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16 Greatest Household Holidays in New England [For every Season]

New England has one thing particular to supply households for each season of the yr — or no less than three seasons — spring (aka mud or “stick” season) isn’t at all times as dependable. After residing in Rhode Island for over 20 years and spending my childhood vacationing in Vermont, I’ve been in a position to scope out the perfect household holidays in New England.

When our daughter was little, we loved visiting household trip spots in New England like Storyland in New Hampshire (one of many finest theme parks for toddlers) and snowboarding at Sunday River. As she grew up, we loved New England trip spots like Cape Cod and the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Whether or not you’re craving the mountain air, lake life, or coastal surroundings, New England definitely has all of it.

Whereas the area is condensed sufficient to go to all of the New England states (Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine) on one New England street journey, it’s preferrred to choose one vacation spot and settle in and revel in a extra stress-free household trip.

View from Artists Bluff in Franconia Notch in New Hampshire
Artist’s Bluff, New Hampshire

What’s the Greatest time to Go to new England?

The most effective time to go to New England actually relies on what you need to expertise. Many select to come back for the autumn foliage in late September by way of mid-October. If that’s your need, you actually need to monitor the leaf peeper predictions to go to throughout peak season. I’ve put collectively some concepts for the perfect fall New England street journeys, together with one among my favorites alongside the Kancamaugus Freeway in New Hampshire.

Winter in New England is absolutely all about snowboarding and out of doors winter sports activities like snowmobiling, Nordic snowboarding, ice skating, ice fishing, and looking. Northern New Hampshire and Maine each supply intensive ATV trails that rework into snowmobile trails within the winter.

Personally, I really like New England in the summertime. It’s a season that basically provides one thing for everybody. You’ve the Winery Vines vibe of Martha’s Winery, Nantucket, or Newport. The traditional rocky coast of Maine, the lake areas of Maine and New Hampshire, the small cities and mountain resorts of Vermont, and the historic coastal cities in Southern New England.

West Quoddy Light near Lubec Maine
West Quoddy Gentle, Maine

Attending to New England

If you’re visiting New England from the Northeast or Midatlantic states, you may make a straightforward New York to Boston or New York to Maine street journey. Nonetheless, in case you are flying into New England from one other area, you will discover probably the most choices in case you are flying into Boston (BOS). Nonetheless, you can even have a look at Windfall, RI (PVD), Hartford, CT (BDL), Manchester NH (MHT), Portland, ME (PWM), Bangor, ME (BGR), or Burlington, VT (BTV).

Except you’re planning to solely go to Boston, you’ll positively need a automobile to discover the realm. A lot of having fun with New England is in search of out charming small cities, poking out and in of the coastal crevices, and discovering off-the-beaten-path mountain hikes. Whereas there are some interstates, you’ll be higher off taking the scenic route alongside state and U.S. highways or backroads. Simply don’t be stunned for those who encounter gravel roads as you enterprise into the northern reaches of New England.

Greatest Household Holidays in New England

Observe: This publish accommodates affiliate hyperlinks. In the event you click on a hyperlink and make a purchase order, I could obtain a small fee. All opinions are my very own.

1. Manchester, Vermont

Red silk road covered bridge near Bennington Vermont
Silk Highway Lined Bridge

Manchester, Vermont is one among my favourite cities in New England, and never simply due to the superior Northshire Books bookstore. There are such a lot of issues to do in and round Manchester that it makes for an awesome residence base for exploring Southern Vermont, from the historic Bennington to the south to the artsy Brattleboro to the east.

You will see coated bridges, nation shops, maple sugar shacks, creameries, chocolatiers, designer shops, farm-to-table eating places, and every part that makes Vermont so particular. Close by you’ll be able to absorb some historical past at Hildene, as soon as the house of Robert Lincoln, the one surviving youngster of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln. Whereas historical past could sound “boring” to children, followers of Thomas the Tank will take pleasure in climbing on the Pullman prepare automobiles on the property and strolling by way of the gardens.

Talking of walks, there are many hikes to take pleasure in, together with a scenic one to Lye Brook Falls or Flatlanders Trails round Equinox Pond. In the event you would somewhat drive than stroll, take a scenic drive in the summertime on Mount Equinox Skyline Drive, the longest privately owned, paved toll street in america. It ascends 3,248 ft over 5.2 miles to the highest of Mount Equinox, with a number of vistas and picnic areas alongside the best way.

Manchester can also be residence to Orvis and you may join classes on the Orvis Fly-Fishing Faculty, the place you’ll be able to study casting, find out how to tie knots, correct fly choice, and find out how to play, land, and safely launch fish. One in every of my favourite issues to do close to Manchester is to whip down the mountain on Bromley’s Alpine slide. Bromley’s Mountain Journey Park, which is open from Memorial Day weekend by way of early October, has a triple monitor Alpine Slide, Large Swing, waterslide, scenic chairlift trip, Zip Rider zip line, and an Aerial Journey Park for the thrill-seekers. 

Really useful resort: The Equinox Resort

2. Lake Champlain, Vermont

Lake Champlain Basin Harbor Club

Basin Harbor Resort in Vergennes, Vermont is positioned on the banks of Lake Champlain and provides an ideal household trip vacation spot. This lakefront resort has welcomed households for generations and is the sort of place the place households collect, yr after yr. You may learn my full Basin Harbor evaluate, however this resort actually caters to households with kids-only actions and a beautiful atmosphere for a multi-generational household trip.

Households can lease one among 74 one, two, and three-bedroom cottages or select from one of many 45 visitor rooms. With garden video games, lakefront actions together with complimentary pedal boats and rental kayaks, paddleboards and canoes, and youngsters programming, there isn’t any want to go away the resort. Nonetheless, there’s loads to do close by for households.

Shelburne Museum is the most important artwork and historical past museum in Northern New England. The 45-acre campus is comprised of 39 buildings, 25 of that are historic, together with the Shaker design Spherical Barn, a Normal Retailer, a carousel, and the 220-foot sidewheel steamboat Ticonderoga. Guests additionally take pleasure in strolling the fantastically landscaped grounds with 22 gardens. 

The Echo Leahy Heart on the Burlington waterfront is one other nature and science museum that households will love exploring. The Vermont Teddy Bear Firm can also be solely half-hour away, in addition to many breweries and farms to go to.

Really useful resort: Basin Harbor

3. Stowe, Vermont

Cold Hollow Cider Mill in Stowe VT

Stowe is a well-liked trip spot within the winter with snowboarding (each downhill and Nordic), snowmobiling, and different winter sports activities at each Stowe and close by ultra-family-friendly Smugglers’ Notch. Nonetheless, summer time generally is a fantastic time to go to Stowe as ski mountains rework into family-friendly out of doors journey resorts. There are many sights in and round Stowe, just like the Chilly Hole Cider Mill (wonderful cider donuts together with arduous and common cider), Cabot Cheese store, and it isn’t too far to the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Manufacturing unit.

In fact, a lot of what you need to do in Stowe in the summertime is benefit from the open air — from the out of doors actions on the mountain resorts to close by waterfall hikes, mountain biking, and even llama trekking. The lovable ski city of Stowe provides an awesome selection when it comes to eating places, retailers, and close by craft breweries (I extremely suggest the meals at The Bench in Stowe.)

For extra Vermont concepts, make sure to take a look at my Vermont street journey ideas.

Really useful resort: Stoweflake Mountain Resort and Spa

4. Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire

Lake Winnipesaukee in NH

Lake Winnipesaukee, and all the lakes area in New Hampshire, is a well-liked household trip spot in the summertime. Keep in mind the 1991 comedy with Invoice Murray, What About Bob? Yup, that was Lake Winnipesaukee. The principle vibe of the New Hampshire lakes is laid again, an ideal spot for prolonged household or teams to lease a trip residence on the lake and spend days swimming, boating, and fishing. End off the day with sundowners when you watch the sundown.

In fact, close by there are cute cities like Meredith and Wolfeboro. You may go to Weirs Seashore, take a scenic boat cruise, paddleboard, kayak, water ski, trip the scenic railroad, hit the arcade, and even attempt ziplining at close by Gunstock Mountain Resort. If you’re formidable, hike up Mount Main or take the grandparents to the historic mansion at Fortress within the Clouds. You days will go by shortly on this New England household trip.

Really useful resort: this can be a good spot to attempt a trip rental on vrbo

5. North Conway, New Hampshire

albany covered bridge in New Hampshire

If you wish to be energetic on your loved ones trip, North Conway, New Hampshire is an ideal residence base for exploring and journey. There are limitless hikes within the White Mountains of New Hampshire and all types of journey together with ziplining, mountaineering, mountain curler coasters, alpine slides, tree prime journey parks, scenic drives, and prepare rides. This space is especially attractive within the autumn.

Additionally, you will discover outlet buying, together with a big L.L. Bean Outlet, nice eating places, quaint inns, and family-friendly lodges. You may even attempt glamping at close by Huttopia Resort. A few of our favourite outings embody splashing within the waterfalls at Diana’s Baths, driving the Kancamaugus Freeway or the Mt. Washington Toll Highway (though that one generally is a bit harrowing at factors), climbing by way of caves at Misplaced River Gorge, having fun with mountain resort actions at Attitash Mountain or Cranmore, and mountain climbing alongside the waterfalls at The Flume Gorge.

Really useful resort: Purple Jacket Mountain Resort (briefly closed as a result of a fireplace however set to reopen summer time 2022), Residence Inn, Huttopia

6. Maine Seashores

Pier at Old Orchard Beach, Maine
Pier at Previous Orchard Seashore, ME

In the event you depend all of the inlets and bays, Maine has over 3,000 miles of shoreline to discover. Whereas a lot of this shoreline is rocky, the Maine Seashores in southern Maine, only a quick drive from Boston, supply up broad stretches of sentimental sand which can be excellent for a household trip. Kittery is legendary for its outlet buying (and Bob’s Clam Hut), Cape Neddick is residence to probably the most well-known lighthouses on the coast at Nubble Gentle, Ogunquit provides each seashores and the charming Peggy’s Cove.

Previous Orchard Seashore provides seven miles of ocean entrance with stunning seashores. This seaside resort city is well-liked with households with younger youngsters, with every kind of sights and rides on the Pier and simply off the seaside. The Funtown Splashtown Amusement Park can also be close by, together with York’s Wild Kingdom and the Aquaboggan Water Park.

Nonetheless, one among my favourite cities within the Maine Seashore is Kennebunkport. There are stunning seashores with calm waters like Goose Rocks Seashore, a cute downtown with nice eating places and retailers, and a big selection of locations to remain from upscale mattress and breakfasts to family-friendly resorts.

Really useful resort: Nonamtum Resort

7. Millinocket or Moosehead Lake, Maine

Tamara sitting on dock of pond in Baxter State park

In the event you actually need to get away from the hustle and bustle to a quieter model of lake life, I’d suggest heading as much as the Maine Highlands. Moosehead Lake is the most important physique of water in Maine, measuring 40 miles in size. This out of doors adventureland provides so many issues to do, together with fishing, boating, mountain climbing, snowmobiling, ATVing, scenic boat rides, waterfalls, and wildlife viewing. One in every of my favourite issues to do is take an early morning wildlife safari to search for moose!

There are cabins to lease close to the lake and surrounding ponds, however for a extra distinctive expertise, e-book at keep at one of many Appalachian Mountain Membership lodges within the 100-mile wilderness. This expertise with rustic cabins and neighborhood eating on the lodge is an effective way to satisfy different households and permit the children to disconnect (there isn’t any WiFi) and revel in nature.

In the event you favor journey with extra comforts and facilities, I’d suggest a keep on the New England Outside Heart. With a mixture of cabins, premium cabins, and luxurious lodges, this resort additionally provides a restaurant and arranged actions resembling kayaks, paddleboards, and even wildlife boat safaris (and sure, we noticed moose when on one, together with beavers and every kind of different wildlife.)

Really useful lodges: Lodge at Moosehead Lake, New England Outside Heart

8. Midcoast Maine

Boothbay Harbor in the evening

I’m tempted to say the midcoast is the perfect coast on the subject of the Maine coast. It doesn’t have as many lengthy sandy seashores, however it additionally isn’t fairly as touristy and has an genuine Maine really feel, even for us Flatlanders. There are such a lot of picturesque coves to weave out and in of, with small harbors full of lobster boats and colourful buoys. The entire space feels prefer it might be on a postcard.

If you’re staying for per week, many prefer to settle into Vacationland round Harpswell or Orr’s Island. For an extended weekend, the cities of Boothbay Harbor, Rockland, and Camden all supply small city allure and a mixture of water and land actions. Boothbay is my favourite for households with youthful youngsters, as you’ll be able to take pleasure in puffin and whale watching cruises with Cap’n Fish Cruises.

One other enjoyable technique to discover this part of Maine is on a Maine Windjammer Cruise. Keep tuned for more information as I’ll be taking a four-day cruise on the Schooner Heritage this summer time!

Really useful resort: Tugboat Inn

9. Bar Harbor, Maine

Schooner in Bar Harbor

If you wish to examine off a Nationwide Park out of your Nationwide Park Passport, head as much as Bar Harbor, simply outdoors of Acadia Nationwide Park. This city can get crowded in the summertime, so plan forward and make sure to e-book reservations upfront if you wish to drive up Cadillac Mountain.

Fashionable trails can get fairly busy, particularly on the weekends, however there’s a lot to discover in Acadia from biking the carriage roads, to taking the mail boat to a number of the islands, to exploring the rocky coast. To beat the crowds, head to the Schoodic Peninsula part of the park. You can even see my publish for issues to do close to Acadia Nationwide Park and plan an off-the-beaten-path Maine street journey.

There are many locations to remain, however a novel expertise for households is a keep on the Terramor Outside Resort. They’ve a number of the finest glamping tents I’ve skilled, together with a superb lodge and on-site facilities together with a pool, neighborhood grills, star gazing periods, and extra.

Really useful resort: Terramor Outside Resort

10. Boston, Massachusetts

Boston skyline from the harbor

In the event you haven’t but taken the children to Boston, then this can be a must-do household trip vacation spot. It’s a excellent spot to go after finding out U.S. historical past. Your first cease needs to be the Boston Tea Celebration Ships and Museum, adopted by a guided stroll alongside the Freedom Path.

In fact, there’s loads of alternative for enjoyable too — from the Boston Childrens’ Museum, the Boston Museum of Science, the New England Aquarium, whale watching excursions, duck boat excursions, and behind-the-scenes excursions at Fenway Park, residence to the Boston Purple Sox.

Artwork lovers can take pleasure in a day on the Museum of Wonderful Arts, the Institute of Up to date Artwork, or the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Benefit from the avenue performers round Fanueil Corridor and the meals vehicles alongside the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Board a swan boat within the Boston Public Gardens and take an image with the Make Means for Ducklings statues. End up with nice Italian meals and cannolis from Mike’s Pastry within the North Finish.

Boston may be dear so make sure to discuss with my information for Boston on a finances. I even have ideas for day journeys from Boston, together with Gloucester and Plymouth.

Really useful resort: Residence Inn Boston Harbor, Boston Harbor Lodge

11. Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Sandbar on Mayflower Beach on Cape Cod

Is a calming seaside trip what you’re after? Then Cape Cod is the place to go in the summertime (or within the off season.) There are such a lot of stunning seashores, lighthouses, and cute cities to take pleasure in. Whereas I’ve stayed in Hyannis, Chatham, Provincetown, and Eastham, I favor the Cape Cod bay-side seaside to the Atlantic Seashores. Partially due to the common look of nice white sharks within the ocean, particularly off the coast of Chatham. On the bay aspect, you’ll be able to stroll out for what appears like miles throughout low tide and revel in tidepooling and broad seashores, then slowly watch these seashores shrink because the tide is available in.

I significantly love the realm round Brewster and Dennis, particularly Mayflower Seashore and Chapin Memorial Seashore. I’m additionally a fan of sunsets on Skaket Seashore and the seashores at Nauset Seashore and Coast Guard Seashore. For a quieter keep, e-book a trip rental in Wellfleet or Eastham. For a full of life scene, take a weekend in Provincetown.

For one thing totally different, attempt glamping in an Airstream at AutoCamp Cape Cod. Situated between Falmouth and Woods Gap, proper off the Shining Sea Bikeway, that is an simply accessible location for exploring the Higher Cape.

Really useful resort: Cape Codder Resort, Ocean’s Edge Resort, Wequassettt Resort

12. Martha’s Winery & Nantucket, Massachusetts

clay cliffs in Aquinnah

The islands of Martha’s Winery and Nantucket off the coast of Cape Cod make nice day journeys or weekend getaways, however each islands supply sufficient to warrant its personal journey. Martha’s Winery, the most important of the 2 islands, can get fairly busy round the principle vacationer cities of Oak Bluffs, Winery Haven, and the upscale Edgartown. However there are additionally locations to get away from the crowds, together with the Aquinnah Cliffs and sunsets at Menemsha Seashore.

Children love grabbing for the brass ring on the Flying Horses Carousel, visiting lighthouses, biking into city, and leaping from the Jaw’s Bridge. In fact a Martha’s Winery trip additionally included loads of seaside days, ice cream, and contemporary seafood.

Nantucket is smaller and simpler to discover by bike. You’ll take pleasure in days enjoying on the gentle sand seashores, filling up on lobster rolls and ice cream, and planning activites like a go to to the Whaling Museum, journeys to see to lighthouses, or a tour of Cisco Brewers.

Really useful lodges: Winnetu Oceanside Resort, Harbor View Lodge, White Elephant, The Wauwinet

13. Berkshires, Massachusetts

Ramblewild tree top adventure course

If you’re into the humanities and open air, the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts make for an awesome household trip vacation spot for everybody. The children will love out of doors adventures just like the mountain coaster at Jiminy Peak, the treetop journey course at Ramblewild, and mountain climbing.

In the meantime, music lovers will take pleasure in live shows and performances by the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood, the out of doors music venue. Close by there are additionally artwork museums such because the Norman Rockwell Museum and Mass MoCa, or the Berkshire Museum, which incorporates pure historical past and a little bit of every part. Households can even tour historic houses resembling Naumkeag and The Mount or get hands-on studying on the Hancock Shaker Village.

Really useful lodges: Purple Lion Inn

14. Newport, Rhode Island

Sailboat on harbor with Pell Bridge in the background

There are some enjoyable issues to do in Newport, Rhode Island within the winter, however the Traditional Coast actually shines within the summer time. It may be costly to remain for longer than an extended weekend, however you can even have a look at trip leases in Jamestown, Narragansett, or Little Compton. Because the crusing capital of the world, it would be best to bounce aboard a harbor cruise or discover a technique to get out on the water.

You can even take pleasure in buying alongside Thames Road, visiting the historic Newport Mansions, trying out the Worldwide Tennis Corridor of Fame or the Newport Auto Museum, visiting close by Newport or Sakonnet Vineyards, strolling alongside the Cliff Stroll, taking a nature stroll in Sachuest Level Nationwide Wildlife Refuge, and having fun with time on the seaside.

Really useful lodges: Lodge Viking, Newport Marriott

15. Block Island, Rhode Island

Dunes on Block Island

Searching for a quiet, laid again seaside trip? Block Island off the coast of Rhode Island might be the reply. Anticipate the quiet, gentle sand seashores much like what you may discover on Nantucket with out the astronomical price ticket. The harbor space round Ballards will nonetheless get crowded with day trippers that bike or scoot alongside the island roads, however it’s nonetheless a comparatively calm spot for a household trip.

If you’re on the lookout for issues to do, take within the view from Mohegan Bluffs and trek down the steps to the seaside under, get off-the-beaten-path at Mansion Seashore, go to Manisses Animal Farm, take a look at the island’s lighthouses, hike 32 miles of nature trails, or take a non-public boat constitution or fishing tour.

Really useful resort: Lodge Manisses

16. Mystic, Connecticut

Mystic Harbor

Mystic is a historic seaport city on the japanese coast of Connecticut that’s well-liked as a weekend getaway vacation spot. Nonetheless, for those who develop your radius to incorporate the close by space, there’s loads to do in Mystic with youngsters to make for a household trip vacation spot.

Positively begin on the Mystic Seaport, which is a residing historical past museum consisting of a village and ships that depict coastal life in New England within the nineteenth century. There are such a lot of issues to do in Mystic Seaport which you can simply spend half a day or extra exploring the varied retailers and ships, and taking in a number of the stay demonstrations. The children can even love a go to to Mystic Aquarium, residence to beluga whales, Steller sea lions, African penguins and extra. 

Close by, you’ll be able to go to the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Heart is a superb place for a household hike. The middle incorporates a small indoor exhibit of native wildlife, however provides over 10 miles of mountain climbing and strolling trails by way of fields and woodlands. It additionally isn’t too far to the Pequot Museum, Essex Steam Prepare, and the Flying Horses Carousel at Watch Hill Seashore in neighboring Rhode Island.

Really useful resort: Hyatt Place Mystic, KOA Mystic Campground

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16 Best family vacations in New England

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