Summer vacation season is coming to an end, but we’re lucky enough to live in New England! Glorious autumn weekends are just ahead, and there is plenty to explore in the states, cities, and towns around us. If you’re looking for road trip ideas, we have a list to start with.
September weather often cooperates nicely for warm beach excursions, so put Narragansett, Rhode Island, on your list of a new one to visit. Perhaps less well known than Newport in New England’s smallest state, Narragansett is a fun town to spend a late summer day. There are several state beaches, but the town beach is popular for its surf and views. The beach also offers ADA surf chairs for free, making Narragansett one of the region’s most accessible beaches.
Like many seaside communities in New England, Mystic, Connecticut, has a rich history dating back to the 15th century. It’s been a popular tourist spot for culture and fun. Old Mystic Village offers unique shopping, dining, and a glimpse into Colonial America. A maritime museum and aquarium, homes to the oldest surviving wooden sailing whale ship and New England’s only beluga whale exhibit, are just a few of the other attractions worth visiting. When hunger strikes, stop at Mystic Pizza, made famous by the 1980s movie of the same name.
The Southcoast of Massachusetts is an area of the state often overlooked as visitors and residents alike make a beeline for the bridges to Cape Cod. Don’t confuse it with the South Shore — the Southcoast is the area just the west of the Cape, situated along Buzzards Bay. Those towns, including Westport, have some of the best beaches and views. Horseneck Beach is one. A drive around town will show you rural lands populated with family farms and vineyards, such as the Westport River Winery. Buzzards Bay Brewing is another great farm-based spot for a meal and a taste of local brews.
Consider heading north to Vacationland, where Maine’s largest city is thriving. Portland’s Old Port district is now home to boutiques, craft shops and cafés, a stunning waterfront, and lighthouses. You can make this trip in a day or stay overnight and explore more of the coast between there and home. As an added incentive, Bon Appetit just named Portland the Restaurant City of the Year so road tripping to Portland would be in good taste.
New England’s only national park is in Maine. Acadia’s beauty is second to none with views of the rocky coast. It offers places to camp, hike, bike, and sightsee. It’s worth the pre-dawn wake-up call to go to the top of Cadillac Mountain for America’s earliest sunrise.
New Hampshire’s neighbor to the west can be a lot of fun to explore as well. Scenic Route 100 is renowned for its incredible fall foliage. You’ll want to make sure your digital camera or phone is charged so you can capture all the beauty of rolling hills, a river, lakes and ponds, mountain and valley vistas, and everything else that makes you think of quintessential Vermont. But it’s not just a scenic ride. Several landmarks, such as President Calvin Coolidge’s birthplace and historic site and the village of Weston, a registered historic town.
Staying focused on the Green Mountain State, try Burlington. It has been voted as one of the top small cities in the United States in terms of quality of life, technology, services and education. Situated on Lake Champlain, you can stay as busy or relaxed as you wish. Watch the sailboats on the water, take in the sights and sounds of Church Street, or bring your bike to ride the Causeway bike trail. Another delicious advantage: Ben & Jerry’s, the world’s most famous ice cream brand has its flagship store in Burlington with its headquarters just a hop, scoop, & jump away in nearby Waterbury, VT. Be sure to go for a tour of the factory and get free samples!
If you prefer a shorter road trip, there are other small towns in New Hampshire that may make for an enjoyable road trip too!
Living in southern New Hampshire gives us so many opportunities to take easy trips like these. Want tips, resources, and featured homes sent straight to your inbox? Sign up for our email newsletter.