portland head lighthouse

Play tourist for a weekend. (Photo: Getty Images)

Weekend Getaways

From Maine to Maryland, These Are the Best Weekend Getaways in the Northeast

From Maine’s superlative coast to points south along the eastern seaboard of the United States, historical towns, rugged oceanfront and some of the country’s best seafood are yours for the taking.

Read on for some of the best weekend getaways to take across the Northeast. As always, check for travel guidelines and closures before planning your trip.

us northeast weekend getaways map
(Illustration: Yeji Kim)

Portland, Maine

With a thriving art scene, delicious local oysters and craft beers galore, Portland, Maine, tempts for a weekend escape dictated by a fine balance of natural and urban pleasures.

Start with some gallery-hopping at spots like SPACE, Congress Square Gallery and Grant Wahlquist Gallery. Then decamp for cocktails and charcuterie platters to share at the sleek marble bar inside The Press Hotel, Autograph Collection.

Nature (and lobster!) steal the show on the waters around Portland, where you can head out on a catch-and-release lobstering tour around Casco Bay aboard former commercial vessel, Lucky Catch.

Afterward, hit the Portland Lobstering Company to dig into heaping platters of the big-clawed crustacean, as well as steamed clams, peekytoe crab salad and other local specialties.

Niagara Falls, New York

After dropping your jaw at the all-out thundering wonder of North America’s most iconic waterfalls, you’ll be surprised by all you can get up to during a weekend getaway in Niagara Falls.

niagara falls horseshoe falls
It’s easy to understand where Horseshoe Falls got its name. (Photo: Getty Images)

You can ride right up to the brink of the falls during a cruise aboard the Maid of the Mist — or stay on land to take in views of all three waterfalls (Horseshoe, Bridal Veil and American falls) with a visit to Niagara Falls State Park.

Make time over the weekend, too, to visit the Aquarium of Niagara for a look at the region’s surprising biodiversity and to check out Old Fort Niagara — a colonial fort poised at the mouth of the Niagara River that dates back three centuries.

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Take time to visit P-Town. (Photo: Getty Images)

New England’s coastline reaches peak idyll along the dune-backed beaches of beautiful Cape Cod, a year-round destination for anyone who loves quaint towns with historic appeal served up with great beaches and some of the very best seafood in the land.

For serious steamed and grilled seafood in a no-frills setting, snag a picnic table at iconic Wellfleet haunt, Moby Dick’s. And be sure to make the pilgrimage to Lobster Pot in Provincetown, too, where Anthony Bourdain once slung plates (the traditional Portuguese soup on the menu was reportedly his favorite).

Among the many beaches not to miss as you cruise the Cape — whether for a summer dip or a wintertime stroll — are Coast Guard Beach, Nauset Light Beach and Marconi Beach.

Newport, Rhode Island

Any trip to Rhode Island’s most storied seaside town should start with a stroll past the Gilded Age mansions lining Newport’s 3.5-mile Cliff Walk, with multimillion-dollar Atlantic Ocean views and sea breezes all around.

beach cliff walk newport ri
The cliffs of Rhode Island spark the imagination. (Photo: Getty Images)

Easton’s Beach beckons on a warm and summery day. And when you’re ready to get out on the water, you can cruise aboard a former racing vessel during two-hour sailing trips with America’s Cup Charters.

Prepare to eat very well in this tony town, whether you’re keeping it casual over grilled pizzas at Bar ‘Cino in Newport’s historic Washington Square or hitting up a sophisticated waterfront spot like Giusto, where water views and bobbing boats are the perfect backdrop for relishing fresh oysters and popping bubbly.

Baltimore, Maryland

fells point
Explore historic Fells Point. (Photo: Getty Images)

Funky on one hand, historic on the other, and always full of surprises, Baltimore traces its history back to 1729 but pours on the modern appeal. And there’s as much to offer here by way of independent shops and celebrated contemporary restaurants as there is 19th-century row houses and historic cobblestone streets.

Start your wanderings in the National Historic District of Fell’s Point and the Inner Harbor, where it’s easy to get a feel for Baltimore’s seafaring history. You can even walk the decks to tour several historic ships at Historic Ships in Baltimore.

The National Aquarium, nearby, houses 20,000 animals and fascinating exhibits that bring to life the Amazon River and Australian river habitats, in addition to Baltimore and the greater mid-Atlantic region’s distinct underwater worlds.

Vintage-hounds shouldn’t miss a stroll down 36th Street in the hip Hampden neighborhood to shop for secondhand clothing, estate jewelry and other fun finds at unique boutiques like The Parisian Flea.