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Starting to plan a New England road trip summer 2016

midwest
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Starting to plan a New England road trip summer 2016

Hi,

We are starting to plan a 2 week road trip for next summer in the New England area. We have never been to New England before. We are budget travelers.

We are planning to fly into 1 city, rent a car, drive for 2 weeks and fly out of another city to home. We will use Southwest Air so the possible cities are: Portland, Manchester, Boston and Providence.

About 4 years ago we did a fantastic road trip in the Southwest U.S. area ( tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g1-i12567-k4968786… ) with lots of help from Trip Advisor members :) We would like to do something similar in the New England area for this trip.

For this New England trip we are thinking about various areas and need help to whittle it down.

The areas that look interesting to us are:

Boston, Cape Cod/Nantucket/Martha's Vineyard, New Hampshire, Kancamagus highway, White Mountains, Vermont, Maine, Acadia National Park, and Quebec City.

What we would like to do/see:

whale watch

nature/animals/birds

eat lobster & seafood

history

landscapes

coastal areas/light houses

light hiking

Could anyone help me start with an itinerary outline to work with????

17 replies to this topic
Atlanta, Georgia
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1. Re: Starting to plan a New England road trip summer 2016

We have done the Boston area on one of our trips and did VT, NH and Maine on another. For Boston you would need at least 2-3 days.

Doing a one way car rental will add to your costs.

The areas in New England we loved were the White Mts. of NH. We drove the Kancamagus Hwy, went up to Mt. Washington, to Flume Gorge and to Franconia Notch SP, and enjoyed the covered bridges in Jackson and the town of North Conway. Think you will probably need about 3 days there. We did a day trip over to St. Johnsburry, VT to see the Maple Grove farms factory and store.

We then drove thru rural Maine to Bar Harbor and Acadia NP and spent another couple of days there.

We then drove down the coast of Maine of Maine to Penabscot bay, Camden, Mt. Battie, Rockland, Freeport, Portland headlights and museum (lighthouse), Kennebunkport and Ogunquit. We took a couple of days to do this.

We flew in and out of Manchester NH to do our New England trip.

We had ample opportunities to see lighthouses, to enjoy awesome scenery, history and to eat some great food.

Check out some of the trip reports under our road trip reports at the top of this page. These make give you some insight into a possible trip plan.

midwest
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2. Re: Starting to plan a New England road trip summer 2016

Thanks for the reply, PeachBelle. I have browsed through the trip reports but, still haven't found a " base plan" that would fit. To me, it is so overwhelming to start planning a trip that has lots going on. We want to see and do it all but only have a set time and budget.

Maybe I should start with, at this point, what we think we REALLY want to see/do?

Whale watching is near the top. We hope to do a day where we have a good chance to see whales without hordes of people on a boat, maybe something a bit more personal and smaller.

Acadia NP is near the top too. From photos the beauty looks fantastic. There we hope to stay at a cabin like lodging in the area. We also want to see Moose.

Beautiful coastal driving and barren landscapes are also high on our list.

Quebec City. We think it looks like an entirely different stop on this road trip. I love all things French and think it may be a good way to experience this without going to France :)

So, as it stands right now, those are at the top of the list for this trip. Of course, we will change our minds some as the planning progresses :) but, I have to start somewhere.

We really loved our SW road trip. It worked out really well flying into one place and out of another. It helped us not to backtrack any. I am aware that one way car rentals can be notoriously high with drop off charges. But, I dug around on our SW trip until I found a rental that worked for us. I will say, I spent a lot of time digging around for coupon codes and putting in different combinations until I came up with a workable rental. Guess that's one reason why I start planning trips so early:)

Is there a bare bones itinerary that anyone could suggest from what I've talked about above? Something that could get me started? This is really the hardest part of trip planning for me. As I said above, we want to see and do it all but can't. I just get overwhelmed trying to start out. :(

Atlanta, Georgia
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3. Re: Starting to plan a New England road trip summer 2016

We have had people do something like this- of course does not cover all your trip ideas-

Boston

Vermont- Stowe/Burlington area

White Mts. of NH

Drive across Maine

Acadia NP/Bar Harbor

down coast of Maine to see scenery, lighthouses, and eat some good lobster.

Some people start in Boston and end in Boston while others have started in Boston and ended in Portland or Manchester.

Beware of ending or starting your trip in Canada as there might be a glitch with one way car rental and the fees will be super expensive. I do know that from previous posters.

Good luck!!

conn
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4. Re: Starting to plan a New England road trip summer 2016

The New England landscape is anything but barren its one of the greenest regions in the USA. Woodlands are the norm here that's why fall colors are such a big tourist draw.

conn
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5. Re: Starting to plan a New England road trip summer 2016

A basic road trip would be I95 from the NYC area to I91 in Ct up I91 through Mass to VT to rt2 across NH to Maine then rt1 along the coast picking up maybe I95 again In Mass to finish the loop

Manchester
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6. Re: Starting to plan a New England road trip summer 2016

We did this trip a few years ago and it was fantastic. We actually went in the Fall to see the leaves. We opted for a "round trip" which worked well.

We flew into Boston, then drove down to the Cape, Then back up to Maine, Drove all the way up New Hampshire across the Kancamagus Highway into Vermont. Then all the way down Vermont back to Boston. We did this in 10 days, did lots of side trips and had my parents with us who were in their 80's.

Once you have a route try MapQuest.com and it will give you the mileage and the timings. You can then add or subtract places to visit depending on how much you want to drive and what you particularly want to see.

Enjoy!

Vestal, New York
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7. Re: Starting to plan a New England road trip summer 2016

Boston and Cape Cod/Nantucket/Martha's Vineyard aren't "budget destinations".

Maine and Vermont are the best destinations - Acadia NP and driving along the coast exploring all the peninsulas and bays would make for a spectacular journey.

Burlington and northern Vermont (St Johnsbury/Lake Willoughby) are great Vermont destinations as is the state capital (Montpelier) and driving along VT-100.

I am not a big fan of New Hampshire compared to Maine and Vermont and it would be much lower on my list - I do like Portsmouth and the White Mountains. The Kanc Hwy. is nice but I wasn't at all blown away by it as I was with other New England vistas.

Good Luck and have fun!

midwest
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8. Re: Starting to plan a New England road trip summer 2016

Thanks for the replies.

I think Maine is a definite as is Acadia NP. Would the better whale watching be in the Maine area too?

Vermont looks lovely too. Even though we will be there mid-summer, would you still recommend it? We love quaint towns, covered bridges....

Is there another area that might give a similar look and feel of Cape Cod/Nantucket area at a more budget friendly cost?

Boston--it seems a shame to be that close to all of that history and not see it. Is there a more economical way to see some of Boston without breaking the bank?

I read about a small island on the coast of Canada called Grand Manan Island. Any one been there? Thoughts?

No one has really said much about Quebec City. Is it reasonable to think we could add it to our trip? It seems like it would add something really different to the trip.

When we took our Southwest trip 4 years ago, we were fortunate to be able to go to a Native American Corn Festival feast day. Is there anything in the NE that would be comparable in the summer months?

We hope to have a really varied trip with nature, landscapes, culture and use our 2 weeks time wisely :)

Thanks for the help :)

midwest
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9. Re: Starting to plan a New England road trip summer 2016

Just bumping up to see if anyone has any additional info on the new questions :)

Hopedale...
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10. Re: Starting to plan a New England road trip summer 2016

To see as much as possible, with little backtracking, I would fly into Providence, drive down to Mystic, Ct (less than an hour) (Mystic Seaport is wonderful), over to Newport, RI (an hour & 15 minutes) (there is nothing like the Newport Mansion tours), over to Plymouth, MA (an hour & 15 minutes) First Thanksgiving, Plymouth Plantation, Mayflower…), then up to Boston (less than an hour) (John Jeffries House is AMAZINGLY inexpensive in the heart of Boston - and it's lovely!), then off to Acadia National Park (4.5 hours). You'd get to spend a considerable amount of time in 4 of the states and the total driving time is less than 9 hours for all of that! There would be ample opportunities everywhere for Whale watching, lobster, coastal driving, etc. If you're dying to see the White Mountains and have time, you could insert the White Mountains between Boston and Acadia. It all depends on what kind of time you have.

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