This trio of New England states are some of the USA’s hidden gems, home to a healthy mix of pretty coastline and charming countryside.
If you’re planning a trip to beautiful New England, then we’d highly recommend stopping off at New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Connecticut. New Hampshire was one of the original 13 states that founded the USA, and as the country's second most forested state, it has some lovely green landscapes; Rhode Island may be the USA’s smallest state by area but it's also the sailing capital of New England and packs a punch when it comes to beaches and bike ride opportunities; and Connecticut is the bridge between New York and New England, home to the prestigious Yale University and plenty of water activities and excursions if you’re keen to get outdoors and keep active.
New Hampshire, Rhode Island & Connecticut holiday highlights
Head to New Hampshire to discover scenic lakes, waterfalls and The White Mountains, which cover about a quarter of the state — pop to the Visitor Center at the entrance for some amazing insider knowledge and tips. Visit Jericho Mountain State Park to ride an ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle) across 75 miles of trails, or see the Mount Washington Cog Railway – the world’s first mountain-climbing cog railway which was featured in Michael Portillo's Great American Railroad Journeys series and celebrates its 150th anniversary in June 2019.
Check in at Rhode Island to see some fabulous historic buildings among the green landscapes, just an hour and a half's drive from Boston. Book a guided tour of the grand Rhode Island State House, an old parliamentary building with a dome on top, or at The Breakers. This Vanderbilt mansion was built in Italian Renaissance-style architecture and is open on a year-round basis — you could even get to see its underground tunnel, boiler room and basement. Catch the ferry to Block Island, just south of the mainland, to enjoy some great coastal scenery, from pretty Crescent Beach on the east coast to the rocky cliffs of Mohegan Bluffs, 141 steps down to the sand but with excellent views over the Atlantic. The island’s also home to some charming lighthouses, including Block Island North Light lighthouse – a beautiful brown granite building with an octagonal tower.
Pop down to Connecticut to discover some of New England’s loveliest golden coastal spots. New Haven gets particularly busy in the summer, but Old Mill Beach and White Sands Beach are both quieter spots with views over Long Island Sound, the tidal estuary which lies between Connecticut to the north and New York’s Long Island to the south. It's said that Mark Twain did much of his writing in Connecticut — the Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford was his family home from 1874 to 1891. For a distinctive 18th-Century New England rural feel, visit the quaint town of Litchfield, where you could enjoy a hot air balloon ride over its scenic countryside. If ships float your boat then head to Mystic, a cute seaport town home to the largest maritime museum in the USA, a working shipyard and a recreated New England coastal village — the Mayflower II is also being restored here. If you fancy a glitzier experience, Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard has six casinos and a Hard Rock Cafe to indulge in.