One of the best part of New England is the changing seasons, and while I personally love them all, there’s something very special about the springtime. As the snow begins to melt away, color begins to emerge, birds start to chirp again, and you can feel a new energy of excitement in the air for warmer days ahead.
This post is all about the very best things to do in New England in the spring to celebrate everything everything coming back to life, so with that, let’s begin!
Is Spring A Good Time To Visit New England?
The spring season is probably one of the cheapest times to visit New England, and that’s likely because the weather can be pretty iffy in the first part of the season.
Just as spring hits in late March, it still very much feels like winter in many parts of the region. April and May can still bring cold temperatures and even random snow flurries. But there are also lovely, warm days, too. Weather isn’t generally reliable until the end of May/early June, so if you’re looking to visit in the spring before the summer crowds (and prices!) set in, early June is a great time to visit.
That said, I personally love rainy days and have learned to embrace the crazy New England weather in the spring. And with all the very fun events the region has in store for this season, I definitely think it’s worth a visit during this time of the year.
Best Things To Do In New England In The Spring
All across New England in the spring, you’ll find so many events to keep up with that you might even feel overwhelmed! March bring maple harvest season and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, spring flowers begin to emerge in April and May, and then you’ll have your pick of restaurant weeks and food festivals, too.
Below is my list of the best things to do and experience in New England in the spring! I’ve also broken them down by month to more easily plan your itinerary.
Things To Do In March In New England
1. Visit A Sugar Shack
As mentioned earlier, one of the best things about March in New England is maple harvest season! While there’s often snow on the ground, and ski resorts are still hoppin’, a great activity in March to welcome spring is visiting a real maple sugar shack.
The best states for sugar shacks are New Hampshire and Vermont because they have the most available to visit, but you can also find them in all New England states.
During your visit, you can often sample the different varieties of maple syrups, watch a harvest tapping, and even see a sugar on snow demonstration. Sugar on snow is such a cool thing to experience if you haven’t before. During the demonstration, you’ll see boiled maple syrup dripped onto snow outside, and watch it turn into candy that you can eat as soon as it’s cooled down.
Bonus Suggestion: Make Your Own Sugar On Snow Candy!
The best part of the sugar on snow candy is that you can actually make this on your own! All you need is a candy thermometer, maple syrup and, of course … snow. Then, follow these instructions below:
- Boil about 1 cup of maple syrup until it reaches 235°F (using your thermometer to check the temperature).
- Use a fork or a spoon to drizzle the boiled syrup onto clean snow. If you want to do this inside, you can gather clean snow, and keep it in the freezer until you’re ready to use it.
- Wait for the syrup to cool down, and scrape it off the snow to enjoy!
2. Attend The Hebron Maple Festival
Speaking of all things maple, there are a few maple festivals happening all over New England at the end of March, including:
- Massachusetts Maple Weekend
- Vermont Maple Open House Weekend
- Maine Maple Sunday Weekend
- New Hampshire Maple Month
- Hebron Maple Festival (CT)
So many fun things happens during each of these events to celebrate the start of maple harvest season, including maple syrups demonstrations and tastings, sugarhouse tours, craft fairs, food vendors and lots more.
3. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day In Boston
While you’ll find St. Patrick’s Day events all over New England, one of the best places to celebrate the holiday is in Boston. Since Boston has the largest population of folks that are of Irish descent, you know it’s going to be quite the celebration! And while St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t technically happen in the official spring season, it can often feel like the first arrival of warmer days to come.
St. Patrick’s Day is also an observed holiday in Boston, and schools and government buildings are closed for the day in observance. That said, the parade doesn’t often happen right on St. Patrick’s Day, so you’ll want to check their website here to see when it will be each year.
During the parade, you’ll see festive floats, marching bands and, of course, lots of green. If you come from out of town, you’ll be able to make an entire weekend of your trip, too. You’ll find all kinds of events celebrating the holiday around the city, including live performances from the Dropkick Murphys, pub crawls, and races.
Pro Tip: This parade is a pretty big deal in New England, and about a million people usually attend, so you’ll want to plan accordingly.
Bonus Suggestion: Walk The Boston Irish Heritage Trail
For anyone looking to get in touch with their Irish heritage, you’ll definitely want to check out the Irish Heritage Trail in Boston. The Freedom Trail gets a lot of hype (which is warranted!), but the Irish Heritage Trail is also very worthy of your time.
During your walk on the trail, you’ll visit 20 notable sites throughout the city, and learn about famous Irish leaders, politicians and artists along the way. The walk is also very scenic, and you’ll stroll along the waterfront, as well as through the charming North End neighborhood. Click here for a map of the trail!
4. Enjoy Maine Restaurant Week
What started in 2008 as a way to boost the notably slow Maine restaurant business in the winter, Maine Restaurant Week is now one of the most exciting dining events in New England!
Typically taking place the first two weeks in March, about 60 restaurants offer special dishes and curated tasting menus that highlight the flavors of the season for a unique and fun dining experience.
For a little something sweet, over 20 bakers, chocolatiers and baristas across the state create special desserts and coffee drinks during restaurant week, too. And when you purchase their exciting concoctions, $1 of each sale is donated to a local, non-profit charity.
5. Stroll The Spring Bulb Show In Northampton
Since the early 1900’s, the Northampton Spring Bulb Show at Smith College has been a welcomed tradition that signifies the start of warmer days ahead in New England. And in March, the weather outside will likely still be cold and snowy, the inside of the Lyman Conservatory will be one giant pop of color.
Any flower lover will want to attend this event, as you’ll get a chance to stroll through the Conservatory to take in all the beautiful spring flowers like tulips, daffodils, lilies, crocuses, hyacinth and more. Since these bulbs are moved to the greenhouse in January for an earlier than average bloom time, it’s often one of the first places you can see explode with color in New England.
Things To Do In April In New England
6. Attend A Daffodil Festival
One of my personal favorite things to do in New England in the spring is attend a daffodil festival because those happen to be one of my absolute favorite flowers.
One of the most popular ones is the Nantucket Daffodil Festival, where you can attend a car parade and tailgate, where all the cars are cheerfully decorated with – you guessed it – daffodils. There’s also a wonderful daffodil flower show, and events just for the kiddos at Children’s Beach.
During your time on Nantucket for the festival, you can also head out to Sankaty Lighthouse to see all the daffodils in the surrounding fields, and snap a photo with Brant Point Lighthouse while it adorns its gorgeous daffodil wreath.
Naumkeag is The Berkshires also does a wonderful daffodil and tulip festival that run throughout April and parts of May. During your visit to this beautiful Gilded Age mansion, you’ll be able to walk the grounds and enjoy the colorful bursts of cheerful daffys and tulips all around the grounds.
While it’s not a festival, I highly suggest visiting Halfinger Farms in Connecticut for their Pick Your Own daffodil days! Their daffodil farm, adorably named Dancing Daffodils, is open to pick your own bouquet. And they have gorgeous blooms to pick from that go beyond the standard yellow ones you see in most landscapes. They regularly post updates on when daffodils are ready for picking on their Facebook page here, and be sure to give them a follow so you don’t miss this special time of the year.
7. See The Cherry Blossoms In New Haven
There are some really lovely cherry blossom displays all over New England, but one of the best is at Wooster Square in New Haven, CT. And while you don’t have to attend the festival to see the cherry blossoms, there is also the Cherry Blossom Festival each year at the end of April to celebrate these beautiful trees.
During the festival, there are food trucks lined up around the park, as well as live musical performances. But, of course, the star of the show is the cherry blossoms themselves. Each year, their peak season is fleeting, but generally speaking, the end of April in the best time to see them. Fingers crossed you can time your visit at just the right time to see them in all their glory because it’s absolutely worth it!
8. Visit The Bridge Of Flowers When It Opens
One of the most beautiful and unique things to see in New England from spring to summer is the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls, MA. And what better time to see it than when it first opens in April? During its opening month, you can expect to see colorful and cheerful daffodils, tulips, hyacinth and wisteria. It’s the perfect way to celebrate spring and get some color in your life after a long winter.
Pro Tip: The town of Shelburne Falls is also lovely, and it’s worth budgeting some time to stroll through. You’ll want to check out Floodwater Brewing Co., the Trolley Museum, and the cute shops.
9. Pick Your Own Tulips
Once Daffodil season is over, it’s time to get excited about all things tulips! And the great news is, there are so many places around New England offering U-Pick tulip events.
One of the best is Wicked Tulips, which has three locations: Johnston, RI, Exeter, RI and Preston, CT. During the month of May, they open their fields for U-Pick events where you can hand-pick your very own cheerful bouquet to take home. The events can vary from year to year, so I highly suggest subscribing to their e-mail newsletters and following them on social media to be the first to know about U-Pick availability.
With Wicked Tulips, it’s important to know that each farm blooms at different times. For example, their Exeter farm usually peaks first in early April, then Preston comes to life in mid-late April, and Johnston is the last to bloom, and is usually open the first part of May. But definitely check their Instagram and e-mail newsletters for each season’s bloom report!
Here are some more awesome U-pick tulip farms to check out:
- Golden Hour Tulips (MA)
- Ferjulian’s Farm (MA)
- Tip Top Tulips (MA
10. Experience The Billings Museum’s Baby Farm Animal Celebration
The cutest spring celebration in New England definitely goes to Baby Farm Animal Days at Billings Farm in Woodstock, VT.
During the second weekend in April each year, the farm allows visitors to get up and close with all the new additions to their crew, including chicks, baby goats, calves and lambs.
And while all the cute animals are reason enough to visit, Billings Farm is one of the most amazing museums in all of New England. It teaches its visitors all about the importance of responsible agriculture, and the farmland, historic barns and buildings are so special and beautiful.
11. Indulge During Newport’s Restaurant Week
Newport is one of New England’s most exciting culinary destinations, and one of the best things to do in this region during springtime is to eat your way through the City by the Sea’s restaurant week.
Held from mid to late April each year, you’ll find specially-curated menus and tasting courses, discounts, promos on gift cards and other ways to indulge and save. And since so many restaurants participate, you’ll have your pick of some pretty amazing places to dine.
12. Get In Your Last Few Ski Days
Usually people are shocked to hear that you can ski as late as May in New England’s high peaks, but it’s true! I’m including the end of ski season on the April list, however because not all ski resorts make it until May every year (but some do!). Most plan to end their ski season around mid to late April.
Curious where you can ski through April (and possibly May, depending on the season)? Here’s a sampling of resorts that are open around this time:
- Killington in Vermont
- Jay Peak in Vermont
- Stowe Mountain in Vermont
- Bretton Woods in New Hampshire
- Loon Mountain in New Hampshire
- Wildcat in New Hampshire
Bonus: Walk Through The Magical Daffodil Path At Parsons Reserve
If you find a day without rain in April, one of the best things to do is plan a magical walk through the daffodil fields at the Parsons Reserve in Dartmouth, MA! And guys, when I say this path is magical, I really mean it. If you can time your visit just right with peak bloom, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a fairytale world.
Things To Do In May In New England
13. Attend The Boston Calling Festival
Calling all music fans! One of the best things to do in New England in May is to attend the Boston Calling Music Festival. Held on Memorial Day Weekend each year, this 3-day festival draws in top acts with 4 stages and over 50 performances during the weekend.
In past years, artists like Eminem, The Decemberists, Jack White, Hozier, Glass Animals, Metallica, Black Pumas and Mumford & Sons have performed.
During the festival, you’ll also find tons of food vendors serving up delicious comfort foods like gourmet grilled cheese, slow-cooked BBQ, specialty cookies, lobster rolls and tons more.
14. Experience The Duckling Day Parade
Also in Boston, the Duckling Day Parade is a fun and family-friendly event that celebrates spring in New England. Typically held in early May, the parade is inspired by the beautiful children’s book Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey, and for the last 30 years, this has been a cherished spring tradition.
Parading from Boston Common, and ending in the Public Gardens, you’ll find people dressed as characters from the book, a marching band and other fun duckling-inspired costumes. And since Boston Common and the Public Gardens are especially beautiful in the spring, this is the perfect way to see both.
15. Eat All The Oysters & Chowder In Newport
Rhode Island is home to more than 45 oyster farms, and a great way to sample a bunch of them in one place is by attending the Oysters & Chowder festival!
Typically held the weekend before Memorial Day in Newport, RI, this 2-day event is free for all to attend (of course, food and drink excluded), and you’ll find live music and tons of food vendors serving local oysters and hand-crafted chowders. You’ll even find some really great cocktail vendors.
Pro Tip: This is popular springtime festival in New England, and parking in Newport can be tough during the event. A great way to save yourself a headache (and a few bucks!) is to stay in nearby Jamestown, and take the commuter ferry right into downtown Newport. You can choose to get off at Perrotti Park or Ann Street Pier, both of which are easily walkable to Bowen’s Wharf, where the festival is.
If you’d prefer to stay right in charming Newport, I would suggest getting a hotel with parking that’s walkable to Bowen’s Wharf.
16. Celebrate Mother’s Day With Pink & Green Weekend In Edgartown
The perfect special spring weekend to plan with your mom or important women in your life is definitely the Pink & Green Weekend in Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard.
This weekend event celebrates the best of spring and Mother’s Day combined in early May, and has lots of fun events that are perfect for spending quality time with your mom, and all the amazing women you love. You’ll find events like carriage rides, special yoga classes, a Kentucky Derby party, special discounts at stores, and luncheons.
And because the event is on an island, it’s exciting just to get there on the ferry! Plus, you’ll be able to enjoy all the beautiful sites around Martha’s Vineyard during the weekend, including the gingerbread cottages, beaches, and the Aquinnah Cliffs.
Things To Do In June In New England
17. Enjoy Popular Destinations Before The Summer Crowds
June is the last month to enjoy fewer crowds in summer hot spots throughout New England. In fact, one of my favorite months to visit beach towns is June – particularly in early June, right after Memorial Day weekend. You’ll find cheaper hotel rates and fewer crowds, but most businesses will be open for the season, and the weather is typically lovely (although, the water will still be pretty cold, so it’s a bit of a trade-off!).
Some great places to visit in June if you’re looking for summer-ish weather, but want to avoid some of the crowds, are Cape Cod and the islands, Coastal Maine, Newport, Narragansett, Mystic, and coastal New Hampshire.
18. See The First Full WaterFire Lighting In Providence
WaterFire is one of the top attractions in Rhode Island in the summer season, and the first full lighting to kick off the WaterFire season takes place in June every year. While there are some partial lighting events that happen in May, the most exciting events are the ones that showcase a full lighting.
What’s WaterFire, you ask? Well, it’s an innovative art installation made up of over 90 fire braziers in the rivers along Providence’s downtown. During each event, you can enjoy original music, and food and craft vendors. It’s really something everyone should once during their New England travels!
19. Head To Portsmouth For The Market Square Day Festival
Portsmouth is such a charming city in New Hampshire, and in early June, they hold their annual Market Square Day Festival. This fun day originated in 1978 as a way to celebrate the renovation of Market Square, and has continued ever since.
During the 1-day festival, you’ll have the opportunity to browse over 150 vendor booths selling everything from New England-made products, handcrafted goods, specialty foods and so much more. There’s also live entertainment!
20. Celebrate Pride In Provincetown
New England hosts some pretty awesome Pride events throughout June (woo hoo pride month!), but one of the best is definitely in Provincetown, MA. And since Provincetown is located on Cape Cod, you can easily combine it with a shoulder season beach trip.
Provincetown has long been one of the best LGBTQ+ destinations because of its inclusive and empowering community, so Pride celebrations here are most definitely not to be missed.
You’ll find pool parties, Pride rallies, parades, nightclub parties and cabarets, Express Yourself Day and so many other celebrations during Pride Weekend. But the best part? You’re sure to feel the love and support of the local community, which is beyond heartwarming.
21. Experience The Kennebunkport Festival
The adorable town of Kennebunkport in Maine is all about community events year-round, and is famous for its Christmas Prelude celebrations in December. But one of their best spring events is the Kennebunkport Festival, and an amazing feature of this event is that 100% of ticket sales benefit local charities.
The Kennebunkport Festival is packed with fun events like cocktail boat cruises, dinner parties at local restaurants and art gallery block parties. But the most exciting events you’ll want to check out are the Art Of Dining events. During these intimate dining experience, chefs are invited into unique, private homes for an expertly-curated menu with a wine pairing. This is one you don’t want to miss!
Pro Tip: Parking during Kennebunkport events is tough, so I recommend staying at a hotel that’s walkable to Dock Square.
Best Places To Visit In New England In The Spring
Nantucket is a great place to visit in the spring, especially if you can time your visit with the Daffodil Festival. Since Nantucket is known as being pretty expensive in the summer, spring is a great time to snatch up some awesome hotel deals, and experience the atmosphere with fewer crowds.
Newport, RI is also wonderful for many of the same reasons. And since they have some amazing events throughout spring like Restaurant Week, the Oyster & Chowder Festival, Flower Walks at Blithewold, the Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival, and so many more, you’ll never run out of things to do.
Woodstock, VT was mentioned earlier in the post because of Baby Farm Animal Days, and that’s honestly enough reason to go! You’ll also enjoy off-season rates during the spring, and the rest of your time, you can wander through one of New England’s most charming towns.
Coastal Maine is an awesome road trip to take in the spring. In fact, one of my all-time favorite New England trips was my coastal Maine lighthouse road trip, which I did in mid-May before all the summer traffic settled in. The weather isn’t too hot, but there were plenty of lovely, sunny days, too. And the trip was less expensive than it would have been in the summer.
You may also enjoy reading:
- Best Days Trips In New England
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- 7 Day New England Road Trip Itinerary
- Summer In New England: Best Places To Go & Things To Do!
- 60+ Things To Do In Vermont
- The Most Incredible Lighthouses In New England To Visit
That’s A Wrap On Things To Do In New England In The Spring
While this may not be a popular time to visit, hopefully now you see that New England in the spring is actually beautiful, and packed with tons of exciting events. Whether you’re hoping to pick your own daffodils and tulips, eat your way through restaurant week, or just enjoy the great hotel prices, there are so many wonderful ways to welcome spring in New England.