Street and old buildings in downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire in the spring. Image credit Enrico Della Pietra via Shutterstock

These Towns in New England Come Alive in Spring

New England is a region in the far northeastern United States that contains the states of Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. This area gets hit with harsh winters perfect for skiing and other snowy recreation, while still boasting pleasant oceanside summers at the beach. But, Spring is also full of opportunities to explore and see the many cultural, historical, and natural destinations.

Don't wait for the summer, embark on your next trip through New England and add these eight small towns that come alive in spring to your itinerary today.

Woodstock, Vermont

The old covered bridge in Woodstock, Vermont.
The old covered bridge in Woodstock, Vermont.

In the heart of Vermont, Woodstock is a picturesque town that blooms, literally and figuratively, in the spring. Its charming downtown area is full of quaint stores, restaurants, and cafes that are perfect to recharge your batteries on a trip through the area.

The Billings Farm & Museum offers historical insights into the region's agricultural heritage, while the nearby Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park is packed with stunning landscape views and well-preserved historic buildings. Nature lovers can explore the scenic trails of Mount Tom, which burst forth with vibrant wildflowers and other plant life in spring. Don't miss the iconic covered bridges, like the Middle Covered Bridge, adding to the large list of things to see and do in Woodstock.

Camden, Maine

Downtown small village in Maine during rain with stores on main street
Downtown Camden, Maine during a spring rain. Image credit Kristi Blokhin via Shutterstock

On the windswept coast of Maine, Camden is an Atlantic gem during spring with a decently sized population of around 5,300 residents. Its harbor brims with activity as sailboats dot the horizon against a backdrop of verdant hills to the west.

Be sure to check out the Camden Hills State Park, offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and wonderful coastal vistas. The Camden Public Library, originally founded in 1796 and housed in a striking historic building, hosts various events and exhibitions. Visitors can also go on a scenic schooner cruise or try out the region's fresh seafood at one of the many waterfront eateries.

Newport, Rhode Island

Older couple walking the public access path at Newport Cliff Walk
Public access path at Newport Cliff Walk, Rhode Island. Image credit Cavan-Images via Shutterstock

Perched on Rhode Island's scenic coastline and just a short drive from the state capital of Providence, Newport springs to life with blooming gardens and many historical sites to see dating back to the founding of the country and beyond.

Take a stroll on the Cliff Walk, a gorgeous trail with views of the Atlantic Ocean and opulent Gilded Age mansions like The Breakers, which skirts the entire eastern border of town. If this interests you, go see the Newport Mansions too, such as Marble House and Rosecliff, showcasing grand architecture and lavish interiors.

The International Tennis Hall of Fame is a great place to learn more about the rich sporting history of the area, while the Newport Art Museum features a wide array of other diverse exhibitions. You can also enjoy sailing excursions, harbor cruises, and seafood dining along the extensive waterfront.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Stunningly beautiful pink flowering Redbud tree among houses
Spring in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Image credit Sergey and Marina Pyataev via Shutterstock

Located on the banks of the Piscataqua River, Portsmouth is a wonderful place to stop for a day or two in New Hampshire. Its historic downtown area has cobblestone streets that are accompanied by boutique shops, galleries, and restaurants.

Looking for a dose of local history? Definitely make the time to explore the Strawbery Banke Museum, an outdoor history museum containing restored homes and gardens from various periods of time. The Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse also offers a historic destination while boasting panoramic views of the coastline and harbor.

If you are a fan of a couple of brews at the end of the day (or the start, whatever suits your style), enjoy one of the many brewery tours, live music performances, and cruises along the riverfront.

Lenox, Massachusetts

Downtown street in Lenox, Massachusetts.
Downtown street in Lenox, Massachusetts. Image credit Richard Cavalleri via Shutterstock

Deep in the Berkshire Mountains, Lenox is an oasis with a population of 5,100 people. Explore the grounds of Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, which hosts outdoor concerts amidst lush greenery that blooms in the spring.

For more historical homes to explore, see The Mount, the former home of author Edith Wharton, which has guided tours of the historic estate and gardens. Art enthusiasts can visit the Norman Rockwell Museum, which contains many of the works of the iconic American illustrator.

Outdoor adventurers can hike one or more of the many trails at Kennedy Park or explore the nearby lakes and waterfalls. Landscape photographers, be sure to bring your camera and tripod.

Stowe, Vermont

Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe, Vermont.
Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe, Vermont.

Located in the aptly named Green Mountains, Stowe transforms into a hotspot for outdoor adventurers who don't mind the cooler temperatures of early spring or the warmer climate that comes about later in the season (Stowe is also well known as a destination for skiers and snowshoers as long as the snow is on the ground).

Hit the trails of Stowe Mountain Resort for exhilarating skiing and snowboarding early in the spring, or opt for scenic gondola rides offering panoramic views of the surrounding peaks all year round. The Trapp Family Lodge, founded by the von Trapp family (which inspired The Sound of Music), provides cozy accommodations for hikers and mountain bikers who are in the area after the snow melts.

While in town, be sure to attend a maple sugaring demonstration and/or a brewery tour, and take a scenic drive on one of the winding mountain roads nearby.

Mystic, Connecticut

The seaport at Mystic, Connecticut.
The seaport at Mystic, Connecticut.

Sitting on the Mystic River, Mystic is a maritime town with a classic New England experience. For educational fun, see the Mystic Seaport Museum, an outdoor maritime museum featuring historic ships and other things of aquatic interest. Sticking to a watery theme, visit the Mystic Aquarium to marvel at marine life from the area and beyond through numerous interactive exhibits.

Pay a visit to the Mystic's charming downtown, with its many local shops and waterfront dining options. Don't miss the Mystic River Bascule Bridge while in town, a historic drawbridge spanning the river which is what gave this town its name in the first place.

For more exciting activities, kayak or paddleboard along the river, hike nearby coastal trails, or do a little tour around Mason's Island, a short drive south.

Rockport, Massachusetts

Quaint shops on a sunny day in Rockport.
Quaint shops on a sunny day in Rockport. Image credit Richard Cavalleri via Shutterstock.

Located on the shores of Cape Ann, Rockport is a spectacular town to visit in the heart of New England, especially in the spring.

Wander along Bearskin Neck, a downtown stretch of galleries, artisan shops, and seafood shacks overseeing the harbor. For those looking to see more of the nearby wilderness, drive to Halibut Point State Park, featuring several trails, a picturesque rocky shoreline, and wide-reaching sights of the Atlantic Ocean. Other outside activities abound, from beachcombing and whale watching, to boat tours, and more.

If you love the iconic maritime architecture of the northeast, you owe it to yourself to visit Motif No. 1, a historic red fishing shack known as the most painted building in the world. Art enthusiasts can also explore one or all of the numerous local galleries, like Rockport Art Association & Museum, that house works by talented artists inspired by the town's natural beauty.

Adventure Blooms this Spring in New England

From the blooming gardens of Woodstock to the coastal views of Camden and Newport, each small town in New England is chock-full of destinations that are sure to load up any travel itinerary. Whether wandering cobblestone streets, admiring historic landmarks, or taking part in outdoor adventures, you are sure to find something that will make the most out of your trip.

Get out of the big city today and see where the coastal roads take you.

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