Coastline or treeline, New England abounds with special roadtrips. You can wind your way through Maine’s rocky coast, or head to the hills in New Hampshire and look down upon miles of pristine forest, while in Vermont, the trail hops from quaint town to town amid the backdrop of rolling hills. So gas up the car, make a playlist and check out our favorite paths.
Rangeley Lakes Scenic Byway, Maine
Traversing Mexico to Madrid (yes, Maine) this 50-mile roadtrip passes unspoiled lakes, remote mountains and some of the state’s most rural, wild lands. The jewel in the crown is the Height of Land overlooking Mooselookmeguntic and Rangeley Lakes, but don’t miss the thick forests and noisy mountain streams along the way.
Mount Desert Island Park Loop Road, Acadia National Park, Maine
This two-lane, one-way road offers some of the most spectacular views of the Atlantic anywhere. Starting in Bar Harbor, this 27-mile road hugs the outer rim of several mountains as it dips in and out of pristine pine forests bounded by red, rocky rouge bluffs. Stop and hike at the likes of the Precipice Trail, dip into the water at Sand Beach, or go for a popover at Jordan Pond House, walking around the eponymous body of water.
Green Mountain Scenic Byway, Vermont
Starting in Ludlow and ending in Waterbury, this 90-mile stretch of Route 100 is bounded on either side by the rolling Green Mountains. On either side are open views of meadows, farms, fields, lakes and charming towns. Visit historic farmsteads, or take a long stop at the state’s famous breweries. The state’s most prominent natural feature, Mt. Mansfield, offers those wanting to get out of the car ample opportunity to stretch their legs.
Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts
The leaf peeper’s road, come fall, this trail through the Berkshires offers foliage at its best. For 63 miles it winds through Massachusetts’ northwest heart, past rolling hills, state parks and quaint towns. There’s the deserted bridge known as the Bridge of Flowers (effectively a garden raised above the Deerfield River) as well as the Natural Bridge, in North Adams, an unusual state park with 60-foot falls.
Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire
Often mispronounced as “Kangamangus” (officially: Kank-ah-mah-gus) there’s no doubt over the beauty in store for travelers along this 35-mile highway. Known for some of the best fall foliage in the country, the road cuts through the White Mountain National Forest, offering stunning views of the White Mountains, rivers, the Sabbaday Falls, Lower Falls and Rocky Gorge as it climbs to 3,000 feet at the Kancamagus Pass near Lincoln.