Top 10 weekend excursions in New England

The beautiful states of New England (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont) are very small and close together, which makes them easily accessible to anyone living in the region.

Written from a local's perspective, this lineup offers suggestions for both well-known destinations and hidden gems to explore in your free time!

1. Portland, Maine

Known to have the most friendly and warm people in the north, Portland has a lot to offer. Fit with narrow cobblestone streets and Victorian mansions, Portland mixes the old world style with contemporary life.

Down in the Old Port you will find museums, art galleries, boutiques and restaurants. One of the best-kept secrets is Peak's Island, which is right off the coast in Casco Bay.

2. Newport, Rhode Island

Home to Salve Regina University, Newport is packed with architecture and culture. Ocean Drive is well known for its landmark colonial-era architecture mansions.

During the summer you will find famous music festivals featuring classical, folk and jazz artists. The ocean cliff walk is a do-not-miss! It stretches 3.5 miles down the coast of Rhode Island and is accessible to the public.

3. Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Known as a port town that is still functional today, Portsmouth has a small town feel but with big views! The 18th century colonial buildings and historic houses make it feel like you stepped into the past.

Just across the Piscataqua River you will find yourself in Kittery, Maine, which is a great place for those who love shopping since the Kittery Outlets are huge!

4. Salem, Massachusetts

Known for the witch trails of 1692, Salem is popular destination around Halloween. Summer is the best time to visit since there are less tourists and the weather is warm. Between the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem Witch Trials Memorial, graveyards and Pickering Wharf you won't have enough time to see everything, so choose wisely!

5. Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Cape Cod is a famous summer destination, and for good reason! In addition to the beautiful beaches and tourist trap shops, the Cape is bustling with day and night activity. Families are drawn calm beaches on the bay side and college students are attracted to Falmouth and Wellfleet for their night life. Provincetown, or Ptown, is well known for its high population of gay and lesbian couples. Lesser known, it is also a haven for fine art and whale watching. Seeing the occasional drag queen is not out of the ordinary!

6. Block Island, Rhode Island

Just off the coast of mainland Rhode Island, Block Island is the perfect quaint island getaway. Since it is only 10 square miles, vacationers can bike to anywhere on the island in under 20 minutes. Even with its small size it offers full service of fancy restaurants, spas, and even an alpaca farm! The number one attraction that draws the locals are the Mohegan Bluffs; clay cliffs 150 feet high on the island’s southern point.

7. New Haven, Connecticut

Home to Yale University, New Haven is a popular destination to national and international visitors. The city has a thriving art scene and nightlife with world-class museums, galleries lively cocktail lounges and ethnic restaurants.

Concertgoers from all over head down to Toad's Place, an intimate concert venue and Firehouse 12 for live Jazz music. Don’t forget to try a slice of New Haven's famous pizza!

8. Rockport, Massachusetts

A favorite destination of locals in the area, Rockport is a beautiful getaway. Halibut Point State Park's view will take your breath away. At Bearskin Neck you will find many shops, galleries, restaurants and cafes. A visit to Rockport is perfect for those looking for a relaxing weekend!

9. New York City, New York

Arguably the most popular US destination, NYC is the perfect weekend trip. Of course you could spend more than a weekend in the city, but locals agree a weekend is the perfect amount of time for a visit. Make sure to visit Central Park, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Grand Central Station and the Statue of Liberty. Don't forget to see a show on Broadway!

10. The Berkshires, Massachusetts & Connecticut

The Berkshires are a series of mountains that run through Massachusetts and Connecticut. This is a perfect weekend getaway for those who love the outdoors. Between whitewater rafting, hiking trails and forest adventure parks you will be one with nature!