Top 10 New England outdoor adventures fill your vacation with zest
New England's top 10 outdoor adventures cover a range limited only by your taste. Some people go for mountain biking, zip lines
, canopy tours, mountain coasters, and rock climbing, while other people like to take a quiet drive to a scenic overlook or watch the sun set while sipping wine on a vineyard patio. Here is a sampling of the Top 10 outdoor adventures that lure vacationers and families to the charms of New England.
103 U.S. Route 4
Mendon-Killington, VT, 05751
Taking a hike never felt so good
Enjoy fresh air and majestic Green Mountain scenery while you relax in a cozy New England Inn. There’s great hiking for every level along nature walks and wooded trails, including steeper and more-challenging terrain and distances. After a day on the trail, enjoy a massage, facial, and other services in the spa. Programs and activities, including weight loss retreats and mini vacations, are focused on exercise, yoga, and great food. New Life’s certified staff uses the latest techniques and trends to offer a total mind-body tune up. Cozy air-conditioned rooms come with private baths, mini fridge, and computer ports. The resort practices "leave no trace" outdoor etiquette.
312 Daniel Webster Highway
Meredith, NH, 03253
Each season is an active one at Lake Winnipesaukee resort
Every season sparkles at Mill Falls at the Lake. Extend the summer and celebrate New Hampshire’s spectacular fall foliage with hikes up Mount Major or along a scenic river trail. Get in some golf or take your motorcycle through mountain passes and river valleys. Enjoy winter outings from guided ice fishing tours to winter trail biking, skiing and snowmobiling at awesome venues. At the resort’s full-service activity center, you can go kayaking, paddleboarding, aqua cycling or take an antique speedboat ride on gorgeous 72-square-mile Lake Winnipesaukee. Visit the nearby Loon Preservation Center or Squam Lakes Natural Science Center. Want to bring your dog along on your outdoor adventures? No problem. Mill Falls has several pet-friendly guest rooms.
105 Haverhill Road
Salem, NH, 03079
Mysteries abound at this incredible seacoast site
The forests near Salem, NH are home to this remarkable maze of rocks, stone chambers, and megaliths that may have been left by ancient visitors. But who were they? The question has stymied scholars for generations. The megalith filled pine woods eerily appear to be similar to those built throughout Great Britain by Druid priests. Adding to the mystery is the fact that you'll find megaliths of the same type scattered around New England. This site is one of the largest collections not on private property and not off limits to visitors. Visit the museum and enjoy the orientation film and gift shop that offers books with more information. In winter months the one-hundred-plus acres are also great for snowshoeing.
1168 County Road
Montpelier, VT, 05602
See VT Farm Life on a Walk Through Woods and Maple Groves
Vermont is a place of outdoor people and farm life, but if you also like shopping, local history, and unique crafts, you will find all of these on your visit to Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks in Montpelier. Burr Morse, the eighth generation of a family that has farmed this maple grove, greets visitors with tours of the sugarhouse, multimedia displays at a theater in a woodshed, a museum of Vermont farm life, and a country store with plenty of maple treats, gifts, and one-of-a-kind crafts to carry or mail back home. A gentle trail leads right to the “sugarbush” (maple grove). The trail is inhabited by fun folk characters carved by Morse. Sugaring season is February to April, but this theater of Vermont outdoor life is open year-round.
357 Morningside Lane
Charlestown, NH, 03603
Adventure park pleasures from fishing to paragliding
Soar above the earth in the beautiful Connecticut River Valley at an outdoor activity park that offers a huge range of activities and services. Discover the thrill of a lifetime in hang gliding and paragliding, guided by folks with 30 years of experience in flight instruction. Lessons are offered to people of all skill levels and ages. Enjoy ziplining and canopy tours, laser tag, fishing, swimming, and kayaking. There’s a cozy campground surrounded by old-growth forest where you can pitch your own tent or simply move into a set-up platform tent with full- or queen-size beds. The campground has a large range of play and housekeeping features: fire pits, playing fields, picnic areas, a community kitchen, restrooms, and bathhouse. You’re within easy reach of Boston, Hartford, Montreal, and New York. Great for families, corporate groups, and couples.
66 Thunder Mountain Road
Charlemont, MA, 01339
Intense skiing, zipping, rafting, and biking adventures
Whatever your outdoor pleasure, it can be found here: from skiing and snowboarding to tubing, zip lines, white water rafting, and downhill mountain biking. Jump aboard North America’s longest mountain coaster, or strap yourself into one of USA Today’s Top Ten Zip Lines in the United States. Fly above the tree tops at New England's largest zip destination with an introductory Base Tour and a more advanced Mountain Top Tour, and see fabulous views of the valley. The extreme Valley Jump has two half-mile-long zips that rise nearly 200 feet above the ground. Families, bring your kids and play. There are lessons, instructions, and equipment rentals, a family friendly lodging, and the Crazy Horse Bar and Grill for lunch or dinner.
3 Great Locations in New Hampshire and Maine
Zip It to the Max in New Hampshire
The southern shore of Lake Winnipesaukee hasspectacular outdoor adventure. Zipline tours and zip trekking will test your mettle. Start with ground school and safe harnessing by belays. Then take a journey up and move at your own pace through three zip lines and 48 challenges, including swinging beams, tightropes, rolling logs, hanging tires, and cargo nets. Ride with a partner side by side on dual 360-foot lines and hit the 35-foot-high giant swing rock climbing wall. Self navigate through the ZipTrek course with a variety of lines and rope-course challenges. Kids have their own specially designed course no more than 6 inches off the ground with an 80-foot zip line at the finish.
Charlemont, MA, 01339
Family Owned and Operated Whitewater Rafting Outfitter
Add whitewater rafting to your outdoor adventures this year. Crab Apple offers outings on the Deerfield River in Massachusetts and the Kennebec and Dead Rivers in Maine. You’ll enjoy full day rafting trips on mild Class 1-3 rapids or more aggressive Class 3-4 rapids. Or take a mild half-day trip in guided rafts or inflatable kayaks. Friendly and knowledgeable guides share information and stories about local history, wildlife and hydrology all with a personal touch. There’s great food and excellent equipment. Maine location includes riverside lodging, pub and heated pool. Massachusetts location sits along historic Mohawk Trail.
Route 16 at Pinkham Notch
Gorham, NH, 03581
Outdoor adventure for summer and winter explorers
Four-season adventure awaits your family at Great Glen Trails in Pinkham Notch. In warmer months, head out on scenic trails for a hike, a run, or bike ride through the majestic White Mountains. Join a guided bird watching tour or paddling trip on the Androscoggin River. In winter, cross country skiing and snowshoeing are the way to get around on a trail system of easy and rolling terrain. Skiers of all abilities can find their own level of activity, challenge, and fun. Trails are groomed with both double tracks and a skating lane and run through the forests at the base of Mount Washington. Or you can jump onto the SnowCoach and tour the mountain in winter from a comfortable seat. Outdoor fun for all tastes!
983 Upton Road
Errol, NH, 03579
Air, river, woods: Choose how you want to experience the great outdoors!
Through the air, on the water, among the trees: How do you want to experience the great outdoors? ELC Outdoors can make it happen. Raft or kayak through whitewater rapids, paddle through the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, rent a fat bike and hit the woods, face the 10 obstacles on an above-ground ropes course or zipline through the trees. Or maybe your idea of getting close to nature means catching a glimpse of a bald eagle, osprey, black bear or moose: Never fear, ELC has a wildlife pontoon boat cruise down Lake Umbagog and a whitewater and wildlife tour where you spend the day rafting the river then board a pontoon boat for an evening cruise along the Androscoggin River.
1650 Hartford-New London Tpke. (Rt. 85)
Oakdale, CT, 06370
Outdoor adventure at its family finest
Discover this amazing 60-acre adventure park with a seven-acre man-made lake with its own active volcano. Walk along beautifully tended nature trails amongst 40 life-sized dinosaurs. Indoors, dig for gems, pan for “gold” and unearth dinosaur bones in Discovery Depot. Children will love getting lost in the dinosaur themed ”MAZE”asaurus, and playing on the Giant T. Rex Mascot Monty’s playground featuring the SpaceNet, a 15 foot tall three-dimensional swinging, vibrating, climbing web. Cool off in New England’s largest SplashPad, a unique zero-depth water park. Bring a picnic or enjoy great food at the Cobalt Café and locations throughout the village. Enjoy special events, educational programs and endless shopping and plan a birthday party, scout, school or recreational group outing. Check out the new Cooper Creek Mini Golf Course open Summer 2017 for ages 8+!
1000 Elmwood Avenue
Providence, RI, 02907
You’lll have a roarin’ good time at this fabulous 40-acre zoo
Have a beast of a day at the Roger Williams Park Zoo. Spread out over 40 acres, the zoo houses animals from anteaters to zebras, and many exhibits let you interact with the residents. Feed a giraffe or a harbor seal, or visit the farmyard and get up close and personal with goats, sheep and alpacas. Watch an elephant take a bath or a moon bear play in a pool. Seek out the secretive snow leopard or watch bison roam their property. Other zoo activities include a zip ride, train excursion, “backyard” play area and a quarter-mile nature walk. At the nearby Carousel Village, ride a classic colonial horse, jump in the Bounce House or enjoy the Hasbro Boundless Playground.
37 Corey Road -- Route 43
Hancock, MA, 01237
Great outdoor family fun is live and active over four seasons
Jiminy Peak Mountain’s four-season resort offers lodging, shopping, and dining in the Village Center and Country Inn, plus an outdoor heated swimming pool, the In-Touch Day Spa, fitness room, game room, and more. It’s also home to the largest ski and snowboard resort in southern New England. Forty-five trails and nine lifts cater to skiers of all skill levels, and three terrain parks provide rails and jibs for new and experienced park riders. Enjoy outdoor summer fun with a double dose at the adjacent Mountain Adventure Park and Aerial Adventure Park, and plan some activity at the Soaring Eagle Zip Ride and Mountain Segway Tours. This wonderful family place offers memorable mountain resort experiences with outstanding service in remarkably beautiful surroundings.
Route 2 (Mohawk Trail)
Charlemont, MA, 01339
Outdoor adventure resort will push your action hunger
Step it up and outdoors at this great adventure resort on the Deerfield River in western Massachusetts. Whether you are interested in whitewater rafting, zip line tours, canoeing, kayaking, biking, or rock climbing, it can be yours. Plan half-day family raft trips or week-long whitewater kayak clinics that match your schedule and taste for adventure. The friendly professional staff, comfortable base camp, and top-notch equipment will ensure that your adventure is memorable. The Outfitters Shop is the Northeast's premier whitewater outlet, with over 100 of the hottest designs in stock. The expert staff can help you select a boat, but the best part is that you can try any boat before you buy it on the Deerfield River right in front of the shop.
One Railroad Avenue
Essex, CT, 06426
Ride the rails, ply the river at this delightful combo attraction
You are more than riding the rails when you board one of the vintage coaches of the Essex Steam Train. Because after a leisurely ride through the heart of the unspoiled Connecticut River Valley, past ponds, waterfalls and meadows, you are escorted onto the Becky Thatcher riverboat for a cruise past rocky shorelines, the Goodspeed Opera House and the Haddam Swing Bridge. Both forms of transport get you up close and personal to flora and fauna, from eagles and blue herons to the eye-popping colors of autumn leaves. Special excursions include a dinner train, sunset cruises, caboose weekends and the popular North Pole Express. Or, take a locomotive out for a spin in a “Hand on the Throttle” session.
The outdoors isn’t just great, it’s grand, in the N.H. mountains
In New Hampshire’s Grand North, there’s an exciting outdoor experience everywhere you look. Take a snow coach tour or a scenic train up Mount Washington, go whitewater rafting or try to find a moose on a wildlife tour. Take a guided adventure out of the Appalachian Mountain Club’s outdoor education center or explore the 45-kilometer trail network at Great Glen Trails. Zip through the summer or winter woods on a dog sled or try your luck fishing for trout and salmon in the 2.5-mile Trophy Stretch of the Connecticut River. Hunt for deer or gamebirds out of a rustic lodge or cabin with a lake view. Go skiing, snow tubing or snowmobiling in winter, canoeing in the spring and fall, fly-fishing in summer.
545 Beach Road
Pittsburg, NH, 03592
Embrace your inner trailblazer with family-friendly ATV rides with Bear Rock Adventures s
Discover the Great North Woods’ jaw-dropping vistas, diverse landscapes and wildlife from the back of a Polaris ATV or side-by-side with Bear Rock Adventures. Pick your own adventure with customized itineraries, perfect for families and thrill-seekers alike, and explore over 1,000 miles of Ride the Wilds interconnected trails on half, full, or multi-day excursions. Bear Rock Adventures provides a safe, turnkey way to ATV with the latest gear including safety helmets and goggles, cutting-edge GPS and Bluetooth technology as well as storage compartments for your riding gear, maps, picnic lunches and selfie sticks to capture the ultimate memory. Bear Rock Adventures is open May 26 through September 30, 2017. Book online today and receive 15% off with code Visit17 - just click our link or photo above.
40 Doaks Lane
Marblehead, MA, 01945
Get fit and learn new skills on Marblehead harbor
This warm weather outdoor fun place offers unique adventures on the water in scenic Marblehead. Get fit, learn new skills, improve your balance and confidence all summer long. through relays, board/boat swapping, capsize and rescue and other activities. Season passes run from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend and include programs for every age. Like having a gym membership, you’ll have on-site access to the entire fleet of sit-on-top single and double kayaks and standup paddle boards. There are also special guided sunrise paddles, birthday parties, cove destination treasure hunts, team building activities, snorkeling, swimming, fishing and eco-awareness. Guided Fly Fishing Charters and a Kids Kayak Fishing Camp teach the skills and gear necessary to be a successful angler.
60 Loon Mountain Road
Lincoln, NH, 03251
Zips, giant climbing web, log jam maze fill a day with action
New Hampshire’s longest scenic gondola skyride to the mountain top is just the start of the action at Loon Mountain. Ride a snow tube down for the excitement that awaits at the base. Trvel a zipline across the Pemigewasset River and into the Aerial Forest Adventure Park. Scale a rock wall, rent a bike, navigate the LogJam Maze, or climb a 30-foot-tall spider web. Young kids will love the bounce house and fun inflatable games at Bunyan’s Bouncin’ Backyard. While you’re at the summit, visit glacial caves and walk a scenic nature trail. Grab lunch or a snack at the Summit Café, which serves up great food and some of the best views of the White Mountains in all of New England.
Sailing from Ports in Rockland and
Camden, ME, 04843
A nautical adventure awaits with a windjammer cruise
Sail into an adventure aboard one of the Maine Windjammer Association’s eight majestic schooners. Want to help haul up an anchor, or would you rather just enjoy a bowl of chowder while watching the kids fish off the deck? Would you like to explore the inner workings of a lighthouse, tour a fishing village, try out a paddle board, learn about local wildlife, or just sit back and sip some wine while admiring a scarlet sunset with fellow passengers? Whether you want to get cooking tips from an on-board chef, practice pilates, take a turn at the wheel or just listen to seafaring stories by nighttime lantern-light, there is a cruise perfect for you, leaving from Camden or Rockland, Maine, and exploring the great outdoors.
33 Village Road
Waterville Valley, NH, 03215
Everything is great about the outdoors at this NH resort
When the folks at Waterville Valley talk about the great outdoors, they are not exaggerating. Mountains – to hike up or ski down – are everywhere. Take the chairlift up Snow’s Mountain and bike down, “chimney” down a short rock face at Mount Osceola or opt for something a little more sedate with a walk through the national forest that surrounds the resort. Swim in Corcoran’s Pond or one of the many pools at the resort’s lodging properties – or drive for a few minutes to a swimming hole. Play tennis or golf; rent a paddle boat, canoe or kayak; take advantage of the skateboard and inline skate park and outdoor dirt BMX track; join a pickup basketball game – or just enjoy the starry night sky. Many of these activities are included in the price of your room with the Waterville Valley Freedom Pass.
64 Railroad Street
Lincoln, NH, 03251
This amazing winter wonderland is made of solid ice and snow
Grab a good pair of sturdy boots, a snug jacket, a hat and mittens and head to the Ice Castles, where everything (including pathways) is made of ice and snow. Strolling through the castle, where walls are 10 feet thick and 10,000 icicles a day are placed to make the interior magical, you’ll encounter tunnels and caves, frozen fountains, chairs and thrones, sculptures and towers, some of which reach 25 feet into the air. Plus, there are slides! With lights frozen into the ice, there really is a feeling of fantasy, especially at night, when colored lights sync up to music for a spectacular light show. Tickets are guaranteed to sell out each weekend - be sure to buy yours in advance on our website!
Villages of East Burke, West Burke & Burke Hollow
Burke, VT, 05832
Recreate. Relax. Repeat.
Located in the heart of Vermont’s beautiful Northeast Kingdom, Burke is the perfect Vermont vacation spot for skiing, hiking, biking, snowmobiling, cultural heritage and more, all waiting for you to explore. Recreation galore awaits the adventurous travelers who like to hit the trails. And for those who like a slower pace, take your own time making your own trail discovering all Burke has to offer. Whatever brings you here, you will experience our unparalleled four season destination!
Adams National Historical Park Visitor Center - 1250 Hancock Street
Quincy, MA, 02169
Revel in this city’s history, recreation spots and natural surroundings
With 27 miles of coastline, including 11 beautiful beaches and miles of trails bordering rivers and marshes, Quincy is all about the outdoors. But there’s plenty of fun away from the water, too, since the city also boasts 52 parks, three golf courses, baseball fields, tennis and bocce courts, bike and jogging trails and a plethora of picnic places. Launch your boat off the public ramp at Houghs Neck Maritime Center, pitch your umbrella on spacious Wollaston Beach, go birding or rock-climbing at Blue Hills Reservation or check out the Boston skyline from the Neponset River Walk. Even the city’s history is outdoors, including a Native American campsite at Moswetuset Hummock and the site where Abigail Adams watched the Battle of Bunker Hill.
37 Corey Road
In winter, Jiminy Peak is the place to ski and snowboard. In summer, it turns into the Mountain Adventure Park, filled with rides and challenges for people who can’t turn down a dare. Among the hair-raising activities are an aerial forest ropes course consisting of five elevated courses; a mountain coaster, consisting of thousands of feet of twisting, turning fun through the woods; an Alpine super slide; a rock climbing wall with automatic belay lines and beginner, intermediate, and expert routes; a Euro-bungy trampoline with swivel harnesses; a zip ride, mountain Segway tours; mountain biking, and – for the sedentary adventurer, scenic tram rides to the summit on a six-passenger chairlift.
Remember when you boarded a train there was a sense of adventure, and getting there was all the fun! Travel back in time to the golden age of railroad travel as you are treated to some of the Cape's unspoiled and hidden beauty, accessible only by the railways. Make a whistle stop in Sandwich -- the Cape's oldest and most charming town -- or ride on through on this two-hour scenic route. Traverse some of the Cape's most picturesque countryside including quaint villages, unspoiled woodlands, sand dunes, cranberry bogs, salt marshes, and the famous Cape Cod Canal.
Sabbaday Falls Picnic Area, Route 112
Sabbaday Brook , on the Kancamagus Pass, drops 40 feet in an unusual and scenic form. The water drops eight feet into a small emerald green pothole. The outlet of the pothole is a slide resulting in a 20-foot horsetail into a tight gorge where it makes a ninety degree turn to the right. The final drop is a 12-foot slide into a deep teal trough that opens into a pale jade green pool below. Walkways, bridges, and stairs make this an easy and safe place to explore. To find it: Sabbaday Falls is the focal point of the Sabbaday Falls Picnic Area, a well marked locale on Route 112, about 11 miles east of Kancamagus Pass, about 3.4 miles west of the Jigger Johnson Campground and about 17 miles west of Conway.
Depart from Gregg Marine Research Complex, 29 Wentworth Road
New Castle, NH
Portsmouth-born author Celia Laighton Thaxter (1835-1894) grew up in the Isles of Shoals, including Appledore and Star islands, offshore between New Hampshire and Kittery Point, Maine. Her poems first appeared in The Atlantic Monthly and she became one of America's favorite authors in the late 1800s. Images of her famous garden return, again and again, in the oil paintings by Childe Hassam. Tours of the garden and Appledore Island are offered by Shoals Marine Lab aboard the research vessel Challenger. This is an island without paved roads, vehicles or amenities, so visitors (age 18 and older) should be prepared to spend the day hiking on rough terrain. The rewards are great.
One Railroad Avenue
Essex Steam Train & Riverboat's two-and-a-half -hour journey begins at the historic Essex Station for a narrated round trip into the heart of the unspoiled Connecticut River Valley. The steam locomotive pulls vintage coaches at 20 mph through the towns of Deep River and Chester. At Deep River Landing, passengers board the Becky Thatcher riverboat for a cruise along the Connecticut River. The deep water, coves, inlets, marshes, wildlife, and rocky shoreline are breathtaking. Upon Becky's return to Deep River Landing, the steam train welcomes passengers for the return trip to Essex Station. Trips conducted mid-May to late October.
This garden, a collection of intricate topiaries, is a special delight for children. This small country estate in Portsmouth evolved into a topiary garden under the care of father-and-son superintendents during most of the 20th century. There are more than 80 pieces of topiary throughout the gardens, including animals and birds, geometric figures and ornamental designs, sculpted from California privet, yew, and English boxwood. Today, Green Animals remains as a rare example of a self-sufficient estate combining formal topiaries, vegetable and herb gardens, orchards and a Victorian house overlooking Narragansett Bay. Open seasonally; call ahead for public hours.
Follow the trail of the vine as it winds through some of the most picturesque towns in Connecticut. The Connecticut Wine Trail is a unique collection of Twenty Four Vineyards, each ready to welcome you with hospitality and exceptional award winning wines. The trail is divided into two sections, East and West. To fully enjoy the Wine Trail, plan a few weekends to experience all that each winery has to offer. We invite you to explore this site and see where the trail leads you. You'll find more than just great wine.
3984 Vermont Route 11
Peru, VT, 05152
Bromley’s Summer Sun & Fun Park offers more warm-weather thrills (if not chills) than you can count. Alpine Slide is a triple-track and 2/3 of a mile in length with banked turns and straightaways, rollers and drops; the climbing wall has is multi-faced real-rock with different levels of challenges; the trampoline thing lets you slip into the harness and take trampolining to new heights; space bikes pedal into orbit; the zip line is basically 100 feet of "Yee-Ha!" on a super strong steel cable. The giant swing produces 3Gs of gravitational force. Coming in July 2012, the new Aerial Adventure Park allows you to walk in the treetops.
Forty-five miles of rustic carriage roads, the gift of philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr., weave around the mountains and valleys of Acadia National Park. Rockefeller wanted to travel via horse and carriage into the heart of Mount Desert Island. His construction from 1913 to 1940 resulted in roads with sweeping vistas and close-up views of the landscape. Rather than flattening hillsides to accommodate the roads, breast walls and retaining walls were built to preserve the line of hillsides and save trees. Rockefeller aligned the roads to follow the contours of the land and to take advantage of scenic views. It is a beautiful drive. Here is a map by the National Park Service.
139 Saint Gaudens Road
A visit to this national park is a walk through a beautiful, serene property that was home to one of America’s greatest sculptors. Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907), created over 150 works of art, from exquisitely carved cameos to heroic-size public monuments. Works such as the "Standing Lincoln" monument and the Shaw Memorial, continue to inspire people today and his design for the 1907 Twenty Dollar Gold Piece, is considered America's most beautiful coin. At this historic site you can see 100 of his artworks in the galleries and on the grounds, from heroic public monuments to expressive portrait reliefs, and the gold coins which changed the look of American coinage. Enjoy summer concerts, explore nature trails, and admire the magnificent views.
105 Haverhill Road
It has been determined that America's Stonehenge is an accurate astronomically aligned calendar. It was and still can be, used to determine specific solar and lunar events of the year. Archaeoastronomy is the study of the role of astronomy in ancient cultures. This includes knowing who was responsible for building astronomical observatories and how they were used to effect or influence their lives At America's Stonehenge. We have uncovered a wide range of artifacts including stone tools, pottery, stone and bone pendants, Native American and colonial artifacts.
Refuge Headquarters, 50 Bend Road
From fishing, to hiking, to photography, Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge has it all. The section of the refuge south of Route 1 is surrounded on three sides by Ninigret Pond, a large salt pond with a dramatic breachway opening to the ocean. At the east entrance, there is a kayak/canoe launch area -- a convenient place to get out on Ninigret Pond and see the refuge from the duck's point of view! The northern section of the refuge, where the Kettle Pond Visitor Center is located, is more forested upland. Watchaug Pond is only a short distance down easy trails from the Visitor Center. It’s a wonderful place to enjoy nature in any way that feels good to you.
161 Brownstone Avenue
Swimming, snorkeling, rock climbing, cliff jumping, scuba diving, zip lines, kayaking, hiking, biking. That is a partial list of the activities in store at the Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park in Portland. For those of us built for comfort, not risk, the list also includes lounging next to the lake and visits to the snack shack. Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park is Connecticut’s first outdoor adventure park. Equipment is available for rent and activities are supervised by experts. The park sells a General Swimming pass and an Adventure Sports pass, so everyone in your group – from sun-loving platypus to maniac cliff-diver, can enjoy the day.
RHODE ISLAND – Fishing, whale watching trips
33 State Street
The Frances Fleet invites adventurous guests aboard its trips to whale watching grounds (in July and August) as well as fishing trips for a half-day, full day overnight, or longer. The deep-sea prey can include cod, fluke, sea bass, striped bass, blues, tuna, squid, blackfish, and scup. Fishing trips are set up to accommodate novices and pros alike, and for fishermen of all ages. Vessels are equipped with the latest electronics, fishing gear, tackle, bait, full service galleys, and cabins and bunk rooms for overnight trips. New England is fishing country; step aboard!
Moxie Falls, located in the town of The Forks, drops 90 feet before crashing into a deep black pool carved out of stone. This impressive cascade is a great excuse to spend a day hiking in the pristine forests of the region, where visitors will find an impressive network of trails. Supposedly one of the largest waterfalls in the state, Moxie Falls takes its name from the official soft drink of Maine--but don’t be fooled, the falls consist only of pure, uncarbonated water. To get there, take Route 201 into The Forks and turn right on Lake Moxie Road. After about 2 miles, you'll see a parking lot on the left. Follow the trail to the falls.
Few structures in America combine architectural ingenuity, economic necessity, and romantic idealism better than the covered bridge. Covered bridges flourished in the United States in the 19th century. Pennsylvania has the most covered bridges, and Vermont, with about 104, has the most for its size. Individual inventiveness played an important role in the proliferation of covered bridges. As the industry grew, builders experimented and adapted each other’s designs in hopes of building stronger bridges with the fewest materials. Covered bridges grew in popularity in the early 20th century and became subjects for artists and advertisers. It is easy to design your own covered bridge driving tour.
132 Botanical Gardens Drive
Boothbay, ME, 04537
This magnificent collection of gardens, fronted by an airy, spacious welcome center, does more artist work with plants, sculpture, stone, ponds, and fountains than you can imagine. Gardens and meandering walks – including an endearing children’s garden – are a delight to all kinds of visitors – even people who might not consider themselves garden buffs. The names of the garden offer some clues: children’s garden, garden of the five senses, rhododendron & perennial garden, great lawn & ledge garden, kitchen garden, hillside garden, forest pond, meditation garden, shoreland trail, and rose & perennial garden. Best news: the garden is open daily, year-round.
With help from the Conway Scenic Railroad, you can enjoy a ride on vintage trains traveling over historic tracks in the heart of New Hampshire's White Mountains. On the Valley Train, you’ll journey on historic rail routes from the 1874 train station in North Conway Village to either Conway or Bartlett and back again. On the Notch Train, you’ll travel on what was once the Maine Central Railroad’s famed Mountain Division line, on tracks that were laid in the 1870s. Enjoy some of the most dramatic natural scenery in the East as you travel through spectacular Crawford Notch – past sheer bluffs, steep ravines, cascading brooks and streams, panoramic mountain vistas – en route to Crawford and Fabyan stations. Fun for all ages.
Departs from Washington and North Water streets
Norwalk, CT, 06854
From May to September the Norwalk Seaport Association hosts boat tours to the lovely island that is home to the Sheffield Island Lighthouse, one of the best places in New England to feel the world that the lighthouse keepers knew. Visitors can board the association’s catamaran for a cruise to the island then tour the lighthouse, enjoy wildlife at this national wildlife refuge, hunt for shells, dine on a picnic lunch, play on the lawns around the lighthouse, and just have a good time. The lighthouse tower provides magnificent views of Long Island Sound and even New York City on a clear day.
Start at 117 Memorial Blvd.
The Newport Cliff Walk is a 3.5-mile winding path along Newport’s shoreline with breathtaking views of Narragansett Bay and the rocky coves below. The walk runs from Bailey's Beach to First Beach, with public access points at Bellevue Avenue, Ledge Road, Marine Avenue, Ruggles Avenue, Ruggles Avenue, Sheppard Avenue, Webster Street, and Narragansett Avenue. The walk skirts the edges of some of the city’s mansions, including Beechwood, Rosecliff, Marble House, The Breakers, Ochre Court, and Rough Point. Much of the walk is easy paved paths but some parts have unpaved sections and rugged paths. Best section for viewing with limited time is Narragansett Avenue to Ruggles Avenue.
1 West Street
Bar Harbor, ME
Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. offers several distinct whale watching, sightseeing, light house and nature trips that sail daily throughout the summer. Come witness the awe inspiring beauty of the magnificent mammals of the sea. The Gulf of Maine is home to humpback, finback, and Minke whales. Because of the catamaran's speed visitors arrive at and cover lots of whale-watching territory. The boat’s galley is open during the voyage with food and beverages, including beer and wine.
off Route 108
The sequence of cascades that is Bingham Falls in Stowe, Vermont is special not just for its otherwordly quality, but because the public almost lost access to it a few years back when a land developer had plans to build a resort on the property. That plan was thwarted and adventurers can still enjoy the pristine beauty of the falls, and those brave enough can take a dip in the natural rock pool below Bingham's 25-foot cascade. To Find It: The falls are located a short hike off Route 108 in Stowe, about 1.5 miles southeast of Smugglers Notch. There is a path leading downhill from a fairly large turnout. The sound of roaring water assures you that you are in the right place.
7 Pond Street
Rangeley, ME, 04970
This is a super-cool and fun nature store in Rangeley, on the very edge of Haley Pond, where visitors and shopper often hear the cry of loons from the store’s property. The store is nestled deep in the mountains of western Maine, surrounded by crystal clear lakes. The stock include nature-loving gifts, games, music, books, educational toys, and much more. Store also offers kayaks for rent and kayaking classes.
The spectacular Quechee Gorge in Central Vermont – sometime called the Grand Canyon of the East – attracts spectators of all kinds. One heart-stopping way to see the gorge and the vast, forested beauty of its surroundings is from a hot air balloon. This is really the adventure of a lifetime. Balloons of Vermont , among other businesses, will take intrepid travelers above the treetops over the Ottauquechee River and the upper valley region for an unforgettable show in the most serene, majestic flying machine knows to man. The Quechee Balloon Festival, with lots of non-ballooning fun, like music, crafts, and children’s activities, takes place in June, and ballooning will be a central theme, but Balloons of Vermont takes people up over the gorge year-round.
The Minuteman Bikeway passes through the historic area where the American Revolution began in April 1775. Built by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on an inactive railroad, the trail is often used by local residents as a convenient, eco-friendly way for commuters to reach train stations. The path is 12 feet wide, plowed in the winter time, and includes lots of stops for refreshments and/or restrooms at Depot Park in Bedford, the Lexington Visitor’s Center, Alewife Station, and nearby business districts along the bikeway. Trail access in Bedford is available at the intersection of South Road and Loomis Street (exit 31B from I-95); at Lexington Center and Arlington Center, and at the Alewife T-Station.
VERMONT – Grand View Winery
Waterbury Center, VT
Grand View Winery on is a family-owned farm winery that produces grape wines and wines from fruits that grow easily and naturally in Vermont. While focusing on fruits that grow easily in Vermont, Grand View produces wines that are not overly sweet. The vineyard’s Strawberry Rhubarb Wine was featured on the NBC Today Show. Moreover, the vineyard is set amid 50-mile views, and replete with flower gardens. Take a lunch to enjoy with a selected wine while sitting outside. The retail shop and tasting room, at the Cold Hollow Cider Mill, are open daily, year round.
4 Standish Street
For three generations, the family-run Art’s Dune Tours has been taking spellbound visitors on tours of the dunes of the Provincelands, a marvelous, otherworldly place of sky, sea, dune grass, and wind-sculpted dunes. On the tours, you will travel through the majestic dunes where your guide points out the dune shacks where famous artists and writers lived and found inspiration. You will pass the remains of the Peaked Hill Life Saving Station and learn how life savers enacted their heroic efforts to save the lives of thousands from shipwrecks. Access by the public to the dunes is limited, so this is the way to see this marvelous landscape.
A leisurely walk through a world-class, history-rich city with many designated stops at fascinating places, from an old cemetery to classic, elegant churches. All this, along with educational value, enough space and variety for active kids, plenty of snacking opps along the way. Boston's Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile trail connecting 16 of the country's most significant historic sites linked to the American Revolution. Between April and November, you can take a 90-minute walking tour along the trail with a lively and informative 18th century costumed guide. Stop include The Boston Common, The State House,Faneuil Hall, Paul Revere House The Old North Church, Copp's Hill Burying Ground, Bunker Hill Monument, and the USS Constitution.
23 Science Center Road
Holderness, NH, 03245
Through live animal exhibits, natural science education programs, and lake cruises, Squam Lakes Natural Science Center has brought visitors in touch with the natural world of the Lake region of New Hampshire for more than 40 years. Open meadows, mature forests, and marsh boardwalks connect interactive natural exhibits that are the homes of native animals reside: black bears, mountain lions, raptors, river otters, bobcats, and more. On a day visit of the center, adults and children can take a Science Center Lake Cruise, enjoy the beauty of Kirkwood Gardens, see an animal exhibit or hear a mini-talk, have a snack at Kirkwood Cafe, and shop naturally in the Howling Coyote Gift Shop.