25 Bucket List Outdoor Activities In New England You Must Do Before The Snow Ruins Your Life
Make everyone jealous with your Insta stories.
Virtually everyone around you is probably dreading what's to come. Because nobody can ever just enjoy what they have in the moment! Yes, winter is coming and you hear that phrase all the time now thanks to one Mr. George R. R. Martin. But experiencing fall in New England is such a privilege.
It's the perfect time where you get to bust out your cute fall clothes, but you aren't hating your life yet because of how cold it is yet. The leaves are changing colors and you can still do a ton of outdoor activities before winter comes and ruins everything for you.
So before you lose your friends to Netflix and Snuggies, use this list to convince them that there's so much to do and see before the first snowfall. For the outdoorsy types, there are plenty of hikes in national parks waiting for you. For adrenaline junkies, there are outdoor jungle gyms. For history buffs, there are historical houses. And for animal lovers, well, there's something special for you too.
Blue Hills Reservation
Where: Milton, MA
Who knew this was only a few miles from Boston? You don't have to venture very far from the city to reach this gem. There are several trails to choose from depending on how tired you want to be by the end of it. The skyline trail is the one everybody raves about, but beware because it's challenging for a beginner! This is also the park where you can fully enlist your dog to become your new adventure buddy. The reservation is dog-friendly, and your dog is guaranteed to make a new friend there!
Tip: Don't miss out on the bog. You can walk along the bog, but the real highlight is the amazing view of the Boston skyline when you reach the end of the trail.
Bish Bash Falls
Where: Mt Washington, MA
Come visit Massachsetts' highest single-drop waterfall at 60 feet! All the trails have access to the waterfalls, so just choose the one that's best for you. Not every trip to a state park has to involve strenuous activity. And when you get there, just relax and enjoy the view! Sometimes, it's nice to only hear the thunderous noise of the water falling.
Tip: Don't be so focused on getting to the falls. Each trail offers different scenery and the park has numerous gorges to look at and explore!
Where: Hingham, MA
Rolling hills, rocky shorelines, and sweeping views of Boston. What more could you want? Carve out at least 4 hours to go all around the park. This park is ideal for when you just want to enjoy nature and the outdoors. Go walking along the carriage paths or set up camp on a park bench and eat your packed lunch while you look out onto the Boston skyline. It'll be a good break for your eyes from looking at your phone all the time!
Castle in the Clouds
Where: Moultonborough, NH
Come on. It has to be on your bucket list for the name alone! You can hike to the summit of Mount Roberts, see two waterfalls on your way there, take a guided horseback tour, and explore the grounds of the historic house. Of course, if you change your mind and want to stay inside, you can explore the mansion on one of their guided tours. You can explore the Lucknow Mansion, its basement, and the gardens. Don't forget to bring your nice camera along because you're going to want to take photos!
Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks
Where: Montpelier, VT
Life and pancakes are better with a drizzling of maple syrup. This farm is open all year round and is just waiting for you to overdose on everything maple syrup flavored. You can buy a number of different products here, including maple syrup sriracha, maple candy, and of course, maple syrup. You can also enjoy a free sugar house tour and tasting, displays in the woodshed theater, an outdoor museum, and a nature trail!
Height of Land
Where: Roxbury, ME
Just off of ME Route 17 is this slice of heaven. There aren't any official signs when you are driving, but just keep an eye out for a breathtaking view that opens up to the Maine mountains at the New Hampshire border. Don't be scared about driving past or missing it, because you'll immediately know when you've reached it. Trust us when we say you're going to gasp looking over the wide valley. And imagine that view with the red and orange leaves on the trees! It really doesn't get any better than that.
You don't know what fall is until you come here. Even though Bethel is known for being a ski town, it's still the best place to go see fall foliage. The peaks that skiers zoom down are the best spots for being the spot to really experience #FallVibes. The leaves reflect in mountain lakes and the trees along the road are just as spectacular as the ones in the White Mountains. So get that checkered scarf on, wear your peacoat, and sip on your coffee for that perfect Instagram fall aesthetic.
Conway Scenic Railroad
Where: North Conway, NH
In the mood for an old-fashioned railroading experience? Bring along your S/O or your best friends to ride in vintage locomotives and passenger cars! You can choose between two excursions depending on how much time you have. But it's highly recommended that you go on the Notch Train that takes around 5-6 hours. You will see bluffs cliffs, ravines, cascading streams, and stunning views of the mountains. Hey, it's a once in a lifetime experience. Go big or go home, right?!
Where: Jaffrey, NH
This is for those who set their minds to do anything. Hike up Mount Monadnock and experience what it feels like to be at the top of the world. Now, we don't encourage people to do the classic Titanic pose to celebrate your achievement, but we can't stop you from doing it. Cheesy? Yes. But necessary? Maybe...
Tip: If you're looking for the most direct way to get to the top, make sure you take the White Dot Trail. Make sure you allow yourself around 3-4 hours to do the entire trail round trip!
Six Flags New England
Where: Agawam, MA
Looking for a new way to let off some steam? Sometimes screaming into your pillow out of frustration doesn't cut it. So gather your friends and head to Six Flags to scream your lungs out on all the rides. If you go during October, you'll be screaming even when you're walking through the park because demons will be lurking in the shadows. Just waiting to pounce on you and scare you to death. Fun stuff, wouldn't you say? Just what you need to give yourself that extra push to get into the spirit of Halloween.
Where: Newport, RI
Ready for a reality check? Head to Newport to see one of the Vanderbilt's summer cottages called The Breakers. Experience wealth and opulence when you walk through the Marble House in a self-guided tour. Seriously, nothing will make you feel as poor as when you walk through the rooms with chandeliers and red velvet lining the whole place. But the area surrounding the house is just as beautiful! Walk around the grounds and admire the architecture of the mansion from the outside. And then tell yourself you don't belong there because you've been eating cup noodles every night for a week.
Acadia National Park
Where: Mount Desert Island, ME
You could easily spend several days here. There's something for everybody here which makes it a popular destination. Know that when you go here, it will be crowded and you'll run into a lot of people on the trails. Having said that, the experience is still unparalleled when you get to reach the top of the rocky headlands and look over at the peninsula and the abundance of trees. For the daredevils out there, be careful when hiking near cliff edges! It's all fun and games when it comes to getting that perfect photo, but always be cautious.
Newport Cliff Walk
Where: Rhode Island
Get as close as you can to the shore without getting wet. The Newport Cliff Walk is a 3.5 mile public walkway that takes you along the water as you get to see mansions, the ocean, and the natural and rocky shore line. This is a romantic walk you can share with your partner as you hold hands and brave the cold wind together. You can even share a cup of hot cider to warm yourselves as you look out onto the water. Trust us, it's a good spot to take your girlfriend when you're in need of some brownie points.
Where: Mystic, CT
Nautical vibes pair well with fall vibes. Get dressed in your striped shirts and head on over to the Mystic Seaport Museum. It's a large campus that's interactive and plunges you into the world of life on the sea. Go through the exhibits or walk around to see the ships used in the past.
Old Sturbridge Village
Where: Sturbridge, MA
Ready to go back in time? Experience life in the 19th century when you arrive here at this outdoor living history museum. Yes, that means you will get to walk among actors dressed up in old fashioned clothing. And if that isn't the best weekend trip ever, what is?! You will see antique buildings, mills, a working farm, and demonstrations 19th century cooking!
Green Mountain National Forest
Where: Rutland, VT
Looking for some peace and quiet? Head here to see a varietyof wildlife! You can see beavers, mooses, deer, and even an occasional black bear. You'll be able to hike your heart out on these trails that are part of the Appalachian Trail. You should definitely bring along your hiking boots and be prepared for some rocky terrain. It can be a bit challenging, but the trails that take you to the top are exhillerating. And don't forget to see Lye Brook Falls! After all, what's the point of going to a national park if you don't chase some waterfalls?
Bretton Woods Canopy Tours
Where: Bretton Woods, NH
Calling all adrenaline junkies! This is a full day affair when you come here because you'll be so busy ziplining through the forest. The canopy tours take about 3 hours and you'll want to relish every second of it because there are 9 zip lines for you to go on. You'll be reaching speeds up to 30 miles per hour!
Devil's Hopyard State Park
Where: East Haddam, CT
This is the ideal spot for casual hikers. None of the trails are too hard so you won't over exert yourself, but you'll get access to an incredible view of the waterfalls. Spend the day hiking, bring a picnic, your camera, and make some memories that will last a lifetime. Take your bestie or a group of friends just wanting to get away from the city for a day.
The Friendly Farm
Where: Dublin, NH
Get ready to mingle with some stinking cute animals! You won't want to leave here because you get to hang out with baby goats, pigs, turkeys, and lambs. The best part is that you can feed the animals. Most of them will want nothing more than to eat things right out of your hands! Mary, who? You will be the one with the sweet little lambs to play with.
White Mountain National Forest
Where: Lincoln, NH
What are you in the mood to see? This national forest has it all because a short hike can take you to a waterfall and the longer hikes can take you to some scenic outlooks and mountain summits. If you happen to go on a foggy day, just embrace it! You might not be able to see very far, but it really adds to the ambiance of being out in the open.
Where: Boston, MA
Let's head to Harvard University! Not everyone gets in à la Elle Woods, but you can still explore the campus. The aboretum has everything from flowers to fruits to woody trees and shrubs. When you come here, be prepared to be overwhelmed by the 4,000 species of trees and 15,000 living plants. If you want to take a relaxing walk around the garden, take yourself on a self-guided tour. But the aboretum also offers guided tours all year round with experts that will tell you everything you need to know about the place!
Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary
Where: Westport, MA
Bring along your friend who can take a good photo. Every inch of this sanctuary is Instagram-worthy. You can take artistic shots or even crazy and cheesy ones here. After you've got that out of your system, make sure you walk the Beach Loop Trail because you will get a spectacular view of Buzzard's Bay!
Where: Boston, MA
Everybody in Boston knows about the Bunker Hill Monument, but if you're from out of town make sure you spend some time here. You might not be interested in the history behind the monumnent, but the park allows you to see an unobstructed view of Boston.
Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge
Where: Middletown, RI
Bird watchers, this place is waiting for you. It's the destination for you if you love to get your binoculars out and see if you can spot different species of birds. From the marshes, to the grasslands, to the sandy dunes, this refuge is for when you want to seek paradise from the big city. It's not too popular and you won't run into crowds here. There are several walking paths for you to take to enjoy the ocean view.
Stowe Mountain Lodge
Where: Stowe, VT
Sometimes, you need a weekend for pampering. This lodge is a 5 star hotel and has all the amenities you could ever need to escape the cold weather. But in addition to the wooden buildings and high ceilings, the resort is in the perfect location for outdoor activities. There's a golf course, easy access to trails that take you up to Mount Mansfield, ziplining, and a ski lift! The ski lift is a great way to get your adrenaline going without doing too much out of your comfort zone. You get a great view of the fall foliage all while sitting down.