New England has so much to offer, from large cities to breathtaking landscapes. This New England Road Trip travels along the rugged coast of Maine, to Acadia National Park, and through the beautiful mountains and foliage of the Northeastern United States.
Start your journey in Portland and soak up its incredible history as a major American port city. Wander the cobblestone streets and old warehouses of the Old Port before sailing to the Casco Bay Islands. The quaint towns just offshore enjoy a slower pace of life and treat visitors to cycling, kayaking, and museums. Back on the mainland, the Eastern Promenade stretches along the waterfront to nature trails and a sandy beach. The nearby Cape Elizabeth is home to beautiful lighthouses, and the West End neighborhood boasts stunning Victorian architecture.
Acadia National Park
Next up on your road trip is Acadia National Park. Mostly encompassed by Mount Desert Island, Acadia National Park shelters the wildest sections of the North Atlantic coast. The rocky headlands overlook the fierce waves of the ocean and dense woodlands hug the shoreline. For hardy travelers, take a dip in the frigid waters along the shores of Sand Beach. After an exhilarating swim in the North Atlantic, tackle the Great Head Trail for a panoramic view of the beach. Park Loop Road navigates much of the park and gives you access to sparkling ponds and verdant forests. Cadillac Mountain gives you sweeping views above the ocean and makes for an enchanting place to watch the sunrise. Push yourself for more ocean vistas by taking the Precipice Trail or Gorham Mountain Trail.
Continue your road trip at Mount Katahdin. Standing at 5,269 ft, Mount Katahdin is the tallest peak in Maine and a notable landmark for long-distance trekkers. Those embarking on the famous 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail start or end their expedition at this summit. Perhaps the panoramic views from the rocky peak will inspire you to accept the challenge of hiking down to Georgia. Some of Maine’s most rugged terrain engulfs the mountain, and you’ll find scenic waterways, lush forests, and inspirational stargazing there as well.
White Mountain National Forest
Your road trip continues at White Mountain National Forest. The untamed wilderness of eastern New Hampshire and western Maine boasts the tallest mountains in New England. Looming above the landscape is the snowy Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeastern United States. At 6,288 ft, Mount Washington sees more climbers than any other mountain in the region. Special precautions are required since the peak is notorious for its brutal wind shear. If you don’t feel like climbing, ride the historic Mount Washington Cog Railway to reach the summit. Other hikes within the forest lead you to crystal-clear lakes, steep gorges, tumbling waterfalls, and eerie caves. Several ski resorts operate within the White Mountains and have some of the highest drops in the region.
Green Mountain National Forest
From White Mountain National Forest, continue on to Green Mountain National Forest. The temperate forests of the Green Mountains are a year-round destination for outdoor recreation. Summer draws hikers, campers, anglers, and kayakers, while snowy winters bring in skiers and snowboarders. Head to the Stratton Mountain Resort for an exciting ski vacation or visit Sugarbush Resort, which caters to skiers of all skill levels. The arrival of spring mesmerizes visitors with beautiful wildflowers, gentle waterfalls, and vibrant wildlife. For an eye-popping display, road tripping through the Green Mountains during the fall reveals some of America’s most colorful foliage. Climb Equinox Mountain for thrilling panoramic views or tackle the Lye Brook Falls Trail to chill beside one of Vermont’s highest waterfalls.
Jacob’s Ladder Trail Scenic Byway
The final stretch of your journey meanders through the stunning foliage of the southern Berkshires. Situated in Western Massachusetts, the Berkshires is renowned for its enchanting forests, outdoor activities, thriving arts scene, and farmers markets. Driving along Jacob’s Ladder Trail lets you trace the footsteps of Native Americans and pioneers. Traverse verdant woodlands and charming towns on hiking trails for all levels. Stop by scenic rivers and streams for a relaxing day of swimming, fishing, or boating. Make pit stops to chase one of the near two dozen waterfalls scattered throughout the Berkshires. Before returning to the city, visit local farmers who produce organic produce, cheeses, meat, jams, baked goods, and much more.
When to Go
Warm, dry summers provide ideal weather conditions to visit Acadia National Park, but expect the park to be extremely crowded. Although the temperature drops, fall is incredible due to the leaves changing colors. If the New England foliage is the primary reason for your road trip, September and October are the perfect months for you. Just make sure to browse accommodation rates months in advance. Early October is typically the busiest time of year for foliage, and hotel rates tend to be higher.