Having spent most of my life in New England, I am the first to admit that there is so much I haven’t yet seen or done in the area. There’s no excuse! States are so close together here and there’s so much to see right in our backyards. If you’re in Boston, Maine and Vermont are under two hours away, New Hampshire is just a half hour north, and Connecticut and Rhode Island are really close too! So, what’s stopping you from getting out there and exploring?
9 Staycation Ideas for New Englanders
- Experience City Life in Boston
If you’re from New England, chances are you’ve been to Boston at some point, but there’s so much to see and do that you’ve likely only scraped the surface. And if you’ve never been, you should! Personally, I am not a big city person, but I absolutely love Boston. Why? There’s so much history, culture, and great food! Boston is where it all started.So, take a stroll through on the Freedom Trail, which winds its way throughout Boston. You can do this for free or take a guided tour and enter some of the most historic buildings in the country. Be sure to stop at Faneuil Hall and check out Cheers, the inspiration for the popular TV show of the same name and head down the street to the North End to experience Mike’s Pastry (always super crowded, but it’s delicious!). Spend some time strolling through Boston Common and ride around on the swan boats. Or, stop in one of the many different museums the city has to offer. Whether rain or shine, large budget or small, there are plenty of things to do and see in Boston!
- Visit Gillette Castle State ParkWhen you think of castles, you probably start thinking about Europe and a long plane trip to see them. Sure, Europe has a plethora of stunning castles, but so does New England! One of which is Gillette Castle in Connecticut. On the outside, it looks like a traditional medieval fortress, but as soon as you step inside, you will see built-in couches, fantastic woodcarvings and more. The castle itself is full of history and has been recently refurbished and the park is a fantastic place to hike, relax, and enjoy nature.
- Southwest Harbor, Maine and Acadia National ParkWhile most tourists flock to Bar Harbor, Maine to visit Acadia National Park, I highly recommend Southwest Harbor instead. There are fewer tourists, none of those cheap souvenir shops on every corner and with a more relaxed pace, fantastic places to eat, and great shops and galleries, you’re bound to have a lovely weekend visiting here.
- Jackson, New Hampshire and the Mount Washington RegionNext on the list is Jackson, New Hampshire and nearby Mount Washington. Jackson itself is a lovely town with hiking, biking, kayaking, waterfalls, and the famed New England covered bridges. For those looking for a quiet, relaxing staycation in a quintessential New England town, Jackson should be top of your list! Don’t forget to take a ride up the Mount Washington Auto Road and if you have children, Story Land is a great place to spend a day! There’s also the Mount Washington Cog Railway and the Mount Washington Hotel and if you happen to be visiting in the winter, there are many fantastic ski resorts in the area
- Plymouth, MA and Plimoth PlantationPlymouth, MA is home to Plimoth rock and Plimoth Plantation and is known as “Americas hometown”. There are plenty of pilgrim-related activities to keep you busy throughout the day as well as some beaches and great seafood restaurants. You’ll also find plenty of small galleries, boutiques, and locally-owner shops. It’s a wonderful place to spend the day and is family-friendly!
- Old Orchard Beach, Maine
This place is a bit on the… interesting side. Somewhat similar to Hampton Beach in New Hampshire, Old Orchard Beach in Maine offers a boardwalk full of eclectic shops and people and is definitely a tourist hotspot of the souvenir tourist variety. Nevertheless, you’ve got the beach, tons of shops and restaurants, and if you like people-watching, there’s really no better place in New England. It’s safe and a lot of fun for the whole family.Photo Credit
- Stowe, Vermont and Ben & Jerry’sWhile nearly everyone knows Stowe is great in the winter. Hello ski resorts! It’s also a fantastic summer destination. You’ve got hiking, biking trails, and plenty of dining, lodging, and shopping opportunities, but in a place that does not scream “gimmicky”. Nearby you can find the Ben & Jerry’s Factory and go take a tour (and get a free ice cream sample at the end, yum!), Cold Hollow Cider Mill, and Green Mountain Coffee. Stowe is a beautiful, picturesque New England town with lots of character and a super cool covered bridge.
- Cape Cod Rail TrailThe Cape Cod Rail Trail winds its way through 6 towns over the course of its 22 miles with amazing, scenic views of the Massachusetts coastline. If you’ve never done this bicycle ride, I highly suggest you consider it in the late spring, summer, or early fall. The views are fantastic and there are plenty of places along the way to stop off, take a dip in the ocean, or grab a bite to eat! There are bike rental places along the trail, parking is just $5 for the entire day and there are multiple restroom facilities to make this a great, family-friendly day out.
- Boston Harbor Islands, Boston, MA Even though I’ve lived just outside of Boston for my entire life, I had never visited the Boston Harbor Islands! I finally visited in the summer of 2015 and it was fantastic! It felt like I was a million miles away from the city after a short ferry ride away. If you’re looking for a beach day, head over to Spectacle Island and if history is your thing, George’s Island is a very interesting place and great for kids as they can run around and explore an old fort! It’s fairly inexpensive to take the ferry over, though I do suggest bringing food with you as the food on the islands isn’t great and the service can be pretty slow. You can also camp overnight on some of the islands to make it into a super cool weekend getaway!
So, there is is! 9 awesome staycation ideas for all you New Englanders out there! You have no more excuses. Take advantage of the time you have. Just because you don’t have weeks to travel abroad doesn’t mean you can’t have a relaxing mini-vacation for very little money. Get out there and explore something new anytime you get the chance. We are so lucky to live in the U.S. and particularly in New England where it is so easy to see, do, and experience new things all the time.
Like what you see or have a suggestion? I would love to hear you comments below!