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The Most Stunning Scenic Locations in the Northeast

From mountain tops to cliffs to shorelines, these are the spots in the Northeast to catch the best views.

Letchworth State Park - scenic locations

Letchworth State Park (New York State Parks)

As we continue to ease back into the idea of traveling, one thing we’re all likely looking for are wide-open spaces. That, of course, means the great outdoors. And there’s no better region for scenic sightseeing than the Northeast, where lush forests cover rolling hills across each state and miles upon miles of coastline are blanketed with picturesque beaches. Here are a few of the most scenic locations in the Northeast.

White Mountains - scenic locations

(“The White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire, USA” by weesam2010 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The White Mountains

The White Mountains cover roughly one quarter of the state of New Hampshire. The region is home to the White Mountain National Forest as well as several state parks.

The mountain range contains numerous hiking trails that can lead to waterfalls and scenic outlooks or all the way to the top. Although these are some of the most rugged mountains in the Northeast, the view from the top is worth the effort.

If instead you enjoy staying grounded, take a drive along the Kancamagus Highway. This 34-mile stretch of road carves through the mountains, running alongside several different rivers.

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Letchworth State Park

Any place known as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” certainly has some big shoes to fill. But Letchworth State Park, located in western New York, lives up to the billing.

Instead of the Colorado, it’s the Genesee River that carves through the gorge, traveling over three major waterfalls and reaching heights of 600 feet. The park has more than 60 miles of hiking trails, ensuring you’ll be able to find the perfect lookout spot to witness the bucolic sights.

Heublein Tower

Heublein Tower sits atop Talcott Mountain in Simsbury, Connecticut. The 165-foot structure was built in 1914 and originally served as a summer home for a prominent local family.

Today it’s known as providing some of the best views of the Nutmeg State and beyond. Perched atop the 1,000-foot tall mountain, visitors to Heublein Tower are provided with panoramic views of the Farmington River Valley, Long Island Sound and the Berkshires. You may even be able to catch a glimpse of Mount Monadnock, 80 miles away in New Hampshire.

Aquinnah Cliffs - scenic locations

(“Blue Moon Rising” by Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0)

The Aquinnah Cliffs

Beyond the gingerbread-style homes and the postcard-esque downtowns lies an even finer sight on Martha’s Vineyard: the Aquinnah Cliffs. The natural wonder, carved by glaciers millions of years ago, rises up from the beach on the island’s southwestern tip.

Visitors can walk along the beach below to get an up-close view of the clay cliffs, which are unlike any type of formation you’ll likely see on a New England Beach. Guests can also take the upper trails to catch a glimpse of the Gay Head Light and nearby Elizabeth Islands.

The Berkshires

The Berkshires, a region of mountains and forests in western Massachusetts, has long been known as one of the most scenic locations in the Northeast. It’s at its best once the temperatures drop, becoming a premier destination for fall foliage. Your best bet for picturesque views is taking a drive along the Mohawk Trail. The road, now a designated scenic tourist route, carves through the Berkshire mountains for more than 60 miles.

Cadillac Mountain - scenic locations

(NPS / Kristi Rugg)

(Photo:NPS / Kristi Rugg)

Cadillac Mountain

No list of the top scenic locations in the Northeast is complete without Cadillac Mountain – and for good reason. For several months of the year, visitors who trek to the top early enough can be the first to witness the sunrise in the United States.

Even if you miss the morning light, a trip to the top of Cadillac Mountain is a worthy sightseeing expedition. At 1,500 feet, it’s the highest peak on the Eastern Seaboard. Visitors can experience an unparalleled 360-degree view of Maine’s coast along with lush greenery and the vast Atlantic Ocean.

Lake Champlain

Vermont may be a landlocked state but one look at Lake Champlain will have you forgetting all about the ocean. With nearly 600 miles of shoreline and 71 islands, there’s more than enough territory to explore and take in the sights. There are three bridges crossing the lake, connecting Vermont to New York, creating the perfect opportunity for a picturesque drive.

The surrounding region is just as eye-catching. Endless trees cover the hillsides and the nearby Adirondacks tower to the west. There are also miles of trails perfect for a short hike. Visitors who make it to the end are gifted with spectacular vistas as far as the eye can see.

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Comments
    • Juanita W.

      Been meaning to visit Lake Champlain for years. Perhaps I will do it this summer

      Reply
      • Nancy

        Our family rented a cottage in South Hero in Lake Champlain 3 years ago and we had a wonderful time — all 3 generations! Our cottage had a dock with a small rowboat — it reminded me of the vacations my family went on when I was a young child.

        Reply
  • Thanks for the memory. Been to four… maybe someday I’ll get to see the rest.

    Reply
    • We are in the Finger Lakes on vacation now. It is beautiful and includes tons of waterfalls. never should be left out

      Reply
  • HARVEY W.

    I guess the Hudson Highlands doesn’t make the grade because you have to ride a train to see it at its best.

    Reply
    • Michael D.

      The Hudson River Valley is worth a look by car or train. Heck, look out the plane window when flying out of Stewart!

      Reply
  • George S.

    The view from “Trophy Point”, West Point, New York is quite spectacular.
    A frequent subject matter of nineteenth century artists.

    Reply
  • I am so lucky to have lived in the NE US all my life. The beauty of our area is enough to spend a lifteime exploring. I think if I had to choose, I would say my favorite is the Adirondack area. Cape Cod is another special place for me. And, of course growing up on Long Island in the late 40’s to 1982, well, I was blessed with good friends, beautiful beaches and so many places to explore as a child. We had the freedom to roam that most children don’t have these days. I wish they had that kind of freedom. We who live in the NorthEast have it all.

    Reply
  • Juanita W.

    I’ve been meaning to visit Lake Champlain for years now. Perhaps I will do it this summer

    Reply
    • Harry F.

      A good ferry ride exists between Vermont just south of Burlington and NYS east of Lake Placid. Good way to experience a bit of both sides.

      Reply
  • Falcon R.

    How LUCKY I have been to be in the Good Old of USA!!!!
    What words can use use to describe these places.
    Glorious. Fantastic, Unbelievable, WORTH THE TRIP TO EACH OF THEM!!!!!! Eye Catching, Have to see them at sunrise, THE COLORS WILL NEVER BE MATCH!!!!!!!

    Reply
  • Karen H.

    Mohonk Mountain House…afternoon tea and a maze of rocks to climb–we met a porcupine, socially distant. Old resort Poughkeepsie. vantage point shows you a long fault line.

    Reply
    • Maria P.

      Yes, the rocking chair porches and the fireplaces in some rooms. The Garden maze and carriage ride up and the Lemon Squeeze and pedal boats made great times!

      Reply
  • Mike c.

    Martha’s Vineyard,can you give me a beautiful place and prices for a 10 day to 14 day trip,,,,thank you

    Reply
  • Lorraine

    You left out Cape Cod National Seashore
    Gorgeous beaches & majestic sand dunes

    Reply
  • John O.

    The Catskills,Dacks, Greens ,Whites in the fall. They are all breathtaking. The accomodations and food are all first class. Mt Top in Vermont is especially beautiful but make plans early. Lake Placid in the Dacks pick anyone . You will not be sorry.

    Reply
  • Stu d.

    Taking back roads in many parts of New England can reveal amazingly beautiful spots. I frequently drive between Boston and Albany, NY. I often take Rt. 2 between Boston and Williamstown. From there I take 7 north, into Vermont, through Pownal, and then pick up 346, which runs through a small but spectacular valley. Right onto 22 at North Petersburg, and take that to (a different) Rt. 7. Go left, towards Albany, and just stay on that.

    Reply
  • Mark S.

    The tower at the top of Perkins Drive, Bear Mountain. A few miles from the GWB, offers magnificent views and if you like to hike, challenging hiking trails. Yes you can drive up to it.

    Reply
  • Sheila B.

    I’m surprised not to see the Bluffs on Block Island.

    Reply
  • Charlie M.

    Any where in the NE just put in your GPS no highways and you will get a ride. Did that from Buffalo to LI. Had the most interesting, relaxing and fun ride that took the same time as the thruway.

    Reply

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