When the snow starts to fall and the temperatures drop New Englanders know it’s time for a weekend away. Winter getaways in New England are full of historic sites, delicious food and plenty of fresh snow. I hope these destinations inspire you to get out and explore.
Winter Getaways in New England
North Conway, New Hampshire
North Conway is the perfect place to spend a winter getaway in New England. Surrounded by the White Mountains this quintessential New England town has plenty of little shops to visit and restaurants to eat in. My personal favorite restaurants are Moat Mountain Smokehouse and Brewery and Chef’s Bistro.
After exploring downtown hop in the car and drive north to see the famous Mount Washington Hotel and Resort. Visitors are allowed inside the lobby which is always beautifully decorated for the holidays. If you can afford to stay there, it’s very expensive, do it!
For those of use who are on a budget check out
Close by skiiers and riders can explore Cranmore or go snow tubing. Hikers and snowshoers can explore snowy trails nearby. I recommend the easy, but beautiful Diana’s Bath located close to downtown North Conway. And if you’re in the need for speed try out snowmobiling on a guided tour with Northern Extremes Snowmobiling.
Just before the sun goes down book tickets to the Ice Castle. While it is a bit of a drive over the Kancamagus Highway to Woodstock, NH it’s totally worth it! Not only do you get to drive this gorgeous highway you’ll get to see the ice castles during the day and at night once they turn the colored lights on to light up the ice.
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Acadia National Park, Maine
One of the best winter getaways in New England is the beautiful Acadia National Park in Maine. Acadia is situated on Mt. Desert Island and is typically known for its hiking trails, coastal views, and being the only US national park in the northeast. And while many people associate Acadia National Park with its summer offerings, it is definitely not a place that should be overlooked in the winter!
During December, January, and February, Acadia transforms into a winter wonderland and is one of the best places on the East Coast for cross-country skiing. The park has over 45 miles of carriage roads and you can always find cross-country skiers and snowshoers on them, although it is never quite as busy as the summers.
The daily high in Acadia National Park hovers around 0C/32F during the winter months and the park sees about 60 inches of snow on average.
Visiting Acadia in winter is a great day trip from many places in Maine and the perfect weekend trip from other places in New England. Many lodging options still exist, especially in Bar Harbor and other parts of Mt. Desert Island. Alternatively, you can seek accommodation in Bangor.
A popular activity in Acadia during the winter season is camping. Blackwood Campground is open and it is free to camp there. It is also the perfect place for beginner campers due to its accessibility. There are so many fantastic places to visit in New England during winter, but Acadia National Park might just take the cake for the winter adventurer!
Newport, Rhode Island
Newport, Rhode Island has been a summer escape from New York and Boston for decades, but do not overlook its wintertime appeal for all modern travelers. At just 11 square miles, this tiny town in Narragansett Bay is packed with ocean views, incredible restaurants, and breathtaking historic sites for a full weekend of winter-time exploration for families and couples alike.
For accommodations, you will find an abundance of quaint and modern boutique hotels making it hard to narrow and choose. The laid-back vibe of the recently renovated Hammetts Hotel and the calm and quaint vibes of the Brenton Hotel which recently opened as well are both great choices. Once you have settled into your cozy New England accommodations, get out to explore the Newport Mansions. In winter, only the most popular mansions remain open, but there is plenty of opulence to be enjoyed as you soak up the glamorous life of the east coast elite of the turn of the century. Audio tours are available through their app, so be sure you bring your headphones and a charged phone.
The restaurant scene is quite impressive and most are open through the winter, some even offering specials including a wonderful restaurant week. White Horse Tavern boasts the title as the oldest restaurant in the U.S. is worth a visit for the food as well as the atmosphere. You must also head to Stoneacre Brasserie for an incredible and constantly changing menu, delicious wine list, and fun cocktails.
And before you head out of town, on even cold and snowy days, join the locals to get some fresh air along the Cliff Walk, a New England Bucket List activity, and soak up the ocean views. The path is paved with a few rocky areas that become slick with ice or snow, bring sturdy hiking or winter boots to enjoy the full 3.5-mile trail, the true star of wonderful Newport in the winter.
Winter Getaways in New England: Manchester, Vermont
Manchester is nestled between the Green Mountains and Taconic Mountains in southwestern Vermont. It’s easy to get to from most of New England and New York making it one of the most perfect winter getaways in New England.
Around the Holidays Manchester hosts several celebrations and events. The Manchester Lions Club allows families to join a train ride to the North Pole to see Santa and his Elves on the Elf Express.
For over 20 years, local Inns have been welcoming visitors to their halls on scheduled nights to view holiday decorations and share holiday cheer. And, one of my personal favorite activities, is the Lighted Tracor Parade! Local businesses and organizations light up the night as tractors drive down Main Street bringing smiles to children of all ages.
If you’re into skiing and snowboarding Bromley Mountain and Stratton Mountain Resort are located a 15 or 30 minute drive away. Both mountains have unique offerings. Bromley is small scale and great for those learning how to ski and road. Stratton is bigger, more commercial, and is better suited for those who have experience.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
There’s something for everyone in the seaside city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Portsmouth is home to about 21,000 residents, but it offers a lot to see and do. Given that it’s only one hour north of Boston and one hour south of Portland, Maine, it makes for both the perfect Boston day trip or longer city escape.
Market Square is the center of Portsmouth’s action. Branching out from the square are narrow streets lined with buildings representing a mix of architecture including Colonial, Federalist and Neo-classical – some even date back to the 17th century.
The winter is a great time to wander the streets and browse the city’s many gift shops, bookstores and art galleries. Portsmouth is home to the USS Albacore, a retired U.S. Navy submarine, and the Strawbery Banke Museum, which recreates what life was like in Portsmouth from 1695 to 1950.
Portsmouth has a particularly impressive restaurant scene – you can find everything from Nepali to Italian cuisine. My favorites are Green Elephant and 5 Thai Bistro for Asian, and Row 34 for seafood. Portsmouth Brewery is a lively lunch spot, and has a great beer selection.
If you’re looking to take your time and enjoy Portsmouth’s charm, most of the popular hotel chains have a location in or near Portsmouth. Located downtown are two popular boutique hotels, The Sailmaker’s House and Ale House Inn.
Boothbay Harbor, Maine
One of the best places to do a winter getaway in Maine is Boothbay Harbor. Here you’ll be able to find many things to see and do. For instance, during the Wintertime, Boothbay Harbor is host to a wide array of festivals and activities. My personal favorite is Gardens Aglow, which features the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens covered with over 650,000 beautiful Christmas lights. It is the biggest Christmas Light Show in the region.
Another popular thing to do is to visit the Boothbay Region Historical Society. Every December, they host the Harbor Lights Open House, which exhibits a festive display of antique decorations, vintage greeting cards, historical photos, and traditional greens.
While you are here, you might be wondering where to stay and eat as well. One of the most popular places you can go for some delicious food is The Boathouse Bistro Tapas Bar and Restaurant. They specialize in Tapas style dining that is extremely affordable. You can find things like Maine Lobster Flatbread, Baked Brie, Fried Oysters, Lobster Corn Chowder and more all made fresh for you to eat.
And as for places to stay, one of the best places you can stay at is at a place called Flagship Inn and Suites, which is one of the most affordable, family-friendly places you can stay at. They are in close proximity to many downtown shops, restaurants and other attractions too, which makes this place all the more convenient.
Winter Getaways in New England: Surprise Getaway Cabin
Booking with Getaway Cabins is an adventure from the start. They have outposts outside of 12 major cities. The address isn’t even revealed to you until after you book. I booked through the Boston outpost and my cabin was actually in southern New Hampshire.
As I drove down the winding dirt road, I passed modern tiny houses dappled throughout the woods. They are spaced out to give you all of the privacy you need.
My cabin was perched over a river. I promptly put my phone into the lock box they provide to urge you to completely unplug. There is no WIFI. There are no televisions. All of those little red dots notifying you about unnecessary things are all put on hold.
Even though Getaway Cabins wants you to unplug, there is still electricity and modern amenities. The bathroom has hot showers and a flush toilet. The kitchen has a sink, mini fridge and two-burner stove top. Some provisions are even provided (at an extra fee).
Outside the cabin was two Adirondack chairs placed by a fire pit. Firewood is provided for an extra fee. If you use it, they will just charge your card when you check out.
I only packed the necessities: my dog, an adult coloring book and a bottle of wine. A thunderstorm moved in. We lay in our cozy bed with the huge picture window looking out to the forest. It was glorious to just listen to the rain and do absolutely nothing.
If you need to get supplies, Concord is only 25 minutes away. The Concord Food Co-op is a great place to grab any provisions you need. Gibson’s Bookstore is right across the street if you need a good book to dive into.
Getaway Cabins are as safe as it gets when it comes to travel these days. A keycode is send to you to get into your cabin, so you don’t ever have to interact with anyone.
At a Getaway Cabin, you can completely disconnect and just enjoy the stillness of the woods. A tree is planted for every booking made so you can feel good about supporting a sustainable company.