Summer Getaways In New England: Top 12 Most Unique Spots | Stanton House Inn
Group of friends in Adirondack chairs on one of the best summer getaways in New England

Summer Getaways in New England: Top 12 Most Unique Spots

Boats on Mystic River at sunset, close to one of the best weekend getaways in New England for the summer

New England, land of picturesque countrysides and rugged coastlines, is just as famous for its history. Choosing from the top weekend getaways in New England for summer adventures can be a daunting task:

  • History runs deep in every landscape

  • Seafood delicacies lure you back from your memories

Most equate summer in New England with its beaches. They range from Maine’s rocky shores to the sandy expanses of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. When the weather is at its best, lobster rolls are a must, and backyard BBQs bring the day to a perfect close.

That said, New England in the mountains and lakes are just as popular (for this writer, included).

This guide will help you navigate through the best summer New England getaways, offering a mix of:

  • beach and lake getaways

  • day trip destinations

  • seafood shack visits

And all topped off with a generous scoop of ice cream. We’re highlighting 12 destinations that represent quintessential New England.

Ready to explore the best summer getaways in New England? Let’s get into it:

 

Quick hits

  • New England’s classic summer coastal getaways include Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha’s Vineyard.

  • The New England region appeals to a wide range of preferences. Here, you’ll find coastal treasures like Rhode Island’s luxury resorts and the scenic Newport Cliff Walk. Head to serene retreats in Bar Harbor & Acadia National Park. Or enjoy watersports in places like Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire.

  • Beyond its coastline, New England draws summer visitors to scenic mountains like the White Mountains of NH and verdant Stowe, VT

  • Or head out for a little urban exploration opportunities in Boston. The perfect mix of tradition and modernity in Portsmouth, NH, may be just your cup of tea.

 

summer getaways in new england map Summer Getaways in New England: Top 12 Most Unique Spots
Map design by Stanton House Inn

 

Sandy Beaches across New England

Imagine your weekend ahead. The best weekend getaways in New England offer places where summer thrives, from beaches to mountains. Let this guide be your ally. It points you to unforgettable escapes for a truly New England summer experience, starting with coastal options:

 

Exploring the Allure of Cape Cod’s Beaches

Pristine beach with clear blue water and sandy shore

Cape Cod is a jewel among the best weekend getaways in New England. Head here for pristine white sand beaches where the salty breeze from the Atlantic Ocean plays with your hair. A New England weekend getaway like this can be truly unforgettable, spoken from experience.

 

Venture beyond the beaches, and discover a tapestry of charming towns. With so many cozy inns and motels to choose from, your perfect summer escape awaits.

 

Soaking Up Sun and History: Provincetown

The Pilgrim Monument at the center of Provincetown, MA

Provincetown captivates with its enchanting bohemian spirit. Meander the streets of one of the oldest artist colonies in America. The allure of cool boutiques, art galleries, and outdoor art installations are always irresistible.

The town’s charm extends to its historical significance, with landmarks such as the Pilgrim Monument. This prominent tower in town marks the Mayflower Pilgrims’ first landing. The day’s adventures find a perfect ending on Provincetown’s inviting sandy stretches.

 

A Seafood Lover’s Dream: Chatham

If your taste buds are yearning for a coastal culinary adventure, Chatham is your dream destination. Its seafood scene is a sensory delight. The town of Chatham, MA, caters to a variety of palates with everything from upscale dining to quick bites.

 

What sets Chatham apart is its commitment to local sourcing. Imagine savoring dishes made with the day’s freshest catch, straight from local fishermen. Enhancing this epicurean experience are the scenic views offered by many restaurants. Many overlook the ocean or the enchanting town itself.

 

Nantucket’s Timeless Beauty

Historic houses on Nantucket Island

Hop on a ferry to journey to Nantucket, an island radiating timeless beauty. Here, you’ll find beautifully restored pre-Civil War houses nestled amidst the gorgeous landscape. The island, with its magical, old, and authentic fishing village vibe, is sure to steal your heart.

 

The Sconset section of Nantucket captivates visitors in early July with its rose-covered cottages. Roses cascade over weathered shingles, creating a scene reminiscent of an English countryside.

 

The island’s charm continues with its outdoor activities. A few top picks include:

  • Whale watching harbor cruises

  • Historic lighthouse explorations

  • Meandering picturesque paths

 

Your day can come to a beautiful close soaking in the stunning sunset views at Madaket Beach.

 

Martha’s Vineyard

Lake Bluff on Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, serves fresh fish and chips and a massive lobster roll with a view of the ocean.

A stone’s throw from Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard is enticingly close. This island is not just a draw for all the beaches, though; it’s a cultural hub. From the Martha’s Vineyard Museum to the Vineyard Playhouse, this island teems with enriching experiences. Each year, it hosts the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival, for example.

 

The island’s allure is magnified by its natural wonders, such as the breathtaking Aquinnah Cliffs. It also features an array of quaint New England towns, each with a distinct personality. Add a wealth of outdoor activities like:

  • Biking

  • Fishing

  • Sailing

  • And horseback riding

 

Against the backdrop of stunning landscapes.

 

Rhode Island’s Coastal Jewels

Set your sights on Rhode Island to uncover its coastal treasures. The Ocean House resort in Watch Hill exudes luxury, while the serene beauty of Block Island captivates the heart. In Westerly, the scenic coastline beckons.

 

Cliff Walks and Mansions in Newport

Stunning cliff walk overlooking the ocean in Newport

Newport, a city long famous for its opulence, offers a delightful mix of natural beauty and grand architecture. The Cliff Walk, a top attraction in Newport, showcases sweeping views of the Atlantic alongside glimpses of historic mansions.

 

A tour of the grandiose mansions, such as The Breakers and Marble House, is a must while you’re here. Any of these stops will reveal the splendor of Newport’s Gilded Age.

 

Refuel after your explorations at one of the city’s waterfront eateries. Whether it’s:

  • A casual brunch at Cru Cafe

  • The indulgent lobster mac ‘n’ cheese at Brick Alley Pub

  • The classic New England lobster rolls

 

Newport’s dining scene is sure to satisfy.

 

Westerly, Rhode Island

Ocean House resort in Westerly, RI

Westerly, Rhode Island, is a quaint beach town at the mouth of Long Island Sound. The historic downtown pops in the summer months with shops, galleries, and eateries. As evening falls, music permeates the air from local festivals. Events such as the Shakespeare in the Park series and the Summer Pops concert unite the community. Wilcox Park offers a tranquil pond and meticulously maintained gardens for a drop of serenity. The town’s restaurants and bars serve fresh seafood and expertly crafted drinks. And Misquamicut State Beach is the perfect spot, whether starting or ending your day here.

 

Block Island

Sandy beaches like Crescent Beach stretch out before you on Block Island. The cliffs at Mohegan Bluffs offer stunning views that will take your breath away. Explore the island’s trails, and you’ll find hidden coves and secluded beaches that seem to belong only to you. At both the Southeast and North Lighthouses, you can learn about the region’s maritime heritage. The Block Island National Wildlife Refuge is a paradise for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. This island is committed to conservation, ensuring that its natural beauty remains unspoiled for future generations.

 

When the day ends, unwind in charming bed and breakfasts or enjoy local cuisine at island restaurants. With:

  • Leisurely beach days

  • Bike rides along scenic trails

  • Sunset sails

 

Block Island offers a tranquil and rejuvenating summer retreat. It’s without question one of the best coastal weekend getaways in New England.

 

Serene Summer Days in Bar Harbor & Acadia National Park

Rugged coastline at one of the top vacation destinations in Vacationland

Maine’s Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park serve-up an idyllic setting for tranquil summer days. The park offers a dynamic range of hiking experiences, from gentle coastal strolls to challenging mountain climbs. Unique cliff walks equipped with metal rungs cater to the adventurous spirit.

 

Bar Harbor, a New England town bordering Frenchman Bay, is a prime base for visitors to Acadia National Park. This small town offers diverse dining options, boutiques, and a charming coastal ambiance. Summer in Bar Harbor is enriched by a lobster boat tour or cultural events, including:

 

  • The Abbe Museum Indian Market

  • Bar Harbor Music Festival

  • Outdoor movies in Agamont Park

 

The Hidden Gems of Connecticut’s Coastline

One of the beautiful beaches in Connecticut

Connecticut’s coastline is a treasure trove of hidden gems, such as Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison, CT. It’s Connecticut’s largest shoreline park, offering opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, and camping.

 

Or park yourself in Greenwich, CT, to enjoy one of the best coastal getaways. This town features a top shopping destination in a walkable downtown as well as nearby beaches. As an added plus, you can hop on the train from here to explore the best things to do in the summer in New York City.

 

The charm of Connecticut’s coastline doesn’t stop with its beaches. The historic and cute towns of Guilford, CT, and Stonington, Connecticut, boast a mix of architectural beauty and history spanning centuries. Dive into local activities, like hiking and kayaking on the Connecticut River. Or savor the flavors at renowned seafood restaurants to round out your Connecticut adventure.

 

Portsmouth, NH: A Blend of Tradition and Modernity

Early morning, as the sun rises, a tugboat heads out from the docks to greet a ship waiting to be towed into the harbor of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

The delightful city of Portsmouth, NH, is home to local gems like the historic Market Square and the scenic Portsmouth Harbor Trail.

 

Dive into cultural experiences on a weekend getaway with historic walking tours, savor performances at the Prescott Park Arts Festival, or take advantage of tax-free shopping during the warm summer months. That’s in addition to relaxing at Wallis Sands State Beach in nearby Rye, NH. Finish your Portsmouth visit with a meal at celebrated eateries such as Row 34 and Black Trumpet, where you can sample the city’s range of dining options, from local favorites to upscale cuisine. It’s no wonder this city is a great pick of the best weekend getaways from Boston.

 

Maine’s Midsummer Majesty

Maine’s midsummer majesty shines in Ogunquit and Kennebunkport. Boasting a beautiful 3-mile soft, sandy shoreline, Ogunquit Beach is one of New England’s best beach towns. Some of the best activities you can enjoy in Ogunquit include:

 

  • Walking the scenic Marginal Way

  • Visiting Footbridge Beach

  • Browsing through boutiques

  • Taking a lobstering tour

 

The nearby town of York, Maine, offers even more beachy activities.

 

Kennebunkport, on the other hand, invites visitors to:

  • Relish in beach activities

  • Explore downtown shops

  • Enjoy delectable seafood

  • Take scenic walks

 

Head to the Portland area and explore shopping in Freeport, and the nautical charm of Bath, Maine.

 

The quintessential Maine experience includes the charming shopping and dining atmosphere of Ogunquit and York. Couple their beaches with the welcoming ambiance and quaint town vibe of Kennebunkport, and you have quite a weekend getaway planned.

 

Top Mountain Getaways in New England

When summer heat rises, the mountains of New England offer a cool refuge on weekend getaways. They present a world of serene peaks and outdoor adventures. Here, you can hike challenging trails, drive through scenic landscapes, or find peace amid nature. These mountain getaways are an ideal setting for a summer vacation.

 

Lake Escapes in New Hampshire: Winnipesaukee Wonders

Scenic Squam Lake with surrounding mountains in New Hampshire

New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee are a great pick for a lakeside escape. Rent a:

 

  • motorboat

  • jet-ski

  • canoe

  • stand-up paddleboard

 

To explore the lake, or indulge in the unique experience of a floating bar and restaurant here.

 

Fishing enthusiasts can get their gear ready for a personalized trip with top-notch equipment provided by local services. For a more relaxed experience, you can enjoy:

 

  • Scenic cruises on the M/S Mount Washington

  • Scenic cruises on the M/V Sophie C.

  • Scenic cruises on the M/V Doris E.

  • A journey along the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad

 

Any of these options offer stunning views of the lake and mountains.

 

The White Mountains: New Hampshire’s Outdoor Playground

Waterfall in Lincoln, NH

New Hampshire’s White Mountains serve as an exhilarating outdoor playground. They boast trails like:

 

  • The Mount Lafayette and Franconia Ridge Trail Loop

  • The Welch-Dickey Loop

  • The Mount Willard Trail

 

It’s why the White Mountain National Forest is a hiker’s dream destination, perfect for outdoor adventure.

 

The national forest is not only a haven for hikers but also a sanctuary for diverse wildlife and a site of historical significance with attractions such as the Mount Washington Cog Railway. The White Mountains offer a range of outdoor activities. Top picks include zip-lining, exploring the Flume Gorge, and taking a ride on the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway.

 

North Conway serves as a hub in the White Mountains, offering outdoor recreation, lodging, shopping, and dining. It also acts as a gateway to the Mt. Washington Valley region, encompassing even more cute towns.

 

Vermont’s Green Retreat: Stowe’s Summer Charm

Venture into Vermont’s verdant mountains and the quaint town of Stowe. Tucked into the landscape where the Green Mountains meet the Worcester range, the beauty of Stowe is captivating. Celebrated as a ‘mountain biking mecca’, Stowe boasts over 50 miles of trails for all skill levels. For a less challenging ride, the Stowe Recreation Path offers scenic rides past local amenities.

 

Summer in Stowe is also perfect for scenic drives, like the Auto Toll Road to Mount Mansfield’s summit. These spots offer picturesque mountain and countryside views. With its summer festivals and the relaxed atmosphere, Stowe encourages you to slow down and savor every moment of your summer.

 

Boston’s Urban Summer Adventure

View of Boston's Back Bay from Boston Common in Boston, Massachusetts.

Boston’s urban summer exploration is too enticing to pass by on weekend getaways. The city’s history comes to life through the Freedom Trail and North End tours. Throughout the summer, Boston hosts live music events at venues like Fenway Park, the Hatch Shell, and Leader Bank Pavilion.

 

Venture out to the sea with Boston Harbor cruises or spend a day at city beaches such as Revere Beach. Experience Boston’s summer charm with:

 

  • Outdoor exhibits at Franklin Park Zoo

  • Garden tours

  • Dining al fresco

  • Relaxing at the Greenway and Lawn on D

 

And of course, no visit to Boston would be complete without a visit to Fenway Park to catch a Red Sox game.

 

Tl;dr

Adventure awaits any direction you go in New England this summer. Take your pick from pristine beaches and quaint coastal towns. Or head to the breathtaking mountain vistas and the excitement of urban life. New England’s summer getaways cater to both the peace-seekers and thrill-seekers alike.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What are the top summer destinations in New England?

Top summer destinations in New England feature Cape Cod, Provincetown, Chatham, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard. Add to the list the Long Island Sound shores of Connecticut and Rhode Island. Discover the unique beauty of each location!

 

What activities can one do in New England during summer?

In the summer, New England offers a tapestry of activities. You can swim, hike, go on historical tours, attend live music events, and explore both charming coastal towns and vibrant urban settings. It’s a region rich with diverse and thrilling experiences.

 

What are the best beach towns in New England?

Greenwich, Provincetown, Chatham, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, Westerly, Bar Harbor, and Portsmouth rank among New England’s finest beach towns. Each one presents a distinct blend of charm and attractions.

 

What are some unique experiences to try in New England during summer?

For unique summer experiences in New England, consider lobstering tours in Ogunquit, Maine. Venture on cliff walks in Newport, Rhode Island, discover the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and don’t miss a Red Sox game at Fenway Park in Boston. Enjoy your trip!

 

What are the best places for seafood in New England?

You should try Chatham in Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Kennebunkport in Maine for the best seafood in New England. Happy eating!

 

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