With a pandemic raging on, many of us have been confined within our homes for the last few months. Forget elaborate vacations, it’s been a while since some of us got a coffee from the café down the street. As states begin opening up we are starting to explore the possibility of leaving our homes. While we aren’t quite ready to jet off to a busy all inclusive resort in a tropical location we may be ready to plan a little trip close to home. If you are looking for a short drive, long weekend destination from Boston check out this post.
But if you think part of the fun is getting there check out some of the fun places you can explore around and just beyond New England. Spend a week driving your home region and spending time together exploring small cities and towns, having a family singalong and enjoying each other’s company without distance learning, zoom calls, or the confining walls of the home you haven’t left in months.
Because Boston is my home that is where I am starting these drives.
As the birthplace of America, New England is full of history and diverse cultures that many of us don’t take the opportunity to explore. The northern states especially are famous for their lakes, mountains and quiet, quaint rural life.
During your drive you will see rolling hills, tall mountains, streams and rivers, and if you go later in the fall the famous foliage. Take a stop at any of the roadside inns, many of them quite old and some even predating the American revolution, and enjoy a tall glass of a local craft beer. Make a game of counting the cows!!
(3 Hours from Boston)
A quaint picturesque town located between the Green Mountains and the Taconic Range, Manchester, is known for its cottages and country inns. A great destination for those fond of outdoor activities, the town offers skiing in winter and hiking in summer. Take a stop anywhere in the town and take a look around. The fresh outdoor air and the beautiful sights of nature are guaranteed to make you feel refreshed. There are wonderful little shops downtown including one of my favorite bookstores.
(2 Hours 20 min from Manchester)
A college town located on the shore of Lake Champlain and just south of the Canadian border, Burlington is the largest city in Vermont. Home to several local arts and music scenes, the city has interesting shows all year around. Some of those shows are performed by House of LeMay, Burlington’s own drag troupe. Then there are the famous boat races that you can take part in.
At the Waterfront Park, you can go sailing or take canoe and kayak lessons. While the North Beach Park is an ideal spot for picnics and barbeques.
(45 min from Burlington)
Stowe is famed as “The Ski Capital Of The East”. True to its name, it is a favorite destination of skiers. It is home to the Stowe Mountain Resort, a famous ski resort with terrain on Spruce Peak and Mount Mansfield. You can stay for a while at Smuggler’s Notch or the Trapp Family Lodge. Apart from skiing, you can go hiking and horse riding in summer. There are facilities where your children can take part age related sports and activities.
(2 Hours 20 min from Stowe)
North Conway is a village in New Hampshire located among mountains and forest. You can go skiing, hiking and rock climbing. Echo Lake State Park offers an opportunity for swimming, boating and fishing.
You can visit the village’s Victorian rail station to hop on one of its vintage trains and take a ride with your family around the Conway Scenic Railroad or go shopping in the nearby outlets. My family loves Monkey Trunks an aerial obstacle course.
(1 Hour 30 min from North Conway)
Portland is the biggest city in Maine with the largest seaport in New England. I love walking along the waterfront that still supports a thriving fishing and commercial shipping industry. The Old Port district is known for its nightlife and 19th century architecture.
The city has everything, and I mean everything, you can wish for as a tourist: museums, art galleries and studios, public libraries, public parks, concert venues, lighthouses, wineries, breweries, a large variety of seafood restaurants, golf courses and picnic spots.
You can go cruising around the Casco Bay islands or visit the Merrill Auditorium for a concert by the Portland Symphony Orchestra. The farm to table culinary scene has put this small city back on the map.
While the north is famous for tall mountain peaks and ski trails, the south is better known for the rolling hills, meadows and hiking. The south also has better sailing spots and beach opportunities.
(1 Hour from Boston)
Located at the mouth of the Providence River at the head of Narragansett Bay, Providence is known for its ethnic neighborhoods (get some great Italian food on Federal Hill), community organizations and arts associations. You and your family can visit the historic churches, the museums, as well as the city’s extensive park system. We love the nearby Roger Williams Zoo
(45 Min from Providence)
Another city to visit in Rhode Island is Newport. Sometimes referred to as the “Sailing Capital of the World”, you can go sailing around the city’s many beaches. There are historic places to visit as well. You will be able to visit the city’s famous colonial mansions, some of the oldest taverns in the USA, as well as the Touro Synagogue, the oldest standing synagogue in America.
(1 Hour from Newport)
Then there is Mystic, a village located in Connecticut. There are the various restaurants teeming with all kinds of food, especially seafood. There is the Mystic Aquarium where you can see sea life that you won’t find in most other aquariums in the country. There are the cruises available on vintage sail ships and steamboats. All in all, the village is the perfect tourist spot for those who love history and historic places.
(2 Hours from Mystic)
Your final stop should be Lenox, a historic town in Massachusetts. The town is home to the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the theatre group Shakespeare & Company. You can visit the Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum which offers historic railway exhibits. You can take a trip to the Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary which offers summer camps, seasonal outdoor events and educational programs for both children and adults throughout the year.
When you hear the word New York, the first thing that jumps to your mind is New York City but I actually prefer visiting the small towns Upstate than the Big Apple.
The region is home to a vast rural area, which supports a strong agricultural and dairy industry. But it is also home to famous getaways like: Niagara Falls, Finger Lakes, Adirondack Mountains and the Catskills (Dirty Dancing anyone?)
On this drive you will encounter lakes, rivers, caverns, and state parks as well as historic forts and museums.
(2 Hours 45 Min from Boston)
Then of course there is Albany, a city known for its rich history, culture and architecture. Not only does the city have an attractive nightlife with various bars, nightclubs and restaurants scattered all over the city, it also offers you a diversity of parks and recreation areas.
The Empire State Plaza in Albany is a complex of state buildings which are famous for the Dutch and English colonial architecture. Most famous of these are the awe-inspiring New York State Capitol and the Albany City Hall.
(1 Hour from Albany)
In the Warren County of New York, along Lake George, is located a town also named Lake George. The lake offers you and your family a host of activities including water sports, camping, amusement parks, hiking, paddling, and factory outlet shopping. Not so far is Queesbury, home to one of America’s oldest annual gatherings of hot air balloons.
In the town itself, you will find hamlets and historic forts.
(2 Hours from Lake George)
Woodstock, Vermont is a year-round destination located on the banks of the Ottauquechee River and at the Crossroad of the Vermont Scenic Byway. Tucked in the Green Mountains of Windsor County, Woodstock is home to the only national park in Vermont and three historic covered bridges where you can enjoy some of the most colorful seasons and activities in New England.
The Billings Farm and Museum is an extremely fun stop for kids. In addition to visiting this working dairy farm and meeting the famous jersey cows you can take part in hands on activities including the afternoon milking. Woodstock is also home to a wonderful little science Museum.
Perhaps you want a longer drive and a passport stamp if the border is open, head to Canada. You get to experience a unique culture and incredible architecture and dining that is very reminiscent of Europe.
First drive to 3 hours to Burlington, VT for a night to break up the trip. Then head up to the border.
(2 Hours from Burlington)
You can stroll through the famous park Mont-Royal. From atop the park’s summit, you are able to see the entire city stretch out around you. Old Montreal is the part of the city that contains buildings from the 17th to the 19th centuries where you can learn a little history of French colonization. There is the famous Botanical Garden Jardin Botanique. It is home to 10 greenhouse exhibitions and 30 different themed gardens with plants and flowers from all around the world. I love the Notre-Dame Basilica, Montreal’s oldest church that hosts a very unique light show each evening.
(3 Hours from Montreal)
One of the most famous tourist destinations in the country is Quebec City, located in the French speaking province Quebec. Quebec is ideal for strolling around, popping into shops and experiencing the local cuisine. Located atop the Cap Diamat is the La Citadelle de Québec, a massive historic fortress that the kids can run around.
The Plains of Abraham (Champs de Bataille) are perfect for picnics. You can hop aboard the Québec-Levis Ferry which offers an unrivalled view of the city skyline.
(5 Hours from Quebec)
If exploring quaint towns isn’t quite your thing another fun (but long) drive is to discover the countries history. Because of the density of populations the big cities may be slower to open than the other destinations on this list. For a full understanding of early American history start your drive in Plymouth to learn about very first settlers before heading to Philadelphia for some revolutionary history.
(5 Hours from Pymouth)
Philadelphia is a city in the state of Pennsylvania, known for its role in the American Revolution. Follow the Historic American Revolution Trail of Philadelphia starting at the Museum of the American Revolution — located in the heart of Philadelphia’s Historic District. Continue onto Carpenter’s Hall (where the first Continental Congress met), the Graff House (where the Declaration of Independence was written) and Independence Hall (where it was signed.)
While you are there enjoy a famous Philly cheesesteak.
(2 Hours 30 Min from Philadelphia)
Then head to our Capital. Probably the home to some of the most important historical sites. Visit the monuments, the public displays and the museums. As the country begins to reopen, I think it would be incredibly poignant to be in the place that is home to so many artifacts of our greatest challenges and accomplishments as a nation. You could spend days in the Smithsonian Museum alone.
(4 Hours from Washington DC)
On your return, spend a few nights in New York City, the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world. Experience the progress our nation has made. Visit Ellis Island to learn how immigrants made our country what it is today. You can also experience some of the best restaurants, bars, nightclubs, museums, libraries, universities and colleges and media centers in the entire world.
If you are ready to have the family vacation you’ve been dreaming of, without spending time researching, planning and making it happen, schedule a call today. I’m here to help busy working Moms plan, organize and book the perfect family vacation. With me, all you have to worry about is enjoying your well-earned time away with your family. If you are ready to stop trying to do everything on your own and see how I can help you schedule a complimentary trip planning session now.
Showcase the World is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC associates program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Showcase the World also participates in other affiliate programs and may earn a commission for purchases made through links on this site.