There is nothing better than summer in New England. The dark, frigid winters transform into long, warm, sunny days. The leaves, grass and gardens re-emerge bright green, colorful and aromatic. Weather in New England during the summer is such a treat and feels like a reward after a long hard winter.
New England summers are known for their range in beautiful beaches from rocky shores in Maine to pristine white sand beaches in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. When you think New England summer, maybe you think lobster rolls, bicycles with baskets cruising through small quaint towns, BBQ and cocktails in the backyard, fragrant peonies and hydrangeas in bloom, sun kissed skin and salty air. When considering a New England summer getaway it can be hard to choose. There are so many options and each place has it’s own special charm and appeal. Whether you are a thrill-seeker looking for an outdoor adventure, planning a romantic getaway with pampering, or a family vacation hoping to keep little one’s entertained and content, we’ve got a little bit of something for everyone with 10 of the best places to visit during summer in New England.
Let us know where you love to go in New England during the summer months in the comments!
10 Places to Visit in New England During Summer
Woodstock in the summer is my absolute favorite. The temperatures are gorgeous, in the 70s and 80s, the sun is shining and there are so many options no matter what type of adventure you seek. The beautiful, quaint village of Woodstock has lovely choices for dining and shopping. Check out our favorite shops, Woody’s and F.H. Gillingham and Sons. Take a stroll to get coffee at Abracadabra, eat breakfast at Mon Vert, lunch at the Village Butcher, ice cream at Woodstock Scoops and dinner at Mangalitsa. Swim down by the Ottaquechee River at one of the sandy access points (ask a local for help finding the secret spots) or venture to the Kedron Pond in South Woodstock or Silver Lake in Barnard.
Hike Mt. Tom or mountain bike Mt. Peg and pack a picnic for the top. Enjoy outdoor music concerts at Artistree, East End Park or Feast and Field in Barnard. Look out for The Woodstock Guide for more insider scoop coming this June! Check out 15 Things to Do in Manchester, VT This Summer for a fun day trip from Woodstock or another Vermont getaway.
Newport, Rhode Island
Newport is the perfect summer getaway with all things sand, sea, shopping and dining. Spend the day at Third Beach or walk along the Cliff Walk and enjoy beautiful views of the ocean and Gilded Age mansions. Grab breakfast at Belle’s Cafe with views of Newport harbor and don’t miss drinks on the lawn at Castle Hill. If you’re looking to shop check out The Little Chateau and Kristen Coates. Check out Jess’s comprehensive Newport Guide for more on where to stay, what to eat, drink and do during your trip. Jess also recently wrote, 15 of the Best Things to Do in Newport, RI this Summer and What To Do With Kids in Newport, RI. Narragansett and Block Island are other fun day trips and weekend getaways in Rhode Island.
Last summer, we had our first family vacation with our 8 week old baby in Ogunquit, Maine. It was such a lovely getaway. Maine during the summer is like the perfect combination of Vermont adventure and Rhode Island ocean. Ogunquit is a touristy town, but very charming and has wonderful options for shopping and dining. The beach is gorgeous white sand and has a beautiful inlet that is great for little ones to play and also protects you on those windy days. We had dinner outside on the street at The Front Porch, a charming little piano bar and enjoyed the music and people watching. Ice cream at Sweet Pea’s is a must!
Acadia National Park- Bar Harbor, Maine
Acadia National Park is one of the most beautiful places and full of choose your adventure options. You can camp, hike, bike, canoe, kayak, stand up paddle board and so much more! We rented bikes and took a shuttle to the park from Bar Harbor. The paths are pristine and the scenery is gorgeous. This is a trip that could be both family friendly or more challenging for adult groups. Be sure to book your stay early because this is a popular destination! Other fun Maine destinations include Portland (for the city seekers) and Kennebunkport for a more small town, family beach vacation vibe.
Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire
I grew up going to Lake Winnipesaukee in the summer and it brings back such warm, lovely, nostalgic childhood feels. I can still hear the peaceful sound of the loons early in the morning. We used to go with a few families from our town and rent houses next to each other along the lake. It was so fun having friends my age to play with and the adults were happy not to have to entertain us and from what I remember had a blast themselves! Lake Winnipesaukee, or “The Smile of the Great Spirit” is the largest lake in New Hampshire overlooking the White Mountain range.
The lake is surrounded by many diverse towns each with their own fun niche and spirit. Weirs Beach is known for it’s boardwalk, arcades, waterslide, activity center and public beach- basically it is heaven for kids. Meredith is an old mill village with an array of antique galleries. Wolfeboro is a quaint town with a historic Main Street. Fireworks, concerts and other events are sprinkled throughout the summer adding to Winnipesaukee’s fun and charm. Swimming, biking, fishing and boating are all accessible during your vacation at Lake Winnipesaukee!
I recently went to Chatham for the second time for a girls bachelorette weekend. The first time I went was a family vacation. Chatham is such a beautiful ocean town and has so much to offer for family, friend and couple getaways. The Chatham Bars Inn is a gorgeous inn overlooking Chatham Bars and is a great option for your stay or stop in for a drink or meal and enjoy the outdoor seating on the beach with yard games and a bonfire. The shopping in downtown Chatham is perfect for souvineers and clothes as well as dining. Our dinner at Bluefins Sushi & Sake Bar was delicious and we had fun dancing and drinking at The Chatham Squire afterwards.
Our favorite shop was The Fisherman’s Daughter. During my first trip to Chatham we did a fishing day trip with Chatham Fishing Charters. It was so fun and we all had an exciting reel in and big catch to celebrate! Beware: if you get seasick like me, all the dramamine in the world will not prevent you from getting sick in the deep seas off Chatham.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
On our way back from Ogunquit last summer we stopped in Portsmouth for a few hours and it was not nearly enough time! Portsmouth is a fun destination because city meets beach and you get the best of both worlds. We checked out some of the shops in downtown and had lunch at the Portsmouth Brewery. We hit up one of the local beaches and enjoyed a quick dip in the chilly water, which was so refreshing on a 95 degree day. A few close beach options include: Long Sands Beach, Great Island Common, Hampton Beach, Wallis Sands State Beach and Jenness State Beach. When we go back we want to check out Portsmouth Farmers Market, Market Square, Strawberry Banke Museum, Moffatt-Ladd House & Garden and who doesn’t love a good ghost and trolley tour.
Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
My sister travelled to Martha’s Vineyard last summer with her husband and 2-year-old and it was a perfect getaway for their family. They absolutely adored Edgartown. Edgartown Books is a sweet little bookshop. Behind the Bookstore, literally located behind Edgartown Books, is a true gem serving al fresco dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner. My sister recommended the yummy breakfast, delicious coffee and even mentioned an iced coffee, soft serve float option which is always our favorite. Their website also mentions spicy cocktails and dinner under the stars. Sold! Morning Glory Farm was another favorite spot and Bad Martha for outdoor seating, live music, yummy snacks and pizza. The swimming was especially perfect for a toddler with quiet beaches protected from the usual rough waters.
The Berkshires, Massachusetts
Located in Western Mass., the Berkshires has been on my travel bucket list for a while now! There is so much to do for a fun-filled adventurous vacation including hiking and biking in the mountains, an excellent foodie scene, shopping, concerts, museums and historic gardens. Check out all the fun things to do and plan your next trip to the Berkshires here! Here are a few bucket list items for the Berkshires: Tanglewood Concerts, Monument Mountain and Hancock Shaker Village. The Berkshires is known for having an amazing farm to table food scene. Check out some recommendations here!
White Mountains, New Hampshire
A trip to the White Mountains in New Hampshire is the perfect getaway for outdoor enthusiasts. Take a Zip Line Tour, experience Flume Gorge, hike Falling Waters Trail, ride the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway, have a drink or stay at Mount Washington Hotel, climb Mount Washington or ride the Cog Railway or Auto Road and bike Franconia Notch. Adventure awaits you at every turn in the White Mountains!
Are you vacationing in New England this summer? Let us know your favorite New England getaways in the comments.
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