Dave Jonasen / Getty Images

As much as I love my south shore area of the Northeast, sometimes there is nothing better than a quick pause. We are fortunate in New England that there are so many great options that are a short drive away. It’s not hard to embark on that perfect weekend getaway escape.

With summer coming to a close and the hustle and bustle of all the fall activities kicking into overdrive, here I will look at some of the best places for a weekend getaway in New England based upon all of those I have visited.

What Do You Look For In A Weekend Trip?

Many factors can be considered when nailing down that perfect two-day plan. We, of course, are graced with all four seasons of the year, so depending upon when you are traveling, different activities may be available to you. Then again, perhaps you don’t want any activities at all.

Food options are important to me. However, I don’t make trip plans based around what place has the best restaurants. I tend to lean towards exploring the local area in hopes of tripping across a local gem.

Driving distance is another thing I heavily weigh. Although I don’t mind the occasional long road trip, my preference is to maximize my time on a weekend adventure. Therefore, time in the car is ideally under four hours. Cost is always a factor.

Lastly, I must preface this list by stating I am an outdoorsman. A good book or movie can certainly do the trick. I always opt for great ocean waves, a rope swing, or mountain over an extra hour of sleep.

In recent years, I have been to each of the places on this list over various months of the year. They each have their own unique characteristics. Their common bond is that they are all great destinations for a New England weekend getaway.

  • Wellfleet, Cape Cod

    Cape Cod is an obvious location. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend, there is perhaps no place that is more popular in Massachusetts. To me, it’s about finding that specific corner of Cape Cod that is right for you. You can camp or find cottages along Cahoon Hallow Road that will enable amazing trips to the beach. Trekking those sand dunes, hitting the three-foot waves (yes, sometimes there are shark warnings), and then getting food at the Beachcomber while listening to the great live music, is my perfect day.
    The pounding surf breaks on Marconi Beach in Wellfleet, Cape Cod.

  • North Conway, New Hampshire

    There is never a bad time to visit this charming town. You can ski Cranmore in the winter. Hike, hit the waterfalls, or visit Storyland in the summer. Either way, you will be graced with some amazing local restaurants. In fact, North Conway flies under the radar as one of the best pizza towns in New England. The hotels like Eastern Slope in accommodate any season, and are right in the middle of town where all the bars, restaurants and stores are. This weekend getaway is probably the least “quiet” but has the most amount of options at your fingertips.

    Sunset along Route 16 in Conway, New Hampshire.

    Stock Photo / Getty Images

  • Woodstock, Vermont

    The river that runs through Woodstock has a way of speaking to you. It’s serene but can also provide a thrill of pushing you down stream. It’s calming to provide that fresh water cleanse to rid yourself of all that comes with the lights on the city. Lastly, the various rope swings scattered around the town provide a liberating rush. From the climb up the rocks to the swing, to the plunge, you focus on nothing but the joy of that ride. Ramunto’s Brick Oven and Brews is also an essential stop upon each visit.

    Taken in the Taftsville village of Woodstock, Vermont.

    Stock Photo / Getty Images

  • Sebago Lake, Maine

    Lake life just hits differently. Depending upon where you go around Lake Sebago you get the feeling that nowhere else on the planet exists while you there. Frye Island has the magic of no public cars, local watering holes, and the ability to bike incredible dirt roads. There’s a history there to learn about and local taps to enjoy. It’s common to see jet skiing or pontoon boating anywhere you look within the glistening waters. Furthermore, certain towns offer that one and only general store that has everything you can imagine, from household cleaning supplies to steaks to grill for dinner.

    Dock at Lake Sebago, in Maine at sunrise with trees in the background.

    Stock Photo / Getty Images

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