Travel Tips

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Best Time to Visit New England (Gorgeous Autumn & Winter!)

Plan your ideal New England trip! Find the best times for autumn colors, winter sports, and avoiding crowds in this essential travel guide.

Tobi Miles
August 13, 2022
Best Time to Visit New England (Gorgeous Autumn & Winter!)

New England offers a wealth of unique travel experiences. Located in the northeast corner of the United States, the region consists of six states. New England offers a historical legacy, natural scenic landscapes, and quaint villages.

The best time to visit New England is from March to April and September to November. The days are warm and sunny, with temperatures ranging from 62° to 75°F (17° - 24°C). It’s an ideal time for festivals and outdoor exploration. If you’re planning to ski or snowboard, visit New England during January and February for freshly powdered slopes.

Deciding when to travel to New England can be difficult as each season features diverse experiences. Knowing what each state offers throughout the year can help make your choice easier. Follow along with our month-by-month guide to start planning your trip.

Worst Time to Visit New England

May is the worst month to visit New England due to the 35 million people that travel to the region for Memorial Day weekend. Hotel rates rise by 28%, and it’s difficult to find accommodations under $150 per night.

It’s most expensive to fly during the months of July, August, and December. Flights can cost up to 42% more at this time. Flight rates reach their highest in December at an average of $1,095.

Cheapest Time to Visit New England

The cheapest time to visit New England is in mid-September. Flight rates are at their lowest during this time of year, around $286 round-trip. You can save up to 68% on airfare by booking in advance.

If you’re on a budget, consider a road trip through the New England region to save on flight and rental costs. Fortunately, New England offers many free attractions like public museums, pristine beaches, and forest parks.

What Time of the Year has the Best Weather in New England?

New England has the best weather from June to August, when the average temperature is 75.2°F (24°C), with up to 15 hours of sunshine per day. It’s an excellent time to explore New England’s outdoor landscapes and to go swimming along the coast.

If you prefer a cooler climate, the best time to visit New England is in April or November. Spring and autumn offer the perfect sweater weather, with average highs of 60.8°F (16°C).

January: Best Time for Winter Festivals

January is the coldest month in New England. The average temperature is 26.6 °F (-3°C). January is very humid, with levels around 83%.

Black Mountain in New Hampshire is full of events in January, including the New Hampshire Sanctioned & Jackson Invitational Snow Sculpting Competition. You can watch the contestants create their ice sculptures on-site, and later browse the finished products. While waiting, you can go tubing, cross country skiing, or ride in a snow coach.

You can learn how to create ice sculptures at the Stowe Winter Carnival in Vermont. The carnival features live music performances, ice carving exhibitions and competitions, and a snow volleyball tournament. You’ll experience the fun of a New England winter at the Stowe Mountain Resort Ski Area.

  • The Stowe Winter Carnival
  • New Hampshire Sanctioned & Jackson Invitational Snow Sculpting Competition
  • The Sun Wine and Food Fest
  • Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut

Related Read: 33 Romantic Getaways in New England

February: Best Time for Winter Sport Competitions

New England is very cold this month, with temperatures often dropping below freezing. Depending on which state you’re visiting, the New England region receives between 7 and 21 inches of snow.

If you’ve never seen jump skiing before, check out Jumpfest in Salisbury, Connecticut. Several competitions take place over President’s Day weekend. It’s a thrilling event to watch, and if you’re curious about trying it for yourself, the event’s organizers offer lessons.

You can also slide down a 400-foot chute in a toboggan at the U.S. National Toboggan Championship in Camden, Maine. Racers come from all over the country to compete. This fun and exciting event has been occurring for over 30 years.

  • Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel
  • Keene Ice & Snow Festival
  • Connecticut Flower & Garden Show
  • U.S. National Toboggan Championship

Related Read: 10 Best Places for Snowtubing in New England

March: Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Boston

New England is still cold in March, with a daily average temperature of 39.2°F (4°C). You’ll need to pack warm clothes and boots, especially if you’ve planned many outdoor activities for your trip.

March is jam-packed with things to do in New England as spring approaches. St. Patrick’s Day is a public holiday on the 17th. Boston celebrates with a large parade as 20% of the city’s citizens are Irish.

It’s also Maple Month in New Hampshire as the sugaring season begins. Sugarhouses across the state celebrate the start of maple production with festivals. Visit during Maple Weekend to tour sugarhouses and watch demonstrations.

  • Trail Side Sugar House
  • Basketball Hall of Fame
  • St. Patrick’s Day Parade
  • Sugarloaf Ski Resort

April: Best Time for A Family Trip

When you arrive in New England in April, you can look forward to temperatures of up to 11°C during the day. It’s not great weather for the beach, but it’s perfect if you’ve planned hiking and sightseeing trips for your stay.

Blithewold Estate reopens to visitors every year in April. The estate has over 50,000 daffodils spread over 33 acres. The first week of April is full of concerts, workshops, and learning programs that are fun for the whole family.

The New England Folk Festival is three days long, with over 170 events. There are storytelling and music performances, craft vendors, and traditional English dance displays. It’s a joyful event that captures New England’s spirit and brings entire communities together.

  • Daffodil Days at Blithewold Estate
  • Patriot’s Day Weekend
  • New England Folk Festival
  • Fine Art & Flowers at the Wadsworth Atheneum

May: Best Time to Visit Seaside Towns

The weather in May warms up to 66.6°F (19.2°C) daily. If you’ve planned a holiday in May, you can look forward to clear skies as the region receives little to no rain.

Martha’s Vineyard is a picturesque New England beach community with brightly painted gingerbread-style cottages. It’s the third-largest island on the east coast, and is the ultimate retreat. There are white-sand beaches, bike trails, lighthouses, and many seafood restaurants.

Another quaint seaside destination is Narragansett, Rhode Island. The town offers access to the state park beaches of Salty Brine, Roger Wheeler, and Narragansett Town Beach. You can do a bit of maritime exploring and ride the Block Island Ferry or visit the Point Judith Lighthouse.

  • Menemsha Hills
  • Martha’s Vineyard Museum
  • Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Morning Glory Farm

June: Best Time to Go White Water Rafting

New England weather in June is very humid, with an average humidity of 77%If you have a lot planned for your stay, you’ll have more than enough time to do it with at least 15 hours of sunlight per day.

June is the best time to go white water rafting on one of New England’s many rivers. You can choose a range of rafting trips, from an easy glide through calm waters to a thrilling adventure on churning rapids. Guide companies provide gear and safety instruction.

After being on the water, you can take to the skies at the Quechee Hot Air Balloon, Craft & Music Festival. It’s the longest-running hot air balloon fest in New England, with 20 hot air balloons that make five flights throughout the festival. Enjoy live music performances, and shop at the booths of over 50 craft vendors.

  • Crab Apple Whitewater
  • Raft NH
  • Quechee Hot Air Balloon, Craft, & Music Festival
  • Laconia Motorcycle Week

July: Best Time to Visit Rhode Island

The climate in July is pleasant and mild, with an average temperature of 75.2°F (24°C) at peak times of the day. There’s a moderate chance of rain throughout the month, so make sure to pack a raincoat.

As the birthplace of the U.S., the New England region celebrates the country with America’s Oldest Fourth of July Celebration. From Flag Day to Independence Day, Bristol, Rhode Island, celebrates America’s freedom for three weeks. There are concerts, ceremonies, parades, carnivals, pageants, and more.

The Hall of Fame Open takes place every July in Newport, Rhode Island. Held at the International Tennis Hall of Fame, attendees can see inductees into the Hall of Fame. It’s also the only professional grass court tournament held in North America.

  • America’s Oldest Fourth of July Celebration
  • Boston Harborfest
  • Hall of Fame Open
  • International Sand Sculpting Festival

August: Best Time to Visit Maine

August is one of New England’s wettest times of the year, with 4 inches of rainfall. Temperatures stay in the low 80s Fahrenheit, with low temperatures of 59°F (15°C).

Blueberries may be tiny, but they are widely celebrated in Machias, Maine. The Machias Wild Blueberry Festival is an iconic harvest festival that includes food, music, and vendors. The festival’s famous blueberry pie eating contest is featured on ESPN yearly.

Maine also holds its annual Maine Lobster Festival in August. This marine festival takes place on the coast at Rockland’s Harbor Park and includes five days of fun and food. There’s a seafood cooking contest and the Great International Lobster Crate Race. It’s an event the entire family can enjoy.

  • The Machias Wild Blueberry Festival
  • Maine Lobster Festival
  • Gloucester Waterfront Festival
  • Rhythm & Roots Festival

Related Read: New York to New Hampshire: New England Road Trip!

September: Best Time to Visit Massachusetts

New England weather in September is very mild, with an average high of 64.4°F (18°C). You may see a rain shower or two while traveling this month, but it won’t prevent you from doing outdoor activities.

Autumn is around the corner in September for New England, and the fall foliage begins to appear during the middle of the month. The region’s most notable event this month is the Brimfield Antique Show in Massachusetts. It’s the oldest outdoor antique flea market in the country.

The Big E is one of the state’s most prominent festivals, in West Springfield, Massachusetts. It features big-name music artists and draws crowds from all over the country. There are vendors, family activities, and even carnival rides.

  • Brimfield Antique Show
  • The Big E
  • Maine’s Open Lighthouse Day
  • Oyster Festival

October: Step into the Past at the Connecticut Renaissance Faire

New England’s weather is breezy and cool in October, with an average temperature of 53.6°F (12°C).The region’s landscapes are beautiful as this time, with its trees vibrant with red, gold, and orange colors.

Travel back to the medieval days at the Connecticut Renaissance Faire. The festival’s workers and attendees dress in medieval costumes. There are jousting and fencing games and vendors selling smoked turkey legs with drinks of mead.

You can also celebrate Halloween at the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular in Providence, Rhode Island. Roger Williams Park Zoo hosts nightly events all month featuring a display of 5,000 artistically designed pumpkins.

  • Harpoon Octoberfest
  • North American Wife Carrying Championship
  • Connecticut Renaissance Fair
  • Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular

November: Best Time to Ride New England’s Railways

New England is even more gorgeous in November than October, as the forests and botanical gardens are at peak foliage. Temperatures reach highs of 42.8°F (6°C), which is the warmest you can hope for this month.

Ride to the summit of Mount Washington, New England’s highest point, on the Mount Washington Cog Railway. The train ride is three hours long, and you’ll learn about the railroad’s history and technology.

Taking the Conway Scenic Railroad through New Hampshire’s White Mountains is the perfect way to see the fall foliage. The train will take you on a five-hour immersive trip and feature live commentary on the region’s history.

  • Mount Washington Cog Railway
  • Conway Scenic Railroad
  • Cape Cod Central Railroad
  • Hobo and Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroads

Related Read: 25 Top Treehouse Rentals in New England

December: Best Time for New England Holiday Traditions

With only 9 hours of sunlight, you may be limited to indoor activities in December. In addition, it’s one of the coldest months, with temperatures as low as 30.2°F (-1°C).

New England’s most memorable holiday event is the Edaville Christmas Festival of Lights. There are millions of light displays and over 90 rides and attractions. Stroll through Dickens Village, and ride the original Edaville Railroad to meet Santa Claus.

For over 35 years, Vintage Christmas has been a classic holiday tradition in Portsmouth. The celebration features many events like the Candlelight Stroll Under the Stars and an annual Gingerbread House Contest and Exhibition. Don’t forget to ice skate at the Puddle Duck Pond.

  • Edaville Christmas Festival of Lights
  • Vintage Christmas
  • Inn-to-Inn Holiday Cookie and Candy Tour
  • Harford Holiday Light Fantasia
  • Christmas Town Festival

What is the Best Time to Visit New England to Avoid Crowds?

The best time to visit New England to avoid crowds is in September. The summer crowds have left the region, and it is quiet and peaceful. March and April also have low to moderate crowds.

June through August is the peak season in New England. Tourist crowds are heaviest at this time, with crowds flocking to the coasts to cool down

Ultimately, crowd levels depend on which state you’re visiting and the season. For example, Vermont and New Hampshire have some of the best ski resorts and become crowded in January and February.

No matter what time of the year you visit New England, the region is vast enough that you will be able to avoid crowds.

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
March 28, 2024
A nomadic wordsmith savoring the world's flavors and penning stories that turn every journey into an epic.
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