I truly believe that New England is one of the most beautiful places in the entire world, and this list will show you exactly why! Spanning across 6 states, this region has so much to offer, and includes everything from wonderful coastal towns with dramatic ocean views, some of the best seafood of all time, gorgeous mountain views, amazing cities, quaint villages with covered bridges, world-class fall foliage and tons of history.
It’s almost overwhelming to decide what to see and do, so I’ve created a bucket list that will help you narrow down the absolute best things to do in New England. With that, let’s get into it!
Did you just book an epic trip to New England and are looking for things to do?
🚙 You will probably need to rent a car!
Click here to check out the best prices on Discover Cars!
Best Things To Do In New England
Since New England is very seasonal, I’ve broken every suggestion down into categories based on the best time of year to experience that activity or destination. While most everything in this region is enjoyable year-round, there are definitely some things on my this list that are most exciting in specific seasons.
But first, here’s the ultimate list of things to do in New England that are honestly great year-round, and can definitely be done in any season.
1. Walk The Freedom Trail In Boston
Some of the most important moments in U.S. history have direct ties to locations on Boston’s Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile path that runs through the city, connecting 16 historical places, buildings, churches and burial grounds.
You can easily walk the whole trail on your own, or take a guided tour with an expert to learn more about the stories behind each location. Along the path, you’ll be able to see the building where a book publisher produced The Scarlet Letter, see where the Boston Tea Party began and pass by the site of The Boston Massacre.
Fall in Boston is especially wonderful, and my favorite season to visit the city. Because of the more mild weather, this is also a great time to walk the Freedom Trail, or take an awesome guided tour.
2. Tour The Gilded Age Mansions In Newport
Once called “cottages” (if you can believe it!), these mansions are some of the most impressive estates you’ll find in all of New England, and perfectly encapsulate the history and extravagance of the Gilded Age.
There are several mansions you can tour throughout Newport, but the most popular are the Vanderbilt-owned Breakers and Marble House mansions. Once you arrive, it’s impossible to not be impressed by these stunning works of architecture.
A really great way to see the entire city of Newport, as well as The Breakers mansion, is to book a tour. This tour takes takes you to quite a few mansions in Newport, and includes a drive along Ocean Drive, one of the most scenic waterfront roads in the entire city, and also includes admission inside The Breakers mansion, the best of them all to tour.
Other posts on Newport you may find helpful:
3. Tour The Covered Bridges
One of the most iconic symbols in all of New England are the historic and charming covered bridges, and the best way to see some of them is by planning a road trip, which will take you to some beautiful parts of the countryside.
Vermont happens to be home to over 100 covered bridges, which is the most per square foot of any state in the entire U.S., making it one of the best places to plan a covered bridges tour. Click the link below for my itinerary! New Hampshire and Connecticut are also great places to plan a covered bridges road trip.
4. Grab A Drink Or Dine At America’s Oldest Tavern In Newport
Yes, New England is home to the country’s oldest tavern, and you can still grab a drink at the bar and have a really nice meal there! The White Horse Tavern can be found in Newport, RI, which is an amazing coastal city to visit, and also where the Gilded Age mansions mentioned above are located.
Also known as the oldest operating restaurant in the U.S., this tavern has been serving guests since 1673. When you walk up to the red, clapboard-style Colonial building, you’ll instantly feel the history. And when you step inside, you’ll be greeted with a warm and cozy dining room that serves up incredible food and a very special experience.
5. Get Italian Food In Boston’s North End
If you’re looking to get some amazing Italian food, then a visit to Boston’s North End is something that should definitely be on your New England bucket list.
Starting in the 1860s, Italians began immigrating to this neighborhood in Boston, and by the 1920s, it was 90 percent Italian. Currently, some of the best Italian restaurants in New England can be found here. In addition to that, the North End area is incredibly charming and historic, and is worth a stroll through to appreciate the city’s history. Below is a list of the best Italian restaurants in the North End to check out:
- Mamma Maria
- Arya Trattoria
6. Stay At A Cozy, Historic New England Inn
New England is known for its very cozy inns, and you can pretty much find them all over. Many of them are actually some of the oldest inns in the entire country, and date back to the Civil War era. These historic buildings will be dripping with history and charm, and many of them will have beautiful fireplaces in their common spaces and guest rooms. And of course, they’ll make for an incredibly beautiful and homey getaway year-round.
Lots of inns also have amazing chefs on staff at their restaurants, and will often serve the most wonderful food during your stay (especially breakfasts).
7. Shop At The L.L. Bean Flagship Campus In Freeport
It doesn’t sound like something that’s one of the top things to do in New England, but honestly, this store is awesome. And it’s much more than an entire store – it’s truly a campus.
I’ve been a fan of L.L. Bean products for years, and continue to shop from them for everything including bedding, flannel shirts, footwear, sweaters and pajamas. Their flagship campus is enormous, and has everything that’s featured on their website, and more.
They have an entire housewares store that will make you want to buy a vacation home in Maine, and their clothing section is really fun to browse. And don’t forget to snap a photo with the giant Boot at the entrance!
8. Take A Lighthouse Driving Tour
There are about 200 lighthouses in New England, and each of them provides amazing views of the coastline, history and make for awesome photos. If you’re a fan of lighthouses, one of the best things to do in the region is plan a coastal road trip that packs in as many of them as possible!
Each lighthouse in New England is distinct in its own way, and so many of them are absolutely worth visiting. Maine is home to the most lighthouses of all the New England states, with Massachusetts being a close runner-up. Be sure to click the links below for my posts on lighthouse road trips and tours in Maine and Massachusetts!
Here are some posts you may find helpful while hunting for lighthouses in New England:
- The Most Incredible New England Lighthouses To See
- The Best Lighthouse Driving Tour & Road Trip Through Maine
- Best Cape Cod Lighthouses To Visit
- How To See All 3 Nantucket Lighthouses
9. Explore The Mystic Seaport Museum
The Mystic Seaport Museum is one of the top attractions in Connecticut, and I was actually blown away by how much I loved my visit there.
So many of the exhibits are interactive, and because the entire outdoor portion of the museum is expansive and built to be an authentic maritimes New England village, it was completely immersive and so much fun. During your visit, you’re able to climb aboard three tall ships, one of which is the last wooden whaling ship left in the entire world.
10. Shop At The Stonewall Kitchen Flagship Store In York, ME
This list isn’t completely without a trip to the Stonewall Kitchen flagship store! It started as a modest business out of a cottage selling jams, jellies and other products at a New Hampshire farmer’s market. Now, it’s one of the most recognizable New England speciality food brands that sells everything from the jams that started it all, to baking mixes, hand soaps, seasonings, and so much more.
The Stonewall Kitchen flagship store in York, ME is most definitely worth visiting, and there, you’ll find them well-stocked with everything the brand makes, including some nice gifts and a restaurant/cafe that serves really, really good food (I especially love their lobster roll and baked goods).
11. Adventure Through The White Mountains
Your New England bucket list isn’t complete until you’ve had an adventure through the White Mountains region of New Hampshire. Home to quaint towns, covered bridges, incredible hiking opportunities and vast mountain views, this is a great year-round destination that offers scenic walks in the spring and summer, amazing foliage in the fall and lots of skiing and snow activities in the winter.
During you time here, you’ll want to check out Flume Gorge, the Artist Bluff trail, Crawford and Franconia Notch State Parks, Polly’s Pancake Parlor, and all the cute little towns!
Here are some posts you may find helpful while planning a trip to the White Mountains:
- Best Things To Do In Littleton, NH
- Best Things To Do In Franconia, NH
- Best Things To Do In Lincoln, NH
12. Visit Orchard House, Louisa May Alcott’s Home
Originally built in the 1650s, this home is not only one of the oldest houses in New England, it’s also the home of legendary and celebrated author Louisa May Alcott. This is also the home she was living in when she wrote Little Women, and also where she set the book. So, if this book is one of your favorities, this is a must-see when visiting New England!
During your visit to Orchard House, you’ll also learn a lot more about the Alcott family during your visit, who were truly fascinating and inspiring people.
13. Bike Around Lake Champlain In Burlington, VT
One of the best things to do in Vermont, and the entire region, is to bike along the 8 miles of scenic pathway on the Burlington Greenway.
This path takes you along Lake Champlain to offer wonderful views during your ride, and since the path is paved, and also has separate lanes for walkers, it’s very relaxing. There’s even an option to take the Local Motion bike ferry to the Champlain Islands to continue your journey.
14. Tour The Ben & Jerry’s Factory
One of the most fun and touristy things to do in New England that’s also very much worth your time is the Ben & Jerry’s Factory in Waterbury, VT.
Not only will you get an inside look into the ice cream factory, as well as learn about how it all started with Ben & Jerry, you’ll get to sample one of the flavors during your tour, and also walk around the Flavor Graveyard. At the Flavor Graveyard, you’ll find tombstones for all the discontinued flavors, which is a really fun walk down memory lane.
15. Visit The Local Breweries
If you’re a fan of locally-crafted brews, then adding a brewery road trip or tour to your New England itinerary is a must (but please drive responsively!). So many incredible breweries have come out of this region, and honestly, many of them are some of my all-time favorites, including Treehouse Brewing Company, Bissell Brothers, Fiddlehead Brewing Company and Tilted Barn Brewery.
If you’re looking to come to New England just for the brews, a great place to base yourself is Portland, Maine. There are so many awesome breweries there, and you’ll also find yourself with no shortage of amazing food.
Portland, Maine is one of the best places in New England for breweries!
Click here to check out my Portland, Maine breweries guide!
16. See A Glass-Blowing Demonstration At Simon Pearce
In Quechee, VT, you’ll find the flagship Simon Pearce store, and even if glass decor isn’t your thing, you should definitely make a stop at the store to see a glass-blowing demonstration.
The best part? It’s completely free. You’ll walk away with a whole new appreciation for the skill and craft it takes just to create one glassware piece, and it’s honestly such a cool thing to witness in person. The glass blowers will even answer any questions you have while you watch them work!
Bonus Option: After your visit, you can book a lunch or dinner at the on-site restaurant, The Mill, which overlooks the waterfall and covered bridge. Travel & Leisure even named this one of the country’s most romantic restaurants!
17. Visit A Quaint Country Or General Store
There are so many charming little country and general stores in New England, and this is one of the best things to experience when you visit the region. I love these stores because you never know what you’ll find, and it’s always a unique experience popping into one.
Some of my favorites include Stowe Mercantile in Stowe, VT, Brewster General Store in Brewster, MA, and Zeb’s General Store in North Conway, NH. But honestly, pretty much any general or country store I’ve been in throughout New England has been a treat to visit.
18. Try To Spot A Moose
Maine is regarded as one of the best places in the entire U.S. to see moose, so if seeing these beautiful creatures is on your New England bucket list, you’ll want to head to the Pine Tree State!
Because Maine is home to the largest population of moose in the entire country, chances are good that you’ll have a sighting if you plan your visit accordingly. May through July, as well as the fall season, are the best times to spot them, and you’ll want to keep an eye out around dawn and dusk, when they tend to be most active.
The best chances of spotting moose are in the highlands, so you’ll want to head inland. Baxter State Park and Moosehead Lake are two of the best places to see them. And since both these locations are absolutely beautiful and worth a visit on their own, it’s a win-win.
19. Attend A Providence Waterfire Event
One of the most unique things to do in New England is a WaterFire event in Providence. What began in 1994 as a modest art installation has turned into one of the most exciting things to see in the region, and has continued ever since.
Along the Woonasquatucket River in Providence’s Waterplace Park, about 50 brazers are lit while music plays from sunset to midnight, and on a nice summer evening, it can draw crowds up to 50,000 people. And it’s no wonder that so many people come to visit, as the installation was meant to symbolize inclusivity and the importance of community.
20. Visit Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home
Located in Manchester, VT, one of the best New England attractions is Hildene, which was the Lincoln family home. Now an estate that’s open to the public for tours and general admission, it’s home to insanely beautiful gardens and sweeping Vermont mountain views. It also has miles of nature trails to explore that are open year-round, and during the holiday season, the home is decked out in Victorian decor, just as it would have been when the Lincoln family lived there.
21. See Some Of The Oldest Houses In The U.S.
All over New England, you’ll find historic homes that are some of the oldest in the entire country, which is no surprise since this region is where the Mayflower landed in 1620.
Every state’s historic homes will all feature plaques with the year the house was built, and well as include the original owner’s name and occupation. One of the most fun things to do in any town you visit is to try and find the oldest house, and imagine what it must have been like to live there during that time.
22. Take In A Show In A Historic Theater
For theater lovers, one of the best things to do in New England is enjoy a show at any of the historic or prominent theaters throughout this region. The Boston Opera House is truly stunning, and home to the Boston Ballet, as well as many broadway shows. The Providence Performing Arts Center was built in 1928 and always has an exciting rotation of shows and musicals.
The Ogunquit Playhouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and has been putting on productions since 1933. The Boothbay Opera House has been standing since 1894, and is still a well-regarded destination for live performances.
New England Fall Bucket List
Let’s face it, fall just might be one of the best seasons to experience New England, and is well-regarded around the world as one of the best places to see fall foliage. Between the fall color, country farm stands, amazing apple orchards and enough cider donuts to go around, this is the season you probably don’t want to miss out on. Below is my list of all the must-do things in New England during foliage season.
23. Experience Salem, MA In October
Salem is world-famous for its Halloween celebrations, and a visit during the month of October should definitely be on your things to do in New England list.
Not only can you find a few filming locations from the beloved movie Hocus Pocus throughout town, Salem is also packed with incredible history that’s especially exciting to hear about during Halloween, as much of it deals with the Salem Witch Trials. There are also so many amazing ghost tours you can take in Salem, which just adds to the fun your visit in October.
24. Get Cider And Donuts At Cold Hollow Cider Mill In Vermont
One of my favorite things to do in New England is visit Cold Hollow Cider Mill in Waterbury, VT, where you can get freshly-made cider donuts, different kinds of cider drinks, and load up your basket with all kinds of Vermont-themed goodies to bring home with you (and if that doesn’t scream fall New England bucket list, I’m not sure what does).
25. Hike The Artist Bluff Trail In New Hampshire
One of the best things to do in New England for foliage views is the Artist Bluff trail in the White Mountains region of New Hampshire, and this should definitely be on your fall New England bucket list to do someday, if you haven’t already.
This trail is only 1.5 miles long, and provides incredible views of the colorful foliage across sweeping mountain vistas, as well as a bird’s eye view of Echo Lake.
26. Take A Fall Foliage Drive Or Road Trip
One of the best things to add to your New England fall bucket list is a scenic drive to admire the foliage. While you can definitely find scenic drives all over, some of the best ones to consider are:
- Kancamagus Scenic Byway – NH
- Lake Winnipesaukee Loop – NH
- Route 100 – VT
- Park Loop Road – Acadia National Park, ME
- Jacob’s Ladder Scenic Byway – MA
- FarmCoast – RI
- New Milford, Kent and Mount Tom State Park Loop – CT
27. Find Your Way Through The Great Vermont Corn Maze
The largest corn maze in this entire region should also be on your radar when you’re planning your fall New England trip.
In Danville, VT, you can visit the Great Vermont Corn Maze, which spans over 23 acres and takes on average about 3 hours to complete. It’s worth a visit just to say you made it through!
28. Stay In A Cozy Cabin
There are so many amazing places all around New England that really make for the most perfect cozy cabin stay, but my favorites are The Berkshires and the White Mountains in New Hampshire.
One of the best things to do in New England in the fall is book a stay in a cabin in one of these areas, and enjoy a weekend of a slower lifestyle while admiring the fall foliage. Build a fire outside in the fire pit, go on a fall foliage hike and cuddle up inside with a movie. This really makes for one of the best getaways you can take in New England.
29. Go On A Ghost Tour
Because this region’s history dates back to the 1620s, there’s no shortage of ghost stories and tales of hauntings to go around. A lot of towns all over New England host ghost tours led by historians and paranormal experts, and are sure to give you at least a few chills.
Here’s a list of some of the best ghost tours in New England:
- Haunted Boston Ghost & Pub Walking Tour
- Boston Ghosts & Gravestones Night Trolley Tour
- Haunted Boat Tour in Providence
30. Take A Gondola Ride To A Mountain Summit
Between the mountain peaks of New Hampshire and Vermont, there are some really awesome gondola rides to take to experience some of the most incredible views in New England. Some of the best to experience are the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway, The White Mountain Express Gondola and the SkyRide Gondola.
31. Explore Shelburne Farms
Shelburne Farms is one of my all-time favorite places to visit in the region, and it’s especially beautiful in the fall season.
While you can technically visit in the spring and summer as well, I personally think it’s perfect during foliage season. Once owned by the Vanderbilt’s, this farmstead spans over 1300 acres, and has 10 miles of scenic walking and hiking trails offering views of Lake Champlain, vast meadows filled with sheep, and the Adirondacks. The fall foliage here is really also really stunning.
There are actually so many things to do in the fall season that I made an entire post about them.
Click here to check out even more amazing fall activities in New England!
Best Things To Do In New England In The Summer
New England may have gotten a reputation for being one of the country’s top fall destinations, but it’s equally as amazing in the summer season. With endless coastline to enjoy, lots of stunning beaches and opportunities for sailing and boating tours, it truly comes alive in an exciting way during this time of the year. Here are my suggestions of all the best things to add to your New England summer bucket list.
32. Acadia National Park
I debated putting Acadia National Park in the fall section because, honestly, that’s my personal favorite time of the year to visit due to the gorgeous foliage and chillier weather (making hikes a bit more enjoyable). However, the most popular season to visit is definitely summer, and there’s a good reason for that.
Longer days means squeezing in even more incredible hikes and views, and the weather is always the nicest in July and August.
One of the bucket list things to do in Acadia is to see a sunrise from the top of Cadillac Mountain, so be sure to add that to your list when visit!
Some posts you may find helpful when planning a trip to Acadia National Park:
33. The Cape Cod National Seashore
One of my personal all-time favorites, and in my opinion, no New England summer bucket is is complete without a visit to the Cape Cod National Seashore.
With over 40 miles of some of the most stunning coastline and beaches in Massachusetts (and honestly, this entire region), it’s one of the best things to see on any trip to the Cape. This is where you’ll find those big sand dunes, pristine beaches and likely even spot seals swimming by in the water.
34. Whale Watch Tour
Cape Cod is widely regarded as one of the top places for whale watching in the U.S., so even if you’ve done a whale watch before, it’s worth booking a tour while visiting the Cape.
My personal favorite tour is with Dolphin Fleet, which departs from MacMillan Pier in Provincetown. Tours are guided and narrated by a naturalist with expert knowledge and experience with these amazing creatures, and you’re likely to see humpbacks, minkes and sometimes even dolphins. I’ve been out with them twice, and have had amazing tour guides and experiences both times.
35. Drive Or Ride The Cog To The Tallest Peak In New England
Taking in the views from the highest mountain summit in New England is truly a memorable experience!
Mount Washington can be found in the White Mountains region of New Hampshire, and there are two ways to get up there. Well, three ways if you count hiking!
But for those who want an easy way up, you can either drive (or take a tour in a van), or ride The Cog, which is the world’s first mountain railway. I personally prefer The Cog because it’s such a unique and fun experience.
If you choose to drive, it’s important to note that it can be stressful. Most people recommend booking a tour to drive you to the top if you don’t want to book a ride on The Cog.
Whichever option you choose, it’ll be more than worth it!
36. See The Most Painted Building In The Country
Rockport is one of my favorite coastal towns in the region, and it should most definitely be on your radar when visiting in the summer (or spring, fall and winter for that matter!).
One of the most charming places to visit in this lovely little town is Bearskin Neck, a shopping destination with tons of independently-owned boutiques and eateries, and is packed with character. Right off Bearskin Neck, you’ll find Motif 1, a red fishing shack that’s said to be the most painted building in the entire U.S.
37. Sip On A Cold Del’s Lemonade
Would you believe me if I said that Del’s Lemonade started in Naples, Italy, and was then brought to Rhode Island? Well, it’s true! The DeLucia family began making this frozen lemonade drink in Naples, and when they came to the U.S. in the turn of the century, they brought this recipe with them to Rhode Island. In the 1940, it became known as Del’s, and they’ve been serving up the same recipe ever since.
While Del’s is now franchised all over the world, visiting some of the original stores throughout New England for a refreshing frozen lemonade is one of the best things to add to your New England summer bucket list.
38. Pick-Up Freshly Cut Flowers From Farm Stands
There are so many flower farms all over New England, and since summer can go by in the blink of an eye, that means growing season here can also be pretty short. But a great way to celebrate the summer is by picking up a freshly-cut bouquet of flowers from a flower farmer.
A great one to check out is Tarrnation Flower Farm in New Hampshire. They grow harder-to-find varieties like dahlias and create especially beautiful bouquets that go far beyond what you’ll find at most grocery stores. During this time of the year, you’ll often find them at the Littleton Farmer’s Market in New Hampshire, making this a great stop to add to your White Mountains trip.
But you can find gorgeous bouquets for all all over. Just do a quick Google search when you’re visiting!
39. Visit Nantucket
If you’ve poked around my blog a bit, you may have figured out that I have a special place in my heart for Nantucket, and this little island definitely needs to be on your New England summer bucket list.
While I love everything about Cape Cod’s mainland, there’s something really special and unique about Nantucket. From the charming cobblestoned streets of downtown, to the beautiful lighthouses and the stunning beaches, it’s worth at least a day trip, or a weekend getaway if you can swing it.
Here are some of my posts on Nantucket to help you plan your trip:
- Everything you Need To Know About Taking A Nantucket Day Trip
- Best Things To Do On Nantucket & Recommendations For How Long To Stay
40. Stroll Through The Public Gardens In Boston
Created in 1839, the Boston Public Garden is the very first public botanical garden to be established in the U.S., and today, it’s still one of the best places to experience in the city. It’s truly wonderful year-round, but definitely something to add to your New England summer bucket list because of all the flowers that will be in bloom in July and August.
41. Go On A Puffin Tour In Maine
You don’t have to go to Iceland or any other far-away destination to see these cute little birds. In fact, Maine is one of the best places in the world to see them, so this should definitely be on your radar when planning your New England summer bucket list. Eastern Egg Rock, off the coast of central Maine, is home to the largest puffin colony in the state.
The tour that I did, and one that I highly recommend, is the Cap’n Fish’s Audubon Puffin Cruise from Boothbay Harbor. Not only was this cruise incredibly scenic, informative and fun, it departed right from downtown Boothbay Harbor, which is a charming little town in Maine that’s definitely worth visiting.
42. Hike To The Tallest Waterfall In Massachusetts
Bish Bash Falls in Massachusetts are the highest in the state, and one of the highest in the entire region, making this very worthy of being added to your New England summer bucket list. The hike is a fairly easy 2-mile loop that has some moderately steep parts as well, but the pay off is getting to see a beautiful waterfall, and checking another awesome site off your list.
Note: As of 2022, swimming is no longer allowed at the waterfall.
43. See The Gingerbread Cottages & Cliffs On Martha’s Vineyard
I’ve already mentioned Nantucket as a destination that should be on your New England summer bucket list, but that’s not to say that Martha’s Vineyard isn’t worth your time, because it definitely is! This Cape Cod island is packed with charm and some of the most iconic sites in the area. Two of the best things to see on the island are the Gingerbread Cottages in Oak Bluffs, and the cliffs in Aquinnah (including Gay Head lighthouse).
Martha’s Vineyard is a bit bigger than Nantucket, and requires either renting a car or relying on public transit to get around, as these two destinations are on opposite sides of the island. If you’re looking for an easy option, this tour, which takes you to both the Gingerbread Cottages and the Aquinnah Cliffs, is an amazing way to see both in a shorter amount of time.
Here are some posts you may find helpful about Martha’s Vineyard:
- Is Nantucket Or Martha’s Vineyard Better For A Day Trip?
- The Ultimate Martha’s Vineyard Day Trip Guide
- How To See Martha’s Vineyard Without A Car
- Best Things To Do On Martha’s Vineyard
44. Mohegan Bluffs On Block Island
Block Island, off the coast of Rhode island, is such an underrated place to visit. With two lighthouses, a charming downtown and amazing beaches, it’s definitely something you’ll want to add to your New England summer bucket list.
But one of the best sites to see on the island is the Mohegan Bluffs, and the dramatic staircase that leads down to the beach. The sweeping ocean views, along with the impressive cliffs, are really an incredible site to see, and makes it worth visiting the island just to see them for yourself.
45. Cool Off In A Swimming Hole
New England has so many really cool swimming hole spots that are a really fun way to cool off in the hot summer season. New Hampshire probably has the most options, and is home to really great options like Diana’s Baths, Franconia Falls and Lower Falls, but you can easily find them in every state to plan a really fun New England summer day.
46. Float Down A River In An Inner Tube
Another fun way to cool off from the summer heat is to float along a river in an inner tube. There are so many places all over New England that rent out inner tubes for a relaxing and refreshing afternoon of river tubing. Here are some of the best places around New England for river tubing:
- Deerfield River Portage – Conway, MA
- Saco River Tubing – Conway, NH
- Winooski River With Umiak Outdoor Outfitters – Stowe, VT
- Big Big On The Battenkill – Arlington, VT
47. Take A Coastal Road Trip
One of the best things to add to your New England summer bucket list is a coastal road trip. With over 5,500 miles of coastline to explore, there are so many options, and tons of incredible ocean views to take in. With Boston as a starting point, a few great options are road trips through Cape Cod and the islands, the North Shore of Massachusetts, up the coast of Maine, and through Rhode Island and Connecticut (which could include Block Island).
48. Go Blueberry Harvesting In Maine
Starting in July, you’ll want to have blueberry harvesting and picking at the top of your New England summer bucket list, and the best state to plan your blueberry picking adventure is in Maine. While lots of places throughout New England offer U-Pick blueberries, Maine is known for their wild blueberries, which are packed with more flavor. And since Maine is the producer of 99 percent of the entire country’s blueberries, you know you’re in the right place!
I also have a dedicated post on summer in New England!
Click here to check out the best summer destinations and more things to do!
New England Winter Bucket List
Winter is a truly magical time in New England, and while it can be a long season, there’s no shortage of things to do to make it fun, exciting and super cozy. Here are all the things you’ll want to add to your New England winter bucket list.
49. See A Normal Rockwell Painting Come To Life
One of the best Christmas towns in New England is Stockbridge, MA, made famous by the Norman Rockwell Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas painting. During the town’s Christmas festival, they recreate the painting, complete with vintage cards parked on the street in the same exact locations as in the painting.
And, of course, the town was painted by the famous artist for a reason – it’s one of the most charming places in New England, so during the holiday season, you’re sure to have fun visiting the shops, restaurants and enjoying the overall atmosphere.
50. Attend One Of The Many Christmas Festivities
Stockbridge isn’t the only place to celebrate Christmas in New England, and visiting one of the best Christmas towns in this area should definitely be on your winter bucket list. There are so many quaint and charming towns that go all out for the holiday season, and put on some of the best Christmas festivals in the entire country. Curious to read about my picks for the best Christmas towns in New England? Click the link below!
I love the Christmas season in New England so much, that I have a few guides you may enjoy reading:
- Best Christmas Towns In New England
- Vermont At Christmas: Where To Go & Festive Things To Do
- Christmas In New Hampshire: All The Best Things To Do
- A Guide To The Nantucket Christmas Stroll
- Cape Cod At Christmas: Festive Ways To Enjoy The Season
- A Guide To Christmas In Kennebunkport
- Christmas In Maine: The Most Magical Things To Do
51. Hit The Slopes
New England is home to some of the best skiing in the country, so if you’ve ever wanted to learn to ski, or are already a pro and are looking to hit the slopes in this region, I highly suggest a weekend getaway to some of the best ski towns in the area. Some of the best places to look into are:
- Suicide Six – Woodstock, VT
- Spruce Peak – Stowe, VT
- Killington in VT
- Stratton Mountain in VT
- Bretton Woods in NH
- Loon Mountain in NH
- Camden Snow Bowl – Camden, ME
52. Go Snow Tubing
If you’re not into skiing, consider adding snow tubing to your New England winter bucket list! There are some pretty epic snow tubing parks throughout the region that provide the best of outdoor winter fun. Here are some places to check out:
- Nashoba Valley Tubing Park – Littleton, MA
- Killington Tubing Park – Killington, VT
- Butternut Tubing Park – Great Barrington, MA
- King Pine Tubing Park – Madison, NH
- SeaCoast Adventure – Windham, ME
53. Visit Ice Castles In New Hampshire
One of the most fun things to add to your New England winter bucket list is Ice Castles in Woodstock, NH. Each winter season, a giant ice castle is carved, and includes fountains, slides, thrones and even tunnels to explore. At night, the castle is lit with multi-colored lights for an entirely different experience. This is a true winter wonderland experience, and the only one of its kind in New England!
54. Ice Skate On Puddle Duck Pond In Portsmouth, NH
One of the most picturesque, outdoor skating rinks can be found in the coastal city of Portsmouth, NH on Puddle Duck Pond at the Strawberry Banke Museum, and will have you feeling like you’re in a snow globe in no time.
55. Cross Country Ski In Stowe
Stowe is home to a lot of firsts for skiing, including the first cross-country ski center, which is also the largest in Vermont. This ski area can be found at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, and includes over 40 miles of groomed trails for an amazing experience. The resort also offers lessons for beginners, making this one of the best places to learn cross country skiing if it’s always been on your New England winter bucket list.
You may also enjoy:
- Best Things To Do In Vermont In The Winter!
- Best New England Winter Getaways
- Best Things To Do In New Hampshire In The Winter
- Best Things To Do In Portland, Maine In The Winter
- Best Things To Do In Maine In The Winter
- Best Things To Do In Stowe, VT
- Cool Things Vermont Is Known For
New England Spring Bucket List
Spring brings so many wonderful things to do in New England, including the end of a very long winter season, beautiful blooms and the start of warmer weather. Everything begins to wake up, and you’ll begin to see the region come back to life. This is a great time to get back outside and enjoy nature, and here’s my list of the best ways to do that throughout New England.
56. Watch A Maple Syrup Harvest
With so many maple syrup farms and sugar houses all over this region, one of the best things to add to your New England spring bucket list is watching a real maple syrup harvest.
While you can also do this toward the end of winter, the best time in New England is really right at the start of spring. There will likely still be snow on the ground, and many sugar houses will demonstrate how to use the maple-syrup-on-snow method to make maple candy (which honestly, is one of the coolest things to see).
57. The Nantucket Daffodil Festival
Nantucket’s been on this list before, but let’s head back to the island in the spring season when all the daffodils around the island start to bloom, and are celebrated with the Nantucket Daffodil Festival. This event usually takes place at the end of April, and downtown will be decorated with these cheerful yellow blooms, which is the perfect way to celebrate spring.
58. Billings Museum Baby Farm Animal Celebration
In Woodstock, VT, one of the best things to add to your New England spring bucket list is a visit to Billings Farm & Museum during their Baby Farm Animal Celebration. Ring in the spring season by petting and interacting with baby chicks, goats, bunnies, calves and piglets, as well as learning how all the newborns are cared for at their farm. During the event, the farm also has food trucks for awesome lunches, and you’ll be able to plant a seedling to take home with you, and watch it bloom throughout summer.
59. See The Blooming Cherry Blossoms
New England has quite a few places to experience the blooming cherry blossoms in the spring time, one of the best things to do during this season. Some of the best places to witness these beautiful trees during their peak time are:
- Wooster Square Park – New Haven, CT
- Boston Public Gardens – Boston, MA
- Charles River Esplanade – Boston, MA
- Chocolate Mill Overlook Park – Central Falls, RI
60. Hunt For Treasures At The Brimfield Antique Show
While the Brimfield Antique Show has dates throughout the year, including during summer and fall, the first one is in May, and is a great way to go to get outside after being cooped up for the winter. Widely regarded as one of the best antique shows not only in New England, but the entire country, It’s also the largest in the U.S. With over 5,000 vendors spanning across 21 fields, this is the best place to come to find the perfect antiques for your home.
61. Pick Your Own Tulips At Wicked Tulips Flower Farm
With farms in both Connecticut and Rhode Island, one of the most fun things to do in New England in the spring is to pick your own tulips at Wicked Tulips Flower Farm. These brightly-colored flowers are a great way to say goodbye to the cold and wet winter months, and welcome the warmer days ahead.
Note: Since prime tulip time changes each year, I highly suggest signing up for their e-mail newsletters to be notified when U-Pick season begins. You can do that by clicking here. This was how I was notified, which I found easier than stalking their social media pages.
Yep, you guessed it – I have a whole post on New England in the spring, too!
Click here to check out even more fun things to do in the spring!
Best Foods To Eat In New England
So many wonderful foods have come out of New England, or have been made famous by this region, no trip to the region is complete without trying them all! Here’s my list of all the best foods you have to munch on while visiting New England.
62. Lobster Roll
Definitely one of my personal favorites is the lobster roll, and my trips to New England are never complete until I’ve had one (or three). You can get great lobster rolls all over New England, and they’re usually the best the closer to the coast you get.
Did you know there are two types of New England lobster rolls? One is a cold lobster salad on a bun, and one is the Connecticut-style warm, buttered lobster roll in a bun. Both are great, but you’ll definitely want to try them both to decide for yourself.
63. Homemade Ice Cream
Another one of my personal favorite foods to try in New England is homemade ice cream. Now, I realize you can get homemade ice cream all over the wold, but there’s something very special about getting it here in New England. It’s almost like its own little culture, and everyone has their die-hard favorites. I happen to be partial to the ice cream shops out on Cape Cod, but you’ll find amazing places that make their own ice cream all over (and you definitely need to try as many as you can).
64. Fried Clams
Fried clams were invented right here in New England by Lawrence Woodman in Essex, MA, and you can still get them from the original restaurant called Woodman’s. On a summer day, there’s nothing quite like a big paper plate full of either fried clam strips, or whole-belly fried clams, and this is something you’ll definitely want to cross off your New England bucket list.
65. Mike’s Cannoli
I’ve touched on the Italian community in Boston bringing us some of the best Italian food in New England, and this also applies to pastries. Mike’s Pastry in Boston has become famous for their cannoli, which they started making in the North End in 1946. And now, this is regarded as one of the best things to eat when you come to the city.
66. New England Clam Chowder
I mean, New England is right in the name, so if you’ve never tried this dish before, it definitely deserves a spot on your bucket list. This creamy version of Clam Chowder is said to have been invented in the region as early as the 17th century, when French settlers were looking for a way to use up all the clams that were incredibly bountiful in the water. Now, it’s a staple on most menus throughout New England.
67. Clambake Dinner
Because seafood in this region is so fresh and abundant, one of the best meals you can have in New England is a clambake dinner. Best yet, cook up an authentic one right on the beach with seaweed, which is the traditional way of having this meal. A New England Clambake typically includes a variety of seafood including lobster, clams, mussels, shrimp, quahogs and scallops, and is paired with corn on the cob and sometimes roasted potatoes. You’ll find this as an option on a lot of coastal restaurant menus, and some nicer hotels will often host clambake dinner nights in the summer season.
Yes, you’re reading that right! Not pizza … Apizza, which is a special kind of pizza most popular in New Haven, CT. This pizza has a thin crust, is cooked in a coal-fired brick oven and often has a very smokey flavor, as well as a charred bottom crust – but is absolutely delicious.
69. Vermont Country Breakfast
No visit to Vermont is complete without a hearty Vermont country breakfast, and this is also one of the best meals you’re likely to have in New England. Vermont is well-known for its farm-to-table dining, and while lunches and dinners are also amazing, there’s something special about breakfast. The best breakfasts I’ve ever had in New England have mostly been in Vermont, and typically include fluffy pancakes, incredible french toast, delicious and fresh eggs, the most scrumptious muffins and pastries and of course, fresh maple syrup.
70. Whoopie Pies
While it’s still debated if Whoopie Pies were invented in Massachusetts, Maine or Pennsylvania, one thing’s for sure – you’ll find some of the best in New England. Whoopie Pies are a cream-filled cake sandwich that come in a variety of flavors, with the most popular being chocolate cakes with a vanilla cream. Maine is regarded as one of the best states to eat Whoopie Pies, and in Portland specifically, you’ll find some of the best bakeries serving up these delicious treats.
71. Popovers At Jordan Pond House In Acadia National Park
Inside Acadia National Park in Maine, you’ll find the Jordan Pond House Restaurant, which has become famous for their popovers. The first servings of tea and popovers at Jordan Pond House were in 1895, and the tradition has remained ever since. It’s now a time-honored tradition to stop at this restaurant and grab lunch, tea and popovers in-between sightseeing at the park.
Romantic Things To Do In New England
There are so many year-round romantic destinations throughout New England, and many things mentioned on this list already are incredibly romantic. But if you’re looking for even more ideas, here’s my list of additional things you’ll want to add to your romantic bucket list during your visit.
72. Stay At A Luxury Resort Or Inn With A Spa
New England has some of the best luxury resorts, including mountain and coastal getaway destinations. If you’re looking to really splurge with a relaxing and romantic New England vacation to celebrate a special occasion, here are some of the best luxury resorts and inns to consider that have on-site spas, romantic rooms and on-site restaurants:
- Woodstock Inn & Resort – Woodstock, VT (one of the most charming towns in VT)
- Chatham Bars Inn – Chatham, MA (amazing ocean-front luxury resort on Cape Cod)
- The White Barn Inn – Kennebunk, ME (a truly spectacular and romantic inn)
- Cliff House Maine – Cape Neddick, ME (a gorgeous resort with incredible ocean cliff views)
- Ocean House – Westerly, RI (amazing ocean-front resort with tons of amenities)
73. Gaze At A Stunning Beach Sunset
I mentioned earlier in this post that New England has over 5,400 miles of coastline, which means you have lots of opportunities to have a romantic beach sunset night. My husband and I do this all the time when we visit the ocean in New England. We often pack up a cooler with champagne, snuggle under a blanket together and watch the sun go down, and it’s a really special things to go together that we always cherish.
There are so many beach towns in New England, so it won’t be hard to find a beautiful beach for the perfect sunset picnic.
74. Tour The Connecticut Chocolate Trail
A really fun and romantic thing to do in New England is to take a road trip through the Connecticut Chocolate Trail. Along the route, there are over 20 chocolate artisans you can can visit to sample their chocolates, and bring some home with you. Make the road trip extra romantic by booking a cozy inn, and having a romantic dinner. Save some of your chocolates for dessert and end your day pairing them with a special bottle of wine.
75. Drive Through Connecticut’s Wine Country
Another romantic Connecticut road trip is to drive through the wine country along this state’s beautiful countryside. With over 50 wineries throughout the state, you’ll have lots of options to consider, but my personal favorite area for wine tasting in Connecticut is the Mystic/Stonington region. Not only is it incredibly beautiful and scenic, you’ll also find some really charming inns to stay in for an extra special romantic evening.
You may also find these posts helpful:
- Incredible New England Resorts & Spas
- Best Day Trips In New England
- Best Stops To Make Driving From Boston To Portland, Maine
- The Best New England Souvenirs To Buy On Your Trip
- Best Road Trips From Boston
- Summer In New England: Best Places To Go & Things To Do!
- 60+ Things To Do In Vermont
That’s A Wrap On The Best Things To Do In New England
Hopefully now you see why New England is such an amazing place to explore, and with this New England bucket list, you’re ready to start checking some experiences and destinations off your own personal list of goals.
Whether you’re making sure you visit Acadia National Park, are set on admiring the coastal views at the Cape Cod National Seashore, or plan to visit some of the oldest houses in the country, you’re ready to see the very best of what New England has to offer.