New England Bucket List With Cool Hidden Gems + Unique Places

Looking for cool and unique things to add to your New England bucket list? This comprehensive list has great coverage of the best things to do in New England that you can add to your travel wish list!

While New England is fantastic all year, summer is great for getting out on the water, fall for the colorful burst of leaf peeping and winter for those cute little Hallmark style towns.

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new england bucket list

New England Bucket List

1. Take a boat ride on Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain is the huge freshwater area between Canada, New York, and Vermont. It’s the perfect place to ride a boat, especially when visiting northern Vermont.

new england bucket list

2. Explore Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park is arguably the best U.S. National Park in New England, so you have to visit it and add it to your New England bucket list. It’s located in Maine and is filled with outdoor adventures.

Arguably one of the best USA bucket list destinations – you will not want to miss this park!

3. Check out Story Land

Located in New Hampshire, Story Land is a theme park that opened in the 1950s and has been a favorite among locals ever since. It’s filled with tons of fairytale-themed attractions.

4. Tour the Ben & Jerry’s Factory

Anyone who loves ice cream has to visit Ben & Jerry’s Factory. You can take a free tour and get ice cream samples at the end too! Be sure to stop by the gift shop and the flavor graveyard.

5. Relax at Franconia Notch State Park

Franconia Notch State Park in New Hampshire is right in the White Mountain National Forest. It’s filled with relaxing areas, beautiful hikes, and epic viewpoints.

new england bucket list

6. Hike Mount Monadnock

Take a hike up Mount Monadnock, a New Hampshire mountain that’s one of the state’s most popular mountains to hike. The hike is just under 4 miles, but it is pretty difficult, so be prepared.

7. See the Portland Head Light

Stop by the Portland Head Light, a breathtaking and picturesque lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. It’s the state’s oldest lighthouse and is one of Maine’s most photographed landmarks.

8. Ride the Essex Steam Train

Ride the Essex Steam Train in Connecticut! This is a great family-friendly activity on a historic 19th-century train. Plus, the views along the ride are great too.

9. Step back in time at The Breakers

If you want to see a beautiful 19th-century mansion, visit The Breakers in Newport! It served as the summer home for the Vanderbilts and is now open for 1-hour tours.

new england bucket list

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10. Have a blast at Bromley Mountain

No matter what time of year you visit, add Bromley Mountain to your New England bucket list. In the winter, it’s the perfect spot for snowing and skiing, and in the summer, it’s an adventure park!

11. Hunt for covered bridges

New England is known for its covered bridges. Seriously, every state here has them! Consider going on a road trip to hunt for them and see how many you can find. Hint: Vermont has a lot!

12. Tour the Rock of Ages

The Rock of Ages is a granite quarry in Vermont that can now be toured! It’s one of the most breathtaking quarries in Barre and drops 600 feet.

13. Eat seafood in Maine

Maine is known for its seafood, and honestly, so is a lot of coastal New England in general. Stop by a local seafood restaurant to try out the local delicacy for yourself.

14. Marvel at masterpieces at New Britain Museum of American Art

The New Britain Museum of American Art in Connecticut is the perfect place to go to learn more about American art. It was the first museum of its kind in the country.

15. Attend Chowdafest

Chowdafest is a New England tradition. Even if you’re not from here, you’re welcome to attend! It occurs in October and is filled with tons of chowder eating.

16. Spend a day exploring Stowe

Stowe, Vermont, is arguably one of the state’s most beautiful and quintessential small towns. It’s surrounded by Mount Mansfield and is filled with tons of great attractions.

17. Hike Cadillac Mountain

Take a hike up Cadillac Mountain in Maine within Acadia National Park! This is one of the most popular mountains in Maine to hike. There are a few loops, and most are moderate but long.

18. Ride the Conway Scenic Railroad

For another fun train experience, hop on the Conway Scenic Railroad in New Hampshire! This 20th-century train is magnificent and allows you to explore more of the area.

19. Learn at the Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site

Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the USA, is from Vermont! Now, you can visit the Coolidge Homestead in Plymouth and stand where he stood when he took the oath.

20. Walk around the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Wander around the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay. This top-rated New England bucket list attraction is filled with tons of flora and fauna. Visit in the summer for the prettiest view.

21. Explore Cape Cod

Cape Cod is one of the most popular vacation destinations in all of New England for a good reason. It’s in Massachusetts, looks like paradise, and is beautiful any time of year.

22. Visit Yale

If you’re traveling around New England, why not stop and see Yale? This 18th century Ivy League university is in New Haven, Connecticut, and you can visit and walk the grounds!

23. Learn at the Mark Twain House

The Mark Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut, has been turned into a museum dedicated to the writer! This 19th-century house is the perfect way to learn more about his life.

24. Camp in White Forest National Park

White Mountain National Forest is New Hampshire’s main attraction. It covers a decent portion of the state and is filled with places for adventuring and camping.

25. Visit Gillette Castle

Located in Lyme, Connecticut, Gillette Castle is a historic castle with epic views! This medieval-style castle is open to the public to visit and explore.

new england bucket list

26. Try maple syrup in Vermont

Vermont is known for its maple syrup. Seriously, almost every store in VT even has syrup out for taste testing. Try it on ice cream, pancakes, waffles, or even snow!

27. Snap a photo at Nubble Lighthouse

Another one of Maine’s most beautiful lighthouses is the Nubble Lighthouse. This 19th-century landmark is also one of the best spots to catch the sunset in Maine.

28. Try your luck at Mohegan Sun

Head to the Mohegan Sun casinos to try your luck and see if you can strike gold. This resort also has a spa so you can relax after trying to win some money!

29. Spend a day in Ogunquit

Make your way to Ogunquit, a small town in Maine, to experience a coastal New England small town. It’s filled with great attractions like The Ogunquit Museum of American Art and the Marginal Way cliff walk.

30. Relax at Hammonasset Beach State Park

Take a break at Hammonasset Beach State Park, which features a 2-mile long beach. This is the perfect place to relax and take a swim in the ocean in Connecticut.

31. Explore Hildene

Lincoln’s family home is Hildene, and it’s located in Manchester, Vermont! Abraham never lived here, but his son, Robert, did. Today, it’s open to visitors.

32. Go skiing

New England has some of the best skiing and snowboarding resorts in the United States, so take advantage of it! Hit the slopes and have some fun.

33. Spend a day at Rosecliff

Rosecliff is another one of Rhode Island’s most breathtaking mansions. It was built in the late 19th century and is now a museum, but it’s still gorgeous.

34. See the animals at Roger Williams Park Zoo

The Roger Williams Park Zoo in Rhode Island is the perfect way to get out and see some animals. It’s also New England’s first zoo.

35. Go sailing

Anywhere on the coast in New England, try your hand at sailing! These are often done with local tour guides, so make sure to book in advance.

new england bucket list

36. Check out the viewpoint at Thunder Hole

Located in Bar Harbor, Thunder Hole is one of Maine’s best viewpoints. You can look out and see the water crashing against the rocks, and it sounds similar to thunder.

37. Visit Hammond Castle

Take a visit to Hammond Castle in Gloucester, which John Hays Hammond, Jr owned! This is one of the must-visit New England bucket list castles that are open to the public.

38. Swim at Misquamicut State Beach

Spend a day at Misquamicut State Beach and go swimming for a great day outdoors. This beach is about 3 miles long and is located on an island in Rhode Island.

39. Shop on Church Street

Church Street is a pedestrian-only shopping street in Burlington, Vermont. It’s right in the city center and is lined with tons of great local and commercial shops.

40. Eat Boston chowder

Boston is known for its incredible chowder, so you can’t visit the city without trying it. The best place to try it is at Boston Chowda Co., conveniently located inside Faneuil Hall.

41. Attend the Big E

The Big E is the huge fair that includes all of the New England states. Yes, there are rides, but there are also tons of local foods, and you can learn more about each state in detail.

42. Walk around Newport

Newport is one of Rhode Island’s most-visited coastal towns. It’s filled with beautiful mansions, great seafood, and breathtaking views.

43. Have fun in Mystic

Mystic, Connecticut, is a beautiful town that’s historic and dates back to the 18th century. It’s filled with tons of cute shops, tasty restaurants, and loving locals.

44. Hike in Green Mountain National Forest

Green Mountain National Forest covers a lot of Vermont. There are countless trails here for you to try out! Try hiking Bald Mountain in Bennington for epic views.

45. Walk the Freedom Trail

The Freedom Trail in Boston leads visitors 2.5 miles throughout the city and includes stops at some of the city’s most essential and historical landmarks. Do it with a guide or on your own!

46. Get spooky at the Lizzie Borden House

The Lizzie Borden House in Fall River, Massachusetts, is actually a place that you can now stay! You might even get haunted by Lizzie Borden’s ghost.

47. Spend a few hours at the MFA in Boston

The MFA (Museum of Fine Arts) in Boston is a giant museum filled with tons of paintings, sculptures, and more. The art here is incredible and can take a few hours to experience.

48. Go leaf-peeping

So many people flock to this area of the United States to go leaf-peeping, so why not add going leaf-peeping to your New England bucket list? This is a great fall activity!

49. Learn about witches in Salem

Salem, Massachusetts, just north of Boston, is where the Salem Witch Trials took place. Today, the town has a very witchy feeling, and there are many historical landmarks to visit.

new england bucket list

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50. Visit the Plimouth Plantation

Stop by the Plimoth Plantation, which is a living history museum. You can learn all about the first settlement in this area of Massachusetts, where the Pilgrims originated.

51. Have fun outside at Attitash Mountain Resort

Attitash Mountain Resort in New Hampshire is filled with outdoor adventures. There are trails, outdoor alpine slides, and more!

52. See a Red Sox game at Fenway Park

Attend a Red Sox game in Boston at Fenway Park and see what Boston sports culture is really like. Just don’t wear a New York Yankees shirt or hat!

53. Visit small towns in the Berkshires

The Berkshires in western Massachusetts is seriously underrated. Towns like Pittsfield and North Adams are quaint but have a friendly small-town feel.

new england bucket list

Editorial credit: Albert Pego /

54. Go whale watching

Head to Massachusetts to go whale watching! The best place to do this is Gloucestor, where there are some famous whale watching tours.

55. Have fun at Six Flags New England

For an epic and fun-filled outdoor day, head to Six Flags New England. There are tons of roller coasters and other rides just waiting for you!

56. Learn at the American Independence Museum

The American Independence Museum in New Hampshire is filled with colonial exhibits and artifacts. There are some truly rare artifacts and relics here.

57. Hike Mount Greylock

One of the best hikes in western Massachusetts is Mount Greylock! There are more than 30 trails here, so you can pick one that’s great for your experience level. They all offer amazing views!

new england bucket list

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