary

14 Days: Ultimate New England Road Trip

Follow the first East Coast itinerary listed here  except  instead of returning to Boston at the end of day 4, relax and stay the night in Cape Cod. We’ll be moving on from there the next day…

  • Depart from Cape Cod and hit I-6, which will take you all the way to Providence, Rhode Island.
  • Explore the city and its architecture.
  • Be sure to drop by one of the many breweries and brewpubs.
  • Spend the night in or around Providence.
  • Wake up and head directly for Newport via Highway 114.
  • Spend the day exploring the opulent town.
  • Be sure to visit the many mansions and estates as well as Fort Adams in the south.
  • Depart when you’re ready.
  • Drop by Narragansett for some beach time if you have time.
  • Stop in Old Saybrook for the night or continue onto New Haven.
  • Depart from your lodge and make your way north.
  • Head to the state capital Hartford.
  • Wadsworth Falls
  • Buttermilk Falls
  • Settle in Hartford for some culture and good partying or…
  • Head to Litchfield Hills for a quieter night.
  • Make your way up Knowledge Corridor or Housatonic Valley towards Vermont.
  • Be sure to drop by the Mohawk Trail in Northwest Massachusetts for some scenery and history.
  • Hit highway 7 and make the long drive to Burlington.
  • Reward your hard work today with a beer.
  • Spend the day exploring the Green Mountains of Vermont.
  • Climbing the  Camel’s Hump .
  • Hiking around  Mt Mansfield .
  • Check out  Smuggler’s Notch .
  • Rafting on the  Mad River .
  • Spend the night in Burlington again.
  • Depart from Burlington and head east towards Lincoln, New Hampshire via I-89.
  • Arrive in the White Mountains and settle into whatever lodge/campground you have booked.
  • Spend the remainder of the day in the mountains.
  • Flume Gorge
  • Mt Washington
  • Franconia Notch
  • Arethusa Falls
  • Lonesome Lake
  • If you arrived early enough, considering overnighting in a backcountry campsite.
  • Wake up and knock off any remaining activities.
  • Consider doing the full-day Presidential Traverse but, full-warning, it’s quite arduous.
  • Lay your head down for the night, preferably around a campfire with a drink.
  • Depart from the White Mountains and travel on Highway 302 to Portland, Maine.
  • If you stay in Portland, visit the many maritime landmarks, trinket shops, and breweries.
  • Spend the day exploring Acadia National Park.
  • Taking a road trip around  Mt Desert Island .
  • Climbing  Cadillac Mountain .
  • Visiting  Jordan Pond .
  • Relaxing on  Sand Beach .
  • Walking around  Bar Harbor .
  • Head to your lodge for the night.

fresh caught lobster from maine

Below is a list of the best road trip destinations in New England. Study them well and decide which ones you like the most.

Road Trip to Boston

Boston is the largest city in New England and, honestly, one of the coolest cities in the entire United States. With gorgeous architecture, some of America’s most important history, and hugely diverse demographics, there’s little chance you’ll run out of things to do in Boston .

Downtown Boston – the area with all the skyscrapers – is where you’ll find the majority of the city’s attractions. Notable points of interest in Boston Downtown include Fenway Park , the Trinity Church, Boston Commons, Acorn Hill , and the North End. You could easily hit all of these places in a few hours by walking.

North across the Charles River is Cambridge , home to the famously exclusive Harvard College and MIT . Both campuses are worth visiting – the former for traditional architecture and the latter for ultra-modern. The whole of Cambridge is pretty affluent, being inhabited by students and leaders in tech, but thankfully doesn’t suffer from too much snootiness.

boston skyline from the bay new england road trip

South Boston is the home of the “southies” aka those people that sound like Matt Damon from Good Will Hunting . Aside from the impressive JFK Library, there isn’t a whole lot to do here besides people watch, which is, admittedly, awesome.

Finally, across the Boston Channel and next to Logan International is East Boston, which is where most of the immigrants live. These means this is one of the best places in Boston to grab food! The views ain’t bad either.

While you’re travelling around Boston , be sure to also get outside of the city of as well! The historical city of Concord , as well as the hallowed Walden Pond , are both worth a day trip.

Road Trip to Cape Cod and the Islands

Cape Cod is a large, prominent peninsula located south of Boston. It is an immensely popular getaway destination due in part to its extensive coastline and profuseness of quaint coastal towns.

Combined with the ever-enchanting Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Island , both located nearby, and you have an assembly of some of the best of New England.

Cape Cod is a very large region, surprisingly so, and is broken into several districts. Because of its size, history, and prosperity, Cape Codians are very proud of their home and consider it more than just a tourist destination. There are loads of great places to stay in Cape Cod , if you fancy extending your trip!

cap cod beach and fences romantic new england coast road trip

There are several charming towns on Cape Cod that are worth visiting. Hyannis is most notable for the Kennedy Compound , which served as the holiday home for JFK and his family, as well the enormous Beech Tree on Main Street .

Fans of Kurt Vonnegut may also be interested in nearby Barnstable as it was his home for several decades. Affluent Chatham has one of the best lighthouses and local baseball teams on the Cape (Cape Codians are crazy for the sport).

Finally, Provincetown is famous for its artsy and expressive LGBT community.

Most everyone comes to Cape Cod to play in the sea as the peninsula has some of the best beaches in New England. Make no mistake, there are a lot of them too.

Stunning stretches of sand can be found at Nauset Beach, Lighthouse Beach, Sandy Neck Beach, Mayflower Beach, and pretty anywhere else along the Cape Cod National Shoreline Park . You may get lucky and even see a migrating humpback whale!

No road trip to Cape Cod is complete without a trip to Nantucket Island or Martha’s Vineyard – both are among the most desirable places to visit in New England, during summer especially so.

Martha’s Vineyard is full of grand residences for the rich as well as picturesque beaches. Nantucket is similar to Martha’s Vineyard but smaller and quieter. You can catch a ferry to either at Hyannis.

Road Trip to Rhode Island

Rhode Island has a little bit of everything. The largest city, Providence , is often considered a good alternative to Boston, and the surrounding state offers quintessential scenery including rugged coastline, quaint townships, and, of course, the fall foliage New England is so beloved for.

Providence is the third largest city in New England. For a long time, Providence had a bad reputation for being sketchy, crime-ridden, and corrupt but, following massive economic pushes, is currently undergoing an urban renaissance. It’s now a very appealing city thanks to its history with a bustling college scene, solid nightlife, and heaps of stuff to do .

marble house newport rhode island

Providence is a small city so getting around on a foot is a very reasonable task. Walk around and take note of the diverse architecture. Be sure to see the State House, the eclectic Brown University, the restored Arcade, and the First Baptist Church , among others, for a lesson in American architectural history.

For a languid afternoon, try visiting one of the many museums and/or parks in Providence. Certain neighborhoods, like Federal Hill, College Hill, and Downcity all offer nice urban panoramas as well. End your day at one of the many breweries in the city.

Rhode Island’s other noteworthy city is Newport . An opulent town, full of mansions and elegant avenues, Newport is a prime example of New England decadence. Rosecliff estate served as a setting in the recent Great Gatsby film and its neighbors – The Beakers and Marble House – are equally grandiose.

There is a thriving art scene in Newport and jazz, in particular, is praised here. There is an awesome jazz festival at Fort Adams. Festival or not, Fort Adams is worth seeing because it is one of the most important historical structures in New England.

Newport has many beautiful city beaches including Bailey’s, Easton, and Gooseberry. To see some real contenders for “best beaches in New England,” head across the Jamestown Verrazano Bridge to Narragansett . If you’re ever wondering where to stay in Newport, you should definitely consider staying in one of the more historic bed and breakfasts in Rhode Island there.

Coastal Connecticut Road Trip

Connecticut is an eclectic state visited often by both New Englanders and New Yorkers, the latter of which only live a short train ride away. It is a popular getaway for city folk who need a break from the grind and some time in rural New England.

With a lovely coastline, romantic countryside, and a number of dynamic cities, Connecticut is a great stop along any New England road trip route USA.

Connecticut can be broken down roughly into three parts: the coast, the “Knowledge Corridor,” and the countryside. This section will cover coastal Connecticut , which is a part of Southern New England.

Driving west along Highway 95 from Rhode Island, you’ll pass by some of the most beautiful beach towns in New England. Stonington is a good place to learn about the maritime history of the state – particularly at the Old Lighthouse Museum .

yale university new haven coast new england road trip

Old Saybrook is one of the prettiest coastal towns in Connecticut and is also a stone’s throw away from Gillette Castle . On the way to New Haven is Hammonasset Beach , which is the longest and busiest beach in the state. Make sure to stay in one of the stunning cabins in Connecticut to make the most out of all this natural scenery.

New Haven marks the beginning of a long stretch of urban development that spans all the way to New York state.

New Haven is most famous for Yale University , which is arguably the top attraction in the city. Being a college town, New Haven has a great art scene and nightlife. The pizza is also particularly good in this town.

As we continue further west along 95, we’ll pass by many more beautiful New England towns. There’s quiet Milford , which has a great beach called Silver Sands .

Next, you’ll pass through industrial Bridgeport . After that is upscale Stamford , glorified dockyard for millionaires from New York (there are some good beaches as well).

Finally, you’ll end up in Greenwich , which is one of the most admired towns in New England, due in part to its beauty and close proximity to New York.

There are a ton of awesome B&Bs in Connecticut where you can stay in a historical building and enjoy that welcoming East Coast hospitality.

new england mountain trips

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Road Trip through Connecticut and Massachusetts

The interior of Connecticut is dominated by the Knowledge Corridor , which hosts one of the densest collections of higher learning institutions, not to mention one of the largest populations in New England.

Travel outside this packed area and you’ll find some of some of the best of New England pastoralism including traditional townships, rolling hills, and a distinctive tranquility. Visiting either on a New England road trip provides excellent insight into the region.

Let’s start with the quieter section – the western part of Connecticut referred to as the Litchfield Hills. This part of the state is very rural with few inhabitants and even fewer visitors.

There are a number of beautiful New England towns here, including Kent , Cornwall , and New Milford , as well some lovely natural attractions like Kent Falls, Burr Pond, Candlewood Lake, and Mohawk Mountain . These are also some of the best places to visit in New England in the fall.

an assortment of orange and red trees as seen from above on an autumn hike in connecticut new england usa

Moving along to our main destination, we first make for Hartford , Connecticut’s state capital and the beginning of the Knowledge Corridor. Hartford is considered one of the great culture capitals of the region.

There are several libraries and art collections dedicated to various historical figures, including Mark Twain, spread throughout the city. Reportedly, West Hartford also has a fairly active nightlife.

Outside of Hartford are a number of parks worth visiting. Examples include Enders State Forest/Falls, Buttermilk Falls , and Wadsworth Falls .

We continue our New England road trip north on Highway 91 through the Connecticut River Valley. This is the heart of the Knowledge Corridor, a title that refers to the huge concentration of colleges and universities in the area. This corridor runs all the way into Massachusetts and terminates in Springfield.

Springfield is a great city full of Victorian architecture and some of the coolest museums in New England. Be sure to visit the NBA Hall of Fame , if you’re interested in sports, as well as the Dr. Seuss Sculpture Museum , if you had a childhood.

Vermont Road Trip

True to its nickname, Vermont aka The Green Mountain State is a wild wonderland and a favorite playground for New England outdoors people. With some awesome skiing and hiking in addition to several fall foliage drives, which are among the best in New England, Vermont is a great escape from the more developed CT, MA, and RI. Here is the best opportunity to stay in a cabin in Vermont for a truly off-the-grid experience.

Starting in the south of Vermont, you’ll first arrive at the mountains from which the state gets its name, the Green Mountains . A subrange of the Appalachia, the Green Mountains are home to the state’s highest peaks as well as the best mountain activities.

Some of the best ski resorts in Vermont are Sugarbush, Stowe Mountain, Killington, Mount Snow , and Jay Peak. Though the slopes aren’t as epic as say those in Colorado or Oregon, they still get dumped on with snow and have decent runs.

vermont snowy geen mountains new england road trip

If skiing isn’t your bag, why not try portions of the Green Mountain Long Trail ? This extension of the Appalachian Trail is noteworthy for hitting all the range’s highest peaks but is, for this reason, difficult at times.

Casual hikers and campers can also take advantage of the many free backcountry campsites and quaint bed and breakfasts in Vermont .

Other natural attractions worth visiting in Vermont are the Mad River, Quechee Gorge, Camel’s Hump , and the many gorgeous lakes – most notably Lake Willoughby and Lake Champlain.

Montpellier is the state capital of Vermont though Burlington is the largest and most exciting in the state.

Burlington is famous for being a hippy town as well as drop dead gorgeous because it lies on the banks of Lake Champlain. Burlington makes for an excellent base for exploring Vermont’s outdoor spaces with many quality bike paths for cycling enthusiasts.

Like any good liberal college town, Burlington has plenty of bars, and the breweries, in particular, are excellent. You ca check out Airbnbs in Vermont for cozy and comfortable stays.

Road Trip to New Hampshire

New Hampshire is very similar to Vermont in that it’s mostly visited for its epic settings and free-spirited culture. With the highest peak in all of New England, Mount Washington , as well as the beautiful White Mountains , New Hampshire is another great New England road trip destination for adventurous travelers.

If you’re on a summer New England road trip, then you’ll obviously want to hit the trails in New Hampshire. This state has some of the best hikes in New England in addition to some decent summits.

As previously mentioned, Mt Washington is the highest peak in New England and can be summitted in a day either by foot or by cog train (that’s cheating though). Be mindful of foul weather.

New Hampshire’s Mt Monadnock is argued to be the second most climbed peak in the world next to Mt Fuji, but many don’t count Monadnock because it has no glacier. (Mt Hood in Oregon is the second most climbed glaciated peak in the world.)

white mountains of new hampshire new england

Another rewarding and arduous hike is the Presidential Traverse where you navigate across 11 of the state’s highest peaks. Also consider visiting Lake Winnipesaukee , Franconia Notch, Arethusa Falls, Lonesome Lake , and the Flume Gorge .

Those on a winter or spring New England road trip will be happy to hear the skiing is also quite good in New Hampshire. Popular ski resorts include Loon Mountain, Bretton Woods, Cannon Mountain , and Waterville Valley .

New Hampshire is pretty sparsely populated and there aren’t too many bustling urban centers here. There are a couple of little towns worth stopping in still.

Hanover is home to the famous Dartmouth University and is gorgeous in its own right. Jackson is a gorgeous place to stay in the White Mountains and makes for a great base. Finally, Portsmouth is one of the most historically significant towns in New England and, more importantly, has great breweries.

Road Trip on the Maine Coast

Maine will be a highlight for any New England Coast road trip! With epic seascapes and even more epic seafood, Maine has a lot to offer.

Many people have fallen in love with Maine’s coastline, too many perhaps. Coastal Maine isn’t exactly hidden these days and so anyone on a summer road trip in New England will have to deal with large crowds.

You can definitely get off the beaten path in Maine but that is a topic that we will be discussing in the next section .

Driving from Portsmouth, NH, you’ll head north on the 95 to Portland , Maine, catching glimpses of the shoreline along the way. You’ll pass by several of Maine’s best beaches and towns including York, Ogunquit, Cape Elizabeth , and Goose Rocks . Upon arriving in Portland, you may think that it’s a small coastal town but is, in fact, the largest “city” in the state.

rugged maine coastline and lighthouse

Portland is one of the best places in New England, ridiculously charming and full of quaint little attractions. You’ll learn a lot about its maritime history at the Old Port and also be afforded the opportunity to shop for artisanal souvenirs. The seafood is obviously excellent in Portland and the beer is especially delicious if not abundant.

Moving on from Portland, we continue our New England coast road trip deeper into the state. Driving on the 1 you’ll have lots of opportunities to visit the coast. Boothbay is an elegant destination, Camden is gorgeous, and Popham Beach is arguably one of the best beaches in New England.

Our ultimate destination is Acadia National Park , the only national park in New England. It is a superlative place with some astounding scenery, not to mention some of the best hikes in New England.

Spend the night in the charming seaside town of Bar Harbour , where you’ll get to try Maine’s famous cold lobster roll. You’ll find some epic Maine B&Bs here run by friendly locals.

Then go for a drive around Mt Desert Island , the island on which Acadia is located, and then explore local sites like Jordan Pond and Sand Beach . Note that you’ll have to pay an entry fee for Acadia.

Below is an overview of the Great North Woods of New England, arguably the wildest place in the Northeast. Those with the will and proper transport will be rewarded with virgin woods, pristine rivers, and an abundance of local wildlife.

Great North Woods

The Great North Woods is one of the quietest, most underdeveloped, and most beautiful places in New England. It refers to the extremely wild and untouched woodlands of northern New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine that separate New England from Canada.

With little, if any tourist infrastructure, the Great North Woods should be an awesome adventure for anyone looking for a proper USA backcountry experience on their New England road trip.

There are a fair bit of activities in the New Hampshire part of the Great North Woods. Many of New England’s best waterfalls are in this region including the spectacular Beaver Brook Falls . There’s a very complex and thorough network of trails here as well that penetrates deep into the woods.

great north woods new hampshire new england road trip route

You can drive to Great North Woods in Maine from New Hampshire via Highway 16 and pass some excellent scenery along the way. This area is one of the best places to visit in New England in the fall because of the spectacular foliage. Be careful of moose though! These giants will run into the road sometimes and seriously ruin your car.

Maine’s North Woods is expansive and is probably the most remote part of New England. It is, in fact, so out-there that certain counties like Aroostook are not even officially incorporated into the state and so have no “official populations.”

Stories of the wood’s frightful and fantastic inhabitants still circulate to this day as well, like that of the vengeful wendigo or of the murderous ding-balls.

Interior locations like Baxter State Park and Mt Katahdin are the most “accessible” places in Maine’s North Woods. Surrounding these is 100 Mile Wilderness , which is often visited by ACT hikers. If you want to travel further than these locations you may need a 4×4 as paved roads are no longer guaranteed.

If you can make it, the Allagash Wilderness is one of the great river adventures in America. Navigable only by canoe or raft, there is nothing out here besides moose, fish, and untouched landscapes.

A road trip through New England ain’t going to be cheap, folks. With the high costs of living and high demand, New England has some of the steepest hotel rates and dining prices in the USA.

That’s no reason not to visit New England in the first place though! You have us, after all. 🙂

We at The Broke Backpacker are constantly looking for new ways to save on travel and have a whole repertoire of useful tips to share with y’all. Even if we are unable to travel for $10/day like in our favorite countries (let’s be real here), we can at least help you minimize expenses to the utmost degree.

The average daily budget for a New England road trip is between $200-$250 – this includes gas, a rental car, lodging, food, drink, and entry fees.

mit docks and boston skyline new england road trip roaming ralph

On any road trip, New England or otherwise, the largest cost will be gas . This expense will always sneak up on you because it can be difficult to properly gauge how much you will actually use.

Lodging is also expensive in New England. Try and camp out as much as possible to lower your daily budget significantly. Take advantage of the cheaper public campsites and occasional backcountry site, which are sometimes free. Stay in hostels as well – they’re not so bad in New England.

Food costs are something you can control as you will have the option of cooking cheaply at home or the campsite. Dining is expensive in New England so be picky about how many lobsters you eat and clam bakes you attend.

Below is a breakdown of the average costs of a road trip in New England.

Average Costs of a New England Road Trip

Rental car : $50-$150

RV rental :  $100-$300

Gallon of gas:  $2.74

Private AirBnB home:  $140

Hotel room:  $150

Hostel:  $25-$35

Campground:  $10-30 (sometimes free!)

Sandwich:  $6-$9

Beer at a bar:  $5-$8

Coffee:  $3-$4

Bottle of Whiskey from the market:  $25

Dinner for two:  $35-$60

maine coastline at dawn rocky and rugged

Best Places to Stay in New England on a Budget

Camping in new england.

Camping in New England is either done on public land, private land or in the backcountry . Each type offers different sorts of amenities and at different prices.

Private campgrounds usually have more amenities and can accommodate more types of campers. RV parks, hookup sites, and other sorts of demanding camping (we hesitate to use the word “glamping”) are usually found at private camps.

Private camps usually have lots of communal facilities like a kitchen and showers. Because of their greater comfort, private campgrounds are usually more expensive.

Camping on public land, run either by the state or the feds, is usually more basic. Electricity is possible as is the occasional shower but don’t expect the resort-like services that private campgrounds have. Fortunately, prices are far more reasonable at public campgrounds.

cows grazing in connecticut new england under fall trees

Both public and private campsites fill up quickly in the fall. Many take reservations though and we suggest you do this if you’re going on a fall foliage road trip in New England.

Backcountry campsites, being located on either private or public land, are harder to access but have the benefit of being extremely cheap if not totally free . These campgrounds usually require a hike or maybe a water taxi to reach, which makes them difficult and unattractive for the average camper.

The backcountry campgrounds are also very primitive, often with no restrooms and maybe running water. For the intrepid, these campgrounds can be very ideal as they’re super quiet, wild, and, as previously mentioned, usually free!

Backcountry campsites are usually found in the mountains, around the lakes, and on the remote islands of New England. Use this search engine for a compendium of free camping in New England .

Always have of plenty of powerful bug spray and mosquito repellent on you. Mosquitoes are a plague in the summer. Be sure to also wear long clothing to protect yourself from ticks when hiking in the backcountry. Local ticks often carry Lyme Disease, which is an autoimmune disorder with no cure.

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Renting a Car or Campervan in New England

Renting a car is the most popular way of getting around New England. There are a myriad of car rental agencies here that offer varying deals and varying models.

To find the best rental car deal in the USA, use search engines that compare the prices from individual companies. We personally like using rentalcars.com as they’ve never failed to give us a great price.

You can also rent and travel in a campervan , which means you don’t have to worry about packing camping gear. You will have to empty and refill the various wascampete and water tanks though, which will require a visit to the proper facilities. RVs also cost more to rent, use more gas, and demand higher prices at campgrounds. We suggest booking a campervan with Outdoorsy as they usually have a good selection and good prices.

Make sure you also purchase a RentalCover.com policy to cover your vehicle against any common damages such as tires, windscreens, theft, and more at a fraction of the price you would pay at the rental desk.

The roads in the Northeast are generally very good and a sedan or economy car should deliver you to most of New England’s top destinations. Only in the most remote portions of the Great North Woods, will the roads be so bad that you need 4×4 or at least high clearance.

If you’re on a road trip in New England during the winter and want to go to the mountains, you will definitely need all-wheel or 4-wheel drive.

fall foliage drive in new england

Getting Insured for a Road Trip through New England

Concerned about staying safe in the USA? Well don’t be! Just make sure you’re insured, and you drive carefully.

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing .

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

new england mountain trips

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

New England is no doubt one of the most idyllic regions of the US. Quaint coastal towns and some of the best foliage in the country are but two reasons to take a road trip here–but there are so many more.

Hopefully, you now feel more prepared on where to go and what to do on YOUR New England road trip.

But rest assured that regardless of which spots you’re bound to find beauty, history and a whole lot of delicious seafood.

So what are you waiting for? The open, rural roads of New England awaits!

woman taking photo with new england foliage

Updated February 2023 by Samantha Shea

new england mountain trips

And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links . That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!

Ralph Cope

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Wow! great article and suggestions.

thank you for all of the advinces it helps, can t wait to visit New England Vermont Maine, xxx

Lake placid in the Adirondack Mountains also a try while stop. There are several private and New York State campgrounds nearby.

Thank you for mapping this all out. I live in New England and would love to visit many of these places.

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Apogee Adventures

  • New England Mountains & Coast

New England Mountains & Coast

Youth summer hiking, rock climbing & sea kayaking, trip details.

  • Start: Wakefield, MA, USA
  • End: Wakefield, MA, USA
  • Age Range: 12 - 14
  • Challenge Level (1-10): 3
  • Tuition: $3299 (airfare not included)
  • June 29 - July 7 (Available)
  • July 8 - July 16 (Limited)
  • July 20 - July 28 (Please Call)
  • August 3 - August 11 (Limited)

Trip Highlights

  • Hike above tree line in the White Mountains
  • Rock climb on New Hampshire’s Cathedral Ledge
  • Sea kayak Maine’s rocky coast
  • Explore and celebrate in historic Portland, Maine

Trip Resources

  • Summarized Itinerary (pdf)
  • Trip Packing List (pdf)

Trip Overview

Packed with adventure, this nine-day hiking, rock climbing, and kayaking trip is the perfect outdoor sampler, loaded with activities both in the mountains and on the water. Hike to fantastic views in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, rock climb in Echo Lake State Park, and paddle sea kayaks along the Maine coast. Whether you are new to the outdoors or have camped your whole life, New England Mountains & Coast is a great way to explore New England and try something new!

Hiking New Hampshire's White Mountains

Hiking New Hampshire's White Mountains

After meeting outside of Boston, our group will travel north into New Hampshire. There, we will spend the next several days tackling some wonderful day hikes and taking full advantage of all that the Presidential Range of the White Mountains has to offer. As we climb above tree line, we will eat lunch in beautiful alpine meadows with stunning panoramic views. We’ll discover hidden waterfalls, swim in cool mountain streams, keep an eye out for moose and other wildlife, and maybe even make a summit attempt of Mt. Washington, New England’s highest peak!

Rock Climbing at Cathedral Ledge

Rock Climbing at Cathedral Ledge

Taking a break from the trails, we will visit New Hampshire’s Echo Lake State Park for an exciting day of rock climbing. Our professional climbing guides will teach us to safely belay and scale the beautiful granite walls of Cathedral Ledge, one of the most renown climbing areas in New England!

Sea Kayaking, Community Service & Exploring Portland

Sea Kayaking, Community Service & Exploring Portland

Our last stop on this trip brings us to Maine. There we will join sea kayaking guides and spend a morning learning the fundamentals of safe paddling along Maine’s rocky coastline. As we explore the small islands in Casco Bay, we will picnic at water’s edge and maybe even enjoy a refreshing dip in the Atlantic. Our trip wraps up with some rewarding volunteer work with a local community organization before a final, festive dinner in historic Portland, Maine. A perfect ending to the perfect New England youth camping adventure!

new england mountain trips

Please see our General FAQ page for many more frequently asked questions and answers!

How physically challenging is NEMC?

Given a rating of Challenge Level 3 (out of a maximum of 10), we consider NEMC to be a beginner hiking trip that any moderately fit, motivated student can successfully complete with some prior preparation. Compared to similar hiking trips, we believe that NEMC is similar in challenge level to Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, slightly easier than Golden State Adventure , and easier still than Maine’s Downeast Explorer . Please note that all of Apogee’s Challenge Levels are not scientific and are subjectively calculated by the Apogee staff.

Where will my child be sleeping at night?

Our NEMC groups will be camping every night in established, front country campsites over the course of our trip. Leaders will separate students by gender into tent groups and will rotate those groups several times over the course of our trip. Students will share a tent with one or two other students.

What is the maximum number of students I can expect on my child’s Apogee trip?

There are never more than twelve students on an individual session of this trip. Additionally, we limit enrollment by gender to two-thirds/one-third. Groups are always led by three qualified leaders.

Is there any “backcountry” hiking on this trip?

In a word, no. All of the hiking on our NEMC trip is on established and frequently-used trails. Some of the hiking does include trails that are more than one hour from definitive care (this is the usual definition of “backcountry” hiking). That said, our NEMC groups camp in established campgrounds every night and students can expect regular access to running water and showers.

How much weight will my child carry on the hiking portions of this trip?

Not a lot. As there is no overnight backpacking on this trip, your child will be carrying between five and ten pounds during their longer hikes, composed mostly of an extra layer of clothes, rain gear, water, and snacks.

What does the community service portion of this trip entail?

The specifics of our community service projects and the number of hours we volunteer varies slightly from year-to-year. In the past, we have worked with a non-profit local farm or the Adaptive Outdoor Education Center on a variety of tasks including trail maintenance and garden work or food organization, etc. Students can expect 2-4 hours of community service work, usually over the course of one day.

How will I communicate with my child while they are on this trip?

Aside from the trip cost, what are the additional expenses for this trip?

My child will be flying to this trip start. How will they connect with their leaders?

Please note that Apogee staff members do not travel with students ; our trip leaders will already be in Boston on arrival day and will stay at our headquarters in Maine after the trip ends. Apogee staff and trip leaders will have a detailed flight itinerary for each student who is flying to the trip start and will be at Boston’s Logan Airport to greet them on arrival. Once students are with their leaders, they will call home to let their parents know they have arrived and are with their group. Please see our blog post for specifics regarding students traveling as Unaccompanied Minors. Further, we encourage you to coordinate travel with other attendees; we’re happy to put you in touch with other enrolled families from your region. We will provide enrolled families with a Travel Information document covering details specific to traveling to and from Boston, including airport information and arrival and departure time windows. Please contact Apogee with any specific questions or concerns regarding drop-offs and/or pick-ups.

To check trip availability, please call  207.725.7025 , or email  [email protected]  for more information.

New England With Love

The Flexible New England Road Trip Itinerary You Need in 2024 ❤️

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Are you planning the ultimate New England road trip? Let me help! After exploring New England for more than 20 years, I have put together this comprehensive guide to exploring this charming region. The best way to see New England is by car, and this 2-3 week itinerary offers a grand tour of New England, covering the best places to visit , especially for first-time visitors.

Spanning Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, this itinerary shows you the best of New England, from quaint coastal towns to lush mountain landscapes. The itinerary is also well-paced to allow you to spend time seeing the sites, enjoy local activities, and cross items off your New England bucket list . And, the itinerary is flexible and can be adapted to your needs, interests, and desired trip length.

Whether you’re in for the full journey or seeking shorter road trip variations (I’ve included those, too!), this guide caters to your wanderlust, ensuring a memorable and personalized exploration of New England’s beauty. Let’s go!

PS: Pop this New England playlist on—it’s perfect for a road trip!

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Table of Contents

New England Road Trip FAQ

When’s the best time of year to road trip new england.

New England is gorgeous in all seasons, but for the easiest driving (and best New England road tripping experiences), summer and fall are ideal.

If you want the fall foliage experience, late September and early October are the key weeks to plan for. Of course, these times of years are also peak tourist season, so expect more traffic and higher hotel prices.

(PS: If you want to do a shorter road trip or a route that’s perfect for fall, check out my 7 day New England Fall Road Trip itinerary!

One of my favorite times of the year in New England is mid to late May. The weather is beautiful, and the region’s roads and attractions are generally less busy. The budding greenery is especially gorgeous and fresh, too.

Early September can also be lovely, just after kids have returned to school and summer has ended. Expect crisp temperatures and leaves just beginning to change colors.

A winter road trip may be doable, but remember, New England can be quite snowy, so you’ll want to have a reliable vehicle outfitted with snow tires, and you’ll need to stay aware of changing weather conditions and road closures.

How many days do you need for a road trip to New England?

You need 2-3 weeks for a comprehensive road trip around New England. This is the ideal amount of time needed to cover the major highlights of all six New England states.

If you don’t have that much time, you can still pack a lot into a shorter trip. A minimum of 7 to 10 days is ideal for a thorough yet relaxed New England road trip. For a 7-10 day trip, consider my Southern or Northern New England itineraries, or do shorter segments of the full 2-3 week itinerary.

Where should I start my road trip through New England?

I’ve started this New England travel itinerary in Boston, as it’s the biggest city in New England and home to a major airport, Boston Logan International. This airport is easy to fly into and rent a vehicle. Boston is also a great destination on its own, so my itinerary includes a couple days exploring the city.

Ps: Ready to rent a car for your New England drive? Click here to find the best rates on rental cars !

The Perfect New England Road Trip Itinerary

Days 1 & 2: boston, massachusetts.

A street view in Boston, capturing the essence of a New England road trip itinerary, with cobblestone streets and historic brownstone buildings, featuring distinctive green bay windows. The scene is set against a backdrop of modern skyscrapers, merging the old with the new in this iconic cityscape.

You’ll start your New England excursion from Boston, Massachusetts: an absolutely fantastic city.

Boston is a well-known place that’s filled to the brim with history. From famous historical events like the Boston Tea Party to its reputation as a modern-day sports town, you’ll never be bored here.

Some great things to do in Boston :

  • Visit the North End and dine on amazing Italian food . Don’t miss grabbing cannoli from Mike’s Pastry and Modern Pastry.
  • Stroll around quaint Beacon Hill
  • Tempt your taste buds with a Boston Food Tour
  • Go shopping on classy Newbury Street
  • Follow the Freedom Trail to learn Boston’s revolutionary history
  • Join an expert-led walking tour for a more in-depth experience of the city
  • Check out one of the many great Boston museums, including the Museum of Science which I especially love
  • Join a Boston Duck Tour and ride in one of the famous amphibious vehicles

Hotel Suggestion in Boston: Fairmont Copley Plaza

Need more guidance for Boston? Check out my post on The Top Things to Do in Boston for first timers , and I’ve also got some recommendations on where to grab coffee, breakfast , a beer, or a bite to eat in Boston , too !

PS: Looking for a shorter road trip from Boston? Check out my New England trip itinerary focusing on the journey from Boston to Acadia National Park .

Days 3 & 4: Newport, Rhode Island

amy standing in a black fur coat in front of a shop with a sign that says Coffee Grinder

On Day 3, drive from Boston to Newport. This is a straightforward route, with about 2 hours of drive time. Glitz and glamour. That’s what you’ll find in Newport, Rhode Island. This town is perhaps best known for its iconic Gilded Age mansions . These opulent buildings were once the summer cottages of America’s rich and famous families.

Today, many of them have been converted into museums that you can wander through and admire some of New England’s opulence past.

Some of my favorite things to do in Newport:

  • Visit a mansion or two. I recommend The Breakers if you only have time for one of Newport’s mansions
  • Hop on this fun Gilded Age Mansions Tour, which takes you around via trolley
  • Stroll along the scenic Cliff Walk
  • Dine at the White Horse Tavern, America’s oldest operating restaurant

Hotel Suggestion in Newport: Hotel Viking

For further Newport ideas : Click here to read more about the top things to do in Newport, including beaches, restaurants, hotels , and vacation rentals too!

READ NEXT   15 Festive Things to Do for Christmas in Newport RI

Day 5: Mystic, Connecticut

two white adirondack chairs face a calm river in mystic CT

Mystic, Connecticut is a wonderful little seaside town that feels like a must-do on a New England adventure. It is one of my favorite places in New England, and there is plenty to do here: history, culture, art, sailing. And, for seafood lovers, Mystic’s coastal location offers a variety of delicious seafood dining options

Like pretty much every other scenic New England town, there’s a cute little downtown area with great shopping, dining, and activities.

A few terrific things to do in Mystic:

  • Explore Mystic Seaport , a historic shipyard and museum destination you could spend hours touring
  • Watch the Mystic drawbridge (the Mystic River Bascule Bridge) go up, especially while enjoying some Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream !
  • See the adorable beluga whales at Mystic Aquarium
  • Browse the epic shops in Olde Mystick Village including my personal favorite: Alice’s Haunted Little Bookshop

Hotel recommendation for Mystic: The Whaler’s Inn

Further reading on Mystic: Check out my tips for all the fun things to do , best restaurants to eat at , and the best places to stay in Mystic!

READ NEXT   25 Best Beach Towns in New England for Coastal Fun

Day 6: Litchfield Hills, Connecticut

A red covered bridge over a river with fall foliage in front

As you roadtrip New England, your next destination is the enchanting Litchfield Hills . This is another easy drive day, as the distance from Mystic to the Litchfield region is a short 2 hours. And if you’re traveling in the fall, the Connecticut fall foliage along this route creates a magical backdrop. To me, this area in the northwest corner of the state is a hidden gem .

Here you’ll find all the classic New England pastimes you know and love. In particular, there is an abundance of outdoor activities (hiking, paddling, fishing) as well as exceptional antique shops.

The Litchfield Hills make up a large portion of this region, and include towns such as Torrington, Woodbury, Kent, Cornwall, and Washington (very English sounding names, aren’t they?)

A few excellent things to do in the Litchfield Hills:

  • Live out your Gilmore Girls Dreams. This region is well known for being the inspiration for the iconic tv show that perfectly encapsulates New England small town charm .
  • Grab ice cream from Arethusa Farm
  • Go covered bridge chasing – Bulls Bridge in Kent has a worthwhile nearby hiking trail
  • Hike to Campbell Falls, a beautiful waterfall (this trail technically takes you over the border into Massachusetts, too, so it’s a 2-for-1!)

Recommended hotel in the Litchfield Hills: The Mayflower Inn & Spa : legend has it that it was the inspiration for Lorelei Gilmore’s inn, the Dragonfly.

READ NEXT   18 Wonderful Weekend Getaways from Boston

Day 7: Lenox, Massachusetts

Drone view of a highway through a forest of colorful fall trees

Continue on your New England road trip into the Berkshires of Massachusetts . Here you will encounter art, nature, and culture combined. This region has been very popular among vacationers for many years.  And the town of Lenox is the center of it all.

Best things to do in Lenox:

  • Enjoy a concert at the famous Tanglewood (these are a staple in summer, and you can hear everything from leading symphonies to folk singers like James Taylor
  • Take in a performance at Shakespeare & Company. This theatre produces excellent shows; I’ve been twice!
  • Take a hike on one of the area’s many scenic trails
  • Step back in time at the Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum, a 1890s home that’s open for tours.
  • If you are interested in literature, you may also wish to stop by the Mount, Edith Wharton’s turn-of-the-century estate.

Where to stay in Lenox:

More resources for your trip to Lenox and the Berkshires: 🍁 Best Restaurants in Lenox 🍁 10 Charming Cabins in the Berkshires 🍁 Best Hikes in the Berkshires

Day 8: Manchester, Vermont

A soldier's monument stands tall amidst the fiery red and orange leaves of autumn in the Northeast, with a clear blue sky above and a backdrop of a mountain. This image captures the vibrant fall colors, ideal for a Northeast road trip to see the season's change

Finally, you’ve made it into the spectacular state of Vermont (my personal favorite, if you couldn’t tell). It’s a fairly easy drive from the Berkshires in Massachusetts up to Manchester in the southwestern corner of Vermont, only a couple of hours. And this is another route that is especially glorious if you opt to do a New England fall road trip .

Manchester is one of the most beautiful places in Vermont, marrying quaint village charm with touches of modern luxury. It’s no surprise that it’s very popular among travelers.

Some of my favorite things to do in Manchester:

  • Tour Hildene , the beautiful Lincoln family home (Yes, some of Abraham Lincoln’s children lived here!)
  • Drive to the top of Mt. Equinox on Skyline Drive (or consider hiking the trail up to the summit)
  • In the fall, pick pumpkins from the patch at Equinox Valley Nursery (and don’t miss the cider donuts!)
  • Shop til you drop at Manchester’s many outlet stores
  • Dine at the stately Ye Olde Tavern
  • Pop into Northshire Bookstore , one of the leading independent bookstores in New England

Hotel Recommendation for Manchester: Kimpton Taconic Hotel

More resources on Manchester: Read my entire Manchester VT travel guide for more of the top Manchester activities, as well as these articles on the best restaurants , breakfast spots , and hotels in Manchester .

READ NEXT   25 Best Hikes in New England: New England Hiking Options for Everyone

PS: If you’re very interested in exploring Vermont, a trip through Manchester, Burlington, and Stowe make the ideal Vermont road trip itinerary .

Day 9: Burlington, Vermont

an image of an empty shopping street on a sunny day. colorful banners cross over the blue sky and a long bricked walkway leads to a distant church - burlington vermont

Just around 2 hours north of Manchester (taking the beautiful and scenic Route 7) you’ll find yourself in Burlington: Vermont’s biggest city. It’s also often mislabeled as Vermont’s capital, but that honor goes to Montpelier. Still, you’re likely to run into Bernie Sanders in either town!

Burlington is where my husband and I lived for several years. It’s a fantastic town that is hip, artsy, and full of good, local food . Seriously, in Vermont, you need to eat. There’s so much delicious cheese, coffee, beer, maple syrup, and much, much more.

To get you started on your culinary adventures, check out this post on my favorite Burlington breweries and bars , and this one on my beloved coffee shops. Oh, and don’t forget to enjoy brunch in BTV . We do breakfast here right.

The gem of Burlington is Lake Champlain, the sprawling, sparkling lake that the city overlooks. Here is the chance to go sailing, stand-up paddleboarding, or take a ferry across to New York state.

If you’d prefer to stay on dry land, visit one of the many beautiful parks and natural areas. Burlington is amazing for outdoor activities. If you want to get moving, the Burlington Bike Path stretches for miles, hugging the lake’s edge. This is ideal for running or cycling. You can even rent bikes right on the bike path.

More epic things to do in Burlington VT:

  • Sail on Lake Champlain on the Spirit of Ethan Allen cruise
  • Walk down Church Street for shopping, eats, people-watching, and more
  • Hike Mt. Philo, a nearby easy hike with the payoff of a fantastic view

Hotel recommendation in Burlington: Hotel Vermont

Even more resources for your Burlington trip:  🍁 21 Hikes Near Burlington VT to Add to Your Bucket List  🍁 10 Can’t-Miss Free Things to do in Burlington VT  🍁 9 Incredible Day Trips from Burlington VT 🍁 Where to Stay in Burlington VT in 2023: Best Burlington Hotels

PS: Considering visiting Burlington in 2024? It’s one of the cities that the total solar eclipse will pass fully over on April 8, 2024, so start planning ASAP!

Days 10 & 11: Stowe, Vermont

A vibrant 'Welcome to Stowe, Vermont' mural painted on the side of a classic blue New England building, complete with hanging flower baskets. This colorful greeting sets the tone for a picturesque stop on a road trip through New England.

From Burlington, head south on I89 to Exit 10. From there, you’ll take the scenic Route 100 past Waterbury and out to Stowe. When people think of the classic Vermont places, they’re likely thinking of Stowe.

It’s absolutely gorgeous: a charming town surrounded by mountains. The short Main Street and its side streets boast a white-steepled church, an old-timey general store, and a ski museum.

Simply put, Stowe is adorable. I have been to Stowe countless times and I highly recommend it as one of the premier New England road trip destinations!

Wonderful things to do in Stowe:

  • Traverse the trails and property at the Trapp Family Lodge , and grab a beer afterwards at their European-style brewery and Bierhall
  • Shop the adorable shops on Main Street
  • Visit a haunted covered bridge if you dare (Emily’s Bridge)
  • Spend a day skiing on one of the area’s fantastic ski mountains
  • One of my number one tips: on your way to Stowe, stop by Cold Hollow Cider Mill for all things apple (a must-visit in the fall) and the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory tour .

Where to stay in Stowe: Field Guide Lodge , Topnotch Resort , or the Trapp Family Lodge

More on Stowe: I have an entire post dedicated to Things to Do in Stowe, Vermont, the best restaurants , the best breakfast , the best hikes , the best hotels , everything!

READ NEXT   15 Gorgeous VRBO & Airbnb Stowe VT Vacation Rentals (2023)

READ NEXT   Stowe Vermont in Summer: 11 Fun Things to do for All Ages

Days 12 & 13: The White Mountains, New Hampshire

A serene lake reflects the vivid autumn foliage of New England, with a mix of green, yellow, and orange leaves against a clear blue sky. This peaceful setting is a highlight for travelers on a New England states road trip, offering a moment of reflection amidst nature's splendor.

No adventure in New England could be complete without some mountain time. And this is especially true if you’re planning a New England fall road trip .

New Hampshire’s White Mountains are impressive and exciting. They’re the tallest in New England (with Mount Washington tallest of all) and offer spectacular hiking and more. There are several places you could base yourself during this portion of the road trip, but I recommend North Conway, Lincoln, or North Woodstock, as they each offer lots of amenities and accommodations, and are a reasonable distance from the most popular attractions in the region.

Unmissable things to do in the White Mountains:

  • Take in some of the coolest natural wonders of the White Mountains , such as the Basin, a granite “pothole” that is found at the base of a waterfall in Franconia Notch State Park
  • Go hiking! This is the #1 item on any New Hampshire bucket list . And here is a guide to some of the best hikes in New Hampshire .
  • Meander through Flume Gorge. This is a natural ravine that formed over many years and now a hiking trail with a boardwalk passes through it. This is a wonderful hike with some amazing scenery. Another spot that is extra special with the fall foliage
  • Clark’s Trading Post in Lincoln, an old-fashioned New Hampshire classic
  • A scenic drive along The Kancamangus Highway. This epic stretch of road runs 26 miles between Lincoln and Conway and is one of New Hampshire’s most scenic roads . There are many great spots to stop and explore further and this is undoubtedly one of the best places to see New England fall foliage.
  • Shop in North Conway, and don’t miss Zeb’s General Store for a taste of pure nostalgia.
  • Tube or paddle in the Saco River. On a friend’s recent bachelorette party trip, we used Saco River Tubing and had an absolute blast!
  • Near Bartlett you can stop by Diana’s Baths, a beautiful area of cascading waterfalls and gentle pools. On a hot summer’s day, it’s the perfect place to cool off.

Where to Stay in the White Mountains: Lumen Nature Retreat

More White Mountains travel guides:  🍁  Best Things to Do in North Conway, NH  🍁  Best Things to Do in Lincoln, NH  🍁  Best Things to Do in Franconia, NH  🍁  15 Amazing Cabins in the White Mountains, NH

READ NEXT   Your Guide to Mt Washington NH: The Highest Peak in the Northeast!

Days 14 & 15: Portland, Maine

amy is wearing a bright orange sweatshirt and holding her toddler son in the air, both are smiling and there is a famous maine lighthouse beyond

Finally, the last state on the great New England road trip. This is Maine, “the way life should be.”

Maine is massive so there’s no way to do the state justice in this itinerary; I’m essentially covering a few of the must-see areas. You could spend weeks on a road trip of Maine alone. (See also these  8 autumn scenic drives in Maine delivering up insane fall colors).

If you do wish to explore the rest of Maine (and you absolutely should) I recommend taking a look at my epic list of 50+ Fun Things to Do in Maine , as well as this guide to the top places to visit in Maine . But let’s continue with our amazing road trip!

Stop for a bit in Portland, a modern portside town that may surprise you. There’s a hip city right on the water in Portland, Maine, and this is a hot spot for restaurants, coffee shops, breweries, bakeries , and entertainment .

Fun things to do in Portland:

  • Visit a brewery. Beer lovers will be happy to know that Portland has 18 breweries all its own .
  • Check out one of several lighthouses in the area . There are 5 less than 20 minutes’ drive from Portland, including the iconic Portland Head Light.
  • Grab some of that famous Maine lobster.
  • Stuff your face with Maine potato donuts from local staple The Holy Donut
  • Walk the pretty Old Port and patronize the eclectic shops and restaurants
  • Don’t miss dining at Hot Suppa , a West End restaurant where I enjoyed the best breakfast of my life (and a spectacular maple latte)
  • Traveling with kids? The Children’s Museum of Maine on Thompson’s Point is a total blast!

Portland hotel recommendation : Hotel Francis in the West End

Further resources for discovering Portland:  🍁 The Best Things to Do in Portland, Maine  🍁 Weekend in Portland Itinerary  🍁 7 Spots for the Best Breakfast in Portland Maine  🍁 14 Exceptional Airbnb Portland Maine Rentals 🍁 12 Best Hotels in Portland Maine

Days 16 & 17: Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor, Maine

A breathtaking aerial view from a cliffside, overlooking a tapestry of fall foliage in New England, with a backdrop of a calm bay meeting the Atlantic Ocean. This panoramic vista captures the essence of exploring New England, where land and sea meet amidst the splendor of autumn.

Now we travel north to Bar Harbor. Admittedly, it looks like a far drive on the map. In reality, from Portland to Bar Harbor is just over a 3-hour drive. And trust me, visiting Mt. Desert Island is SO worth it.

Bar Harbor is the seaside town that will be your base for exploring Acadia National Park . You will be in awe over this beautiful part of Maine. Here is where rocky cliffs tumble into the sea, with iconic lighthouses at the top.

There’s abundant wildlife on land and in the sea, and countless opportunities for terrific hiking.

But the region is not just about the outdoors. Bar Harbor has lovely shops, restaurants, and extremely cozy inns . Truly, the region is ideal for travelers of all kinds. You’ll also find great camping, cabins , and vacation rentals in and near Acadia, too.

My top recommendations in Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor:

  • Tackle the exhilarating Beehive Hike, that involves a bit of climbing and rewards you with unparalleled views
  • Order popovers at the Jordan Pond House (delicious!)
  • Take a whale watch or other wildlife tour from Bar Harbor
  • Drive up Cadillac Mountain before dawn to catch the sunrise from the first place light touches in the Continental US
  • Marvel at the natural wonder of Thunder Hole
  • Bike the Carriage Roads in Acadia National Park

Bar Harbor hotel recommendation: The Bar Harbor Inn

More on Acadia: Check out my 3 Day Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park Itinerary for an awesome trip!

Read Next :  10 Coastal Towns in Maine That are Hidden Gems

Day 18: Portsmouth, New Hampshire

A charming street in a New England town during a getaway, featuring historic brick buildings with a quaint coffee shop, and the steeple of a white church rising against a sky with puffy clouds. The inviting atmosphere is perfect for a leisurely stroll and exploration.

Your New England driving tour itinerary is nearing its end, but you’ve got a few more stops to make—-stops you won’t want to miss.

Portsmouth is first. We’re back in New Hampshire now! Between Maine and Massachusetts, New Hampshire is home to a very small strip of coastline. The hub of the Seacoast is Portsmouth, a small yet lively city with a great deal of history. You can see colonial architecture all over this beautiful city.

Taking a New England winter road trip? Portsmouth should definitely be on your list, as they do a month of celebrations and events with Vintage Christmas, one of the most magical New England Christmas celebrations !

Best things to do in Portsmouth:

  • Strawbery Banke Museum: an outdoor living history museum.
  • Dine at one of the many awesome restaurants: Portsmouth has become a major foodie destination in recent years
  • Go shopping at the numerous boutiques around town. Some standouts: Gus & Ruby Letterpress , Pickwick’s Mercantile , and G. Williker’s Toy Shop
  • Be surrounded by books and grab a tasty beverage at Book & Bar
  • Wander the lovely Prescott Park
  • Attend some award-winning theatre at Seacoast Repertory Theatre

Hotel suggestion in Portsmouth: The Hotel Portsmouth

Further Portsmouth NH travel resources for your trip : 🍁 The Best Things to Do in Portsmouth, NH 🍁 Top 10 Bars in Portsmouth NH

READ NEXT   18 Magical New England Christmas Towns that are Straight Out of a Hallmark Movie (Updated 2023)

Day 19: Salem, Massachusetts

A historic dark wood-paneled house in New England, decorated with autumnal pumpkins and hay bales, captures the seasonal charm on a driving tour. The bright fall foliage provides a colorful contrast to the classic architecture, inviting visitors to explore the region's heritage

Your final stop is the historically infamous Salem, Massachusetts. And though you’ll definitely want to spend time exploring its history with the Salem Witch Trials, there’s plenty to do in the area that isn’t witchy, too.

You can hit the highlights of Salem in one day, or extend for another 2-3.

If possible, you don’t necessarily want to plan your trip to Salem to coincide with Halloween. Although the town has a distinct, fun vibe this time of year, October is also its busiest and most crowded month.

No matter when you go, however, there are definitely some things not to be missed:

  • Go to The Witch House, an atmospheric home you’ve definitely seen on Instagram, and a building that is one of the only Salem locations with direct ties to the witch trials. (One of the judges lived here).
  • Get witchy in the magickal shops. Whether you want something more fun and touristy, or you’re after the real deal, Salem has a wide range of shops selling all kinds of goods.
  • Tour the House of the Seven Gables
  • Walk the neighborhoods around Federal Street and admire the stately historic homes
  • Find the Hocus Pocus film locations! (Use my guide to take a DIY Hocus Pocus tour )
  • Get spooked on a nighttime ghost tour ( top recommendations here !)
  • Grab a photo with Samantha at the Bewitched Statue

Hotel recommendation for Salem : The Hawthorne Hotel or Hotel Salem (they have a great rooftop bar)

More on Salem: Check out its great restaurants , scope out some of its haunted history , and maybe even stay overnight in one of Salem’s classic New England inns or Airbnbs ! Nearby towns of Rockport, Gloucester , and Marblehead are worth visiting too if you’d like to explore more of this area of coastal New England.

READ NEXT   12 Fun and FREE Things to Do in Salem MA

Day 20 / End: – Boston, Massachusetts

You did it! You’ve completed an epic New England road trip! Congratulations! You’ve seen some of the prettiest places in the country, and you did it all by car!

Days 21+: Optional Add-Ons: Cape Cod/Nantucket/Martha’s Vineyard

A classic New England lighthouse with a white facade and adjoining keeper's house, set against a clear blue sky. A well-tended lawn with a concrete pathway leads to the building, symbolizing the maritime heritage encountered while traveling through New England

You may be wondering why I didn’t include some of New England’s coastal gems on this New England road trip itinerary? I did this because destinations such as Cape Cod , Nantucket, and Martha’s Vineyard are harder to get to and don’t fit in well with the traditional road trip format. After all, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard are islands, so they are not an easy destination to access without in-depth planning.

Not only are they more complicated to travel to, these Massachusetts coastal destinations are terrific and truly worthy of their own vacations . I highly recommend devoting a trip specifically to exploring New England’s amazing coast.

If you wish to add to your road trip, by all means, hop in the car and continue the drive to Cape Cod. From there you can easily take a day trip to Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket. And I hope these resources will help you as you plan:

More travel ideas here:

  • 25 Things to Do on Cape Cod (Besides the Beach!)
  • 13 Best Hotels on Cape Cod: Where to Stay on the Cape
  • 10 Best Hotels on Nantucket: Where to Stay for a Nantucket Getaway
  • 25+ Fun Things to Do in Martha’s Vineyard

The Ultimate New England Road Trip Map (2-3 weeks)

The map below includes all of the destinations I’ve outlined above.

In need of some extra New England road trip ideas? If you’re limited on time, check out my Northern and Southern New England road trip itineraries. These are ideal for 5 day, 7 day, or 10 day New England road trips. Your own personal planning maps are below!

Northern New England Road Trip 7-10 Day Itinerary

  • Woodstock, VT
  • Waitsfield, VT
  • Lincoln, NH
  • Portland, ME

Here’s a great New England road trip route if you just don’t have time to go everywhere, but you want to see the highlights of northern New England. In any trip you’ll have to make some choices about what to see and what to miss, sadly, but with this road trip itinerary, you’ll definitely have a broad experience of Northern New England.

This one week New England itinerary contains many of the same stops you’ll find on the ultimate version (that covers all six states). But this one also has the addition of Woodstock, Vermont, which is a classic New England spot, really a ‘Currier and Ives town.’

Southern New England Road Trip 7-10 Day Itinerary

  • Provincetown, MA
  • Newport, RI
  • Providence, RI
  • Stonington, CT
  • Litchfield Hills, CT
  • Gloucester, MA

The Southern New England road trip route is ideal for those who really seek a coastal trip, or who aren’t quite as interested in exploring the mountains. This trip adds a whole bunch of extra stops so you can really dive into coastal New England.

It gives you a feel for the more outdoorsy areas of these southern New England states, too, as the itinerary brings you through the Berkshires, and through charming parts of Connecticut. Definitely an option for a lovely New England summer road trip itinerary.

Shorter Scenic Drives in New England

Are you just looking for a short scenic route that allows you to see dramatic coastal cliffs, mountainscapes, scenic countryside, and more of New England’s charm?

Whether you’re looking for fall scenic drives in New England, beautiful routes along the coast, or just a short yet pretty New England drive, you might just find what you’re looking for on this list of short, scenic drives in New England.

Scenic Drives in New Hampshire

A scenic road in New Hampshire with a covered bridge and fall foliage

The Coastal Byway (Route 1A)

Location: Portsmouth to Seabrook 

Distance: 18.5 miles 

Where to Stop:  

  • Hampton Beach
  • Surf Portsmouth , Portsmouth 
  • Strawbery Banke Museum , Portsmouth

Robert Frost Scenic Byway

Location: Southern New Hampshire

Distance: 43 miles (The Old Stagecoach Byway and the Robert Frost Byway combined) 

Where to Stop: 

  • Robert Frost Farm State Park , Derry 
  • Civil War Memorial, Chester
  • Matthew Thornton House, Derry 
  • Town Beach, Hampstead

New Hampshire Route 112 (Kancamagus Highway)

Location: Conway to Bath

Distance: 56.39 miles 

  • Sabbaday Falls 
  • Albany Covered Bridge 
  • Swift River Lower Falls  
  • Russell-Colbath House 
  • Sugar Hill Scenic Overlook

The Lake Winnipesaukee Loop

Location: The Lakes Region 

Distance: 97 miles

  • George’s Diner , Meredith 
  • Mt. Major Trail, Alton 
  • Dewey’s Ice Cream Parlor and Cafe , Center Harbor 
  • Cotton Valley Rail Trail , Wolfeboro 
  • Abenakee Tower , Tuftonboro

Scenic Drives in Maine

  • Moosehead Lake

Location: Kennebec and Moose River Valley

Distance: 59 miles

Where to Stop:

  • Lily Bay State Park
  • B52 Crash Site
  • Mount Kineo
  • Stress Free Moose Pub & Cafe

U.S. Coastal Route 1 

Location: Kennebunkport to Bar Harbor

Distance: 200 miles

  • Goose Rocks Beach , Kennebunkport
  • Portland Head Light , Cape Elizabeth
  • Old Orchard Beach Boardwalk, Old Orchard Beach
  • The Holy Donut, Portland
  • Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland
  • Jordan’s Restaurant , Bar Harbor

Acadia All American Road from Trenton to Acadia

Location: Trenton to Bar Harbor

Distance: 40 miles

  • Thunder Hole
  • Bar Harbor Inn & Spa

Scenic Drives in Vermont

A close up of the South Vermont 100 sign on a scenic byway in Vermont

Location: Wilmington to Jay 

Distance: 184 miles

  • Molly Stark State Park, Wilmington
  • Dot’s Restaurant , Wilmington
  • The Vermont Country Store ,  Weston
  • Green Mountain Sugar House ,  Ludlow
  • Moss Glen Falls, Granville
  • Ben & Jerry’s Factory , Waterbury
  • Cold Hollow Cider Mill ,  Waterbury Center
  • Trapp Family Lodge ,  Stowe

Route 9 – The Molly Stark Byway

Location: Brattleboro to Bennington 

Distance: 40.1 miles

  • Vermont Country Deli , Brattleboro
  • Creamery Bridge, Brattleboro
  • Southern Vermont Natural History Museum, West Marlboro
  • Hogback Mountain Scenic Lookout, Wilmington
  • Bennington Battle Monument, Bennington
  • The Apple Barn and Country Bakeshop – Bennington

Location: Bennington to Burlington 

Distance: 122 miles

  • The Bennington Battle Monument, Bennington
  • The Robert Frost Stone House Museum , Shaftsbury
  • Cider donuts at the Equinox Valley Nursery , Manchester
  • Downtown Murals, Rutland
  • Woodchuck Cider , Middlebury
  • The Burlington Waterfront – Burlington
  • Church Street/Downtown – Burlington

Rhode Island Scenic Drives

Ocean drive.

Location: Fort Adams Park to Bellevue Ave

Distance: 10 Miles

  • Castle Hill Lighthouse
  • Brenton Point State Park
  • Fort Adams Park
  • The Breakers
  • Marble House
  • Rough Point
  • The Red Parrot Restaurant

Scenic Drives in Connecticut

Connecticut state route 169.

Location: Norwich to Woodstock

Distance: 36 miles

  • Lisbon Meadows Park, Lisbon
  • Prudence Crandall Museum , Waterbury
  • New England Center of Contemporary Art, Brooklyn
  • Roseland Cottage , Woodstock

Connecticut Shoreline Drive

Location: New Haven to Stonington Borough

Distance: about 80 miles (depending on which routes you take!)

  • Eat in Little Italy, New Haven
  • Hammonasset Beach State Park, Madison
  • Harvey’s Beach, Old Saybrook
  • Rocky Neck State Park, East Lyme
  • Mystic Aquarium, Mystic

Scenic Drives in Massachusetts

The berkshires.

Location: Stockbridge to Williamstown

Distance: 35 miles

  • Norman Rockwell Museum , Stockbridge
  • Berkshire Botanical Garden,  Stockbridge
  • The Mount, Edith Wharton House , Lenox
  • Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield
  • Hancock Shaker Village, Hancock
  • Mount Greylock , North Adams
  • Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art , North Adams
  • Williams College – Williamstown

Essex Coastal Scenic Byway

Location: Gloucester to Newburyport 

Distance: 24 miles

  • Hammond Castle Museum, Gloucester
  • Crane Wildlife Refuge, Essex
  • Eat at the Clam Box , Ipswich MA
  • Plum Island Beach, Newburyport
  • Maudslay State Park, Newburyport

Wrapping Up this Northeast Road Trip

I hope this New England travel guide has given you all the information you need to help you plan a trip to the region’s most exciting and gorgeous places. With multi-day options to choose from and choices that are great for every season, I have aimed to cover all of the top places to road trip throughout these six amazing states.

Even more resources for your New England adventures: 🍁 25 Fantastic New England Day Trips 🍁 Hidden Gems in New England: 15 Secret Places to Visit 🍁 Best Fall Foliage New England Tours Worth Your Money

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Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston, MA - Photo Credit Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

Visit New England ®

Flume Gorge at Franconia Notch, NH

Welcome to Visit New England!

Home of gorgeous beaches and mountains, colonial history, foods and family fun.

What can you expect from a visit to the New England states of Maine , Vermont , New Hampshire , Massachusetts , Rhode Island , and Connecticut ? For starters, everyone’s seen images of the region’s natural beauty: the craggy coastline of Maine, the blazing fall foliage of Vermont, the mountain peaks of New Hampshire. Moving toward the middle and southern states: the dune grasses and beaches of Cape Cod and heroes of the American Revolution in Massachusetts, the Colonial streets and Newport, RI mansions of Rhode Island, and the classic town greens and steepled churches of Connecticut.

Click Here to View a Map of New England

Sunset on the Dock at Memensha - Martha's Vineyard, MA - Photo Credit Mass. Office of Tourism

Beaches of New England

Everyone who loves New England and water fun has a favorite beach . Among the most well-known are the sandy sweeps and bending dune grasses of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. At the opposite end of image and mood (but without sand), are the swimming holes of the old Vermont marble quarries and the tumbling waters of rock strewn mountain streams. Those images only touch of the variety of salt-water and fresh-water swimming places in New England.

DuBois Beach in Stonington, CT - Photo Credit Shutterstock

Take a Rest

Even the most energetic vacationers need to kick back at the end of the day. Lodgings across New England serve every taste. How would you like to drift into sleep to the lapping of ocean waves from a beach or oceanside resort ? Awaken to the hoot of loons in a mountain resort ? Sip a leisurely cup of coffee at a boutique hotel or bed-and-breakfast inn in a historic neighborhood in charming Portland ME, Burlington VT, Boston MA, Portsmouth NH, Providence RI , or New Haven CT ? Family friendly and pet-friendly lodgings welcome kids and dogs, too.

Captain's House Inn in Chatham, MA - Photo Credit Captains House Inn

Romance & Luxury

Start your romantic getaway plans with a walk along a windy beach dune or a sunset cruise on a mountain lake. Move on to a candlelit dinner in a 300-year-old converted stagecoach inn. Romance can go with dazzle, too, like at high-rise luxury hotels in places like Portland ME, Boston MA , and Providence RI , some with rooftop restaurants or pools. In winter, farmers offer horse-drawn carriage rides (or even snowmobile or dog sled rides for the hearty). Romantic dining, from a café in some city’s Little Italy to a restaurant alongside a sweet village green, is everywhere.

Romantic Tea & Cookies - Photo Credit Shutterstock

Children’s fun is everywhere . Would your children love to ski or snowboard? Poke through granite caves alongside a churning ravine? Ride river rapids or take a zip line dive down a mountain? Play and swim at a sandy ocean beach or a mountain lake? Take a cruise off the Maine coast on a classic windjammer? Maybe visit the olden times at a living history museum like Old Sturbridge Village or Mystic Seaport ? Indoors, children’s museums and science museums are found almost everywhere, two of the best aquariums anywhere are in Connecticut and Massachusetts .

Lost River Gorge in North Woodstock, NH - Photo Credit Lost River Gorge

New England’s traditional foods range from Maine lobsters and blueberries to Boston baked beans and Vermont cheese and maple syrup. In this region book-ended by the Atlantic Ocean, Long Island Sound , and Vermont’s Lake Champlain , nearly every eatery serves a fine platter of seafood. Do you love friendly, down-home diners? New England has them.

Sharing a Lobster for Lunch - Photo Credit Shutterstock

Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall

People have their favorite New England seasons, but it can be hard to choose the single best. The sugar maples of the New England mountains burst into brilliant color in fall , with Columbus Day as the usual epicenter of the show. All through the season, smart travelers plan a self-guided foliage drive. Winter brings snow sports of all kinds to the mountain regions, where the ski areas rank up with the best ski spots across the nation. Summer is a time for beaches – from the sandy stretches of Cape Cod to the fresh waters of tree-lined inland lakes and swimming holes.

Old First Church & Robert Frost Burial Ground in Fall - Photo Credit Thomas Schoeller Photography

© Thomas Schoeller Photography

Cruising: small vessels, big scenery.

New England is loved for its waterways, most famously for its waterfront along the Atlantic Ocean, but also the historic Lake Champlain , the mountain-ringed lakes of New Hampshire , the fly-fishing and rafting resource of the Housatonic River , and the many beautiful bays. Maine’s famous windjammers offer cruises, as do boat pilots on Lake Winnipesaukee . Many cruises offer specialty events like sunset views or wine tasting, or a chance to watch lobstermen pull in their catch. Essex, Connecticut , offers a combined land-and-water adventure on am antique train followed by a river paddleboat.

Sightsailing in Newport, RI - Photo Credit Destination Newport

Museums and Shopping

She loves museums; he loves to shop. Let’s start with Boston, MA ’s fabulous arts, history, and science museums. Two favorites are the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum for art and a medieval courtyard and the USS Constitution Museum , with “Old Ironsides” docked nearby. Shopping is grand at Newbury Street and the famous Faneuil Hall Marketplace . It’s not fair, though, to focus on a single city. Art and history and science museums are plentiful and fascinating in Maine , Vermont , New Hampshire , Massachusetts , Rhode Island , and Connecticut .

Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston, MA - Photo Credit Meet Boston

Colonial and Revolutionary History

You can find stories of the creation of America almost everywhere, along with tales of the region’s seafaring history . Boston, MA has the Freedom Trail among stores, churches and houses where the Revolution of 1776 was planned. The Industrial Revolution was founded at Slater Mill in Rhode Island , when a Brit smuggled plans for a water-powered mill out of England. Living history museums include Plimoth Patuxet . The Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor, ME , is one of several that tell the histories of Native peoples.

Boston Tea Party Ship & Museum in Boston, MA - Photo Credit Boston Tea Party Ship & Museum

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New England Wanderlust

Connecticut , Fall , Maine , Massachusetts , New Hampshire , Rhode Island , Vermont  ·  June 7, 2023

The PERFECT New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary: 3, 5, 7, 10 & 12 Day Options! (2024)

There’s a reason why New England is world-famous for fall foliage, and if you’re looking to plan the most amazing New England fall road trip, you’ve come to the right place! I’ve been traveling throughout this region for over 15 years, and have done quite a few fall foliage road trips and even more fall getaways. It took me a while, but I’ve finally put together the perfect itinerary for you based on real experience.

This post details the best places to visit in New England during fall foliage season that are worth the hype, the best times to plan your road trip, and also, which places may not be worth your time. So, you can rest assured that you’re truly seeing the best of the best with my itinerary.

This itinerary is also geared toward first-timers and those looking to find the best foliage spots . If you’ve experienced New England in the fall season before, many of these locations and tips may already be familiar. However, I’ve also sprinkled in some insider tips, so it’s still definitely worth reading 😉

During this trip, prepare to see idyllic countryside landscapes, blazing fall color, beautiful covered bridges, charming towns, general stores, epic overlooks and hiking trails, and so much more. Basically, you’ll get your fill of New England charm right from the start, and it won’t stop until the trip is over. Sound good? Then let’s get started!

AM Foster Covered Bridge in Vermont is a great stop to make on your New England fall road trip!

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Tips For Planning A Trip To New England In The Fall

There are some important things to know before you begin to plan your perfect New England fall road trip, so let’s get that out of the way first 😉

The first thing you need to know is that foliage will peak in the northern areas first, then peak in the southern areas later . For that reason, I recommend that you start in the north if you can, especially for a longer trip, but it’s not always necessary for shorter trips.

If you’re planning a bucket list 2-week adventure, starting in the north is a good call because peak foliage can begin to diminish quickly, depending on the season and climate patterns. However, if you’re traveling for closer to a week, this won’t be as important.

I go into peak foliage times in each region in a bit, so definitely be sure to read that through, too!

Another important thing to know is that you should anticipate all kinds of weather. I’ve done many fall road trips through this region, and have had warm, sunny days, and trips where it rained almost every single day. I’ll go more into what to pack for this trip at the end of the post to help you prepare, but this is a good thing to be aware of.

Also, book in advance . I can’t stress this enough. Hotels and accommodations book out well in advance for fall foliage season in prime areas, and these prime areas are where you’ll be heading! If possible, begin to book your hotels at least 6 months in advance, but even 8 months is better. For reference, while I began to plan my Vermont fall road trip for the 2023 season, my favorite place to stay in Stowe, VT was fully booked during peak foliage weeks – in FEBRUARY. Yep, February.

Offline Google Maps! I can’t tell you how important this is! Even as recent as a fall 2022 road trip, I barely had service through much of New Hampshire and Vermont. I spent a lot of time just driving around hoping my service would come back, or asking people for directions the old-fashioned way. I usually offline maps, but totally forgot that trip, and it was a harsh reminder that this is a must-do.

Lastly, prepare to pay . Yes, the sad truth is that peak foliage season in New England is expensive, and it won’t be your most budget-friendly trip ever. There are ways to keep costs down, and I’ll go more into that later in the post as well, but generally speaking, this is an expensive time to visit New England – at least, where the foliage is the best 😉

What Is The Best Time To Visit New England For Fall Color?

In a nutshell, the last week of September, or the first week of October. However, it does vary depending on where you’re heading.

As mentioned before, the colors will begin to change in the northern regions first, and then the southern regions will follow later. Most people will choose to visit Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont during their New England fall road trip (and spoiler alert: this is also where I’ll be suggesting you go!), so this timeframe works very well for these areas.

The central part of Vermont will often peak right around Indigenous People’s weekend in October, and for a getaway to popular towns like Stowe and Woodstock, this is the perfect weekend to plan your trip.

Massachusetts often peaks right around Indigenous People’s weekend as well, with southern MA peaking a week or so later.

The greater Boston area, and Connecticut will peak mid-late October, depending on the year.

Stowe also makes for a wonderful day trip in Vermont, and is one of the best places to experience fall in New England.

How Many Days Do You Need In New England In The Fall?

The great thing about New England in the fall is that you can easily do a weekend getaway and still pack a lot in, or you can plan an epic 12 day road trip for the ultimate adventure. And either way, it’s going to be incredibly memorable.

If you’re coming in from a distance, especially if you’re flying in, I would say 10 days is a great option, 12 days is even better, and 7 days is also wonderful. Of course, with 12 days, you’ll be able to see so much or plan extra time in some places. But even with 7 days, you’ll get to see quite a bit.

If you’re local to New England, and don’t have 10 days, 7 days is again a nice sweet spot. 5 days will also work in this case. And, as mentioned, even a weekend away will allow you to experience some of the best this region has to offer in the fall season.

The great thing about the best places for fall foliage are located in some of the smallest states, so you can cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time.

Best Places To See On A New England Fall Road Trip

While every New England state has something special to offer during fall foliage season, for the purpose of seeing the absolute best spots, I recommend sticking to Maine , Massachusetts , New Hampshire and Vermont . And flying into Boston.

Because these areas offer the most spectacular displays of foliage, most picturesque scenery, tons of things to do, and they’re all reasonable close to one another, allowing you to maximize your time.

Here’s why I don’t necessarily recommend states like Connecticut or Rhode Island if you have less than 10 days – they’re further away from the best places to see in the fall.

I truly love every single New England state, and I do really enjoy Connecticut in the fall. However, it’s so far west that you’ll spend more time driving to get there, and possibly forgoing some really spectacular places in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Vermont.

If you have 10 days or more for a New England fall road trip, then I would highly suggest you consider adding in the Litchfield Hills regions of Connecticut , which you’ll see I included in my itinerary. It’s also very close to The Berkshires region, so you can combine it with that part of the trip, depending on how much time you have. However, with less than 10 days, I personally don’t feel like it’s worth it. Especially for first-timers.

If you’ve already seen some of the places I’m recommending in this post, then definitely try to swing over to Connecticut and experience a new area during the fall!

If you have less than 10 days, you may even want to focus all your time on Vermont and New Hampshire. The reason for this is because some of the best places for fall foliage in Maine are further north. I think places like Acadia National Park are very worth seeing (and you’ll see I’ve incorporated it into some of my itineraries!). However, if you prefer a slower pace and less driving, Vermont and New Hampshire are the absolute best places to see .

Some Things To Know About My Itineraries

They all begin in Boston , assuming that’s where most people will fly into if visiting from a distance. If you fly into a different airport, or are driving in, you can easily adjust your plans as needed.

They’re done in true road trip style , meaning there’s a lot of driving, and mostly 1-night stays. There are some places I recommend 2 nights in, but you can adjust this based on your preferences. If you want to stay longer in one place, definitely go for it!

I give you options! Of course, I stand by all my suggestions ☺️ However, I know everyone has different travel styles and speeds, so I encourage you to to tailor this to what you think you’ll enjoy the most. I’ve given you suggestions on how to adjust the itinerary based on your preferences.

10 Day New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary From Boston

Okay, let’s get into my perfect New England fall road trip itinerary options! We’re beginning with my suggestions for an incredible 10 day adventure.

10 Day Road Trip Overview

Day 1 : Arrival In Boston Day 2 : Explore Boston Or Take A Day Trip To Salem Day 3-4 : Bar Harbor/Acadia National Park + An Optional Stop In Salem Day 5 : Jackson, NH Day 6 : Franconia, NH (Driving The Famous Kancamagus Highway To Get There!) Days 7-8 : Stowe & Woodstock, VT Day 9 : The Berkshires and/or Litchfield, CT Day 10 : Back To Boston + A Stop In Sturbridge, MA or Litchfield, CT

Breakdown Of The 10 Day Itinerary Option

Day 1: Arrival In Boston Take this time to arrive, get settled, and maybe take in a few sites around the city! Have some time on your first night here? Jump down to Day 2 for some suggestions on what to do!

Where To Stay In Boston:

  • Luxury : The Langham
  • Splurge : Boston Harbor Hotel
  • Moderate : Revere Boston Common

Pro Tip On Fall Foliage In Boston : Foliage peaks later than the rest of the places listed in this itinerary – usually mid-late October. So while you probably won’t see peak foliage in Boston if you plan your trip for peak foliage in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, it may catch a glimpse of it on your back if you’re planning a longer trip! Or, you can leave the airport to immediately begin your drive to Maine, and plan to stay a night or two in Boston before you have to fly out.

Day 2: Explore Boston

Boston during the fall season has so much to see and do, but here are some highlights to consider if it’s your first visit:

  • Public Gardens (very scenic garden area with a beautiful pond and pedestrian bridge (also makes for lovely photos!). This is a good spot for fall foliage in the city, too.
  • Newbury Street for shopping
  • The North End for history and food
  • Beacon Hill for charming cobblestoned streets at the famous Acorn Street
  • Take a food tour if it works with your schedule. There’s incredible food to be had in Boston, and taking a tour with a local expert is a great way to sample lots of delicious things in a short amount of time!

Click here to check out my post on the best Boston food tours!

Day 2: Optional Day Trip To Salem

If you would prefer to take a day trip to Salem, rather than stopping on your way to Acadia National Park, this is a great option! And really, there’s no right or wrong choice here – it just comes down to which you prefer.

Salem is an easy day trip from Boston without a car because of this convenient ferry! Click here to check out the Boston → Salem Ferry!

Psst! I have some helpful guides including planning the perfect Salem, MA day trip , and the best time to visit Salem if you need more information 😉

The Witch House in Salem, MA in the fall season. This is a great town to visit in October for the Haunted Happenings events, which takes place all month long.

Day 3: Drive To Bar Harbor & Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park is one of the best things to do in New England year-round, so this is definitely a must if you’ve never been. It also offers some really wonderful foliage, and fall is my personal favorite season to visit for this reason.

This drive from Boston to Bar Harbor takes about 5 hours without stops, which is why I usually suggest you make a pitstop to break up your journey. I actually have some posts on stops you can make along the drive, so be sure to check those out below.

But since Salem is really the ultimate fall destination in Massachusetts, I suggest you pick that as a stop on the drive 🙂

Bar Harbor is the town adjacent to Acadia National Park , and where most people will choose to stay when visiting. Once you arrive, take some time to get settled, and then head out into downtown Bar Harbor to explore this charming seaside town, visit the shops, and grab a great dinner!

Where To Stay In Bar Harbor:

  • Bayview Hotel . An oceanfront boutique hotel with awesome views. Perfect for a splurge on your trip!
  • Bar Harbor Villager Motel . Clean, updated and spacious. Also, walkable to everything in town.
  • Little Fig Hotel . A cute, modern boutique hotel walkable to town.

Here are some posts that will help you further plan this portion of your trip:

  • Best Stops To Make Driving Boston To Portland, Maine
  • Best Stops To Make Driving Portland to Acadia National Park
  • The Perfect Acadia National Park Itinerary (read this one for more information on Bar Harbor and things to do!)
  • Best Time To Visit Acadia National Park

Day 4: Explore Acadia National Park

Fall color in Acadia National Park.

Even in just 1 day, you can visit some of the best places in the park, and also some really wonderful fall foliage spots. Here how I suggest you plan your day:

If you’re up for it , starting your day with sunrise at the top of Cadillac Mountain is always incredible! It’s one of the first places in the U.S. to see the sunrise, depending on the time of year, and starting October 7 through March, it’s the very first spot in the country to see the sun come up. This will be great for fall foliage, too. You can also choose to do this the following morning before leaving.

Next, head to the Jesup Path scenic walk , which is especially beautiful in the fall season.

Then, park at the Sand Beach parking lot , and walk the Ocean Path for incredible views . This is 1-mile each way, but offers some of the most iconic views in the park, including the Otter Cliffs and Thunder Hole. It’s also flat and easy, making it very relaxing. Have your camera ready for this one!

For a more advanced hike with awesome foliage views, you can do the Beehive Trail from Sand Beach lot, too.

Continue on Park Loop Road to Jordan Pond House for lunch , and enjoy the views of the pond and mountains. You can also choose to walk around the pond if you have time after lunch.

For more foliage views, hike the Bubble Rock Trail after lunch.

Day 5: Drive To Jackson, NH + Spend The Night

Without stops, this drive takes about 4 hours and 15 minutes.

One stop I suggest making on the way if you enjoy local craft beer is the Oxbow Beer Garden in Oxford , ME . It’s got a very cool outdoor setting, and they have fantastic craft beer.

I recommend spending the night in Jackson because it’s a longer drive from Bar Harbor, and there are some fun things to do in the area. Also, there’s a very scenic drive called The Kancamagus Highway that’s stunning in the fall season with foliage, and I want to make sure you have time to drive it. But more on that in Day 6 🙂

Here are some fun fall things to check out in Jackson:

  • The Cog : This mountain railroad takes you to the summit of Mount Washington, the tallest peak in New England! It’s about 45 minutes from Jackson, but you’ll drive through Crawford Notch State Park , which is very scenic, and The Cog is simply incredible in the fall season. If you leave Bar Harbor early enough and have time to do this, I highly recommend it!
  • Honeymoon Covered Bridge & Flossie’s General Store
  • Glen Ellis Falls
  • The cute town of North Conway

Where To Stay In Jackson:

  • Christmas Farm Inn (this place is super cozy!)
  • The Inn At Thorn Hill & Spa

Option To Stay In North Conway : North Conway is only about 12-15 minutes from Jackson, so you can really stay in either. I think Jackson has better hotel options, and it’s a bit closer to The Cog, which is why I suggested you stay there. But either town works for your New England fall road trip!

Here are some fun things to check out in North Conway if you choose to visit:

  • Cathedral Ledge Distillery
  • Ledge Brewing Company (between North Conway and Jackson, technically)
  • The cute downtown area and Zeb’s General Store (one of my all-time favorite general stores!)
  • North Conway Scenic Railroad

Day 6 – Drive The Kancamagus Highway To Franconia, NH

The Kancamagus Highway (Route 112) is a scenic drive that’s regarded as one of the best drives for fall foliage, so this is something you’ll definitely want to do on your New England fall road trip. It connects the towns of Woodstock and Conway, so you can easily start this drive just a few minutes from Jackson or North Conway.

For this day, I suggest you get up early to make sure you have time to explore Franconia Notch State Park after driving The Kanc.

The Kancamagus Highway in New Hamsphire is one of the best fall foliage drives in the region.

Tips For Driving The Kanc:

  • Remember earlier in the post when I said you’ll lose cell service in much of New Hampshire and Vermont? Well, this is one of those drives where there’s no service, so offline your maps before starting!
  • There are no bathrooms or gas stations on the drive, so plan accordingly.
  • The Kanc takes about 45 minutes one-way without stops, but you’ll want to budget about 2 hours to make some stops at the overlooks.
  • During the fall season, especially on weekends, it’s possible traffic could slow down as people try to pull in and out of the parking areas. Plan for some slower traffic.

Pro Tip : Before hopping onto The Kanc, there’s a great little place called Cheese Louise just before the entrance to The Kanc, and this is an awesome place to grab some food before the drive! Especially on a chilly, fall day, a grilled cheese sandwich totally hits the spot, right? 😍

Stops To Make On The Kanc (in order from Conway to Woodstock):

  • Albany Covered Bridge
  • Rocky Gorge Scenic Area (parking can be found at 44.0016667175862, -71.27716637107925)
  • Sabbaday Falls
  • Sugar Hill Scenic Overlook
  • CL Graham Wangan Overlook
  • Hancock Overlook (this one is right at the famous hairpin turn – can’t miss it!)
  • Lincoln Woods Trailhead – Scenic suspension bridge over the river that’s not far from the parking lot.

🍁 Before hopping on The Kanc, consider downloading this great audio tour to enhance your drive – Click here to check out this audio tour!

There are also tons of hiking trails along The Kanc , so if you’re looking to squeeze in a hike on the drive, this is something to consider. But if you don’t have extra time, I would suggest moving on to Franconia Notch State Park, and only doing hikes along The Kanc if you’re able to add an extra day in.

After The Kanc, your next stop is Franconia Notch State Park . And this is where most of the top things to do are , especially in the fall season .

Flume Covered Bridge inside Flume Gorge in Franconia Notch State Park. This is one of the best things to see on a New England fall road trip.

Flume Gorge is one thing I recommend you do if you can only pick one attraction. Flume Gorge is a very fun 2-mile loop trail that takes you over 2 covered bridges, and through the granite gorge. Along the trail, you’ll have some really gorgeous spots to admire the fall foliage, too.

Not sure if this is right for your itinerary? Click here to check out my detailed post in if Flume Gorge is worth visiting , and everything you need to know to plan the perfect visit.

Pro Tip: Buy your Flume Gorge ticket online in advance to save a few bucks! On weekends in the fall season, it’s also possible that certain time slots will sell out. This is another reason to book in advance.

If you have time to explore more of Franconia Notch State Park, I also recommend these activities:

  • Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway
  • Artist Bluff Trail (famous spot that ends overlooking Echo Lake – amazing during foliage season!)
  • The views at Echo Lake Beach

Where To Stay Near Franconia:

  • Sugar Hill Inn – 15 mins from Franconia Notch Park, and is rated as the best B&B in New Hampshire!
  • Riverwalk Resort – 5-7 mins from the top attractions in Franconia.
  • Woodstock Inn & Brewery – Cozy inn with a brewery.

Here are some posts to help you plan this portion of your trip:

  • Fun Things To Do In Franconia, NH
  • Fun Things To Do In Littleton, NH
  • Fun Things To Do In Lincoln, NH
  • Where To Stay In New Hampshire In The Fall
  • Where To Stay In The White Mountains: Guide To The Towns

Day 7 – Drive To Stowe Or Woodstock, VT

Begin your day in New Hampshire with a country breakfast at Polly’s Pancake Parlor! This place is famous in New England, and truly has some of the most amazing pancakes I’ve ever had. It does get busy in the fall season, but man, it’s so worth it.

Then, on to Vermont you go! For the next 2 nights, you’ll want to choose between Stowe and Woodstock, VT as your home base. These towns are the absolute best to visit in Vermont during a New England fall road trip because of foliage views and small-town charm. They’re only 1 hour and 15 minutes from each other, so, you can choose where you want to stay, and then visit the other as a day trip.

The drive to both Stowe and Woodstock is 1 hour and 30 minutes from Franconia , and since this is a shorter drive, you can make some stops along the way, or drive straight there. Stowe and Woodstock both have a lot to do, even though they’re small towns, so it’s beneficial to drive straight there and make sure you have plenty of time to explore.

If you choose to stay in Woodstock, I suggest stopping at the King Arthur Baking Company campus on your way because it’s pretty much on the direct route. It’s a really fun place with fresh baked goods and breads, a café, and a fun shop where you can stock up on pantry staples and baking mixes.

Do I recommend you stay in Stowe or Woodstock? I honestly love both equally! There’s no wrong choice here.

The charming Main Street in Stowe in the fall season, which is one of the best stops to make on a New England fall road trip.

The biggest difference between the two is that Woodstock feels a bit more upscale, and Stowe definitely has a very casual feel to it. But the difference is minor. Both have charming covered bridges, great shops, amazing restaurants, a quaint town feel, and plenty of things to do.

Where To Stay In Stowe :

  • The Green Mountain Inn . It’s located right on Main Street, so you can walk to a lot of places.
  • Spruce Peak Resort . Perfect for those wanting a resort feel, and it’s right off the scenic Smugglers Notch drive. There are rooms with gorgeous mountain views here, too.

Where To Stay In Woodstock :

  • The Woodstock Inn & Resort . It’s referred to as Vermont’s most beautiful address, and it’s in the heart of Woodstock’s village. This is a luxury hotel that’s worth it!
  • 506 Inn On The River . Located just outside of the village, this is a modern and cozy inn, well … right on the river 😉

Here are some posts that will help you plan your time in Stowe and Woodstock:

  • Best Things To Do In Stowe
  • Best Things To Do In Woodstock

Woodstock, VT in the fall season is filled with charm and gorgeous fall color. This is one of the best towns to see on a New England fall road trip.

Day 8 – Explore Stowe & Woodstock, VT

Depending on where you stay, you’ll want to take a day trip to the other town this day. Below are breakdowns of the can’t miss things to do in each town .

Best Things To Do In Stowe :

  • Explore the cute shops along Main Street (don’t skip the Stowe Mercantile!)
  • Drive Smugglers Notch for amazing foliage.
  • Ride the gondola to the top of Mount Mansfield, the highest peak in Vermont (this is epic during the fall season!). This is located at the midway point along the Smugglers Notch drive.
  • Visit Emily’s Covered Bridge, and learn about it’s spooky history.
  • Sample the hard cider at Stowe Cider.
  • Sip on craft brews at Alchemist Brewing (one of my favorites in New England).

The drive through Smugglers Notch is especially gorgeous in the fall.

Best Things To Do In Woodstock:

  • Stroll through the charming downtown shops and eateries.
  • Pop into Mon Vert Café for a warm drink.
  • Snap a photo with Middle Covered Bridge in town.
  • Drive over Taftsville Covered Bridge to visit Sugarbush Farms. You’ll be able to sample homemade cheese and fresh maple syrup here, and also take in amazing foliage views.
  • Visit Billings Farm & Museum.
  • Drive over to Sleepy Hollow Farm to see the famous farm landscape spot.

The views at Sugarbush Farm in Woodstock, VT are incredible in the fall season.

Day 9 – Drive To The Berkshires Or Litchfield, CT

Next up – The Berkshires or Connecticut! This choice is yours entirely. Let’s start with the option to drive to The Berkshires.

The Berkshires is an iconic region in Massachusetts that’s a really great one to visit for fall foliage. Here, you’ll find cute towns, loads of fall color, lots of scenic hikes and walks, and awesome dining options.

Depending on which town in Vermont you’re coming from, the northern region of The Berkshires area will be just over 2 hours from Woodstock, or just over 3 hours from Stowe .

The drive from either town to The Berkshires will pass through Rockingham, VT, and you’ll definitely want to stop here to visit the Vermont Country Store! There’s also the very cute Kissing Covered Bridge here that makes for a fun photo.

Once you arrive in The Berkshires, I suggest you start in Williamstown, and drive the scenic Route 7 down to Sheffield. This drive without stops takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes, but I would budget at least a few hours to make stops and enjoy some other fun activities. This route packs a lot into a perfect fall day, without a lot of driving.

During this drive, these are the best stops to make:

  • The Mount Greylock Auto Road to the highest peak in Massachusetts (absolutely amazing in the fall season!).
  • Make a detour off Route 7 to Bartlett’s Orchard in Richmond for the perfect fall farm experience.
  • Continue with your short detour to Hilltop Orchards, which is 5 minutes from Bartlett’s, and where you can sip on artisanal craft ciders!
  • Walk through the charming town of Lenox.
  • Stroll through quaint Stockbridge, too!
  • Snap photos with the covered bridge in Sheffield.

Where To Stay In The Berkshires:

  • The Red Lion Inn . A historic and famous inn in the heart of Stockbridge.
  • The Dewey . A cozy, traditional New England B&B in Lenox.

The other option is to drive to Litchfield, CT , which is south of The Berkshires. It’s a longer drive from Vermont, but you could also turn this into a fun road trip day by driving the same Route 7 itinerary as mentioned above through The Berkshires, and then continue on to the Litchfield Hills. I would probably only choose this option if you wanted to take your time exploring the awesome stops along Route 7 in The Berkshires, arrive in CT in the evening, and then explore this region of CT the next morning before your drive back to Boston.

The Litchfield Hills in CT are some of the most beautiful countryside landscapes, and a drive through this region is one of the best things to do in New England in the fall.

How To Spend Your Time In Litchfield Hill, CT:

Since you’re likely coming down through the western border of Massachusetts, I would start in Kent, and work your way east. You probably won’t have time to do everything on this list, but pick and choose based on your preferences and schedule.

  • Explore the cute town of Kent, and then visit Kent Falls State Park if you have time.
  • Continue to follow Route 7 to New Milford. The drive is very scenic!
  • Stop in New Milford to enjoy the quaint town, and then visit Lover’s Leap Bridge.
  • Head over to Washington, and then continue on to Mount Tom State Park for awesome foliage.
  • End in the charming town of Litchfield.

Where To Stay In The Litchfield Hills : Litchfield Inn . Refined and still very cozy, and one of the best in the area!

Should I do The Berkshires or Litchfield, CT? Personally, I would stay stick to The Berkshires since this will allow you a more relaxed itinerary. There’s so much to do, and plenty of foliage scenery to take in. If you do the Route 7 drive quicker than you were anticipating, you could always shoot down to the Litchfield Hills for an impromptu adventure 🙂

I would choose to add on the Litchfield Hills if you’re feeling adventurous, and really want to see as much of New England as possible.

Day 10 – Drive Back To Boston, Stopping In Sturbridge or Litchfield On The Way

If you have time to explore another cute town on your drive back to Boston, I would suggest either tacking on a quick drive through the Litchfield Hills, CT if you didn’t already, or a stop in Sturbridge, MA. Sturbridge is more on the way to Boston, and offers beautiful foliage.

Sturbridge, MA in the fall season is one of the best places to see foliage on a New England fall road trip.

How to spend your time in Sturbridge, MA :

  • Visit Old Sturbridge Village for all the cozy fall New England vibes (this is a must if you have time!).
  • Pop into Saw Dust Coffee & Dessert Bar for lunch and treats.
  • Sip on craft beer at Altruist Brewing Company.

And of course, as mentioned in the previous day’s itinerary, the Litchfield Hills region has plenty to offer for foliage views, small towns, and beautiful scenery.

But, if you have a flight to catch, then don’t risk it, and head straight to the airport! 🙂

Optional Adjustments For The 10 Day Itinerary:

  • You can easily cut out Acadia National Park, and head straight to New Hampshire, and choose to spend more time there. Acadia is out of the way, and further north, so I know it doesn’t suit everyone’s plans. This would allow you time to definitely ride The Cog, and have a more relaxed schedule.
  • If you would rather have more time in Vermont, you can skip The Berkshires/CT. This is personal preference! Both areas are amazing for fall foliage, but nothing is quite like Vermont in the fall. This would allow you time to move at a slower pace. If you decide to skip The Berkshires/CT and stay in Vermont for a third night, see my 12 day itinerary, option 3 for suggestions on what to do!

12 Day Road Trip Itinerary Option

If you have 12 days (or more!), this is truly awesome. I would follow my 10 day itinerary, and then take one of these suggestions:

Option 1 : Add in 1 day to see Litchfield, CT after The Berkshires . Since you have the extra time, you can definitely see the Litchfield Hills region of Connecticut with this itinerary! I would recommend this option for those who really want to see as much of New England as possible, and make all the rounds.

Option 2 : Add an extra day to Littleton/Franconia. This region has so many great hikes and places to spot fall foliage. It’s well worth adding a day to this part of the trip if you have the extra time. This would allow you a half day to ride The Cog, and takes more scenic walks and hikes to enjoy the fall foliage.

Option 3 : Add an extra day to Vermont. On your extra day, you can take a day trip to Burlington and Shelburne, or spend the day driving the back roads .

Burlington & Shelburne, Vermont things to check out :

  • First, the drive from both Stowe and Woodstock to Burlington on I-89 is beautiful in the fall. You’ll see lots of mountains ablaze with fall color.
  • In Burlington, check out the waterfront area, and walk along Lake Champlain.
  • Burlington also has an awesome craft brewery scene, and Foam Brewers is especially great.
  • The American Flatbread restaurant in Burlington is a cozy place to stop for lunch.
  • Church Street Marketplace in Burlington is a must!
  • In Shelburne, you’ll want to spend most of your time walking around Shelburne Farms. This is a historic farm once owned by the Vanderbilt family, and has beautiful hiking trails, and you can also sample their homemade cheeses. Definitely do the Farm Trail, which takes you to an epic view of Lake Champlain.

Vermont back roads driving itinerary near Stowe :

This drive is easier to do from Stowe, but it’s also doable from Woodstock if you’re okay with a longer day. This itinerary is is order based on departing from Stowe, but you can also adjust based on which town you’re coming from 🙂

  • The covered bridges in Montgomery, including Montgomery covered bridge (which is actually in Waterville), and Longley Covered Bridge.
  • Barn Owl Bistro is a hidden gem nearby that’s a great little pitstop.
  • The town of Cabot and the nearby AM Foster Covered Bridge are really beautiful areas to visit full of rustic Vermont charm.
  • Peacham is a very small town with iconic landscapes and scenery.
  • Bogie Farm in East Ryegate is a landscape that worthy of a postcard, and is especially beautiful in the fall.
  • The drive between all these destinations will also be lovely and scenic, and packed with fall color.

A farm landscape on the backroads of Vermont in the fall season.

1 Week (7 Day) New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary

If you have 7 days, welcome to your itinerary! This option is the same as the 10 day option, but eliminates Acadia National Park to save time.

7 Day Road Trip Overview

Day 1 : Arrival In Boston Day 2 : Drive To Jackson, NH + A Stop In Salem, MA Day 3 : Drive To Franconia Along The Kancamagus Highway Days 4-5 : Drive To Stowe or Woodstock, VT + Stay 2 Nights Day 6 : The Berkshires Day 7 : Return To Boston

For this itinerary, you can also eliminate The Berkshires, and stay an extra night in Jackson or Franconia.

5 Day New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary

With 5 days, you can go in a few different directions, and below, I break down my suggested options, and the benefits of each. This way, you can tailor it to your preferences.

Option 1 : Spend two nights in Boston with a day trip to Salem, then spend 3 nights in Stowe/Woodstock, VT.

Option 1 is perfect if you prefer staying in one place longer. This itinerary will allow you to stay in the same hotel in Boston for 2 nights, and take an easy day trip to Salem for the perfect fall day of Halloween fun and history! Then you can pick up your rental car (if you haven’t already), and drive to Stowe or Woodstock, VT for 3 days to explore both towns.

With 3 days in Vermont, you can easily see both Stowe and Woodstock, and maybe even plan a day of driving around the back roads. See the 12-day itinerary option for my suggestions on driving the back roads around Vermont during foliage season .

The back roads of Stowe, VT in the fall season.

Option 2 : Spend 1 night in Boston, stop in Salem on your way to Franconia and spend 2 nights in Franconia. Then spend 2 nights in Stowe/Woodstock, VT, and then drive back to Boston.

Option 2 is perfect for those who still want to see as much as possible in 5 days. You’ll get to see a bit of New Hampshire and Vermont, while making a stop in Salem.

Note: For this itinerary, I would drive from Salem to Conway, and the drive The Kancamagus Highway on your way to Franconia so you get to experience the fall foliage along this route. But this itinerary option eliminates the stay in Jackson, as there are more fall things to do in Franconia.

Option 3 : Spend 1 night in Boston, 1 night in Salem, 3 nights in Stowe/Woodstock, VT, and then back to Boston.

Option 3 is perfect for those who really want to spend some time in Salem. This itinerary allows you to spend a whole night in Salem to really enjoy all the Halloween festivities and tours, and then you can spend 3 beautiful days in Vermont.

I excluded New Hampshire from this option because I felt like it would be too much to cram in when adding 1 night in Salem. But if you were feeling adventurous (I’ve been there, I get it! 😂), you can drive to Franconia, NH for 1 night after Salem, and then do 2 nights in Vermont instead of 3.

3 Day New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary

3 days in New England is the perfect long weekend getaway!

With 3 days, I suggest you stay in one location , and add day trips . If you’re flying into Boston, you can stay 1 night in Boston if needed, and then drive to Vermont or New Hampshire for 2 nights. If you’re not flying in, you can spend all 3 nights in Vermont or New Hampshire.

Stowe is very close to New Hampshire, and it’s only about 1.5 hours from Franconia. You can easily do a day trip from Stowe to New Hampshire, or vice versa, for this type of itinerary.

It would also be easy to work in a stop in Salem, MA, either on your way in or out of Boston.

Weekend New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary

For a weekend getaway in New England (essentially, 2 days), I would also recommend you stay in one place and take a day trip. For this itinerary, I almost always suggest Stowe or Woodstock. You can stay in either town, and spend 1 day exploring that town, and then the next day, exploring the other as a day trip.

Vermont Fall Road Trip Itinerary

Looking to just see Vermont? Excellent choice. It’s my personal favorite fall destination in New England (even though it’s a very close call 😉)

For a Vermont fall road trip , you can really do it in anywhere from 5-7 days. Of course, more is better to really see everything, but generally speaking, you can actually make it happen in a week or less. A popular route to take in Vermont is Route 100 , which runs the entire length of state, right through the middle. This allows you opportunities to veer off and see some other places as well.

The historic district of Bennington, VT is one of the best places for fall foliage in the southern part of the state. This is definitely worth a stop on a New England fall road trip.

For the purpose of this itinerary, I’m going to provide a week-long (7 day) itinerary, and you can adjust it to your own plans.

Day 1 : Bennington & Manchester Day 2 : Drive to Woodstock, stopping in Grafton and Weston on the way Day 3 : Spend the day in Woodstock Day 4 : Drive to Stowe, stopping in Montpelier if you’d like Day 5 : Spend the day in Stowe Day 6 : Staying in Stowe, take a day trip to Burlington & Shelburne Day 7 : Drive back

Day 1 Suggestions : Bennington and Manchester are pretty close to each other, so you can easily do both in one afternoon. There are some wonderful covered bridges in the area to see, and here are some more things to check out:

  • The Bennington Battle Monument for fall foliage scenery.
  • Downtown Bennington for shopping on Main Street (small, but cute!).
  • Apple Barn is a few minutes from Main Street for a fun country store and bakery.
  • Zoe’s in Manchester for lunch (great sandwiches!)
  • Downtown Manchester for shopping in a cute town (don’t skip Northshire!)

Day 2 Suggestions : Grafton is a very small town, but it’s quintessential Vermont. It has a cute little cheese shop, and a nice little market/cafe called MKT Grafton, which is perfect for a quick bite. Also, swing by Weston to visit the Vermont Country Store.

For the rest of the itinerary, refer to the 10 day option for details 🙂

Click here to check out my post on a Vermont covered bridges road trip!

New Hampshire Fall Road Trip Itinerary

My second favorite fall foliage destination! Here’s my suggested itinerary for a New Hampshire-only fall road trip.

To just see New Hampshire , you can also spend anywhere from 4-7 days.

With 4 days, you can easily just stick to the White Mountains region, but I’m here to give you all my tips on even more awesome places to see in the fall season in New Hampshire ☺️ So, this itinerary will be 7 full days , but adjust as you need to!

Day 1 : Portsmouth Day 2 : Lake Winnipesaukee Days 3-4 : Littleton/Franconia Days 5-6 : North Conway/Jackson Day 7 : Drive back

Hiking to this viewpoint on the Artist Bluff Trail is one of the best things to do in Franconia, NH in the fall. It's also one of the best things to do in New England!

Connecticut Fall Road Trip Itinerary Option

If you’ve seen all the “hot spots” around Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maine, and you’re looking to explore a new part of New England in the fall, Connecticut should be next on your list!

As mentioned, my favorite place in Connecticut for fall foliage is the Litchfield Hills region. I always like to share that this region was what inspired Amy Sherman-Palladino’s creation of Stars Hollow, so Gilmore Girls fans will especially love this area.

The Litchfield Hills is very compact, and you can easily do a lot in a weekend here. However, 3-4 nights will allow you a nice, leisurely pace to explore all the amazing things this region has to offer in the fall.

The best towns to stay in in the Litchfield Hills region are:

  • New Milford
  • Washington/Washington Depot

Of all these towns, Litchfield probably has the most options when it comes to shopping and dining, however, they’re all very quaint and charming. I would pick whichever one has the best hotel for your plans.

If you have extra time for your Connecticut fall road trip, you can tack on places like Canaan to the north of the Litchfield Hills region, drive to Glastonbury, and then through the River Valley region, which includes the adorable towns of Chester and Essex. You can also choose to end your road trip in Mystic.

What To Pack For A New England Fall Road Trip

I always start every New England packing guide with the same thing, and this post is no different: begin to check the weather reports 5 days out from your trip to get an idea of what the weather will be like . And keep checking it until the day before you leave .

This is because weather in New England can change quickly, especially in the fall season. It’s not quite as dramatic as say … Iceland 😉 But, it can change and vary a bit. Generally speaking, fall will be chilly and a bit rainy. However, you could also have warm and sunny days. For longer trips, you’ll want to pack for both scenarios.

Echo Lake Beach is especially scenic in the fall, and one of the best things to do in Franconia, NH.

Here are some things I recommend you consider when packing for a fall road trip through New England:

Waterproof hiking boots . If you plan to do any hiking, or even nature walks, you’ll want a pair of sturdy boots that are waterproof. Even some attractions like Flume Gorge and other waterfalls in New Hampshire are pretty wet, so this is a good idea to stay dry and comfortable. I really like the Eddie Bauer K-6 Hiking boots. Find the women’s version here and the men’s version here . They’re a much less expensive version of the famous Danner hiking boots featured in the movie Wild !

Good hiking socks to keep your feet dry . An awesome brand to support is Tarn Tough Socks , which is a Vermont-based company. They’re an investment, but they’re also the best, and come with a lifetime guarantee!

Waterproof rain jacket to stay dry if it rains . You won’t want to let the rain slow you down, especially if there’s a lot in the forecast! So definitely pack one that’s completely water proof ( not water-resistant).

Layers . The best way to dress in the fall season is with layers. Under your rain gear, flannels, sweaters, and lightweight t-shirts (both short-sleeved or long-sleeved) work great.

Jeans . These work really well for most days. Fall in New England is pretty casual.

Hiking clothing . For any hikes you want to do, pack whatever clothes you typically wear and feel comfortable in 🙂

Comfortable sneakers or boots . When it’s not raining, a good pair of comfortable sneakers or cute boots work perfectly, depending on your plans. Since I drive from New York, I don’t usually have to worry too much about weight limits on a suitcase, so I’ll throw a pair of sneakers, flat boots/booties, and my hiking boots into the car. This is usually all I ever need.

Dinner outfits . New England is home to incredible places for farm-to-table dining, some of which are a bit more fancy. If you plan to go out for a nice dinner or two, you’ll want to pack accordingly. New England isn’t super fancy, so women can do a casual dress/jeans and a nice top with booties in the fall, and men can easily do dark-wash jeans and a button down top.

Reusable water bottle . You’ll need to stay hydrated while out exploring!

Day pack . If you plan to do any hiking, you’ll want to bring a day pack with you to carry your essentials. If you don’t plan to do any hikes, you can probably skip this, as you can keep most everything you need in your car or room.

Does It Snow In New England In The Fall?

Here’s the thing – it might if you’re up in the mountains. However, it doesn’t usually snow during peak foliage times. Usually, New England gets its first snow of the year later in October or early November. So, I wouldn’t worry about packing any snow gear or winter boots for your fall road trip.

How Do To A New England Fall Trip On A Budget

So, first thing’s first, you’ll unfortunately have to rethink what “budget” means in New England, especially during peak season in the fall. It’s generally more expensive than other areas of the country regardless of the reason, so during prime foliage times, prices will go up significantly.

Especially in the past, I never had the money to spend on several nights at hotels during this time of the year, so I have learned to do it on more of a budget. Not necessarily cheap, but not as tough on the wallet 😉 Here are my tips:

  • Stay in motels. I love a good hotel splurge, and do it more now than I did in my 20s and early 30s. But for most of my road trips when the focus in exploring outdoors, I stay in motels with efficiency kitchens . You can find some really nice ones, and while they’re likely to be outdated, they’re usually clean and cozy.
  • Efficiency kitchens allow you to make some meals at home. For a road trip style trip, this may be more challenging, as it’s hard to bring perishable items with you to store in a fridge. But I usually try to make my own breakfasts to save money, and pack snacks to have for lunch.
  • Stay outside of town. If you’re really on a tight budget, you can stay outside of the towns you’re visiting. Places like Franconia, Stowe, and Woodstock charge premium rates for peak season, so you’re likely to find deals a town or two away.
  • Go camping! If you’re really adventurous, you can go camping! There are camp sites all over New England, and this will definitely be more affordable. One thing to keep in mind is the colder weather, and for this reason, some camp sites may close down after Indigenous People’s weekend in October. But many remain open, and offer Yurt-style camping, too.

Is Fall In New England Worth It?

A resounding yes! I truly believe this is such a magical time to visit – if not the most magical time. Despite the crowds and the cost, it’s more than worth it. Many of the landscapes you’ll see are actual stock photos and postcards, and since so many people equate the fall season to all things cozy, there’s really no cozier place to be than in New England during foliage season.

More posts you may enjoy:

  • Fall In New England: The Best Things To See & Do
  • Vermont In The Fall: Festive Things To Do!
  • Fall In New Hampshire: The Best Things To Do
  • Fall In Massachusetts Ultimate Guide: All The Best Things To Do & Foliage Spots!
  • The Best 7 Day New England Road Trip Itinerary For Any Season
  • Best Stops To Make On A Boston To Stowe, VT Road Trip
  • Vermont vs. New Hampshire In The Fall
  • Maine In October: Best Towns For Foliage & Things To Do!
  • Best Vermont Pumpkin Patches & Farm Stands To Visit In The Fall
  • Awesome Corn Mazes In Vermont
  • Best Time To Visit New England
  • Best Time To Visit Vermont

That’s A Wrap On The Best New England Fall Road Trip Itinerary

And there you have it! All my tips and expert advice on planning the most epic New England fall road trip during foliage season! This truly is such a wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime experience that everyone should do at least once, and hopefully, you’re now well on your way to planning your own foliage adventure through New England!

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new england mountain trips

Take In The Best Of New England On This Popular Road Trip Route

A re you a city or countryside person? Mountains or beaches? History or nature? You don't have to choose on this road trip route through New England. You can trundle from the historic city of Boston to the mountains of New Hampshire and along Maine's glorious coastline, all in one trip.

Bloggers Kate and Jeremy of Our Escape Clause put together a list of ideas for road trips in the area. And one is the perfect round-trip route through all six New England states. Beginning and ending in Boston, you'll pay a visit to Rhode Island and Connecticut before going inland to Vermont and New Hampshire and then visiting the coast of Maine. The route covers approximately 1,100 miles and will take at least 10 days. But there's so much to see and do that you could extend your trip by days, weeks, or even months.

There's technically no bad time to visit New England, but let's be real. Some times are better than others. Summer and fall are the best times to do this road trip. In summer, the weather is warm, the days are long, and the atmosphere is buzzing. Fall brings fewer crowds at the coast and spectacular colors, which you can experience on this road trip. We'd recommend avoiding winter and spring. Road conditions can be dangerous in New England in winter, and spring is affectionately termed "mud season" by the locals.

Read more: Safety Items You Should Pack For Your Next Road Trip

History, Houses And Harbors

Your road trip will begin in Boston. Walk the Freedom Trail to discover more about U.S. history and the American Revolution. Reviewers on TripAdvisor say the 2.5-mile trail is easy to follow and call it "captivating" and "an unparalleled experience" for history lovers. There are a ton of other things to do in the city: visit Fenway Park, the home of the Red Sox; see incredible paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts; or wander through the lovely Public Garden.

When you're ready, get on the road and head about an hour and a half south to Newport, RI. The main draw here is the Newport Mansions — opulent "summer cottages" that date from the Colonial Era to the Gilded Age. The most famous (and most jaw-dropping) is The Breakers, which you can visit to get an insight into the lives of the mega-wealthy Vanderbilts. Google reviewers call the mansion "breathtaking" and the history "fascinating." Many of the mansions are situated along the spectacular Cliff Walk, a 3.5-mile stroll that combines history and coastal views.

Next, you'll drive an hour west to Mystic, CT. The charming town is full of Colonial-era architecture, and Mystic Seaport is the perfect place to learn what a 19th-century seafaring village was like. Several reviewers on TripAdvisor say that their favorite part was the reconstructed working shipyard. Mystic is a great place to try some seafood, too. Check out the Oyster Club, where the flavors are "unreal," according to one reviewer.

Peaks And Parks, Brews And Beaches

From Mystic, drive inland across the rolling hills of the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts and through the Green Mountains to Burlington, VT. You'll pass through lovely Waterbury on your way. If you have time, consider taking a detour on the Green Mountain Byway to the famous Stowe, one of the top places to see fall foliage in America. Stay overnight in Burlington to enjoy one of the many breweries there. Local Reddit users in the r/burlington forum love Queen City and Burlington Beer Co .

When your head's cleared, drive across the state line into New Hampshire and explore the White Mountains. The most famous route in the region is the Kancamagus Highway, where the fall foliage views are spectacular. If you want to stretch your legs, check out one of AllTrails ' top-rated hikes in the area. The challenging Welch-Dickey Loop Trail has more scenic fall colors, according to reviewers, and the relatively short Mount Willard Trail has a great payoff in terms of views.

The final major stops on this trip are in Maine at Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor. The park stretches across 50,000 acres; if you're unsure where to start, the National Parks Service suggests driving the 27-mile Park Loop Road for the best views in the area. Stay overnight in the delightful gateway town of Bar Harbor and enjoy some of the freshest seafood in the U.S. From here, it's a glorious five-hour drive back to Boston.

Read the original article on Explore .

Winding road through fall foliage

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10 Best Mountain Towns to Visit in North Carolina, According to Local Experts

From Highlands to Boone, these are the best mountain towns in North Carolina.

new england mountain trips

It only takes one trip to Western North Carolina to grasp the magnitude of its appeal. Home to several subranges of the Appalachian Mountains, most notably the Smokies, this region of the Tar Heel State brims with natural beauty all year round. A combination of spectacular peaks, bubbling creeks, vividly colored wildflowers, and acres of towering pine, oak, poplar, and maple trees, the mountainous landscape has an almost spiritual quality, one that people have been drawn to for thousands of years. This powerful allure eventually led to the creation of various mountain towns — from Highlands in the south up to Brevard, Waynesville, and Banner Elk.

“North Carolina’s westernmost mountain towns are where mountains and Main Streets meet,” Steven Reinhold, the adventure team leader at Cataloochee Ranch , tells Travel + Leisure . “[They] embody an environment where folks can escape their day, even for just a moment, to watch the trees sway in the breeze all within view of the Great Smokies .” For Paige Tillung, hotel manager at Half-Mile Farm , there’s also “the beauty of four very distinct seasons,” as well as the convenience of location. Most of the state’s mountain towns are within driving distance of a major airport — either Asheville Regional Airport, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, or Piedmont Triad International Airport outside Greensboro.

If the only thing stopping you from planning a trip is deciding where to go, this expert-curated list should help. Read on to discover the best mountain towns in North Carolina.

“Brevard is located in the heart of the ‘land of waterfalls’ and [it’s] mountain biking’s East Coast mecca,” says Reinhold. “Trailheads are interwoven around town, giving visitors quick access to the Pisgah National Forest, Dupont State Forest, and Gorges State Park.” While your trip should have plenty of outdoor adventure, make sure to leave time to explore Brevard’s art scene. If you’re in town in the summer, try to time your visit with an open-air show at Whittington-Pfohl Auditorium at Brevard Music Center ; otherwise, a stroll through the downtown art galleries and artisan boutiques is a must in any season.

Named T+L’s Best Small Mountain Town in 2023 , Highlands has all of the necessary characteristics and features for a picture-perfect getaway. It has “the charm of a small mountain town with all the luxury needed for a great vacation,” says Tillung; plus, she adds, there are “some of the best trails in the world,” and “the food and culture are the best you can find in the South.” Start your trip by checking into any one of the top-rated hotels in town: Old Edwards Inn & Spa , Half-Mile Farm, Highlander Mountain House , Skyline Lodge , or the recently opened Outpost Inn . Then, spend a couple of hours along Main Street, making sure to stop in Mountain Fresh Grocery for a quick breakfast or lunch. Other can’t-miss points of interest include the area’s many waterfalls and The Bascom , which hosts art exhibitions, lectures, and various classes and workshops.

Just 10 minutes down the road from Highlands sits Cashiers, a mountain town best known for stunning scenery; golfing, fly fishing, hiking, and antique shopping opportunities; and High Hampton , a much-loved luxury resort that underwent a modern redesign in 2021. Those staying at the resort may be tempted to stay on property the entire time — the Adirondack chairs and lawn beds are rather comfortable — but they’d be remiss to not explore other aspects of the tiny town. Family-owned and operated Cashiers Farmers Market , for instance, is an excellent choice for a barbecue lunch, and you’re bound to purchase something special at Vivianne Metzger Antiques , The Village Hound , or Zoller Hardware Gift & Gadget Mercantile .


According to Reinhold, Waynesville is the “crown jewel of mountain towns,” thanks, in part, to the destination’s prime location by Great Smoky Mountains National Park . To get your heart racing, he recommends “an unforgettable adventure” (think forest bathing or overnight backpacking) with The Appalachian Adventure Company . If you prefer to stay closer to town, browse the art galleries and antique stores along Main Street, and follow that up with a beer at Boojum Brewing Company or a coffee from Smoky Mountain Coffee Roasters . Come nightfall, there’s nowhere more luxurious to get some shuteye than The Swag , one of the best all-inclusive resorts in the South .

There’s a lot more to Boone than Appalachian State University, although cheering on the Mountaineers at Kidd Brewer Stadium is certainly a must-do activity in this college town. Families with younger travelers will embark on hours of entertainment at the famous Tweetsie Railroad , with its themed train rides and live shows, and Daniel Boone Park , where the Hickory Ridge History Museum showcases what mountain life was like in the late 1700s and early 1800s. In the summer months, cool off by floating down the New River with Wahoo’s Adventures , or find a swimming hole along Crab Orchard Falls Trail. For accommodations in Boone, you have a few choices — ranging from hotels to vacation rentals — but you can’t go wrong with Rhode’s Motor Lodge , a boutique property that opened in the fall of 2023.

Like many North Carolina mountain towns, Sylva (population: 2,623) is known for its breweries, art galleries, culinary hotspots, and proximity to hiking trails. “My favorite hike in the area is Pinnacle Park , which is home to North Carolina’s only certified forest therapy trail,” says Reinhold. Here, you’ll grab a brochure at the trailhead, then enjoy a relaxing, self-guided walk in nature. With a newfound appreciation of your surroundings, make your way to Main Street, which he says “has a seemingly infinite selection of dining options, notably Ilda , Meatballs Pizzeria , and recent James Beard [nominee] Dalaya Thai .”

Hot Springs

George Rose/Getty Images

“I believe Hot Springs might just be the hippest town in Appalachia,” says Reinhold. “The Appalachian Trail passes right through the town — utilizing one of the sidewalks on Main Street — and its throngs of thru-hikers have left their mark on this tiny town.” To prepare for hiking, mountain biking, rafting, or llama trekking in the area, or to pick up any gear you may have forgotten, pop into Bluff Mountain Outfitters . After a long day outside, refuel with pizza at Vinyl Pies , baked goods from Artisun , or a taco and beer from Grey Eagle Taqueria and Big Pillow Brewery . As the name suggests, Hot Springs is also known for its geothermal waters; visitors can head to either Broadwing Farm or Hot Springs Resort & Spa for a rejuvenating soak during their travels.

Bryson City

The title of “Outdoor Adventure Capital of the Great Smoky Mountains” goes to Bryson City, North Carolina. While small — only about 1,500 residents call it home — this is a town that goes above and beyond when it comes to mountain charm. To start planning your trip to Bryson City, book a room at the Fryemont Inn or The Everett Hotel , then begin to plot out your ideal itinerary. If you’re visiting in the summer, you’ll want to hike in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, take a ride on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, and then spend a day on the water, whether you’re white-water rafting on the Nantahala River or taking a paddleboard out on Fontana Lake.

When visiting Banner Elk, Tillung says you’ll find “small mountain town life [paired] with big luxury dreams and ideas,” as well as a “growing food scene, great golf courses,” and several places to “reconnect with nature.” In the winter, Banner Elk is particularly popular, as it’s located between two large ski resorts: Beech Mountain and Sugar Mountain. Year round, travelers can ride the Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster , cozy up at The Lodge at River Run , or walk along the town’s Greenway Trail System. Dining options include Artisanal , Stonewalls Restaurant , and the Banner Elk Cafe & Lodge — although be sure to check each restaurant’s website for seasonal closures.

Little Switzerland

There are few North Carolina mountain towns as unique as Little Switzerland, a seasonally open, Swiss-inspired destination on the Blue Ridge Parkway . You’ll need to plan your trip in the warmer months, anytime from mid-April through early October, to get the full Little Switzerland experience, which includes a stay at the historic Switzerland Inn , a visit to the North Carolina Mining Museum , a stop into Little Switzerland Books and Beans , and a night of live music and dancing at Geneva Hall . Just be sure to leave a moment, whether it’s closer to sunrise or sunset, to take in the spectacular views granted by the town’s elevation of nearly 3,500 feet.

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A Guide of American Museums to Visit This Year

Siblings, parents and grandparents are collaborators and muses in a variety of upcoming shows around the country that highlight family traditions and bonds.

Pink sneakers wrapped in white tentacles lined with round blue suckers. The shoes’  tongues feature many eyes and teeth.

By Aodhan Beirne

This article is part of our Museums special section about how institutions are striving to offer their visitors more to see, do and feel.

The value of family in the lives and work of artists is being showcased at museums across the United States this spring.

In Texas, art by the de la Torre brothers and the Haas brothers highlights familial collaboration. In Baltimore, an exhibition of works by Joyce J. Scott is paired with an exhibition of her mother’s work, and in Florida, sculptures made by Rose B. Simpson are shown alongside those made by her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Elsewhere, family members serve as muses for artists, keeping traditions alive while transforming them with contemporary appeal. Here is a selection.

“ Steve McQueen ”

For a new commission, Steve McQueen, the Oscar-winning director of “12 Years a Slave,” takes over the ground-level gallery with an immersive light and sound installation. The work is to then move to the Schaulager museum in Switzerland. A concurrent show of McQueen’s video artwork “Sunshine State” (2022) is scheduled to open at Dia Chelsea in Manhattan in September. Opens May 12; Dia Beacon, diaart.org

“ Before and After Again ”

The work in this show is a response to the killing of 10 Black people in a mass shooting at a Buffalo grocery store in May 2022. The artwork, poetry and prose by the Buffalo-based artists and producers Julia Bottoms, Tiffany Gaines and Jillian Hanesworth in the exhibition were created in dialogue with people affected by the attack, and they honor the contributions to the community of those who were murdered. Through Sept. 30; Buffalo AKG Art Museum, buffaloakg.org


“ Amalia Mesa-Bains: Archaeology of Memory ”

A trailblazer in Chicano art, Amalia Mesa-Bains is known for her reimagining of traditional Mexican altars and offerings and her presentations of Mexican American women’s spirituality. Presented are more than 40 works, including Mesa-Bains’s large-scale “altar-installations.” Her multipart “Venus Envy” series of installations is being shown together in its entirety for the first time here. May 2 through Aug. 11; El Museo del Barrio, elmuseo.org

“ Crafting Modernity: Design in Latin America, 1940-1980 ”

The focus here is on six Latin American countries that led the development of modern domestic design in the region: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela. With more than 100 objects, which include furniture, ceramics and textiles, this show examines how design provides context and understanding for the political, social and cultural transformations of the period. Through Sept. 22; Museum of Modern Art, moma.org

“ Hiroshige’s 100 Famous Views of Edo (feat. Takashi Murakami) ”

In his series of colorful prints, Utagawa Hiroshige depicts 19th-century Edo, now known as Tokyo, through images of the city’s shrines, restaurants, aqueducts and more. The set is being displayed for the first time in nearly a quarter century and is accompanied by photos of modern-day Tokyo as well as fantastical paintings by the artist Takashi Murakami, who created the works in response to Hiroshige’s prints. Through Aug. 4; Brooklyn Museum, brooklynmuseum.org

“ Melissa Cody: Webbed Skies ”

A fourth-generation weaver, Melissa Cody uses long-established techniques, including with a Navajo loom, while incorporating elements of contemporary technology. Highlighted here are more than 30 weavings, including one produced especially for the exhibition, that reframe and reinvent traditions. Through Sept. 9; MoMA PS1, momaps1.org

“ Preservation in Progress: Picturing Immigration ”

This show takes visitors behind the scenes of restoration work of “The Bay and Harbor of New York,” an 1855 painting by Samuel Bell Waugh that depicts immigrants arriving to the city. Gary McGowan, a conservator, will be working on the painting in the gallery on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. It opened on April 12, to coincide with the anniversary of the busiest day in Ellis Island history, when more than 11,000 immigrants were processed on April 17, 1907. Through Oct. 13; Museum of the City of New York, mcny.org


“ Future Now: Virtual Sneakers to Cutting-Edge Kicks ”

Showcasing nearly 60 designs that push the limits of what footwear can be, this exhibition includes sneakers made from mushroom leather and reclaimed ocean plastics, and shoes made for the metaverse. A mix of art, design and technology, it also features works by the architects Rem D. Koolhaas and Zaha Hadid, as well as designs made in collaboration with Rick Owens, Stella McCartney and more. Through Aug. 11; Portland Art Museum, portlandartmuseum.org


“ Hollywoodland: Jewish Founders and the Making of a Movie Capital ”

Exploring the history of filmmaking in Los Angeles, this exhibition goes back to the early 20th century and explains how the city became the industry’s epicenter. It also highlights the contributions of the Jewish filmmakers who founded the Hollywood studio system. Opens May 19; Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, academymuseum.org

“ Simone Leigh ”

The work of the multimedia artist Simone Leigh examines Black female subjectivity, and much of it draws on traditions from Africa and across the African diaspora. This comprehensive survey presents works by her in ceramic, bronze, video and installation, and it features pieces from her 2022 Venice Biennale presentation. May 26 through Jan. 20, 2025; LACMA, lacma.org


“ I Saw It: Francisco de Goya, Printmaker ”

The Spanish artist Francisco de Goya is considered by many to be both the last old master and the first modern one. Much of his early work focused on portraits of the aristocracy, but Goya was also a printmaker and often used the medium to depict and scrutinize Spanish culture. On view here are his four major print series, as well as works by artists who were inspired by Goya, including Pablo Picasso, Yinka Shonibare and Andy Warhol. Through Aug. 5; Norton Simon Museum, nortonsimon.org


“ Irving Penn ”

For nearly 70 years, Irving Penn helped revolutionize fashion photography. Shown here are around 175 photographs by Penn, the longtime Vogue contributor, including documentary scenes, abstract nudes and celebrity portraits of Audrey Hepburn, Marlene Dietrich and more. Through July 21; de Young, famsf.org

“ Phoenix Kingdoms: The Last Splendor of China’s Bronze Age ”

Based on recent archaeological discoveries, this exhibition showcases the technological and artistic advancements of the Zeng and Chu states of Bronze Age China, kingdoms that preceded and were largely overshadowed in historical records by the Qin Empire. This is the final show in a trilogy at the Asian Art Museum and follows “Terracotta Warriors” and “Tomb Treasures: New Discoveries From China’s Han Dynasty.” Through July 22; Asian Art Museum, asianart.org


“ Joyce J. Scott: Walk a Mile in My Dreams ”

A retrospective of the 50-year career of the Baltimore-based contemporary artist, this show features more than 120 objects, including Scott’s sculpture, garments and prints, as well as performance footage and archival materials. Running through Sunday at the Baltimore Museum of Art is also a companion exhibition of works by Scott’s mother, “Eyewinkers, Tumbleturds, and Candlebugs: The Art of Elizabeth Talford Scott.” Through July 14; Baltimore Museum of Art, artbma.org


“ Mary Cassatt at Work ”

Mary Cassatt was a Pennsylvania-born Impressionist painter who spent much of her adult life in Paris and whose work often depicted the social and working lives of women. This exhibition, with more than 130 works, also looks at Cassatt’s own professional life, and it will present new information about the materials she used and her artistic process. May 18 through Sept. 8; Philadelphia Museum of Art, philamuseum.org

“ Everlasting Plastics ”

First shown at the Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2023, this show examines how plastics shape and degrade economies and environments. Through site-specific commissions by five artists, architects and designers, it also considers how our relationship with the materials has changed as well as their unknown impact on our future. Through July 21; Carnegie Museum of Art, carnegieart.org


“ Revolutions: Art from the Hirshhorn Collection, 1860-1960 ”

To celebrate its 50th anniversary, the museum is presenting an exhibition that examines the cultural and artistic transformation during 100 years marked by increasing mechanization and scientific and philosophical development. The more than 200 artworks, shown mostly in chronological order, include pieces by Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, Joan Miró and Picasso. Through April 20, 2025; Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, hirshhorn.si.edu

“ Christina Ramberg: A Retrospective ”

Christina Ramberg, part of a group of artists known as the Chicago Imagists, often depicted fragmented female bodies — hair, hands and, particularly, torsos — in her paintings. The 100 or so works shown here include some of those pieces as well as the experimental quilts that Ramberg made in the late 1980s during a break from painting. Through Aug. 11; Art Institute of Chicago, artic.edu

“ The United Colors of Robert Earl Paige ”

Though raised in Chicago’s South Side, Robert Paige helped bring West African designs into American homes in the 1970s with his Dakkabar collection of fabrics, which was carried by Sears. Six decades of his textile designs are shown here along with recent clay, painting, drawing and collage pieces that he made during a recent residency at the Hyde Park Art Center. Through Oct. 27; Hyde Park Art Center, hydeparkart.org

“ Virginia Jaramillo: Principle of Equivalence ”

The abstract artist Virginia Jaramillo draws on her studies of physics, science fiction, mythology and modernist design. Her paintings and handmade-paper works examine how we experience the physical world and offer alternative understandings through abstraction. This show, of more than 40 works, includes her “Curvilinear” series, as well as works made during a collaboration with the Dieu Donné papermill in New York. May 4 through Jan. 5, 2025; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, mcachicago.org

“ Korean Couture: Generations of Revolution ”

This exhibition, which features about 30 pieces, including 17th-century aristocratic garments, traces the history and transformation of Korean fashion. A combination of traditional Korean aesthetics with contemporary trends is shown through the work of designers such as André Kim, Lie Sang Bong and Lee Jean Youn. Sunday through Oct. 13; Cleveland Museum of Art, clevelandart.org

“ To My Friends at Horn: Keith Haring and Iowa City ”

In 1984 and 1989, Keith Haring made trips to Iowa City to visit Ernest Horn Elementary School. On the first, he conducted workshops with students in a three-day residency, and on the second he completed a mural at the school. That mural, “A Book Full of Fun,” is on loan here while the school is renovated. May 4 through Jan. 5, 2025; University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art, stanleymuseum.uiowa.edu

Mountain West

“ Biophilia: Nature Reimagined ”

Biophilia is a theory suggesting that humans innately seek a connection with nature and other life-forms. This show, through more than 80 works, including by Iris van Herpen, Studio Gang and teamLab, reflects on that idea, particularly in the context of a digital and urban world. May 5 through Aug. 11; Denver Art Museum, denverartmuseum.org

New England

“ Beyond Brilliance: Jewelry Highlights from the Collection ”

Pulled from the museum’s collection, the more than 150 pieces in this exhibition cover thousands of years. Among the highlights are an ancient Egyptian broad-collar necklace and 20th-century designs by Tiffany & Company and Bulgari. The contemporary designers featured include Christian and Yasmin Hemmerle, Wallace Chan and Feng J. Opens May 18; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; mfa.org

“ Firelei Báez ”

The work of Firelei Báez, a Dominican-born artist who lives and works in New York, examines and questions historical narratives, particularly about colonialism and the African diaspora. Her paintings, drawings and installations are informed by anthropology, geography, folklore and other disciplines. This show will feature about 40 works before it moves to Vancouver, British Columbia, and then to Des Moines. Through Sept. 2; Institute of Contemporary Art, icaboston.org

SALEM, Mass.

“ Ethiopia at the Crossroads ”

Covering nearly 2,000 years of Ethiopian art and culture, the more than 200 objects in this exhibition include painted religious icons, illuminated manuscripts and metalwork. These pieces are paired with works by contemporary artists, such as Wosene Worke Kosrof, Julie Mehretu and Helina Metaferia, to trace the artistic traditions of the East African nation to the present day. Through July 7; Peabody Essex Museum, pem.org


“ Styling Identities: Hair’s Tangled Histories ”

Done in collaboration with local hairstylists and other members of the Hartford community, this show tells the story of hair and its various meanings. Arranged in four thematic sections — dealing with issues of community, change, care and judgments — the exhibition includes works by Lee Krasner, Mickalene Thomas and Cindy Sherman, and it is drawn primarily from the museum’s collection. Braiders, barbers and other hairstylists will be on site to work on visitors’ hair as part of the exhibition. Through Aug. 11; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, thewadsworth.org

“ Truth Told Slant: Contemporary Photography ”

This exhibition takes its name from an Emily Dickinson poem ( “Tell all the truth but tell it slant” ) and features five emerging photographers who challenge traditional documentary photography practices. Instead of showing disinterested observation, they embrace their own subjectivity on subjects such as race, sexual orientation, globalization and environmental justice. Through Aug. 11; High Museum of Art, high.org


“ Shinichi Sawada: Agents of Clay ”

In the mountains of Shiga Prefecture, the Japanese ceramist Shinichi Sawada, who is autistic and mostly nonverbal, creates fantastical clay figures. Shown here are about 30 of his sculptures, which explore Japanese and Shigaraki pottery traditions. Saturday through Aug. 11; Mint Museum Randolph, mintmuseum.org

“ Lee Alexander McQueen & Ann Ray: Rendez-Vous ”

The fashion photographer Ann Ray had unparalleled access to the world of Alexander McQueen, the provocative British fashion designer who died in 2010. Over 13 years and 43 collections, Ray created an archive of more than 32,000 negatives. She picked 65 photographs, which will be shown alongside dozens of McQueen garments. May 30 through Aug. 25; Frist Art Museum, fristartmuseum.org


“ To Take Shape and Meaning: Form and Design in Contemporary American Indian Art ”

This show features works by 75 contemporary Indigenous artists from more than 50 tribes throughout the United States and Canada. The art, including a beaded pair of Christian Louboutin shoes and a piece created from a Chevrolet El Camino, highlight the traditions and evolutions of Native art. Through July 28; North Carolina Museum of Art, ncartmuseum.org

“ Huguette Caland: Outside the Line (1970-84) ”

The Lebanese artist Huguette Caland moved to Paris in 1970. There she created a series of paintings, “Bribes de corps” (Body Parts, 1973-76), shown here alongside associated works of hers. Her erotic and abstract art depicts the body, sometimes her own and often close-up, in colorful and intimate lines. May 3 through Oct. 6; Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami; icamiami.org


“ Rose B. Simpson: Journeys of Clay ”

A mixed-media sculpture artist, Rose B. Simpson comes from a long matrilineal line of ceramists and potters. This show explores the relationship between Simpson, a member of the Santa Clara Pueblo in New Mexico, and her relatives, and it features sculptures by her mother, Roxanne Swentzell; her grandmother Rina Swentzell; and her great-grandmother Rose Naranjo. Through Sept. 1; Norton Museum of Art, norton.org

“ Haas Brothers: Moonlight ”

Exhibited here are a series of installations, both indoors and outdoors, by the fraternal twins Nikolai and Simon Haas, who make imaginative and fantastical sculptural objects. Among the works will be two “Moon Towers,” tall, glowing sculptures inspired by the streetlamps of Austin, Texas, that will stand in front of the museum. May 11 through Aug. 25, Nasher Sculpture Center, nashersculpturecenter.org

“ Art and War in the Renaissance: The Battle of Pavia Tapestries ”

For the first time in the United States, the entire series of these seven large-scale tapestries will be shown. A celebration of the victory by Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, over King Francis I of France in the Italian War of 1521-1526, the tapestries provide insights into Renaissance history, technology and style. They will be shown alongside arms and armor from the period. June 16 through Sept. 15; Kimbell Art Museum, kimbellart.org


“ de la Torre Brothers: Upward Mobility "

The brothers Einar and Jamex de la Torre began collaborating in earnest in the 1990s and create maximalist and often satirical mixed-media art. Their influences include Catholic iconography, Aztec mythology and German expressionism, and this exhibition, across four galleries, features their glass sculpture, lenticular prints, video work and installations. Through Sept. 15; McNay Art Museum, mcnayart.org

“ Multiple Realities: Experimental Art in the Eastern Bloc, 1960s-1980s ”

Highlighted here is the creative experimentation of Eastern and Central European artists of the period in their efforts to circumvent and elude the restrictions and controls on how their work was made and circulated. Nearly 100 artists from East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania and Yugoslavia are featured. Through Sept. 15; Phoenix Art Museum, phxart.org

Will Messi play at Gillette Stadium? New England hosts Inter Miami: Here’s the latest

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Inter Miami’s Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez are making the trip to New England, but will they play in Saturday night’s soccer match against the Revolution? 

Lingering concerns about the field surface at Gillette Stadium have raised doubt about whether they will play. Messi, who played on turf at Charlotte last year, appears more likely. Suárez, who has chronic knee issues, could be another story. 

Messi is second in MLS with seven goals scored, while Suarez is tied for third with three other players who have scored six goals. Inter Miami also enters the New England match ranked first in the MLS Eastern Conference and needing to accumulate as many points as possible before Messi departs for Copa America 2024 with Argentina this summer. 

“The players are all available. They are all able to travel. And, well, then we will see the formation to face New England,” Inter Miami coach Tata Martino said Friday without revealing his lineup. 

“We have already played in Charlotte, which was artificial, last year," he continued, adding it wasn’t a problem then for the club and its players. 

At least 64,000 fans are expected in attendance Saturday , which will likely set a team record for the Revolution, and potentially be one of the top three most attended soccer matches in Gillette Stadium’s 23-year history. 

How to watch New England vs. Inter Miami live stream 

Inter Miami faces the New England Revolution at 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday night. The game will be streamed via  MLS Season Pass on Apple TV . 

WATCH :  Messi and Inter Miami at New England on Apple TV

TICKETS :  See Messi and Inter Miami take on the New England Revolution at Gillete Stadium in Foxboro, Mass.

SHOP :  Get the latest Messi and Inter Miami gear from the MLS Store

More on New England’s playing surface before Inter Miami game 

The soccer playing surface at Gillette Stadium is the same field used by the New England Patriots for NFL games and similar to the turf Messi played on in Charlotte, a Revolution team spokesman told USA TODAY Sports earlier this week. 

"Same high-quality surface you’ll find at stadiums like Portland, Seattle, Charlotte – where Messi did play 90 minutes on the same type of surface," the spokesman said.

“All of my lower leagues, I’ve always played on turf,”  Messi said last August . “That was a long time ago, and it’s been a long time since I played on synthetic turf. But I have no problem adapting to turf again.”

Inter Miami is relatively healthy for New England match 

Messi’s Barcelona sidekick Jordi Alba will miss his second straight game due to a right hamstring injury. Midfielder Diego Gomez will miss the next six weeks with an ankle sprain. And midfielder Federico Redondo is still a month away from returning from a knee injury. Otherwise, Inter Miami is healthier than it’s been in a while. 

Messi will play in his fifth consecutive game since returning from a hamstring injury that kept him out March 13-April 6. Midfielder Benjamin Cremaschi also returned to the lineup to play sparingly in the last two games after sports hernia surgery. His presence, along with newly signed midfielder Matias Rojas, should help in Gomez’s absence. Strikers Leo Campana and Robert Taylor could return from hamstring injuries to play New England.

Asked how he feels about his team with some players returning from injury, Martino joked: "I’d like to start the 'ConcaChampions' tournament again."

Inter Miami was eliminated by Monterrey, which lost 2-1 to MLS Cup champions Columbus Crew earlier this week in the first of two matches in the Concacaf Champions Cup semifinal. 

Inter Miami upcoming schedule 

Here are the next five Inter Miami matches after visiting New England:

∎May 4: Inter Miami vs.  New York Red Bulls , 7:30 p.m. ET

∎May 11: Inter Miami at  CF Montreal , 7:30 p.m. ET

∎May 15: Inter Miami at  Orlando City , 7:30 p.m. ET

∎May 18: Inter Miami vs.  DC United , 7:30 p.m. ET

∎May 25: Inter Miami at  Vancouver , 10:30 p.m. ET

J. Geils Band’s Peter Wolf announces summer tour dates around New England

Peter Wolf of the J. Geils Band hits the road in New England this summer.

It’s been a minute since Peter Wolf hit the road, but that’s about to change. The former J. Geils Band singer has announced a string of New England dates that’ll give longtime fans a chance to see the Hard Drivin’ Man do what he does better than most: Perform live onstage.

Wolf, who celebrated his 78th birthday last month, is doing a series of unplugged shows he’s calling the “Waiting On The Moon Tour: An Acoustic Evening of Stories and Songs.” He’ll be joined on the July dates by two frequent collaborators — guitarists Duke Levine and Kevin Barry.

Though best known as the electrifying frontman of the J. Geils Band, Wolf has released eight well-reviewed albums under his own name, including 2002′s “ Sleepless ,” which Rolling Stone ranked No. 427 on a list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Lately, Wolf, who grew up in the Bronx but has lived in Boston for several decades, has been keeping a low profile while he writes a memoir. Anyone familiar with the singer’s backstory knows the book could be fascinating. In his late teens, Wolf lived in an apartment around the corner from Club 47, the Harvard Square coffeehouse that became Club Passim, and hung out with the likes of Mose Allison, Bill Monroe, Otis Spann, Howlin’ Wolf, and Muddy Waters.

The first of the seven shows are July 5 and 6 at Stone Mountain Arts Center in Brownfield, Maine. Wolf will also perform in Fall River July 12, Westerly, R.I., July 13, Natick July 18, Norfolk, Conn., July 19, and Rockport July 25. Ticket info can be found at peterwolf.com .

Mark Shanahan can be reached at [email protected] . Follow him @MarkAShanahan .


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