If you’re headed to one of New England’s state or national parks in the summer and think you know everything that the area has to offer, think again. Here are the secret getaways that the local people won’t give away – an insider’s guide to the hideaway swimming holes to cool off in as the temperatures climb.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Franconia Falls, Lincoln, New Hampshire
Nestled in the heart of the White Mountains, Franconia Notch State Park is a spectacular notch in the mountains for travelers to pass through. With stunning, steep gorges, waterfalls and lakes, the state park’s ample camping makes it family-friendly and a hiker’s paradise. If you’re looking to cool off, Franconia Falls features a series of small waterfalls cascading into deep pools. After an easy, flat 3mi (4.8km) hike along the Franconia Brook, the water passes through a set of channels before emptying into deep pools. Natural waterslides make fun shoots for the adventurous, while the best swimming hole is a mere 400ft (121.9m) upstream from the main falls, where a 3ft (0.9m) flume sprays into a 20ft (6m) basin.
Gulf Hagas, Maine
Hikers braving Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park can unwind at Gulf Hagas, a stunning gorge maintained by the National Park Service. Known as the ‘Grand Canyon of the East,’ Gulf Hagas sees the west branch of the Pleasant River drop some 500ft (152.4m) over the course of 3mi (4.8km), creating unique, corkscrew-shaped waterfalls and fishing holes accessible by hiking along a rim trail. For a less intense experience, head over to Buttermilk Falls, an enormous, Olympic-pool-size basin so-named for the pillowy foam that the waterfall churns. After wading a river and hiking the rim of the ‘canyon,’ the trail descends to Buttermilk Falls, a large bowl of clean, black water and a perfect place to relax after your trek.
Enders Falls, Granby, Connecticut
Comprising five falls in one short stretch, Enders Falls State Park in Connecticut lies northwest of the capital, Hartford, in forested wetlands. In the summer, the tallest drop sees water horsetail down a 30ft (9.1m) plunge into a wide, oval pool. In other parts, the water snakes through gorges before emptying. The hike into the lowest falls is a short 0.3mi (0.4km) from the road.
Lakewood Pond, Acadia National Park
While tourists head to Sand Beach and Echo Lake, local people know this small, trout-stocked pond is the best place to escape for a swim. Large cliffs provide perches for jumping, while a nearby sandy beach is ideal for sunbathing. In the summer, the trails to the pond are bordered by wild blueberry bushes. This hidden gem lies at the end of an unmarked road in Acadia National Park, a short drive from most of the major sights.
Warren Falls, Warren, Vermont
The Mad River squeezes through a number of tight passes, but long-time locals lounge on sunny slabs at Warren Falls. Graceful cliffs reaching above green-tinted waters are ideal for jumping. This gem attracts visitors, but the number of smaller falls shelter travelers seeking a private spot. The hike takes five minutes and is a 0.1mi (0.2km) trot from a parking spot.
Bellevue Falls, Adams, Massachusetts
The area outside Mt. Greylock State Reservation and Savoy Mountain State Forest boasts a massive, deep pool that requires no cliff-jumping encouragement. A short trek from the road (you pass through a cemetery), the falls are bounded by a hardwood forest that gives way to sunny, rocky slabs.
Fort Wetherill State Park, Jamestown, Rhode Island
Across the harbor from the much busier Fort Adams State Park, Fort Wetherill is a rarity – a sheltered but uncrowded sandy beach. Its intimate size discourages crowds, while the towering, 100ft (30.4m) cliffs frame the waters beautifully. The area is popular with scuba divers, but there’s much more to explore, including an abandoned fort and nearby trails.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.