New England is perhaps the most historic region of the U.S. Composed of six states— Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, New England has plenty for travelers to do and see. One of the best ways to experience all the region has to offer is by car. Quaint towns and spectacular natural scenery can be found at every turn, along with larger cities to explore. The best time to take a road trip to New England is in the late spring, summer or fall. In the spring and summer you will be able to see lush landscapes and breathtaking beaches. In the fall, you will be rewarded with beautiful fall foliage. It is best to avoid the winter months since the area often gets a lot of snow.
Interested in taking a road trip to New England this summer? Check out these 10 ideas for different routes and sites to see along the way!
- Acadia National Park, Maine: While everyday tourists may not think of Maine as a primary destination for a U.S. road trip, this state offers some of the most pristine natural landscape in the U.S. Acadia National Park boasts a spectacular 47,000 acres of mountains, lakes, forests and coastline. One of the best ways to experience the park is by car, via the Park Loop Road. The 27-mile road begins at the Hulls Cove Visitors Center and winds throughout Mount Desert Island. Whether you prefer mountains or beaches, the Park Loop Road is sure to provide beautiful scenery. Plan your visit for the summer, as the road is closed from December-April 15th. For more information, please visit: http://www.nps.gov/acad/planyourvisit/driving.htm
- Green Mountain Byway, Vermont: This 14-mile stretch of VT 100 may be a quick drive, but it offers plenty to do and see. Connecting the towns of Waterbury and Stowe, the road runs along the spine of the Green Mountains. Along the way you will pass lush meadows, forests, and some of Vermont's largest peaks, such as Mount Mansfield, which is the state's tallest mountain. In addition, there are dozens of art galleries, farm stands, and historic sites to visit along the route. Craving some ice cream on your summer drive? Stop by the Ben and Jerry's Factory, which is also located off the byway.
- The Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts: This 65-mile East-West Highway is one of America's oldest scenic roads and follows the historic Mohawk Trail. Historically, the Mohawk Trail was a route that Native Americans and early American settlers used as a footpath and trade route from New York and into New England. Today, it follows Massachusetts Route 2 and connects the Hudson and Connecticut River Valleys. Along the route, travelers will find hundreds of country inns, art galleries, camping areas and stunning natural views. For more information and ideas for driving tours of the trail, please visit: http://mohawktrail.com/driving-tours.html
- Lake Champlain, Vermont: Lake Champlain is one of New England's most beautiful areas. Traversing the borders of Vermont, New York, and Quebec, this lake region has a wide variety of sites and activities available. There are many different routes you can explore. Try starting in the town of Burlington and then head north through the Champlain islands. Consider stopping at one of the many parks, beaches, and quaint villages along the way.
- Coastal Route 1, Maine: Route 1 runs along the entire east coast of Maine, from Fort Kent in the north to Kittery in the south. Passing through many state and national parks, Route 1 provides incredible natural scenery. It is known for the many lighthouses, antique shops, and lobster shacks you can stop at on your trip.
- Route 169, Connecticut: Route 169 in Connecticut is designated as a National Scenic Byway. Starting in Norwich, the road runs 32 miles north to the Massachusetts border, ending in Charlton, MA. It winds through northeastern Connecticut passing untouched natural areas. Route 169 is for the traveler looking to take it slow and enjoy winding roads and quiet towns.
- Coastal U.S. Route 1 and Newport, Rhode Island: While Rhode Island is the smallest state in the union, it manages to boast 400 miles of coastline. Some of the best coastal scenery can be found by driving along U.S. Route 1 and it's offshoot 1A from Westerly to Providence and Pawtucket. It follows along the edges of the Narragansett Bay and winds through many bays, coves and coastal islands. For a detour, take Route 138 across the Jamestown and Newport Bridges to the town of Newport. While there, check out the mansions, yachts, and scenic vineyards that make this city a famous vacation destination.
- Cape Cod, Massachusetts: Cape Cod is a cape on the easternmost section of Massachusetts. It is one of the premier vacation destinations in New England and offers some beautiful scenery for a road trip. Take Route 6 or Route 6A along the cape and pass through small seaside towns, which boast charming antique shops, restaurants, and boutiques. If you go during the summer, make sure to stop and enjoy some time at the beach as well!
- Kancamagus Scenic Byway, New Hampshire: The Kancamagus Scenic Byway gets its name from Native American Chief Kancamagus or "Fearless One," who was the last leader of the Passaconaway Tribe in the 1600s. This 35-mile road winds through New Hampshire's White Mountains between Conway and Lincoln. This road trip is definitely for nature lovers since the route traverses the White Mountain National Forest, which offers plenty of trails, campgrounds, swimming holes, waterfalls, and scenic outlooks. To extend your journey, continue onto the White Mountain Trail, which makes a loop with "the Kanc." These two roads together form a National Scenic Byway.
- The Berkshires, Massachusetts: The Berkshires or Berkshire Mountains are a popular destination for many travelers visiting New England. In the fall, the area is known for its fall foliage and changing leaves. However, the Berkshires have recently been recognized for their growing art scene. Some of America's most well known artists lived here, such as Normal Rockwell. Art lovers should consider visiting the Normal Rockwell Museum or the Mass MoCA (Museum of Contemporary Arts).
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Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Ani is a fan of exploring new places through photography and the local cuisine. After earning her BFA in photography from NYU and gaining communications experience at International Planned Parenthood Federation, she joined InterExchange in 2012, and worked as the Marketing Producer until 2016.