Summer in New England is a time for the beach (seashore or lake), boating, picnics, fairs and festivals, baseball, outdoor music, summer theater and so much more. The only down side to a New England Summer is that it lasts only three months, which is not nearly enough time to do and see everything the region has to offer. Suffice it to say that it would take a lifetime of summers to do the region justice.
New England Summer Climate
Summers in New England are warm to hot, with some humidity. Rarely is the weather as hot and humid as it gets in the southeast. July is the warmest summer month across New England with average daytime temperatures in the low to mid 80s (degrees Fahrenheit) – in the low end of that range up north and the upper end of that range in the south. Average evening temperatures are in the low to mid 60s.
Yes, it does occasionally get into the 90s. Once every 5 to 10 years a hurricane or tropical storm may even make it’s way to the region. But for the most part, a New England summer is quite pleasant.
Things to Do in the Summer in New England
Just a few ideas for things to do in New England during the summer include:
- Visit Acadia National Park – The only National Park in the Northeastern United States is Acadia National Park in Maine. Summer is a wonderful time to take in this picturesque park on Maine’s rocky coast on Mount Desert Island near Bar Harbor. Bike or hike the 45 miles of carriage roads or hike the 125 miles of trails, go to the beach, or drive the 20-mile Park Loop Road for great scenery and breathtaking views.
Take in a Baseball Game – In New England you can become part of “Red Sox Nation” by taking in a Boston Red Sox game. You will also have the pleasure of watching the game in the oldest Major League ballpark in the United States – Fenway Park. Not enough baseball for you? There are also numerous minor league baseball teams throughout New England as well as independent league baseball teams. If that is still not enough baseball, check out one of the summer college baseball teams that play in the Cape Cod Baseball League or the other two summer college baseball leagues with teams in New England.
- Go Boating – Summer is a great time to enjoy to boating. With thousands of miles of coastline and countless lakes, New England is a great place for boaters. And if you like your boating to provide exercise too, there are two long distance water trails in New England for those who canoe or kayak. The first is the 740 mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail that passes from New York into Vermont, through a portion of Canada, and into New Hampshire and Maine. Maine is also home to the Maine Island Trail, a 375 coastal trail considered by many to be the best sea-kayaking trail in the United States.
- Ride a Carousel – New England is home to the two oldest antique wooden carousels in the United States, the Flying Horses Carousel in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, and the Flying Horse Carousel in Watch Hill (Westerly), Rhode Island were both built in 1876. What better summertime activity than grabbing a cotton candy and taking an old fashioned carousel ride? To learn more about New England’s antique wooden carousels see New England’s Antique Carousels.
- Celebrate the Fourth of July – New England does not have exclusive rights to the Fourth of July, but where else can you listen to the Boston Pops and watch fireworks on the Charles River? That is exactly what you can see every year (along with 500,000 other people) on the Esplanade along the Charles River in Boston. Of course there are numerous other Fourth of July fireworks displays and parades throughout New England. Be sure to check out the famous 4th of July parade in Bristol, Rhode Island.
- Visit Lake Champlain – Vermont is not blessed with seashore but Lake Champlain takes up half of its western border. Go fishing, swimming, boating, take a shipwreck tour or be on the lookout for Champ the lake monster. You can even canoe a portion of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail that passes through the lake.
- Visit a Lighthouse – If you are a lighthouse buff New England is the place for you. There are over 150 lighthouses dotting the New England coast from Connecticut to Maine. In addition, there are also several lighthouses on Lake Sunapee in New Hampshire and several on Lake Champlain in Vermont. One could spend many summers visiting the lighthouses of New England.
Visit a Mansion – The Vanderbilts, Astors, and other rich families of the 19th and early 20th century chose to build their summer “cottages” in Newport, Rhode Island. These truly astounding mansions give you a glimpse into how the rich and famous of another era lived.
- Take in a Music Festival – Summer is the time for music festivals in New England. Whether it’s one of Newport Rhode Island’s great festivals (folk or jazz), or the Lichtfield Jazz festival in Lichtfield, Connecticut, or any of the region’s other numerous summer music festivals, there is a music festival for just about every musical taste.
Get Nautical – New England has a rich maritime history. If you like ships and the sea, this is the place for you. New England has everything from the War of 1812 veteran USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned warship in the world, to the Battleship Massachusetts in Fall River, MA, to the USS Nautilus at the Submarine Force Museum in Groton, CT, or the Charles W. Morgan in Mystic, CT. See Feeling Nautical? for a list of historic ships that you can visit in New England. Not enough nautical history for you? Then check out the Salem Maritime National Historic Site in Salem, MA or the New Bedford Whaling Museum in New Bedford, MA or any of the other many whaling museums across the region.
- Eat Some Great New England Seafood – What better place to eat Maine lobster than in Maine? This is also the place for New England clam chowder. Whether it is a clam bake at the beach or fine dining in a restaurant, locally caught shell fish and fish make for some really great eatin’.
- See the Revolution in Shorts – New England, in and around Boston, is where the American Revolution got its start. Summer is a great time to walk the Boston Freedom Trail or take in the sites of Minuteman National Historic Park in shorts and a tee shirt.
- Go to the seashore – There are countless beautiful ocean beaches in New England from the rocky coast of Maine, to Cape Cod, to the Connecticut shore. Some of these beaches are considered to be among the most beautiful beaches in the country (see: New England’s Top Beaches). Check out our listings of New England beaches:
- Connecticut Beaches
- Maine Beaches
- The beaches of Massachusetts including northshore beaches, Boston beaches, southshore beaches, Cape Cod beaches, Martha’s Vineyard Beaches, and Nantucket beaches.
- New Hampshire Beaches
- Rhode Island beaches including the beaches of Block Island
- Take in Some Summer Theater – New England is well known for its great summer theater. Take in a play in the Berkshires at the Berkshire Theatre Festival or the Williamstown Theatre Festival or head up to Vermont for something by the Weston Playhouse Theatre Company. Check out our complete list of New England Summer Theater and enjoy some great live plays.
Visit a winery – Summer is a fabulous time to visit one of the region’s many wineries. Check out our listings of New England’s wineries to pick one close to you:
Photo credits: The picture of Fenway Park is by Jared Vincent from Wikimedia Commons. It is is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. The picture of The Brekers is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.