Summer is a gorgeous time of year to visit New England. The chilly days of winter are nothing but a distant memory and have been replaced by pleasant, warm, breezy, and occasionally muggy days.

If you are looking for a place to vacation in New England, this area of the United States has many terrific regions to choose. The hardest part may be trying to narrow down a vacation destination. The New England region encompasses six states: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Maine. Each state contains both urban and rural destinations with lots to offer in between.

You can opt to head off to experience the serenity of the mountains, jump in on the action in a city or relax on a beach alongside the tranquility of ocean waves. Chances are the problem isn't going to be finding someplace to go, but rather narrowing down the kind of vacation you want to have and which destination to choose. Once you decide the type of vacation you want, the next step is to choose the state and region.

Top New England Picks for a Summer Vacation


1. Boston, Massachusetts

Boston is perhaps one of the obvious choices for a summer trip destination, and is probably one of the most popular. This city is rich in early American history and also offers lots of summer fun. There is enough diversity of things to do to satisfy any traveler's palate.

Take a gander at the many museums, walk the Freedom Trail, visit the New England Aquarium, the Boston Public Garden or take the kids to the Children's Museum. Many historic towns surrounding Boston, so lots of day trip opportunities as well. If it's the beach you're hankering for, there are many attractive beaches right on the Atlantic shore just a short distance away. Between the city attractions and the shore, visitors can have the best of both worlds.

Boston Public Garden
Credit: Jeff Gunn on Flickr/CC by 2.0 with Attribution

A view of the Boston Public Garden

2. Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Cape Cod is another delightful Massachusetts region, and probably one of the most favored summer destinations both for locals and for people traveling from afar. With its prime location along the Atlantic Ocean coastline, Cape Cod is a summer vacationer's paradise. Early May or late September are good times to go if you want to avoid the crowds.

You can stay on the Cape, or take the ferry and spend your days on Martha's Vineyard or at Nantucket.  If a quaint or luxurious beach vacation is what you're looking for, Cape Cod could possibly be exactly what the doctor ordered.

Cape Cod Lighthouse
Credit: m01229 on Flickr/CC by 2.0 with Attribution

Cape Cod Lighthouse

3. Burlington, Vermont

Resting along the coast of Lake Champlain, Burlington has all the makings of a great summer vacation. You can swim, water-ski, fish, hike, or golf for relaxation or spend time strolling the quaint shops and cobblestone streets. The possibilities in Burlington are endless. In addition to traditional summer recreation, visitors can enjoy the arts, culture, nature and shopping. With close proximity to beaches, swimming holes and the Green Mountains, what's not to love?

Church Street, Burlington, Vermont
Credit: jay8085 on Flickr/CC by 2.0 with Attribution

Church Street, Burlington, Vermont

4. Block Island, Rhode Island

If relaxation is on your summer menu, Block Island is bound to whet your appetite. With 17 miles of beachfront, there are plenty of options to spend your vacation lazing and enjoying the coastal shores in the summer sun of New England. The islanders live a rather laid back way of life and would fit perfectly with a vacation planned with serenity and leisure in mind.

5. Mohegan Sun, Connecticut

If the summer leisure of the beaches or serenity of the mountains are not appealing because you want action, Mohegan Sun is New England's mini-Vegas. If gambling, entertainment, dining, dancing, spas and shopping are more up your alley, the action happening at Mohegan Sun may be the place for you. 

[ Related Reading: Forget New York City, Spend a Weekend in Connecticut ]

Mohegan Sun slots
Credit: spablab on Flickr/CC by 2.0 Attribution

Mohegan Sun slot machines

6. Berkshires, Massachusetts

Travelers heading to the northeast are in for a treat in the Berkshires. The region is well-known for museums, history, music, culture and art. There are many quaint bed and breakfast settings for visitors to enjoy if looking for a quiet getaway.

The Berkshires are full of historic landmarks and outdoor recreational activities. This is another place where you can receive the best of both worlds during a summer trip. Indulge in fishing, biking, hiking, whitewater rafting, swimming and golfing. If you do visit the Berkshire region, you might want to check out the Hancock Shaker Village to have an amazing historic experience.

Hancock Shaker Village, Massachusetts
Credit: Matt Howry on Flickr/CC by 2.0 with Attribution

Hancock Shaker Village

7. Bar Harbor, Maine

Being right on the water where you can almost taste the ocean, Bar Harbor is one of Maine's premier destinations for summer. Adjacent to the Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor is a perfect summer family or couples destination. Go birding, whale watching or enjoy the seclusion of the nearby wooded park areas. This is just one of Maine's many wonderful locations.

8. Mystic, Connecticut

If a family vacation is planned, Mystic offers lots of family fun. With arcades, beaches, the famous Mystic Aquarium, Mystic Seaport Museum, Olde Mistick Village, and more. The region is rich in both history and fun. Take your pick.

Mystic Connecticut
Credit: Lara Mercer Photography on Flickr/CC by 2.0 with Attribution

9. Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire

The backdrop of a Lake Winnipesaukee vacation is a gorgeous one. Set on a beautiful landscape, a vacation at the lake is fun for everyone. There's boating, fishing, various outdoor recreation activities, scuba diving, shopping, water parks and much, much more. Sail on the lake, or lounge at the beach. The sky's the limit for relaxing and enjoyable leisurely time at this New Hampshire destination.

10.   Newport, Rhode Island

If you're looking for destination with a lot of variety, Newport is a great city to visit. Rich in history, you can visit the museums, enjoy the mansion tours or take a Redwood Library tour, to name a few ideas. Enjoy the beautiful coastline, soak up the sun on one of the nearby beaches or walk the Cliff Walk. 2 There's also the dining to consider.

New England is full of wonderful places to visit during the summer months. This list is only a small sampling of what the region has to offer. The diversity of vacation styles and places to visit are limitless. The biggest challenge is probably restricting your choices to picking just one regional destination or town.

[ Related Reading: Family Summer Vacation Ideas in the Northeast ]

Fodor's New England (Full-color Travel Guide)
Amazon Price: $23.99 $20.90 Buy Now
(price as of Jun 22, 2016)