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14 Top-Rated Weekend Getaways in the Northeast

Written by Alison Abbott and Shandley McMurray
Updated Jun 23, 2021

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The Northeast is filled with interesting and exciting places to visit for a weekend getaway. While some areas may have a reputation for crowds, with a little planning, anyone can have a great escape in this scenic part of the country.

Whether you're looking for the excitement of a big city or the serenity of mountains, you'll find it — and so much more — in the Northeast. This spectacular region really does have something to please every type of traveler, so pack your bags and head to the Northeast coast, you'll be happy you did.

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 weekend getaways in the Northeast.

Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues.

1. New York City, NY

New York City, NY
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 Sleepsthere 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. At the top, you'll find the One World Observatory, which offers an unbeatable view of the city from above.

Getting to New York City is easy with three airports (Laguardia, Newark, and JFK) serving this hub. There are also 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.

2. Boston

Boston
Boston

Boston is a great walking city, made up of historic, quirky, and charming neighborhoods, each with 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.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Boston: Best Areas & Hotels

3. Cape Cod, MA

Cape Cod, MA
Cape Cod, MA

A favorite getaway destination, Cape Cod has been a popular vacation spot for decades, especially during summer. 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 and its impeccable beaches, there are many additional options for fun things to do in Cape Cod. Galleries filled with the work of local artists dot the adorable 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.

If you're looking for an eccentric experience filled with the best Cape Cod has to offer (i.e. shopping, beaches, art galleries, and a funky main street), head to Provincetown. When hunger pangs hit, it's time to dive into one of the main reasons people visit Cape Cod: its 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.

Accommodation: Where to Stay on Cape Cod: Best Areas & Hotels

4. Acadia National Park, ME

Acadia National Park at sunrise
Acadia National Park at sunrise

There are few spots on the Northeast coast that have the magical allure of Acadia National Park. New England's only national park, this natural wonderland spans over 47,000 acres of Maine's most majestic scenery. Featuring rocky headlands (the highest on the Atlantic coast), sparkling ponds, and verdant forests, this is the perfect place for nature lovers to enjoy a weekend getaway in the Northeast.

Strap on your hiking shoes to enjoy over 158 miles of hiking trails, or tour around 27 miles of the historic roads within the park. Another 45 miles of carriage roads also transport visitors from one incredible section to the next. Hike, bike, walk, lounge on the beach, or enjoy a dip in a pond — there's no end to the outdoor fun to be had in this iconic gem.

You won't have to look far to find a great place to stay. The park is home to multiple campsites, so you can zip in for the night after enjoying s'mores around a campfire.

Not a big fan of roughing it? The Bayview Hotel in nearby Bar Harbor — an adorable and highly romantic town you won't want to miss — offers guests a waterfront view easily enjoyed from a private balcony along with a made-to-order breakfast and free cookies. You had us at cookies!

5. Newport, RI

Newport, RI
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. You'll want your camera to capture the beauty of this spot!

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 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.

6. Mystic, Connecticut

Mystic, Connecticut
Mystic, Connecticut

Oozing charm from every corner, Mystic is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Connecticut. A romantic maritime gem, this historic town has everything you look for in a quiet weekend getaway. Charming shops line the quaint streets, tasty restaurants tempt your taste buds, and world-class museums will intrigue your inner historian.

Life seems to slow down in Mystic, giving visitors a chance to soak up the nautical scenery while wandering around the town's downtown core. Don't miss a visit to the Mystic Seaport, an incredibly impressive look into the town's seafaring past, complete with a 19th-century village and the Charles W. Morgan wooden whaling ship.

Mystic Seaport
Mystic Seaport | Photo Copyright: Shandley McMurray

The Mystic Aquarium is another must-visit locale chock-full of fun that kids of all ages (from 1 to 100) will enjoy. Virtually across the street, you'll find Olde Mistick Village, a charming area boasting unique shops (don't miss the fudge or popcorn samples) and restaurants.

Speaking of food, Mystic Pizza (made famous by the movie that launched Julia Roberts' career) is just across the bridge. Why not head over for a slice (or four) of pie?

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.

Read More: Top-Rated Things to do in Mystic, CT

7. White Mountains, NH

White Mountains, NH
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 travelers with a penchant for adventure. 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 exciting, 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. The views are spectacular.

Perhaps the biggest (literally) draw to this area is Mount Washington. The rugged and unpredictable landscape lures adventurers. Not a fan of mountain climbing? 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.

8. Philadelphia, PA

Independence Hall
Independence Hall

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—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.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Philadelphia: Best Areas & Hotels

9. Burlington, VT

Burlington, VT
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.

10. Niagara Falls, NY

Niagara Falls, NY
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 enjoy 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 (this is said to offer the best view!). 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, New Jersey
Cape May, New Jersey

Cape May is arguably the most charming of the New Jersey beaches. Dotted with Victorian houses and quaint bed-and-breakfasts along with a pristine Jersey Shore, 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 the many spas.

Cape May also has a plethora of water activities from parasailing to boating and wave runners for the more adventurous. After a busy day, 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).

Accommodation options in the area include The Virginia Hotel, a short walk from the beach, while The Angel of the Sea, a Victorian-style inn, serves a delightful afternoon tea.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Cape May: Best Areas & Hotels

12. Kennebunkport, ME

Kennebunkport, ME
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, especially if you're a fan of fall foliage. 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.

13. Old Saybrook, CT

Marina at the Saybrook Point Resort
Marina at the Saybrook Point Resort | Photo Copyright: Shandley McMurray

While it won't take long to wander through the downtown core of Old Saybrook, this small Connecticut town oozes so much quintessential New England charm, you'll wish you had a whole week to enjoy your visit.

An alluring seaside town, this pretty spot is home to adorable shops, tasty restaurants, and a village rich in colonial history. Its proximity to Harvey's Beach, one of the best beaches in Connecticut, is a big draw with summer visitors in particular.

Beat the heat at the magnificent Krieble Gallery, which lies just behind the impressive Florence Griswold Museum, and partake in a little retail therapy on Main Street.

At night, treat yourself to a stay at the luxurious Saybrook Point Resort & Marina. In addition to its relaxing spa, you'll find impeccable food served alongside a phenomenal water view.

Read More: Top-Rated Things to Do in Old Saybrook, CT

14. New London, CT

New London, CT
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. It's best visited during the summer, when things are open and ready for customers. Those visiting off-season may feel as if they're walking through a ghost town.

While you are visiting, stop at the Custom House Maritime Museum. From here, you can organize a lighthouse tour or sightseeing boat trip to take in the area's prettiest attractions, including the New London Harbor Light and New London Ledge Light.

Lyman Allyn Art Museum
Lyman Allyn Art Museum | Photo Copyright: Shandley McMurray

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 and its vibrant and fun Wall to Wall New London Mural Walk, 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.

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