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  • 1 Grafton, Vermont
  • 2 Sugar Hill, New Hampshire
  • 3 Stockbridge, Massachusetts
  • 4 Montpelier, Vermont
  • 5 Hudson, New York
  • 6 Frenchtown, New Jersey
  • 7 Bristol, Rhode Island
  • 8 Mystic, Connecticut
  • 9 Castine, Maine

Northeast Vacations: The 9 Cutest Towns For Your Trip

With lighthouse-scattered coasts, bucolic countryside, rich historical ties, and too many quaint villages to count, the Northeast radiates a relaxed energy no other region could hope to replicate. Here, 9 of the cutest towns to check out next time you’re in the neighborhood.

A Brooklyn-based writer and editor, Chelsea's work has appeared in Matador Network, The Huffington Post, the TripAdvisor blog, and more. When not planning her next trip, you'll usually find her drinking way too much iced coffee (always iced—she’s from New England) or bingeing a Netflix original series.

See recent posts by Chelsea Stuart

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Grafton, Vermont

One look at Grafton’s historic covered bridges, romantic country inns, family-run farmsteads, and sheep-dotted pastures, and you’ll realize that the village is a representation of small town New England at its finest. Nestled in Vermont’s Green Mountains, the charming town is home to less than 600 year-round residents who regularly convene for Town Meetings (see Gilmore Girls’ Stars Hollow, for reference). Tuck your things away at Main Street’s circa-1801 Grafton Inn —right next door to the village’s iconic white steepled church—and make a beeline for Grafton Village Cheese Co. We'd argue that there's no better way to spend an afternoon than nibbling on naturally-aged, handmade variations (there’s more than 80) like truffle cheddar, 18-month emmentaler, and sheep gouda while you watch the company’s cheesemakers in action.

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Sugar Hill, New Hampshire

Tucked away in New Hampshire’s rugged White Mountains, with stunning scenic views (especially come fall), hole-in-the-wall antique shops, and a population that hovers around just 560, Sugar Hill has all the trappings of a quintessential New England town. Swing by in June to catch the annual Celebration of Lupines , when the reborn blooms blanket Sugar Hill’s countryside in a brilliant display of blues, purples, pinks, and whites. From there, extend your outdoor time with an excursion in neighboring Franconia Notch State Park. Take a dip in Echo Lake , listen to the roaring waters of the Flume Gorge , or take a ride on an 80-person cable car at the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway. On a clear day, you can see straight across NH to Maine, Vermont, New York, and even Canada.

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Stockbridge, Massachusetts

In recent years, the Massachusetts Berkshires have been luring more city slickers out of NYC and Boston than ever. Those in search of a picturesque bucolic escape look no further than Stockbridge, a resort town with relative name recognition thanks to famous resident Norman Rockwell. In fact, many visitors make the hike out to the western MA town just to glimpse the largest collection of the prolific artist's work and personal items at the Norman Rockwell Museum . Priceless art aside, it’s also worth spending some downtime at the Berkshire Botanical Garden and window-shopping the bric-a-brac-filled country stores on Historic Main Street. Once you work up an appetite, head 5 minutes down the road to No. Six Depot in West Stockbridge. The rustic small-batch coffee roaster/café/art gallery serves a mean panini (go for the porchetta with truffle aioli, hazelnut gremolata, and lemon-caper aioli) and—of course—the best caffeine fix in town.

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Montpelier, Vermont

If you make the trip to Vermont—the maple syrup capital of the United States— and you don’t leave with a stash of the homemade treat, you’re doing something seriously wrong. To remedy this, start your Montpelier stay with a stop by Bragg Farm Sugar House , a family-run business that’s taught eight generations the secret to crafting perfect maple kettle corn, cookies, and candies. From there, it’s over to stylish creperie, The Skinny Pancake , to further indulge with sweet and savory options like the Pure and Simple, with Cabot butter, granulated sugar, local syrup, and the Sass-Squash, with butternut squash, VT chevre and apples, and organic spinach. Before you’re forced to leave the foothills of the Green Mountains, fit in one last food-fueled event. Swing by the Capital City Farmer’s Market so you can pick up farm-fresh produce that supports local growers.

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Hudson, New York

Despite being just over two hours outside Manhattan, Hudson feels worlds away. As “Upstate’s Downtown,” the once sleepy, now trendy city is an amalgam of old-world architecture (Federal, Victorian, and Queen Anne), verdant countryside, and lively art and music scenes. If you’re visiting from the city, you have to make good on outdoor options with hikes through the hemlock-forested wilderness of Taconic State Park and Bash Bish Falls (just over the border in MA). When you need to refuel, mosey back into town for a meal in Wm Farmer & Sons ’ handsome, modern-meets-vintage dining room (akin to those you’d find in Brooklyn). Once you’ve stuffed your face with cast-iron burgers and smoked brisket on brioche, retire to Rivertown Lodge . Once a two-story movie theater, you’ll easily spot the stylish stay thanks to its enduring marquee. Inside, the aesthetic is just as pleasing as guest rooms are kitted out with custom-built furniture, white oak floors, brass bathroom faucets, and Americana-style accents.

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Frenchtown, New Jersey

Just a 1.5-hour drive from both NYC and Philly, Frenchtown presents an easy weekend getaway that rivals trips to the Poconos and Hudson Valley. Given its size (tiny), the Delaware River gem is shockingly rife with worthwhile restaurants and boutique shops that run the gamut from home decor to fine jewelry. Since you can’t shop on an empty stomach, make a pit stop at the Lovin’ Oven , a farm-to-table eatery that calls a converted manufacturing warehouse home. On Wednesday’s, they serve a three-course “Welcome Home” dinner full of comfort foods (both traditional and modified) like fish and chips, Nashville fried chicken, and vegan sloppy joes. Post-meal, it's time to peruse eclectic titles at The Book Garden . The indie shop sets up its shelves inside a 19th-century Victorian home on Bridge Street. Pro-tip: if you're looking for a cookbook, head straight for the kitchen.

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Bristol, Rhode Island

Bestowed with the nickname “America’s Most Patriotic Town,” colonial-era Bristol has been proudly hosting the oldest, continuous Fourth of July celebration in the US since they threw their first shindig in 1777. Today, the annual affair includes outdoor concerts, soapbox races, an elaborate parade down Hope Street , and more, but you’ll still find plenty to see and do should your visit fall outside of July. Historical sites are a dime a dozen in this neck of the woods. Spend an afternoon at the Blithewold Mansion, Gardens, and Arboretum a 45-room, heirloom-filled estate that sits on 33 garden-framed acres overlooking Narragansett Bay, and plan time for a visit to Linden Place , as well. If the historic house museum has you feeling some sort of déjà vu, it’s likely you saw its on-screen debut in Robert Redford and Mia Farrow’s The Great Gatsby .

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Mystic, Connecticut

This destination may no longer be under wraps, but the maritime village of Mystic is still a top-notch option for those looking to relax in the Northeast. Nearly equidistance between NYC and Boston, the quaint community is brimming with B&Bs, seaside restaurants, and a world-class aquarium. Drop your bags at Spicer Mansion , a romantic, clapboard inn with only eight lavish guest rooms (think: high ceilings, four-poster beds, and antique-inspired furnishings). From there, it’s time to explore the historic downtown for small mom-and-pop shops and a slice of surprisingly good pizza from the one and only Mystic Pizza (be prepared for lots of Julia Roberts kitsch).

Explore More: See hotel details | See all Mystic, CT hotels

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Castine, Maine

In midcoast Maine, on a peninsula in Penobscot Bay, you’ll find one of the state’s oldest communities: Castine. Rich in seafaring tradition, the harbor town is home to the Maine Maritime Academy, and, perhaps, it’s most easily recognizable feature, the stone Dice Head Light. For classic Maine accommodations, the seaside Pentagoet Inn has you covered. The three-story, turreted Queen Anne Victorian is all about old-fashioned details: vintage lithographs, period antiques, clawfoot tubs, and intricately carved headboards—and its location is ideal, putting you within reach of countless art galleries, flea markets, seasonal fairs, and more. Just a minute down the block, MarKel’s Bakehouse is a must when it comes time to snack. Cinnamon buns, sweet breads, scones, and to-go sandwiches all vie for attention, but once you’ve picked something sweet, retreat back to the inn to relax on the wraparound porch where wicker rockers afford guests stunning views of the bay.

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18 Top-Rated Weekend Getaways in the Northeast

Written by Alison Abbott and Shandley McMurray Updated Apr 25, 2022 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

The Northeast is filled with picturesque, interesting, and exciting places to visit for a weekend getaway. Whether you're looking for the excitement of a big city or the serenity of mountains, you'll find it – and so much more – in the Northeast.

From the bright lights of New York City to the sandy beaches of Cape May to the quaint seaside town of Old Saybrook , you're in for a treat no matter where you head for your weekend getaway in the Northeast.

Hike through the White Mountains , ogle the old sailboats in Mystic , or head out on a seal-watching cruise in Newport . This spectacular region really does have something to please every type of traveler, so pack your bags and head to the Northeast coast, you'll be happy you did.

With such a wide variety of options, the hardest part of your weekend getaway will be deciding the best places to visit. Explore your options with our list of the top weekend getaways in the Northeast.

1. New York City, NY

3. cape cod, ma, 4. acadia national park, me, 5. newport, ri, 6. mystic, connecticut, 7. white mountains, nh, 8. martha's vineyard, ma, 9. nantucket, ma, 10. stowe, vt, 11. philadelphia, pa, 12. burlington, vt, 13. niagara falls, ny, 14. cape may, new jersey, 15. kennebunkport, me, 16. old saybrook, ct, 17. portland, me, 18. new london, ct, map of weekend getaways in the northeast.

New York City, NY

Visitors can go to New York City a hundred times and never see the same thing twice. This is the appeal of the City that Never Sleeps– there is something for everyone.

If arts and culture is what you desire, take in a Broadway play or head to the Metropolitan Museum of Art . Take a stroll through Central Park , which is an attraction of its own with more than 843 acres of nature, a lake, ice-skating rink, and cultural icons like Strawberry Fields and the Chess and Checkers House .

One World Trade Center is a moving memorial to 9/11 and a must see for all who visit. At the top, you'll find the One World Observatory , which offers an unbeatable view of the city from above.

Getting to New York City is easy with three airports (Laguardia, Newark, and JFK) serving this hub. There are also many regional rails and Amtrak.

If you want to be right in the middle of the action, The Westin New York Grand Central is a reliable brand that represents good value in New York. For another midtown location with a more boutique feel, Library Hotel by Library Hotel Collection is a great choice.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in New York City

Boston

Boston is a great walking city, made up of historic, quirky, and charming neighborhoods, each with its own personality and offerings.

With the perfect blend of old and new, visitors will find a rich selection of activities for just about any interest. For those wanting to take a walk through the American Revolution, try the Freedom Trail . This two-and-a-half-mile promenade will take you through 16 historical sites, like the Paul Revere House and the Boston Commons . If arts and culture are what you crave, be sure to explore the Museum of Fine Art and the Boston Public Gardens .

Finally, depending on the season, no trip is complete without a stop at either a baseball, hockey, basketball, or football game. Boston fans are legendary, and a sporting event in the city is one not to be missed.

Copley Square is a central spot right in the middle of the city. In this location, enjoy Boston's only rooftop pool at the Colonnade Hotel . For a waterfront stay, the Seaport Boston Hotel is excellent and only a short walk from Boston's famous Italian North End, where a visit will transport you back to old time Italy.

  • Read More: Best Attractions in Boston, MA

Cape Cod, MA

A favorite weekend getaway destination in the Northeast, Cape Cod has been a popular vacation spot for decades, especially during summer. This section of Massachusetts is filled with maritime charm, world-class restaurants, and one-of-a-kind shops sprinkled throughout the area. Separated from the mainland by the Cape Cod Canal, the entire landscape is edged with miles of beautiful coastline.

Although the main draw is the Cape Cod National Seashore and its impeccable beaches , there are many additional options for fun things to do in Cape Cod . Galleries filled with the work of local artists dot the adorable small towns.

You can step back in time and take in a movie at the Wellfleet Drive In, one of the last remaining drive in movie theaters in the US. Theater buffs rave about the summer performances at the Cape Playhouse , the oldest professional summer theater.

If you're looking for an eccentric experience filled with the best Cape Cod has to offer (i.e. shopping, beaches, art galleries, and a funky main street), head to Provincetown . When hunger pangs hit, it's time to dive into one of the main reasons people visit Cape Cod: its excellent fresh seafood.

While less than a two-hour drive from Boston, summer traffic can be heavy, so get an early start. Hyannis airport offers additional travel options.

One of the prettiest spots to stay on the Cape is Chatham. Chatham Bars Inn, Resort and Spa is a large property with a well-known restaurant. For a great pool and morning muffins, try the Eagle Wing Inn .

Acadia National Park at sunrise

There are few spots on the Northeast coast that have the magical allure of Acadia National Park. New England's only national park, this natural wonderland spans over 47,000 acres of Maine's most majestic scenery. Featuring rocky headlands (the highest on the Atlantic coast), sparkling ponds, and verdant forests, this is the perfect place for nature lovers to enjoy a weekend getaway in the Northeast.

Strap on your hiking shoes to enjoy over 158 miles of hiking trails, or tour around 27 miles of the historic roads within the park. Another 45 miles of carriage roads also transport visitors from one incredible section to the next. Hike, bike, walk, lounge on the beach, or enjoy a dip in a pond – there's no end to the outdoor fun to be had in this iconic gem.

You won't have to look far to find a great place to stay. The park is home to multiple campsites, so you can zip in for the night after enjoying s'mores around a campfire.

Not a big fan of roughing it? The Bayview Hotel in nearby Bar Harbor – an adorable and highly romantic town you won't want to miss – offers guests a waterfront view easily enjoyed from a private balcony along with a made-to-order breakfast and free cookies. You had us at cookies!

Mansion in Newport, RI

Travel back in time to the Gilded Age with a trip to Newport, Rhode Island. This town is filled with opulent hillside mansions, rugged shores, and eclectic shops. Make sure not to miss the Cliff Walk , an easy stroll along the coastal edge past the grand mansions and wealth of yesteryear. You'll want your camera to capture the beauty of this spot!

Newport also has a rich sailing history, evident in the bustling marina. The waterfront area is filled with an unusual selection of shops, restaurants, and many special events. Tickets are available for tours of many of the elegant mansions, like The Breakers , summer "cottage" to the Vanderbilts or Rosecliff , modeled after the Grand Trianon, the garden retreat of French royalty at Versailles. Getting there is a short drive from T.F. Green Airport in Providence or a two-hour drive from Boston.

An elegant stay reflecting the Gilded Age can be found steps from the Cliff Walk at The Chanler at Cliff Walk . For a fabulous stay across a small inlet near the harbor, select Gurney's Newport Resort and Marina . The in-house restaurant has some of the best views in town.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Newport, Rhode Island

Mystic, Connecticut

Oozing charm from every corner, Mystic is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Connecticut . A romantic maritime gem, this historic town has everything you look for in a quiet weekend getaway in the Northeast. Charming shops line the quaint streets, tasty restaurants tempt your taste buds, and world-class museums will intrigue your inner historian.

Life seems to slow down in Mystic, giving visitors a chance to soak up the nautical scenery while wandering around the town's downtown core. Don't miss a visit to the Mystic Seaport , an incredibly impressive look into the town's seafaring past, complete with a 19th-century village and the Charles W. Morgan wooden whaling ship.

Mystic Seaport

The Mystic Aquarium is another must-visit locale chock-full of fun that kids of all ages (from 1 to 100) will enjoy. Virtually across the street, you'll find Olde Mistick Village , a charming area boasting unique shops (don't miss the fudge or popcorn samples) and restaurants.

Speaking of food, Mystic Pizza (made famous by the movie that launched Julia Roberts' career) is just across the bridge. Why not head over for a slice (or four) of pie?

Mystic is easily accessible from New York City and Boston by car. If you're looking for a good-value place to stay, the Hampton Inn & Suites Mystic is centrally located. At the other end of the spectrum, the beautifully appointed Spicer Mansion represents top-notch luxury in a boutique setting.

Read More: Top-Rated Things to do in Mystic, CT

White Mountains, NH

The White Mountains in New Hampshire are the perfect place to rest, relax, and reconnect with nature. It's also great for travelers with a penchant for adventure. Head to the Alpine Adventures zipline course for a treetop view or take the family to Clark's Trading Post for the water raft ride, The Anaconda Escape .

If you are looking for something less exciting, take a leisurely ride on one of the area's trains. Check out the Hobo Railroad , Conway Scenic Railroad, or the Mount Washington Cog Railway . The views are spectacular.

Perhaps the biggest (literally) draw to this area is Mount Washington . The rugged and unpredictable landscape lures adventurers. Not a fan of mountain climbing? Get in your car and take a thrilling drive to the top. If you make the drive, be sure to grab and proudly display one of the iconic " This Car Climbed Mount Washington " stickers. It's a badge of honor!

Although many people choose to make this a road-trip destination, you can also fly in to Mount Washington Regional Airport.

Look for stunning mountain views in a central North Conway location at The White Mountain Hotel & Resort , and the Hampton Inn & Suites North Conway is a great-value family favorite with an indoor waterpark.

Gay Head Lighthouse in Martha's Vineyard

No weekend getaway in the Northeast is complete without a trip to the famed Martha's Vineyard. A top day trip destination from Boston , this is a haven for celebs, weekend warriors, and members of the upper echelons of society.

To truly fit in, you may want to pack a pair of critter shorts and a golf shirt (don't forget a sweater to tie around your shoulders to complete the look). Joking aside, this posh getaway is a wonderful place for couples and families alike to spend a relaxing weekend by the water.

Everything here is laid-back and quaint. There are no chain stores, restaurants, or cheesy motels on offer. Instead, you'll find adorable inns, farm-to-table eateries, and appealing attractions. A transit bus will take you to hot spots like Gay Head Lighthouse , Aquinnah Cliffs , the shops and galleries of Edgartown , and the sweet cottages at Oak Bluffs .

The Winnetu Oceanside Resort is a stellar spot to spend a weekend getaway in Martha's Vineyard. Voted one of the top 25 New England Resorts, this luxurious beauty sits on the shores of 11 acres of South Beach, in Edgartown.

Mansion House is another fab accommodation, this time set in Vineyard Haven. Bursting with elegant seaside charm, this romantic hotel is utterly charming.

Read More : From Boston to Martha's Vineyard: 6 Best Ways to Get There

Nantucket

Nantucket is a dream destination for summer sun worshippers from across the eastern seaboard, especially those looking to escape big city hubs like Boston and New York for a weekend getaway in the Northeast.

Home to sparkling waters and a variety of gorgeous beaches , Nantucket appeals to travelers of all types. Whether you're looking for a secluded and romantic weekend getaway packed with charming inns and quaint towns or an action-packed, family-friendly beach getaway, you're in for a treat in Nantucket.

A stunning island set over 30 miles south of Cape Cod, Nantucket is a breeding ground for those with too much money to count. The well-to-do crowds flock to its pristine shores and sprawl their Gucci towels upon the sugar soft sand during the day, dining on five-star entrées at the area's top restaurants at night.

Don't let this dissuade you. Those of us without gold-rimmed pockets can enjoy a very enjoyable weekend getaway in this glitzy yet laid-back locale, exploring it's best tourist attractions like the Great Point Lighthouse , Whaling Museum , and Sanform Farm & Ram Pasture .

The Nantucket Hotel & Resort is a luxurious, AAA Four-Diamond Award winner with five-star service, glamorous suites, and deluxe cottages on offer. Those hoping for a less shocking price tag will enjoy a stay at the Nantucket Resort Collection . Serene, clean, and steps from the beach, this pretty spot is both charming and luxurious.

Fall colors in Stowe, Vermont

It's hard to think of Vermont without picturing its iconic weekend getaway, Stowe. This top-rated small town in Vermont is highlighted by the towering spire of a whitewashed church, rugged mountains, and a quaint town peppered with boutique shops and fine restaurants.

Stowe is most popular as a winter ski destination–Mt. Mansfield is the state's highest peak and home to Stowe Mountain Resort . In winter, guests can zip down its ski trails while the gondola will take sightseers high above the trees to enjoy fall foliage and summer flowers.

The most stellar place to stay here is the Trapp Family Lodge . Once lived in by the family made famous in The Sound of Music , you'll find a lovely inn as well as a farm and outdoor center with fabulous cross-country ski trails.

The Lodge at Spruce Peak is a must for those looking for a ski-in, ski-out luxury resort. Located at the base of Mount Mansfield, this glamorous spot boasts a golf course, pool, and fitness center as well as ski rentals.

The sweet and quaint Edson Hill hotel is about as romantic as they get, and filled with rustic charm. Picturesque views, wood-paneled walls, and fireplaces help set the mood.

Independence Hall

Philadelphia is a great weekend getaway destination for those who want to do it all. If you love history, culture, arts, or can appreciate a good cheesesteak, this is the place for you.

Philadelphia is one of the oldest cities in the country, and nowhere is it more evident than in Old City, where you can walk the cobblestone streets and view the area's top tourist attractions, like the liberty bell at the Liberty Bell Center in Independence National Historical Park .

Foodies will rejoice at the Reading Terminal Market , the oldest operational public market, which houses one-of-a-kind foods and gifts. It's a fantastic spot for lunch–don't miss the freshly made Pennsylvania Dutch pretzels.

Tourists can visit the Philadelphia Art Museum for amazing pieces from world-famous artists both past and present. If art isn't your thing, you can run up the steps of the museum and follow in the footsteps of one of Philadelphia's most famous fictitious residents, Rocky.

You can get to Philadelphia easily by plane directly into Philadelphia International Airport or rail through Amtrak.

Visitors who appreciate a local aesthetic will love all the decorative accents at the boutique Kimpton Hotel Palomar. The central location puts many tourist destinations within easy reach.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Philadelphia

Burlington, VT

A small town vibe with big city amenities, Burlington, Vermont makes another splendid weekend getaway choice. About an hour drive from the Canadian border and located on the water, this town's eclectic vibe is the perfect fit for the hip couple or family and would also make a great girlfriends' getaway.

While you are here, hit the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center , fun for kids and adults of all ages. History buffs will love the Ethan Allen Homestead , which houses an impressive collection of Revolutionary War memorabilia in a 1787 farmhouse.

You can also head to the waterfront or the Church Street Marketplace , where you can walk around, shop, and people watch. Getting there is easy, it's just a few miles from town to the Burlington International Airport.

Steps from Lake Champlain, the Courtyard Burlington Harbor is conveniently located, and some rooms have water views. DoubleTree by Hilton Burlington Vermont is Vermont's largest hotel and conference center and represents good value, with a pool and breakfast buffet.

  • Read More: Top Tourist Attractions in Burlington, Vermont & Easy Day Trips

Niagara Falls, NY

Niagara Falls is an interesting mix of nature and glitz. Hotels and attractions have popped up over the years, giving it a touristy vibe. Despite the commercial feel of the area, there is no denying the main draw: breathtaking views of Niagara Falls.

No trip to Niagara Falls is complete without a boat ride on the Maid of the Mist through the falls. If you would rather enjoy a more low-key adventure, check out Old Fort Niagara or Goat Island .

Cross the border into Canada to see Niagara Falls in Ontario . This is supposed to be the natural wonder's most spectacular side and it's just a quick jaunt across the river. From Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum to Madame Tussauds , there is a little something for everyone here. Visitors can get to Niagara Falls by plane through the Niagara Falls International Airport.

The Art Deco design of The Giacomo makes for a unique stay in a convenient Niagara Falls location. Across the street from the park, visitors will find good value at the Comfort Inn The Pointe. Ask for a room with a river view.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Niagara Falls, NY

Cape May, New Jersey

Cape May is arguably the most charming of the New Jersey beaches , and one of the best places for a weekend getaway in the Northeast. Dotted with Victorian houses and quaint bed-and-breakfasts along with a pristine Jersey Shore, Cape May is not only a great spot for a couples' getaway, but for families as well.

The beach is the main draw, as the area is known as the nation's oldest seaside resort, but if you want to beat the heat or enjoy a rainy day indoors, try one of Cape May's many attractions – like the Cape May County Park and Zoo , Fireman's Museum , and the Cape May Lighthouse , or relax in one of the many spas.

Cape May also has a plethora of water activities from parasailing to boating and wave runners for the more adventurous. After a busy day, stop in at Uncle Charley's for some homemade, hand-dipped ice-cream, an all-time favorite of those visiting the Jersey Shore (cash only).

Accommodation options in the area include The Virginia Hotel , a short walk from the beach, while The Angel of the Sea , a Victorian-style inn, serves a delightful afternoon tea.

Kennebunkport, ME

Kennebunkport has long been a vacation spot for Maine residents, as well as tourists. The summer home to the Bush compound, this has been favored by many for its beautiful sandy beaches and the opportunity to view a few of Maine's prized lighthouses.

Tourists flock here in the summer months, but don't overlook the opportunity to visit this area in other seasons, especially if you're a fan of fall foliage. There is always something going on for visitors. The draw to this weekend getaway is the beach, but one thing you should do while you are here is take a ride on the Intown Trolley Tour for a history lesson and to see some of the sights.

If you had too much sun, escape the heat and head down to Dock Square . Spend some time walking through some of the eclectic shops and grab a bite to eat at their restaurants, ranging from casual fare to seafood.

The Kennebunks are known for their wonderful bed-and-breakfast accommodations. A few favorites are the James Fairfield House , Nathaniel Lord Mansion , and William Jefferds House , three of four charming boutique inns that serve as part of the Kennebunkport Captains Collection. The adorable 1802 House Bed and Breakfast Inn is also worthy of a stay.

Marina at the Saybrook Point Resort

While it won't take long to wander through the downtown core of Old Saybrook, this small Connecticut town oozes so much quintessential New England charm, you'll wish you had a whole week to enjoy your visit.

An alluring seaside town, this pretty spot is home to adorable shops, tasty restaurants, and a village rich in colonial history. Its proximity to Harvey's Beach, one of the best beaches in Connecticut , is a big draw with summer visitors in particular.

Beat the heat at the magnificent Krieble Gallery, which lies just behind the impressive Florence Griswold Museum , and partake in a little retail therapy on Main Street.

At night, treat yourself to a stay at the luxurious Saybrook Point Resort & Marina . In addition to its relaxing spa, you'll find impeccable food served alongside a phenomenal water view.

Read More: Top-Rated Things to Do in Old Saybrook, CT

Downtown Portland, Maine

Though it's the largest city in Maine, Portland still manages to give off some serious vacation vibes. Casco Bay's salty scent lingers on the narrow, cobblestone streets of this historic port town.

Seagulls screech their hellos while the Old Port neighborhood bustles with tourists finding their way onto sightseeing cruises and charter tours to the spectacular Calendar Islands . The Old Port is also home to some of the city's best shops and restaurants, not to mention a few visit-worthy galleries.

Walk along the Eastern Promenade Trail on a sunny day. Bring a picnic so you can enjoy the water views for longer or, better yet, follow it to the city's only public beach, East End Beach . Don't miss a visit to the Portland Head Light while you're in town.

If you're looking for a more action-packed beach, head to one of the best beaches near Portland .

Looking for a chic boutique hotel experience? Check out The Press Hotel , a Marriott Autograph Collection property. Set in a historic building, this funky space highlights the field of journalism, featuring vintage writing desks and newsy artworks created by local artists and artisans.

The cozy and cute Chadwick Bed & Breakfast lies in the city's historic West End district, near top tourist attractions like the Portland Museum of Art, Portland Observatory, and the Victoria Mansion .

Read More: Top-Rated Attractions & Things to do in Portland, ME

New London, CT

For those wanting to explore a quiet, New England Town, New London, Connecticut is a great pick. This small town is nestled on the water and filled with art, culture, and history and some really great seafood as well. It's best visited during the summer, when things are open and ready for customers. Those visiting off-season may feel as if they're walking through a ghost town.

While you are visiting, stop at the Custom House Maritime Museum . From here, you can organize a lighthouse tour or sightseeing boat trip to take in the area's prettiest attractions, including the New London Harbor Light and New London Ledge Light .

Lyman Allyn Art Museum

Next, you may want to stop and check out the Lyman Allyn Art Museum , which houses an impressive 15,000 paintings along with sculptures, furniture, and other decorative arts.

After exploring the town and its vibrant and fun Wall to Wall New London Mural Walk , head to the beach for food, games, and fun in the sun. Located midway between New York and Boston, New London also offers the advantage of a side trip to the tip of Long Island.

The Orient Point Ferry leaves from this area for a ride across Long Island Sound and a complete change of scenery. The Holiday Inn New London is a great starting point for exploring this area. Rooms are large, with a refrigerator and microwave, and the facility also has a pool.

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The 14 best day trips & weekend getaways in the US Northeast

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Cherry Blossoms in Washington DC at sunrise.

The US capital offers some great escapes from the big city noise ©Lingxiao Xie/500px

The Northeast is a haven for day-trippers. New York City is the gateway to a constellation of escapes to beaches, mountains, historic sites, pretty villages and more. Almost half of New England is within easy distance of Boston, from the cow-dotted hills to the tumbling gray seas of Maine. From Washington, DC, head south to Virginia for syrupy-paced country life, west to the Appalachian mountains, north to bustling Philadelphia, or east to the Maryland shore for seaside escapes.

Editor's note: Please check the latest travel restrictions before planning any trip and always follow government advice.

Best day trips from New York City

Thomas edison national historical park, west orange, new jersey.

You can still sense Thomas Edison’s brilliance and tireless pursuit of knowledge at his sprawling workshops in West Orange, New Jersey. At the Thomas Edison National Historical Park , visit the actual labs where he and his researchers perfected the light bulb by methodically testing 6000 substances and 3000 designs, beginning in the 1870s. 1hr by train & bus from Penn Station.

Freedom Tower and NYC Skyline from Rockaway Beach

Rockaway Beach, New York

Surfboards on the subway? A surprising sight, no doubt, but it’s a quick subway (or scenic ferry ride) from Manhattan to the break at the white-sand beach off 90th St in the Rockaways. A tight-knit group of Atlantic wave worshippers has revitalized this section of the beachfront. If you’ve forgotten your board, watch the action from a beachside cafe. 1hr by ferry or 1hr 20min by subway.

Two women cycling on boardwalk

Asbury Park, New Jersey

Hard by the Atlantic Ocean, Asbury Park is where New Jersey’s troubadour, Bruce Springsteen, got his start in the mid-1970s. The first stop for everyone is the Stone Pony, the bar where he launched his career. Another 40 bars, many with live music, lure trains full of young NY-based revelers. Blocks of restored Victorian homes and newer units are also attracting New Yorkers’ attention. 2hr by train from Penn Station.

Woodstock, New York

A minor detail: the 1969 music festival was actually held in Bethel, an hour’s drive west. Nonetheless, the perfectly quaint town of Woodstock still attracts an arty, music-loving crowd and cultivates the free spirit of that era, with rainbow tie-dye style and local grassroots everything, from radio to a respected indie film festival and a farmers market (fittingly billed as a farm festival). 2hr 30min by car.

See more day trips from New York City .

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Best day trips from Boston

Providence, rhode island.

The capital of America’s smallest state offers a quirky good time. Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) give the city an arty, youthful vibe, with excellent coffee shops, dive bars, used bookstores and indie theatres. Hit Waterplace Park for art installations and summer concerts. 1hr by car or 30min by train from South Station.

Western Massachusetts

It wouldn’t be fall in New England without hot apple cider and cinnamon-spiked cider donuts, both harvest traditions in the apple orchards of western Mass. You can create a whole day of autumn memories at fourth-generation family-run Red Apple Farm in Phillipston. Pick from 50 varieties of apples, munch donuts and fudge, visit the goats, take a hayride, then sip an apple beer in the seasonal "Brew Barn." 1hr 10min by car.

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Mystic, Connecticut

This seaside village was once one of America’s most important whaling and shipbuilding centers, and Mystic now trades on its salty history. Visit the Charles W. Morgan, the world’s oldest wooden whaling ship, at the 40-acre Mystic Seaport Museum , wander the historic riverfront downtown, take a schooner cruise, then tuck into clam chowder at the Captain Daniel Packer Inne , dating from 1756. 1hr 30min by car or by train from South Station.

Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

The town of Oak Bluffs on elite Martha’s Vineyard, only accessible by air or ferry, has been a favorite destination of well-heeled African-American families for more than a century. Take a walking tour on the African-American Heritage Trail . Then relax at The Inkwell beach, whose once-pejorative name is now embraced. 2hr 30min by car & ferry or bus & ferry.

See more day trips from Boston .

Best day trips from Philadelphia

Brandywine valley, pennsylvania.

Running north from the Pennsylvania−Delaware border southwest of Philadelphia, the Brandywine Valley is a patchwork of rolling, wooded countryside, historic villages, gardens, mansions and museums. Spend a day at the Longwood Gardens ; virtually every inch of the 1050 acres has been carefully sculpted into a display of horticultural magnificence. 1hr by car.

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Amish Country, Pennsylvania

Buggies still ply the roads of southeastern Pennsylvania, home to the simple-living, modern technology-shunning Amish. So if you’re looking to escape the rat race for a while, this is the place. Shop Lancaster Central Market for Amish-grown veggies and handmade quilts. Chow on traditional treats like apple dumplings and shoofly pie. Ride a buggy or take a farm tour. 1hr 40min by car.

Hershey, Pennsylvania

If you’ve got kids (or just a sweet tooth), go directly to rural Pennsylvania’s Hershey’s Chocolate World for a tram ride through a chocolate factory of singing animatronic candies. Afterward, hit the airplane hangar-sized gift shop for Hershey’s Kisses the size of your head, then head across the street to the century-old Hersheypark for all-American try-to-make-you-hurl amusement park rides and a seasonal waterpark. 1hr 50min by car.

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Best day trips from Washington, DC

Shenandoah national park.

Less than 90 minutes after escaping the snarl of DC traffic, you’ll find yourself coasting along the backbone of the Blue Ridge Mountains on Skyline Drive, one of the most glorious roads in America. Running down the center of Shenandoah National Park, it passes meadows of grazing deer, ancient hardwood forests and the craggy peaks of Hawksbill and Old Rag mountains. Hike, picnic, animal-watch, camp, repeat. 1hr 20min by car.

Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

The mineral waters in these mountains drew Native Americans for thousands of years before they attracted colonials like George Washington. Today, Berkeley Springs is a quirky spa town with a handful of hot spring hotels, galleries and mom-and-pop cafes. Soak for cheap in the historic Roman Bathhouse at Berkeley Springs State Park or splash out on a private whirlpool at Renaissance Spa. 1hr 50min by car.

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Ocean City, Maryland

Sometimes all you want from a summer weekend is a lump of fried dough, a walk on the boardwalk and an airbrushed T-shirt with your face on it. So go "down the ocean," as the Marylanders say, to this beloved Eastern Shore beach. Quintessential Ocean City pastimes include fishing, minigolf, all-you-can-eat crab feasts, drinking at tiki bars and riding rickety carnival rollercoasters. Do it all! 2hr 40min by car.

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Unforgettable New England road trip itinerary

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You are currently viewing Unforgettable New England road trip itinerary

The New England road trip is a beautiful journey through one of the most appreciated parts of the United States . Touring the loaded Northeast, you face jaw-dropping nature, charming towns and proud tradition. So buckle up, this ultimate New England road trip itinerary contains all the gems you don’t want to miss in the lovely Northeast region.

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Itinerary overview

  • Start: Boston
  • White Mountains / North Conway
  • White Mountains / Lincoln
  • Green Mountains / Stowe
  • The Berkshires
  • Finish: Boston

  • Total distance: 1217 mi / 1959 km
  • Total driving time: 23.5 h

1. Boston, MA – Begin the New England road trip

The New England road trip starts in the City on a Hill, Boston. Massachusetts ‘ largest city is certainly a convenient place to begin a Northeast road trip.

Many visitors, both national and international, arrive at Boston’s well-connected Logan Airport. Boston is also a city with a good selection of car rental companies.

But most of all, Boston is a charming and fun city to explore before you get deeper into the New England road trip itinerary.

If one thing to do in Boston is mandatory on the Northeast road trip, it’s the Freedom Trail . Walking the 2.5 miles (4 km) long trail, 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 great experience before you venture further north on the New England road trip — baseball fan or not.

Where to stay

While there’s an array of charismatic Boston neighborhoods , keep in mind that the crowd-pleasing Freedom Trail runs from Boston Common, in the downtown area, to Bunker Hill, in Charlestown.

  • Godfrey Hotel – Freedom Trail adjacent.
  • 1868 Cambridge – Cambridge charm.

Cozy street with American flag in Beacon Hill, Boston

2. Portland, ME – Sightsee along the coast

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

Portland beautifully sits on Maine’s southern coast. This seaside New England city has a lot to offer for shoppers, foodies or just anyone who looks for a good time on the Northeast USA road trip.

The historic Old Port district — defined by cobblestone streets, red-brick buildings, quaint wharfs and fishing piers — is Portland’s crown jewel. As you wander around here, the facades remind you of past glory days.

But today the district is a modern-day gold mine with interesting boutiques, watering holes and restaurants. No matter if you want to shop, drink or eat, the Old Port, with a unique vibe, is the right place.

Capturing at least one of the many lighthouses in the Portland area is also a must on the ultimate New England road trip. And among all the proud beacons, there’s one that especially stands out.

Portland Head Light was completed in 1791 and is the oldest lighthouse in Maine. It’s known as the most photographed lighthouse in America — you surely don’t want to miss it on your Northeast USA journey.

Few disagree with us on this one: the Old Port is the best place to stay in Portland. However, your dollars last significantly longer elsewhere in Maine’s biggest city.

  • Portland Regency – In the Old Port.
  • Inn at St John – Interstate optimal.

White Portland Head Light on the Maine coast

3. Acadia National Park, ME – Uncover New England’s only national park

  • Driving distance:  172 mi / 277 km
  • Driving time:  3 h

It takes 3 hours by car from Portland to the only national park on the New England road trip itinerary, Acadia National Park . The best New England road trips include grand nature, and in Acadia you certainly find that.

Most of the national park is located on Mount Desert Island. Possessing some of the best parts of America’s wild Atlantic coastline, Acadia’s untamed attributes makes it one of the most beautiful places in the US .

You find awe-inspiring nature all over the island, but the eastern half of Mount Desert Island, home to a majority of the park’s most famous spots, is the by far most visited.

An unrivaled eastern highlight on the New England road trip itinerary is Cadillac Mountain. The views of Acadia National Park are just spectacular from Cadillac Mountain’s summit, the tallest point of both the park and USA’s eastern seaboard.

Cadillac Mountain is popular for sunrise and sunset but a beautiful experience at any time of the day.

On the quieter western half of Mount Desert Island, another photogenic New England road trip spot not to miss is Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse. Although not as old as Portland Head Light, this one was built in 1858, it’s one of the prettiest lighthouses in Maine.

The charming lighthouse is certainly a good reason to make the drive over to the less-traveled southern tip of Mount Desert Island.

View from Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park during sunrise

Bar Harbor is the most popular town with places to stay for Acadia National Park . From Bar Harbor, you have easy access to most of the highlights in Acadia National Park, including Cadillac Mountain, Sand Beach and the park’s loop road.

But if you’re interested in something off the beaten path, there are other options. Northeast Harbor is a smaller town that also sits on the eastern side of Mount Desert Island. And on the more quiet western side of Mount Desert Island, you find more options in Southwest Harbor.

  • Villager Motel  – Right in the heart of Bar Harbor.
  • Best Western Acadia  – Near Acadia and Bar Harbor fun.

Boats with American flags in Bar Harbor, ME

4. White Mountains / North Conway, NH – Venture into the White Mountains area

  • Driving distance:  209 mi / 336 km
  • Driving time:  4 h

New Hampshire ‘s White Mountains is a region stuffed with great things to do on a Northeast US road trip. In the White Mountains area, you find both stunning natural beauty and cozy towns to relax in.

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

Only a few miles away, Diana’s Baths Cascade — a series of waterwalls dropping 75 feet (23 m) — is a spellbinding place. Visiting is rewarding both for adults and younger travelers on a New England family road trip.

Another delightful road trip stop close by is Cathedral Ledge Lookout. From the vista, you enjoy spectacular White Mountains views — this stunning perspective makes a visit worth every step needed to get there.

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

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

Beware: North Conway’s charm may convince you to move there. Stay in the delightful heart of North Conway for maximum convenience, or go for its outskirts if you rather surround yourself with nature.

  • Kearsarge Inn  – Central North Conway gem.
  • White Mountain Hotel  – Nature overload.

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

5. White Mountains / Lincoln, NH – Immerse yourself in the White Mountains

  • Driving distance:  42 mi / 68 km
  • Driving time:  1 h

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. Are you ready for more gorgeous terrain?

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

After the finding, as the story goes, Jess at first had trouble convincing her family about the discovery. It just sounded too magical to be true, but the rest is history. The Flume is a remarkable spot on the New England road trip.

However, hidden in Franconia Notch State Park, right outside Lincoln, the Flume is just the beginning of your Lincoln adventure.

You find a good variety of hiking trails in Franconia, letting you explore the White Mountains further. Here dense forests, stunning lakes and majestic peaks contribute to that unique White Mountains scenery.

Peacefulness is everywhere around Lincoln. With the Flume Gorge within a 10-minute drive, the convenience is spot on too.

  • Inn Season Resorts – Spacious living.
  • Profile Motel & Cottages  – Get back to basics.

Road surrounded by vibrant fall foliage colors

6. Green Mountains / Stowe, VT – Make a romantic stop

  • Driving distance:  84 mi / 135 km

A charming Vermont village with a postcard-worthy downtown area, Stowe beautifully sits at the foot of the Green Mountains in Vermont. It’s a place often mentioned among the prettiest small towns in America

Just strolling down Main Street in Stowe is an easy but appreciated thing to do when visiting. 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 away from fresh air and beautiful views. Stowe Recreation Path is a celebrated way to explore Stowe and the village’s lovely surroundings.

Walk, run or bike the paved trail — just be prepared for 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. In Waterbury the original Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory is located. It’s a tasty stop no matter if you travel solo, as a couple or take a family New England road trip.

White church nestled among trees and mountains in Stowe.

Additional stop: A beloved additional stop on the Northeast USA road trip is Burlington, VT. Burlington, a fun city on the shore of Lake Champlain, offers a great contrast to the quaint mountain town Stowe. As it’s just 36 miles (58 km) between the two, you can easily include both on your ultimate New England road trip itinerary.

7. The Berkshires, MA – Succumb to a unique blend of nature and culture

  • Driving distance:  188 mi / 303 km
  • Driving time:  3.5 h

In the western parts of Massachusetts and Connecticut, you find the Berkshires region. It’s an area as known and appreciated for its rich culture as for its lush rolling hills.

The artist Norman Rockwell, known as America’s favorite illustrator, called Stockbridge his home for 25 years. Here, housing hundreds of original works, the Norman Rockwell Museum honors and showcases his contributions.

Before Rockwell, the writer Edith Wharton lived in the Berkshires. The Mount Home , Wharton’s historic Lenox residence, is declared a National Historic Landmark. Explore expansive grounds and, of course, learn everything there’s to know about the life of Wharton.

These are cultural treasures, but don’t forget that it’s the mix of culture and nature that makes the Berkshires so great.

For hiking, a beautiful spot is October Mountain State Forest . At roughly 16,500 acres, it’s the largest state forest in Massachusetts — offering both easy and strenuous trails, there’s something for every mood.

Berkshire towns at the heart of it all, Lenox and Stockbridge are excellent bases for soaking up both human-made attractions and the great outdoors.

  • The Constance – Allow time for veranda lounging.
  • The Red Lion Inn – Immortalized by Rockwell.

Wooden trail in October Mountain State Forest

8. Mystic, CT – Bed down in a peaceful coastal village

  • Driving distance:  126 mi / 203 km

On the Connecticut coast, the village Mystic peacefully sits. Embracing its proud history as a waterside community and center for shipbuilding, it’s a charming place to visit on the New England road trip.

Mystic Seaport Museum is one of the leading maritime museums in the US. The museum on the Mystic River banks preserves artifacts of America’s rich seafaring past.

Enjoy an impressive collection covering 19 acres, with four National Historic Landmark vessels as the biggest draws. This is a stop for the New England road trip itinerary that’s both educational and fun.

For authentic shopping, diverse restaurants and charming waterfront views — the compact Historic Downtown Mystic has got you covered. Especially note Mystic River Bascule Bridge, a still-in-use drawbridge, nowadays a rare sight.

Quiet Mystic River in Connecticut

Additional stop: An alternative to Mystic or an additional stop on the New England road trip is New Haven, CT. The home to the famous Yale University is also a fun seaside city to visit as you tour Northeast USA.

9. Newport, RI – Stroll along salty Rhode Island shores

  • Driving distance:  48 mi / 77 km

The salty shores of Rhode Island is an essential ingredient on the New England road trip itinerary. Newport, on Aquidneck Island, is an old colonial city with attractions covering a wide spectrum of things to do.

Walking the renowned Newport Cliff Walk, 3.5 miles long, is a beautiful way to appreciate the Atlantic coast. Tracing Newport’s rocky coastline, it offers stunning natural scenery and the saltiest of air.

In addition, Newport Cliff Walk is framed by many of Newport’s historic mansions.

With ocean on one side and Newport mansions on the other, the trail is nothing less than glorious. And as the cliff walk is free, exploring it is a great thing to do on a New England road trip on a budget.

But 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 certainly also impressive mansions to tour.

Newport Harbor, home to restaurants and bars, is the area where you find most of the city’s liveliness. However, there are also more secluded options for where to stay when visiting Newport .

  • Hammetts Hotel – Steps from the buzz.
  • Cliffside Inn – Luxury by the cliffs.

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

10. Cape Cod, MA – Explore Massachusetts’ favorite peninsula

  • Driving distance:  120 mi / 193 km
  • Driving time:  2.5 h

Cape Cod , also known as just the Cape, is a peninsula in Massachusetts. Separated from the mainland by the Cape Cod Canal since 1914, it’s an idyllic place with true New England charm.

Cape Cod Rail Trail , excellent for walking or biking, offers a healthy way to discover Cape Cod. This paved Cape Cod trail, extending for 25 miles (40 km) from South Yarmouth to Wellfleet, follows the 19th century rail lines that used to carry tourists to Cape Cod.

Today, it’s different times, but the Cape Cod Rail Trail makes it possible to explore much of the beautiful peninsula without using a car.

At 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 is located on the very northern tip of Cape Cod. A phenomenal beach with huge sand dunes, it certainly motivates a drive up there.

As a bonus, Race Point Beach is a terrific location for sunsets and a great spot on a romantic New England road trip.

Cape Cod consists of Outer Cape, Lower Cape, Mid Cape and Upper Cape — all charming places to stay in Cape Cod . The Upper Cape, home to Race Point Beach and Provincetown, is furthest by car from the mainland.

  • Breakwater Hotel – Peaceful location by the water in Provincetown.
  • Old Harbor Inn – Quintessential New England.

House at Race Point Beach during sunset.

11. Boston, MA – Finish the Northeast USA journey

  • Driving distance:  116 mi / 187 km

After an unforgettable New England road trip adventure packed with natural beauty, postcard-perfect towns and fine tradition, it’s time to round of the Northeast USA journey. The last leg is the drive back to where the adventure started, Boston. From Provincetown it’s 116 miles (187 miles) to Boston, but it’s shorter if you base yourself somewhere else in Cape Cod.

Seagull sitting at the entrance to a beach in Cape Cod

New England itineraries with days

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

Ultimate New England 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 New England 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 New England 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

Final words about the unforgettable New England road trip

This New England road trip itinerary is loaded with the best sights of Northeast USA. It’s not just a New England road trip, it’s THE New England road trip.

Between the pristine coastline and quaint mountains town, it feels impossible to pick a favorite. But that’s exactly why this New England road trip itinerary is so great — you don’t have to pick.

New England road trip FAQ

The ultimate New England road trip is 1217 miles (1959 km) long. Driving it takes about 23.5 hours, not including any stops along the way.

The Northeast USA road trip includes the six states Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

A New England road trip is as much about its jaw-dropping nature as about its charming towns and proud traditions. In New England, beautiful nature meets covered bridges and quintessential lighthouses.

The main stops included on the ultimate New England road trip are Boston, Portland, Acadia NP, White Mountains, Green Mountains, the Berkshires, Mystic, Newport and Cape Cod. Additional New England road trip stops include Burlington, VT, and New Haven, CT.

For the ultimate New England road trip, it’s recommended to have at least 3 weeks. But you can break the itinerary up and take shorter New England road trips too. Or you can even put all your focus on one single destination and make it a New England weekend getaway.

With 7 days in New England, it’s as good idea to concentrate on a certain area of the region. A popular combination is Boston and Cape Cod. With that combo, you get to see both a lively city and New England’s timeless coastal environment.

More New England guides

  • Cape Cod vacation guide
  • Where to stay in Cape Cod
  • Lodging near Acadia NP
  • Best areas in New Hampshire
  • Top hotels in Newport, RI
  • New England bucket list

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Julie Around The Globe

15 Best US Northeast Summer Vacation Spots

Posted on March 21, 2023 | Julie J. |

Last Updated on September 25, 2023

Planning a summer vacation in the Northeast and wondering where to go? From sandy beaches to breathtaking mountain ranges, you’ll find plenty of great summer destinations in the Northeast .

Summer is the perfect time to take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and go on a much-needed vacation. The Northeast region of the United States offers some of the most beautiful and exciting vacation spots with plenty of fun things to do during this time of year.

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From the stunning beaches and quaint towns of Cape Cod to the gorgeous overlooks and outdoor recreation opportunities of the Poconos, there’s something for everyone in the Northeast. Keep on reading to discover some of the best Northeast summer vacation spots !

If you’re on a budget, discover some of the most affordable summer destinations in the USA and abroad.

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Cape Cod, Massachusetts

House in Chatham, Cape Cod, MA

Cape Cod is a popular summer vacation destination for families, couples, and solo travelers alike. This 70-mile-long peninsula is known for its picturesque lighthouses, charming fishing villages, and sandy beaches . There are plenty of things to do in Cape Cod , from whale watching and fishing to biking and hiking.

One of the main draws of Cape Cod is its beautiful beaches . You can spend days relaxing in the sun, swimming in the ocean, or taking a long walk along the beach. Some of the most popular beaches on Cape Cod include Nauset Beach, Coast Guard Beach, and Race Point Beach .

Another popular attraction in Cape Cod is the Cape Cod National Seashore , which stretches for 40 miles and includes beaches, dunes, and marshlands . If you’re looking for a quieter spot to relax and unwind, head to the town of Chatham , which is known for its quaint streets, boutique shops, and historic architecture.

You can also take a whale-watching tour to spot humpback whales, fin whales, and minke whales. Many tours depart from Provincetown or Barnstable Harbor.

For those interested in history and culture, Cape Cod offers many opportunities to explore its rich past. The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History showcases the area’s natural history, while the Heritage Museums and Gardens features exhibits on local history and culture.

Cape Cod is also home to many charming towns and villages , each with its own unique character and attractions. The town of Chatham is known for its picturesque lighthouse and quaint downtown area, while the village of Woods Hole is home to the world-renowned Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Finally, Cape Cod offers a variety of outdoor activities for those who love to stay active. You can hike along the Cape Cod Rail Trail , a 22-mile bike path that winds through the area’s beautiful landscapes, or take a kayaking tour of the area’s many marshes and waterways.

A great place to stay in Cape Cod is the family-friendly Sea Crest Beach Hotel . This beachfront hotel is located in North Falmouth, close to Woods Hole and other Cape Cod attractions. It features an indoor swimming pool, a private beach with watercraft rentals, and an on-site restaurant.

For something more romantic, check out the Chatham Bars Inn . This iconic Cape Cod resort is located in Chatham, with views of Pleasant Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. It features luxurious rooms and suites with ocean or garden views, a full-service spa, a private beach, and a restaurant.

You’ll also find plenty of nice vacation homes , but make sure to book ahead as summer is a popular time to visit Cape Cod.

Newport, Rhode Island

Newport, Rhode Island

If you’re looking for a summer vacation spot in the Northeast that combines history, culture, and seaside charm , Newport, Rhode Island, is the place for you. This small coastal town is known for its mansions , which were once the summer homes of America’s wealthiest families. You can take a tour of these mansions , which are now open to the public, and marvel at their opulence and grandeur.

In addition to the mansions, Newport is also home to several museums , including the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the Naval War College Museum . If you’re looking for outdoor activities, head to one of the town’s beaches, such as Easton’s Beach or Second Beach , where you can swim, surf, or sunbathe .

One of the main draws of Newport is its stunning coastal views , which can be enjoyed from the Cliff Walk , a scenic walkway that winds along the rocky shoreline and offers views of the ocean and the area’s historic mansions. Visitors can also take a cruise along Narragansett Bay or go on a whale-watching tour.

In addition to its natural beauty and historic landmarks, Newport is also known for its vibrant arts and culture scene . The Newport Art Museum showcases the work of local and regional artists, and the Newport Jazz Festival and Newport Folk Festival draw music fans from all over the world.

Finally, you can explore the city’s charming downtown area , which offers a variety of shops, restaurants, and cafes. The Bowen’s Wharf area, located along Newport Harbor, is a popular spot for shopping, dining, and people-watching.

Families planning a summer getaway will love staying at the Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina . This waterfront resort is located on Goat Island, with views of Newport Harbor and the Newport Bridge . It features indoor and outdoor pools, a spa, and a marina, as well as several restaurants and bars.

For a more romantic option, check out The Chanler at Cliff Walk . This historic mansion-turned-hotel is located on the Cliff Walk, with views of the Atlantic Ocean and Easton Bay. It features luxurious rooms with antique furnishings and modern amenities, some with a spa bath, and a fine-dining restaurant.

You’ll also find plenty of nice vacation rentals around town.

Bar Harbor, Maine

Sand Beach, Acadia National Park, Maine

One of the best Northeast summer vacation spots, Bar Harbor is a charming coastal town located on Mount Desert Island, just outside of Acadia National Park. This town is known for its stunning coastal beauty, historic landmarks, and outdoor activities .

One of the most popular attractions in Bar Harbor is the Shore Path , a scenic walkway that follows the shoreline of Frenchman Bay. Another must-visit destination is the Abbe Museum , which showcases the history and culture of Maine’s Native American tribes, and St. Saviour’s Episcopal Church , a historic stone church dating back to the 19th century.

The nearby Acadia National Park offers a variety of outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and kayaking . You can explore the park’s many trails, including the popular Cadillac Mountain Trail , which offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and ocean.

For those interested in getting out on the water, Bar Harbor offers a variety of opportunities for whale-watching as well as all sorts of cruises to explore the coast.

In addition to its natural beauty and historic landmarks, Bar Harbor is also known for its charming downtown area, which offers a variety of shops, restaurants, and cafes . You can stroll along Main Street and browse the many boutiques and art galleries, or enjoy a meal at one of the area’s many restaurants.

The Atlantic Oceanside Hotel & Event Center is a great place to stay during your trip. This hotel is located on a hillside overlooking Frenchman Bay, with easy access to Acadia National Park and downtown Bar Harbor. It features indoor and outdoor pools, a private beach, and a playground, as well as a restaurant and bar.

For something more intimate, check out the many vacation rentals available in and around town, or book a room at the elegant Chiltern Inn .

Burlington, Vermont

Burlington Boathouse

Burlington is a vibrant college town located on the shores of Lake Champlain . This town is known for its lively music scene, craft breweries , and farm-to-table dining, making it a great destination for a summer getaway in the Northeast. Visitors can explore the town’s many shops and restaurants , or take a stroll along the waterfront bike path .

One of the highlights of Burlington is the Church Street Marketplace , a pedestrian-only shopping district that is home to dozens of boutique shops, restaurants, and street performers.

The nearby Lake Champlain offers a variety of water activities like swimming, sailing, and paddleboarding . You can also take a scenic cruise with Spirit of Ethan Allen , which offers a variety of cruises all featuring stunning views of the lake and the surrounding mountains.

Burlington is also home to a variety of parks and nature preserves, such as the Waterfront Park , which offers beautiful views of the lake and hosts a variety of festivals and events throughout the summer. You can also hike or bike the Burlington Bike Path , which follows the shoreline of Lake Champlain for 8 miles.

For those interested in culture, Burlington has a vibrant arts scene , with galleries, theaters, and museums showcasing the work of local artists. The Flynn Center for the Performing Arts offers a variety of performances throughout the summer, and the Burlington City Arts Center hosts exhibits and events throughout the year.

In addition to its natural beauty and arts scene, Burlington is also known for its farm-to-table cuisine , with a variety of restaurants and cafes offering locally sourced ingredients and creative dishes.

Families will enjoy staying at the Hilton Burlington Lake Champlain , located right on the lake and offering plenty of water activities for families. The hotel also has an indoor pool and is located within walking distance of many family-friendly attractions.

The Hotel Vermont is a nice option for couples planning a romantic summer getaway . This boutique hotel offers modern, minimalist accommodations, a gourmet restaurant, and a rooftop bar with stunning views of Lake Champlain.

The Hamptons, New York

Sand dunes in Southampton, Long Island

The Hamptons is a collection of villages and hamlets located on the eastern end of Long Island, New York. It’s known for its luxury homes, high-end shopping, and beautiful beaches . Visitors can take a stroll along Main Street in East Hampton, relax on the beach in Southampton, or enjoy a round of golf in Bridgehampton.

One of the main draws of the Hamptons is its stunning beaches . You can spend your vacation swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying water activities like surfing, paddleboarding, and kayaking . Some of the most popular beaches in the Hamptons include Main Beach in East Hampton, Coopers Beach in Southampton, and Montauk Beach in Montauk.

The Hamptons is also home to a variety of upscale shops and restaurants , with something to suit every taste and budget. You can browse the boutiques and art galleries in Southampton, or enjoy a meal at one of the area’s many fine-dining restaurants . The Hamptons is also known for its wineries, with several vineyards offering tastings and tours throughout the summer.

For those interested in culture and history, the Hamptons offers a variety of museums and historic landmarks , such as the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, which showcases the work of local artists, and the Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum , which tells the story of the area’s whaling history.

In addition to its beaches, shopping, and culture, the Hamptons also offers a variety of outdoor activities , such as hiking, biking, and golfing . Visitors can explore the area’s many parks and nature preserves, or play a round of golf at one of the area’s many golf courses.

Finally, visitors can take advantage of the area’s nightlife, with plenty of bars and nightclubs offering live music and entertainment throughout the summer.

The Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa is a great place to stay. It’s located right on the beach , with plenty of on-site water activities for families. The resort also has an outdoor pool and kids’ activities .

Couples looking for a romantic option will love staying at the Topping Rose House . This charming inn is set in a beautifully restored 1842 Greek Revival mansion and offers luxurious accommodations, a farm-to-table restaurant sourced from its own on-site farm, and a spa. A complimentary shuttle to the beach and private beach passes are also offered.

Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

Boats in the harbor at Martha's Vineyard

Martha’s Vineyard is a popular summer vacation spot in the Northeast . This island is known for its quaint towns, picturesque harbors, and beautiful beaches . Visitors can explore the shops and restaurants in the town of Edgartown, take a ferry ride to Chappaquiddick Island, or relax on the beach in Oak Bluffs.

One of the main draws of Martha’s Vineyard is its stunning beaches offering plenty of water activities like kayaking, paddleboarding, and sailing. Make sure to check out South Beach, Oak Bluffs Town Beach, and Katama Beach.

Take a break from the beach and stroll around the charming town of Edgartown , which boasts historic homes and buildings dating back to the 1700s. Don’t miss the historic Gay Head Lighthouse , which was built in the 1800s and offers panoramic views of the island.

In the towns of Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs , browse the boutiques and art galleries or sample local food at one of the island’s many restaurants and cafes.

For those interested in the arts, Martha’s Vineyard has a vibrant arts scene, with galleries, theaters, and museums showcasing the work of local artists. The Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse offers a variety of plays and performances throughout the summer, and the Martha’s Vineyard Museum showcases the island’s rich history and culture through exhibits and artifacts.

Located in the heart of Edgartown, the historic Harbor View Hotel offers spacious rooms, easy beach access, an outdoor pool, and kids’ activities.

Lake Placid, New York

Lake Placid

Located in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, Lake Placid is known for its beautiful scenery, outdoor activities, and Olympic history . It’s a popular summer destination for outdoor enthusiasts and those looking for a relaxing getaway , hike in the High Peaks, paddle on Mirror Lake, and visit the Olympic Museum and ski jumps.

Make sure to take a gondola ride up Whiteface Mountain for stunning views of the surrounding mountains and forests, or hike one of the many nearby trails for a more immersive outdoor experience.

Lake Placid is also home to several water activities, such as swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, and boating. Head to Lake Placid Public Beach for a sandy beach and hike to Shoebox Falls for a natural swimming hole.

You can also tour the Olympic Sports Complex , which was used during the 1980 Winter Olympics, or visit the Lake Placid Olympic Museu m to learn more about the area’s Olympic legacy.

In addition to its outdoor activities, Lake Placid also offers a variety of shopping and dining options, browse the shops and galleries in the town of Lake Placid, or sample local cuisine at one of the area’s many restaurants and cafes.

Check out the Lake Placid Center for the Arts as well, and catch a concert, play, or other performances hosted throughout the summer.

A great place to stay for families, Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa offer plenty of water activities for families as well as a private beach, outdoor pool, restaurant, and game room for kids.

The Whiteface Lodge is also a great option. This luxurious Adirondack-style resort offers a plethora of activities, amenities, and services, with suites featuring a fireplace, full kitchen, and en suite bathroom with a spa bath.

Block Island, Rhode Island

Lighthouse, Block Island in summer, Rhode Island

Known for its scenic beauty, historic landmarks, and beautiful beaches , Block Island is one of the best summer vacation spots in the Northeast – bike around the island, take a tour of the Southeast Lighthouse, or relax on the beach at Mansion Beach.

Enjoy the island’s many beaches such as Mansion Beach, Crescent Beach, and Ballard’s Beach , and maybe do some kayaking or go on a sunset cruise . Summer is also a great time to go whale-watching.

If you want to enjoy the outdoors, don’t miss visiting the Mohegan Bluffs and Clay Head Trail as well. These areas offer opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and wildlife viewing , as well as stunning views of the island’s coastline.

Another must-do is to tour the historic Southeast Lighthouse , which was built in the 1800s and offers panoramic views of the island, or visit the Block Island Historical Society Museum , showcasing the island’s rich history through exhibits and artifacts.

The Spring House Hotel is a family-friendly hotel located on Block Island’s picturesque bluffs. This property features spacious rooms, a seasonal outdoor pool , and a farm-to-table restaurant. Families can also enjoy activities such as beachcombing, hiking, and kayaking right from the property.

The 1661 Inn is a romantic property located in the heart of Block Island’s historic district. This inn features elegantly appointed rooms with great views over the water, a gourmet restaurant, and a nice garden.

Niagara Falls, New York

Niagara Falls, NY

A bucket-list destination in the Northeast, Niagara Falls is a world-famous natural wonder that makes a perfect summer vacation spot. Visitors can take a boat tour to the base of the falls, explore the Niagara Falls State Park, or visit the nearby Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino.

It offers a variety of activities in the summer months to enjoy the outdoors and breathtaking views of the falls. A must-do is to take a boat tour on the Maid of the Mist to get up close and personal with the falls, or take a helicopter tour for a bird’s-eye view of the surrounding area.

For something more adventurous, some adrenaline-pumping activities include ziplining over the falls or taking a jet boat ride through the rapids.

Niagara Falls State Park is also a must-visit spot in the area. This park is home to several walking trails, picnic areas, and observation decks, as well as the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center , which offers educational exhibits on the area’s geology and ecology.

In town, you can explore Old Fort Niagara , a historic fort that played a key role in the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. There are also several museums in the area, including the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center , which offers exhibits on the region’s role in the Underground Railroad.

The Sheraton Niagara Falls is a family-friendly hotel located just steps from the falls. This hotel features an indoor pool , a game room, and a variety of dining options.

For something more romantic, The Giacomo is a boutique hotel located in a historic building in downtown Niagara Falls. This property features luxurious rooms with views of the city, some have a spa bath , a cozy lounge, and a complimentary breakfast.

Kennebunkport, Maine

Kennebunkport, Maine

Kennebunkport is a picturesque coastal town located in southern Maine. It’s known for its historic architecture, beautiful beaches, and quaint downtown area . Take a scenic drive along Ocean Avenue, explore the shops and galleries in Dock Square, or relax on the beach at Goose Rocks Beach for the perfect summer getaway.

You can enjoy spending time at the town’s three main beaches: Kennebunk Beach, Gooch’s Beach, and Mother’s Beach – and go for a hike at the nearby Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge .

Another must-visit spot in Kennebunkport is the Walker’s Point estate , which is the summer home of former President George H.W. Bush. While you can’t visit the house, you can see it from the outside, and tour the Kennebunkport Historical Society’s “ White Columns ” which includes an exhibit on the Bush family and their history in Maine.

Stroll around the town’s charming downtown area, filled with boutiques, galleries, and restaurants. You can also take a guided walking tour to learn more about Kennebunkport’s history.

For those who love the water, there are a variety of boat tours and water activities available during summer – go kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding , or take a sunset sail along the coast .

A great place to stay is The Nonantum Resort , a family-friendly property located on the banks of the Kennebunk River. This resort features a variety of activities for families , including a kids’ club, boat tours, and a nightly campfire with s’mores.

The White Barn Inn & Spa is a perfect romantic getaway located in a restored barn in the heart of Kennebunkport. This property features luxurious rooms and suites, a gourmet restaurant, and a spa. Couples can enjoy a romantic dinner in the inn’s candlelit dining room or relax together in the spa’s steam room or sauna.

Nantucket, Massachusetts

Nantucket beach and lighthouse

Known for its charming town, beautiful beaches, and historic architecture , Nantucket is a great place for a summer vacation. Take a tour of the island’s historic homes, visit the Whaling Museum, or relax on the beach at Madaket Beach, you’ll find plenty of things to do on the island.

Start by exploring the island’s beaches, which are some of the most beautiful in the Northeast. Don’t miss Jetties Beach, Surfside Beach, and Madaket Beach.

Another must-visit spot in Nantucket is the Whaling Museum , which offers a fascinating look into the island’s history as a whaling port. See artifacts from the whaling industry, learn about the life of a whaler, and even step inside a whaleboat.

Nantucket also offers excellent opportunities for biking and hiking. The island has miles of scenic bike paths and hiking trails , with options for all levels of fitness and experience. Some popular trails include the Polpis Harbor Trail, the Squam Swamp Trail, and the Cliff Walk.

You can also take a boat tour around the island to see its beautiful coastline and learn about its history and ecology. Summer is also a great time to see whales.

If you’re looking for a place to stay, the Nantucket Hotel & Resort is a family-friendly property located just steps from the beach in the heart of Nantucket. This resort features a variety of amenities for families, including a heated outdoor pool, a children’s program, and a complimentary beach shuttle . Families can also enjoy activities such as tennis, croquet, and paddleboarding.

Couples looking for something more romantic will love staying at The White Elephant , a luxurious hotel located in Nantucket’s historic district. This property features elegant rooms and suites, a spa, a waterfront location with stunning views of the harbor, and a nice restaurant.

Woodstock, Vermont

Catskills, Woodstock, USA

Woodstock is a charming town in central Vermont and one of the best summer vacation spots in the Northeast. Known for its historic covered bridges, beautiful scenery, and outdoor activities , you’ll find plenty of things to do during summer, from hiking in the nearby Green Mountains to visiting the Billings Farm and Museum.

In the Green Mountains, you’ll find many trails for all levels of fitness and experience. Some popular trails include the Quechee Gorge Trail, Mount Tom Trail, and the Pogue Trail .

Every Wednesday from May through October, Woodstock hosts a farmers market featuring local produce, baked goods, and crafts.

In town, don’t miss driving by Middle Bridge, one of the cutest covered bridges in New England .

At the Billings Farm and Museum , a working dairy farm and a museum that offers a glimpse into 19th-century rural life, you can tour the farmhouse, watch demonstrations of traditional farm practices, and interact with farm animals.

Don’t miss the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park , a great place to learn about the history of conservation and land management in the United States. You can tour the mansion and gardens, as well as take guided hikes and attend educational programs.

The historic Woodstock Inn & Resort is a great place for a summer getaway. This resort features a variety of amenities, including an outdoor pool, a spa, and an on-site restaurant.

For something more intimate, the Lincoln Inn & Restaurant at the Covered Bridge is a cozy bed and breakfast located just outside of Woodstock, with stylishly appointed rooms, a gourmet restaurant, and a scenic location overlooking a covered bridge. It’s the perfect place for couples seeking a romantic getaway in the Vermont countryside.

In the area, you’ll also find plenty of vacation rentals from charming cabins in secluded areas to historic houses.

Greenwich, Connecticut

Greenwich, Connecticut is a beautiful town located just outside of New York City. During the summer months, Greenwich offers a variety of activities and attractions to enjoy.

One of the most popular attractions in Greenwich during the summer is Greenwich Point Park . The park features a stunning beach, walking trails, picnic areas, and beautiful views of the Long Island Sound .

Another must-see attraction in Greenwich is the Bush-Holley House . The historic home dates back to the 18th century and is now a museum that offers tours and exhibits on local history and culture.

For those who love to shop, Greenwich Avenue is a must-visit destination. The charming street is lined with boutiques and shops offering everything from designer clothing to unique gifts and home decor.

Greenwich is also home to several premier golf courses, including the Griffith E. Harris Golf Course and the Stanwich Club . Golf enthusiasts can book a tee time and spend the day on the green.

Finally, visitors to Greenwich during the summer can attend the Greenwich International Film Festival . The annual festival showcases independent films from around the world and includes screenings, panel discussions, and special events.

Families will enjoy staying at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich , conveniently located and featuring an indoor pool and a hot tub, a fitness center, and spacious family rooms.

The Delamar Greenwich Harbor is a great option for a romantic getaway. This waterfront hotel is located on the Greenwich Harbor, with views of the Long Island Sound. It features luxurious rooms and suites with water views, a full-service spa, and a fine-dining restaurant.

Conway, New Hampshire

Cathedral Ledge, North Conway, NH

Located in the heart of the White Mountains, Conway is one of the best summer destinations in the Northeast for outdoor lovers. During the summer months, the area offers a variety of activities and attractions for all ages to enjoy.

One of the most popular attractions in Conway during the summer is the Kancamagus Highway . This scenic byway offers stunning views of the White Mountains and is a great way to experience the natural beauty of the area. Visitors can drive or bike the highway , stopping at overlooks and hiking trails along the way.

Another must-see attraction in Conway is the Conway Scenic Railroad . The railroad offers a variety of train rides, including scenic tours of the White Mountains, dinner trains, and special events .

For those who love to hike, Conway is home to several great trails , including the popular Mount Washington hike . Hikers can enjoy a variety of trails of varying difficulty levels, offering beautiful views of the surrounding landscape. Diana’s Baths is an easy flat 0.6-mile hike leading to cascading ponds and natural pools.

If you want to swim and enjoy other water activities, spend a day exploring Echo Lake State Park .

Families with little kids can head to the Story Land amusement park where you’ll find fun attractions, rides, and live shows.

The Red Jacket Mountain View Resort is a great place to stay in town. It features indoor and outdoor pools, a water park, a game room, and several restaurants and bars. For something more intimate, check out the luxurious Inn at Thorn Hill & Spa . It features elegant rooms and suites with mountain views, a full-service spa, and a restaurant.

You’ll also find plenty of great vacation rentals in town and in the surrounding mountains.

The Poconos, Pennsylvania

Delaware Water Gap in summer

Known for its scenic beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities, the Poconos region of Pennsylvania is a popular summer vacation spot with plenty of fun things to do.

One of the most popular attractions in the Poconos is the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area . This area offers stunning views of the Delaware River and a variety of recreational activities, including hiking, camping, swimming, and kayaking.

For something more relaxing, take a scenic drive through the mountains and stops at overlooks or hike one of the many short trails for beautiful views of the surrounding landscape.

For those who love water sports, the Poconos offer several great lakes for swimming, boating, and other water activities. Lake Wallenpaupack is a popular destination for water sports, offering boat rentals.

The Poconos also offers several great golf courses , including the Jack Frost National Golf Club and the Mount Airy Golf Club . Golf enthusiasts can book a tee time and spend the day on the green.

Finally, visitors to the Poconos during the summer can enjoy the region’s unique entertainment options. The Pocono Raceway hosts NASCAR races and other events throughout the summer, while the Mount Airy Casino Resort offers a variety of gaming options, concerts, and other entertainment.

Families will love staying at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions thanks to its famous indoor and outdoor water parks, a virtual reality experience, an arcade, and several restaurants and bars.

The Skytop Lodge is a great option for couples who are planning a romantic summer getaway. The resort offers a luxurious spa, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, several restaurants, and several types of comfortable rooms.

The area is also filled with charming cabins and cottages , check out the lakefront ones for an unforgettable summer vacation!

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12 Beautiful Places To Visit In The Northeast USA

Places You Must Visit In The Northeast of The USA (14)

No doubt, if it’s your first visit to the northeast of the United States, it’s likely you’ll dive right in to some of the firm favourites of New York City , Niagara Falls and Washington DC, which are all incredible places to experience (there’s no doubt about that) but, and it’s a big but, there is so much more to see! One thing that is pretty darn wonderful about the US is its diversity and gorgeous places to explore, with the northeast being no exception!

If you’re already planning a trip to  New York City or thinking of seeing another side of the region, then make sure to take a look at some of these stunning stops.

If you love natural beauty, quaint towns and opportunities to spot whales and devour fresh lobster, then the northeast is for you.

Places You Must Visit In The Northeast of The USA (1)

Take a look at some of the very best places you should consider.

1.) Gorge on fresh lobster at Bar Harbour, Maine

Places You Must Visit In The Northeast of The USA (14)

On the northeast shores of Mt Desert Island, Bar Harbour is one special little place that’s well worth a gander at. Head into the town itself and gorge in one of the quaint, independent, restaurants that line the little streets.

Places You Must Visit In The Northeast of The USA (15)

Make sure to visit Rose Eden Restaurant, where they serve fresh lobster, with lashings of butter, all right from the shorefront at a very reasonable price too.

If you’re looking to work off all those buttery calories, take a walk along the Ocean Trail by the town. It’s something else.

2.) Time for a tipple on Nantucket Island

Places You Must Visit In The Northeast of The USA (6)

Approximately 3o miles from the shores of Cape Cod , Nantucket Island is one lovely little spot to visit.

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Make sure to pop into the Nantucket Vineyard that also crafts local beers (Don’t forget to ask for a taster of some of their limited edition casks).

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If you’re looking for a little R&R, then head towards Madakat Beach, arguably one of the nicest, sandy beaches, on the island.

Read more: Best things to do in Cape Cod

3.) Watch the sunset at Grand Isle, Vermont

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If you’re heading north in Vermont , make sure to take a pit stop on the gorgeous Grand Isle.

This intimate little island is only home to a few thousand people who really care about this gorgeous place.

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Head to the beautiful Grand Isle State Park for a little ramble around the beautiful nature, it’s a great place to watch the sunset across the shores too.

Read more: Best places in Vermont to visit

4.) See the roaring falls of Finger Lakes, New York

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Last time I visited Finger Lakes was in the midst of a crazy thunderstorm for a night in a tent. It was terrifying and exhilarating in equal measure.

Thankfully, thunderstorms are few and far between and the whole area is a breathtaking place to enjoy a few days away from the hustle and bustle of, say, New York City.

Make sure to take some time to visit, the roaring, Taughannock Falls and Watkins Glen that is truly one of a kind.

5.) Follow the Kanacamagus Highway in the White Mountains, New Hampshire

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The White Mountains is situated predominately in New Hampshire, with Maine taking a little bit of it too! Head over to the whopping 800,000-acre park and drive the Kancamagus Highway without ever having to break a sweat.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a hike or a ramble, make sure to take a look at the many designated routes that criss-cross the forest.

6.) Discover Mt Desert Island, Maine

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Mt Desert Island is a picturesque island (home to Bar Harbour, I mentioned previously).

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The island itself is a beautiful place to explore. Hike to the top of Cadillac Mountain and ramble through the picturesque Acadia National Park that’s great to see in Summer and Winter.

7.) Go whale watching in Boston, Massachusetts

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Boston is one of my favourite east coast cities, packed full of history and incredible seafood, there’s a massive amount to do in the city.

If you’re spending a few days on your trip, make sure to head out whale watching, pack in some walking along the Freedom Trail.

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Oh, and make sure to see the Museum of Fine Art (if that’s your thing). Its huge collection is one of the very best in the world.

Best Places To See In Boston (5)

Also, if you’re looking for a really quirky place to rest your head, make sure to check out the Verb Hotel that is based on 1960’s America.

Read more: Best places in Massachusetts to visit

8.) See Dr Seuss at Springfield, Massachusetts

Places You Must Visit In The Northeast of The USA (10)

Springfield has lots of charming things to see and do, evening if you’re only staying for a little time.

Make sure to visit, Watershops Pond, Hubbard Park and even spot the Dr Seuss statues within the sculpture garden itself.

9.) See the stars in Portland, Maine

Places You Must Visit In The Northeast of The USA (19)

Set on the corner of a peninsula, Portland is one lovely city to visit.

Make sure you take some time to visit the Portland Head Lighthouse where you’ll get the opportunity to brush up on some star-gazing skills (over the sea) or take a tour Victoria Mansion that is stunningly preserved.

Places You Must Visit In The Northeast of The USA (5)

If you’re looking for some outdoor activities, hop over to Fore Street for some local bites to eat.

10.) Discover the beautiful, Casco Bay Islands

Places You Must Visit In The Northeast of The USA (17)

Not far from the shores on Portland is the beautiful islands situated within Casco Bay itself. This huge bay has numerous islands that to explore, including Peaks Island (which actually is part of the city of Portland) and the beautiful Cliff Island too.

Alternatively, If you’re looking for a small island where you can stroll around, head over to Great Diamond that is car and lorry free. It’s perfect for walking on this relaxing island!

11.) Explore the wild and beautiful, Block Island

Places You Must Visit In The Northeast of The USA (4)

Block Island is technically part of Rhode Island (the state) and was named after a famous European explorer who ventured these waters many a year ago.

Places You Must Visit In The Northeast of The USA (8)

Head across to Mohegan Bluffs to see the iconic clay cliffs that overlook the ocean or visit Block Island North Lighthouse that is 150 years old this year.

It’s stunning.

Read more: Best places in Rhode Island to visit

12.) Gorge in Montpelier, Vermont

Places You Must Visit In The Northeast of The USA (13)

As the capital city of Vermont , Montpelier has lots of amazing things to see and do for us travellers.

Head over to the delicious Bragg Farm Sugar House that makes all things maple syrup. Be warned, you will leave on a sugar high!

Places You Must Visit In The Northeast of The USA (9)

If you’re looking for a piece of beautiful history, then take a tour of the Vermont State House that has become an iconic site in the city.

For a yummy brunch, dart over to Skinny Pancake that has some of the very best pancakes in all of Vermont . Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!

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10 Overlooked Places to Visit in the Northeast This Summer

Places to Visit in the Northeast This Summer

When you think about northeast America, you probably picture New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. These are some great cities to visit, but the northeast has so much more to offer.

From the formal gardens of Brandywine Valley in Pennsylvania to the bear sanctuary of Shenandoah National Park, we’ve put together a list of ten overlooked but incredible places to visit in the northeast this summer .

What to Pack

10 Overlooked Places to Visit in the Northeast This Summer 2

It gets pretty hot in the northeast during the summer. The hot season lasts for almost four months, from May to September, with an average temperature of over 76°F. The hottest month is July, and you can expect an average high temperature of 85°F.

With such high temperatures, it’s important to pack for the weather:

  • Lightweight, breathable fabrics are a must for keeping cool while exploring.
  • Don’t forget a hat for added protection from the midday sun.
  • Sunscreen is a must to protect your skin, whether you’re hiking or sipping cocktails at a beach bar.
  • Comfortable sandals or breathable walking shoes will be best for long days of sightseeing while looking good on your travels .

Places to Visit in the Northeast This Summer

Here are our top ten favorite places to visit in the northeast and what you can expect on each trip.

Brandywine Valley, Pennsylvania

Brandywine Valley is known for its beautiful, formal gardens and unique American Castles. Longwood Gardens is particularly popular and renowned for its landscape. The estate is dotted with planted conservatories, fountains, and thousands of acres of gardens and woodland to explore.

There are also several museums in Brandywine that are a must-visit. The Winterthur Museum and Gardens has an impressive collection of furniture and decorative art, as well as a research library.

You can also visit the Brandywine River Museum, which homes an unrivaled collection of art curated by the Wyeth family.

If you’re looking for a place of natural beauty and rich history, Brandywine Valley in Pennsylvania is the trip for you.

Acadia National Park, ME

Acadia National Park Landscape Sea

Sitting on the coast of Maine, sprawling across Mount Desert Island; you’ll find Acadia National Park. It has over 47,000 acres of breathtaking landscape and wildlife and tons of activities to keep you busy year-round.

Whether you’re into winter skiing, summer hiking, or spring fishing, Acadia National Park is the perfect spot. Make sure to start at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center to learn more about the park , or head to the Welcome Center at Rockefeller Hall for fewer crowds.

Mystic, Connecticut

Mystic was once a shipbuilding seaport village that was first settled back in 1654. Today, the town treasures its maritime history and is dripping in New England charm.

Downtown Mystic has a fantastic food and drink scene with some of the best fresh seafood you’ll find. While Main Street is dotted with local shops, eateries, and galleries to explore.

The town only covered four square miles, but there’s a lot packed in. From the USA’s only steam-powered cider mill to the outdoor Art Festival, you’ll never want to leave this quaint town.

Portland, Maine

Portland has the perfect blend of outdoor adventures and a sophisticated art scene. The beach is never far away, and the beautiful weather makes it the perfect summer destination that is often overlooked.

This gorgeous area of Maine is known for its beautiful lighthouses, so don’t forget to go on tour while you’re visiting. From the Nubble Lighthouse to the Portland Head Light, it’s an interesting tour to take.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh Nighttime Bridge

Pittsburgh comes alive in the Summer with festivals, live music, and activities filling up almost every weekend. In fact, Pittsburgh was ranked as one of the ten most event-filled cities in 2022 by PredictHQ .

Rent a Golden Triangle Bike and explore the scenic river paths, go for a stroll in Kennywood Park, or simply enjoy the architecture in the city. And when you need to refuel, Pittsburgh has an award-winning food and drink scene and some cool hotels to stay in.

Shenandoah National Park

If you’re looking for unmatched panoramic views and breathtaking natural beauty , Shenandoah National Park should be on your bucket list. This 300-square-mile sanctuary is home to bears, brook trout, and other wildlife, all living in a diverse forest.

The Skyline Drive allows for unbelievable views, with its highest point reaching 4,049 feet at Hawksbill. Shenandoah was the first of Virginia’s national parks but an overlooked spot for adventurers you won’t want to miss.

White Mountains, NH

If you’re looking for a not-so-well-known hiking holiday, check out the White Mountains in New Hampshire. There’s something for everyone, from easy woodland walks to tough scrambles, not to mention gold courses, lakeside beaches, and crystal clear mountain streams for fishing and swimming.

And when you need a break from the wilderness, you’ll find live theater, entertainment, antique stores, and more in the nearby town. It’s pretty popular in the summer, but the buzz of the town is perfect for family vacations and you’ll find plenty to do.

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Stowe Town

Stowe has a small-town charm about it that will make you want to stay forever. Previously named one of the best small towns in America, it has 45 hiking trails to try out, including Vermont’s tallest peak and a breathtaking waterfall.

In the town, you’ll find beautiful architecture and three classic covered bridges, as well as local eateries and cafes to refuel. For small-town charm and iconic scenery, it doesn’t get much better than Stowe.

Newport, Rhode Island

Newport in Rhode Island is known as the sailing capital of the world. Whether you are an experienced sailor or want to get your sea legs, you’ll have fun with the world’s largest fleet of America’s Cup 12 Meters.

But it’s not just sailing Newport is known for, you’ll also get a taste of the high life by touring the Newport Mansions, once home to America’s wealthiest families. Or you could take a peaceful walk along the 3.5-mile Cliff Walk for some of the best scenic views of your life.

There is so much to do and see in Newport that it can be hard to pack it all into one trip. But it’s a must-visit destination for adventurers and families alike.

White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Whether you’re an avid hiker or just want a unique adventure, White Mountain National Forest offers outdoor recreation year-round.

Spread over 800,000 acres, you can take part in hiking, cross-country skiing, boating, fishing, kayaking, and more. And with 22 campgrounds scattered across the forest, there are plenty of places to camp . It’s an adventurer’s dream.

Where Will You Visit This Summer?

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The northeast has so many hidden gems that get overlooked by most travelers. But it’s always great finding a new place to explore. The big question is, where will you visit this summer?

Will you be hiking the trails of the White Mountains in New Hampshire or sunbathing on the beautiful beaches of Portland, Maine?

Hopefully, this guide has helped you narrow down your next adventure.

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Your Northeast Winter Vacation

Your Ultimate Northeast Winter Vacation

northeast travel ideas

The Northeast's snow-capped peaks might not rival those out West in stature, but the dramatic diversity of the region's terrain and the eclectic options for outdoor exhilaration make this a winter sports lover's vacation playground. Within easy reach of major cities like New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, you'll find not only ski and snowboarding destinations, but opportunities to get outdoors and hike, snowshoe or cross-country ski through pristine woodlands; to snowmobile; to ice skate or snow tube… maybe even to try ice fishing or dog sledding.

Whether you're a black-diamond warrior or a couch-by-the-fire conqueror, the Northeast is your place for picture-perfect winter experiences. Those snow-sprinkled scenes you've seen in your mind? They're all here. Ski or toboggan with an ocean view in Maine (really!) or ice skate on the state's rinks and ponds. Wander through a real ice castle in New Hampshire. Show off your snowboarding tricks in Vermont. Treat your family to a snow tubing outing in Massachusetts. Challenge yourself on slopes where Olympians chased glory in New York. Glide through Pennsylvania state parks on nordic skis . Then, return to just the right hotel or inn, tucked within this winter wonderland, and dream of your next day's adventures.

Mother Nature is famously moody when it comes to the Northeast's seasonal weather shifts, but by Thanksgiving, you can count on finding skiable terrain at some of the major ski resorts in the Northeast, where snowmaking gets underway as soon as nighttime temperatures drop below freezing. Vermont's Killington is typically first in the East to open for the season. It's even been first in the nation. Sunday River in northern Maine opens reliably early, too. Whiteface Mountain in New York is another best bet for early-season skiing and snowboarding.

The busiest times on the slopes aren't necessarily linked to optimal conditions. They coincide with school vacations including the week between Christmas and New Year's Day, the Martin Luther King Jr. Day long weekend in January and the winter break week that coincides with the Presidents' Day holiday in February. If you're averse to lift lines and high prices, you'll want to plan your winter vacation for other times. Midweek is always when you'll find the best deals on lodging and lift tickets.

Most years, a deep base of snow guarantees good downhilling conditions in the Northeast through late March. One of the beauties of this region is how compact and blessed with ski areas it is. Don't love the conditions at the mountain you're on? Head to another nearby ski resort the next day.

Winter fans cheer when natural snow keeps falling through March, extending the season throughout the month and sometimes even into April. Spring skiing is affordable and ideal for those who typically want to hide inside when it's bitterly cold.

The Northeast ski season concludes at many resorts with a madcap tradition: pond skimming . More fun to watch than to engage in, the costumed participants make quite a splash, as they schuss downhill into an awaiting pool of cold water. Dates are announced as the season's end nears for pond skimming events at many resorts including Killington in Vermont, New Hampshire's Cannon Mountain and Blue Mountain Resort in Pennsylvania's Poconos.

What about snow and cold conditions for other winter outdoor activities? Sure, they are less predictable, but Northeasterners are not easily thwarted. You'll find several cross-country ski areas in the region, like the Grafton Trails & Outdoor Center in Vermont, where snowmaking ensures you won't waste a trip. And if you have an urge to ski, say, in a Hawaiian shirt in July? That's possible, too, now that Connecticut's Powder Ridge Mountain Park & Resort has the Northeast's only 365 Synthetic Snow Park, open to skiers, snowboarders and snow tubers year-round.

The Northeast's Top Ski Resorts

So, how will you choose your winter-fun destination? It's not all about vertical drop. Sometimes, you want the ultimate ski town vibe . For some vacationers, hitting the slopes on the cheap is what matters most. Or maybe you're looking for a family-friendly ski area, where you can introduce kids to the sport.

Even tiny Rhode Island has one ski area , but if you're really looking to maximize your winter vacation time, here are 12 Northeast ski destinations to consider, from north to south:

  • Sunday River in Newry, Maine, sprawls across eight majestic peaks and offers trails for all levels, the ski town amenities you expect, and colorful events like the annual Santa Sunday.
  • Sugarloaf in Carrabassett Valley is Maine's largest ski area with its largest vertical drop. You'll be among serious skiers here and love all the natural snowfall.
  • Stowe in Vermont is as picturesque a ski spot as you'll find in the Northeast, and with Vail Resorts newly operating the mountain resort—the company's first property in the East—you can expect good things.
  • Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid, New York, is where Olympic dreams came true. One-third of the peak's trails are for expert skiers only. Don't worry, there's plenty of fun for everyone including your chance to try bobsledding.
  • Tuckerman Ravine is a destination for daredevils. High in New Hampshire's White Mountains, it's the extreme skiing capital of the Northeast and an option to consider for spring ski trips.
  • Bretton Woods is a storied resort in the heart of the White Mountains. New Hampshire's largest ski area is a destination not only for downhill runs but for glade skiing, cross-country skiing, dogsledding and even winter ziplining.
  • Loon Mountain in Lincoln, New Hampshire, is an ideal White Mountains winter destination for families. There are plenty of alternatives nearby and on-site for family members who don't ski.
  • Killington in Vermont, nicknamed “The Beast of the East,” is a snowboarder's paradise in addition to owning the distinction of having more ski trails than any other New England ski resort.
  • Jiminy Peak in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts is southern New England's leading destination for skiing and snowboarding. Don't ski? Ride New England's original mountain coaster.
  • Wachusett Mountain in Princeton, Massachusetts, is one of the closest ski areas to Boston and even accessible via train if you don't have a car.
  • Hunter Mountain in Hunter, New York, is the Catskills' enduring winter fun spot and the nearest big mountain to New York City. With 100% snowmaking, you can be sure the slopes are always ready for your arrival.
  • Blue Mountain Resort , located just under two hours north of Philadelphia in Palmerton, Pennsylvania, is the Pocono Mountains' best choice for family ski trips.

Getting There and Around

The Northeast is served by so many airports in both New York State and New England , you'll want to compare schedules and airfares for more than one to find the best deal for your winter trip. Once you land, it is difficult to reach the region's ski country destinations without renting a car. Splurge and upgrade to an SUV: You'll be glad you did if a winter storm kicks up.

Vermont is your best option if train travel is your preferred mode of transportation. Amtrak's Vermonter and the Ethan Allen Express routes can get you close to the winter sports action.

If you're driving your own car, be sure it's stocked with winter essentials: an ice scraper, snow brush, warm blanket, hand warmers, windshield washer fluid, snacks and water, a flashlight, matches, a small shovel. If you don't belong to AAA or another auto club, consider downloading the Honk app on your phone in case you need to summon roadside assistance. Map websites and apps will help you plot the best route to your winter resort.

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Kate Abroad

15 Best Northeast Vacations to Book in 2024

Are you looking for some of the best Northeast vacations to start planning a trip this year? Luckily, there are so many great places to travel in this region of the United States!

The Northeast is one of the most popular regions of the USA to visit because of the big-name destinations like NYC and Washington DC but there is so much more to the Northeast than that!

When it comes to Northeast vacation destinations, you can choose from not just bustling cities but historic towns, National parks and remote spots with incredible natural beauty.

Whatever your vacation style, one of these Northeast vacation ideas is sure to strike your fancy.

This post will give you tons of ideas for the best vacations in the Northeast USA, recommended by local Northeasetrners and frequent travellers, that will inspire you and leave you with unforgettable memories.

If you have time, consider stringing some of these Northeast Vacations posts together and doing a Northeast road trip or even a full East Coast road trip .

Best Northeast Vacations

1. acadia national park, me.

Acadia National Park  in Maine is one of the best places to visit in New England. It also makes for a wonderful road trip from Boston. 

If you love the outdoors, you will find lots of hiking trails in the park, most of which offer exceptional views. The Ocean Path Trail offers lovely views of the coastline and the ocean, and the walk around Jordan Pond is scenic as well. Both of these trails are family friendly options in the park. 

The ride through the park along Park Loop Road is scenic as well, and driving to the summit of Cadillac Mountain to watch the sunrise is a very popular activity.

Also be sure to snap photos of the picturesque Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, and taste the popovers at Jordan Pond House Restaurant!

Where to stay in Acadia NP: The town of Bar Harbor is an excellent place to stay when you visit Acadia National Park. Accommodation prices tend to be higher in season, so plan a visit for the shoulder seasons! Heathwood Inn in Bar Harbor is a great mid-range option.

Acadia national park vacation spot northeast usa

2. Burlington, VT

Burlington, Vermont, a vibrant small city tucked along the coast of Lake Champlain, is the perfect New England vacation spot.  

Waterfront Park is a great place to catch a panorama of Adirondack mountain across the lake and the best sunsets in the Northeast. 

Rent a bike on the Burlington Bike Path and pedal along the waterfront to one of several sand beaches for swimming and sunning.

There are also  many hikes  within the city limits including climbing the tower at Ethan Allen Park to see for miles.

Burlington is known for outstanding cuisine with many restaurants using locally sourced ingredients.

The craft beer scene is famous in Vermont, and Burlington has its share of breweries serving the best beer in the Northeast.  

Don’t miss the pedestrian mall of Church Street with its cute boutiques, restaurants with outdoor dining, and street performers. Grab a table at Honey Road for delicious Eastern Mediterranean fare.

Where to stay in Burlington: The Anchorage Inn in South Burlington is a budget accommodation option. Or, the more moderately priced Starlight Inn with its movie-themed rooms is a fun place to stay in nearby Colchester.

old bell tower in background Burlington vt

3. White Mountains, NH

The White Mountains in New Hampshire present visitors with a breathtaking landscape of sprawling forests, beautiful waterfalls, and majestic peaks.

The area boasts numerous activities to cater to all interests, making it a perfect vacation spot for outdoor enthusiasts, families as well as couples.

Those on a family Northeast vacation can enjoy the picturesque scenery on scenic drives such as the Kancamagus Highway or on the Conway Scenic Railroad ride.

For thrill-seeking visitors, Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeastern US., offers challenging hiking trails and the unforgettable experience of the Cog Railway ride.

There’s a lot more to do in the White Mountains area too, such as biking, fishing, golfing, and skiing.

The White Mountains is also famous for its spectacular fall foliage. The brilliant fall colors of red, yellow, and orange make the region a paradise for nature lovers and photographers.

Where to stay in the White Mountains:

  • Mid-range:   Residence Inn North Conway  which provides convenient access to both the Kancamagus Highway and the Conway Scenic Railroad. The hotel features comfortable and spacious guest rooms, free on-site parking and breakfast, and an indoor pool.
  • Budget: The  Notch Hostel  is a great choice with easy access to Flume Gorge and the Kancamagus Highway.

White Mountains in New Hampshire

4. Boston, MA

One of the best Northeast USA vacations to book in 2023 is a visit to the beautiful city of Boston. 

Boston is a diverse city filled with all sorts of historical sites, stand out universities, beautiful fall colors, and more.  It’s a place people of all ages with varying interests can enjoy, as there’s truly something for everyone.  

While in Boston make sure to take a stroll along the  Freedom Trail .  This marked path links the must-see historical sites in the city.  Also make sure to enjoy the views of the skyline from a boat on the water. 

A great and cost effective way to do that is to take the “T” (public transportation) ferry from one side of the harbor to the other.  And, of course, stop by Mike’s Pastry for the best cannolis in the city.  

Where to stay in Boston: For a great budget friendly place to stay consider booking at HI Boston .  This hostel offers standard dorm rooms in a great location in the city.  For a private midrange option, consider booking at The Verb Hotel .  This highly rated hotel offers clean rooms located next to Fenway Park.  

sailing boat on Boston harbour with skyline in background

5. Newport, RI

Newport, Rhode Island  is a charming destination for a spring escape.

With 400 miles of coastline featuring a range of beaches, attractions like the International Tennis Hall of Fame and National Museum of American Illustration, and the opportunity to explore Gilded Age mansions and nautical boutiques, visitors can indulge in the town’s timeless New England allure. 

Start your Newport adventure with a scenic drive along Ocean Drive, which offers breathtaking views of the New England coastline. Don’t miss the Cliff Walk, a 3.5 mile stroll showcasing stunning vistas and magnificent mansions.

The Breakers Mansion, a renowned summer residence of the Vanderbilt family, is a must-visit, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the opulence of the Gilded Age. 

To reach Newport, fly into Providence Rhode Island’s TF Green Airport, conveniently located just 40 minutes away.

Where to stay in Newport: Accommodation options include charming historic homes for rent, such as Town & Tide Inn or Serenity Inn , which offer local breakfasts and easy access to the beaches and downtown area.

The Breakers Mansion Newport

6. New Haven, CT

New Haven is located on the southern coast of Connecticut, nestled between New York City and Boston, making it easily accessible and a fantastic destination for travelers looking to explore the Northeast region of the United States. 

The city of New Haven is a fabulous vacation spot due to its phenomenal coastal location, deep history, lively art scene, delicious cuisine, and it being the home of Yale University. 

It is a great place to visit for individuals, couples, and families alike because of the endless attractions and sites to see and explore in the area. 

Whether you are looking to admire the artwork at the Yale Center for British Art, spend time outdoors at one of the marvellous parks in the area, or indulge in some delicious pizza at one of the famous pizzerias in town,  New Haven is definitely worth a visit  and should be on your Northeastern United States bucket list. 

Where to stay in New Haven:

  • Budget-friendly:  Courtyard by Marriott New Haven Orange
  • Mid-range:  Hotel Marcel New Haven

Yale university gallery new haven ct

7. Adirondacks, NY

The Adirondack mountain range is a stunning region in upstate New York, encompassing millions of acres of forests, peaks, lakes, and rivers. If you’re looking for an outdoors and adventurous vacation in the Northeast, the Adirondacks is an obvious choice.

This spot could satisfy anyone including couples, families, hikers, or those craving a peaceful escape in nature. This area really shines in the fall when peak foliage makes the landscape come alive with red, orange, and golden hues. 

In the warmer months, there are plentiful hikes to choose from and lakes to kayak, paddleboard, boat, and fish on. Lake George, Lake Placid, and Saranac Lake are all very popular destinations, especially in the summer.

Some of the  best hikes in the Adirondacks  are to Mount Jo, Indian Head, and Giant’s Nubble. While the Adirondack region is known for its outdoor activities, it is also accessible and commercialized so you will find amazing restaurants and wineries as well. 

During the colder months, visitors will enjoy plentiful winter activities like skiing and snowboarding in many ski resorts in the area, as well as snowshoeing and even ice climbing. 

Where to stay in the Adirondacks: If you’re looking to stay on a budget but want to rest your head in a hotel at night, the  Blue Moon Hotel  is an excellent option in Lake George.  Lake Placid Inn  is a boutique hotel with great mid-range options with breakfast available. 

Adirondacks mountains and lakes northeast usa

8. Catskills, NY

The Catskill Mountains in New York make for the perfect vacation in the northeast! This gorgeous area encompasses several mountains and towns in the Hudson River Valley.

There is  so much to do in the Catskills , including beautiful hiking trails, boating on the Hudson River, and several small towns with antique shops and artisan crafts.

Nature lovers will want to check out Kaaterskill Falls, one of New York’s tallest waterfalls! And in the winter, skiing at Hunter Mountain is a popular activity. The Catskills is also home to Opus40, a large stone sculpture park built on an old slate quarry.

Where to stay in the Catskills: There are some cute, independently operated motels and hotels in the Catskills. We like the budget-friendly Sunview Motel or the slightly more expensive Hotel Mountain Brook in Tannersville.

Both are within walking distance of many shops and restaurants and just a short drive from well-known attractions.

catskills mountains and waterfall

9. Finger Lakes, NY

One of the best vacation destinations in the northeast region of the USA is in the heart of New York, the Finger Lakes.

Those who love the outdoors will enjoy exploring the region’s state parks and waterfalls, including those at Watkins Glen, Taughannock, and around Ithaca. 

The Finger Lakes are also quite a romantic destination to visit for couples. Wineries and vineyards seem to dot the landscape at every turn, and there is no shortage of spots for tastings.

Get out on the water in a boat or just enjoy a scenic drive. The Finger Lakes are the perfect destination for a laid-back vacation in the northeast USA.

Where to stay in the Finger Lakes:

  • Budget: Budget travelers should stay at the Colonial Inn & Creamery in Watkins Glen. The rooms are clean and the location can’t be beat. It’s within walking distance of plenty of  things to do in Watkins Glen  and the southern point of Seneca Lake.
  • Mid-range: The Dorm Hotel  in downtown Ithaca provides unique midrange accommodation just outside of the Cornell University campus. The area is beautiful to walk around, and Cayuga Lake is not far away.

Finger Lakes- Seneca Lake

10. Long Island, NY

The Hamptons, located on  Long Island, New York , are filled with beautiful beaches, gorgeous ocean views, and incredible beachfront rentals. This has made the Hamptons one of the top locations for vacations in the USA. 

The Hamptons are made up of several gorgeous beach towns. Coopers Beach in Southampton is considered one of the best beaches to visit in the area. Other beaches that are also well worth the visit include Main Beach in East Hampton and Atlantic Avenue Beach in Amagansett. 

At the beach, you’ll find people picnicking, surfing, boating, and more. 

Besides topping up your tan at the beach, you can spend time hanging out at Sag Harbor, visiting Vineyards in the area, enjoying boutique shopping, taking a drive out to the Montauk Lighthouse, and climbing to the top. 

Also, be sure to grab a bite to eat at the Lobster Roll, which serves fresh seafood and is an iconic place on Long Island.

Where to stay on Long Island: To make your trip even better, you’ll find that you will be spoilt for choice in terms of hotels and beachfront rentals. Southampton Inn , which is right by Coopers Beach, is a popular choice, though. The Hamptons is an expensive destination, but another more budget-friendly hotel is the Greenporter Hotel in Greenport.

Hamptons-beach-Long-Island-NY

11. New York City, NY

When planning a Northeast vacation, New York City is definitely worth considering. There’s a reason NYC is iconically famous across the world.

From its 24/7 food scene, buzzing energy and bright city lights to its vast green spaces, you can design any type of  New York  trip you’d like. 

If it’s your first visit to the Big Apple, fill your itinerary with the top attractions. These should include a visit to the top of the Empire State Building, and taking a ferry to see Lady Liberty up close. Balance your exposure to the bustling city vibes by seeking reprieve in a quiet part of Central Park. 

For a more relaxed visit, spend a morning people-watching and playing board games in Bryant Park. Are you a foodie traveler? Add a food tour or pizza-making class to the itinerary. 

If you want to soak up the culture, spend an afternoon at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and see a show on Broadway. 

While Times Square is a must-see, branching out for a stroll along High Line Park offers a different perspective of the city. And a sunset boat cruise is the perfect pre-dinner affair on any evening spent in NYC. 

Where to stay in New York City: For a budget-friendly option consider the  NY Moore Hostel . For a more mid-range and centrally located accommodation option, book your stay at the  MOXY NYC Times Square .

nyc skyline

12. Lancaster, PA

For a great Northeast USA vacation, head to Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

There are a lot of things to do in Lancaster , as well as the surrounding area. It’s great for families, couples, and even solo travelers. There is great food and a lot of history to be found.

A favorite site to visit is the Lancaster Central Market. It is the country’s oldest continuously operated public farmer’s market. There are over 60 vendors selling food, accessories, and more.

If you’re a beer lover, head over to Lancaster Brewing Company. Operating since 1995, they have produced over 22 different craft beers and won many awards, including medals at the 2013 World Beer Championship.

History buffs should visit Historic Rock Ford. It was once the home of Revolutionary War General Edward Hand. Make sure to also visit Amish country, just outside of Lancaster. You can explore farms or go on a buggy ride.

Where to stay in Lancaster: For your visit, consider staying at the Holiday Inn – Lancaster. It is located downtown so it’s close to many attractions and restaurants. It also has free WiFi, an indoor pool, and a restaurant.

Another place you can stay that is slightly more affordable is the Avid Hotels – Lancaster. It’s about 4 miles east of Lancaster but includes breakfast and has an indoor pool.

lancaster markets

13. Washington DC

Known for being the nation’s capital, Washington DC is a vibrant city that sits along the Potomac River, in between the states of Maryland and Virginia. 

It’s one of the best vacation destinations in the northeastern USA since it is brimming over with incredible neoclassical monuments and world-renowned museums that make this a great family destination. 

In particular, the National Mall is worth a visit. However, be sure to get up early so that you can take a leisurely walk to the Lincoln Memorial, the Tidal Basin, and the Washington Monument. 

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is also worthwhile if you’re planning to spend 3 days in Washington DC . 

However, prepare for a sombre experience and be sure to reserve a free timed entry ticket. 

It’s also an extremely well-done museum that allows you to walk through the events leading up to and during the Holocaust. You’ll even get the ID of a real victim and discover what happened to them as you move through the museum. 

Where to stay in Washington DC: Spend the night at the Duo Housing DC hostel if you’re on a budget or the hip Hotel Hive , with a fun pizzeria on-site, if you’re looking for a mid-range option.

reflecting pool in Washington DC northeast vacations

14. Annapolis, MD

Annapolis is one of the best Northeast USA vacations to take because of its charming personality.

Nestled in the heart of the Mid-Atlantic, there are plenty of  things to do in Annapolis  for any visitor.

Known as the “Sailing Capital of the United States,” this charming city offers a glimpse into America’s colonial past with its well-preserved architecture, cobblestone streets, and historic sites.

Explore the beautiful and bustling Annapolis Harbor, where you can witness an array of sailboats and yachts, or visit the United States Naval Academy, a renowned institution that showcases impressive architecture and offers a glimpse into naval history. 

Annapolis is also home to the nation’s oldest state capital in continuous use which is an impressive sight in the heart of the city. The city is incredibly walkable. Experience colonial homes like the William Paca House & Garden and Hammond Harwood House.

Treat yourself to the famous Maryland Crabs at The Boatyard Bar & Grill after a day of exploring.  

Where to stay in Annapolis: The Hilton Garden Inn Annapolis Downtow n for budget travelers or The Graduate Annapolis for more luxury travelers. Both are within walking distance to many attractions, so getting around is easy.

Maryland State House building in the sunshine

15. Shenandoah National Park, VA

Shenandoah National Park is a mountain getaway that feels incredibly remote–but it’s actually less than a 2 hour drive from the Washington, DC, metro area! 

For nearly 100 years, this park has been inviting visitors to explore the beautiful mountains, streams, and vistas along Skyline Drive. This 2-lane road meanders through the heart of the park, linking trailheads, campgrounds, and visitors centers together. 

Any  Shenandoah National Park itinerary  has to include at least one or two hikes, and you’ll be spoiled for choice inside the park. 

Kids will enjoy filling out the colorful brochure designed for the Fox Hollow Trail, while more experienced hikers might take on the park’s iconic Old Rag Trail, a section of the Appalachian Trail, or a backcountry hike. 

Where to stay in Shenandoah NP: There are seasonal accommodations available in the park for travelers on every budget. Backcountry camping is free, while the campgrounds in the park (open from spring-fall each year) start at $30 per campsite. Rustic hike-in cabins start at $25 a night, while modern cabins with parking are $60 and up. A room at one of the park’s 2 lodges starts at $130 and varies based on the season.

blue mountains in Shenandoah national park

FAQ About Visiting the Northeast

True to the name, the Northeast USA covers the section of the USA from the Canadian border along the Eastern coastline as far south as Washington DC and Virginia.

The Northeast is known to get very cold in winter so if you want to make the most of the amazing Northeastern outdoors but avoid the crowds, aim for just before/after the peak summer season in June and September.

You can tell from this guide there are so many possible vacation destinations in the Northeast and you would need months to see them all but for a first-time visitor, 2-3 weeks is enough time to get a taste.

In Short: Northeast Vacation Spots

Whether you prefer expeditions into some of America’s most beautiful natural attractions or a whirlwind stay in its biggest city, there are so many possible Northeast USA vacation ideas on offer.

So book your PTO, pack your bags and get going!

More USA Travel Guides

For more  USA travel  inspiration, check out these articles:

  • Sunny Florida vacation spots
  • One Week in Los Angeles Itinerary
  • Top Midwest Vacation Spots

Happy travelling!

USA Travel Resources

  • Find the best prices on hotels with flexible cancellation at Booking.com
  • Find tickets for attractions and awesome day tours on Viator
  • Save $$$ on attractions in NYC, LA, Miami and more with a Go City Pass
  • Compare prices on cars and campervans at RentalCars.com
  • Sort your US dollars with a Wise currency card

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  • Last Updated On
  • September 14, 2023

18 Best Family Resorts in the Northeast U.S. – That All Ages Love!

Christina Rado

The northeastern part of the US is a slice of paradise for families.

There’s always something to see on the East Coast.

You’ll find beautiful Atlantic beaches, bustling cities, and more.

And so, one day isn’t enough to explore everything.

But don’t worry.

The region also has family resorts scattered across its 116 million acres.

In fact, with its many options, the challenge is choosing the perfect one.

And I’m saying this based on my experience.

During the many times I traveled to the region for our family getaways, I had a hard time choosing where to stay.

But now I know better.

In this article, I’m sharing with you everything I learned.

I also considered the insights of fellow parents I interviewed during my visits for my review.

I ranked each resort according to several criteria, such as kid-friendly activities and dining options.

Now plan that perfect getaway with my roundup of the best family resorts in the northeast:

Best Family Resorts In the Northeast U.S. Compared

From eco-friendly establishments to beach resorts, there’s no shortage of accommodation options for you. Here are our top picks:

Editor’s Choice

Camelback Lodge and Indoor Waterpark — Tannersville, PA

Camelback Lodge and Indoor Waterpark — Tannersville, PA

Occupying a place of pride among the top indoor waterparks in the USA, the Camelback Lodge and Indoor Waterpark promises countless adventures packed into one resort.

  • Kid-friendly Activities: 5/5
  • Family Accommodations: 5/5
  • Dining Options: 4.5/5
  • Safety and Security: 5/5
  • Value for Money: 4.5/5
  • Location and Accessibility: 4.5/5

#2nd Best Choice

Four Seasons Hotel New York — Midtown East, NY

Four Seasons Hotel New York — Midtown East, NY

If a luxurious family vacation on the east coastis what you’re looking for, then chances are that you’ll hardly need to look any further than New York’s Four Seasons Hotel.

  • Kid-friendly Activities: 3/5
  • Family Accommodations: 4/5
  • Dining Options: 5/5
  • Value for Money: 3/5
  • Location and Accessibility: 4/5

#3rd Best Choice

Chatham Bars Inn Resort and Spa — Shore Road Chatham, MA

Chatham Bars Inn Resort and Spa — Shore Road Chatham, MA

An idyllic family vacation hub in Cape Cod with a beautiful beach that can satisfy any beach bum, no matter how picky they are, Chatham Bars Inn Resort and Spa has been the ground for great family vacationssince 1914.

  • Kid-friendly Activities: 4.5/5
  • Value for Money: 4/5

Here are the top 18 family resorts in Northeast U.S.

1. Camelback Lodge and Indoor Waterpark — Tannersville, PA (Editor’s Choice)

193 Resort Dr Tannersville, PA 18372 (855) 515-1283 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Ratings Criteria

  • Indoor waterpark
  • Many dining options 
  • With parking fees

With activities such as skiing, snowboarding, zip-lining, and an indoor waterpark, your family will hardly be at a loss for things to do.

Explore the slopes at your leisure or with a range of fun activities such as snow tubing and snowboarding, or head to the resort’s massive indoor Family Entertainment Center for a ton of family-friendly activities, including a 7D ride, arcade games, an escape room, laser tag and pottery class.

While the kids have their fun at the waterpark, you and your partner can head to the luxurious spa to enjoy a relaxing massage or facial, or head out for a spot of shopping (essentials or souvenirs) to the resort’s World Bazaar and Relic Retail.

Additionally, the 8-story resort comes with over 450 spacious guest suites — guests can choose among one, two and three-bedroom suites, some of which even include fully-functional kitchens, fireplaces, and lofts.

If you’ve got some picky eaters in the family (you’re among the rare highly-blessed few if you don’t!), the resort has 8 restaurants that offer everything from Italian to family meals to on-the-go mouth-watering food that can satisfy a wide range of palettes.

With these many things on offer from an indoor water park and hotel , it’s hardly a surprise that the Camelback Lodge is one of the top family vacation spots in the northeast!

2. Four Seasons Hotel New York — Midtown East, NY

Four Seasons Hotel New York — Midtown East, NY

57 E 57th St New York, NY 10022 (212) 758-5700 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

  • Vast dining Options
  • The property is safe and secured
  • Not suitable for budget travelers

If a luxurious family vacation on the east coast is what you’re looking for, then chances are that you’ll hardly need to look any further than New York’s Four Seasons Hotel .

This 5-star hotel has “ luxury” painted in capital letters over every aspect, right from its prime location on “Billionaires’ Row” to its suites to its services and its guest list.

A 52-story landmark piece of architecture in the New York skyline, the hotel offers a range of guest rooms and suites with spectacular views of the city, some with 5-course gourmet meals on the terrace included.

Make the best of the hotel’s 24-hour room service or tuck in the kids and head to the hotel’s top-notch bar for some cocktails.

The hotel is also close to great restaurants, shopping venues, and sites, all of which you can access via walking or the public transit or even the hotel’s Rolls Royce service.

Do note that the hotel doesn’t have a pool and its spa and gym are in the basement.

There’s also no on-site restaurant for dinner; however, the hotel remains a favorite among families vacationing on the east coast.

3. Chatham Bars Inn Resort and Spa — Shore Road Chatham, MA

297 Shore Rd Chatham, MA 02633 (508) 945-0096 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

  • Great oceanfront location
  • With top-notch spa services
  • Expensive rates

An idyllic family vacation hub in Cape Cod with a beautiful beach that can satisfy any beach bum, no matter how picky they are, Chatham Bars Inn Resort and Spa has been the ground for great family vacations since 1914.

Excellent service, great food, spectacular views and surroundings, a prime location and tons of activities are just a few of the reasons why this resort is such a hit among families.

Don’t let the word “inn” fool you; the resort is anything but, with private chartered boats, a golf course, luxury spa, and fine dining options set amid 25 acres of waterfront property.

The rooms are all designed in the New England-style — you can choose between ocean-facing and property-facing rooms, as well as ones with balconies or porches.

For those traveling with a huge brood, the 26 Cape Cod-home style cottages are great options — all rooms come equipped with flat-screen TVs, coffee makers, and free Wi-Fi.

Chatham Bars offers a ton of family-friendly amenities, including a heated outdoor oceanfront pool, a private beach, and a luxury spa.

The beach has reservable private cabanas you can lounge in, or try the hotel’s seal cruise for a truly unique experience!

If you’re a family that thrives on activity, take your pick among bocce ball, horseshoe, croquet and tennis lessons; parents looking to burn some calories can also hit the free 24-hour fitness center.

There’s also a daily kids’ program that runs morning, afternoon and evening sessions.

4. Whiteface Lodge — Lake Placid, NY

Whiteface Lodge — Lake Placid, NY

7 Whiteface Inn Ln Lake Placid, NY 12946 (518) 523-0505 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

This is an all-suite resort with a wide variety of kid-friendly activities, making it an excellent alternative to Four Seasons Hotel New York and Chatham Bars Inn Resort and Spa.

For a great combination of luxury and family-friendly, the Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid is a great option.

This all-suite resort offers a range of spacious accommodation and tons of family-friendly amenities, services and activities to keep guests of all ages entertained during their vacation.

You can try the heated indoor-outdoor pool and hot tubs, or head to the games room, bowling alley, tennis courts, playground or the catch-and-release fishing pond.

Better yet, catch a flick in the movie theater with the whole family and then head out to the old-fashioned ice-cream parlor to extend the family time.

There’s also a fun kids’ club, Kamp Kanu, that runs throughout the week in the summer, with fun evenings of roasting s’mores around the fire or partying kiddie style in the Sunset Club.

In the winter, guests can enjoy skating at the lodge’s rink or head to the Olympic Center that’s just a short drive away.

Also See: Best New England Resorts for Families Luxury Resorts for Families

5. Tyler Place Family Resort — Highgate Springs, VT

Tyler Place Family Resort — Highgate Springs, VT

175 Tyler Pl Swanton, VT 05488 (802) 868-4000 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

165 acres all-inclusive goodness, the Tyler Place Family Resort is among America’s top resorts for traveling families.

Having been around since the Great Depression, you’re assured of memorable family vacations here, with a range of fun activities and an unbeatable kids’ program.

The resort’s main draw is its kids’ programs — the resort offers a whopping 9 different programs for kids of different ages groups, right from toddlers to teens.

They don’t leave the parents out either, with activities such as fitness classes, rock climbing, skeet shooting, fly casting for trout, art classes, tennis tournaments, walking tours, bike trips, winery tours — and that’s just to name a few.

The resort even provides each family member with a complimentary bike for a week to explore the resort and its offerings.

You can also opt to spend family time with family outings, banana boat rides, nature hikes and pony rides offered by the resort, or simply lounge about in the pool (there’s an indoor, outdoor and kiddie pool with a splash pad).

When it comes to accommodation, guests can choose from over 70 accommodations, a mix of private cottages, rooms, and apartment-style units, with a reservation staff that helps you pick the right accommodation for your family.

6. Mohonk Mountain House — New Paltz, NY

Mohonk Mountain House — New Paltz, NY

1000 Mountain Rest Rd New Paltz, NY 12561 (866) 858-6646 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

If you’re looking for places to go with kids in the northeast, the Mohonk Mountain House is a must consider.

The resort overlooks acres of beautiful grounds that house a gorgeous lake, in addition to 85 miles of hiking trails, a 9-hole golf course and tennis courts.

The resort also has stables and a grand lawn with open-air movie time for families that present a great opportunity for some family time.

There’s even an award-winning program that they run for kids aged 4-12 with a ton of fun activities such as animal tracking, guided nature walks and fossil hunts.

Guests can choose from over 250 guest rooms that vary in size and decor; there are country-decor rooms for those who prefer it as well as more modern suites for the city folks.

All the rooms come with spectacular views of Lake Mohonk, the Catskill Mountains, and the hotel’s own magnificent gardens.

7. Skytop Lodge — Skytop, PA

Skytop Lodge — Skytop, Pa

1 Skytop Dr Skytop, PA 18357 (570) 257-2114 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Nestled in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains, the Skytop Lodge is all kinds of grand!

The lodge has been serving as a vacation spot in the northeastern US since 1928; considering its amenities, service, and range of family-friendly fun, it isn’t much of a surprise that families keep returning to Skytop for family vacations.

Whether you’re looking for adrenaline rushes or just laid-back fun, Skytop has it all, ranging from kayaking to archery to zip lining to tennis to boating to biking to rock-climbing and hiking.

The lodge even runs an excellent children’s program that’s supervised at all times, so the young ones aren’t left out of the fun.

If you’re a golfer, you’re also sure to love the bonus the lodge offers to golfers — unlimited greens fees!

Related: Best Resorts in Poconos for Families

8. The Sagamore — Lake George, NY

The Sagamore — Lake George, Ny

110 Sagamore Rd Bolton Landing, NY 12814 (518) 644-9400 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Located in the foothills of New York’s Adirondack Mountains on the splendid Lake George, The Sagamore is a fabulous choice when it comes to northeast family vacation destinations.

What’s more, it’s hardly four hours away from both New York City and Boston, making it one of the top weekend trips to northeast destinations!

Built-in the Victorian style with porticoes, wooden floors, Oriental rugs and crystal chandeliers galore, The Sagamore may seem like it’s all about its history but you’d be surprised at the range of family-friendly amenities the hotel has.

Explore miles of nature trails and unwind after your long trek with a soak in the seasonal outdoor pool or the year-round heated indoor pool.

The kids can have as much fun as they want in the hotel’s playground, tennis courts and the huge entertainment center with its pool, Ping-Pong table, mini-golf, basketball, video games, a loft cinema, and even a wiffle ball field.

There’s also a supervised kids’ club (for the 4-12 age group) that runs in the morning during summers and on weekends during the school year.

End the day by watching a movie in the entertainment center’s loft or by roasting s’mores around the bonfire under the beautiful northeast sky.

9. Winnetu Resort — Martha’s Vineyard, MA

Winnetu Resort — Martha’s Vineyard, MA

31 Dunes Rd Edgartown, MA 02539 (508) 310-1733 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Upscale yet supremely family-friendly, the beautiful Winnetu Resort on Martha’s Vineyard is a must consider spot for northeast vacations for kids, with its spacious rooms, family-friendly dining options, in-house babysitting services, and an excellent kids’ club.

The resort is particularly great to visit around Memorial Day and Labor Day till mid-September, with lower prices and discounts for families that are traveling with toddlers and babies.

In addition to this, the resort also runs a complimentary Parent-Toddler program with age-appropriate activities at different play stations, ensuring that there’s hardly a dull moment for you and your little ones.

They also have a regular activity program for kids between the ages of 3 and 12.

Also See: Best Midwest Resorts for Kids Family Lake Resorts

10. Woodstock Inn and Resort — Woodstock, VT

Woodstock Inn And Resort — Woodstock, VT

14 The Grn Woodstock, VT 05091 (802) 332-6853 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

For a relaxing getaway in charming Vermont, the Woodstock Inn and Resort is a great option; the resort manages to balance its upscale nature with being extremely family-friendly almost seamlessly.

An all seasons resort, the Woodstock Inn packs in a range of family-friendly activities such as farm visits, games, hiking and even cookies and cider in the afternoons.

Stroll at your leisure along the beautiful Main Street, browsing through the town’s restaurants and pretty boutiques.

More importantly, soak in the town’s local culture, a seamless blend of authenticity and timeless elegance.

The Woodstock Inn also has on offer a range of seasonal menus with mouth-watering delicacies, as well as a world-class spa to unwind in.

11. Rocking Horse Ranch — Highland, NY

Rocking Horse Ranch — Highland, NY

600 US-44 Highland, NY 12528 (800) 647-2624 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

One of the top kid-friendly resorts in the northeast, the Rocking Horse Ranch is a popular resort in the hinterlands of the Hudson Valley.

With a ton of activities that cater to kids, this ranch is a great vacation spot with a ton of things to do with kids in the Northeast.

Apart from the usual ranch activities such as hayrides and horseback riding for kids over the age of 7, Rocking Horse also offers a ton of other fun activities such as archery, swimming, tennis, and rock climbing on its 500-acre property.

For parents with little ones between the ages of 1 and 4, there’s a nursery in the ranch that lets them drop off their tykes for some time off.

There’s also a free day camp for the older kids (5 to 12) that works on a drop-off basis.

Guests can choose from the 100 rooms, all of which are spacious, clean and comfortable, even if they aren’t exactly luxurious.

Most rooms even have a bunk bed or pull-out sofa, making them a great choice for large families.

12. Great Wolf Lodge New England — Fitchburg, MA

Great Wolf Lodge New England — Fitchburg, MA

150 Great Wolf Dr Fitchburg, MA 01420 (866) 678-9653 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Chances are that you’ve already come across the Great Wolf Lodge in your search for a great kid-friendly destination — this chain of indoor waterpark resorts enjoys quite an enviable popularity among kids and parents alike.

The lodge’s main selling point is its 68,000-square-feet indoor water park, the largest in Massachusetts.

Whether your tots are adrenaline-junkies or the more laid-back type, they’re bound to find a fun activity that caters to their taste in this massive park, with its wave pool, fun slides, and even an interactive multi-level water play center for the younger members of the family.

The lodge has over 400 suites, ranging in size from the Family Suites for 4 to the Grizzly Wolf Den Suites that can house 9 (and yes, there are 2 bathrooms!).

The lodge makes it more fun with themed suites that include a dedicated bunkhouse-like area to delight the young ones.

There’s also a variety of grub on offer in the lodge’s many eateries and restaurants; whether you’re craving wood-fired steaks, BBQ ribs, burgers and fries, donuts, or delicious pizza, you can find them in the lodge’s restaurants.

Related: Places to Eat in New England

Also See: Places for Family Reunions Best Family Resorts: The East Coast

13. Graduate Providence — Providence, RI

Graduate Providence — Providence, RI

11 Dorrance St Providence, RI 02903 (401) 421-0700 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Formerly known as the Providence, Biltmore, the Graduate Providence threw its doors open in 1922 and hasn’t looked back since.

Newly renovated in 2019, the hotel enjoys a prime location in the heart of the downtown area, just a stone’s throw away from the city’s major attractions.

Wander around the downtown area and explore the many shopping and dining areas, or check out the closeby Convention Center and Providence Place Mall.

If you feel like staying in, make full use of the hotel’s on-site dining option, room service, and the full-service Starbucks.

The rooms are spacious, with comfortable mattresses and great views of downtown and rooms come equipped with flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi, which nearly make up for the lack of a pool.

A great blend of old-school charm and the modernity of Providence, the Graduate Providence is a great option for families vacation in fun Baltimore.

14. Samoset Resort — Rockport, ME

Samoset Resort — Rockport, ME

220 Warrenton St Rockport, ME 04856 (207) 594-2511 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Breathtaking views of Penobscot Bay, a ton of activities, and the brisk waters of the ocean — Samoset Resort is an experience in itself.

Steeped in tradition, the resort offers many activities such as swimming, tennis, nature walks, science projects, cooking, and arts and crafts sessions to engage the young ones.

If the ocean is a tad bit chilly for you, head to the heated infinity pool; there’s also an indoor pool to prevent the rain from ruining your fun!

Indulge in sumptuous seafood at the resort’s Breakwater Cafe, as well as the great fare at the resort’s three other restaurants, all of which offer kid-friendly dining options too!

To further sweeten the deal, the resort even offers seasons family vacation packages (such as pay for 3 nights and get one free), so ensure you check their website for great deals when making plans.

15. Emerson Resort and Spa — Mount Tremper, NY

Emerson Resort And Spa — Mount Tremper, NY

5340 NY-28 1st floor Mt Tremper, NY 12457 (845) 688-2828 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Agreed, the Emerson Resort and Spa doesn’t really offer planned, organized activities, but with the beautiful Catskills all around you, the world is your playground!

With tall pines, great views, and a whole ton of family-friendliness, this resort is the place to be if you’re looking for a peaceful, tranquil family get-away (well, as peaceful as it can get with kids in tow!).

The rooms are beautifully designed and styled, with a moonlit private porch to unwind with your other half once the sound of the rushing river has lulled the little ones to sleep.

The resort offers two on-site restaurants with simple, delicious fare and a very reasonably-priced kids’ menu.

You can also get a sitter (with advance notice) to look after the tykes while you’re getting a much-need massage at the gorgeous spa, after which you can head down to enjoy the world’s largest kaleidoscope and soak in some Woodstock-esque vibes free of cost.

16. Harborview — Nantucket, MA

Harborview — Nantucket, MA

24 Washington St Nantucket, MA 02554 (508) 301-7551 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Harborview is your escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Located on Nantucket Island, the resort’s cottages offer incredible harbor views.

But if you walk a bit, you can easily access the town if you need anything.

And the beautiful blue ocean is outside the establishment if you’re a beach person.

Do you prefer to stay indoors?

Don’t worry because you won’t run out of things to do there either.

Read your favorite book in front of your fireplace to unwind.

Or just sit on your balcony and enjoy stunning nature views.

And if you get tired after a long day, just sleep in your cozy bed for a full recharge.

17. Vanderbilt — Newport, RI

Vanderbilt — Newport, RI

41 Mary St Newport, RI 02840 (833) 242-8850 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

An intimate atmosphere and old-world elegance abound in the Vanderbilt , with its collection of original American Illustration Art that adorn its walls and an adorable Chihuahua that seems to run the place (owner Peter de Savary’s prize-winning pet).

Guests are spoilt for choice with the 33 opulent suites, a world-class spa and the Atlantic Ocean right around the corner.

Head out and explore the quaint Newport area with its great shopping centers and dining spots.

The hotel also offers great deals on its accommodation for traveling families, including a family package where kids receive teddy bears, coloring and sticker books, robes and slippers and even a bedtime snack cart with cookies, fruit, cereal and popcorn.

If you let the hotel know you’re traveling with your young ones, they’ll even have a crib and baby-bed linens awaiting your arrival.

They also have an excellent babysitting service and a range of kids’ activities such as inflatable water slides, a scavenger hunt, live music, a mansion tour and outings to Easton Beach.

18. Great Wolf Lodge — Pocono Mountains, PA

Great Wolf Lodge — Pocono Mountains, PA

1 Great Wolf Dr Scotrun, PA 18355 (800) 768-9653 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

We’ve already established that the Great Wolf Lodge is a great place to be; their property in the Pocono Mountains is no exception!

This place will probably excite the kid in you as much as it will excite your kids, with its indoor water park, dining options, and great accommodation.

Guests can choose from 401 rooms, varying in size to accommodate 4 to 8 guests.

The kids can also go crazy in the hotel’s arcade and Saturday night DJ Dance Party or unwind at the special Kids’ Spa or with nightly bedtime stories in the lobby.

The lodge also earns quite a few brownie points for its efforts in becoming eco-friendly, as well as its Green Seal certification.

They also offer to teach kids practical energy-conservation methods with their Energy Exploration display.

Related: Best Hotels in The Northeast

Vacationer’s Guide

Comparing resorts: which one is right for you.

Before choosing a family resort, compare and contrast your options.

Then pick the one that suits your preferences and budget.

Camelback Lodge and Indoor Waterpark offers unparalleled family fun.

You’ll love its indoor waterpark with wild slides and cozy cabanas.

The resort, however, charges parking fees on top of accommodation rates.

Meanwhile, if you want to be close to the hustle and bustle of city life, Four Seasons Hotel New York should be your top pick.

However, it’s on the pricier side, which may not be preferable for budget-conscious families.

On the other hand, Chatham Bars Inn Resort and Spa features a fusion of nature and luxury experiences.

Be prepared to spend more, though, since the rates here are slightly higher.

Are you looking for a serene experience that allows for full nature immersion?

The Whiteface Lodge — Lake Placid, NY is a great option.

Its only limitation?

It can be noisy in some rooms.

How I Picked The Resorts 

I’m a parent, so I’ve been organizing trips to the region for the family for years.

I’m also a travel writer by profession.

And during those times I traveled for work, I also had to plan my stay.

I supplemented what I learned with insights from fellow parents I interviewed.

I also checked trusted websites to enrich the data I gathered about each resort.

Our Resort Rating Method 

I rate these properties based on the following criteria:

  • Kid-friendly Activities: I use this to evaluate the availability and variety of family-friendly amenities at every resort. Does it feature water parks, playgrounds, and kids’ clubs? Does the resort organize events designed specifically for kids? I ask myself these questions whenever I rate this resort’s kid-friendly activities. 
  • Family Accommodations: This is used to assess the family accommodations of the resort. Are the rooms spacious? Does it offer family suites with connecting rooms? Can it accommodate families of different sizes? Is there a crib or baby-proofing in every room? These questions are essential whenever I rate the resort’s family accommodations. 
  • Dining Options: This evaluates the dining options at the resort. Are there kid-friendly menus or buffet-style dining at the resort? Can the on-site restaurants cater to everyone’s dietary preferences and needs? I use these questions to assess the dining options of every property. 
  • Safety and Security: I use this criterion to assess the safety and security of the resorts. Are there lifeguards at the swimming pools? Are the premises secured? Is the staff trained to handle any emergency? I consider these factors when rating the property’s safety and security. 
  • Value for Money: This is used to evaluate the value of money provided by the resort. Are the room rates reasonable? Are the services, activities, and amenities suitable for the price? I ask myself these questions to rate the value for money provided by the resort. 
  • Location and Accessibility: This measures how accessible the resort is for families. How far is it from the popular family attractions? Is it easily accessible via public transportation? Does the resort offer airport transfers? These are the questions I ask myself when evaluating the property’s location and accessibility. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What are the top family luxury resorts in the northeast.

The top family luxury resorts in the northeast are Camelback Lodge and Indoor Waterpark in Pennsylvania and Chatham Bars Inn Resort and Spa in Massachusetts.

What Are The Best East Coast Beach Resorts For Families?

The best East Coast beach resorts for families include Chatham Bars Inn Resort and Spa in Massachusetts and Samoset Resort in Maine.

best family resorts in the northeast travel photo

Each of the best family resorts in the Northeast is unique and has something to offer everyone.

My family and I had a blast swimming in the Atlantic waters at Chatham Bars Inn Resort and Spa.

The Whiteface Lodge, meanwhile, offered fun activities in nature.

The lobby with its towering stone fireplace and cozy seating areas exuded a sense of elegance and comfort.

While staying there, I took a guided hiking adventure through the picturesque trails.

At Four Seasons Hotel New York, we enjoyed the luxury of trying out some gourmet dishes on the terrace.

But, all things considered, I’d say Camelback Lodge and Indoor Waterpark is still ahead of the pack.

We spent hours on those wild slides, and the kids couldn’t get enough of the tube slides. 

In the evenings, we savored the resort’s diverse dining options, each dish more scrumptious than the last. 

My personal favorite was the seafood platter.

Just be prepared for the additional parking fees, a minor hiccup in an otherwise exceptional experience. 

But it’s nothing compared to that experience of a lifetime.

Overall, the resort delivered an unforgettable family getaway we all cherish to this day.

18 Best Family Resorts in the Northeast U.S. - That All Ages Love!

SheBuysTravel

Stunning Northeast Road Trips to Take with the Kids

T he Northeast United States is ideal for a family road trip. In Maine, enjoy lobsters and hiking in Acadia National Park. Vermont and New Hampshire have great classic New England scenery year round, and Massachusetts features Cape Cod beaches and Boston’s historic streets of Boston in Massachusetts. Explore small towns in Connecticut along with the picture perfect Yale Campus. And New York state (NOT the city, has several routes worth exploring. The Jersey Shore of New Jersey has ore prime beaches. Our top SheBuysTravel northeast road trip itineraries will help you plan your vacation.

Northeast Road Trips for Everyone

My road-tripping days began in my childhood. Joining the 1970s trend of customizing your own van, my dad outfitted a cargo van with shag carpet and bean bag chairs. Yes, it sounds tacky, but that old van took us from coast to coast. Along the way we made memories to last a lifetime. I continued the road trip tradition with my children–always taking the scenic route. These days my road trip companions include my grandkids and my husband. In recent years many of our road trip itineraries include the scenic byways of the Northeast.

Variety reigns in this corner of the country. Explore coastal roadways from Maine to Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Or venture into the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the Green Mountains of Vermont or New York State ’s Adirondack Mountains. Experience the bounty of the Hudson Valley and New York’s Finger Lakes region. Then, drive all the way to Canada’s border to marvel at the majesty of Niagara Falls. Choose your favorite trip ideas, load up your vehicle and hit the road!

Maine: A World of Coastal Treasures

Perched at the far northeastern corner of the USA, a Maine road trip promises an array of coastal treasures. Starting in Cape Elizabeth , the iconic Portland Headlight stands watch over Casco Bay as it has since 1791. Take the kids for a climb to the top to survey the surrounding views of the bay and the Atlantic coast. As you make your way north from Portland , searching for lighthouses becomes the road trip game of the day.

Along the way, stop by one of the many lobster stands to indulge in a delicious New England classic–the lobster roll. Follow that with a slice of blueberry pie to complete the Maine meal.

More to Love in Maine

Continue north for 170 miles to reach Acadia National Park . This National Park encompasses more than 48,000 acres on Mount Desert Island, the Schoodic Peninsula, Isle Au Haut and many smaller coastal islands. More than 10,000 of those acres lie within the boundary of Bar Harbor making it an excellent base for exploring local outdoor adventures.

Early risers trek up Cadillac Mountain to catch the first sunrise in the USA. Preferring to sleep a bit later, we chose to linger at the mountain’s summit for a stunning sunset. Enjoy a scenic drive around the historic 27-mile Mount Desert Island park loop road for access to the shoreline and interior forests.

As for Bar Harbor, it’s the place to jump aboard Lulu’s Lobster Boat . This Downeast-style lobster boat provides a unique tour with demos of how lobster traps are hauled. Bringing guests up close to private islands along the way, it’s easy to spot marine wildlife including seals.

Have adventurous kids? Schedule a family rock climbing lesson with Atlantic Climbing School . With lessons tailored to your group’s experience, fitness level and interest, it’s an unforgettable way to top off an epic East Coast road trip.

Choose New Hampshire for an Autumn Road Trip

With vibrant shades of orange, deep reds and buttercup yellows, fall makes road trips even more enticing. Often regarded as one of the best places in the world to surround yourself with fall foliage, New Hampshire’s Route 112 spans east from Lincoln to Conway. Known as the Kancamagus Highway, this 34.5-mile drive enjoys recognition as a National Scenic Byway. Winding through the heart of the White Mountain National Forest, gorgeous vistas unfold.

Known as “The Kanc” to the locals, you’ll discover abundant hiking trails for leg-stretching breaks. Hairpin turns add to the adventure as you climb further into the White Mountains passing natural wonders along the way. Reaching 2,855 feet at its highest point, the Kancamagus Highway parallels the Swift River as you descend.

For more mountainous thrills, consider extending your road trip north from Conway to the Mount Washington Cog Railway. Climbing 6,288 feet to the highest summit on the East Coast, it’s an adventure the kids (and you) won’t ever forget.

Vermont: A World of Cows, Cheese and Ice Cream

It seems every road in Vermont is postcard-worthy. Crossing over Lake Champlain from New York to Vermont, the landscape winds through quaint small towns showcasing white-steepled churches and historic storefronts. In the countryside, expansive rolling hills dotted with black and white Holstein cattle come into view. These special cows are the reason for all of that delicious Vermont cheddar cheese. They’re also responsible for ice cream. And, a detour to visit the Ben & Jerry’s factory in Waterbury is a must.

Ben & Jerry’s offers tours and tastings, beginning with the Cow over the Moon Theater,a bird’s eye view of the production line, and Ben & Jerry’s story. Then it’s off to the Flavoroom to taste the Flavor of the Day. Finally, don’t leave without paying your respects to the ice cream flavors resting peacefully in the Flavor Graveyard.

Boston, the Cape and Rhode Island: New England Charm

For the ultimate historic sites , Boston is the place to go. Here, the Freedom Trail chronicles New England history and the ride of Paul Revere. Rather than walk the trail like everyone else, turn the city into your gameboard with an interactive walking tour of the city curated by Urban Adventure Quests. Using a smartphone and clues provided for your team, the secrets of the city are revealed.

Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard

Even if you’ve never visited New England, you’re familiar with Cape Cod’s geography. It’s America’s bent arm, extending out into the Atlantic. Spend a few days here for fun in the sun. The west side of the Cape features shallow bay beaches toddlers will love. Got older kids? You can’t beat the eastern Cape’s Atlantic surf found at Nauset Light and Coast Guard beaches .

Start your Cape sightseeing at the lighthouse on the tip in Provincetown, affectionately referred to as P-town. Do the factory tour (when they resume, post-Covid) at Cape Cod Potato Chips . Like Corning, NY, Sandwich is known for its glassmaking, so include a tour of its museum. Then venture over to the Heritage Museum and Gardens . There are flowers, antique cars and a 1908 Loof carousel.

Got more time? Take a ferry to Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard. You’ll find more beaches, chowder and charming New England coastal cottages.

Read More: Best Martha’s Vineyard Hotels for a Classic New England Island Getaway

Rhode Island’s Mansions

Leaving Boston behind, rocky coastlines, sailboats and lighthouses take over for your New England road trip into Rhode Island and Connecticut. Choose parkways and coastal routes instead of interstates to keep things interesting.

Marvel at the mansions in Newport as you make your way along the idyllic coast. Stops you don’t want to miss include the Adventureland Family Fun Park in Narragansett, Rhode Island. Providing a welcome break from the road, this entertaining amusement park includes bumper boats, batting cages, gas-powered go-karts and an 18-hole nautical-themed miniature golf course.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Adventureland Family Fun Park opens seasonally from May through September.

Explore the Connecticut Coast

Hug the Connecticut coast on a road trip that takes you from NYC to Mystic, an historic New England whaling port. You’ll drive I-95 on this journey. It’s a commuter artery so you’ll want to avoid weekday drive times.

Pass through Greenwich , a tony CT suburb. Continue to Stamford , a growing city of 140,000. Want some garden inspo? Stop at the Bartlett Arboretum and Gardens , a lush 93-acres, that’s kid- and dog-friendly.

Continue to New Haven, home of two CT institutions: Yale University and Frank Pepe’s. I’m sure you’ve heard of Yale. The Ivy League campus is postcard pretty; follow this self-guided walk tour to see the highlights. The bookstore, located at the Shops at Yale, carries all the merch for aspiring high schoolers.

Whether you’re hungry or not, your next stop must be legendary Frank Pepe’ s on Wooster Street. This main location opened in 1937 and is a mecca for pizza lovers. If you time your visit for late summer, you must order the Fresh Tomato and Mozzarella pie. It’s as close to a farm to table experience you’ll ever have at a pizzeria.

If you’ve worked up a sweat eating your face off, take a dip at one of the Connecticut Sound beaches. My favorite is Hammonasset Beach State Park . It’s particularly lovely in the late afternoon as the sun starts to dip to the west. Don’t expect Jersey-style waves, but toddlers will be happy as clams splashing about in the gentle waters.

Speaking of clams, they may not be happy but they are delicious at Lenny and Joe’s Fish Tale in nearby Madison. The place is busy, but it’s a well-ordered chaos. Queue up best as you can, place your order, grab an indoor or outdoor seat and wait while you drool watching everyone else get their food.

This road trip ends at the Mystic Seaport, a showcase for the region’s maritime history. Recreating a 19th-century shipbuilding village, this open-air museum includes more than 30 period buildings populated with hands-on exhibits. The country’s last remaining whaleship, the Charles W. Morgan, resides here inviting the kids to earn their sea legs by hoisting the sails.

Want another slice? Mystic Pizza may seem familiar to anyone who saw the Julia Roberts movie of the same name in the 1980s. While the 80s big hair trend is (thankfully) gone, the pizza is still here—and it’s really good! Stop in for a “little slice of heaven” and to catch the continuous loop of the movie on the restaurant’s TV screens.

New Jersey: Gotta Go to the Shore!

Start your exploration of the Jersey Shore in the first beach you hit when heading south out of New York City – Sandy Hook . There are multiple beaches, a lovely bike trail and history – it was a military installation in its former life and the base housing and some cannons are still there.

Then scoot down to Asbury Park. It’s in the midst of a renaissance, with new hotels and buzzy restaurants. If you’re a Springsteen fan, don’t skip a selfie in front of the legendary shore bar, the Stone Pony, where his career was born.

Need some boardwalk action? Then The Wildwoods are for you. Multiple communities share some variation of “Wildwood” in their names and are linked by nearly 40 blocks of boardwalk amusements. Prove your skeet ball dominance, ride a coaster, body surf and travel back in time at the Doo Wop Museum .

If gambling’s your thing, stop in Atlantic City to check out the casinos. Then end your Jersey Shore road trip in Cape May , home to gorgeous Victorian homes and a much slower pace.

Not a beach fan? Check out two of Jersey’s theme parks: the classic Six Flags Great Adventure and the new American Dream .

Read More: 17 Great New Jersey Resorts for Families

New York: Waterfalls, Rivers and More

Exploring New York City is always fun but driving in NYC is another story. And parking? Forget it, unless you’re ready to part with a significant portion of your vacation funds. If your road trip begins in New York, spend a couple of days in the city using public transportation. Then pick up a rental car and head north starting with the Hudson Valley.

Hudson River Valley

Stretching 150 miles from the tip of Manhattan to Albany, the Hudson Valley’s vast and varied landscapes present a multitude of experiences. Walk or bike across the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie via the Walkway Over the Hudson . The 212-foot-tall, 1.28-mile linear walkway spans the river and connects to bike trails on either end.

For another fun hike, check out Fannie Reese State Park . Access the entrance near the walkway via a short walk along the road and down the stairs at the entrance to the Mid-Hudson Bridge. An overlook serves up scenic views overlooking the Hudson River and trails follow a historic carriage road that passes ruins of a 19th-century estate.

Venture to the United States Military Academy at West Point for the history buffs in the family where countless figures in American military history received their training. Afterward, take a guided walking tour or spend some time checking out the museum on campus.

Connect with Nature in the Adirondack Mountains

Boasting more than 2,000 miles of hiking trails, the Adirondack Mountains of Northern New York beckons to mountain lovers year-round. Forested paths, plunging waterfalls and summits with 360-degree views provide a vast variety of hiking challenges when you’re ready to let the kids out of the car to work off that excess energy.

First, be sure to check out The Wild Center . From the ever-entertaining river otters to tons of hands-on interactive exhibits, the 54,000 square foot indoor space will hold the kids’ attention for hours. Pair that with swinging bridges, a four-story twig treehouse, a spider’s web and an oversized eagle’s nest outside and you’ll never get them to leave. We even added a guided canoe trip to our adventure.

SheBuysTravel Tip : Reserve a ticket for timed entry ahead of your visit and bring a picnic lunch to enjoy in the beautiful wilderness.

Occupying 2,000 acres near the Vermont border, Fort Ticonderoga’s history dates back to 1755. An Adirondack highlight, the fort offers family-focused tours as well as immersive hands-on experiences. Take a road trip break for the day and get in touch with your inner soldier as history comes to life.

For lodging, check out Wildwood on the Lake in Lake Placid . It’s an easy-going family-owned lodge offering comfy accommodations, kayaks for exploring and campfires in the evening.

New York’s Longest Road Trip: Exploring U.S. Route 20

Stretching 372 miles from the border with Massachusetts to the border of Pennsylvania, U.S. Route 20 serves as New York State’s longest road trip. Rolling hills peppered with generations-old farms dot the pastoral landscape. Once a primitive Native American path that ultimately helped the westward movement in the state, U.S. Route 20 is rich with historic sites.

In Seneca Falls, discover the bridge that inspired “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Visit the supposed birthplace of Memorial Day, Waterloo. Detour off the route for a day trip to explore the Finger Lakes region, including “gorge-ous” Watkins Glen. Best known for its wine trail along with ample breweries, the bounty of this fertile land attracts visitors from around the world.

Embrace Farm Life

Find your way to Odessa for a visit to Sunset View Creamery . Here you’ll find delicious cheeses and friendly cows available for cuddling. Yes, cow cuddling is a thing and an experience you and the kids or grandkids won’t soon forget.

Next, Four Seasons Alpacas farm, where adorable alpacas await along with cute New Zealand pigs and super furry bunnies. Pop into the shop for some uber-soft alpaca scarves, hats or gloves. If you’re road tripping in the fall, take advantage of apple season by picking your favorite varieties at Apples & Moore.

Chase Niagara’s Waterfalls

Continuing on to Buffalo, be sure to stop by the Anchor Bar restaurant. At the birthplace of Buffalo wings, you’ll get a taste of the original sauce at this family-owned eatery.

Next, drive just 20 miles north of Buffalo where Niagara Falls awaits. Get up close to North America’s largest waterfalls with a ride on Maid of the Mist . This 175-year-old attraction recently converted to all-electric boats. Get even closer to the falls at Cave of the Winds where a series of boardwalks lead you to within 10 feet of the thunderous water. Be sure to return to Niagara Falls State Park after dark to view the waterfalls illuminated in shades of red, green and blue. A perfect ending to your epic New York road trip.

The Northeast United States is ideal for a family road trip. In Maine, enjoy lobsters and hiking in Acadia National Park. Vermont and New Hampshire have great classic New England scenery year round, and Massachusetts features Cape Cod beaches and Boston’s historic streets of Boston in Massachusetts. Explore small towns in Connecticut along with the picture perfect Yale Campus. And New York state (NOT the city, has several routes worth exploring. The Jersey Shore of New Jersey has ore prime beaches. Our top SheBuysTravel northeast road trip itineraries will help you plan your vacation. Northeast Road Trips for Everyone My...

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Northern lights over Kirkjufell in Iceland.

Getty Images

The northern lights, known as the aurora borealis, are a spectacular natural light show visible at certain times of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. They occur when electrically charged particles from the sun collide with gases in the Earth's atmosphere, creating vibrant streaks of blue, green, pink and violet dancing across the night sky. 2024 and 2025 are an excellent time to catch the northern lights: Solar activity will be at a peak, making for a more impressive experience, if you're in the right place.

The best places to see the aurora borealis have little light pollution, clear skies and no precipitation. The lights are only visible at northern latitudes when it's dark outside, so the months from September to April are best for seeing the aurora. There's also a Southern Hemisphere counterpart, the aurora australis; there are fewer easy spots from which to view this phenomenon, but if you're lucky, it can be equally brilliant.

For more information on the northern lights, scroll down to the FAQ section at the bottom of this page. Read on to discover the top destinations where you can see the kaleidoscopic northern and southern lights.

Fairbanks, Alaska

Aurora borealis over tree line in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Fairbanks is by far one of the best places in the world to view the northern lights, as it's located directly under the auroral oval. This ring-shaped zone sits around the Earth's geomagnetic North Pole and is generally associated with the most vibrant aurora sightings. Visitors can expect to see the lights on an average of four out of five clear nights during aurora season, which lasts from late August to late April.

You can book a northern lights tour to see the aurora from the springs and tubs at Chena Hot Springs Resort. This excursion includes round-trip transportation to the resort from town, a soak in the hot springs, a visit to the Fairbanks Aurora Ice Museum and an aurora viewing tour; dinner and drinks centered around Alaska produce are an option extra with hot drinks supplied.

There's more to Fairbanks than just the northern lights: If you visit in late summer, consider family-friendly activities like a ride on the Riverboat Discovery or gold panning. For a festive holiday experience in the winter, head around 15 miles out of Fairbanks to visit the Santa Claus House in the city of North Pole. Travelers can also see ice sculptures in February and March at the impressive World Ice Art Championships or take a dog-sledding or snowmobiling tour .

Where to stay: For excellent chances of aurora viewing, book a private igloo at Borealis Basecamp, a top glamping resort located on 100 remote acres of boreal forest about 25 miles from Fairbanks. With activities like dog-sledding on top of aurora viewing, past visitors regularly describe it as a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Tromsø, Norway

Norther lights over landscape of Tromsø, Norway.

Located about 220 miles above the Arctic Circle, Tromsø is one of several top spots to view the northern lights in Norway. At the darkest point of the aurora season – which runs from September to early April – the sun doesn't rise in this northern part of the country, although there is twilight during the day. With this level of darkness, there are more opportunities to see the aurora.

Tromsø itself is a small but lively city, so there's plenty to see and do when you're not looking up at the sky, including a visit to the beautiful Arctic Cathedral. In late January to early February, the city hosts the Northern Lights Festival, a 10-day music and performing arts event featuring a variety of musical genres.

Aurora chasers can view the lights on their own while in town, but to get a better view, it's recommended to head away from the city lights. Arctic Circle Tours is one company offering guided trips, with small groups for a more personal vibe. Alternatively, adventure-seekers can embark on an exhilarating husky trekking expedition in the Arctic wilderness.

Where to stay: For accommodations with harbor views, look no further than the Scandic Ishavshotel – guests love it for its convenient central location in the city, as well as its plus-sized breakfast buffet with plenty of choices.

Luosto and Rovaniemi (Lapland), Finland

Northern lights over Pyhae Luosto National Park in northern Finland.

Lapland is located within the Arctic Circle in the northernmost part of Finland. The northern lights are most visible here between the end of August and April – and approximately 200 times a year – so there are many opportunities for aurora spotting. Finnish Lapland is also known as home to the Sámi people (the only recognized Indigenous group in the European Union region), some 200,000 reindeer and Santa Claus – who can be visited in the town of Rovaniemi, the region's largest city and a great base for your aurora expedition.

Consider venturing roughly 70 miles north of Rovaniemi to the resort town of Luosto, set among the picturesque and hilly landscape of Pyhä-Luosto National Park. Here, you can also spend a magical evening outdoors under star-filled skies during a reindeer-drawn sleigh ride through the snow-covered forests. Jaakkola Reindeer Farm offers a reindeer sleigh tour to spot the aurora once weekly; it includes a stop to warm up at a bonfire camp with snacks, hot beverages and local fireside stories.

Where to stay: For a bucket list experience, watch the impressive light show from a glass igloo at Santa's Hotel Aurora & Igloos in Luosto. Past visitors love the cozy atmosphere here, boosted by amenities like saunas and log fireplaces. If you're sticking to Rovaniemi, the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel is a stunning choice, with designer cabins perched among the snow-covered taiga forest.

Orkney, Scotland

Northern lights over a lake in the Scottish Highlands.

This group of captivating (and mostly uninhabited) islands, located about 10 miles off Scotland's remote northern coast, is one of the best places to see the northern nights in the U.K. Fall and winter are the best seasons to witness the aurora, also known in local Shetland dialect as the "Mirrie Dancers," with fall bringing the highest proportion of clear nights. A few places to see the spectacular light show include along the coast at Birsay or the Broch of Gurness, an archaeological ruin on a sweeping and dramatic coastline.

In addition to the aurora, Orkney is home to breathtaking coastal landscapes and more sheep than you can count (try some local lamb, if you can). Travelers can also visit the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with several monuments dating back 5,000 years.

Where to stay: During your visit, plan to stay in the historic town of Kirkwall, the capital of the Orkney Islands: The no-fuss Ayre Hotel offers harbor views, and past visitors compliment the hearty meals in the hotel restaurant. Spot the aurora close to town at Inganess Bay and Wideford Hill.

Yellowknife, Canada

Northern lights over trees and lights in Yellowknife, Canada.

Yellowknife, the capital of Canada 's Northwest Territories, dubs itself the "Aurora Capital of the World." Thanks to its position in the middle of the auroral oval, the city puts on one of the world's most awe-inspiring light shows. The period from mid-November to the beginning of April is the recommended time to spot the aurora, but it's also possible to see the aurora during more hospitable weather from late summer to early fall as the lights are visible up to 240 days a year.

Located on the northern shore of Great Slave Lake, Yellowknife boasts winter sports such as ice fishing and cross-country skiing. If you visit in March, plan to attend the monthlong Snowkings' Winter Festival, which features events and activities like a snow-carving competition, a snow castle, live music and more.

For a unique experience, book a tour through Aurora Village to view the lights. The property will pick you up from your hotel and take you to its site, where you can stay warm in a tent while sipping hot beverages. The Aboriginal-owned Aurora Village also offers activities such as dog-sledding or snowshoeing excursions.

Where to stay: Warm up in the fireside lounge at The Explorer Hotel in Yellowknife. Previous visitors note the warm and helpful staff as a strength here.

Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

Two people sitting on a the ice of a lake and watching the northern lights in the north of Sweden.

The optimal time for seeing the illuminated skies in the northern part of Sweden, known as Swedish Lapland, is between early September and late March. The small Swedish village of Jukkasjärvi sits around 125 miles above the Arctic Circle on the Torne River and is an ideal locale for aurora viewing. You'll fly to the nearby Kiruna Airport to get here. With the village's origins dating back to the 17th century, you can still find some of the original homesteads, including an old timber cottage. Today the village boasts 800 residents – and more than 1,000 dogs.

Where to stay: If you're up for a chilly overnight adventure, reserve accommodations at the world's first permanent ice hotel, the aptly named Icehotel 365. Each of its artist-designed suites is sculpted from ice with a unique theme and maintains temperatures around minus 5 degrees Celsius (about 23 degrees Fahrenheit). The rooms also feature beds with reindeer hides and thermal sleeping bags so you can bundle up during the night. While you're at the property, take advantage of the guided "Northern Lights Safari on Snowmobile" or embark on the "Moose Safari on Horseback" atop an Icelandic horse.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Northern lights above Hallgrimskirkja Church in central Reykjavik, Iceland.

October through March is the best time to chase the aurora borealis in Iceland . There are numerous natural parks and attractions throughout the country where you can view the show during the long and dark winter, but the capital city of Reykjavik also offers many options for accommodations, restaurants, tours and other activities for your visit. For optimum aurora viewing in the city away from the light pollution, head to Öskjuhlið. This wooded and hilly area in Reykjavik sits at 200 feet above sea level and has walkways and paths where you can see the nighttime show.

Atop this hill sits Perlan, which houses the only planetarium in the country and a museum featuring exhibits about Iceland. Perlan is also home to the world's first indoor ice cave and glacier exploratorium. During your visit, don't miss the panoramic views of the city from the building's fourth-floor observation deck. From this vantage point, you'll be able to see the Snæfellsjökull glacier; Keilir, a volcanic mountain; and Esja, the mountain of Reykjavik.

Where to stay: While in Reykjavik, splurge on an overnight tour with Buubble Tours. This experience includes breathtaking sightseeing spots and a night spent under the magical northern skies in a transparent bubble at the 5 Million Star Hotel. For longer stays, consider the eco-friendly Eyja Guldsmeden Hotel, with sweeping views of the city – guests love it for its cozy yet chic Scandinavian design.

Southern Iceland

Northern lights over Reynisfjara black sand beach in Iceland.

While Reykjavik is a great aurora-viewing spot if you like having amenities close by, consider getting out into Iceland's stunning, otherworldly countryside for a unique backdrop for the northern lights. One unique place to see them is the black sand beach at Reynisfjara (but watch out for the dangerous waves here). Alternatively, head to Jökulsárlón, a glacial lagoon and seal habitat, where the aurora's reflections in the icy water are truly beautiful.

There's no shortage of tours that will stop by these locations and more for possible aurora sightings. Consider a 10- or 13-day tour around the country with Fun Travel, or a four-day option from Arctic Adventures. If you want to do things at your own place, it's also possible to self-drive – just know that road conditions can be icy, particularly in the depths of winter (although Icelandic roads are generally well-maintained).

Where to stay: Hotel Rangá is a formidable option for aurora-spotting. It offers a variety of special amenities, such as aurora wake-up calls, a lookout deck and snowsuits to keep you warm if you're outside viewing the lights. Past visitors praise Rangá for being a comfortable yet luxurious place to relax, be it in the outdoor hot tubs or the cozy and sociable bar.

Kangerlussuaq, Greenland

Northern lights reflected in water with mountains in eastern Greenland.

Greenland may not be the most accessible place to travel for viewing the northern lights, with limited flight options (mostly via Iceland), but those who make it here will be thrilled they did. The tundra of Kalaallit Nunaat – the Greenlandic name for the country – is one of the best places on the globe to see the aurora from September to early April.

For the more adventurous aurora seekers, head to the top of the Greenland Ice Cap for spectacular views of the lights. This impressive glacier covers 80% of the country and is accessible via the tiny town of Kangerlussuaq. Located on a fjord right along the Arctic Circle, the town, often described as a gateway to Greenland, was a former U.S. Air Force base and is now home to Greenland's main airport. The town is known for having clear skies on some 300 nights per year, so chances of a sighting are particularly good here.

Tour company Guide to Greenland offers various tours, from two-hour aurora-viewing trips to a tough but rewarding multi-night dog-sledding expedition across the ice. For a less strenuous experience, companies like Nordic Saga Tours offer cruises through the Arctic landscapes around Kangerlussuaq.

Viking cruise along Norway's coast

A pool by windows overlooking the ocean on a Viking cruise ship.

Courtesy of Viking

Embrace the winter and set sail for the Arctic Circle to experience the aurora in northern Norway. The 13-day "In Search of the Northern Lights" cruise itinerary with Viking departs from London for the North Sea with stops in ports of call that are top aurora-viewing locales, including Tromsø, Alta and Narvik, plus a stop in Amsterdam en route. The cruise ends in Bergen, Norway.

While on land, take in the natural beauty of the snow-blanketed landscapes and book bucket list excursions like a night spent in an igloo or a reindeer sledding adventure. You can also chase the lights into the wilderness by snowmobile, take a dog sled ride under the stars or view them from a Sámi tent atop the mountain Pæska in Alta. This Viking Ocean Cruises itinerary is offered with departure dates from mid-January to mid-March.

Headlands International Dark Sky Park, Michigan

Northern Lights shine through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula Forest.

Regarded as one of the top spots in the U.S. to see the aurora outside Alaska, Headlands International Dark Sky Park sits at the top of Michigan 's lower peninsula, less than 5 miles from Mackinaw City. While the northern lights are less common here due to the relatively southern location, the best time to catch a glimpse of this phenomenon is typically during the spring and fall – and appearances can usually be predicted a couple of days in advance. The park even maintains an online Clear Sky Chart so you can check the weather forecast before you go.

There are also other stargazing opportunities throughout the year at Headlands. During the summer months the Milky Way is visible across the sky, and late summer evenings entertain visitors with meteor showers.

Where to stay: If you're visiting between late April and the end of October, splurge on a stay at Mission Point Resort on Mackinac Island, where the aurora should also be visible. Guests describe this iconic property situated along the shoreline of Lake Huron as positively charming, thanks to its historic nature and manicured grounds. The resort also offers a host of outdoor activities from bike rentals to swimming.

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Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota

Northern lights above trees and lake of Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota.

Martha Shuff | Courtesy of Voyageurs National Park

Located on the international border between Minnesota and Ontario, Voyageurs National Park is an approximately 218,000-acre labyrinth of boreal forests, lakes and streams. Voyageurs is Minnesota's only national park; it's also unique in that the park's interior is accessible only by boat, unless you visit by snowmobile in winter. As a certified International Dark Sky Park , Voyageurs provides opportunities to view the Milky Way on clear evenings, especially in the summer. Year-round aurora viewing is also possible on evenings with clear dark skies, but chances are better during the winter, when it's dark for longer.

For a guided stargazing tour – including the Milky Way, the constellations and (if you're lucky) the northern lights – book with Voyageurs Outfitters. If you're on your own, park officials note that almost any campsite is a good spot for northern lights viewing and stargazing. You can also check out the boat launch areas around Ash River, Kabetogama Lake and the Rainy Lake Visitor Center for top-notch views.

Where to stay: Those who prefer to sleep in a warm, cozy bed instead of camping under the stars can make reservations at the Cantilever Distillery + Hotel, a boutique Trademark Collection by Wyndham property in the nearby town of Ranier, Minnesota. Visitors report that there's a lot to like here, from the industrial-chic rooms to friendly staff to top-notch cocktails in the active distillery on the premises.

Abisko National Park, Sweden

Northern lights seen from Abisko Mountain Station in Abisko, Sweden.

Given its Arctic location, Sweden is one of the prime spots for aurora viewing in the Northern Hemisphere, with Swedish Lapland at the top of the list. The fall and winter months (from September to March) offer the best opportunities to witness the spectacle, as there is more darkness than light during the days.

If you're up for the Arctic adventure, December is an ideal month to visit Abisko National Park, which some regard as one of the best places on Earth to see the lights dance across the sky. The park's mountainous terrain and clear dark skies offer dramatic front-row seats for viewing the northern lights. The Aurora Sky Station is one of the best vantage points to see the aurora in the park. Join one of the expert presentations to learn about the science behind this fascinating phenomenon.

If you'd prefer to chase the lights with a curated tour, professional photographers and aurora-chasing guides at Visit Abisko lead three- to four-hour tours throughout the fall and winter. If you can, try to join the tours in fall, as this time of year offers a unique opportunity to view the lights both in the sky and reflected in the lakes and rivers, which you won't see in the winter months.

Where to stay: For cozy Nordic vibes, stay at Abisko Mountain Lodge, which also offers activities like ice climbing and snowmobile tours in winter. Guests love the excellent restaurant here, which offers Swedish specialties ranging from salmon to moose.

Nellim, Finland

Northern lights above The Nellim Wilderness Hotel in Nellim, Finland.

Courtesy of Wilderness Hotels

Located a stone's throw from the Russian border in Finnish Lapland, this remote Arctic destination is a top-rated locale to view the northern lights due to the lack of light pollution. You'll be seriously out of the way of any built-up areas, as there's not even a paved road into Nellim. The best time to visit is between December and early April. This village is a great place to hunker down in a lodge and relax while enjoying a slice of life in the Finnish wilderness.

Where to stay: The Nellim Wilderness Hotel offers a perfect base with year-round activities, including aurora-chasing tours by car, snowmobile or on snowshoes. You can even take a sleigh ride through the snow to a campsite on Lake Inari to spot the aurora in pristine nature.

Beyond standard rooms, the Wilderness Hotel also offers glass-roofed cabins, as well as classic log cabins and bubble-shaped accommodations for two where guests can watch the dancing lights through the glass roof above your warm, cozy bed. When you're not chasing the lights, enjoy other Arctic activities like a husky safari, ice fishing, snowmobiling or a day in the snow meeting the local reindeer.

Saariselkä and Kakslauttanen, Finland

Northern lights above a snowy track through trees in the Arctic.

These two towns are around 150 miles above the Arctic Circle, with a prime location under the auroral oval, allowing as many as 200 opportunities per year to see the northern lights (weather permitting, of course). This area in Finnish Lapland is known for its stunning scenery, Sámi culture, cross-country and downhill skiing, and Urho Kekkonen National Park – one of Finland's largest.

Ski enthusiasts can roll two trips into one by hitting the slopes by day in Saariselkä and aurora spotting by night at Finland's northernmost ski resort. March into early April is the best time to view the aurora, as the Finnish Meteorological Institute notes that the weather is usually clearer at this time of year. But it's possible to see the northern lights at any time during the season from late August to early or mid-April.

Where to stay: Seven miles south of Saariselkä sits the village of Kakslauttanen, where you can book two- or four-person Glass Igloos at the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort. The new Kelo-Glass Igloos, which sleep up to six, mix the comforts of a log chalet with the visibility of the glass roof; enjoy a private sauna, a fireplace and more. There's also an impressive selection of year-round tours and activities at this resort, including northern lights excursions on snowmobiles or by horse-drawn carriage.

Stewart Island, New Zealand

Sign for Stewart Island lodge on Stewart Island, New Zealand.

Courtesy of RealNZ

Although they may be isolated, some far-south destinations offer the chance to see the aurora australis – or southern lights. While you might be able to see them year-round in some locations (just as with the northern lights), certain months are better for aurora viewing in the Southern Hemisphere. Stewart Island is regarded as one of the top spots to see the brilliant display in New Zealand , with 85% of the island encompassed by Rakiura National Park, so there are few people and virtually no light pollution. You can reach Stewart Island by flying in from Invercargill or taking a ferry from Bluff.

New Zealand's winter months – June to August – are the best time to see the southern lights; spring and fall are also not bad times to spot them. The brighter summer months, between December and February, make it more difficult to spot the aurora, but there's still a chance you'll catch a glimpse between midnight and 4 a.m.

Where to stay: Consider reserving a room with at Stewart Island Lodge, an intimate bed-and-breakfast. This beautiful property is just minutes by foot from the village of Oban, and the property will pick you up at the ferry terminal for your stay. Past visitors rave about the spectacular views of Halfmoon Bay and the Foveaux Strait from both the rooms and lodge terrace.

Southern Aurora Australis in Tasmania.

Tasmania sits approximately 150 miles south of mainland Australia. This mountainous island is one of relatively few places on the planet where it's theoretically possible to see the aurora 365 days a year due to its latitude, which allows for full darkness even on summer nights. The capital city of Hobart is the easiest point of entry: It's home to Tasmania's largest airport and serves as a convenient base. The city's burgeoning food and cultural scenes will also give you plenty to see and do.

From here you'll be able to reach several great viewing locations with unobstructed and open views of the sea along the southern and southeast coastlines, like Goat Bluff and Tinderbox Bay. When you're not staring at the night sky, splurge on a once-in-a-lifetime helicopter flight with Tasmanian Air Tours. Depending on your whims, your private pilot can whisk you away to soar over the sea cliffs; stop at a local winery to sample local vintages; or head south to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Port Arthur , Tasmania 's historic and most notorious prison.

Where to stay: Reserve accommodations at The Tasman, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Hobart. The historic luxury property is situated along the lively waterfront area with harbor views. Past guests admired the historic building housing the hotel and loved the heritage rooms featuring gas fireplaces for those cold Tasmanian nights.

Expedition cruise to Antarctica

The aurora australis as seen over the South Pole during austral winter.

If you're one of the lucky few people on the planet to travel to the southernmost continent on Earth, it may be pricey, but you'll have an adventure of a lifetime in Antarctica, especially if the aurora illuminates the sky. The southern lights are most visible in the winter months (between March and October), but due to weather conditions, only researchers brave the Antarctic winter – and they mostly stay indoors.

However, all hope is not lost if you seek to view the aurora australis in Antarctica. Late-season expedition cruises to this continent offered in March also bring the opportunity to view the southern lights and enjoy the end of Antarctica's fleeting summer. As the days shorten in length, you may encounter light snow across the extreme landscape and ice starting to form on the water's surface.

When it comes to wildlife viewing, humpback whale sightings are abundant, and you'll still see penguin colonies – including king and gentoo penguins. You can also keep your eyes peeled for elephant seals, leopard seals, wandering albatross and other species of birds. When night falls on clear evenings, look for the light show in the southern sky. Companies that offer March voyages include Swoop Antarctica, Atlas Ocean Voyages, Silversea Cruises , Aurora Expeditions and Hurtigruten Expeditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

There's no one location that's widely accepted as the best place to see the northern lights. However, the strongest light displays are within what's called the "auroral oval": a rough circle around the Earth's magnetic northern pole that tends to occur around 60 to 70 degrees of latitude. The oval's exact size expands and contracts (some more southerly destinations can fall under it when the aurora is particularly strong), but there are certain locations that generally fall within the oval most of the time.

These places include:

  • Central and northern Alaska
  • Large areas of Yukon, the Northwest Territories and northern Quebec in Canada
  • Southern Greenland
  • Far northern Norway, Sweden and Finland

Within these areas, it could be argued that Iceland is the best place to see the aurora as it experiences much milder temperatures than some other areas within the oval. But this is subjective, and some travelers may prefer a location like Yellowknife in Canada for a full-on, very cold Arctic experience.

The northern lights are only visible when it's dark out. Since many of the best places to see them are so far north that they experience near-constant daylight in the summer, you'll generally want to schedule a trip between late August and early April. However, within this time period, there's some debate about the best time to catch the lights. For example, the aurora tends to be more active around the September and March equinoxes due to stronger solar winds – but on the other hand, your chances of seeing them may be higher in the depths of winter, since there's longer nights and therefore a longer window in which they might appear.

In more southern locations like Minnesota, it may be possible to see the light show in the summer months, but it's still advisable to go at a time when the nights are longer. It can also be worth trying to schedule your northern lights trip when there's a new moon: While the aurora can shine through moonlight, it may be harder to see if there's a full moon.

Of course, cloudy weather can block the aurora even if you go at the right time of year. So, it may be wise to research the local weather patterns at your chosen destination to find out if there's a month where you can expect clearer skies. In many cases, though, there's a little luck involved.

These two countries can offer excellent views of the northern lights, since both are directly under the typical auroral oval. Yet there are some differences to be aware of.

In Norway, you'll need to head to the north of the country to catch the aurora: While they have been sighted in Oslo , the capital and largest city, it's too far south to be a reliable vantage point. Cities like Tromsø are popular spots, but direct flights there are only possible from some European cities, so North Americans will have to take connecting flights. On the other hand, Iceland is generally easier to reach, with direct flights to its capital, Reykjavik, from a large number of U.S. destinations (particularly from the East Coast) with no further connection required.

Since clear skies are key for seeing the northern lights, weather is another factor to consider. In November, December and March, Reykjavik has statistically slightly more frequent clear skies, while in January and February, Tromsø is a little better, but the difference isn't big: Both places have clear skies only around 25 to 30% of the time in these months. Reykjavik has slightly warmer weather, though, so between that and the ease of access, it has a slight edge over Norway for seeing the northern lights.

Alaska and Iceland are known for stellar aurora light shows, so deciding between them may depend on which destination you find more convenient and more to your tastes. In Alaska , the city of Fairbanks is considered a great spot to catch the northern lights. (They can still be seen elsewhere in the state – for example, in Anchorage, although they're not so common in more southern locations like Juneau). The advantage of Fairbanks is that you won't need a passport , yet there aren't many direct flights from the lower 48 states. Despite being an international destination, Iceland may be more accessible (particularly from the eastern U.S.), thanks to fairly regular flights to Reykjavik from numerous American cities.

Fairbanks does offer statistically better weather for aurora viewing: It has clear skies more often than Reykjavik, particularly in March when the Alaska city experiences them around 45% of the time (compared to about 25% for Reykjavik). But you'll have to be able to tolerate the cold. While temperatures in Reykjavik hover around freezing in midwinter, Fairbanks is a veritable deep freeze, with average highs around 5 degrees Fahrenheit down to lows colder than minus 5 in December.

Why Trust U.S. News Travel

Timothy Forster , as a Canadian who has traveled from coast to coast in that sprawling country, knows all about travel in the cold northern reaches of the world. Forster used his extensive traveling background along with research expertise to curate this article.

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5 of Moscow's most BEAUTIFUL districts

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1.  Sokolniki

By 9 a.m., the main square of Sokolniki district in the northeast of Moscow begins to fill up with dog-walkers and cyclists. The mobile coffee shops and hot dog outlets are not open yet; the only sounds are the rustling of the autumn leaves and gurgling of the main fountain, around which sleepy guards walk.

“But on the weekend, there are crowds of people here, as if the whole of Moscow descends on it,” says Raisa Bazarova, a resident of Sokolniki. She says that she literally “married” Sokolniki 21 years ago, in 1999, when she moved from the central Arbat district to live with her new husband.

Police fire station with a tower-tower in Sokolniki

Police fire station with a tower-tower in Sokolniki

It took three years for her to feel at home, finally making friends with the neighbors. Now, Raisa considers it the most beautiful area of ​​Moscow and is fond of its low-rise skyline and architectural monuments.

“As soon as you step out of the subway, you’re in Sokolniki, and the first thing that catches the eye is the pre-revolutionary watchtower [built in 1884]. It saw the old wooden Moscow and has been preserved in all its splendor,” says Bazarova. 

Moscow, park Sokolniki

Moscow, park Sokolniki

Raisa also advises foreigners to visit Sokolniki Park, one of the oldest in Moscow, founded in 1878, with fountains, ponds, a swimming pool, an amusement park and its own rose garden. Sokolniki was adored by Peter the Great and Alexander I and it was here that they often held feasts. For Bazarova, the lush greenery makes it the “lungs” of the district.  

The Viktyuk Theater. The building of the outstanding architect Konstantin Melnikov, 1929

The Viktyuk Theater. The building of the outstanding architect Konstantin Melnikov, 1929

Another must-see, according to Bazarova, is the Roman Viktyuk Theater — if nothing else, then to see one of Moscow’s main architectural gems, designed and built in the Constructivist style that prevailed in the city in the 1920s. Moreover, Russian-speaking theater lovers might want to catch a performance of ‘The Maids’ by French playwright Jean Genet. 

2. Levoberezhny

Galina Yakunina, director of a sports club in Moscow’s north for nine years, walks with unfeigned pleasure along the main alley of Rechnoy Vokzal (“River Station”) Park, which was restored in 2020 under the ‘My district’ city improvement program.

Aerial view is a beautiful panorama of the renovated Northern River Station in Moscow

Aerial view is a beautiful panorama of the renovated Northern River Station in Moscow

In the summer of 2020, the station, which resembles a ship, was enveloped in scaffolding, as the original 1937 edifice was being restored. Today, it is surrounded by fountains with children running around, endless flower beds and an all-new embankment that runs along a miniature replica of the Moscow Canal, replete with children’s paddle boats and other attractions.

“It’s really beautiful. Cruise ships and motor vessels depart from here. Muscovites love it and tourists definitely will as well,” says Yakunina. 

Park Levoberezhnyj, Moscow

Park Levoberezhnyj, Moscow

Her second favorite place for a post-work evening stroll is Druzhba (Friendship) Park, laid out for the 6th World Festival of Youth and Students in 1957. The main features are its monuments and sculptures dedicated to children, international friendship and war heroes, as well as the pond-reflected willows and the playgrounds. Thanks to these two parks, the air in the district differs sharply from that in central Moscow - that she is sure of. 

Park Druzhby

Park Druzhby

In summer, Levoberezhny beach (renovated under the ‘My district’ city improvement program in 2018) becomes the main focal point and Galina heartily recommends it to tourists. 

“The beach is covered with sand, with a cafe, sun loungers and beach volleyball. It’s very relaxing,” she says, describing the place. 

3. Filevsky Park

For social conflict expert Alexei Ivanushkin, Filevsky Park in the city’s west has always been the main symbol of Moscow. 

Fili Park embankment

Fili Park embankment

“I moved here in 2005 from St Petersburg, when the Gorbushka electronics market was one of Moscow’s main draws. There were always crowds of people, poorly dressed, but eager for gadgets. We used to go to the wooded parts of Filevsky Park, clearing branches, because it was impossible to get through. There were bottles everywhere that people had just left. In other words, it was a hub for alcoholics,” Ivanushkin shares his first impressions of the area. 

Church of the Protection of the Theotokos in Fili, 1690-1694, Moscow

Church of the Protection of the Theotokos in Fili, 1690-1694, Moscow

Fifteen years later, the now-landscaped embankment of the park is Alexei’s favorite spot for daily walks and he also advises tourists to visit.

“For me, the place is full of energy and inspires the soul,” says Ivanushkin. 

No less significant is the Baroque Church of the Intercession at Fili, constructed in the late 17th century and financed by the boyar Lev Naryshkin, asserts Ivanushkin. In 1812, Napoleon’s soldiers converted the first floor of the church into a stable. In 1943, the lower church was used as a hospital and then, until 1963, as a warehouse for paper products. Highly recommended to anyone interested in unusual places of worship. 

Gorbunova recreation center

Gorbunova recreation center

“The Suvorov Military School stood opposite the church. And every year at the graduation ceremony, it was a tradition for graduates to secretly raise the flag of the armed forces on the building. They tried to stop it, but no one was ever punished,” recounts Ivanushkin.

To learn more about Russian rock music, Alexei advises a visit to the Gorbunov Palace of Culture, named after Sergei Gorbunov, the director of an aircraft factory and built in 1938. In 1986, it housed the first “rock-n-roll laboratory” in Moscow, earning the building a reputation as the capital’s premier venue for rock concerts and festivals. 

4. Krylatskoe

To learn more about sports facilities built for the 1980 Moscow Olympics, Krylatskoye is the place to start, says local resident Yulia Zhiltsova, who moved to Moscow from Siberia and has lived in the city’s western part for 21 years. 

Krylatsky hills. Panorama

Krylatsky hills. Panorama

“I love walking around the velodrome and other Olympics facilities. There’s also a speed-skating center and rowing canal. Red Bull regularly organizes the Flugtag competition here, it’s really fun and interesting,” notes Zhiltsova.   

Cycle Track

Cycle Track "Krylatskoe"

In her free time, Yulia enjoys what are perhaps the capital’s most beautiful views from West Krylatsky Hill in the nearby park, offering a panorama of Moscow-City, the Church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos and the arch of Zhivopisny Bridge.

She advises tourists to climb the hill, take shots of the stunning Moscow backdrops and escape the hustle and bustle of the central historical districts. 

Red Bull Flugtag 2017 in Moscow

Red Bull Flugtag 2017 in Moscow

“Here you feel at one with nature, yet central Moscow is just 20 minutes down the road. There are no crowds, even on weekends. The center is packed and impersonal, but here the atmosphere is a bit more homely,” Zhiltsova explains. 

5. Khoroshevsky

Khodynskoe Field in the Khoroshevsky district is notorious as the site of a deadly crush during celebrations to mark the coronation of Nicholas II in 1905. Today, it looks more like a futuristic city with fantastical towers, art objects in the local park and dancing fountains. By 8 p.m. on weekdays, the park is especially crowded — school students shoot TikTok dance videos and ride skateboards, while children run with their parents through the mirror maze. 

northeast travel ideas

Local resident Alexander Lyubarsky moved to Khodynka in 2010 and, as a photographer, immediately fell in love with the views. 

“Every part of Khodynsky Park — be it a swing, a pond, a sports ground stylized as an airplane and helicopter, or the fountains behind us — is photogenic,” explains Lyubarsky. The Park appeared in 2018 under the ‘My district’ city renovation program.

Chapel of the Transfiguration of the Savior in the Memorial Park complex of world war I heroes. Built in 1998

Chapel of the Transfiguration of the Savior in the Memorial Park complex of world war I heroes. Built in 1998

His second favorite place for photos is the small Berezovaya Roscha (“Birch Grove”) Park (renovated in 2020 as part of the ‘My district’ program), which, besides birches, is home to maple, ash, and linden trees. 

Every visitor to Khodynka simply must go to the World War I Heroes Memorial Park at the Bratskoe (Fraternal) Cemetery, Lyubarsky insists.

World war I Heroes memorial Park

World war I Heroes memorial Park

“There’s a wonderful chapel with the buried ashes of Grand Duke Nikolai Romanov [the grandson of Nicholas I and an uncle of Nicholas II who was the Russian commander-in-chief during World War I]. Everything’s also very photogenic there,” says Lyubarsky. 

northeast travel ideas

In his opinion, every foreign tourist should visit Khodynka for a glimpse of what the future Russia might look like. 

“It would be good if all the suburbs could be like this. I’d love this to spread beyond the Moscow Ring Road [MKAD],” he concludes.

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Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney: Travel tips, tricks to celebrate the holiday if you’re traveling from Cleveland

  • Published: Jan. 19, 2024, 9:00 a.m.

Groundhog Day

Groundhog Club handler A.J. Dereume holds Punxsutawney Phil, the weather prognosticating groundhog, during the 137th celebration of Groundhog Day on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa., Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023. Phil's handlers said that the groundhog has forecast six more weeks of winter. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger) AP

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Each February, the eyes of millions of people turn to one rodent in a small western Pennsylvania town that, according to legend, predicts the weather.

“Every little town has their claim to fame. I think if you go to any town, you’re going to find something that adds a certain amount of charm for one day throughout the entire year,” said Darren Sherry, former executive director of the Punxsutawney Historical and Genealogical Society. “Ours happens to be a groundhog named Phil.”

Thousands of people flock to Punxsutawney for Groundhog Day in anticipation of meeting Phil, partying in frigid temperatures all night and seeing whether the furry forecaster will see his shadow and proclaim six more weeks of winter or an early spring.

Darren and Susan Sherry both grew up in Punxsutawney. They now live in Aurora but have a great sense of pride for their hometown, which is decorated for Groundhog Day year-round with statues of Phil and restaurants in theme for the holiday, which is always on Feb. 2.

Lady Liberty groundhog

Statues of groundhogs are displayed throughout Punxsutawney year-round in honor of Phil and Groundhog Day. Darren Sherry

If you want to experience the holiday, Sherry suggested starting your travel plans now for 2025. But if you are hoping to make the trek this year from the Cleveland area, here is what you need to know, according to two hometown experts.

Groundhog Day history

The celebration is rooted in Christianity, when people in Europe would take their candles to the church to have them blessed for the winter during a holiday called Candlemas. The tradition evolved when an English folk song suggested the day would predict the weather: “If Candlemas be fair and bright, Come, Winter, have another flight; If Candlemas brings clouds and rain, Go Winter, and come not again.”

When Germany was introduced to the lore, followers there believed if a hedgehog saw its shadow on Candlemas Day, there would be a second winter. When Germans immigrated to the United States, and with the absence of hedgehogs in the ecosystem, another hibernating rodent was chosen. In 1886, Groundhog Day made its first appearance in the local Punxsutawney newspaper.

Trek to Gobbler’s Knob

Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney is an all-night party with gates to Gobbler’s Knob, the visitor center where Phil’s prognostication is announced, opening at 3 a.m. Sherry said attendees should prepare for frigid temperatures during the celebration, which includes performers, fireworks and more. The actual shadow-searching ceremony occurs at approximately 7:20 a.m. The event is standing-room only.

There are three ways to get to the Knob; purchase a parking pass and drive up to the grounds with your permit after 3 a.m.; buy a bus pass and shuttle to the grounds from a number of locations in the city; or park in town and walk the approximately 2-mile trek to the Knob via Woodland Avenue. A limited number of parking passes for Gobbler’s Knob are sold ahead of time on the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club’s website: groundhog.org .

Places to stay

Punxsutawney is about three hours east of Cleveland, and could be a day trip from Northeast Ohio. Sherry says the town is small and quaint, with everyone knowing each other. Travelers who have seen the “Groundhog Day” movie starring Bill Murray might be surprised by the rustic, down-to-earth atmosphere the city gives off. The movie was actually filmed in Woodstock, Illinois, and is screened in Punxsutawney’s City Hall repeatedly during the holiday weekend.

Since celebrations start on Groundhog Day Eve, with a number of events including a gala, talent show and other activities, Sherry suggests making reservations months, even years, in advance. Start planning for Groundhog Day 2025 now if you want to connect with other “Phil Phans” from around the world. It will be hard to find a place to stay in Punxsutawney for the 2024 holiday.

The Shadow Hotel, previously known as the Pantall Hotel, is expected to open in January 2025 after undergoing renovations since 2023. The hotel is located in downtown Punxsutawney, overlooking Barclay Square and the city’s library, where a year-round exhibit on Phil is located. If The Shadow is booked, there are a number of hotels and AirBnbs just outside of town. The Plantation Bed and Breakfast is located about two miles south of downtown Punxsutawney, making it easy to travel to the city and Gobbler’s Knob.

Phil's Burrow

Punxsutawney Phil lives in his burrow, which is located inside the city's library adjacent to Barclay Square. Provided by Darren Sherry

Groundhog Day grub

Punxsutawney offers a number of local, family-owned eateries for visitors to enjoy. Sherry suggests tourists stop at Punxy Phil’s Family Restaurant, a diner located downtown and decorated in honor of the city’s favorite weatherman. He said the walls are decorated with murals of groundhogs cooking up the restaurant’s famous pancakes.

“People don’t really come to Punxy for fine dining, but the food is good and the people are kind and hard-working,” Sherry said.

He said one of his favorite spots in his hometown is the Sarah L. Defelice Pizza House, a family-owned, cash-only pizza shop serving simple slices that he describes as “a delicacy.” He also suggests The Burrow, which serves up bar food, salads, wraps and more downtown.

Touring the town

Punxsutawney is known as the “weather capital of the world” thanks to Phil, which is why visitors should check out the Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center to learn about thunderstorms, tornadoes and forecasting with hands-on exhibits. Sherry, a retired teacher who taught at Punxsutawney Elementary School, said it is a staple field trip for families in the area as well as visitors.

It shouldn’t be hard to find Phil in Punxsutawney on Groundhog Day weekend, but his burrow is located inside the library across the street from Barclay Square, which will have live entertainment, food trucks, artists, vendors and more during the holiday weekend.

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