7 fun things to do while traveling in New England, the charming, north-eastern corner of the USA.
No matter where I am on the planet, I’ll always consider New England my home.
Writing a travel article about my home seems a bit strange, but I’ve been inspired to write this after seeing New England through the eyes of my Australian boyfriend, Matt. He’s never been to the USA, so I’ve been constantly thinking of fun activities and classic foods that will help introduce him to the culture.
I was born in Massachusetts and grew up in Worcester county for most of my childhood. My Dad’s parents live in Cape Cod, and a visit to their comfortable house in Bourne means lots of bike rides to the beach and salty ocean breezes. My Mom’s family comes from Maine, and I’ve spent countless summers at Sebago Lake eating lobsters and s’mores and diving off the dock.
In addition to Massachusetts and Maine, New England also includes Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Connecticut. These six tiny states are relatively similar, though they all have their own unique attractions.
Showing Matt around New England has helped me appreciate how beautiful this area really is during the summertime. The rich greenery and flourishing plant life overflows into the quiet roads, and the warm weather opens up lots of outdoor activities. The brutal winters, which sometimes last until April, persuade people to hibernate in their homes. When the humid summer air starts to roll in, New Englanders practically leap outside in hopes of soaking in the sun and the warmth.
So here is a general list of 7 fun things to do in New England during summer. Whether you live here and need some reminding of the beauty around you, or if you’re just visiting and want to know the highlights of the area, I hope this list will inspire people to embrace the New England culture.
(I wrote another article about New England a few years ago, click here to read!)
1.Taste A New England Lobster
Lobsters are an incredibly popular crustacean in New England, particularly in Maine where they are considered some of the finest in the world. Whether they are served boiled with butter, roughly chopped and mixed with mayonnaise in a lobster roll, or thrown into any other sort of seafood dish like pasta or casserole, New England lobsters are a classic delicacy.
You can find lobster dishes pretty much anywhere, but any ocean-side towns will have the freshest and tastiest catch.
2. Explore Boston
As the largest city in New England, Boston is a charming metropolis that mixes history with modernity. Many significant events during the American Revolution in the 1700s took place in Boston, and you can follow the “Freedom Trail” through the city to find these spots. Another great way to explore the city is on a “Duck Tour”. These amphibious vehicles drive you around the city streets before wading into the Charles River and continuing the tour on the water.
Other noteworthy things to do in Boston include shopping at the historic Faneuil Hall marketplace, relaxing in the the spacious greens of the Boston Commons, admiring the giant golden dome of the Massachusetts State House, and walking along the edges of the Atlantic at the Boston Harbor.
3. Enjoy Lake Life
New England is full of gorgeous lakes to ease the summer heat away from the ocean. In addition to my personal favorite, Sebago Lake, other popular lakes include Lake Winnipesaukee and Lake Sunapee in New Hampshire, and Lake Champlain in Vermont. Walden Pond in Massachusetts even inspired famous writer, Henry David Thoreau to write an entire novel about the beauty of nature.
Every lake and pond in New England provides opportunities for fun summer activities, like kayaking, swimming, canoeing, water-skiing, paddle-boarding, tubing, fishing and enjoying stunning sunsets over the peaceful water. If you’re not fortunate enough to live by the ocean, there’s no better way to spend a summer day than by a freshwater lake.
4. Make S’mores
A staple of summer in the USA is making s’mores over the fire. After letting a blazing fire simmer down into red-hot coals, forage for your own marshmallow-roasting stick in the woods. This is much more satisfying than using some sort of kitchen utensil to roast your marshmallow. After the soft white marshmallow turns a golden brown, squeeze it between two graham cracker squares and a rectangle of Hershey’s chocolate. It’s common sense that Hershey’s is a pretty awful brand of chocolate when eaten alone, so it’s sole purpose in life is basically to make s’mores. After the warm marshmallow melts the chocolate a bit, you have the perfect summer treat.
5. Explore A Cape Cod Beach
Though beaches line most of New England’s rugged coastline, some of the more unique beaches reside on Cape Cod. This curved peninsula jutting out from the southeastern corner of Massachusetts is a famous summertime destination. The skinny landmass contains quaint little villages bordered by peaceful beaches. Just be on the lookout for Great White Sharks, as they often hunt seals in the waters during the summer.
About one third of Cape Cod is made up of sand dunes, and you can often see these giant mountains of sand towering over you as you walk along the sea. The dunes get bigger as you travel towards Provincetown at the tip of the arm-shaped peninsula. A super popular beachside bar and restaurant is the Beachcomber in Wellfleet, nestled right in between the sand dunes.
6. Watch A Boston Sports Game
Boston has the some of the best sports teams in New England, and probably the USA. The famous major league Boston teams include the Red Sox for baseball, the Bruins for hockey, the Patriots for American football, and the Celtics for Basketball. Boston sports fans are extremely supportive, enthusiastic and sometimes intense, so going to a professional sporting event here is anything but boring.
7. Go Hiking
In addition to cities, lakes, and beaches, New England also has lots of hills, mountains, and national parks that are great for hiking and climbing. Our mountains are most famous during the intense winters, as people ski and snowboard down them for months on end. But in the summer, the peaks of New England are scattered with rich greenery and adorable wildlife like deer, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, and moose in the far north.
Some famous places to hike in New England include the White Mountains in New Hampshire and Acadia National Park in Maine. Both of these parks are full of various trails and peaks for hikers of all levels, and going into autumn the scenery becomes a vibrant palate of earth tones as the leaves begin to change colors.
Most of my photos for this post are courtesy of Unsplash, a website with free images donated by other photographers. Whenever I’m home I forget to take good photos, as I’m so excited to see friends and family that I never remember to pick up my camera. (The s’mores and the lake photos are mine!)