There is so much to see in this area. It is a perfect place in which to take an epic road trip and has something to interest anyone. The beauty is diverse and easily accessible. Enjoy my guide to really experience this area.
Why visit New England?
When I was first moving to Rhode Island in New England from the west coast, some of my California friends were very confused about what New England is. It is one of my favorite parts of the United States. New England is geographic area comprising the states of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. It is in the very northeastern United States. It is quaint, rural seaside towns complete with gorgeous lighthouses, bustling metropolises and a real reason to get out into nature.
New England was originally occupied by native Americans until colonists settled here around 1600. Colonial history still abounds. It was an important player in the abolition movement and the industrial revolution.
Its geography is some of the most diverse in the United States. It has coastal grasslands, many islands and gorgeous mountainous, forested coastline.
How to Visit New England
Rent a car
Due to the distances you must cover and the relative rural nature of our northern states, really experiencing New England requires a car. Alternatively you could take a train throughout the area, but would have a hard time leaving the cities.
Where to begin
The largest New England airport is in Boston. You can also fly into any of New York Cities airports and drive into Connecticut to start your journey, which is an ideal starting point.
The New England States
If you click on any state name, it will bring you to a list of all my articles about that state.
Full of whaling history, farm towns and suburbs of NYC, it is the real life inspiration for Gilmore Girls’ Star’s Hallow.
- Fairfield County– Affluent suburbs of New York City.
- Litchfield County– Rural farmland with cute, little villages.
- Hartford– Connecticut’s capital with a hip waterfront and great hiking nearby at Talcott Mountain.
- West Hartford– One of my favorite restaurants anywhere, Restaurant Bricco, is in this shopper and diner’s paradise.
- Mystic is a historical seaport with a nice aquarium and historical reenactments.
- Connecticut’s coastline is perfect for kayaking among its grassy marshland.
This state is my favorite, maybe because it is where I live, but also because even though it is really small- just 37 by 48 miles- it has 384 miles of serpentine, rocky coastline. You can find many articles about this great state, but here are a few of my favorite places to visit. Be sure to check out A Local’s Guide to 48 Hours in Rhode Island.
- Newport– a historic summer retreat for America’s elite, this coastal town is my favorite!
- Providence– Spend an evening dining in our version of Little Italy, Federal Hill, or catching a spectacular public art exhibit, Waterfire, on our capital city’s canals.
- Block Island– an easily accessible New England island perfect for beaches, biking and boating.
- The obvious must see city, is Massachusetts’ capital of Boston. A city of immigrants and steeped in colonial history, but with a vibrant art, music and food scene.
- Salem, the site of the witchcraft trials of the 1600s and the home of Nathaniel Hawthorne, is one of the most unique of the New England towns.
- The Berkshires in Western Massachusetts are a perfect spot for camping or taking in an outdoor concert at Tanglewood.
- One of my favorite towns, Northampton, is an arty, hippy haven.
- Springfield is the home of the Basketball Hall of Fame and The Eric Carle Museum.
- Visit any of Massachusetts’s famous islands, such as Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.
- Cape Cod is a peninsula with fabulous beaches and seafood.
- The White Mountains– part of the Appalachian range, are full of waterfalls, lakes and ski mountains. It is a perfect escape for families or couples. This is one of the best places to experience a good New England autumn. Here is a list of my favorite New Hampshire hikes.
- Lincoln- one of our yearly haunts surrounded by great hiking, skiing and many family activities.
- North Conway– Full of shopping, a perfect family town oozing New England charm, and near Santa’s Village and Storyland amusement parks.
- Vermont is an outdoor lover’s paradise. We go every year to tennis camp at Sugarbush where there is also skiing.
- Ben and Jerry’s Factory– Ice cream is one of my favorite foods and it is so worth a visit to this factory tour, which includes tastings at the end.
- Maine’s western mountains are a place of supreme peace, not overly populated and full of glorious wilderness.
- Acadia National Park in Northern Maine of one of the US’ prettiest parks, with wooded forests along Maine’s long coastline. Although it is a long drive to get to, it is a must see!
When to Visit?
There are good reasons to explore New England in any of its distinct seasons.
Summer in New England
If you love the outdoors, summer will provide an opportunity to really take advantage of all the beaches, lakes and waterfalls New England has to offer. Of course, with such perfection can come crowds.
Although the waters will be too cold to enjoy, there is nowhere in the world with better autumn colors than New England, especially in the northern states.
Spring in New England
This shoulder season still has fewer crowds and a joy of spring flowers and bright green leaves.
This area feels so much like Christmas, it is an ideal place to really feel winter. Our winters are mild enough that although there is enough snow in our mountains it is warm enough to enjoy skiing or any winter sport.And, of course, enjoy a hot chocolate by the fire in our cute mountain bed and breakfasts.
This area of the US is one of the best. I hope this inspires you to plan a trip here. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or ideas of places that you think I missed.