5 Best Day Trips in New England in the Spring
Sometimes the best way to explore the world around is to simply take a road trip. Thankfully, many of the cities, towns, and parks in New England are in close proximity to each other which makes taking day trips to visit them much more convenient. If you want to try delicious seafood on the coast of Maine, explore the lakes of Vermont, or satisfy your inner history buff with visits to historic New England towns, some of the best day trips in New England can help you accomplish just that.
New England is vast and packed with countless natural, culinary, and cultural treasures. Covering the northeast corner of the United States, the main cities of Boston, Portland, Providence, and Burlington often come to mind, but beyond them, you’ll find scenic beauty complete with rolling hills, national and state parks, quaint towns, and gorgeous coastline.
Here are some New England day trips that are perfect for spring and warm weather months.
If you’ve ever wanted to whale watch, this is your perfect opportunity to do just that while enjoying all the scenic beauty that a national park has to offer. Acadia National Park is a 47,000-acre recreation area on the Atlantic coast with a rugged landscape home to woodlands, cliffs, and rocky beaches. From hiking and mountain biking to fishing and swimming, there’s something for everyone at Acadia—even if it’s just admiring the gorgeous views of the Atlantic. You can also find the highest point on the eastern coast at Cadillac Mountain, a glacier-scoured granite peak. Another popular destination is Thunder Hole, a place where the incoming tide meets a grouping of dark rocks. This national park protects numerous habitats and wildlife in their rocky headlands including moose, bears, seabirds, and whales. A day trip to Acadia National Park is perfect if you live in another part of Maine or if you’re staying in Portland. With so many activities and sights to choose from, you’ll never have the same experience twice.
Festivals in the spring finally give us the chance to shake off the cobwebs of the winter and enjoy the long-awaited sunshine. One of the lovely things about springtime in New England is that moment when flowers bloom and farming is back in swing. There are several festivals throughout New England that celebrate one or more elements of spring such as flower festivals, birdwatching, and patriotic reenactments. Connecticut offers several festivals between March and April including the Maple Festival in Hebron which celebrates all things maple, the Cherry Blossom Festival in New Haven, and the Daffodil Festival in Meriden. The Hebron Maple Festival is particularly special as maple sugar is widely-celebrated in New England, and this event is dedicated to honoring the treat with tours of sugarhouses, maple treat samples like maple ice cream sundaes and maple-chocolate pretzels, and a number of musical acts and parades. Similarly, the Cherry Blossom Festival and Daffodil Festival celebrate the historic planting and springtime blooming of these flowers, with both events featuring live music, food, crafts, and more family fun.
We all know the stories of the infamous 1692 Salem witch trials, but how many of us can say that we’ve actually seen the historic sight for ourselves? If you live nearby in Massachusetts and consider yourself a history buff, we recommend visiting the town of Salem—it’s a convenient 30-minute train ride from Boston with a ticket to get there costing around ten dollars. There are plenty of things to do in Salem including visiting the Salem Witch Museum with its Gothic exterior and exhibits that teach you everything there is to know about the history of the town and the trials. Even art lovers can find something to celebrate at the Peabody Essex Museum. When visiting, be sure to visit the shops on Essex Street, the downtown shopping hub of Salem, and walk along the Salem Heritage Trail that runs through town. When the winter weather recedes, take a scenic stroll through this famous town and enjoy the natural beauty of Massachusetts.
Block Island is notoriously difficult to get to—you can only arrive by boat or by plane—but it’s incredibly worth making the effort. Sitting roughly thirteen miles off the Rhode Island coast, Block Island was first settled in 1661 with nearly half of the land still being preserved. This retreat boasts seventeen miles of white sandy beaches and twenty-eight miles of well-maintained walking trails for visitors to enjoy during their time exploring. The island is mostly a getaway for anyone interested in unplugging for a little while and soaking up nature through their walks, cycling, or swimming, but the water access also offers anyone visiting with a boat even more activities such as water skiing, charter fishing kayaking, and surfing—with more room on their own boat to store all the gear they need for the fun ahead.
This list would be incomplete without a mention of one of the most fun day trips in New England. The Green Mountain Byway is part of Vermont’s Route 100. This scenic driving route runs through the Worcester Range and the Green Mountains. While the drive itself is scenic and peaceful, many choose to make the journey because of the foliage. Whether you’re driving through in spring, summer, or fall, the Green Mountain Byway and its lovely trees will delight you all year. While the fall brings colorful leaves, in the warm months you can get out of the car and enjoy stops along the way. Some of the fun things to do on a New England day trip like this include renting a kayak and paddling around the Waterbury reservoir, hiking on Mount Mansfield, or—our personal favorite—taking a tour of the Ben & Jerry’s factory. If you’re famished or just want to shop for some souvenirs, the byway takes you through Waterbury and Stowe where you can stop for a quick bite to eat and do a bit of shopping.
Did some of your favorite New England day trips make the list? Have other exciting adventures to tell us about? Let us know in the comments what you think some of the best New England day trips are.