11 outdoor activities to help you experience the wonder of New England

By Grace-Yvette Gammell
January 28, 2019, 4:03:22 PM EST


There are numerous indoor activities to keep you busy in New England, but this is the land of the White Mountains, Lake Champlain, and Acadia National Park. So do yourself a favor and head outdoors to take in the rugged, and not-so-rugged, landscape, from its sweeping coastal terrain dotted with cranberry bogs and blueberry barrens to the majestic heights of its rolling mountain ranges and thick forests.

1. Ski the Real Vermont

ski vermont

(Photo: SamaraHeisz5/Shutterstock)


Just shy of the US-Canadian border, some of Vermont’s best ski slopes can be found at Jay Peakin the northern Green Mountains. The 272-mile Long Trail, which runs the entire length of the state, climbs its summit, which has an elevation reaching just shy of 4,000 feet. The surrounding area boasts a massive network of trails, a top-notch resort, and the most snow in eastern North America.

2. Explore Acadia National Park

acadia np

(Photo: Leonard Zhukovsky/Shutterstock)


Boasting around 160 miles of pristine coastal hiking trails and an extensive network of meandering carriage roads peppered with charming stone bridges, Acadia National Parkis every outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, offering bountiful opportunities to experience the raw, natural beauty of Down East’s craggy costal landscape. Equally suitable for hardcore hikers and campers and those who prefer to bask in nature’s sublimity at a more relaxed pace, the summit of Cadillac Mountain—the park’s crown jewel—can be attacked via the rocky switchbacks that lead hikers to the top, or by exploring the scenic, winding paved road that leads more casual explorers to some of the most breathtaking views in a matter of minutes. However you reach the summit, you’ll want to plan on making it there in time for the sunrise—one of the first to unfold across the United States—for a spectacular play of color as the light trickles across the mountain’s pink granite rocks covered in sea-foam green lichen and reflects the many-hued blues of the Atlantic.

3. Visit Lake Champlain

paddle paddle paddle splash

(Photo/ Chriss Hill/Shutterstock)


Leaf peeping and Vermont are virtually synonymous, but most visitors don’t think about taking in the stunning blush of the Green Mountain State’s fall foliage from out on the water. What better way to experience a stunning panorama of the season’s painted landscape than from Lake Champlain? Best accessed from Burlington, where you can easily rent a paddle board, Vermont’s pristine, freshwater lake is surrounded by majestic mountains covered in forests that put on a colorful display of bravado in the autumn. Out on the water, far from the constant flow of leaf peeping traffic, you’ll feel like nature’s putting it all on just for you in every direction you paddle.

4. Surfing in Maine

cowabunga dudeeee

(Photo/ Maureen Milliken/Shutterstock)


Surfing isn’t exactly what comes to mind when considering a visit to the Pine Tree State, but serious surfers know Maine has some of the East Coast’s most dramatic breakers, with the best at Reid State Parkin the state’s Midcoast region. Those who brave the brisk dip into Maine’s notoriously chilly coastal waters are rewarded with a steady flow of billowing white caps and swelling combers epic enough to send any diehard surfer howling “akaw!”

5. Hike the Appalachian Trail

hiking appalachian trail

(Photo: drewthehobbit/Shutterstock)


Hiking the Appalachian Trail is on the bucket list of most hardcore trekkers, but tackling the entire length of America’s most notorious hiking trail is nothing short of a commitment. Featuring 161-miles of the Appalachian Trail, New Hampshire’s leg is one of the most challenging and rewarding stretches along the route, with some of the steepest inclines leading to exposed areas with stunning alpine tundra and breathtaking panoramic views.

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