New England is a year-round destination with so much to offer visitors during all months of the year. Whether you’re visiting Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, or Vermont, you’ll find plenty of fun things to pique your interest. But what is the best time to visit New England? It really depends on your travel style and what sights and attractions you’re interested in. Read on to find some details about the best time of year to go to New England.
When to Visit New England – Overview
Best Time to Visit New England for Good Weather: June through October
Best Time to Visit New England for Fall Colors: Late September through late October (varies each year)
When’s the Best Time to See Snow in New England: January and February (snow accumulation also occurs to a lesser extent in December, March, and April)
Best Time to Visit New England for the Best Hotel Deals: November through February (cheapest time to visit New England is after the New Year)
Peak Season in New England: Early July through early September (Fourth of July through Labor Day)
Best Month during New England’s Shoulder Season: April
Month with the Most Sunshine: July
When is the best time of year to visit New England?
This answer is going to depend on what activities you’d like to do—whether it’s hiking, skiing, leaf peeping, or hitting the beach. Here’s what you can look forward to during each season in New England:
Visiting New England in the Winter
If you’re not afraid of the snow, winter is a magical time to visit New England. Stay at a cozy cabin in Vermont, go skiing in the mountains of New Hampshire, or ice skating in Boston and the suburbs. Just make sure you dress accordingly, as temperatures often dip below freezing, particularly at night. The further north you go, the colder it gets. Even in Boston, it’s not uncommon to wake up some mornings with temperatures at or below zero.
If you plan to visit New England in the winter, just know that a lot of coastal destinations close during these months. Many hotels and resorts in Maine and Cape Cod, for example, shut down for the winter. This also applies to restaurants and other local attractions. Instead of choosing a coastal getaway, consider making a trip to the mountains. There are lots of amazing ski resorts throughout the northeast, so if you enjoy activities like skiing and snowboarding, you’ll find that winter is one of the best times to visit New England.
Read next: Cozy Cabin Rentals in Vermont
For further reading: Unique Weekend Getaways Across New England
You may also like: Top Vacation Rentals in New England
Visiting New England in the Spring
As the temperatures rise, flowers begin blooming across New England. This makes the spring a best time of year to visit New England for nature lovers. Must-sees include the Boston Public Garden, Longfellow Garden in Portland ME, and Elizabeth Park in Hartford CT. The Heritage Museums and Gardens on the Cape also boasts some spectacular flowers and scenery.
By the time spring rolls around, you’ll see more people outdoors, coinciding with spring festivals and the start to the Red Sox season. Cities like Boston, Providence, and Portland begin springing to life during the March and April timeframe, making up for lost time.
In addition to the flowers and greenery, spring ushers in warmer weather that makes city trips more desirable. During the spring months, you can partake in city sightseeing, without having to deal with the crowds you’ll encounter in the summer. I’ve found that the April-May timeframe is one of the best times of year to walk the Freedom Trail, as the weather is nice and you won’t bump into lots of other people. It’s also a great time of year to explore the Harvard and MIT campuses in nearby Cambridge, while school is still in session.
By Memorial Day, most of the coastal destinations have opened up for the season, making this a great time to visit New England.
Read next: Top Day Trips from Boston, MA
For further reading: Coolest Airbnbs in Massachusetts
You may also like: Unique Things to Do in Cambridge
Visiting New England in the Summer
Summer is undoubtedly the best time to visit New England for families. With the kids out of school, visitors can take full advantage of all the amazing family-friendly destinations across New England. Consider a trip to Smugglers’ Notch Resort in Vermont, or make your way to vacationland in Southern Maine or Cape Cod. Five of the six New England states have coastlines, so a beautiful beach won’t be far away. Some of my favorite coastal destinations include Ogunquit (ME), Provincetown (MA), Gloucester (MA), and Newport (RI).
In addition to a typical beach getaway, you should consider more adventure-oriented trips. Go hiking in the White Mountains, Acadia National Park, or one of the many state parks in the region. Go swimming in Lake Champlain (VT), Lake Sunapee (NH), Sebago Lake (ME), or Lake Winnipesaukee (NH). You won’t run out of fun outdoor adventures in New England, especially in the summer. And after a day of activities, enjoy the lively alfresco scene from a restaurant serving the freshest seafood or an outdoor concert like Tanglewood in the Berkshires. New England in the summer is truly the best!
Read next: Hidden Gem Vacation Spots in New England
For further reading: Coolest Hikes in New England
You may also like: Best Airbnb Rentals on Cape Cod
Best Time to Visit New England: The Fall
Fall is my favorite time to visit New England. As the leaves begin to change color, New England’s vibrant personality truly begins to take hold. Autumn in New England is definitely worthy of a spot on your bucket list.
Fall in New England is so magical, that some consider it to be the best place for leaf peeping in the world! I’ve done quite a lot of autumnal adventures, and I must say that this seems to check out. Vermont has the most maple trees of any state, and you won’t have to look hard to find a myriad of apple orchards, farms, and covered bridges that perfectly complement this fall scene.
For the fall foliage alone, this season is probably the best time of year to do a New England road trip. Drive along the Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire, the Mohawk Trail in the Berkshires, and Vermont’s Route 100, and you’ll fall in love with the yellows, oranges, and reds. Other picturesque foliage spots can be found in Acadia National Park in Maine, Mad River Valley in Vermont, and Litchfield Hills in Connecticut. Point your camera in every direction, and you’re all but guaranteed a gorgeous picture. Note that the best time to visit New England for fall colors is between late-September and late-October, but the foliage season can vary year-to-year.
Take a scenic drive, go leaf peeping, and eat lots of apple cider donuts. You won’t want to experience fall in New England any other way!
For further reading: Reasons to Visit the Berkshires in the Fall
You may also like: Visiting Cape Cod in the Fall
When to Visit New England for the Best Weather
Weather plays a huge role in tourism activities across New England. After all, weather conditions here are known to change constantly, not only month-to-month, but also day-by-day. Not to mention that the climate in northern Maine can be drastically different than that of Southern Connecticut or Rhode Island.
New England is infamous for its unpredictable weather conditions. This region is affected by many different weather phenomena, including cold fronts from Canada, warm fronts from the South, and moisture from the Atlantic Ocean. In the same day, it can rain, snow—and do just about everything else—and then become sunny all of a sudden. There’s a funny Mark Twain quote that sums this up perfectly: “If you don’t like the weather in New England now, just wait a few minutes.”
Despite the variability in weather phenomena, the temperatures across New England are fairly predictable. You may have an 80 degree day in March occasionally, but the daily averages don’t change a lot year-over-year. Below are the monthly temperature averages in Manchester, NH, which is roughly in the middle of New England and can give you an idea of what you can expect across much of the northeast:
If you’d like to see weather forecasts for specific destinations in New England, refer to weather.com. The monthly historical averages will give you an idea of when you can expect to visit New England for the ‘best’ weather.
To prepare yourself for these varying weather conditions, be sure to wear multiple layers!
Read next: Unique Quotes about Traveling
When to Visit New England for the Best Holidays
If you’re looking to party in New England, don’t miss St. Patrick’s Day in Boston. A good chunk of the population claims Irish ancestry, but on St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is Irish! Celebrate in the bars, clubs, and even in the streets. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is always a huge hit!
Another popular holiday in New England is the Fourth of July. Sure, it’s celebrated nationally, but it’s especially a grand occasion due to Boston’s pivotal role in America’s quest for independence. The Boston Pops concert, in addition to the fireworks over the Charles River, is a sight to behold. You’ll find lots of grandiose parades in the surrounding cities and towns, too. Consider making a day trip over to Lexington and Concord to see where the revolution all began.
In addition to the Fourth, Patriots’ Day is another great time to visit New England. The Boston Marathon is held on the same day, which is every third Monday in April. This world-class marathon attracts some of the best athletes around the world. The revolutionary war reenactment in Lexington and Concord is also on this day, or head over to Fenway Park for a Red Sox game.
Though these holidays are popular just about everywhere across the US, they are celebrated in a special way in New England. Definitely worth making the trip here one of those days!
Best Times to Visit New England in 2021
As a local, I believe that the best time to visit New England is in the fall. The foliage is second-to-none, making it a perfect destination for road trips and getaways. You also won’t have to deal with the summer crowds, and the prices of accommodation reflect that.
Ready to visit New England? Consider staying at one of these unique Airbnb rentals, including cabins and treehouses!
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