The northeastern United States has a lot to see. From historic sites, beaches, mountains, and lakes, I’ve created a road trip that will get you a taste of everything. You’ll start in Massachusetts and head up along the coast to New Hampshire and then Maine’s seacoast. Head down through the center of Maine to enter New Hampshire again, this time in the White Mountains. Next, head west across the White Mountains to northern Vermont where you’ll then cross over into New York’s Adirondack region.
Gloucester’s history lies in the fishing industry, which will be evident when you arrive.
It is a mere 45 minutes north of Boston, and has activities like beaches, museums, boating, and historical sites.
Schooner Adventure | Take a sail on the National Historic Landmark Schooner Adventure, one of the last surviving Grand Banks dory-fishing schooners. It acts as “a floating classroom for maritime history and environmental education programs”.
Cape Ann Museum | Stop by the Cape Ann Museum and learn about the art cultural history of maritime New England.
Rockport | This seaside town is just north of Gloucester and is another must-visit seaside town on the North Shore. The iconic Motif No. 1 was painted here, and there is plenty to do like fishing, beaches, kayaking, and more.
Let Portsmouth be your stopping point to access everything the Seacoast of New Hampshire has to offer. Enjoy the buzz of a small downtown in Portsmouth and hop to nearby towns for more activities.
Jenness Beach | If you’re into surfing, Jenness beach in Rye is the place to go. It is never super crowded and there is a surf shop, Summer Sessions, right across the street where you can rent wetsuits and surfboards- or take a lesson!
Prescott Park | Prescott Park was created as a last-wish of Josie F. Prescott. She wanted the park to be accessible to all, free, and along the Portsmouth waterfront. In the summer, it is host to the performing arts with music, theater, and outdoor movie viewings.
Kayaking | There are lots of places to kayak around Portsmouth. Being at the mouth of a river, there is ample kayaking inland as well.
Strawberry Banke Museum| For the history buff, Strawberry Banke is a dream. A 10 acre property covers 300+ years of history, with historic houses and costumed role-players to bring history back to life.
The coast of Maine just screams summer. Miles of beaches, historic lighthouses, lobsters, oysters, and sailing are what the coast is all about.
Ogunquit | Ogunquit is a must-visit seaside town. With a beach stretching 3.5 miles, a bustling downtown, Perkins Cove, and Marginal Way, you won’t be at a loss of things to do. It is the perfect place for a perfectly New England summer day.
Kennebunkport | If you’re looking for fine dining, Kennebunkport is home to Earth at Hidden Pond– a thoughtful, farm-to-table restaurant that aims to connect the diner to nature’s bounty that surrounds them. Fresh produce, local seafood, and pickings from their own garden’s are created into imaginative yet approachable dishes.
Portland | Were you waiting for me to talk about oysters? New England’s coast has some of the best oysters out there, and Island Creek Oysters (Duxbury, MA) have a storefront in Portland that shucks them for a dollar fifty- a steal! Right next-door is Root Wild Kombucha, maybe the only kombuchery in New England?
Acadia National Park | The jewel of Maine’s seacoast, Acadia National Park has “27 miles of historic motor roads, 158 miles of hiking trails, and 45 miles of carriage roads” (NPS.gov). Work up a sweat on the hiking trails and then cool off in the ocean!
Cutler | Practically in Canada, Cutler is a quaint seaside town with just over 500 residents. Come here for a quiet and relaxing stay, taking in the sun and salty ocean air. Book a tour to Machias Seal Island where you can see puffins, and other sea-faring birds. If you are looking for a scenic hike, the Bold Coast Trails are a flat network of trails that you shouldn’t skip out on. Note: The trails can be very buggy during the summer!
THE WHITE MOUNTAINS
The White Mountains hold some of the best hiking in New England (maybe the best hiking?). With hikes from easy, moderate, to difficult, there is something for everyone and the views are insane on a clear day.
Mount Washington | Head back to New Hampshire and end up in the eastern part of the White Mountain National Forest. Hike, take the cog-railway, or drive-up Mount Washington- the highest peak in the northeastern United States. While you’re here, try your hand at Mount Adams, Mount Jefferson, and Mount Eisenhower.
Echo Lake | Head west towards Carroll New Hampshire, where you can swim, picnic, and kayak in Echo Lake. Cold mountain lake water and a stunning view- what else could you ask for?! If you’re feeling like a hike, there are also a number of hikes that start from here, including a hike to Cathedral Ledge.
Littleton | Littleton is a bustling mountain town with a downtown full of shops and dining, and a farmers market during the summer weekends. Stop by Schilling Beer Co. for a craft beer and bite of food, a coffee at crumb bar bakery, and some outdoor gear at Lahout’s. Oh- you can also buy some candy from the longest candy counter… in the world?
There is a lot going on in Burlington, Vermont. This lakeside city is home to the University of Vermont and boasts one of the best farmer’s markets in New England during the summer.
Church Street Marketplace | Church street is where all the action happens. This main drag is home to a plethora of shopping and dining in historic buildings of downtown Burlington.
Biking | The Burlington bike path is a paved trail that runs along the edge of Lake Champlain and through nearby neighborhoods for 8 miles. You will also find many joggers and walkers here- get out and move that body!
Farmers Market | The Burlington Farmers Market operates every Saturday in the summer, and boasts over 90 vendors. There is something for everyone, whether that be different cuisines, crafts, and services. They’re also SNAP friendly, which is awesome because it allows the farmers market to be accessible to all!
Lake Champlain | Lake Champlain is the largest lake in the Adirondack’s, and there is plenty to do during the summer on the lake! You can go swimming, on a boat tour, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and more! You can even take a boat to a waterside restaurant, they’ve got a few of them!
Hiking | The Lake Champlain Region is home to 87 trails with 200 miles of moderate hiking trails (CATS trails). If you’re looking for more difficult trails, you can find some in the Split Rock Wild Forest. If you love beer and hiking, why not give the ADK-6Pack a go.
Craft Breweries | Vermont is no stranger to craft beer. You can find 13 craft breweries near/in Burlington, with a total of 95 throughout the state. That’s a lot of beer!
Hop across Lake Champlain via ferry to New York, where you’ll head down Route 87 to get to the Catskills.
Hiking | If you come to the Catskills, you’ve got to get out and explore! Here are a list of the 13 Best Catskills Hikes, per the Catskills tourism board.
Biking | The Catskills has terrain for all levels and types of bikes. Road biking, gravel, or mountain- they’ve got it!
Agritourism | This ain’t New York City. Get your hands dirty and get to understand the history and operations behind this region. Experience the farm-life with a farm stay and bring yourself back to nature.