We’ve touted the tantalizing treasures you can find on a West Coast road trip, but what about the East Coast? More specifically, why not take a New England road trip? This region of the US comprises the states of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.
If you’re wondering why you should take a New England road trip for your next vacation, the answer is multitudinous but the simple response is: It’s gorgeous!
From historical relevance with its rich Colonial past, its jaw-dropping fall foliage, and the sweeping views of the Atlantic coastline, a New England road trip is about as fairy tale as it comes in this region.
So, buckle into your Toyota Corolla car seats or pack your VW Bus, and let’s get rolling on a magical, memorable New England tour through Maine and New Hampshire.
Must-See Spots Along Your New England Road Trip Through Maine and New Hampshire
When to Go
For obvious reasons, winter is not the optimal time to take a New England road trip. These states get hammered with snow, ice and endure crazy-frigid temperatures. Driving in those conditions does not make for a fairy tale travel adventure.
That said, the other seasons lend themselves to sensational traveling conditions. The autumn months (especially October) is a stunning time to tour New England’s fire-colored trees dappled along the countryside.
Or, caravan NE in the summer while enjoying balmy temperatures (the high’s average in the 80s) while driving through eye-popping verdant forest views and incredible floral delights.
Spring is also a lovely time to visit. However, bear in mind that just because our calendars say spring begins in March, Main and New Hampshire don’t always abide by that seasonal demarcation.
Winter tends to cling, clutch, and begrudge leaving these northern states, so you may run into snow and ice on your road trip if you’re going in the spring. Also be aware that March is the region’s most rainy month, which could leave you bedraggled and soaking while trying to enjoy your New England road trip.
Where to Start in Maine
As you drive through the state of Maine, you simply must check out Goose Rocks Beach, located north of Kennebunkport. It features pristine white beaches with a breathtaking 3-mile coastline.
And don’t miss an opportunity to go whale watching with tours like First Chance. The professional seafarers will take you out to the Atlantic where you can spy minke whales, finbacks, humpbacks, and if you’re lucky, you might sight a rare, endangered blue whale.
After a day of beachcombing and whale-watching, drive a few miles over to The Clam Shack and devour one of Maine’s best lobster rolls.
Furthermore, Maine isn’t called the “Pine State” for nothing. Start your entry into New Hampshire from Maine in style by driving through the White Mountain National Forest.
This is an astonishingly lush 800,000 acres packed with wildlife, ancient pines, and rugged mountain ranges that span across Main and New Hampshire making it a highlight of this New England road trip, especially in the winter months.
Take a snapshot of wild caribou, or take a healthy hike among one of the twelve trails featured in the park. White Mountain National Forest is epic during the peak of fall foliage, but equally appealing for adventurers in the summertime.
The Forest also features a museum that documents the history and evolution of this beloved forest in New England.
Highlights in New Hampshire
As you’re driving through the White Mountain National Forest from Maine into New Hampshire, you’re perfectly positioned to stop at the sleepy little town of Sugar Hill. With a population of about 600 residents, this is a tiny town, but it’s mighty in mirth and charm.
In June, the town is abuzz with their annual lupine festival which celebrates these delicate violet flowers that are bountifully blooming all around the landscape. Whether you’re driving through during the lupine festival or not, you’re assured of some of the most killer views of your New England road trip.
After a hearty day of biking, hiking, and enjoying the natural wonders in this area of New Hampshire, be sure to stop in and say “hi” to the good folks at Harman’s Cheese and Country Store. There you will find all types of dreamy culinary delights such as artisanal-made cheeses, handmade jams, jellies, gifts, and more.
And you can’t miss Polly’s Pancake Parlor for drool-worthy homemade pancakes drizzled with authentic New Hampshire maple syrup.
Want to spice up your New England road trip? Slake your vacation adventure cravings by taking a 45-minute drive from Sugar Hill to Plymouth and check out Powered Parachute Instruction.
Certified flight instructors will teach you how to navigate a powered parachute. This is the ultimate way to see the spectacular views of New Hampshire and New England.
The Last Word on Enjoying Your New England Road Trip
Of course, Maine and New Hampshire aren’t the only colonies in New England worthy of visiting. However, they do offer some of the best food, activities, and memory-making opportunities for your vacation.
What’s more, these states showcase extraordinary natural views that are beckoning you to come to savor and explore on your New England road trip.