Dreaming about a New England road trip? This region was practically made for summer road trips. We’ve got great back roads, fascinating small towns, endless natural splendor, and the ability to hit several states in one day (if that’s your thing). When the time is right, grab your sunglasses, buckle up, and check out these ten tremendous rambles that we think qualify as the best summer road trips in New England.
10 Best Summer Road Trips in New England
Rangeley Lakes Scenic Byway
This New England road trip will have you going to go from Mexico to Madrid, Maine-style, on ME routes 17 and 4 as they traverse the pristine lakes and mountains of this wild section of northern New England. Don’t miss the panorama at the Height of Land pullout, and keep an eye peeled the whole way for moose, bear, and bobcats.
Distance: 50 miles.
Mount Desert Island Loop
Acadia National Park, Maine
Here’s a short, summer delight of a New England road trip—take in the length of the New Hampshire coastline, from Seabrook Beach to Portsmouth in a breezy half-day. It’s only 18 miles, but full of great places to stop, including funky Hampton Beach, Fort Constitution, and charming New Castle, home of the elegant Wentworth by the Sea Hotel.
Distance: 18 miles.
Green Mountain Ribbon
Vermont’s Route 100 is a road-tripper’s dream: long, straight, and flanked the entire way by the beautiful Green Mountains. While the road runs the entire north-south length of the state, a great section begins in Ludlow and ends in Waterbury. Must-stop: the charming villages of neighboring Warren and Waitsfield.
Distance: 90 miles.
With this New England road trip, you’ll think you’re in the Alps, as VT108 climbs steeply from Stowe toward Smugglers’ Notch in the Green Mountains, tightening into a blacktop corkscrew past boulders and cliffs. Get ready to have your breath taken, and Instagram all those photos on the other side, over a meal in tiny Jeffersonville.
Distance: 18 miles.
On this New England road trip, following Route 7 along the Housatonic River from New Milford to Canaan reveals the green beauty of Western Connecticut. There’s a covered bridge and waterfalls.
Distance: 35 miles.
The Quiet Corner
Travel back in history for bucolic tranquility on quiet CT169 from Old Norwich to Woodstock, meandering past colonial homesteads and stone walls, farmers’ fields, and quaint town greens.
Distance: 40 miles.
Shore of Dreams
The perfect New England road trip for beach lovers, this route follows US 1 from RI’s funky surf town of Narragansett along Narragansett Bay and the Atlantic Ocean to historic Westerly (and veranda cocktails at Ocean House). With beaches this good, this might take you a week.
Distance: 25 miles.
Kingly Cape Cod
Winding, historic, green and dotted with extraordinary vistas out to Cape Cod Bay, this glorious trip along MA6A, or the Old King’s Highway, is a showcase of New England village life from Sandwich to Orleans. Plus, great book shopping and antiquing.
Distance: 34 miles.
Have a great idea for a New England road trip? Share your best summer road trips in New England picks below!
This post was first published in 2014 and has been updated.