When you think about northeast America, you probably picture New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. These are some great cities to visit, but the northeast has so much more to offer.
From the formal gardens of Brandywine Valley in Pennsylvania to the bear sanctuary of Shenandoah National Park, we’ve put together a list of ten overlooked but incredible places to visit in the northeast this summer.
What to Pack
It gets pretty hot in the northeast during the summer. The hot season lasts for almost four months, from May to September, with an average temperature of over 76°F. The hottest month is July, and you can expect an average high temperature of 85°F.
With such high temperatures, it’s important to pack for the weather:
- Lightweight, breathable fabrics are a must for keeping cool while exploring.
- Don’t forget a hat for added protection from the midday sun.
- Sunscreen is a must to protect your skin, whether you’re hiking or sipping cocktails at a beach bar.
- Comfortable sandals or breathable walking shoes will be best for long days of sightseeing while looking good on your travels.
Places to Visit in the Northeast This Summer
Here are our top ten favorite places to visit in the northeast and what you can expect on each trip.
Brandywine Valley, Pennsylvania
Brandywine Valley is known for its beautiful, formal gardens and unique American Castles. Longwood Gardens is particularly popular and renowned for its landscape. The estate is dotted with planted conservatories, fountains, and thousands of acres of gardens and woodland to explore.
There are also several museums in Brandywine that are a must-visit. The Winterthur Museum and Gardens has an impressive collection of furniture and decorative art, as well as a research library.
You can also visit the Brandywine River Museum, which homes an unrivaled collection of art curated by the Wyeth family.
If you’re looking for a place of natural beauty and rich history, Brandywine Valley in Pennsylvania is the trip for you.
Acadia National Park, ME
Sitting on the coast of Maine, sprawling across Mount Desert Island; you’ll find Acadia National Park. It has over 47,000 acres of breathtaking landscape and wildlife and tons of activities to keep you busy year-round.
Whether you’re into winter skiing, summer hiking, or spring fishing, Acadia National Park is the perfect spot. Make sure to start at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center to learn more about the park, or head to the Welcome Center at Rockefeller Hall for fewer crowds.
Mystic was once a shipbuilding seaport village that was first settled back in 1654. Today, the town treasures its maritime history and is dripping in New England charm.
Downtown Mystic has a fantastic food and drink scene with some of the best fresh seafood you’ll find. While Main Street is dotted with local shops, eateries, and galleries to explore.
The town only covered four square miles, but there’s a lot packed in. From the USA’s only steam-powered cider mill to the outdoor Art Festival, you’ll never want to leave this quaint town.
Portland has the perfect blend of outdoor adventures and a sophisticated art scene. The beach is never far away, and the beautiful weather makes it the perfect summer destination that is often overlooked.
This gorgeous area of Maine is known for its beautiful lighthouses, so don’t forget to go on tour while you’re visiting. From the Nubble Lighthouse to the Portland Head Light, it’s an interesting tour to take.
Pittsburgh comes alive in the Summer with festivals, live music, and activities filling up almost every weekend. In fact, Pittsburgh was ranked as one of the ten most event-filled cities in 2022 by PredictHQ.
Rent a Golden Triangle Bike and explore the scenic river paths, go for a stroll in Kennywood Park, or simply enjoy the architecture in the city. And when you need to refuel, Pittsburgh has an award-winning food and drink scene and some cool hotels to stay in.
Shenandoah National Park
If you’re looking for unmatched panoramic views and breathtaking natural beauty, Shenandoah National Park should be on your bucket list. This 300-square-mile sanctuary is home to bears, brook trout, and other wildlife, all living in a diverse forest.
The Skyline Drive allows for unbelievable views, with its highest point reaching 4,049 feet at Hawksbill. Shenandoah was the first of Virginia’s national parks but an overlooked spot for adventurers you won’t want to miss.
White Mountains, NH
If you’re looking for a not-so-well-known hiking holiday, check out the White Mountains in New Hampshire. There’s something for everyone, from easy woodland walks to tough scrambles, not to mention gold courses, lakeside beaches, and crystal clear mountain streams for fishing and swimming.
And when you need a break from the wilderness, you’ll find live theater, entertainment, antique stores, and more in the nearby town. It’s pretty popular in the summer, but the buzz of the town is perfect for family vacations and you’ll find plenty to do.
Stowe has a small-town charm about it that will make you want to stay forever. Previously named one of the best small towns in America, it has 45 hiking trails to try out, including Vermont’s tallest peak and a breathtaking waterfall.
In the town, you’ll find beautiful architecture and three classic covered bridges, as well as local eateries and cafes to refuel. For small-town charm and iconic scenery, it doesn’t get much better than Stowe.
Newport, Rhode Island
Newport in Rhode Island is known as the sailing capital of the world. Whether you are an experienced sailor or want to get your sea legs, you’ll have fun with the world’s largest fleet of America’s Cup 12 Meters.
But it’s not just sailing Newport is known for, you’ll also get a taste of the high life by touring the Newport Mansions, once home to America’s wealthiest families. Or you could take a peaceful walk along the 3.5-mile Cliff Walk for some of the best scenic views of your life.
There is so much to do and see in Newport that it can be hard to pack it all into one trip. But it’s a must-visit destination for adventurers and families alike.
White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire
Whether you’re an avid hiker or just want a unique adventure, White Mountain National Forest offers outdoor recreation year-round.
Spread over 800,000 acres, you can take part in hiking, cross-country skiing, boating, fishing, kayaking, and more. And with 22 campgrounds scattered across the forest, there are plenty of places to camp. It’s an adventurer’s dream.
Where Will You Visit This Summer?
The northeast has so many hidden gems that get overlooked by most travelers. But it’s always great finding a new place to explore. The big question is, where will you visit this summer?
Will you be hiking the trails of the White Mountains in New Hampshire or sunbathing on the beautiful beaches of Portland, Maine? Hopefully, this guide has helped you narrow down your next adventure.