The New England region of the U.S. is full of beautiful destinations at every turn. In fact, it’s one of our favorite parts of the country. We’ve outlined 15 of the best places you can see to give you an idea of where to go and what to explore.
15 of the Best Places to Visit in New England
New England is home to six states, each with beautiful cities and countless attractions.
Whether you are culture-oriented or love exploring the mountains, coastlines, amusement parks, dense forests, entertainment centers, and restaurants, the place has you covered.
Sounds interesting? Keep reading to learn the best places to visit in New England, what they offer, and the things to consider before visiting.
1. Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
Martha’s Vineyard Island is in Dukes County, south of Cape Cod. It boasts six historic towns, pristine beaches, amusement parks, and other attractions to offer something to everyone.
The island is approximately 225 square kilometers, meaning that attractions are only a short distance apart. And, you can explore while on a bike.
It has built a reputation as a popular summer destination, in part thanks to its refreshing ocean breezes and its numerous celebrity visitors. Some of the most prominent attractions include:
- The West Chop Lighthouse
- Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association (MVCMA)
- South Beach and the Flying Horses Carousel (the oldest operating carousel remaining in the US)
- Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge
- Island Alpaca Company of Martha’s Vineyard
2. Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, the capital of Rhode Island, is home to many theaters and museums. You also can learn about the history of American art and culture at the RISD Museum.
However, the city is not all about arts and culture. It offers tons of other attractions, many of which are connected to Providence’s extraordinary history that dates back to colonial times. In particular, the following are must-visits:
- Roger Williams Park Zoo
- Brown University
- Rhode Island State House
- Roger Williams Park
- Benefit Street, featuring examples of Colonial and Victorian architecture
- Providence Children’s Museum
Moving around the city is hassle-free. There are rental bikes, bus lines, rental cars, ferries, and rail.
3. Manchester, Vermont
Manchester is tucked amid the gorgeous green mountains of Bennington County, Vermont.
Visiting the town gives you a chance to enjoy the scenic views of the Green Mountains, Hildene (Abraham Lincoln’s family home), Lye Brook Falls, and more.
Want to advance your angling skills? Head straight to the American Museum of Fly Fishing, where you will learn how to use different rods, flies, reels, and other fly fishing accessories. Other outdoor activities include hiking, kayaking, cycling, and golfing.
If you love dairy farming, you can visit the Northern Meadow Farm to learn how to nurture different breeds of cattle.
4. Boston, Massachusetts
Boston is the capital and the most prominent city in Massachusetts. Here, you can sightsee at the Museum of Fine Arts, New England Aquarium, Museum of Science, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Fenway Park, and Freedom Trail.
Need something away from the city’s centuries of incredible history? Head to one of Boston’s amusement parks, such as Christopher Columbus Water Park, Piers Park, the Lawn on D, and the Esplanade Play Space.
Beer lovers can go for a sampling tour at one of the city’s well-regarded breweries.
5. Portland, Maine
Portland is the largest town in Maine. It’s richly endowed with numerous attractions like the charming White House estate, shopping centers, natural museums, and outstanding examples of 19th Century architecture.
Nature enthusiasts can enjoy the breathtaking views of the harbor and the ocean from the peak of the Portland headlight.
Those not interested in climbing the lighthouses can visit Maine Historical Society to learn about the town’s remarkable culture and history.
If you’re an angler (or have an interest in it), consider booking a Maine lobster tour and enjoy fishing with a professional crew.
Want to get outdoorsy? Set out to Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, one hour drive to the north of Portland. There, you can see hushed forests, souvenir shops, boat tours, butterfly houses, and fish ponds.
6. Berkshires, Massachusetts
Nestled in western Massachusetts is the Berkshires—a cluster of New England towns famous for being a visitors’ playground and the cradle of New England history, culture, and art.
You can learn about the history and culture of the town at the MASS moCA Museum and the Clark Art Institute. The Hancock Shaker Village, meanwhile, is a former religious commune that was first organized in the 1790s.
Outgoing visitors can take a tour to the Massachusetts highest peak, Mount Greylock, and enjoy the luscious surroundings.
If you love dance music, you’ll have a great time at Jacob’s Pillow dance center.
7. Burlington, Vermont
Burlington is a historic town perched in the northwest region of Vermont, along the eastern shore of Champlain Lake.
Visiting the Ethan Allen Homestead Museum will give you a sense of how Vermont came to be. After, you can explore picture-perfect Ethan Allen Park.
Want to reconnect with nature? Hire a bike from local bike rentals to explore the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center, foam brewers, waterfront parks, and other attractions along the Burlington bike path.
After a long day, you can head downtown for nightlife at Nectars, Club Metronome, and Rasputin’s.
8. Newport, Rhode Island
Newport is perched on Aquidneck Island along the northeastern border with Canada. The town is famous for its beautiful natural attractions, breathtaking sights, and numerous seaside beaches.
For instance, visitors craving sightseeing can set out to the downtown’s 3.5-mile cliff walk and enjoy the panoramic views of the Atlantic coastline, Narragansett Bay, Memorial Boulevard, and Gilded Age mansions.
Outdoorsy visitors can go fishing, boating, swimming, hiking, and golfing at Fort Adams State Park. The park also offers a campground.
Other attractions include Thames Street, Bowen’s Wharf, and Château-Sur-Mer, among others.
9. Mystic, Connecticut
Mystic, a waterfront village on the shores of the Mystic River, is famous for its rich nautical history. You can learn about it at the Mystic Seaport Museum.
In addition to the town’s history, aspiring kayakers and captains can advance their skills by attending exhibitions held at the museum.
If you’re a nature enthusiast, set out to the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center to see hawks and 17th century stone walls.
Those looking for other entertainment will want to check out the Mystic Aquarium and the Mystic Museum of Art.
10. Washington, Connecticut
Located in Litchfield Hills, 22 miles to the northeast of Danbury, is Washington. It boasts charming countryside, historic architecture, and bustling cultural life.
You can visit Lake Waramaug State Park for picnicking, swimming, camping, and kayaking.
Want to broaden your artistic skills? Do not miss the Spring Hills Arts Gathering at the Vineyards Gardens. Here, you will enjoy live performances from top artists and sample the local brews.
Those looking for beautiful scenery can head to Hollister House Gardens. There, you’ll get to take in panoramic views of the beautifully manicured gardens and rolling mountains.
11. Acadia National Park, Maine
Acadia National Park boasts mountain peaks, hiking trails, sandy beaches, and numerous other attractions.
Hike up Cadillac Mountain to enjoy the spectacular sights of the park and its surroundings. Early risers who visit between October and March will get to experience the energetic brilliance of the area’s morning sun rays.
Elsewhere, consider Jordan Pond and its picturesque mountains, beautiful rocks, and trees reflected by the crystal clear waters. Visit the onsite restaurant for lobster rolls, signature popovers, and other culinary delights.
12. Hartford, Connecticut
Hartford is the capital of Connecticut County. It is home to numerous tourist attractions, playgrounds, theaters, museums, and activities for all ages.
Outgoing travelers can venture into the Delamere Forest and enjoy viewing exotic wildlife as they hunt for Gruffalo characters hidden behind trees.
If Gruffalo hunting isn’t for you, your family can have a great time swinging on the Go Ape high ropes course.
Alternatively, head to Applejack Adventure Farm for golfing, arching, and an irresistible bouncy castle.
Other attractions within Hartford include the Sandstone Trail, Cotebrook Shire Horse Center, and the Polar Palace.
13. Nantucket, Massachusetts
Nantucket is an isolated island that lies approximately 30 miles from the south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. This evocative destination has delightful beaches, a bustling art scene, and world-class restaurants.
Art lovers can visit Nantucket’s Dreamland Film and Performing Arts Center, where you can watch live performances or attend artistic training classes.
At Cisco Brewers, you can sample quality beers, spirits, and wines for free. After sampling the drinks, head to Nantucket Lightship Basket Museum to pick a take-home basket gift for your loved one.
14. Narragansett, Rhode Island
Narragansett, Rhode Island has pristine beaches, historic landmarks, vibrant nightlife, excellent restaurants, and varied accommodations.
Are you a beach lover or simply a fan of picturesque scenery? Then, Roger Wheeler State Beach, Salter Brine State Beach, and Scarborough State Beach will be must-visits.
Want to put your hiking abilities to the test? Set out for bluff climbing and nature exploration along the town’s 2.1 mile Black Point Trail.
After a day full of activity, consider an energizing meal at T’s Restaurant, Meldgie’s Diner Pt. Judith, and The Bike Stop Cafe.
15. White Mountains, New Hampshire
The White Mountains is a great family-friendly destination, with attractive features like the Conway Scenic Railroad, mountain peaks, well-maintained beaches, and breweries.
Travelers can enjoy thrilling tours to the peak of Mount Wellington via the Cog Railway and enjoy the aerial views of the ravines and forests.
Need an adrenaline rush? Take a tour to the Alpine Slide at Attitash, where you will delight in sliding down the facility.
Alternatively, set out to Alpine Adventures in Lincoln, where you will find zip-lining and obstacle rope courses, among others.
Things to Consider
New England is a vast region and each state has its unique factors to consider. For instance, there might be more parking options in Boston compared to Mystic, Connecticut. Likewise, accommodation and costs will vary drastically depending on your destination. Here are some things to account for:
- Accommodation: Where will you stay during your visit? Does the destination offer multiple options, such as apartments, hotels, or bed and breakfasts?
- Transportation: What transportation is available? Do you plan a road trip? Are there any rental car companies?
- Cost: How much will it cost to get to your destination? Do the attractions have entry fees? Are there other expenses that you need to anticipate?
- Parking: does your target destination offer any parking? If yes, is it free or premium?
- Traveling Period: Will there be an influx of tourists during the summer? Will places be open during the off-season?
By thoroughly planning in advance, you will ensure that your visit to New England will be trouble-free.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about the best places to visit in New England.
What is the most beautiful state in New England?
Rhode Island is often rated as the most beautiful state in New England because it is richly endowed with numerous historic sites, national landmarks, and national parks.
Where can I spend a week in New England?
You can have a peaceful stay in Newport, Boston, Portland, Washington, Mystic, Narragansett, or any other place on this list.
What is the prettiest place in Massachusetts?
Some of the prettiest places in Massachusetts include:
- Nantucket Lightship Basket Museum
- Nantucket’s Dreamland Film and Performing Arts Center
- Mount Greylock in Berkshires
- Jacob’s Pillow Dance center
- Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge
- Vineyard Haven
Is New England a U.S. State?
No. New England is a region in the northeast corner of the U.S., consisting of six states, including Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Vermont.
What is the best time to visit New England?
The best time to visit the New England region is during the high season, from late May to August.
So, What’s the Best Place to Visit in New England?
The best place to visit in New England is the one that offers you all that you need for a fun-filled, unforgettable vacation.
Whether you want to see the bustling city sights of Boston or take in the ocean breeze views of Martha’s Vineyard, New England has something for everyone. Once you’ve chosen your destination, your next step will be to make memories!