If you didn’t travel for Thanksgiving (good on you!), or family time wasn’t quite relaxing enough, we’ve got some ideas to break up the daily grind when you need it. Fortunately just a few days away from is usually enough to recharge your batteries. And you don’t even need to fly anywhere for an amazing change of scenery! Check out some of these great weekend getaways where you can slow down and enjoy the natural beauty of New England.
If you travel with Daytrip, you can relax and devote your full attention to the landscape as it passes by. And stop for sightseeing you won’t be able to enjoy if you take a bus, train, or plane. Just remember to check your local COVID travel guidelines.
Here are some of the best weekend getaways in New England
Lots of people say the Canadian side of Niagara Falls is better, but we’ll (mostly) disagree. Yes, the Canadian side offers a panorama of all 3 of the waterfalls. But the town itself is something like a mini Las Vegas. Meanwhile, the New York side of Niagara Falls lets you get right up to the base of the falls, and is the oldest State Park in the US.
Every visit should start with taking in the grandeur of the falls from the observation tower. From there, take the elevator down to the river and ride the iconic “Maid of the Mist”. Then walk to the base of the Bridal Veil falls at the Cave of the Winds. First you get to learn a bit about the history of Niagara Falls (and get a poncho and sandals) at the World Changed Here Pavilion. For the wettest and wildest experience, head up to the Hurricane Deck, where the falls’ self-made weather system will blow you away.
Once you’re done with the up close experiences, explore the rest of the 221 acre Niagara Falls State Park. Take a guided hike or follow your own path on a number of walking trails. Stroll by Niagara Gorge. Go to Goat Island to get up-close to the waterfalls. The 2-mile loop trail showcases the magnitude of the falls while you stay dry.
Wine enthusiasts can tour the Niagara Wine Trail, which houses 22 wineries offering an impressive and varied selection of traditional and more modern wines.
- Book your private car from NYC to Niagara Falls
- Book your private car from Boston to Niagara Falls
- Book your private car from Philadelphia to Niagara Falls
- More options
You’d be hard pressed to find somewhere better than Ithaca for a relaxing weekend in New York. At the southern tip of Cayuga Lake, you can enjoy the beauty of the Finger Lakes right in town. And with a slogan like “Ithaca is Gorges”, you can bet there’s plenty of awesome outdoor activities.
The Cornell University campus offers free access to the Fall Creek Gorge and Cascadilla Gorge. A relatively easy hike will bring you past eight waterfalls, including the largest, Ithaca Falls, at 105 feet high and 175 feet wide.
Cornell itself is one of the most beautiful college campuses in the country, and you can visit several of its buildings (which are listed as Historic Landmarks). For a pleasant walk, just stroll their award-winning Cornell Botanical Gardens, and maybe bird watch at the Sapsucker Woods Sanctuary.
When you’re done, head down to the Ithaca Commons. The heart of Ithaca, there’s shops and restaurants, seasonal outdoor concerts and festivals, and a farmers market. You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to food – Ithaca has more restaurants per capita than New York City. No matter what, grab an ice cream sundae at some point – they were invented here!
There’s all sorts of charming towns and fishing villages in New England, but Portland is something special. The tree-lined streets in the town center are filled with quirky cafes, bars, and independent boutiques. The Old Port district is packed with charm, its cobbled streets lined with 19th century warehouses that have been transformed into modern establishments.
For the best views of the harbor and the forest surrounding the city, head to the top of the Portland Observatory, the historic maritime signal tower that dominates the town. During the fall, set out from the harbor for whale watching and a chance to see the ocean’s gentle giants before they migrate to warmer waters.
And, of course, you can feast on fresh seafood the whole weekend! Restaurants serve up oysters, mussels, lobsters and crab, not to mention the catch of the day. Wash it down with some local craft beer.
- Book a private car from Boston to Portland, Maine
- Book a private car from NYC to Portland, Maine
- More options
We’re cheating a bit by giving an entire region, but if you’re from Philly or the NYC area, the Poconos are about as convenient a weekend escape as you could ask for. Forget about city life as you explore the densely forested hills, dotted with lakes and crossed by streams and rivers.
Really, you just have to decide what you want to de before you go. Short weekend ski trip this winter? Head to Camelback Resort. In the summer they also have zip lines, a mountain coaster, and waterpark so you can have fun all year round.
Then there’s the Delaware Water Gap, one of the most picturesque places in the Poconos. Here, the Delaware River winds through 1000-foot-tall, forested bluffs. There’s a lot to do within the 67,000-acre Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Spend the weekend hiking the Appalachian Trail, or visit the historic villages from the valley’s colonial past. Or take to the water for canoeing or kayaking.
Nearby, there’s Bushkill Falls, the “Niagara of Pennsylvania”. One of PA’s most famous scenic attractions, this series of 8 waterfalls culminates in a 100-foot cascade deep in the woods. The series of hiking trails and elevated walkways follow and cross the river gorge, offering fabulous views of the forest and falls.