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New England day trips packed with local quirks, hidden gems and tasty treats

4 images show hands reaching for ice cream cones, a field with a path running through it, a lobster restaurant and a lighthouse
Raquel C. Zaldívar/New England News Collaborative, Sophie Stephens/Vermont Public, Tulley Hescock/Maine Public, Jesse Costa/WBUR
Some of the experiences you can have in New England in the summer

Across the New England states, you’ll find both similarities and striking differences. Covered bridges and charming town centers are commonplace. Quirky antique stores abound, often not far from shops selling homemade ice cream. With miles and miles of coastline, you’re never far from an ocean beach. But New England also has a lively lake culture and beloved swimming holes. When it comes to arts, culture and food, you’ll find hidden gems across the region. Dig a little deeper, and you’ll discover some of our intriguing distinctions as well. For example, do you know how you like your lobster roll or what exactly makes a New England hot dog?

This summer, journalists at the stations of the New England News Collaborative have been on the road, exploring these and other questions, as they put together guides for regional day trips. Whether you’re looking for more to do locally, or want to plan a short trip to a nearby state, they’re full of good ideas.

Day Trips in Massachusetts: Hikes, history, ice cream and unofficial hot dog tours

The Glacial Potholes are pictured in Shelburne Falls, Mass. on Thursday, June 13, 2024. (Raquel C. Zaldívar/New England News Collaborative)
Raquel C. Zaldívar
New England News Collaborative
The Glacial Potholes are pictured in Shelburne Falls, Mass. on Thursday, June 13, 2024. (Raquel C. Zaldívar/New England News Collaborative)

Home to Boston, the largest city in New England, Massachusetts is jam-packed with vibrant historical sites, lively city adventures, beautiful hiking, delicious food, academia galore and a healthy dose of idyllic rural charm.

Day Trips in Vermont: Lakeside adventures, rural curiosities and plenty of creemees

A hand holds an ice cream cone filled with brownish swirled ice cream in front of a red building with people lined up outside to the right against a sunny blue sky.
Sophie Stephens/Vermont Public
Vermont Public
A small maple creemee in a cone from Sweet Scoops off Route 15 in Essex Junction on June 26, 2024.

On a Vermont day trip, you might stumble upon a well-stocked farm stand that runs on the honor system, or you could encounter a rare bird, an ancient fossil or a museum exhibit about dust. From the populated areas around Burlington, to the rural splendor of the state’s Northeast Kingdom, off-the-beaten path gems abound.

Day Trips in CT: Here are 50 fun things to do, from pizza to parks (and a castle, too)

A room with brick floors and white walls shows the light reflecting through a glass ceiling.
Eda Uzunlar/WSHU
Interior of the sculpture gallery at The Glass House in New Canaan, Conn.

In the eyes of surrounding New England states, Connecticut might seem like it's got a bit of an identity crisis, nestled between New York City and Boston. But Connecticut is bursting with things to do - from state parks and public gardens to art, museums and historic sites. Oh, and pizza! Ours is the best. It’s not up for debate.

Day Trips in Maine: 3 itineraries for eating, drinking and adventuring your way through Vacationland

Cars are parked near colorful businesses on a street that leads to the water.
Esta Pratt-Kielley/Maine Public
A sign for Geddy's restaurant in Bar Harbor, Maine on June 3, 2024.

Maine is known as “Vacationland,” and it really lives up to that name. Whether you want a day trip to the beach, a coastal hike or a mountain lake swim, Maine has it all. As you may have heard, we are known for our seafood, especially our lobster. You’ll also find spectacular lighthouses and ocean views. You might even see a whale or a moose if you're lucky!

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