20 Things To Do In New England

How To Wear A Tunic Sweater
By Jess
27 Jun 2024
view of newport bridge from fort adams state park in the summer
view of the newport bridge from fort adams state park

New England is known for its charm, distinct seasons, beauty and diverse landscapes from mountains and forests to oceans and coastlines. There’s so much to do on the East Coast, whether you are visiting coastal towns, National Parks or historical sites in New England. Whether you’re looking for a family friendly vacation, girls weekend or romantic getaway, New England has something to offer every type of traveler.

New England is comprised of 5 states: Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Each one has unique landscapes, attractions and history. Wherever you’re traveling in the region, we’ve rounded up some of the best things to do in New England, in every state!

You might also like 10 Places to Visit in New England this Summer and Romantic Getaways in New England.

Best Things To Do In New England

Maine

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park is a 47,000 acre recreation area along the Atlantic coast on Maine’s Mount Desert Island. The park is renowned for its diverse landscape from rocky beaches to woodlands and granite mountain peaks. Enjoy biking, hiking, kayaking or mountain climbing throughout the park.

portland head light & Fort Williams Park

Portland Head Light and Fort Williams Park is a historic lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth. This iconic landmark is a fun place to explore the history in the lighthouse museum. Fort Williams is an adjacent 90-acre park with opportunities for picnics, hiking, biking and gorgeous ocean views. Located just outside of Portland, Maine, the lighthouse and park are beautiful places to enjoy the serenity and history of the area.

fort foster kittery maine beach | Things To Do In New England
a beach at fort foster in kittery maine

try maine Lobster

You can’t come to New England without experiencing some deliciously rich, fresh lobster and Maine is arguably the best place to eat it. Maine lobster is famously known for being extra yummy. Try Eventide in Portland for the best lobster rolls and fresh oysters.

explore fort foster in kittery

Fort Foster, located in Kittery, Maine, is a popular and fun place to visit, especially in the summer. Originally built in the early 19th century to protect Portsmouth Harbor, it served various strategic roles during its operational history. Today, Fort Foster is a popular recreational area, offering stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and the nearby Isles of Shoals.

The park features walking trails, picnic areas, and a variety of sandy and rocky beaches. It’s a very family friendly destination that also allows dogs on leash. Pack a cooler with snacks and beverages and make a day of exploring this awesome spot in Maine.

New Hampshire

Conway scenic railroad

The Conway Scenic Railroad runs through Mount Washington Valley and Crawford Notch in North Conway, New Hampshire. These heritage rain excursions and scenic train rides are the best way to see the sights with 360 degree panoramic viewing. Enjoy the beauty of the area while feeling as though you have stepped back in time!

Kancamagus Scenic Byway

The Kancamagus Highway is a 34.5 miles long scenic byway, rising almost 3,000 ft. in elevation. Most well known for the spectacular fall foliage but is truly beautiful any time of year. The Kancamagus passes through the White Mountain National Forest. Find yourself truly immersed in nature as you travel without the comforts and distractions of modern day times (gas stations, restaurants, shops, etc).

kancamangus highway fall foliage new hampshire
The kancamangus highway in new hampshire in the fall

Rhode Island

walk the Cliff Walk

If you’re looking for coastal towns in New England, Rhode Island is your spot! The Cliff Walk in Newport, Rhode Island is a 3.5 mile scenic path along the coast with gorgeous ocean views, rocky beaches and historic mansions.

Gilded Age Mansions

The Newport Mansions are a must see when in Newport, RI. Transport back in time, as you explore the beautifully decorated Newport Mansions. Learn the rich history of the area and the families that took a vital role in building Newport up to what it is today.

cliff walk in newport ri
the cliff walk in newport, ri

Newport Jazz Festival

Newport Jazz Festival is an annual multi-day jazz music festival held on Newport’s waterfront at Fort Adams State Park. Thousands of music fans flock to Newport each summer for this event observing from both land and water. The festival gets excellent headliners each year and fans are treated to a wonderful long-weekend of music. Bringing your kids along to Newport? See 15 Things to Do In Newport RI with Kids.

Newport Folk Festival

Newport Folk Festival is another famous Newport, RI annual music show. The Folk Festival began in 1959 as the counterpart to the Jazz Festival. The lineup of musicians is always exciting and keeps fans coming back each and every summer. If you’re looking for more recommendations in Newport see 20 of the Best Things to Do In Newport, RI This Summer.

Roger Williams Park

Roger Williams Park is a 427-acre park in the city of Providence with 7 lakes, roads, bridges, and sidewalks for walking, biking and exploring. The park also includes the Roger Williams Zoo, Museum, Botanical Center, several gardens, boathouse, carousel and more. It’s particularly lovely in the spring, summer, and fall.

roger williams park during the fall | Things To Do In New England
roger williams park in the fall

Vermont

try vermont Maple Syrup

Vermont is famous for its excellent maple syrup. The climate, abundance of sugar maple trees and the long tradition for maple sugar production make Vermont one of the best places to learn and see it action. Visit Vermont to experience maple sugaring from mid-February to late March. Check out Bourdon Maple Farm in Woodstock, Vermont. After your maple excursion grab a bite to eat in Woodstock.

go leaf peeping

For those wanting to experience the stunning, vibrancy of fall foliage, there is no better place than Vermont. Beginning in late September through mid-October, the trees begin to change to beautiful hues of red, orange, yellow and gold. Take a hike, scenic drive or walk amongst Vermont’s small charming towns and enjoy the gorgeous displays of color.

explore Covered bridges

Explore the Green Mountains of Vermont by taking a tour of Vermont’s historic covered bridges. With over 100 covered bridges today, Vermont has more than any other state.

visit Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park

The Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park in Woodstock, Vermont is a beautifully preserved park to enjoy the outdoors. Enjoy hiking and biking the extensive trails during the summer, explore the museum and mansion and xcountry ski or snowshoe during the winter. There are a variety of programs and events put on throughout the year. Check the website to see what’s on while you’re in town.

woodstock vermont covered bridge during fall foliage
woodstock vermont middle covered bridge during fall foliage

Massachusetts

go to a Baseball Game at FenWay Park

Head to Fenway for a historic American pastime– baseball! Catch a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. It’s an experience of a lifetime with everything from the cheering and patriotic crowd to the crackerjacks and beer.

walk the Freedom Trail

Boston is rich with history and what better way to soak it up than the Freedom Trail. Go back in time through the 2.5 mile long trail with 17 historical locations. Make your way from the Boston Common to the Old North Church and the Bunker Hill Monument.

Boston Children’s Museum

The second oldest children’s museum in the United States, Boston Children’s Museum is a family favorite for everything from award wining exhibits and programming to STEAM learning and discovery. Make all your children’s dinosaur, bubble, space dreams come true!

New England Aquarium

The New England Aquarium is a favorite for every age. With a wide variety of marine life including– seals, sea lions, giant pacific octopuses, sting rays, penguins and more it is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about our oceans and how to protect them.

Salem Witch Museum

Salem is rich with history, most famous for the 1962 witch trails. The Salem Witch Museum is a fascinating tribute to this dark part of American history with life-size stage sets, exhibits & tours exploring the 1962 Salem witch trials and more about witchcraft today.

Connecticut

visit Mystic Seaport Musuem & Mystic Aquarium

Experience the wonders of Mystic Connecticut’s rich history and marine life at Mystic Seaport Museum & Mystic Aquarium. Family friendly destinations that will keep you entertained all day long!

Tour Historic Homes

Visit historic homes like the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford or the Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington to delve into Connecticut’s literary and cultural heritage.

a harbor tour in mystic seaport | Things To Do In New England
a harbor tour in mystic seaport

New England is a spectacular place to visit any the time of year. There is always something to see and do whether you enjoy perusing museums, exploring the outdoors or eating fresh seafood.

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