While all four seasons are pretty fabulous in New England (with the exception of muddy, fickle March!), we would argue that the summer has a special, unmatched appeal for those of us who appreciate it so much more after long winters. So while we’d be happy to hop on a plane in mid-March to a tropical island, in July and August we love jumping in the car with the freedom to experience what our own region has to offer.
Here are a few within-a-drive summer destinations we think are worth your while, either for the first time or return visit:
Midcoast Maine & Islands They say Maine is the way life should be, and if you’re looking to slow down, this is where you want to go. The region is known for incredible local, fresh seafood, stunning views, lighthouses, artist studios, and a million ways to get out on the water, whether by kayak, sailboat, ferry, or charter boat.
New Hampshire’s White Mountains The list of ‘things to do outdoors’ is endless here, and a summer trip to Story Land, Santa’s Village or the Cog Railway will bring you back to your own childhood memories, as the region has retained that treasured feeling. Want to hike? Choose from options that include easy, family jaunts through the woods and nearly-vertical treks up the headwall of Mount Washington. Cool off with a swim in clear lakes or well-hidden swimming holes and beautiful resort pools. If biking is your thing, the region’s ski areas offer bike trails that range from relaxed, scenic rides to adventurous downhill climbs. If you stick to the car, you won’t miss out on any views when you take the Kancamagus Highway through the mountains.
Lake Sunapee A lot of us associate the Lakes Region of New Hampshire with the area north of Concord and our state’s biggest lake, Winnipesaukee. But head a little further west and you’ll see why locals and tourists love Lake Sunapee. Summer attractions in the area include swimming, boating, kayaking, fishing, biking, hiking and more. Located in a charming New England village, you can stroll through the streets filled with unique shops, both casual and fine dining options, and a choice of accommodations if you choose to make it an overnight. There’s usually a full calendar of activities and events you can choose to plan your visit.
Cape Ann, Massachusetts You’ve heard of Cape Cod, but spend a summer day or two exploring the towns that make up Cape Ann, north of Boston. Along with the picturesque fishing harbor in Rockport and the port of Gloucester, you’ll find beautiful beaches, shopping, cafes, artists work, and historic homes that date back before colonial times. Put Salem on your list, where you can visit tourist attractions to learn about the infamous witch trials.
Roger Williams Zoo Spread across 40 stunning acres, the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, RI is one of the oldest of its kind in the country. Visitors have a chance to watch and interact with various animals from all over the world in exhibits that feature everything from harbor seals to bison, kangaroos, and even a rainforest. This is no ordinary zoo. Take a ride on a train excursion around the park and try ziplining.
What are some of your favorite destinations in New England you’d add to our list? Tell us what we’re missing.