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LOOKING FOR AN ITINERARY FOR YOUR 7 DAY NEW ENGLAND ROAD TRIP?
Planning on taking a trip to the east coast but don’t know where to visit? Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered! This 7-day New England road trip itinerary will help you see all the best sites the area offers.
7 Day New England Road Trip Itinerary: Overview
Unlike other New England itineraries, this road trip includes all of New England’s six states. Here is a list of all the destinations that are included in this itinerary before we dive deeper into some of the cities’ best attractions and accommodations.
The All-Inclusive 7 Day New England Road Trip Itinerary
Wondering how much driving time you’ll have to do during this road trip? Don’t worry – I’ve done all the hard work for you. I’ll cover everything you need to know, including destination, driving time, cool places to stay, and things to do.
Day 1: Providence, Rhode Island
The only proper way to begin a New England road trip is by beginning with one of its oldest cities: Providence, Rhode Island.
You’ll fly into the T.F. Green International Airport (PVD) which is located in Warwick, just ten minutes south of downtown Providence. The airport is conveniently located on the interstate, so you’ll be ready to start your adventure in no time.
Providence is a great place to start your New England road trip because downtown is lively and entertaining, yet easily accessible by foot. Even as Rhode Island’s capital, this city is small enough to explore in one day.
Where To Stay in Providence
To get the most out of your experience, book a hotel in downtown Providence! That way you won’t have to worry about paying for parking on the streets and you can explore the city on foot. Even if you don’t like walking too much, the city is small enough to see in just a few hours.
Some hotel options in the downtown area include
Note: I stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott Providence Downtown in January of 2023 and found it to be a delightful hotel! There is a snack bar and Starbucks in the lobby area and the room itself was clean and spacious. It’s located on the outskirts of the city which made the room slightly cheaper than other hotels, yet it was still within walking distance of all the attractions I wanted to see.
Check prices and book your stay at Courtyard by Marriott Providence Downtown by clicking here!
Things To Do in Providence
Even as a smaller city, there is so much to do in Providence. For one, I’d definitely recommend exploring downtown on foot to take in 19th and 20th-century architecture. The buildings give a historical feel that not many other cities in the US can provide. Additionally, there are a few things you can do along the way…
Take a stroll on the River Walk
The Providence River Walk is a fantastic way to become familiar with the area. Along the route, you’ll encounter information on the history of the area through landmarks and monuments. Browse some of the dainty shops on your way, or grab a bite to eat to understand why Providence is named one of the “Hottest Food Cities” by Zagat.
Providence is also known for WaterFire – a sequence of bonfires installed along the river for a multisensory experience. WaterFire is scheduled multiple times a month from May to November. The schedule can be found on their website.
If you’d like to experience the river close up, consider renting a kayak during the summer months, or taking a gondola ride! Additionally, stop at Skyline at Waterplace to experience the city’s nightlife. You can hear live music performances and enjoy a tasty beverage as you overlook the Providence River basin.
Attend a live performance
Are you one for the arts? The Providence Performing Arts Center hosts entertaining Broadway shows all throughout the year! It’s quite an impressive theater, as it’s landed 20 national tours since 2008. Ranked as one of the best venues in the world, this is a fantastic way to experience Providence.
The Trinity Repertory Company is another great way to experience Providence theater. This theater has won a Tony Award through its emotionally stimulating productions suited for all. Their shows often run for months at a time and are available for single-ticket purchases.
Visit one of the city’s attractions
If you’ve got some extra free time, it might be worth it to visit one of Providence’s main attractions. This is by no means an all-inclusive list, though it does include some of the most popular in the area.
Check out the Museum of Art at Rhode Island School of Design. Their collection currently has over 100,000 works of art and design pieces for public display either in the museum or available for viewing online. Admission is free after 5 PM daily and on Sundays, and you can purchase tickets at any other time online or in person.
Interested in learning more about Rhode Island politics? Visit the State House – a breathtaking building made out of marble with the largest self-supporting dome in the world. Schedule a tour or walk the building on your own as you gain an insight into the history of Rhode Island.
If you’re traveling with your family, you might consider taking a trip to the Roger Williams Park Zoo! Unlike other zoos, at Roger Williams Park you can pet an armadillo and see a Komodo dragon in real life. Although this attraction isn’t located downtown, it’s extremely popular and worth seeing if you don’t mind making a short drive.
Day 2: Boston, Massachusetts
On day two of this exciting road trip, it’s time to take a drive to Boston, Massachusetts! Boston is located about 50 miles north of Providence and takes about an hour and 15 minutes to drive there.
Where To Stay in Boston
Just like in Rhode Island, you’ll want to book a hotel in downtown Boston to get the most out of your time in this city. Finding a hotel downtown will offer you the convenience of being close to all the top attractions, best restaurants, shopping opportunities, historic sites, and the waterfront.
Some hotel options in the downtown area include
Click here to check prices and book your stay at the Godfrey Hotel here!
Things To Do in Boston
Boston is a culturally rich city with plenty to do for everyone. Whether you want to spend time outside, visit a historical attraction, or indulge in some live entertainment, you have a ton of things to choose from during your visit to Boston.
Take a walk outside
Boston is a great city to explore outside. Walk the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail to see 16 different historic sites on the way. This itself could be the perfect way to experience Boston’s history in just one day!
Another great way to experience Boston is by visiting America’s oldest park: Boston Common. Walk down to Charles River to picnic at Esplanade, take a duck tour, or explore the waters by kayak, canoe, or riverboat tour.
Visit a museum
Want to get an insider perspective on American history? Visit the Paul Revere house which accommodated businesses, shops, and apartments, and served as a boarding house in the 1800s.
Additionally, explore one of the many museums in Boston during your stay. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Institute of Contemporary Art, and Boston Tea Party Ships are all fantastic attractions to explore during your short time there.
Seek out lively entertainment
Boston is also a great city for visual entertainment. Check out the Boston Ballet to experience the leading dance school in New England. If you enjoy watching classical ballet, there are typically performances going on monthly.
For all the cinema lovers out there, Coolidge Corner Theatre is a non-profit, community cultural center just outside of Boston in Brookline, Massachusetts. This venue features indie and art films, sing-alongs, and so much more. The after-midnight shows are great for all those insomniacs out there!
Day 3: Portland, Maine
After two adventure-filled days in Providence and Boston, your next stop will be Portland, Maine! On your third day of the road trip, you’ll make this 112-mile drive up the coast that takes about 2 hours.
Where To Stay in Portland
Known as an endearing port city, you’ll want to be near the coast during your stay in Portland. Many of the main attractions are near the east bayside, and you might even be interested in exploring the small islands off the mainland. Check out these hotels in Portland that are in an opportune location.
View accommodation prices for Canopy by Hilton Portland Waterfront by clicking here!
Things To Do in Portland
Maine is known for its beautiful shores and charming towns, and Portland is no different. Popular things to do in Portland are visiting the Old Port, spending time near the coast, and visiting interesting attractions in the area.
Visit Old Port
The Old Port district takes you on a trip through the US’ past with its cobblestone streets and brick buildings. This district is a great place to explore during the day with its endearing boutiques, fantastic coastal restaurants, and souvenir shops. Check out the harbor fish market, grab a bite to eat at Duckfat, or take a boat ride with the Portland Schooner company.
See the sea
Located on the coast, Portland offers an abundance of opportunities to see the sea! Visit Portland Observatory to see the only remaining maritime signal station in the states. Climb the towers 86 feet to see as far out as 30 miles into the Atlantic Ocean.
The Portland Head Light and Fort Williams Park host Maine’s oldest lighthouse and a gorgeous park that’s great for picnicking, coastal walks, and spectacular views. Portland Head Light is located just south of Portland in Cape Elizabeth. This lighthouse protected Portland and the surrounding areas from British invasion in the late 1700s.
Want to add an island adventure to your 7-day New England road trip itinerary? Take a ferry to Peaks Island using Casco Bay lines. Trips are available year-round according to their seasonal schedules.
Explore the city by train
Located near downtown, the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad is a unique way to see the beautiful city of Portland. Take a 3-mile train ride on the historical cars on the narrow 2 feet tracks. Set aside an hour and a half to see the astounding bay.
Day 4: Bar Harbor, Maine
The fourth day of your New England road trip is dedicated to the arguably most beautiful part of Maine: Acadia National Park. From Portland, it’s a 3-hour drive to Acadia, totaling around 174 miles away. The granite peaks, rocky beaches, and moss-covered woodlands highlight the best views of the northeast.
Where To Stay in Bar Harbor
Bar Harbor is the closest town to Acadia National Park. It’s a cute town filled with mouth-watering seafood restaurants, mom-and-pop souvenir shops, and gorgeous ocean views. Not only is this neighboring town a great place to lodge, but it’s also an awesome town to roam after you’re done exploring the national park.
Here are some places to stay in Bar Harbor.
Additionally, if you live in the area and are driving your own car, there are camping options in Acadia National Park. There are five campgrounds, with one specifically for visitors bringing their stock animals. The campsites are open seasonally and are closed for the winter.
Note: When Dylan and I made a trip up to Acadia in the summer of 2021, we stayed at the Blackwoods Campground. We loved it as it was a ten-minute walk from the ocean, near hiking trails, and on the free shuttle route.
Things To Do in Bar Harbor
Acadia National Park is one of the most visited national parks in the US for a reason. The breathtaking views, great hiking trails, and adorable neighboring town of Bar Harbor are all great reasons to visit. Whether you want to wander the woodlands, see the cliffs, or stroll the town, you won’t regret taking this stop on your trip.
Explore Acadia National Park
See the tallest rocky bluffs on the Atlantic coast at Acadia National Park. There are 158 miles of hiking trails, 27 miles of historic roads, and 45 miles of carriage roads. Whether you want to take to the trails or drive up to points of interest, you won’t be short on views.
Drive up to Cadillac Mountain to reach the highest point in the area to get a great overlook of the surrounding wilderness, Bar Harbor, and the Atlantic. You can access Cadillac Mountain by car by making a reservation between the months of May to October.
Thunder Hole is another popular attraction, due to its loud thundering sound in the rocky inlet during high tide. Wave crashes here can reach over 40 feet, making it a sight to behold. Access Thunder Hole by driving Park Loop Road or catching the free shuttle.
If you’re itching to get out of the car and into nature, take on one of the many hiking trails. Ocean Path is a great trail that weaves along the coastline with Thunder Hole on the way. Beehive Trail is great for advanced hikers who are looking for a technical hike that offers a rewarding overlook at the peak.
In the summer, there are a handful of ways you can explore Acadia on the water. Visit a local outfitter to rent kayaks, canoes, sailboats, and motorboats. Swimming is also available for visitors at Echo Lake Beach, Lake Wood, and Sand Beach.
Day 5: Gorham, New Hampshire
After exploring the beautiful Acadia and lovely Bar Harbor, your next destination is Gorham, New Hampshire. Gorham is around 220 miles away from Bar Harbor, leaving you with a four-hour drive. This is the longest stretch on your itinerary, but conceivably one of the most awe-striking.
Where To Stay in Gorham
There isn’t much to see in Gorham, but the town itself isn’t where you’ll be doing your sightseeing. Gorham is located next to the White Mountains where you’ll be spending day five of your 7-Day New England road trip. Nonetheless, here are a few places you can stay.
Book your stay at the Glen House by clicking here!
Things To Do in Gorham
This part of your road trip is all about experiencing the White Mountains. They are a part of the northern Appalachian mountains.
Gorham is located near the Presidential Range, consisting of the most dramatic mountains in the east. The mountains nearby are Monroe, Madison, Franklin, Eisenhower, Washington, Clay, Adams, and Jefferson. Since you’ll only have a day in this mountain range, day five will be spent exploring the tallest peak of them all: Mount Washington.
See Mount Washington
Mount Washington and its facilities are open when the auto road is: typically between mid-May through mid-October. At the top of the 6,228-foot peak, you can visit the Mount Washington Observatory: the visitors center, its weather station, and the Extreme Mount Washington museum.
From Route 16, it takes about 35 minutes to drive up to the peak. You will need to pay at the toll booth to access the road – all major credit cards and cash are accepted. You’ll also receive a free bumper sticker and a barcode with recorded audio to listen to on your way up!
The weight inside your vehicle cannot exceed 900 lbs (this isn’t including the vehicle itself). Campervans, RVs, and self-converted vans aren’t allowed to drive up to the top due to weight restrictions.
If your vehicle cannot make the drive up, another option is to take the cog railroad to the top. The train ride takes less than an hour. The train will only take you to the summit when the auto road is open, but it still operates halfway up Mount Washington in the wintertime.
The cog railway is located at Marshfield Base Station. It’s on Route 302 near the Omni Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods. Arrive 45 minutes before departure for ticketing and restroom use, as the train will board 15 minutes before leaving.
Additionally, you can reach the peak of Mount Washington by foot, but these hiking trails take hours at a time and are for more advanced hikers. Since you’ll only be in the area for a day, I recommend driving to the peak and exploring the hiking trails at the top!
You’ll want to make sure to pack layers on this drive-up! Mount Washington is known for its erratic weather, and the temperature will be a lot different at the top than it is at the bottom. More on what to expect at the top can be found in my post on how to best prepare for Mount Washington.
Day 6: Manchester, Vermont
If you feel like one day in the mountains is too little, don’t worry, because on day six of your road trip, you’ll be heading towards the Green Mountains in Vermont! After your short stay in New Hampshire, you’ll drive 188 miles south for a total of 3 and a half hours until you reach the quintessential town of Manchester.
Where To Stay in Manchester
Manchester, Vermont is a classy small town surrounded by the Green Mountains. This is a great way to experience Vermont as Manchester has plenty to offer with its forested views, unparalleled hiking trails, and antique local businesses. Manchester offers a sense of bliss in the beautiful state of Vermont.
Here are a few places you can stay in Manchester.
Book your stay at the Inn at Ormsby Hill by clicking this link!
Things To Do in Manchester
Manchester has sights to explore for history lovers, city explorers, and outdoor adventurers. No matter what you’re looking to do, this quiet and peaceful town has something for you. Here are some of the most popular things to do in this small town.
See Mount Equinox
Want to explore the Green Mountains? Take Skyline to drive up to the top of Mount Equinox for an overlook that’ll leave you breathless. Mount Equinox is the highest peak in the Taconic range, and the paved road offers plenty of vistas on the way to the top.
Before you begin your trip, you’ll need to stop at the Welcome Center to receive your token. The road is open from Memorial Day to the end of October each year. You can find ticket prices here.
If you’d rather ascend the mountain by foot, you can make the 6.3-mile out-and-back trail to the top. The trail has an elevation gain of almost 2,900 feet, so expect it to be a steep hike the entire way. Your hard work will be rewarded, though, as you can see Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, and Massachusetts from the peak.
Looking for a different hike in the area? Consider the Lye Brook Falls trail. This 4.8-mile challenging out-and-back brings you to the top of a gorgeous waterfall.
For all of the American history lovers out there, the Hildene Estate is the perfect place to explore during your stay in Manchester! The Lincoln family home offers plenty of visitation options, such as self-guided, scheduled guided, and Behind The Scenes tours.
There is plenty to see at this historical venue. Check out Robert and Mary’s home, the Pullman Railcar exhibit, the family farm, and the trail system during your visit. You should set aside three to six hours for a trip to the Hildene estate.
Shop Northshire Bookstore
I couldn’t include Manchester as a stop on your 7-day New England road trip itinerary without mentioning the Northshire Bookstore. Voted the best bookstore in the country by Publishers Weekly, this full-service and fully-stocked bookstore is one for the ages.
The bookstore is extremely beautiful, and the shelves offer something for all interests and age groups. There is even a cafe and a dedicated children’s section! Check out the trinkets and small gifts as souvenirs to remember your New England road trip.
Check out a museum
There’s always a chance that the weather turns sour during your road trip, but luckily Manchester has indoor attractions that are worth visiting. Apart from the Hildene Estate, there are a few other museums to choose from in Manchester!
Interested in fishing? Check out The American Museum of Fly Fishing to learn about the history, traditions, and conservation of this great sport. It’s open Thursdays through Sundays year-round.
If you’re more into the arts, the Southern Vermont Arts Center is another great option to visit. This multidisciplinary art center offers plenty of exhibitions and performances for public viewing.
Day 7: New Haven, Connecticut
Here we are on day seven! New Haven, Connecticut is the last city on your itinerary for your 7-day New England road trip. Known as the “cultural capital of Connecticut,” you’ll end your trip in a lively city. From Manchester, you’ll drive 170 miles to New Haven which will take about 3 hours and 15 minutes.
Where To Stay in New Haven
Accommodations will depend on if you’re ending your trip tonight or tomorrow morning. If your flight leaves tonight, New Haven is still worth passing through, as it offers a handful of cultural sites worth exploring before you head back to Providence. If you’re staying the night, here are a few hotels in the area.
Book your stay at the Omni New Haven Hotel by clicking here!
Things To Do in New Haven
As a university and coastal city, New Haven is a great way to end your trip with a bang. With plenty of attractions to see, you won’t leave New Haven disheartened. Though there is plenty more to do than what’s on the list below, here are some of the popular sites in the area.
Yale is a gorgeous college campus and has a museum, farm, observatory, repertory theatre, museum, and British art center! You don’t have to be a college student to enjoy all that Yale has to offer. It’s one of the things that brings so many visitors to New Haven in the first place!
Check out the oldest college art museum or the largest collection of British art outside of the UK! If you’re more of a reader, check out over 4 million volumes of literature or the rare book and manuscript library. The University Leitner Observatory is one of the best for astronomical observation.
Go to a park
Not interested in what Yale has to offer? No worries – East Rock Park is a great place to wind down in New Haven. This park offers remarkable views of the harbor and Long Island Sound. There is also a bird sanctuary, multiple picnic tables, and hiking trails within the park for your enjoyment.
Lighthouse Point Park might be one of the best outdoor places to visit in New Haven during the summer months. This 82-acre park has something for everybody. Swim in Long Island Sound, check out one of the nature trails, visit the bird sanctuary, or watch your kids ride the carousel.
Check out Shubert Theatre
Itching for some live performances? Pay to see a show at the Shubert Theatre! Known for its thriving cultural scene, this theatre hosts a variety of events year-round.
There you have it – a week in New England.
Your 7-day New England road trip has come to an end. Now it’s time to head back to Providence to catch a flight (or drive) home. Providence is about a 2-hour drive from New Haven, averaging about 105 miles away.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this New England itinerary, or at least were able to take something from it. I acknowledge that itineraries will look different depending on who is traveling, so I have provided some variations for potential trips below.
Other New England Road Trip Variations
This New England road trip itinerary features seven cities in seven days. However, this itinerary can be modified however you see fit. If you’re planning on traveling for less or more than seven days, here are a few options you can consider:
Making the trip shorter
Have less than a week to explore New England? I would recommend aiming for a minimum of five days. That way you can still see three beautiful states and experience the northeast coast.
From the itinerary listed above, follow days 1-4, and spend the 5th day driving back to Providence. On your trip back, stop at places along the coast that catch your interest to lessen the time spent in the car. There are a ton of cool places along the way that you might want to check out on your way up the coast!
Extending the trip
There are a few ways to modify this itinerary if you’ll be traveling for longer than seven days. I’ll discuss options for a 10-day and 2-week trip.
If you’re planning on taking a New England road trip for ten days, you can add a few days to some of the destinations listed above. This will ultimately make your trip feel less rushed, but you’ll be able to fit in all the must-see locations.
For all of the outdoor lovers out there, I would recommend adding a day or two in Bar Harbor, Gorham, or Manchester. I say this because these are the three destinations that are opportunistic for exploring the natural beauty in New England. Adding days to these locations offers more opportunities for hiking and spending time in nature.
For those who enjoy more city life, my suggestion would be to add some time in Boston or New Haven. While Providence is a fantastic city, I’m pretty convinced you only need one day to get the most out of it. However, Boston and New Haven are much larger and therefore need more time to fully explore.
If you have two weeks to explore New England, there are many different ways you can modify this road trip. You could double up the days spent in each location, or hunker down in one of the destinations that call out to you.
The cities that I feel need the least time are Providence and Gorham. Providence is a small city, and Gorham doesn’t have much to offer other than Mount Washington. However, if you want to spend a few days exploring the Presidential Mountains in New Hampshire, you may decide to extend your stay.
This itinerary is just a starting point, and you’re free to alter it in whatever way to make your trip personalized for you. This itinerary features popular destinations in New England, but feel free to add a city or skip one altogether. There is plenty to see, and you really can’t go wrong.
Traveling outside of New England
Another way to see the northeastern United States is to travel to the states that surround New England. New York, DC, and Pennsylvania are nearby, and there are other great states to explore in the area! Who says you shouldn’t wander out of New England?!
New England: FAQs
New England is in the northeastern United States and consists of six different states: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. It’s widely known for its historical past, beautiful coastline, and magnificent wilderness.
Let’s go over some of the most frequently asked questions for your road trip to New England.
How many days do you need for a road trip to New England?
One of the convenient things about New England is that compared to the rest of the US, the states are fairly small. That makes it easy to see all six states in a short period of time. While the length of your trip is completely up to you, seven days should be the perfect amount of time to see and do it all.
If you have time constraints or would like to make your trip longer, there are suggestions at the bottom of this post for doing so. We know that not everyone will be visiting for a week, so the seven days just serve as a starting point.
When should I go to New England for a road trip?
The best time to visit New England is in the late summer or early fall. Rhode Island, Maine, and Massachusetts are all located on the Atlantic Ocean, so it can be extremely cold during the winter and spring months. Additionally, one of the things that make New England so beautiful is the colorful fall foliage.
Visiting in the late summer or early fall is also a great idea because early summer can be excruciatingly humid. Some places on this 7-day New England road trip itinerary are centered around being outside, so if you go during early fall the weather will be perfect and you’ll avoid some pesky bugs.
Where is the best place to start the New England Road Trip?
In this 7 day New England road trip itinerary, you’ll start off in arguably one of the best places in Rhode Island: Providence! Since you only have a short amount of time, this itinerary is designed to take you to all of the best places within driving distance from one place to the next.
Is a New England Road Trip worth it?
A New England road trip is most definitely worth it! One of the best things about the Northeast is that there are so many beautiful states in close proximity to each other. You’re able to check off many states just by taking a road trip up the coast.
What is the best way to get around New England?
Since this 7-day itinerary is a road trip, the best way to travel throughout New England is by car. You can travel up the East Coast by bus or train, however, this will ultimately extend your travel time and won’t take you everywhere you need to go.
For this road trip itinerary, the best option is to drive your own car or rent one from the airport if you are flying in. It will ensure that you get the most out of your week in New England.
Wrapping It Up: The Ultimate 7 Day England Road Trip Itinerary
There you have it! The all-encompassing 7-day New England road trip itinerary. Throughout your trip, you will have visited all six New England states – Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Connecticut. Whether you modify your route or travel time, we hope you enjoy America’s northeast.