The Northeast doesn’t go into hibernation in winter; it thrives in every season. If it’s not in your plans (or your budget) to fly off to a warmer destination this year, why not embrace the cold months with a winter road trip?
Whether it’s fun on the slopes or small town New England charm you’re looking for, the region is full of wintery things to do, with ample outdoor activities and year-round attractions.
So, pack up your coats and cozy clothes, make a playlist and remember to be extra safe when driving in winter conditions.
You can live out all your your snow-covered, hot chocolate-fueled, après-ski vacation fantasies at these five winter road trip destinations.
The Green Mountains
It’s difficult to find a scene anywhere in Vermont that doesn’t look like it was lifted straight from a postcard. But if we had to pick one area to visit during the winter, it would be the Green Mountains.
The Green Mountains span the length of Vermont, running along its eastern edge. There are plenty of routes to travel but we highly recommend taking the Scenic Route 100 Byway. Not only does it provide picturesque views, it’s the main thoroughfare to many of Vermont’s best-known resort towns, including Killington and Stowe. If you choose to travel the length of the byway, you’ll likely want to stop over at some of these destinations. Route 100 is nearly 150 miles long, after all. Here, you’ll find great food and drink, handmade arts and furniture and some of the best skiing in the country.
And if you make it all the way to Waterbury, make sure to schedule a trip to the Ben and Jerry’s factory.
Check out these hotels near all the skiing and snowboarding action.
This small village nestled among the Adirondack Mountains in northern New York is, of course, most famous for being the host city of the 1980 winter Olympics. If you’re a history buff, sports fan or just an outdoor enthusiast, a winter road trip to this town is a must.
Many of the sites that hosted events four decades ago are open to the public. You can ice skate at the same arena that hosted the “Miracle On Ice” game, ski down Whiteface Mountain and, if you’re brave enough, even take a trip down the state-of-the-art combined skeleton and bobsled track.
But Lake Placid is more than just a one-trick pony. The town is also well known for its restaurants featuring locally sourced ingredients and its host of outlets selling unique arts, crafts and keepsakes.
Book a Lake Placid hotel now!
The Hudson Valley
Technically, the Hudson Valley is just north of Manhattan. Yet, once you’re there, you’ll feel 1,000 miles away from the hustle and bustle of New York City. This 150-mile valley along the Hudson River has been designated a National Heritage Area. It perfectly combines history, culture and recreation.
Some highlights include the Dia: Beacon art museum, as well as a visit to the town of Sleepy Hollow and author Washington Irving’s estate Sunnyside. Farther north, in the town of Poughkeepsie, is Walkway Over the Hudson. This pedestrian bridge offers walkers, hikers and bicyclists unparalleled views of the river. At 1.28 miles long, it is the longest such elevated bridge in the world. For those who simply want to kick back and enjoy their trip, the area is dotted with numerous wineries, distilleries, cideries and breweries.
Pick a hotel for your Hudson Valley getaway.
The mountain chain known as the Green Mountains goes by a different name when it crosses the Massachusetts state line: the Berkshires.
The drive alone is worth the trip to the Berkshires. Crisscrossing the forest-lined rolling hills is a sightseer’s dream. While an autumn trip through the region is a feast for the eyes, the Berkshires may be at its best during the winter. Outdoor enthusiasts flock to the rolling hills for ample opportunities at skiing and snowmobiling. Popular hiking locations include Mount Greylock, the highest point in the state, and along the Appalachian Trail.
But those who want to get out of the cold are just as likely to enjoy western Massachusetts, as the Berkshires are one of the Northeast’s great cultural hubs. The area is home to several art museums, including the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art and the Norman Rockwell Museum.
These hotels are close to all of the Berkshires’ wonderful cultural attractions.
While it’s a common thought to head to “winter” destinations during the cold months, visiting an area during its off-season allows you to fully enjoy everything it has to offer minus the crowds and exorbitant price tags. Cape Cod is known as a summer hotspot, but the miles of beaches and New England charm that define the area are still there after the temperatures drop. There’s something different, but equally enjoyable about a walk along a snow-covered beach.
There are enough museums, antique shops and attractions (the Woods Hole Science Aquarium, maybe?) to keep you busy. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head to the Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory in Hyannis.
Since you’ll likely find discounted hotel rates, you can even upgrade your accommodations. Find an ocean cottage, warm up next to the fireside and enjoy everything that is winter in the Northeast.
Take advantage of off-season rates at these Cape Cod hotels.
Need a ride? AAA members can save up to 20% on Hertz rentals.
Tell us your favorite winter road trip in the comments below.
3 Thoughts on “Winter Road Trips in the Northeast”
Interesting article. I may have to visit these places this winter. They sound good.
In the Winter Road trips article you listed the Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory as a place to visit. Please note that the factory tours are not being held at this time per their website with no further information about when they will resume.
How can you be touting your five “Winter Road Trips” in the Northeast without including the White Mountains!