As spring fades, I think it’s almost impossible to not dream ahead to what summer will hold. I’m writing this article on campus as our semester wraps up and finals begin, so summer bliss is definitely hovering over my head. Check out my bucket list crafted with true New England essence for some great spots to check out this summer!
1. Acadia National Park, Maine
Acadia is part of northern Maine. When I say north, I mean three hours north of Portland — which is pretty much where civilization ends. This would be a steep day trip so I’d plan for at least one overnight. You could eve give camping a try! This national park is famous not only for its fun hikes and scenic ocean views, but if you’re lucky, you’ll catch an amazing view of the Northern Lights.
2. Ogunquit, Maine
Ogunquit is such a cute town that holds a special place in my heart. It’s pretty close to the New Hampshire border, and could definitely be a day trip for people in northern Massachusetts. The town is right next to the beach with more coffee shops, penny candy, and sweatshirt racks than you can count. Walking along Marginal Way is a must. In the spring and summer months, you’ll find beautiful blossoming flowers on one side with a gorgeous ocean view on the other. Also, Wells and York are two bordering towns that are definitely worth stopping at as well. As you may have gathered, southern Maine is my favorite place in the world.
3. Burlington, Vermont
Burlington is a great spot to visit if you’re in an earthy/crunchy or hiking/biking mood. This isn’t a beach town but it’s still a great spot. Church Street is the downtown section with cobblestone streets and plenty of outdoor dining. I could easily spend an afternoon strolling down the street with some Ben and Jerry’s in hand. Vermont is famous for its plethora of farmers markets, and Burlington will not disappoint. Fresh fruit, veggies, eggs, milk, cheese — they’ve got it all! While you’re here, I would also take advantage of the fun bike paths that stretch for miles.
4. Meredith, New Hampshire
Meredith will give you the perfect essence of “lake life." It’s small but shouldn’t be overlooked, as it has great views and isn’t far from the Bank of NH Pavilion, which is right on the water where you can catch a bunch of great summer concerts. Town Docks is a fun, outdoor restaurant right next to the marina with beautiful views of Lake Winnipesaukee. On your way out, don’t miss their ice cream stand! It’s delicious.
5. Provincetown, Massachusetts
This charming town at the tip of the cape is somewhere I had never visited until this past summer. The energy of the people is contagious and you will definitely leave with a smile on your face. My friends and I found a secondhand bookstore called Tim’s Used Books that was a hidden gold mine. If you visit during June, LGBTQIA+ pride month, I’ve heard the parades and celebrations are exceptional.
6. Edgartown (Martha’s Vineyard), Massachusetts
Edgartown seriously makes me feel like I’m walking through a movie. The cobblestone streets, cedar shingles, and sparkling blue waters feel unreal. If you’re looking for a day trip, I would recommend biking across on the ferry. The island is very bike-friendly and definitely worth it. Edgartown does not have a ferry port so you’ll have to come into Oak Bluffs which is a great town to check out as well.
7. Rockport, Massachusetts
If you’ve never been to Rockport, this should be at the top of your list. It’s small, but so cozy and refreshing. Bearskin Neck is a road that juts out into the ocean and has an amazing view at the end. There are a lot of art galleries and coffee shops along the way, but my personal favorite spot is a hidden hot dog shack called Top Dog. Sounds strange — but I swear the hot dogs are really good and hit the spot mid-walk. Next to Bearskin Neck: there are a few small beaches that are great if you’re looking to grab your beach chair and tan. They can get busy in the summer, so show up early!
8. Boston, Massachusetts
I feel like Boston is easily overlooked, but there are a ton of things to do here in the summer. Although I’ve lived here my whole life, I’m still a sucker for the tourist attractions. Try out a Duck Boat which is a strange, but cool adventure. The public garden is full of life with performers, snack carts, and the famous Swan Boats. Also, if you’re visiting Boston in the summer you MUST visit Fenway Park. Even if you’re not a huge baseball fan, it’s an iconic stadium to admire. Go Sox!
9. Newport, Rhode Island
Newport is beautiful if you’re searching for something in southern New England. The views from Cliff Walk are unbelievable, once again, you may feel like you’re walking through a movie set. Newport is famous for the gorgeous mansions that sit along the water. These are worth checking out. There’s also plenty of gorgeous beaches if you’re more in the mood to kick back and relax.
10. Fairfield, Connecticut
Fairfield is another town I was not familiar with until recently when my best friend chose to attend Fairfield University! After visiting her this spring, I cannot wait to return in the summer. There’s plenty of waterfront housing available if you’re looking for a getaway. The downtown is bustling with young people and pizza shops. I recommend stopping at Firehouse Deli, their subs are literally amazing. There are a few beaches to pick from and you will not be disappointed with any of them!
Hopefully, some of these spots sparked your interest and you’ll explore them for yourself this summer! Wherever you go, if you’ve got good people beside you, flip flops on your feet, and ice cream in your hand, it’s guaranteed to be a great time.