If you are not going to fly on an airplane to a vacation destination this summer due to the pandemic, you may want to consider a road trip when things open up. Be sure to check with individual businesses, and follow all state and local authorities’ health guidelines to protect yourself and others, including the wearing of masks and social distancing as required by each jurisdiction. And check to see if travelers are required to self-quarantine for 14 days* when traveling so you are fully informed and plan accordingly.
And most of all, don’t forget to have some fun this summer, whether on the road or just making future travel plans!
- Cape May, New Jersey
157 miles (3+ hours) from New York City
Located on the southern tip of New Jersey on the seashore, the entire city of Cape May was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976, the only city in the U.S. to be designated. Cape May began hosting tourists in 1816 after the construction of Congress Hall and is recognized as America’s oldest seaside resort. A fire in 1869, and another one in 1878 which lasted five days, destroyed 30 blocks in the town center—the replacement homes were all most entirely in the Victorian style. As a result, Cape May has the second-largest collection of Victorian homes after San Francisco.
In addition to walking through all the streets of beautiful architecture, you can enjoy the surf, book a whale-watching trip, explore the nearby lighthouse, wander through the many local historic museums, visit the nature center, take a horse-drawn carriage ride or trolley tour, shop at dozens of shops at the open-air Washington Street Mall by the shore, eat fantastic seafood and local cuisine, enjoy tours and tastings at local wineries, breweries and distilleries, and much more.
- Finger Lakes, New York
268 miles (5+ hours) from New York City
The informally-named Finger Lakes region of New York State is a 9,000 square mile area surrounding a group of 11 long, narrow, roughly north–south lakes due south of the Lake Ontario shoreline, all originally carved out by glaciers. The natural waterfalls, gorges, freshwater lakes, forests, and green rolling hills make the scenery, hiking, biking, boating, and fishing spectacular in the area.
There are many museums and historical attractions scattered throughout the region as well as many stellar wineries, breweries and hard-cider production facilities. Enjoy scenic views and venues, and explore small towns, shops, inns, bed & breakfasts and restaurants.
- Lexington, Massachusetts
212 miles (4+ hours) from New York City
Situated just 15 miles from Boston, Lexington is sure to please American history buffs. There’s Hancock-Clarke House, where John Hancock and Sam Adams were staying on April 18, 1775 when Paul Revere stopped by on his famous “Midnight Ride” to warn them that British troops had left Boston; Battle Green, the public park/common area designated a National Historic Landmark where the first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired; Walden Pond just to the west, where writer Henry David Thoreau lived for two years, two months and two days as an experiment in simple cabin living before writing his most famous book, Walden, published in 1854; Orchard House, where Louisa May Alcott lived, wrote and set her beloved classic, Little Women in 1868; and so much more.
- Montreal, Canada
372 miles (7+ hours) from New York City
The 190-acre Montréal Botanical Garden, considered to be one of the most important botanical gardens in the world with 22,000 species of flora, is just one of the charms you’ll find in downtown Montréal, the largest city in Canada’s Québec province. Montréal is actually located on an island in the Saint Lawrence River and is named after Mt. Royal, “The Mountain”—a triple-peaked hill surrounded by natural forest in the center of the city. There is a lookout at its summit which affords panoramic city views, and every Sunday in summer a musical free-for-all called Tam Tams is held there.
In fact, lots of music festivals happen in Montréal in summer, and unexpected (and free) entertainment spills out onto the streets. The city’s boroughs, many of which were once independent cities, include neighborhoods ranging from cobblestoned to French colonial Vieux-Montréal – with the Gothic Revival Notre-Dame Basilica at its center. The many outdoor cafes make you feel like you’re in Paris, and there are plenty of ways—book a boat, yacht, amphibious bus ride, jets skis, etc.—you can enjoy the city’s beautiful skyline from its waterways. Don’t forget to ride the ferris wheel—the Montréal Observation Wheel is the largest of its kind in Canada.
- Bar Harbor, Maine
487 miles (9+ hours) from New York City
Bar Harbor (pronounced “bah-hah-bah” by its resident 5,200+ New Englanders) is northeast up the Atlantic coastline, a little more than halfway to the Canadian province of New Brunswick, and across the Bay of Fundy from Nova Scotia. To get there, most trip guides tell you to be prepared for congested traffic on I-95, so you might want to travel at off-peak times or plan overnight stops along the way. Providence, Rhode Island is near the halfway point—you can stop there and enjoy architecture “Downcity” or explore Roger Williams Park Zoo. Pull off again at Portland, Maine to visit the Old Port waterfront with its fishing wharves and converted warehouses.
Once you get up to Bar Harbor, you’ll find a beautiful town located on Maine’s Mount Desert Island next to Acadia National Park. It offers historic charm, a beautiful coastline, great restaurants, and a range of activities. Wake up early and take a slow stroll along the Shore Path, established in 1880—the views of Porcupine Islands have inspired many artists through the centuries. From Bar Harbor, plan to take a day to visit Rockland about two hours further up the coast, home to both the Wyeth and Farnsworth Museums. And don’t miss the wonderful lighthouse with a great view in nearby Owl’s Head.
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