The best of the USA's Northeast natural beauty

Nature

Bordered to the north by Canada and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, the USA’s Northeast may be famous as home to the Big Apple but it’s also an oasis for nature-lovers on the hunt for an outdoor adventure. And we’ve found the top-endorsed destinations in the region that deliver natural beauty, according to global travellers.

Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor

Marvel at the rocky mountains meeting the pastel-blue Atlantic Coast

Marvel at the rocky mountains meeting the pastel-blue Atlantic Coast

Located in Maine, Bar Harbor serves as a gateway to the mountains and cliffs of the neighbouring Acadia National Park. This 47,000-acre area on Maine's Mount Desert Island is quite the sight – a place where rocky mountains covered in conifers meet the pastel-blue Atlantic Coast. The park has many outdoor adventures on offer, with close to 200kms of hiking trails. Some trials daringly scale granite boulder steps (with handrails bolted to the slide of cliffs) but there are also plenty of more relaxed, family-friendly hikes that snake along the coastline. Once you’ve completed your walk, head back to Bar Harbor Grand Hotel, which is just 2.2kms from Acadia National Park.

Mount Mansfield State Forest close to Stowe

Climb above the treeline for a stunning view of the valley

Climb above the treeline for a stunning view of the valley

Just north of Vermont is Stowe, a small town that overlooks Mount Mansfield State Forest, a 20-minute drive away. Stretching over 44,444 acres, this mountainous landscape makes the area a sought-after destination throughout the year. During winter, you can hit the ski slopes covered in soft, ivory snow or if you prefer the warmer weather, summer is ripe for the multitude of hiking trails here, climbing above the treeline for full panoramas of the valley below. There are 11 moderate hiking trails in Mount Mansfield State Forest, suitable for all age groups and abilities. Before heading off on your adventure, stay at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe.

Blue Hills Reservation just outside Boston

Head to the Blue Hills Reservation and enjoy the epic views

Head to the Blue Hills Reservation and enjoy the epic views

For an active outdoor adventure right outside the city of Boston, head to Blue Hills Reservation. Here, you’ll find hiking trails (both paved and unpaved) that lead you over hills, through marshes, across meadows and forests full of pure-white Dogwood blossom (in the spring). Put your fitness to the test with the Skyline trail, a 14.5km-hike that trudges through steep terrain flanked by boulders and flowing creeks – it will take you roughly five to seven hours to complete. Although this is a tough hike for beginners, reaching the peak is well worth the sweating brow. Keep your eyes peeled for unexpected visitors as this reserve is home to a breadth of endangered species, including timber rattlesnakes and copperheads. And if you happen to see a snake along your trip, remember to stay calm – they naturally don’t want to hurt you. After a day out in the great outdoors, head back to the centre of Boston to stay at the Hyatt Regency.

Provincetown in Massachusetts

Go whale watching at the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary

Go whale watching at the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary

In Provincetown, a town at the northern tip of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, the buildings echo a blend of fishing village, summer resort and artist community. It’s known for its creative, inclusive atmosphere but many travellers are also drawn to the area for its whale-watching opportunities. Many boat tours set off from Provincetown to Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and on one of these trips it’s likely you’ll spot humpback, finback, pilot, minke and right whales feeding in the protected waters. If you’re lucky, the whales may even breach metres away from your tour boat. When you’re back on the shore, there is a plethora of top-rated restaurants to graze at, art galleries to wander through and boutiques to browse. Stay at the Inn at Cook Street, which is in the heart of the art gallery district.

Ogunquit beach in Ogunquit

Walk along the caramel-coloured, soft sand or cruise along the coast on a bike

Walk along the caramel-coloured, soft sand or cruise along the coast on a bike

On the southern coast of Maine, this small village of Ogunquit has a beach with caramel-coloured, soft sand that is as long as it is wide, with rolling, grassy dunes behind it and the horizons of the Atlantic Ocean extending out in front. There’s much to do here – relax while watching sailboats meander on the ocean, body surf through gentle waves or take a stroll into the village where you’ll find fudge and sweet shops selling saltwater taffy. There’s also no need for cars to get around, so take advantage of the free hire bikes at Norseman Resort on the Beach and cruise along the coastline.

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