A travel guide to the cities, sites, and landmarks of the New England region.
The phrase “New England” conjures up images of colorful autumn forests, church steeples, historic cities, and colonial history. These are all part of New England to be sure, but this unique and fascinating region is home to even more. Understanding this region’s culture, climate, history, and sense of place is important before visiting, as millions around the world do every year.
Basics of New England
New England is a region of the Northeast United States consisting of 6 individual states: Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Though each state is unique in its own right, they share a common culture and history.
Travel to New England is available by highway, Amtrak, international airports in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and also by sea along with the region’s many ports and harbor cities. New England experiences four distinct seasons which are among the most divergent in the U.S. Temperatures can soar to above 90 degrees in the summer and can drop below the freezing point in wintertime.
New England contains many rural areas, especially in the northern states of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Southern New England is more heavily populated and urbanized. The region’s largest cities include Boston, Worcester and Springfield in Massachusetts, Providence in Rhode Island, Hartford, Bridgeport and New Haven in Connecticut and Portland in Maine.
One of the oldest regions of the United States to have been settled by colonialists, New England is rich in colonial and early American history. Visitors will find the homes of American patriots, Revolutionary War battlefields and colonial-era landmarks all across New England.
The individual towns and areas of New England vary greatly, from the bustling and cosmopolitan cities like Boston and Providence to quiet, rural areas in northwest Connecticut to charming and historic port towns along the coasts of Maine and Massachusetts.
Connecticut, though a small state, contains many attractions and sites of interest. Two of the state’s biggest draws are Mystic Seaport, a living history whaling village, and Mystic Aquarium, one of the largest aquariums in the U.S. Connecticut also boasts two huge casinos: Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods, the largest casinos in the United States.
Connecticut also is home to the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, Rocky Neck State Park in East Lyme, Lake Compounce and Quassy amusement parks, the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport, Dinosaur State Park and Arboretum in Rocky Hill, and the increasingly vibrant cultural and nightlife scenes of downtown Hartford and New Haven.
Rhode Island may be the smallest state in the United States, but it still packs many attractions and landmarks.
This state is home to the gorgeous mansions of Newport, the seaside vacation resort of Block Island, miles of top-notch beaches, and the cultural and historic offerings of its capital city, Providence.
Massachusetts, the largest state in New England in terms of population, boasts a wide array of regions and cities to explore, from the historic to the hip to everything in between.
Cape Cod is renowned for its excellent beaches and seaside views while the Berkshire Hills and famed for their rugged beauty and great skiing during the winter.
Boston contains many historic sites and attractions such as the Paul Revere House, Quincy Market, Fanueil Hall, the New England Aquarium, Fenway Park, Boston Common, and fascinating neighborhoods like the North End, Back Bay, and Beacon Hill.
Other top attractions in Massachusetts include Old Sturbridge Village, Six Flags New England, the island of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, and Minuteman National Historic Park.
Vermont, the most rural of the New England states, still holds much to see and do.
The state is noted for its beautiful fall foliage, the Green Mountains, Lake Champlain, the ski resorts of Killington, Okemo, Smuggler’s Notch, Mad River Glen, and the charming and eclectic city of Burlington.
New Hampshire plays host to the White Mountains, Lake Winnipesaukee, Mount Washington, and the historic port city of Portsmouth.
Other must-see attractions in New Hampshire include Bretton Woods Mountain Resort, the Lakes Region, and the vibrant nightlife and cultural scenes of Manchester, the state’s largest city.
Maine is known throughout the world for its natural beauty and unique charm.
Here, visitors will find famous sites such as Acadia National Park, the resort town of Bar Harbor, countless lighthouses and rocky shores and the bustling city of Portland.
While in Maine, also make sure to go on a whale watch, sample the local lobster and seafood and take advantage of the state’s wealth of recreational activities such as hiking, biking, fishing, swimming, and boating.
With its own unique culture and history, New England is a one of a kind place in the U.S. Whether you prefer the vibrant cosmopolitanism of big cities like Boston, great beaches and seaside towns like the ones in Cape Cod, Rhode Island and Maine, or peaceful rural areas like the ones found in the Green Mountains, the White Mountains or Acadia National Park, New England offers a little something for everyone.