Favorite New England Vacation Spots

With summer here, I’ve been thinking about all the possibilities of vacation spots or quick weekend getaways. Luckily, New England has so many great options for day trips, long weekends, or a week’s worth of traveling, fun, and activities. Here are some of my family’s absolute favorite New England destinations.

Burlington, VT

Beautiful scenery, a boat tour of Lake Champlain, craft breweries, and cute local shops make Burlington a crowd pleaser. There is a lot to love about the artsy, fun, and unique aesthetic of Vermont, which still holds the lush, woodsy charm of the northern New England states. Church Street Marketplace hosts many dining, shopping, and event experiences, and a lot of the businesses are dog friendly if you want to bring your four-legged family members along.

Cape Cod

The Cape offers a number of different beach-filled towns, each with its own special vibe. Provincetown is a haven for artists, cabarets, and a lively nightlife scene. Hyannis, the “city” of the Cape, has a walkable main street with arcades, shops, and quick beach access from a number of local hotels. For something less touristy and more on the quiet side, Truro has a laid-back vibe and a handful of campgrounds.

Martha’s Vineyard

A ferry ride away from the Cape, Martha’s Vineyard is a small island with a lot to offer. You can pack in a ton in one day — just be mindful of ferry schedules and bus routes if you want to explore multiple parts of the Vineyard. Or, if you want to stretch out your stay, there are a number of hotels, inns, or cottages that offer lodging. Oak Bluffs is filled with beaches, ice cream, arcades, and the Flying Horses Carousel. Vineyard Haven offers more upscale shops and dining.

White Mountains, NH

I spent nearly every summer of my childhood going to the theme parks in the White Mountains of New Hampshire: StoryLand (Glen, NH), Santa’s Village (Jefferson, NH), and Clark’s Trading Post (Lincoln, NH). It’s amazing how little they have changed, which offers a sense of comfort and nostalgia. If amusement parks aren’t your thing, there are plenty of beautiful lakes, hiking trails, and fishing in and around the area.

All these places have so much to offer and enough versatility that they work as either a family vacation spot or a quick getaway without the kids. Happy travels!

Lesley grew up in New Bedford, MA, came to Boston for college, and stuck around. She holds a master's degree in criminal justice and an MFA in creative writing. Lesley is a playwright and has had her work produced in Boston, New York, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Texas. Lesley lives in Dorchester with her husband and 3-year-old son. She is a proud and unapologetic "one and done" mom. Lesley loves traveling, true crime docs and inspired scripted series, reading, coffee, face masks, and family game nights.