The New England region of the U.S. is known for so many things, including fall foliage, historic cities, gorgeous coastlines, mountain peaks, and charming towns. Mix in amazing seafood, and an impressive culinary scene, and you’ve got endless opportunities to plan the perfect weekend away that will suit so many different types of travelers.
This post shares all the best New England getaways you can take throughout the region’s six states that are easy to enjoy in one weekend. With options ranging from beach getaways to mountain adventures, there’s most definitely something for everyone on this list.
Table of Contents
Best Coastal Weekend Getaways In New England
1. Cape Cod, MA
Home to over 500 miles of shoreline, Cape Cod is one of the top beach destinations in the Northeast, and it makes for a memorable weekend getaway in New England.
While the region is larger than many people realize, if you stick to just a few towns to explore, you’ll also find coastal charm around every corner of the 16 quaint towns. You can also enjoy visiting the gorgeous lighthouses, picturesque Main Streets for shopping, and incredible whale-watching tours.
Best Things To Do On Cape Cod:
- Explore the Cape Cod National Seashore beaches
- Stroll through downtown Chatham
- Dine on the waterfront at Ocean House or The Beachcomber
- See the famous Nauset Lighthouse (you’ll recognize it from the Cape Cod potato chips bag!)
- Tour the Provincelands sand dunes with Art’s Dune Tours
- Catch an epic sunset at Race Point Beach
Where To Stay On Cape Cod:
2. Nantucket, MA
Cape Cod has two islands off its coast, and Nantucket is one of them (the second is the next suggestion on this list!). If you’re looking for what might be the most picturesque destination on the eastern seaboard, Nantucket is for you.
A lot of people describe Nantucket as magical, and once you step foot off the ferry, you’ll be hard-pressed to disagree. The island feels both like an old, authentic fishing village frozen in time, and an upscale resort beach town. And since it’s small in size, it’s easy to cover a lot of ground with just a weekend getaway.
Best Things To Do On Nantucket:
– Walk through the picturesque town and visit the shops
– See Brant Point Lighthouse
– Stroll through the rose-covered cottages in ‘Sconset
– Spend the day at one of the beaches
– Rent a Jeep and drive over the sand to Great Point Lighthouse, one of the prettiest lighthouses in New England!
– Have a sunset dinner on the beach at Galley Beach Restaurant
Where To Stay On Nantucket:
3. Martha’s Vineyard, MA
Also off the coast of Cape Cod is the beautiful island of Martha’s Vineyard, which is home to amazing beaches, quaint towns, and gorgeous landscapes. Known for its ties to the Jaws movie, you’ll be able to visit iconic filming sites from the movie, tour lighthouses, and find postcard-worthy scenery everywhere you go.
For a weekend getaway, one of the best places to stay is in Edgartown, which offers lots of restaurants and hotels to choose from to make the most of your time.
- Visit the Gingerbread Cottages in Oak Bluffs
- Walk out to Edgartown Lighthouse
- See the famous Jaws Bridge
- Drive out to the Aquinnah Cliffs
- Have a lobster roll in Menemsha
- Bus Tour
Where To Stay On Martha’s Vineyard:
4. Westerly, Rhode Island
Located in the southwestern corner of Rhode Island, Westerly makes for one of the best New England weekend getaways if you’re looking for a beautiful coastline, great restaurants, and New England charm.
Westerly also includes the adorable little village of Watch Hill, which is where you’ll find the stunning Ocean House luxury resort. This resort is home to one of the best waterfront restaurants in the world (according to CNN Traveler!). Between the more lively town of Westerly and the quieter Watch Hill village, you get the best of both worlds on your coastal getaway here.
Best Things To Do In Westerly:
– Walk out to the Napatree Point Conservation Area
– Spend the day at Misquamicut State Beach
– Taste the local beer at Grey Sail Brewing
– Visit Watch Hill Lighthouse
– Dine at the Ocean House Resort
Where To Stay In Westerly:
5. Boston, MA
As the most iconic and exciting city in New England, Boston doesn’t really need an introduction. Known for incredible history, great food, amazing museums, boat tours, and Fenway Park, it’s safe to say that a weekend getaway in Boston is always a good idea.
Since Boston is also a very walkable city, it’s especially easy to visit with just 2-3 days. Spend your time strolling the cobblestoned streets, and eating some of the best food in New England!
Best Things To Do In Boston:
- Enjoy the scenery at the Public Gardens, and even go for a ride on the famous swan boats!
- Go on a Boston food tour
- Walk the Freedom Trail
- Take photos at the Instagram-worthy Acon Street in Beacon Hill
- Grab lunch or coffee from Tatte Bakery
- Head on a whale watch tour
- 10 Wonderful Day Trips from Boston
- Lunch cruise tour
Where To Stay In Boston
One of the most convenient areas to stay in the city is the North End, which is also home to the New England Aquarium. Here are some great Boston hotels near the Aquarium to help you decide where to stay:
6. Ogunquit, Maine
Ogunquit makes for a perfect coastal New England weekend getaway because of its small size, gorgeous scenery, and variety of things to do. Home to one of the best beaches in Maine, Ogunquit Beach, you can easily plan a lazy getaway in the sand, and spend your entire time relaxing by the shoreline.
There are tons of hotels to choose from that are within walking distance to the beach, too, making this a great destination that doesn’t require a lot of effort.
Best Things To Do In Ogunquit:
– Walk Marginal Way for amazing coastal views, and end your walk in Perkins Cove
– Visit Footbridge Beach, in addition to Ogunquit Beach
– Stroll through the adorable boutiques downtown
– Take a lobstering tour with Finest Kind Tours
– Have dinner on the water at Ogunquit Beach Lobster House
Where To Stay In Ogunquit:
7. Portsmouth, NH
A small coastal city in New England that packs a punch when it comes to charm, history, and culture is Portsmouth in New Hampshire. Visiting Portsmouth often feels more like a small town than a city, and with lots of waterfront scenery to enjoy, a very walkable downtown, and some of the best shopping in New England, it’s very easy to plan a weekend escape here.
Best Things To Do In Portsmouth:
– Shop in Market Square
– Grab lunch and coffee at Elephantine Bakery
– Step back in time at the Strawbery Banke Museum
– Walk the waterfront path at Prescott Park
– Get cozy at the Portsmouth Book & Bar
Where To Stay In Portsmouth:
8. Bar Harbor & Acadia National Park, ME
Acadia National Park is often called the “Crown Jewel of New England,” and even though the park has endless nooks and crannies to explore, it’s also pretty easy to see it in just a weekend. Many of the top attractions inside the park are close to one another, allowing you to maximize your time, and if you plan your itinerary just right, you can likely see the top sites in just one day.
Most visitors stay in the nearby town of Bar Harbor when visiting Acadia, and this town is also so fun to explore all on its own. It’s recommended to spend at least a half day walking around Bar Harbor on your weekend getaway, and then budgeting the rest of your time for Acadia.
Best Things To Do In Acadia National Park:
- Walk Ocean Path, a flat and easy path along the coastline with iconic views
- Have lunch at Jordan Pond House
- Drive Park Loop Road
- Enjoy sunrise at the top of Cadillac Mountain
- Tackle one of the park’s hikes (Great Head, Beehive, and Gorham all offer spectacular views!)
- Bus tour
Where To Stay In Bar Harbor:
9. Kennebunkport, ME
Between a quaint downtown, gorgeous homes, beautiful beaches, and fantastic boutique hotel options, the adorable coastal town of Kennebunkport makes for a wonderful weekend getaway in New England. The town’s welcoming ambiance, scenic views, and array of activities make Kennebunkport an ideal destination for a rejuvenating few days away.
Spend your day lounging around at the beaches, shopping in quaint Dock Square, or taking a boat tour of the coastline.
Best Things To Do In Kennebunkport:
– Visit Gooch’s Beach
– Take a lobstering tour with Rugosa Tours
– Drive out to Cape Porpoise for views of the harbor
– Get a lobster roll at Allison’s or the Clam Shack
– Book a special farm-to-table dinner at Earth
– Walk Parson’s Way for a glimpse of the Bush family compound
Where To Stay In Kennebunkport:
10. Block Island, RI
One of the most underrated islands in New England is the gorgeous Block Island, which is just off the coast of Rhode Island. And since this destination is just under 10 square miles, it’s very easy to see in a weekend away.
Despite its size, Block Island offers visitors so much to do, including beaches, fantastic dining, and gorgeous coastal scenery. This is an especially great summer getaway, as all the beaches on the island are free for everyone, which is a unique feature in this region!
Best Things To Do On Block Island:
– Spend the day at one of the several beaches, with Mansion Beach being especially beautiful
– Have lunch overlooking the water at The Oar (go for the lobster roll!)
– See both lighthouses on the island
– Enjoy the views of the cliffs from the Monhegan Stairs
– Hike the Clay Head trail for breathtaking views of the coastline
Where To Stay On Block Island:
11. Madison, CT
Madison is THE place to escape from the craziness of life. A cozy suburb filled with nostalgia and warm vibes, just waiting to welcome you!
Hammonasset Beach State Park. This bad boy is the largest shoreline park in the whole state, boasting two miles of sandy beach, awesome camping spots, and even a nature center. Oh, and don’t forget about the THREE town beaches, including one where they play Friday night football on the water’s edge. Talk about a dreamy setting!
The downtown area, right by the historic green, hosts a farmers’ market every Friday during the growing season. And if you’re craving a day trip, the entrance to Hammonasset has got you covered. There are ice cream stands and takeout restaurants aplenty, perfect for a tasty pit stop. One must-visit spot? Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale, is a seafood joint with picnic tables surrounding an outdoor carousel.
Oh, and let’s not forget about the charming vibes of Madison’s commercial district. Brick sidewalks and charming streetlights will have you feeling like you’ve stepped into a storybook.
Best Things To Do in Madison, CT
- The Healing Salt Cave and Wellness Spa.
- RJ Julia Booksellers
- Chamard Vineyards is a gem with 40 acres of gorgeous land. Picture 20 acres filled with delicious Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Pinot Noir grapes. Plus, you can dine with a view of the vineyard at their farm-to-table restaurant with a locally sourced menu.
- Bishops Orchards has it all: pick-your-own seasonal fruits, delightful wine tastings, a fantastic farm market, and even events like weekly trivia in the barn.
Where To Stay In Madison, CT
Best Countryside Weekend Getaways In New England
12. Stowe, VT
While it’s hard to not find charming towns all over Vermont, Stowe really checks all the boxes when it comes to beautiful mountain and countryside scenery. While it’s known for being one of the best places in New England for fall foliage, it’s spectacular year-round and feels like a true escape from everyday life.
Stowe is also a smaller town, and you’re able to see all of it in just one day. But a weekend away here will allow you to slow down, and savor every second of your trip.
Best Things To Do In Stowe, VT:
– Ride the Stowe Gondola to the top of Vermont’s highest mountain, Mount Mansfield
– Sip on local craft brews at The Alchemist
– Explore charming Main Street, and the especially amazing Stowe Mercantile
– Walk the Recreation Path that runs throughout town
– Drive Smugglers Notch for amazing foliage and views of the surrounding mountains
Where To Stay In Stowe, VT:
13. The Berkshires, MA
This gorgeous mountain range in northwest Massachusetts is perfect if you’re looking for countryside scenery, charming towns to explore, scenic drives, and lots of cozy dining options. Checking all these boxes and more, The Berkshires is such a wonderful place to unwind, connect with nature, and feel inspired.
While this is a larger region to explore, it’s still an easy weekend getaway to plan, as many of the towns are fairly close to one another.
Best Things To Do In The Berkshires:
– Hike to a waterfall (there are several options, including the Cascade Trail, and a walk to Bish Bash falls)
– Tour the local farm stands
– Sip on craft cider at Hilltop Orchards
– Drive the auto road (or hike!) to the Mount Greylock summit for amazing views
– Visit the cute towns of Lenox, Stockbridge, and Williamstown
Where To Stay In The Berkshires:
14. White Mountains, NH
Widely regarded as a top destination for foliage, the White Mountains region makes for an especially magical weekend getaway in New Hampshire in the fall. But really, it’s impressive year-round. Home to the highest mountain in New England, hiking for all levels, scenic drives, and cozy towns, this region offers an exciting retreat with its majestic peaks and natural beauty.
This is a perfect option for those looking for either a cozy mountain getaway or an adventurous hiking trip (or both!).
Best Things To Do In The White Mountains:
– Hike the Flume Gorge trail
– Take the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway
– Book a ride on The Cog mountain railroad to go to New England’s highest peak
– Drive the Kancamagus Highway
– Explore the charming towns of Littleton, North Conway, and Jackson
Where To Stay In The White Mountains:
Best New England Resort Weekend Getaways
15. Twin Farms Resort – Barnard, VT
By and far, one of the most amazing and luxurious weekend getaways in New England is a trip to Twin Farms Resort in Vermont. This all-inclusive, adults-only (14+) destination takes all the guesswork out of your vacation and allows you to truly disconnect and recharge.
Set on 300 acres in the idyllic Vermont countryside, you can expect luxurious and stylized accommodations, world-class dining, customized picnics, scenic walking trails, and a full-service spa. And the best part? All your foods and drinks, including alcohol, are included for a stress-free vacation.
16. Mirbeau Spa – Plymouth, MA
One of the premier spa getaways in New England is Mirbeau in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Designed to transport you to the French countryside, the opulent rooms here evoke a feeling of European luxury, and the Monet gardens and lily pond replica truly do make you feel as though you’ve arrived in Giverny, France.
Mirbeau offers everything you need for a relaxing weekend away, with a full-service spa, restaurant, and bar, as well as complimentary fitness or yoga classes. You can also lounge around their soothing aqua terrace, or take a bath in the soaking tub in your room.
Whether you’re looking for a dreamy beach vacation, a fun city escape, or are hoping to disconnect in the mountains, there’s truly a New England weekend getaway option for just about everyone. With so many incredible options to choose from, the hardest part is picking just one place to go!
Guest Author: This article was contributed by Sam of New England Wanderlust.
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