When to go
With four distinct seasons, travel in New England presents four different faces. If you’re prepared to roll with abrupt and dramatic weather changes, you can explore New England year-round. Although many travelers think of New England primarily as a summer destination, that would unduly discount the entire catalog of winter sports and the peak fall foliage season, when the drama of leaf-peeping reaches its zenith.
If temperate spring weather lasts a while, traveling from late April to early June can be glorious, with apple and cherry trees in bloom and farmers out tapping maple trees for sap. If spring is short, as it usually is, it may arrive on a Tuesday, and be followed on Wednesday by the heat and humidity of summer.
In July and August, summer resort areas are very busy, accommodations are fully booked and restaurants are crowded. With the exception of the coast or mountains, summers can be uncomfortably humid. Unless your heart is set on swimming, time your travel to occur between mid-May and mid-June, before local schools close and families hit the road (but avoid Boston at the end of May when the city is packed for college graduations).
Another great time is early September – after the big summer rush but before the ‘leaf-peepers’ (foliage tourists) arrive. The weather in these shoulder seasons is generally warm and sunny. Autumn harvest time means fresh cranberries on sale in the markets, pick-your-own fruit days and cider-making at orchards.
Early November is a serene, almost haunting, time before the snows hit and icy winds blow. Winter can be severe or moderate, but it’s rarely mild. December to March is ski season in the mountains. Almost all of interior New England experiences harsh weather with lakes ‘iced in’ until April. When it’s not snowing, however, you’ll likely find winter in New England to be bright and sunny.