Best Weekend Getaways in New England

Known for its historical roots, rugged landscape, savory seafood and rich sports culture, New England is home to a variety of vacation destinations. But with so many towns spread from the coast to the mountains, it's hard to decide where to head for a weekend getaway. That's why U.S. News took into account sights, culture, food and more to determine the ideal spots for a New England escape. Have a favorite haven? Vote below to help decide next year's ranking. Considering a fall trip to New England? Read our top travel tips »

  • Portland, ME
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    Portland, ME

    #1 in Best Weekend Getaways in New England

    An ideal destination for foodies and culture hounds, Portland, Maine, is filled with award-winning restaurants, museums, breweries, art galleries, boutiques and coastal views. Spend some time wandering the cobblestone streets of the historical Old Port, where boats line the harbor and seafood is aplenty. Snap a picture of the iconic Portland Head Light – the most photographed lighthouse in America – and go for a hike or picnic at the nearby Fort Williams Park. Visit Portland in the summer months for warm weather and fresh lobster or in the winter for snow-filled activities and maple syrup tastings.

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  • Boston
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    #2 in Best Weekend Getaways in New England

    The largest city in New England is fairly compact and walkable – perfect for sightseeing in just a few days. History buffs can follow the Freedom Trail to learn about the American Revolution before stopping at the country's oldest tavern to sip a local beer. Foodies can get a taste of Italy in the North End or indulge in some fresh oysters and clam chowder in the Seaport. Meanwhile, fashionistas can browse the many shops on Newbury Street and in Faneuil Hall. No matter your interests, your trip to Boston would not be complete without visiting Fenway Park.

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  • Nantucket
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    #3 in Best Weekend Getaways in New England

    Despite its small size, Nantucket has no shortage of activities. Board a ferry from Cape Cod or fly into the island's airport to enjoy a unique Massachusetts vacation. Visit Cisco Brewers for brewery, vineyard and distillery tours, or simply enjoy the food trucks and live music. While Nantucket is a walkable island, many visitors enjoy renting bikes or mopeds to explore the area, especially tiny Siasconset Village. You'll want to also save time for watching the sun set at Madaket Beach on the island's west coast.

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  • Martha's Vineyard
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    Martha's Vineyard

    #4 in Best Weekend Getaways in New England

    A popular summertime island retreat for New Englanders and politicians alike, Martha's Vineyard appeals to all travelers. Fly or take the ferry from the mainland to explore the Massachusetts island's six towns and numerous beaches. Don't miss the colorful gingerbread cottages in Oak Bluffs, the fresh seafood in the village of Menemsha or the boutiques in Vineyard Haven. While the island's eastern side is walkable, it's best to take a bus or car to the dramatic Aquinnah Cliffs on the more rugged western side.

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  • Cape Cod
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    Cape Cod

    #5 in Best Weekend Getaways in New England

    For a quintessential New England summer getaway, head to this Massachusetts peninsula known for its laid-back vibe. Vacationers can bask in the sun somewhere along the 40 miles of national seashore before digging into a plate of fried clams or retreating to a quaint bed-and-breakfast. When planning your visit, keep in mind that each Cape Cod town is a little different. You'll find upscale shops in Chatham, historical sites in Sandwich, sky-high sand dunes in Wellfleet and spirited nightlife in Provincetown. All are sure to have enough restaurants, boutiques, art galleries and ocean views to keep you busy for days.

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  • Bar Harbor
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    Bar Harbor

    #6 in Best Weekend Getaways in New England

    Many pass through Bar Harbor on their way to Acadia National Park, but this charming seaside town is definitely worth a stop. Located on Maine's Mount Desert Island, Bar Harbor is bursting with locally owned boutiques, fresh seafood restaurants and gorgeous coastal vistas. Walk the scenic Shore Path for views of Frenchman Bay and multimillion-dollar mansions, or take a ride on a lobster boat to learn about the craft firsthand. While the town is popular in the summer, its smaller crowds and vibrant foliage in autumn make it equally appealing during the shoulder season.

  • The Berkshires
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    The Berkshires

    #7 in Best Weekend Getaways in New England

    The rolling mountains of the Berkshires attract everyone from artists to nature lovers to city dwellers looking for an escape. This region of western Massachusetts has long been a culture and history hub. Charming towns like Great Barrington and North Adams draw visitors with their quaint main streets and historic homes. The town of Lenox is home to the famous Tanglewood concert venue, while the town of Pittsfield boasts many theaters and art galleries. You'll find a variety of festivals to attend in the summer, vivid foliage in the fall and plenty of skiing in the winter.

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  • White Mountains
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    White Mountains

    #8 in Best Weekend Getaways in New England

    Whether you're looking for a quiet mountain hideaway or an activity-filled weekend, potential abounds in the White Mountains. Designated as a protected national forest, the White Mountains cover parts of New Hampshire and Maine. Take the scenic route along the Kancamagus Highway, and consider stopping at a campground along the way. If you're visiting in the summer, hike, drive or take the Cog Railway to the summit of Mount Washington for spectacular views. In the winter, shred powder on some of the best ski slopes in New England before curling up with a cup of hot cocoa at a bed-and-breakfast.

  • Acadia National Park
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    Acadia National Park

    #9 in Best Weekend Getaways in New England

    In the mood for an adventure? This more than 47,000-acre national park in Maine is perfect for hiking, biking and rock climbing, among other activities. Your top priority should be to hike the 1,530-foot Cadillac Mountain – it's the first spot in the country to see the sunrise from October to March. If you're not a fan of hiking, rent a car and make the drive along the 27-mile Park Loop Road. You'll pass the dramatic edge of Otter Cliff and the cave at Thunder Hole when you're not snapping photos from one of several pull-off observation areas.

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  • Block Island
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    Block Island

    #10 in Best Weekend Getaways in New England

    Walk any direction on Block Island and you'll end up at a free public beach. This oasis off the southern coast of Rhode Island features 17 miles of shoreline, as well as old-fashioned cottages and historical lighthouses. Take in sweeping ocean views from Mohegan Bluffs, or look for animals at Block Island National Wildlife Refuge. If you want an adrenaline rush, try snorkeling in the island's crystal-clear waters, biking around its picturesque perimeter or hiking its Clayhead Trail. A quick ferry ride from the mainland will take you to Block Island, making it an easy weekend retreat.

  • Providence
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    #11 in Best Weekend Getaways in New England

    Rhode Island's capital is filled with history and culture. Home to world-renowned institutions like Brown University, the Rhode Island School of Design and Johnson & Wales University, Providence fosters learning on every level. Visitors can admire the historical homes on Benefit Street or the 18th-century mansion of John Brown before taking a stroll through Roger Williams Park. On warmer days, travelers can also enjoy an authentic gondola ride on the Providence River. Arrive between May and November to catch WaterFire – a fire-based art exhibit that blazes across the city's three rivers.

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  • Kennebunkport
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    #12 in Best Weekend Getaways in New England

    It doesn't get more relaxing than Kennebunkport, Maine. You can lay on sandy beaches, stroll through quaint boutiques and sample local specialties like lobster rolls, oysters and blueberry pies. There are also plenty of unique ways to see the town, including on foot during a food tour, by boat while on a lobster boat tour and by trolley with Intown Trolley. Plus, you can stop along the way to take pictures of Walker's Point – the Bush family compound. Keep your eyes peeled for other famous faces, as Kennebunkport is a popular celebrity vacation destination.

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