12 Top-Rated Weekend Getaways in the Northeast
The Northeast is filled with interesting and exciting places to go for a weekend getaway. While it might have a reputation for crowds, with a little planning, anyone can have a great escape. Offering something for every type of traveler, the Northeast has the excitement of a big city or the serenity of the mountains and beaches. With such a wide variety of options, the hardest part of your weekend getaway will be deciding the best places to visit. Explore your options with our list of the top-rated weekend getaways in the Northeast.
Boston is a great walking city, made up of neighborhoods. Each has its own personality and offerings. With the perfect blend of old and new, visitors will find a rich selection of activities for just about any interest. For those wanting to take a walk through the American Revolution, try the Freedom Trail. This two-and-a-half-mile promenade will take you through 16 historical sites, like the Paul Revere House and the Boston Commons. If arts and culture are what you crave, be sure to explore the Museum of Fine Art and the Boston Public Gardens.
Finally, depending on the season, no trip is complete without a stop at either a baseball, hockey, basketball, or football game. Boston fans are legendary, and a sporting event in the city is one not to be missed. Copley Square is a central spot right in the middle of the city. In this location, enjoy Boston's only rooftop pool at the Colonnade Hotel. For a waterfront stay, the Seaport Boston Hotel is excellent and only a short walk from Boston's famous Italian North End, where a visit will transport you back to old time Italy.
2 Cape Cod, MA
A favorite getaway destination, Cape Cod has been a popular vacation spot for decades. This section of Massachusetts is filled with maritime charm, world-class restaurants, and one-of-a-kind shops sprinkled throughout the area. Separated from the mainland by the Cape Cod Canal, the entire landscape is edged with miles of beautiful coastline.
Although the main draw is the Cape Cod National Seashore, there are many additional options. Galleries filled with the work of local artists dot the small towns. You can step back in time and take in a movie at the Wellfleet Drive In, one of the last remaining drive in movie theaters in the US. Theater buffs rave about the summer performances at the Cape Playhouse, the oldest professional summer theater. Of course, don't forget about the excellent fresh seafood. While less than a two-hour drive from Boston, summer traffic can be heavy, so get an early start. Hyannis airport offers additional travel options.
One of the prettiest spots to stay on the Cape is Chatham. Chatham Bars Inn, Resort and Spa is a large property with a well-known restaurant. For a great pool and morning muffins, try the Eagle Wing Inn.
3 Mystic, Connecticut
Another old seafaring town, Mystic became world famous after the hit movie starring Julia Roberts: Mystic Pizza. This town is filled with nautical charm and houses the largest maritime
museum in the world at Mystic Seaport. You can also visit sea creatures at the Mystic Aquarium, next to Olde Mistick Village, a quaint outdoor shopping and eating village. After a day of walking around, head over the bridge and grab a slice of pizza at the infamous Mystic Pizza! Mystic is easily accessible from New York City and Boston by car. If you're looking for a good-value place to stay, the Hampton Inn & Suites Mystic is centrally located. At the other end of the spectrum, the beautifully appointed Spicer Mansion represents top-notch luxury in a boutique setting.
4 Newport, RI
Travel back in time to the Gilded Age with a trip to Newport, Rhode Island. This town is filled with opulent hillside mansions, rugged shores, and eclectic shops. Make sure not to miss the Cliff Walk, an easy stroll along the coastal edge past the grand mansions and wealth of yesteryear.
Newport also has a rich sailing history, evident in the bustling marina. The waterfront area is filled with an unusual selection of shops, restaurants, and many special events. Tickets are available for tours of many of the elegant mansions, like The Breakers summer "cottage" to the Vanderbilts or Rosecliff, modeled after the Grand Trianon, the garden retreat of French royalty at Versailles. Getting there is a short drive from T.F. Green Airport in Providence or a two-hour drive from Boston.
An elegant stay reflecting the Gilded Age can be found steps from the Cliff Walk at the The Chanler at Cliff Walk. For a fabulous stay across a small inlet near the harbor, select Gurney's Newport Resort and Marina. The in-house restaurant has some of the best views in town.
5 White Mountains, NH
The White Mountains in New Hampshire are the perfect place to rest, relax, and reconnect with nature. It's also great for outdoor enthusiasts. Head to the Alpine Adventures zipline course for a treetop view or take the family to Clark's Trading Post for the water raft ride, The Anaconda Escape. If you are looking for something less adventurous, take a leisurely ride on one of the area's trains. Check out the Hobo Railroad, Conway Scenic Railroad, or the Mount Washington Cog Railway.
Perhaps the biggest (literally) draw to this area is Mount Washington. The rugged and unpredictable landscape lures adventurers. Get in your car and take a thrilling drive to the top. If you make the drive, be sure to grab and proudly display one of the iconic "This Car Climbed Mount Washington" stickers. It's a badge of honor! Although many people choose to make this a road-trip destination, you can also fly in to Mount Washington Regional Airport. Look for stunning mountain views in a central North Conway location at The White Mountain Hotel & Resort, and the Hampton Inn & Suites North Conway is a great-value family favorite with an indoor waterpark.
6 Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia is a great destination for those who want to do it all. If you love history, culture, arts, or can appreciate a good cheesesteak, this is the place for you. Philadelphia is one of the oldest cities in the country, and nowhere is it more evident than in Old City, where you can walk the cobblestone streets and view the liberty bell at the Liberty Bell Center in Independence National Historical Park. Foodies will rejoice at the Reading Terminal Market, the oldest operational public market, which houses one-of-a-kind foods and gifts. It's a fantastic spot for lunch, and don't miss the freshly made Pennsylvania Dutch pretzels.
Tourists can visit the Philadelphia Art Museum for amazing pieces from world-famous artists both past and present. If art isn't your thing, you can run up the steps of the museum and follow in the footsteps of one of Philadelphia's most famous fictitious residents, Rocky. You can get to Philadelphia easily by plane directly into Philadelphia International Airport or rail through Amtrak. Visitors who appreciate a local aesthetic will love all the decorative accents at the boutique Kimpton Hotel Palomar. The central location puts many tourist destinations within easy reach.
7 New York City, NY
Visitors can go to New York City a hundred times and never see the same thing twice. This is the appeal of the City that Never Sleeps. There is something for everyone. If arts and culture is what you desire, take in a Broadway play or head to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Take a stroll through Central Park, which is an attraction of its own with more than 843 acres of nature, a lake, ice-skating rink, and cultural icons like Strawberry Fields and the Chess and Checkers House. One World Trade Center is a moving memorial to 9/11 and a must see for all who visit. Getting to New York City is easy, there are three airports (Laguardia, Newark, and JFK), as well as many regional rails and Amtrak. If you want to be right in the middle of the action, The Westin New York Grand Central is a reliable brand that represents good value in New York. For another midtown location with a more boutique feel, Library Hotel by Library Hotel Collection is a great choice.
8 Burlington, VT
A small town vibe with big city amenities, Burlington, Vermont makes another splendid weekend getaway choice. About an hour drive from the Canadian border and located on the water, this town's eclectic vibe is the perfect fit for the hip couple or family and would also make a great girlfriends' getaway. While you are here, hit the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, fun for kids and adults of all ages. History buffs will love the Ethan Allen Homestead, which houses an impressive collection of Revolutionary War memorabilia in a 1787 farmhouse.
You can also head to the waterfront or the Church Street Marketplace, where you can walk around, shop, and people watch. Getting there is easy, it's just a few miles from town to the Burlington International Airport. Steps from Lake Champlain, the Courtyard Burlington Harbor is conveniently located, and some rooms have water views. DoubleTree by Hilton Burlington Vermont is Vermont's largest hotel and conference center and represents good value, with a pool and breakfast buffet.
9 New London, CT
For those wanting to explore a quiet, New England Town, New London, Connecticut is a great pick. This small town is nestled on the water and filled with art, culture, and history and some really great seafood as well. While you are visiting, stop at the Custom House Maritime Museum, where you can see the New London Harbor Light and learn how it played a large role in the development of the town. Next, you may want to stop and check out the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, which houses an impressive 15,000 paintings along with sculptures, furniture, and other decorative arts. After exploring the town, head to the beach for food, games, and fun in the sun. Located midway between New York and Boston, New London also offers the advantage of a side trip to the tip of Long Island. The Orient Point Ferry leaves from this area for a ride across Long Island Sound and a complete change of scenery. The Holiday Inn New London is a great starting point for exploring this area. Rooms are large, with a refrigerator and microwave, and the facility also has a pool.
10 Niagara Falls, NY
Niagara Falls is an interesting mix of nature and glitz. Hotels and attractions have popped up over the years, giving it a touristy vibe. Despite the commercial feel of the area, there is no denying the main draw: breathtaking views of Niagara Falls. No trip to Niagara Falls is complete without a boat ride on the Maid of the Mist through the falls. From Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum to Madame Tussauds, there is a little something for everyone here. If you would rather a more low-key adventure, check out Old Fort Niagara or Goat Island. If you get a chance, explore the Canadian side of the falls as well. Visitors can get to Niagara Falls by plane through the Niagara Falls International Airport.
The Art Deco design of The Giacomo makes for a unique stay in a convenient Niagara Falls location. Across the street from the park, visitors will find good value at the Comfort Inn The Pointe. Ask for a room with a river view.
11 Cape May, New Jersey
Cape May is arguably the most charming of the Jersey Shore beaches. Dotted with Victorian houses and quaint bed-and-breakfasts along with a pristine coastline, Cape May is not only a great spot for a couples' getaway, but for families as well. The beach is the main draw, as the area is known as the nation's oldest seaside resort, but if you want to beat the heat or enjoy a rainy day indoors, try one of Cape May's many attractions - like the Cape May County Park and Zoo, Fireman's Museum, and the Cape May Lighthouse, or relax in one of their many spas.
Cape May also has a plethora of water activities from parasailing to boating and waverunners for the more adventurous. After a busy day in Cape May, stop in at Uncle Charley's for some homemade, hand-dipped ice-cream, an all-time favorite of those visiting the Jersey Shore (cash only).
12 Kennebunkport, ME
Kennebunkport has long been a vacation spot for Maine residents, as well as tourists. The summer home to the Bush compound, this has been favored by many for its beautiful sandy beaches and the opportunity to view a few of Maine's prized lighthouses. Tourists flock here in the summer months, but don't overlook the opportunity to visit this area in other seasons. There is always something going on for visitors. The draw to this weekend getaway is the beach, but one thing you should do while you are here is take a ride on the Intown Trolley Tour for a history lesson and to see some of the sights. If you had too much sun, escape the heat and head down to Dock Square. Spend some time walking through some of the eclectic shops and grab a bite to eat at their restaurants, ranging from casual fare to seafood. The Kennebunks are known for their wonderful bed-and-breakfast accommodations. A few favorites are Captain Fairfield Inn, 1802 House Bed and Breakfast Inn, and Captain Jefferds Inn.