15 Best US Northeast Summer Vacation Spots
Last Updated on May 30, 2023
Planning a summer vacation in the Northeast and wondering where to go? From sandy beaches to breathtaking mountain ranges, you’ll find plenty of great summer destinations in the Northeast.
Summer is the perfect time to take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and go on a much-needed vacation. The Northeast region of the United States offers some of the most beautiful and exciting vacation spots with plenty of fun things to do during this time of year.
From the stunning beaches and quaint towns of Cape Cod to the gorgeous overlooks and outdoor recreation opportunities of the Poconos, there’s something for everyone in the Northeast. Keep on reading to discover some of the best Northeast summer vacation spots!
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Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Cape Cod is a popular summer vacation destination for families, couples, and solo travelers alike. This 70-mile-long peninsula is known for its picturesque lighthouses, charming fishing villages, and sandy beaches. There are plenty of things to do in Cape Cod, from whale watching and fishing to biking and hiking.
One of the main draws of Cape Cod is its beautiful beaches. You can spend days relaxing in the sun, swimming in the ocean, or taking a long walk along the beach. Some of the most popular beaches on Cape Cod include Nauset Beach, Coast Guard Beach, and Race Point Beach.
Another popular attraction in Cape Cod is the Cape Cod National Seashore, which stretches for 40 miles and includes beaches, dunes, and marshlands. If you’re looking for a quieter spot to relax and unwind, head to the town of Chatham, which is known for its quaint streets, boutique shops, and historic architecture.
You can also take a whale-watching tour to spot humpback whales, fin whales, and minke whales. Many tours depart from Provincetown or Barnstable Harbor.
For those interested in history and culture, Cape Cod offers many opportunities to explore its rich past. The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History showcases the area’s natural history, while the Heritage Museums and Gardens features exhibits on local history and culture.
Cape Cod is also home to many charming towns and villages, each with its own unique character and attractions. The town of Chatham is known for its picturesque lighthouse and quaint downtown area, while the village of Woods Hole is home to the world-renowned Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
Finally, Cape Cod offers a variety of outdoor activities for those who love to stay active. You can hike along the Cape Cod Rail Trail, a 22-mile bike path that winds through the area’s beautiful landscapes, or take a kayaking tour of the area’s many marshes and waterways.
A great place to stay in Cape Cod is the family-friendly Sea Crest Beach Hotel. This beachfront hotel is located in North Falmouth, close to Woods Hole and other Cape Cod attractions. It features an indoor swimming pool, a private beach with watercraft rentals, and an on-site restaurant.
For something more romantic, check out the Chatham Bars Inn. This iconic Cape Cod resort is located in Chatham, with views of Pleasant Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. It features luxurious rooms and suites with ocean or garden views, a full-service spa, a private beach, and a restaurant.
You’ll also find plenty of nice vacation homes, but make sure to book ahead as summer is a popular time to visit Cape Cod.
Newport, Rhode Island
If you’re looking for a summer vacation spot in the Northeast that combines history, culture, and seaside charm, Newport, Rhode Island, is the place for you. This small coastal town is known for its mansions, which were once the summer homes of America’s wealthiest families. You can take a tour of these mansions, which are now open to the public, and marvel at their opulence and grandeur.
In addition to the mansions, Newport is also home to several museums, including the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the Naval War College Museum. If you’re looking for outdoor activities, head to one of the town’s beaches, such as Easton’s Beach or Second Beach, where you can swim, surf, or sunbathe.
One of the main draws of Newport is its stunning coastal views, which can be enjoyed from the Cliff Walk, a scenic walkway that winds along the rocky shoreline and offers views of the ocean and the area’s historic mansions. Visitors can also take a cruise along Narragansett Bay or go on a whale-watching tour.
In addition to its natural beauty and historic landmarks, Newport is also known for its vibrant arts and culture scene. The Newport Art Museum showcases the work of local and regional artists, and the Newport Jazz Festival and Newport Folk Festival draw music fans from all over the world.
Finally, you can explore the city’s charming downtown area, which offers a variety of shops, restaurants, and cafes. The Bowen’s Wharf area, located along Newport Harbor, is a popular spot for shopping, dining, and people-watching.
Families planning a summer getaway will love staying at the Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina. This waterfront resort is located on Goat Island, with views of Newport Harbor and the Newport Bridge. It features indoor and outdoor pools, a spa, and a marina, as well as several restaurants and bars.
For a more romantic option, check out The Chanler at Cliff Walk. This historic mansion-turned-hotel is located on the Cliff Walk, with views of the Atlantic Ocean and Easton Bay. It features luxurious rooms with antique furnishings and modern amenities, some with a spa bath, and a fine-dining restaurant.
You’ll also find plenty of nice vacation rentals around town.
Bar Harbor, Maine
One of the best Northeast summer vacation spots, Bar Harbor is a charming coastal town located on Mount Desert Island, just outside of Acadia National Park. This town is known for its stunning coastal beauty, historic landmarks, and outdoor activities.
One of the most popular attractions in Bar Harbor is the Shore Path, a scenic walkway that follows the shoreline of Frenchman Bay. Another must-visit destination is the Abbe Museum, which showcases the history and culture of Maine’s Native American tribes, and St. Saviour’s Episcopal Church, a historic stone church dating back to the 19th century.
The nearby Acadia National Park offers a variety of outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and kayaking. You can explore the park’s many trails, including the popular Cadillac Mountain Trail, which offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and ocean.
For those interested in getting out on the water, Bar Harbor offers a variety of opportunities for whale-watching as well as all sorts of cruises to explore the coast.
In addition to its natural beauty and historic landmarks, Bar Harbor is also known for its charming downtown area, which offers a variety of shops, restaurants, and cafes. You can stroll along Main Street and browse the many boutiques and art galleries, or enjoy a meal at one of the area’s many restaurants.
The Atlantic Oceanside Hotel & Event Center is a great place to stay during your trip. This hotel is located on a hillside overlooking Frenchman Bay, with easy access to Acadia National Park and downtown Bar Harbor. It features indoor and outdoor pools, a private beach, and a playground, as well as a restaurant and bar.
For something more intimate, check out the many vacation rentals available in and around town, or book a room at the elegant Chiltern Inn.
Burlington is a vibrant college town located on the shores of Lake Champlain. This town is known for its lively music scene, craft breweries, and farm-to-table dining, making it a great destination for a summer getaway in the Northeast. Visitors can explore the town’s many shops and restaurants, or take a stroll along the waterfront bike path.
One of the highlights of Burlington is the Church Street Marketplace, a pedestrian-only shopping district that is home to dozens of boutique shops, restaurants, and street performers.
The nearby Lake Champlain offers a variety of water activities like swimming, sailing, and paddleboarding. You can also take a scenic cruise with Spirit of Ethan Allen, which offers a variety of cruises all featuring stunning views of the lake and the surrounding mountains.
Burlington is also home to a variety of parks and nature preserves, such as the Waterfront Park, which offers beautiful views of the lake and hosts a variety of festivals and events throughout the summer. You can also hike or bike the Burlington Bike Path, which follows the shoreline of Lake Champlain for 8 miles.
For those interested in culture, Burlington has a vibrant arts scene, with galleries, theaters, and museums showcasing the work of local artists. The Flynn Center for the Performing Arts offers a variety of performances throughout the summer, and the Burlington City Arts Center hosts exhibits and events throughout the year.
In addition to its natural beauty and arts scene, Burlington is also known for its farm-to-table cuisine, with a variety of restaurants and cafes offering locally sourced ingredients and creative dishes.
Families will enjoy staying at the Hilton Burlington Lake Champlain, located right on the lake and offering plenty of water activities for families. The hotel also has an indoor pool and is located within walking distance of many family-friendly attractions.
The Hotel Vermont is a nice option for couples planning a romantic summer getaway. This boutique hotel offers modern, minimalist accommodations, a gourmet restaurant, and a rooftop bar with stunning views of Lake Champlain.
The Hamptons, New York
The Hamptons is a collection of villages and hamlets located on the eastern end of Long Island, New York. It’s known for its luxury homes, high-end shopping, and beautiful beaches. Visitors can take a stroll along Main Street in East Hampton, relax on the beach in Southampton, or enjoy a round of golf in Bridgehampton.
One of the main draws of the Hamptons is its stunning beaches. You can spend your vacation swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying water activities like surfing, paddleboarding, and kayaking. Some of the most popular beaches in the Hamptons include Main Beach in East Hampton, Coopers Beach in Southampton, and Montauk Beach in Montauk.
The Hamptons is also home to a variety of upscale shops and restaurants, with something to suit every taste and budget. You can browse the boutiques and art galleries in Southampton, or enjoy a meal at one of the area’s many fine-dining restaurants. The Hamptons is also known for its wineries, with several vineyards offering tastings and tours throughout the summer.
For those interested in culture and history, the Hamptons offers a variety of museums and historic landmarks, such as the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, which showcases the work of local artists, and the Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum, which tells the story of the area’s whaling history.
In addition to its beaches, shopping, and culture, the Hamptons also offers a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, and golfing. Visitors can explore the area’s many parks and nature preserves, or play a round of golf at one of the area’s many golf courses.
Finally, visitors can take advantage of the area’s nightlife, with plenty of bars and nightclubs offering live music and entertainment throughout the summer.
The Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa is a great place to stay. It’s located right on the beach, with plenty of on-site water activities for families. The resort also has an outdoor pool and kids’ activities.
Couples looking for a romantic option will love staying at the Topping Rose House. This charming inn is set in a beautifully restored 1842 Greek Revival mansion and offers luxurious accommodations, a farm-to-table restaurant sourced from its own on-site farm, and a spa. A complimentary shuttle to the beach and private beach passes are also offered.
Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
Martha’s Vineyard is a popular summer vacation spot in the Northeast. This island is known for its quaint towns, picturesque harbors, and beautiful beaches. Visitors can explore the shops and restaurants in the town of Edgartown, take a ferry ride to Chappaquiddick Island, or relax on the beach in Oak Bluffs.
One of the main draws of Martha’s Vineyard is its stunning beaches offering plenty of water activities like kayaking, paddleboarding, and sailing. Make sure to check out South Beach, Oak Bluffs Town Beach, and Katama Beach.
Take a break from the beach and stroll around the charming town of Edgartown, which boasts historic homes and buildings dating back to the 1700s. Don’t miss the historic Gay Head Lighthouse, which was built in the 1800s and offers panoramic views of the island.
In the towns of Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs, browse the boutiques and art galleries or sample local food at one of the island’s many restaurants and cafes.
For those interested in the arts, Martha’s Vineyard has a vibrant arts scene, with galleries, theaters, and museums showcasing the work of local artists. The Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse offers a variety of plays and performances throughout the summer, and the Martha’s Vineyard Museum showcases the island’s rich history and culture through exhibits and artifacts.
Located in the heart of Edgartown, the historic Harbor View Hotel offers spacious rooms, easy beach access, an outdoor pool, and kids’ activities.
Lake Placid, New York
Located in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, Lake Placid is known for its beautiful scenery, outdoor activities, and Olympic history. It’s a popular summer destination for outdoor enthusiasts and those looking for a relaxing getaway, hike in the High Peaks, paddle on Mirror Lake, and visit the Olympic Museum and ski jumps.
Make sure to take a gondola ride up Whiteface Mountain for stunning views of the surrounding mountains and forests, or hike one of the many nearby trails for a more immersive outdoor experience.
Lake Placid is also home to several water activities, such as swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, and boating. Head to Lake Placid Public Beach for a sandy beach and hike to Shoebox Falls for a natural swimming hole.
You can also tour the Olympic Sports Complex, which was used during the 1980 Winter Olympics, or visit the Lake Placid Olympic Museum to learn more about the area’s Olympic legacy.
In addition to its outdoor activities, Lake Placid also offers a variety of shopping and dining options, browse the shops and galleries in the town of Lake Placid, or sample local cuisine at one of the area’s many restaurants and cafes.
Check out the Lake Placid Center for the Arts as well, and catch a concert, play, or other performances hosted throughout the summer.
A great place to stay for families, Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa offer plenty of water activities for families as well as a private beach, outdoor pool, restaurant, and game room for kids.
The Whiteface Lodge is also a great option. This luxurious Adirondack-style resort offers a plethora of activities, amenities, and services, with suites featuring a fireplace, full kitchen, and en suite bathroom with a spa bath.
Block Island, Rhode Island
Known for its scenic beauty, historic landmarks, and beautiful beaches, Block Island is one of the best summer vacation spots in the Northeast – bike around the island, take a tour of the Southeast Lighthouse, or relax on the beach at Mansion Beach.
Enjoy the island’s many beaches such as Mansion Beach, Crescent Beach, and Ballard’s Beach, and maybe do some kayaking or go on a sunset cruise. Summer is also a great time to go whale-watching.
If you want to enjoy the outdoors, don’t miss visiting the Mohegan Bluffs and Clay Head Trail as well. These areas offer opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and wildlife viewing, as well as stunning views of the island’s coastline.
Another must-do is to tour the historic Southeast Lighthouse, which was built in the 1800s and offers panoramic views of the island, or visit the Block Island Historical Society Museum, showcasing the island’s rich history through exhibits and artifacts.
The Spring House Hotel is a family-friendly hotel located on Block Island’s picturesque bluffs. This property features spacious rooms, a seasonal outdoor pool, and a farm-to-table restaurant. Families can also enjoy activities such as beachcombing, hiking, and kayaking right from the property.
The 1661 Inn is a romantic property located in the heart of Block Island’s historic district. This inn features elegantly appointed rooms with great views over the water, a gourmet restaurant, and a nice garden.
Niagara Falls, New York
A bucket-list destination in the Northeast, Niagara Falls is a world-famous natural wonder that makes a perfect summer vacation spot. Visitors can take a boat tour to the base of the falls, explore the Niagara Falls State Park, or visit the nearby Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino.
It offers a variety of activities in the summer months to enjoy the outdoors and breathtaking views of the falls. A must-do is to take a boat tour on the Maid of the Mist to get up close and personal with the falls, or take a helicopter tour for a bird’s-eye view of the surrounding area.
For something more adventurous, some adrenaline-pumping activities include ziplining over the falls or taking a jet boat ride through the rapids.
Niagara Falls State Park is also a must-visit spot in the area. This park is home to several walking trails, picnic areas, and observation decks, as well as the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center, which offers educational exhibits on the area’s geology and ecology.
In town, you can explore Old Fort Niagara, a historic fort that played a key role in the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. There are also several museums in the area, including the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center, which offers exhibits on the region’s role in the Underground Railroad.
The Sheraton Niagara Falls is a family-friendly hotel located just steps from the falls. This hotel features an indoor pool, a game room, and a variety of dining options.
For something more romantic, The Giacomo is a boutique hotel located in a historic building in downtown Niagara Falls. This property features luxurious rooms with views of the city, some have a spa bath, a cozy lounge, and a complimentary breakfast.
Kennebunkport is a picturesque coastal town located in southern Maine. It’s known for its historic architecture, beautiful beaches, and quaint downtown area. Take a scenic drive along Ocean Avenue, explore the shops and galleries in Dock Square, or relax on the beach at Goose Rocks Beach for the perfect summer getaway.
You can enjoy spending time at the town’s three main beaches: Kennebunk Beach, Gooch’s Beach, and Mother’s Beach – and go for a hike at the nearby Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge.
Another must-visit spot in Kennebunkport is the Walker’s Point estate, which is the summer home of former President George H.W. Bush. While you can’t visit the house, you can see it from the outside, and tour the Kennebunkport Historical Society’s “White Columns” which includes an exhibit on the Bush family and their history in Maine.
Stroll around the town’s charming downtown area, filled with boutiques, galleries, and restaurants. You can also take a guided walking tour to learn more about Kennebunkport’s history.
For those who love the water, there are a variety of boat tours and water activities available during summer – go kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding, or take a sunset sail along the coast.
A great place to stay is The Nonantum Resort, a family-friendly property located on the banks of the Kennebunk River. This resort features a variety of activities for families, including a kids’ club, boat tours, and a nightly campfire with s’mores.
The White Barn Inn & Spa is a perfect romantic getaway located in a restored barn in the heart of Kennebunkport. This property features luxurious rooms and suites, a gourmet restaurant, and a spa. Couples can enjoy a romantic dinner in the inn’s candlelit dining room or relax together in the spa’s steam room or sauna.
Known for its charming town, beautiful beaches, and historic architecture, Nantucket is a great place for a summer vacation. Take a tour of the island’s historic homes, visit the Whaling Museum, or relax on the beach at Madaket Beach, you’ll find plenty of things to do on the island.
Start by exploring the island’s beaches, which are some of the most beautiful in the Northeast. Don’t miss Jetties Beach, Surfside Beach, and Madaket Beach.
Another must-visit spot in Nantucket is the Whaling Museum, which offers a fascinating look into the island’s history as a whaling port. See artifacts from the whaling industry, learn about the life of a whaler, and even step inside a whaleboat.
Nantucket also offers excellent opportunities for biking and hiking. The island has miles of scenic bike paths and hiking trails, with options for all levels of fitness and experience. Some popular trails include the Polpis Harbor Trail, the Squam Swamp Trail, and the Cliff Walk.
You can also take a boat tour around the island to see its beautiful coastline and learn about its history and ecology. Summer is also a great time to see whales.
If you’re looking for a place to stay, the Nantucket Hotel & Resort is a family-friendly property located just steps from the beach in the heart of Nantucket. This resort features a variety of amenities for families, including a heated outdoor pool, a children’s program, and a complimentary beach shuttle. Families can also enjoy activities such as tennis, croquet, and paddleboarding.
Couples looking for something more romantic will love staying at The White Elephant, a luxurious hotel located in Nantucket’s historic district. This property features elegant rooms and suites, a spa, a waterfront location with stunning views of the harbor, and a nice restaurant.
Woodstock is a charming town in central Vermont and one of the best summer vacation spots in the Northeast. Known for its historic covered bridges, beautiful scenery, and outdoor activities, you’ll find plenty of things to do during summer, from hiking in the nearby Green Mountains to visiting the Billings Farm and Museum.
In the Green Mountains, you’ll find many trails for all levels of fitness and experience. Some popular trails include the Quechee Gorge Trail, Mount Tom Trail, and the Pogue Trail.
Every Wednesday from May through October, Woodstock hosts a farmers market featuring local produce, baked goods, and crafts.
In town, don’t miss driving by Middle Bridge, one of the cutest covered bridges in New England.
At the Billings Farm and Museum, a working dairy farm and a museum that offers a glimpse into 19th-century rural life, you can tour the farmhouse, watch demonstrations of traditional farm practices, and interact with farm animals.
Don’t miss the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, a great place to learn about the history of conservation and land management in the United States. You can tour the mansion and gardens, as well as take guided hikes and attend educational programs.
The historic Woodstock Inn & Resort is a great place for a summer getaway. This resort features a variety of amenities, including an outdoor pool, a spa, and an on-site restaurant.
For something more intimate, the Lincoln Inn & Restaurant at the Covered Bridge is a cozy bed and breakfast located just outside of Woodstock, with stylishly appointed rooms, a gourmet restaurant, and a scenic location overlooking a covered bridge. It’s the perfect place for couples seeking a romantic getaway in the Vermont countryside.
In the area, you’ll also find plenty of vacation rentals from charming cabins in secluded areas to historic houses.
Greenwich, Connecticut is a beautiful town located just outside of New York City. During the summer months, Greenwich offers a variety of activities and attractions to enjoy.
One of the most popular attractions in Greenwich during the summer is Greenwich Point Park. The park features a stunning beach, walking trails, picnic areas, and beautiful views of the Long Island Sound.
Another must-see attraction in Greenwich is the Bush-Holley House. The historic home dates back to the 18th century and is now a museum that offers tours and exhibits on local history and culture.
For those who love to shop, Greenwich Avenue is a must-visit destination. The charming street is lined with boutiques and shops offering everything from designer clothing to unique gifts and home decor.
Greenwich is also home to several premier golf courses, including the Griffith E. Harris Golf Course and the Stanwich Club. Golf enthusiasts can book a tee time and spend the day on the green.
Finally, visitors to Greenwich during the summer can attend the Greenwich International Film Festival. The annual festival showcases independent films from around the world and includes screenings, panel discussions, and special events.
Families will enjoy staying at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich, conveniently located and featuring an indoor pool and a hot tub, a fitness center, and spacious family rooms.
The Delamar Greenwich Harbor is a great option for a romantic getaway. This waterfront hotel is located on the Greenwich Harbor, with views of the Long Island Sound. It features luxurious rooms and suites with water views, a full-service spa, and a fine-dining restaurant.
Conway, New Hampshire
Located in the heart of the White Mountains, Conway is one of the best summer destinations in the Northeast for outdoor lovers. During the summer months, the area offers a variety of activities and attractions for all ages to enjoy.
One of the most popular attractions in Conway during the summer is the Kancamagus Highway. This scenic byway offers stunning views of the White Mountains and is a great way to experience the natural beauty of the area. Visitors can drive or bike the highway, stopping at overlooks and hiking trails along the way.
Another must-see attraction in Conway is the Conway Scenic Railroad. The railroad offers a variety of train rides, including scenic tours of the White Mountains, dinner trains, and special events.
For those who love to hike, Conway is home to several great trails, including the popular Mount Washington hike. Hikers can enjoy a variety of trails of varying difficulty levels, offering beautiful views of the surrounding landscape. Diana’s Baths is an easy flat 0.6-mile hike leading to cascading ponds and natural pools.
If you want to swim and enjoy other water activities, spend a day exploring Echo Lake State Park.
Families with little kids can head to the Story Land amusement park where you’ll find fun attractions, rides, and live shows.
The Red Jacket Mountain View Resort is a great place to stay in town. It features indoor and outdoor pools, a water park, a game room, and several restaurants and bars. For something more intimate, check out the luxurious Inn at Thorn Hill & Spa. It features elegant rooms and suites with mountain views, a full-service spa, and a restaurant.
You’ll also find plenty of great vacation rentals in town and in the surrounding mountains.
The Poconos, Pennsylvania
Known for its scenic beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities, the Poconos region of Pennsylvania is a popular summer vacation spot with plenty of fun things to do.
One of the most popular attractions in the Poconos is the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. This area offers stunning views of the Delaware River and a variety of recreational activities, including hiking, camping, swimming, and kayaking.
For something more relaxing, take a scenic drive through the mountains and stops at overlooks or hike one of the many short trails for beautiful views of the surrounding landscape.
For those who love water sports, the Poconos offer several great lakes for swimming, boating, and other water activities. Lake Wallenpaupack is a popular destination for water sports, offering boat rentals.
The Poconos also offers several great golf courses, including the Jack Frost National Golf Club and the Mount Airy Golf Club. Golf enthusiasts can book a tee time and spend the day on the green.
Finally, visitors to the Poconos during the summer can enjoy the region’s unique entertainment options. The Pocono Raceway hosts NASCAR races and other events throughout the summer, while the Mount Airy Casino Resort offers a variety of gaming options, concerts, and other entertainment.
Families will love staying at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions thanks to its famous indoor and outdoor water parks, a virtual reality experience, an arcade, and several restaurants and bars.
The Skytop Lodge is a great option for couples who are planning a romantic summer getaway. The resort offers a luxurious spa, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, several restaurants, and several types of comfortable rooms.
The area is also filled with charming cabins and cottages, check out the lakefront ones for an unforgettable summer vacation!
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