Carolyn Kruse

Carolyn Kruse

Carolyn Kruse

Everybody is going somewhere…and fast! Summer is here. According to AAA Northeast, it’s a very busy season on the roads. Be prepared for plenty of traffic, wait times at restaurants and no vacancy signs at hotels/motels. So, where are you going? Beach, mountains, city? Here are 12 New England destinations that are TOPS for travel through Labor Day, according to

Here, you will find something for everyone, from more active destinations to more laid-back, chill kinds of places. So, whether it’s R&R you are seeking or tons of fun in the sun, there’s a place for you. And most of these spots are a fairly easy drive, with or without kids. Take a look at 12 New England destinatins that are TOPS for travel this summer, as chosen by the website Visiting New England.

Surprisingly, on this list, Cape Cod didn’t rank until #13, with Centerville, MA near Hyannis. Maine lives up to it’s moniker, “Vacationland,” with plenty of love shown to the Pine Tree State. New Hampshire is always a popular vacation state and had a good showing in the top 12, here. It’s not your typical list, where P-Town and Nantucket show up big. But this may give you some good ideas for summer travel. There’s still time to enjoy the season!

  • 12. Kennebunkport, ME

    Kennebunkport, Manie is a “simple, sea-centric bliss: a natural beach destination with miles of rugged shoreline dotted with summer homes and sailboats.” That’s how US News and World Report descriped this lovely little slice of New England heaven. There are some sweet little bed and breakfasts, amazing seafood restaurants, a pretty-as-a-picture downtown with boutiques and coffee shops to keep you busy. Biking is so fun around here with the impressive Eastern Trail. I’ve logged a few miles on this one. There’s actually a 65-mile section of the East Coast Greenway that spans from Kittery to South Portland.

  • 11. Burlington, VT

    How can you not fall in love with Burlington? It’s charming yet cosmopolitan. Nestled between the Adirondack and Green Mountains, and sweetly situated on the shores of Lake Champlain, Burlington is chock full of nature, arts and culture. You won’t have to search long for things to do, there is plenty with theater, music, hiking and biking.

    Hello Burlington, VT: Things to Do, Places to Stay, Events & More

    Discover the best of Burlington, VT with our comprehensive site. Find exciting things to do, top-rated places to stay, upcoming events, and curated travel itineraries. Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Burlington, from exploring scenic attractions to experiencing local festivals and enjoying the city's diverse dining scene.

  • 10. Newport, RI

    “America’s first resort,” as it was once called, is a great place to visit for history, food, great beaches and entertainment. Of course, Newport is famous for it’s Gilded Age mansions and Cliff walk. But it’s also a spectacular place being on the water or in the water. You can rent sailboats and take lessons at The Newport Yacht Club. Shopping is downtown is always fun, too.

    Newport County Rhode Island | Attractions, Things to Do & Events

    Newport County was recently named by Conde Nast Traveler as one of the top destinations in the nation and for good reason. It's surrounded by water and a popular summer spot that showcases its beautiful architecture, history, restaurants, and shopping.

  • 9. Portsmouth, NH

    This beautiful little city not only is a fun place to visit, but it’s become a very hot spot to move. It has so much to offer, from beaches to restaurants, culture to open space. Take a sunset cruise, go whale watching or enjoy a night out on the town with music, theater and fabulous restaurants.

    Official Portsmouth, NH Tourism Website! Stay. Shop. Eat.

    Explore historic Portsmouth, NH on your next vacation. Discover mouth-watering restaurants, boutique shops, live music, and more!


  • 8. Lexington-Concord, MA

    Need 40 good reasons to visit this historic area of Massachusetts? Visiting New England has them for you! You know it has to include a visit to spectacular Walden Pond, or the Minuteman Bikeway. How about the historic Colonial Inn in Concord. It’s all here, beauty and history.

    Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, Travel and Vacation Ideas

    Lexington and Concord, Mass., are best known as key locations in the Revolutionary War. Today, with many related historical travel attractions wonderfully intact and shopping, dining, lodging and recreational opportunities, Lexington and Concord thrive as famous New England travel destinations. Here is what we recommend visiting in these two beautiful towns, located only 30-45 minutes west of Boston: ...

  • 7. Stowe, VT

    Breathtaking sunset views, world-class recreation and plenty of local flavor can be found in charming Stowe, Vermont. Did you know Stowe is located at the foot of Vermont’s highest peak, Mount Mansfield? Up for a hike? Plenty of gorgeous trails to be found here.

    Visit Stowe, Vermont - Official Tourism Site | Go Stowe

    Stowe, Vermont is a four-season destination located at the foot of Mount Mansfield, Vermont's highest peak. Explore dozens of shops, restaurants, and lodging options ranging from country inns to boutique hotels.

  • 6. Rockport. MA

    With miles of beautiful beaches, this quaint little New England town is a perfect destination for a summer break from reality. As declares, Rockport has”that uncommonly magical light that has inspired painters since Winslow Homer.” Be sure to make a stop at the famous artist colony at Bearskin Neck, grab a lobster roll and soak in the  North Shore flavor.

    Rockport USA

    Visit Rockport for our miles of lovely beaches, boulder-strewn paths through woods and glades, and that uncommonly magical light that has inspired painters since Winslow Homer. In an hour's pleasant drive north of Boston, you can enjoy a romantic getaway, exquisite dining and a unique shopping experience year round.

  • 5. Lincoln-Woodstock region, NH

    Woodstock is a perfectly lovely and fun little town. You can’t pass up a visit and/or stay at the Woodstock Inn Brewery. Plenty of local pizzaza here. Walk down Main Street for quaint shops and restaurants. According to, another grea place to see is Cascade Park. “Located behind Main Street, it is a tranquil place to relax on the rocks, take a dip in the Pemigewasset River, or enjoy a picnic lunch. Stay for some live music from local bands at the gazebo at Soldier’s Park, held on Saturday nights throughout the summer.”

    Woodstock, New Hampshire | Things to Do, Hotels & Restaurants

    Looking for a great time in the White Mountains? Whether visiting the Ice Castles or riding ATV's, Woodstock has fun adventures to offer year-round.

  • 4. Boston, MA

    Sometimes, the most fun you can have is in your own backyard. When was the last time you were a tourist in Boston? I just did the North End Food Tour and fell back in love with my city. The food, the culture, the history, the beauty is all right here. World class shopping, the Swan Boats, the Rose Kennedy Greenway, live music at MGM Music Hall, a game at Fenway…this summer GET HERE. Fall back in love with Boston. Do an overnight stay at an Air B&B or hotel. Live and love Boston.

    Meet Boston | Your Official Guide to Boston

    Plan the perfect vacation and discover everything Boston has to offer. Use our itinerary builder and hotel booking tool to get the most from your trip.

  • 3. Block Island, RI

    Immerse yourself in summer at Block Island, with 7 miles of “pristine beaches, protected by lighthouses and spectacular bluffs” (Visit Rhode Island). It’s just a short ferry ride from the mainland to feel like you are far away from reality. It truly is the ultimate island experience. Explore the island on a bike or moped. Walk the boutique lined streets. Catch live music with the sun setting on you. There is so much to summer here!


    Block Island | Hotels, Attractions & Trip Planning

    Experience island life with a trip to Block Island, RI! Plan the perfect getaway with our guide to events, beachfront rentals, attractions, and restaurants.

  • 2. Northeast Harbor, ME

    Visiting New England says Northeast Harbor Maine is: “A peaceful haven from some of the more commercial hustle and bustle of Acadia National Park, Northeast Harbor is a true vacation getaway. Situated on a beautiful Maine harbor, Northeast Harbor also has a quaint little downtown with a grocery store, a few restaurants and clothing and antique stores.” This is the place to get back to nature and find a little peace.

    Northeast Harbor - Visit Maine

    Morning Thuya Garden Lodge and Asticou Azalea Garden Begin your day at these two exquisite and historic gardens. Access to the Gardens by way of the Asticou...

  • 1. York Beach, ME

    If you’ve never been you should know that this area, sometimes called “the Yorks, ” is actually 4 communities. There’s York Village, York Harbor, York Beach and Cape Neddick. So much York to love! But, as for York Beach, it’s all hot fun in the summertime! Visit Maine claims “it’s a tiny, classic village full of funky places to eat, shop and play. A long-time favorite is The Goldenrod, a candy store and café open since 1896. Salt-water taffy is made on-site, with more than eight million pieces produced annually.” How sweet! But don’t let that distract you from what’s really important here, the beaches! Try on Long Sands Beach, with 1.5 miles of sand, swimming, sunbathing and water fun. If that doesn’t fit, try Short Sands Beach, which is a 1/4 mile of beach, “tucked amid the cliffs. There is a playground here for the little ones, and a gazebo for summer concerts. No short supply of New England summertime fun at York Beach.

    THE 24 Best Things To Do In York Maine For 2024 + Helpful Tips For Your Trip

    With so many great things to do in York Maine, it's the place to slow down and enjoy the view, stroll the sandy beaches, and explore unique attractions.

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