I just completed my first New England summer as a full-time resident, and boy was it spectacular. Now that I’m living here in New England, my goal is to explore and experience all its great places — beaches, coastlines, charming towns and historic homes. First destination on the list was a trip to the southern coast of Maine, followed by Block Island and then The Cape. In between, we stayed put and explored Rhode Island because this little state sure is awesome in the summertime.
As fall has arrived, I thought I’d share my favorite summer spots here in New England so you can start thinking about next summer travel plans. Here are some of my New England summer 2016 highlights:
My family and I stayed with friends over the Fourth of July weekend and had the best time exploring this tiny island — seven by three miles to be exact. It’s the perfect getaway to be barefoot and salty-haired, and the island has some of the most beautiful beaches, which feel private, but are open to the public. You can only have a car if you bring it over on the ferry, otherwise good option is to rent bikes or mopeds to explore the island’s beautiful landscapes.
Top things to do on Block Island: Take a quick leisurely hike to Clayhead Beach for a little DIY spa treatment and it’s rocky beach (kids love it); trek down more than 140 steps at Mohegan Bluffs for gorgeous scenic views and a cool slice of beach with stunning cliffs; sip early evening cocktails at the Spring House overlooking the Atlantic; lunch or dinner at The Oar overlooking Great Salt Pond; a stop at Payne’s Donuts for fresh-baked donuts.
My husband partakes in an annual fishing tournament on The Cape every summer, so we decided to tack on some days and spend a long weekend at the family friendly Sea Crest Beach Hotel in Falmouth. The kids had a blast and it sits on Silver Beach, one of the prettiest beaches in all of The Cape. Albeit crowded in high season, we had some of our best beach time here all summer.
My Top Picks to Do In and Around Falmouth: Dinner and cocktails at Red’s at the Sea Crest is a must for its breathtaking sunset views; explore the charming town of Falmouth for shops and restaurants; Woods Hole to grab lunch or dinner and ice cream; Woods Hole Science Aquarium for the kids.
Southern Maine Coast
Once the kids finished up school, we headed up to the southern coast of Maine and it was the perfect three-day trip hitting Oqunquit, Kennebunkport and Portland (you can read about it more here). We had amazing meals, spent a ton of time outside exploring the beauty of the coast and savored the start to the summer season.
My Top Picks To Do in the southern coast of Maine: Talk a walk along Marginal Way in Oquniquit; order the fried whole belly clams at The Clam Shack in Kennebunkport (best I’ve ever had); Dine on one of the lobster specials at Mabel’s Lobster Claw in Kennebunkport, Cape Porpoise to see a real working lobster dock; explore Goose Rocks Beach in Kennebunkport (one of the prettiest beaches ever); spend the day walking Old Port in Portland; take a ferry ride around Casco Bay.
Newport has been my little getaway from home, and even though it’s crowded in the summer, it still feels manageable and not too crazy. My go-to spot is the lawn at Castle Hill Inn. It’s one of my happy places, and sits on one of the most beautiful spots on the tip of Newport, overlooking the boats heading in and out of Newport harbor. Whenever I have visitors, this is the spot we are most likely going to on a weekend for cocktails and chilling out on the Adirondack chairs.
My Top Picks to Do in Newport: Cocktails or a meal at Castle Hill, any time of day this place is stunning, but sunsets are even more spectacular; Perro Salado for upscale Mexican cuisine and the tastiest cilantro-jalapeno margaritas; Bowens Wharf, Gooseberry Beach, a leisurely walk along The Cliff Walk.
Main image of The Mohegan Bluffs is borrowed from the Block Island Tourism Council.