Best Places in New England to Visit: a local’s guide

New England is extraordinary. Making up only about a quarter of 1.77% of the land mass of the United States, New England offers a huge number of attractions for visitors – miles of beaches to enjoy, mountains to hike and ski, rural towns (and cities!) to explore, and many, many historical areas.

I live in Massachusetts but spent many years in Connecticut and Maine. The best thing about visiting Massachusetts is how central it is to all the New England states. Flying into Boston in a day’s drive you can reach – the rocky coast of Maine, the ski towns in Vermont, the mountains of New Hampshire, the Connecticut countryside, or the 400 miles of Rhode Island shoreline. You could begin your day on the cliff walk in Newport, RI, and end it with lobster rolls in Kennebunkport, ME.

>Jump to our Favorite New England Destinations posts!

What time of year is best for visiting New England?

The weather in New England varies greatly with the seasons.

Spring is lovely, with the flowers in bloom and the weather warming up. (average April temperature 56.1°F) Maple syrup season begins in Vermont. A trip to a sugar house is worth it just to enjoy the scent of maple in the air.
Tourists visit Massachusetts in the spring for the flowers, the migration of songbirds, AND of course, the sports activities. The Boston Marathon is held in April, as is Opening Day at Fenway Park, historic home of the Boston Red Sox.

Plymouth Long Beach, a favorite for summer on the South Shore.

Summer is warm to hot (Boston’s average July temperature – 82.2°F). It’s the height of tourism in New England as it’s the time to get outside. Enjoy a day on the water whether at the beach, a sailboat, a whale watch or on one of the many islands off the New England coast. There’s great hiking in the mountains of northern New England and bike trails everywhere. And after all that activity it’s time to sample some of New England’s amazing seafood.

Fall is known for warm days and cool nights. (Boston’s average October temperature – 61.8°F) This is the time to visit for fall colors. Vermont attracts a lot of the leaf peepers and it an idyllic time to visit. But all over New England autumn is lovely – colorful foliage, apple picking, pumpkin and Halloween festivals. Fall is the best time to enjoy Cape Cod without the summer crowds.

White Mountains in New Hampshire
Photo by Tyke Jones on Unsplash

Winter in New England is … cold. (Boston’s average January temperature – 36.5°F) There are many great winter destinations in New England for those who love the outdoors. The mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire are renowned ski destinations. If you’re a beginner skier, you can try some of the easier slopes in the Berkshire hills.
And winter in New England is cozy. Take the family sledding before enjoying hot chocolate in front of the fire at a country inn. Visitors to Boston will find people skating on the Frog Pond in the Common, holiday shopping, and enjoying one of Boston’s world famous museums. Just be sure to pack cold weather essentials if you’re visiting New England in the winter

New England’s Claim to Fame – history and literature

The first European families to the New World settled in what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620. Ten years later English Puritan families founded the city of Boston. The entire New England area is filled with historical sites to explore, not only about the European settlers, but also about the original people who lived on these lands. The Wampanoag descendants have created an exhibit at Plimoth Patuxet to educate visitors on their history and way of life.

Those who enjoy living history will enjoy visiting Plimoth Patuxet in Plymouth, Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, MA, Mystic Village in Mystic, CT, as well as taking a walking tour of historic Boston.

New England’s darker history involved the witch trials in Salem, molasses floods in Boston!, and war. Visit the Minute Man Historical Park in Lexington and Concord where the first battle of the American Revolutionary War was fought.

There are 28 sites managed by the National Park System in New England that are worth a visit.

I’m a book lover and former library worker, so I’m especially proud of the literary culture of New England. We have the early American writers, Emily Dickinson, Henry David Thoreau, Louisa May Alcott, and Ralph Waldo Emerson, but we also have John Irving, Richard Russo and Stephen King! Mark Twain was born in Missouri but his home in Hartford is fascinating to visit, as is that of his next door neighbor, Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Minute man statue in Minute Man National Historic Park, Concord Massachusetts

Pack light for a summer trip to New England – What’s in My Bag – 10 piece capsule wardrobes

New England Favorites


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Looking forward to welcoming you to my little corner of the U.S.!