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Wondering where to start when planning a trip to New England? TravelBound’s got your back. Below are the tour operator’s top five picks for the region, a mix of history, entertainment and natural wonders.
1. Freedom Trail, Boston, MA
This 2.5-mile route leads visitors to 16 historically significant sites, including museums, meeting grounds and churches. Some of the highlights of the trail include Boston Common, Old State House, the site of the Boston Massacre and Paul Revere’s House. Dedicated in 1951, this authentic trip down memory lane even includes 18th-century costumed Freedom Trail Players who tell their own stories. The final stops on the trail are the Bunker Hill Monument, dedicated in June 1843 and named after the Battle of Bunker Hill and the USS Constitution, a warship originally launched in Boston in 1797 that is still afloat today.
2. Lake Compounce, Southington, CT
The theme of history continues as Lake Compounce is the oldest operating amusement park in the country. In addition to Ferris wheels and roller coasters, the complex also contains a water park for guests, free of charge. Children definitely will not be disappointed when visiting the park as it has countless kiddie rides, too. No need to leave the park for food, either, with its vast array of eateries including a lakefront restaurant (Croc Pot), Johnny Rockets and Parkside Diner.
3. The Mark Twain House & Museum, Hartford, CT
This is a truly historic landmark and an absolute must-see, especially if you make the trip up to Lake Compounce the same day. The Mark Twain House and Museum was home to Samuel Clemens, also known as Mark Twain, and his family in the late 19th century. Literary masterpieces were created here by Twain, most notably “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.”
Go on a normal tour, or one of the new “Living History” tours, which are led by characters from Twain’s past. Each provides their own point of view, including a comical tour led by Lizzie Willis, yet the quotes and stories remain true. With very respectable prices, this is a no-brainer.
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4. Acadia National Park, Mount Desert Island, ME
Spanning across more than 49,000 acres of gorgeous landscape and endless forestry, this park mostly sits on Mount Desert Island, a mixture of private property and parkland. Though Acadia is one of the smaller national parks, it is also the most popular with over two million people visiting every year. The visitor center is open from April through October but we recommend going in the fall to get a glimpse of the gorgeous foliage. Cool spots to visit while at the park include Cadillac Mountain, whose summit is the highest point on the eastern seaboard and Thunder Hole, a setting directly next to the water.
5. Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Down Route 3 and U.S. 6 West coming from Boston, proceed over the Bourne Bridge and continue to follow Route 28 directly into the heart of Falmouth. From farms, to a historic Main Street with classic white picket fences, this beachside town offers endless joy and relaxation for all of its visitors.
You know that lighthouse you see in countless photos of Cape Cod? That’s probably the Nobska Lighthouse, and it is located at the town’s southernmost tip in Woods Hole village. Take a tour of it during the week for some stunning views. Woods Hole village is also the end point for the Shining Sea Bikeway, a 10.7-mile trail running all the way up to County Road in North Falmouth. This trail is perfect for a leisurely ride directly alongside the water.