Shelburne Farms 7 Day New England Road Trip Itinerary

7 Day New England Road Trip Itinerary for Summer or Fall (With 5 & 10 Day Options)

Trying to plan a 7 day New England road trip itinerary that takes you across the best of the Northeast?

Our New England itinerary starts in Rhode Island and finishes off in the heart of Vermont, and includes a mix of city life, nature, active pursuits, and delicious food!

Throughout, you will find tips so you can customize it to a shorter 5-day trip or a longer 10-day trip.

Whether you are traveling with kids over the summer or doing a romantic New England fall foliage trip, this is filled to the brim with fun things to do on the East Coast.

7 Day New England Road Trip Itinerary

New England Itineray Summary

  • Duration: 7 days
  • Distance: Approximately 1,300 miles
  • States Visited: Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont, plus Quebec and Montreal.

How We Set Up This New England Road Trip itinerary

New England is home to some of the most beautiful drives in the US. You could do multiple variations of a 7 day New England itinerary.

On this trip, we started and ended in Providence, Rhode Island.

We have also done New England Road trips from Boston to Cape Cod and Newport Rhode, Island, and a New England fall foliage road trip around Western Massachusetts.

On the 7 day New England Road Trip below, we have included two options for day one so you can start in Providence or Boston. Both are great choices.

If you only have 5 days in New England, you can drop the portion in Canada to save time.

If you are doing a New England Fall Road Trip, you will want to swap out Block Island and add more time in New Hampshire.

Finally, if you can do a 10-Day New England Road Trip Itinerary, you’ll be able to do it all!

We’ve tried to make it easy for you to pick and choose so that you can plan for the duration you want and the New England states you want to visit. Each day has hotel options and the best activities too.


7 Day New England Road Trip Itinerary For Summer or Fall

This New England itinerary was designed to see the diverse landscapes, cities, and towns that this region has to offer. So, expect a mix of urban, countryside, coastal, and mountain experiences.

While this northeast road trip is done in a true road-tripping style where you spend one night in every place, you can cover less distance and spend more time getting to know each place.

Things to do on Block Island Day Trip

Day 1: Arrive in Providence and Do a Block Island Day Trip (Drive time 1.5 hours plus ferry)

Starting from Providence Airport, head straight to the Block Island Ferry in Point Judith, a 45-minute drive. The fast Block Island ferry is an easy, 1-hour trip and it’s nice to get out on the water.

With gorgeous beaches, historic lighthouses, nature walks, and a cute downtown, Block Island, also known as New Shoreham, is one of the most charming places to visit during summer in Rhode Island.

It also happens to be the smallest town in the smallest state!

The best way to explore Block Island is by renting bikes. Island Moped and Bike Rental is right across from the ferry port. Then you can cycle around to see everything that Block Island has to offer.

Head to the Block Island National Wildlife Refuge for one of the most unique and beautiful places on the island or go sailing or kayaking on the Great Salt Pond for more adventure.

In reality, we spent one night and two days on Block Island. Here are the best 12 things to do on Block Island including where to eat and stay.

For the purposes of a 7-Day New England itinerary, you can do a Block Island day trip and spend the night back in Providence. If you have enough time, stay overnight and add an extra day to your trip.

READ NEXT: BEST THINGS TO DO FOR A DAY TRIP TO BLOCK ISLAND

Best Places to visit in the USA Boston

Alternate Day 1: Boston, Massachusetts (Drive time 1 hour)

Another great place to start and end a one week New England itinerary is Boston. We’ve had a few great East Coast trips with the kids and highly recommend Boston as a great family destination.

Boston is a rather compact city packed full of history and things to do for families or couples. One of the best things to do in Boston is follow the Freedom Trail on your own or by booking a tour guide (highly recommended).

This trail goes to the most historic places in Boston, from the Old State House, where the Declaration of Independence was first read, to Paul Revere’s medieval-style house.

Have fun shopping on Newberry Street and at Faneuil Hall. Then visit Boston Public Garden where you can ride the historic swan boats. A Duck Boat City Tour was a huge hit with our kids and they loved the New England Aquarium.

Lucky Catch Cruise Portland New England Road Trip

Day 2: Portland, Maine (Drive time 1.75 hours)

Stop 1: Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Leave Boston early and stop in Portsmouth, New Hampshire for breakfast at The Friendly Toast. Then walk around the cute downtown and Portsmouth Clock Tower square.

Stop 2: Kennebunkport, Maine

Another way to break up the drive is to stop in Kennebunkport. The highlight in Kennebunkport is the beach, and you can also catch a sneak peek of the Bush Compound.

Portland, Maine

When you arrive in Portland, take a Guided Portland City and Lighthouse Tour or visit Downton Portland on your own (don’t miss the Portland Museum of Art), and drive out to see the Portland Head Light – one of the best lighthouses in Maine.

We opted to experience an extraordinarily beautiful day on the Casco Bay on the Lucky Catch Cruise, a highlight of our New England road trip.

In addition to learning everything there is to know about lobstering, we saw four lighthouses, including the Portland Head Light, the Casco Bay islands, and the historic Old Port district.

We had a seafood lunch at DiMillo’s On the Water. Since Portland has a great food scene, you might prefer to try one of the hot spots like Hot Suppa, Twelve, or Bar Futo.

Which reminds us, you have to try a lobster roll in Maine! We actually stayed in Freeport for the night, 20 minutes outside of Portland and had lobster Rolls for dinner at the Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster Company.

If you are driving with kids, stop at the LL Bean Store in Freeport. They have fun interactive displays, and the store is massive if you need any gear.

Camden Maine New England Itinerary

Day 3: Bar Harbor & Acadia National Park

The drive from Portland to Bar Harbor takes 3 hours. Break it up with a stop for lunch in Camden. It takes 1.75 hours to get there and then 1.75 from Camden to Bar Harbor. If you stay in Freeport, knock 20 minutes off these times.

Stop 1: Camden, Maine

Camden is one of the loveliest seaside towns in New England. It has a laid-back feel and a super charming downtown with delectable restaurants and boutiques.

We had the famous blueberry pancakes at Marriner’s Restaurant for breakfast. For a delicious seafood lunch overlooking the bay, try The Waterfront. Then walk around and check out a few shops before heading to Bar Harbor.

If you want to stay overnight in Camden, there are fantastic restaurants for dinner like Franny’s Bistro or 40 Paper and you’ll have time for a Windjammer Classic Sail on Penobscot Bay or the Mount Battie hike in Camden Hills State Park.

Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park

Bar Harbor is the gateway to the mountains and cliffs of Acadia National Park, one of the most beautiful places in New England and a must-see on a Boston to Maine road trip.

Sunrise at Cadillac Mountain is the top thing to do in Acadia National Park, when the weather cooperates. For us, it was rainy for sunrise but cleared up before noon, so we were able to enjoy the spectacular vistas.

This area is great for kids because the mountain is very gently sloping and they can run all over.

Make sure to stop at Jordan Pond House on the Park Loop Road. They have delicious popovers and a beautiful setting outside on the lawn overlooking a very scenic lake with small Maine wild blueberries growing everywhere.

Our final adventure of the day was rock climbing with Atlantic Climbing School at the Otter Cliffs. It was our first time and our guide helped all four of us successfully get to the top. It was a blast!

For dinner, Side Street Cafe has Burgers, sandwiches, salads, and of course lobster rolls. Then head to CJ’s Big Dipper for a blueberry and vanilla swirl soft serve ice cream. They have vegan options too.

Crab Apple Whitewater Rafting Kennebec River Maine

Day 4: Kennebec River, Maine River Rafting (Drive time 2.75 hours)

As you leave the quaint streets of Bar Harbor, the next part of the journey takes you through the heart of small-town USA, where main streets are lined with historic buildings and mom-and-pop shops exude local charm.

We wanted to go to Quebec City, but the drive from Bar Harbor is 5.5 hours. With a little research, we found a hidden gem in the heart of Maine where the Kennebec River and Dead River meet. The area is called The Forks.

To get there, you will traverse the scenic route of Highway 201 through Maine’s countryside to reach The Forks, where adventure awaits, and you can experience the thrill of whitewater rafting on the Kennebec River.

Kennebec River Rafting New England Road Trip

Kennebec River Rafting

We chose Crab Apple Whitewater for our rafting excursion. They were very professional. The Class III and IV rapids were much more vigorous than our other experiences, but super fun and fine with the kids.

The guides take you to the bottom of the Harris Station Dam where the daily water release provides a consistently thrilling ride on the Kennebec River. We all had smiles plastered on our faces for a full hour of non-stop action.

The second half of the trip was floating down a calmer part of the river and enjoying our magnificent surroundings on a perfect sun-filled day.

At the end of the rafting, the Crab Apple team made a delicious barbecue lunch followed by a highlight reel of the trip.

Since rafting is only a half-day excursion, the staff told us about a terrific hike to Moxie Falls, one of Maine’s tallest waterfalls. It’s an easy and beautiful hike.

What started as a way to break up a 5.5-hour drive turned out to be a highlight of our New England Road Trip! If you do this trip and don’t want to go to Canada, we still recommend Maine river rafting on the Kennebec.

  • Hotel: Crab Apple Whitewater Lodge (you can book lodging when you book your rafting trip)
  • Activities: Kennebec River Rafting, Hiking to Moxie Falls
Best Boutique Hotels in Quebec City Canada

Day 5: Quebec City, Canada (Drive time 2.5 hours)

With a very European feel, Quebec City has a charm to it that makes you feel like you could amble around the streets and sit in sidewalk cafes for hours.

We were only here for one day but ended up walking around for hours checking out the city. The highlights included Château Frontenac, Dufferin Terrace, Place Royale with the mural of Quebecers, and the Funiculaire du Vieux-Québec.

From an adult point of view, we also loved the stunning interior of the Basilica Cathedral Notre-Dame de Québec and the view of Rue du Petit Champlain from the Breakneck Steps.

The Old Port has a vibrant atmosphere with unique boutiques and lots of delectable restaurants. The delicious farm-to-table restaurant Chez Muffy is a must.

We also enjoyed Paillard’s coffee and pastries and the Beef and bacon poutine from La Souche Microbrasserie. Our kids were mesmerized by the display of candy at Bec et Bonbon.

Old Montreal Canada Road Trip

Day 6: Montreal to Burlington, Vermont (Drive time 4.5 hours)

We had to work one long drive day into our East Coast road trip route. It’s a 4-hour drive from Quebec City to Burlington, Vermont, so we broke up the drive with a pit stop for lunch in Montreal.

In Montreal, we only stayed long enough for a walk down the cobbled streets of Old Montreal and lunch at Jardin Nelson. If you have enough time, check out the trendy Mile End neighborhood and stay overnight at Hôtel William Gray.

From there, head for Burlington to begin the final stretch of your 7-day New England road trip itinerary. 

In Downtown Burlington, the big draws are Lake Champlain with Waterfront Park and the Burlington Bike Path, and the Church Street Marketplace, a pedestrian street with restaurants, shops, entertainment, and plenty of people watching.

We wanted to do the Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tour. Honestly, who wouldn’t want to drive hours out of your way for ice cream? We thoroughly enjoyed the tour, the flavor graveyard, and our free sample of Late Night Snack.

Shelburne Farms 7 Day New England Road Trip Itinerary

Day 7: Vermont (Drive time 2.5 hours)

Vermont is one of the most scenic destinations for a New England road trip in fall, but it’s also stunning in summer and has so many options if you

We kicked the day off early at Shelburne Farms, an educational working farm in Vermont. We chased around chickens, milked a cow, saw the cheese-making process in action, and bought maple syrup.

Surprisingly, it was a hit for the whole family and I was worried because it seemed more like a little kid activity than something good for teens.

Then, we hit Dorset Marble Quarry, the oldes in the US from 1785, where my husband and the boys dared each other from one cliff jump to the next. There are cliffs at various heights that are great for all ages.

Hildene was next, where even history-averse kids are intrigued by the old Lincoln family artifacts and the sprawling gardens. Then the cool Chiselville Covered Bridge was Vermont picture perfect.

We wrapped up the day staying at Hill Farm Inn where they have animals you can feed, a swimming pool, big grassy lawns for a picnic or sitting by the fire, and a lounge area with a pool table.

Day 8: Vermont to Providence or Boston (Drive time 2.5 hours)

The last day had a 3 hour drive back to the airport. It’s almost the same drive time whether you go to Boston or Providence. Since we knew we had a lot of car time, we had a last hurrah at Bromley Mountain Adventure Park.

We had a blast ziplining and riding the alpine slide. The kids also hit the waterslide, a bungee trampoline, and played a round of mini golf. It was the perfect way to let loose before a long drive..

You’d think all of this adventure would be enough, but the one thing we didn’t have time for was kayaking and tubing on the Battenkill River. We could have easily used an extra day in Vermont.

  • Activities: Bromley Mountain Resort

How many Days do You Need for a New England Road Trip?

You will see that this New England tour can be tweaked to fit either a 5 day (more of a Boston to Maine road trip) or 10 day New England trip that adds more adventure and scenery – especially if you’re visiting in fall.

This entirely depends on how much time you have. Easily, you could spend a month driving around this region. But, this New England road trip for 7 days will take you to the best places and things to do in the region in just a week.


White Mountains National Park New England Road Trip Fall
White Mountains National Park deserves a top spot on a New England Road Trip for fall foliage.

How to Make This a 10 Day New England Road Trip Itinerary

If you have more time for your trip, a 10-day New England itinerary will allow you to go at a slower pace or add on some amazing destinations like White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire – especially if it’s a fall road trip.

We did two separate one week New England road trips.

Our trip was in summer so we visited Newport, RI to do the famous Cliff Walks that combine ocean vistas and historic mansions into a 3.5 mile recreational walk. Then we spent 2 days on Block Island.

It’s really easy to scale up this exact itinerary by starting with an overnight in Block Island and adding Boston instead of doing one or the other. Then just add one more day wherever you want.

I personally would add an overnight in Montreal. An extra day in Vermont or the White Mountains of New Hampshire, where you can go hiking or ballooning, would be amazing too, especially for fall foliage.


Block Island Day Trip Hotel

How to Make This a 5 Day New England Road Trip Itinerary

If you don’t have time for a 7 day New England tour, a 5 day trip will still allow you to see plenty of nature sites, cities, and charming towns.

To do this as a 5-day New England road trip, skip Quebec and Montreal. You might also want to skip Acadia National Park because it’s a long drive, albeit worth the trip.

Here are two 5-Day New England Road Trip Itinerary Ideas:

Boston, Cape Cod, & Newport

  • Day 1: Boston
  • Day 2: Boston
  • Day 3: Cape Cod
  • Day 4: Newport, Rhode Island
  • Day 5: Block Island

Boston, Maine, New Hampshire, & Vermont

  • Day 1: Boston
  • Day 2: Portland, Maine
  • Day 3: New Hampshire’s White Mountains and Kancamagus Highway
  • Day 4: Burlington
  • Day 5: Green Mountains, Vermont

Best Time to Visit New England

May through October are the best months to visit New England. The warm days of summer, although humid, invite you to hike, swim along the coastline, take boat rides, and enjoy the outdoors.

Late spring is a great time to see wildflowers and the region bursting with a lively atmosphere while the weather isn’t too hot.

Fall road trips in New England are highly recommended to see stunning foliage. The northeast is home to some of the best fall views in the world.


Block Island National Wildlife Refuge

Tips for a New England Road Trip with Kids

When we decided to take a trip to the East Coast, we thought a New England road trip would be a great way to sample all that the area has to offer.

The only issue was how to keep the kids to be happy in a car. That’s a tall order for children who say, “Are we there yet?” after only 30 minutes across town.

1. How to Get The Best Deal

When road-tripping with a full family, flying into a city that has good flights and rental car deals, AND good hotel prices, can save you a lot of money. Look at all three variables for the perfect starting point.

For this trip, we had a choice of multiple airports. Skyscanner is great for finding flight deals.

I wanted a small SUV since we would be in the car for so many days. Check prices on Discover Cars. We’ve gotten the best deals recently through them.

Providence had great hotel deals by the airport, which we needed because the flight we chose landed at 11:30 pm. So, we decided our New England tour would begin and end there.

2. Plan a manageable driving route.

Since we had time for a 10-day New England road trip and wanted to include Canada, we needed to change locations every day. My goal was to keep drives between 1-3 hours.

Knowing those were my parameters, I looked for things to do or places to stop that fit within those guidelines.

3. Know Your Audience

Fun New England activities were the key to keeping our travelers happy. Rock climbing, river rafting, and lobstering were great outlets for all their energy.

If you have kids that have a hard time sitting still, make stops where they can move their bodies. With kids who like a slower pace, a day at the beach might be more fun. For kids that love animals, stop at a farm.

4. Include Your Kids in the Planning Process

With group road trips, you’ve got to make compromises. Plan to see and do things that keep everyone interested, including YOU, instead of just focusing on the kids.

Our New England tour was 2 parents and two boys, 11 and 15 years old. Traveling with an 11-year old is easy as long as you don’t make them sit in the car too long and you do kid-oriented stuff.

15-year-olds can be hard to please and moody. It’s good to include them in the planning process because they are very capable of picking things that they would like to see or do.

5. Download audiobooks

I have never enjoyed being in a car so much! We took one of our son’s required summer reading books and killed two birds with one stone. You can download your first digital book for free on audible.com with a trial membership.

If not audiobooks, look for podcasts that fit a theme your family loves, whether it be science, history, pop culture, or travel. Or just make sure everyone has headphones and can do their own thing.


Final Thoughts About a 5, 7, or 10-Day New England Road Trip Itinerary

A combination of scenic beauty, tons of history, and lovely towns and cities – a 7-day New England itinerary takes you to all the top destinations and tucked-away gems that a northeast road trip can offer.

A 10-day itinerary allows you to cover a larger area or spend a few nights in each place. Finally, a 5-day New England Fall Road Trip is an ideal amount of time to see the beautiful landscapes and foliage.

Whether cruising the coast of Rhode Island, checking out lighthouses in Maine, or seeing the foliage of Vermont, eating tons of fresh seafood, cozy accommodations, and meeting friendly locals, a New England road trip is filled with fun.

Get ready for nature, history, and soaking in the laid-back vibes with this New England road trip itinerary, the ultimate getaway to unwind and explore.

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New England Itinerary

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