Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory
New York & New England
New England is one of the finest areas for true travel-worthy adventures. Large metropolises, small hamlets, lakes, mountains, farmland, coastline – it’s all here, with only a few miles separating one from the other.
Where else can you enjoy brunch in a bustling city like Boston and watch the sunset over the rural lake district in western Maine?
If that’s not enough, consider everything in between.
In Connecticut, you’ll find yourself in southernmost New England, the cradle of United State’s history. For this state’s part, come explore the maritime culture at Mystic Seaport, sample the absolute bevy of small towns, or enjoy one of several foliage tours that show off Connecticut’s grand environment each fall.
It’s good to see a state taking its history seriously, as Connecticut does. Boasting several vibrant historic villages (and faithfully re-created versions), travelers can learn a lot about exactly how things used to be.
This quaint yet bustling village boasts a wealth of preserved Colonial history where you can take a stroll along the streets of the historic downtown area where dozens of Colonial-era homes have been well preserved. But the real star of Mystic is the maritime culture that influenced this area for nearly 300 years, beginning in the mid-18th century. The Mystic Seaport Museum Village is the highlight here, a place capable of transporting visitors back to a time to the romantic 1800s when whaling was king. The village boasts more than 60 historic buildings as well as dozens of authentic sea crafts, all along the picturesque Mystic waterfront. The site also home to a terrific sea aquarium.
Just north of Mystic is the sleepy village of Stonington, which boasts several historic cemeteries dating back to the Colonial period and beyond.
This town offers those of you seeking a bit of “roadside attraction” with your Colonial tour a nice mix. Here, you’ll find the birthplace of America’s most notorious “patriot” – Benedict Arnold.
America’s favorite humorist, Mark Twain, spent much of his later years in New England after leaving his boyhood home along the Mississippi River. Visit the acclaimed Mark Twain House and Museum, where you can see the very rooms where Twain penned the classics, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Also in town is the Harriet Beecher Stowe House and Library, where the Stowe family lived and Harriet enjoyed her later years after gaining fame from penning the anti-slavery classic Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
Like all the other New England states, Connecticut is home to several wonderful foliage tours. One favorite is along Route 82, beginning in the town of Chester and winding northeast towards the town of Norwich. At Chester, take your time at the beginning of the tour, for you’ll find yourself in the Connecticut River Valley and Cockaponset State Forest and then you’ll head east and into Gillette Castle State Park. Small towns and villages are found periodically along the way. Before you reach Norwich, consider a detour to the popular Mohegan Sun Casino in Mohegan.
If you’d like to enjoy ocean views with your foliage views, try the tour along Route 154 and Highway 1 as it winds along the shore from Essex and Old Saybrook southwest to Madison and East River. If you’re just passing through the state, this route works as a terrific alternative to bustling I-95, which swishes passengers through the state as quickly as possible. Begin at Essex and take time to explore this enchanting village, widely considered one of the best small towns in America. From there head south towards the seashore and the town of Old Saybrook. Keep heading west until you reach the Salt Meadow National Wildlife Refuge and the town of Clinton.
For more information, contact (888) CT-VISIT;
Ah, Maine, a true escapist’s paradise. From the rocky coast at Acadia National Park and Kennebunkport to the vast wilds of the state’s interior at Moosehead Lake, Maine is the dreamer’s vacation spot of the Northeast.
Head to the cultural capital of Maine and get yourself lost exploring this wondrous seaside city with several areas built during the post-Colonial boom. Some great walking tours include the Old Port, the Portland Observatory and the Western Promenade.
Coastal Scenic Drives
Like the Louisiana Bayou or Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, visitors flock to Maine for the simple joys of exploring and sighing at the scenery of its dramatic coastline.
Find yourself “downeast” in the small hamlets of Rockland and Camden in Rockland County, and you won’t be disappointed with the seascapes than line the coves and harbors of historic Penobscot Bay.
If you want a truly wild experience with your coastal pleasures, head northwards to Acadia National Park right outside of Kennebunkport. This is probably the finest national park east of the Mississippi, where whales, puffins, and moose frequent. Don’t miss the 27-mile Park Loop Road, which tours the park’s rocky coastline.
Autumn Foliage Tours
Maine’s foliage repertoire contains the best of both worlds. RVers can explore the untamed wilderness of the northwest Maine, or take the famed route along Maine’s impressive seashore.
For those seeking a bit more adventure, head inland for the “Moosehead Route.” Your best bet is to pick up Route 201 at the town of Skowhegan, west of Bangor. Head northwest for a few hours until you reach the town of Jackman Station. From there, take Route 6/15 east towards Moosehead Lake. This lake is a favorite for nature enthusiasts as well as kayakers, canoers and other paddlers. Assuming you can pry yourself away, head southeast to the town of Dover to pick up Route 150 to return you to where you started.
Moving a little faster but offering as many, if not more sights, is the coastal trip north along Highway 1. Start your tour in the scenic and historic town of Bath. The formula from here is easy: See a nice town. Stop. Visit. Repeat. Head north and within couple hours you’ll have lost track of the number of romantic, sleepy villages you’ve passed through. Keep heading north until you reach the pleasant seaside village of Belfast on Penobscot Bay. From there keep on trucking until you reach Acadia National Park.
Mid-Coast Maine is home to a lot of treasures, one of them being the impressive Belgrade Lakes Golf Club in Belgrade Lakes. After you’re done touring the 6,700 yards of fairway at this outstanding course, explore the wonderful lakes themselves on a canoe or kayak. In Kingfield you’ll find the world-famous Sugarloaf Golf Course designed by the master himself, Robert Trent Jones. When traveling the western part of the state, try your luck at the Bethel Inn and Country Club in the pleasant town of Bethel. But of course, all duffers know the name of the local favorite–Sugarloaf. This world-class course was designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., and is a favorite destination for traveling golfers around the country.
For more information, contact (888) 624-6345;
Of all the New England states, it’s seems that Massachusetts took a second helping of every activity and escape. Whether it’s whale-watching along Cape Cod, discovering the birthplace of our nation along Boston’s Freedom Trail, or enjoying a meandering foliage tour in the Berkshires, Massachusetts has something for everybody.
Massachusetts truly earns its moniker of the capital of Colonial America. It won’t take too much driving before you learn that this is where our nation’s history indeed began.
The sleepy sea town of Provincetown is where the Pilgrims first landed on North American soil in 1620. Alas, after finding the environs a wee too harsh, they decided to press on where, of course, they eventually set up shop in Plymouth, Massachusetts. But don’t let that tidbit fool you; there’s still plenty to see and do here. Start with the Pilgrim Monument & Provincetown Museum, which aptly covers Provincetown’s not-so-small role in our nation’s founding.
On your way to the Colonial “capital” of Boston, be sure to stop in Plymouth to see where it all began. Here you can see the actual Plymouth Rock (now in its third location) as well as the Mayflower II, a full-scale 102-foot reproduction of the original vessel.
The Boston tourist organizations are on the scene and have organized most of the city’s great Colonial sites into one package – The Freedom Trail. The trail begins at Boston Common and meanders through the historic streets through site after site. Some of the trails highlights include the Boston Massacre Site, complete with nightly re-enactments, the Paul Revere House, the USS Constitution, and the Bunker Hill Monument, just to name a few. The Freedom Trail is a must-see for history buffs and a truly great family experience.
If Boston’s Freedom Trail filled you in on the people and events that lead to the Revolution, head north out of the city to where the first shots were fired. In Concord, be sure to check out the Minute Man National Historical Park, where on April 19, 1775 the “shot heard ‘round the world” was fired and our nation was born. The park is home to an impressive 5-mile interpretive trail where you can relive the events of the battle (just without all the shooting).
Okay, so it’s not exactly a Colonial marker, but what’s a tour through our nation’s history without a stop at one of its most notorious sites? In 1692, the town of Salem went on a witchhunt – literally. Sadly, Puritan paranoia of the era resulted in the deaths of 20 innocent people believed to be witches or their ilk. On the bright side, Salem’s tourism industry really took off following these events. Some 300 years later, Salem has made a nice dime out of its rather dark past and, boy, is it good fun. If you like Halloween (and who doesn’t?), All-Hallow’s Eve is celebrated year-round in this charming village.
Since it is the birthplace of the Revolution, it would make sense that more than a few revolutionary minds penned their greatest works in this state.
First stop is the Old Manse, the one-time home of the immensely influential transcendentalist poet and philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Not only did Emerson pen some of his finest works here, but he also rented it out to another influential American writer, Nathaniel Hawthorne. Also in town is the Ralph Waldo Emerson House, where the poet spent the final years of his life. There must be something in the water here, as Concord was also the home of writer Louisa May Alcott, who gained worldwide fame with her 1868 classic Little Women. Her life and works are on display at the Wayside and the Orchard House.
If you’re in Salem on a witchhunt, stop by the House of the Seven Gables, the 1668 mansion that inspired Hawthorne’s twisted tale of the same name. Also in town is the modest Nathaniel Hawthorne Home.
While you’re rubbing elbows with those Harvard kids, impress ‘em with your knowledge of Longfellow’s poetry after you have visited the town’s Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Historic Site. This is the spot where the 19th century’s most famous poet spent his youth as well as his final years.
Along with Emerson, Massachusetts’s other great thinker was naturally Henry David Thoreau, whose Walden still inspires generations of writers, artists, and anyone who has ever pondered mankind’s role in nature. Thoreau wrote many other impressive treatises, all of which can be channeled at the Walden Pond State Reservation, a national historic landmark northwest of the city.
Visit the childhood home of America’s favorite poet, Emily Dickinson. Her life and works can be explored at the Emily Dickinson Museum.
If you’re traveling in the western part of the state in the Berkshires, you might stop by the town of Pittsfield. It was there in the mid-1800s that a failing writer from New York City moved in. His name was Herman Melville. At Arrowhead, the writer would pen the American masterpiece, Moby Dick.
Of all the great literary minds that have lived and roamed in Massachusetts, none is perhaps more influential than the man celebrated in Springfield. Theodore Seuss Geisel was born here in 1904. By the time of his death in 1991, Dr. Seuss had written 44 children’s books, including the classics The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham. His wacky world and works can be celebrated at the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden in town.
One of the true experiences of visiting coastal Massachusetts and Cape Cod is to shove off on a whale-watching cruise. Not only is it a relatively inexpensive way to enjoy a day at sea, but it is truly a humble experience to glimpse these massive creatures gliding so effortlessly through the ocean. North of Boston, the towns of Gloucester and Salem offer several top-notch tour outfits. South of the Boston, a few boats sail out of Plymouth. On the cape, head to the farthest hamlet in Provincetown, where several tour providers have been administering cruises for generations.
Autumn Foliage Tour
The finest foliage tour in Massachusetts is most likely Route 2 as it skirts the northern Berkshires, heading east along the Mohawk Trail in the northwestern part of the state. Pick up the route in the charming town of North Adams and take some time to visit the impressive Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA, to those in the know). From there head east and into the winding hills. Along the way you’ll pass through the Mohawk Trail State Forest and the Savoy Mountain State Forest, home to a few pristine trout streams. Head east and into central Massachusetts until you reach your destination at the town of Orange. Along the way, Route 2 brought you through 14 state parks and an endless array of autumn colors.
When it’s time to stop watching and start actually doing, Massachusetts won’t disappoint in terms of its golf courses. Below are some of the most challenging and picturesque the state has to offer.
Williamstown is home to the exquisite Taconic Golf Course nestled among the picturesque rolling hills of the Berkshires. Also nearby among the Berkshires is the lovely Waubeeka Golf Links in the town of South Williamstown.
Opened in 1978, this public course owns more than 7,000 yards of green and was designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr.
Try out the “Ocean” course at the Country Club of New Seabury located in the town of Mashpee. Once you reach the cape, head towards the town of Brewster where, among the fine antique shops and quaint B&Bs you’ll find the 18-hole championship Ocean Edge Golf Course. Afterwards, head towards the tip of the cape at the historic Highland Links in the charming town of North Truro, where you can get in your swings along scenic bluffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
For more information, contact (800) 227-MASS;
Like Vermont to the west, New Hampshire is loaded with charming New England hamlets all nestled in the rolling green landscape that is so much a part of this neck of the woods. New Hampshire is an outdoor paradise, thanks mostly to the scenic White Mountains.
You would be pretty hard-pressed to find a state in the Northeast that offers finer hiking trails than those found in New Hampshire. With many green hills found in the state, it’s pretty easy to find a nice mile or two to hike. But here’s a quick guide of some of the state’s finest trails.
In the southeast near Portsmouth, Monadnock State Park lays out more than 40 miles of trails tracing the towering Mount Monadnock. Another great trip is to the Franconia Notch area nestled in the White Mountains. Several of the finest examples can be found located in the 8,000-acre Franconia Notch State Park. If you’d like to join the fun, head to the town of Pinkham Notch and look up the Appalachian Mountain Club, where you can learn to protect and preserve Northeast outdoors. Meanwhile, the true adventurer should just get lost (not literally) in the enchanting White Mountains National Forest.
For some terrific views of the area, head to the town of Lebanon, where you can stroll (or drive) the 3,000 foot peak of Mount Kearsarge. Compares to spending a few nights in the White Mountain National Forest, a mountain range that covers much of the central region of the state.
The seaside town of Portsmouth is without a doubt one of New England’s most charming cities. For more than 300 years this town was a hub of the maritime industry and vestiges of the industry remain to this day. Drop in at the visitor’s center for a complete historic walking tour of the city. Highlights include the John Paul Jones House, where the Revolutionary War hero lived during the war, and Strawberry Banke, a preserved 10-acre parcel of the downtown area showcasing nearly 50 historic homes and buildings.
Autumn Foliage Tours
New Hampshire is home to the fabulous White Mountains which take up most of the northern half of the state. These fabulous peaks were absolutely made for foliage tours, so take your pick because you simply can’t lose here. Try out Route 302 as it heads from Conway in the southeast corner of the White Mountains National Forest and heads northwest cutting through the park until it ends at Littleton. Or try Route 112, cutting straight across the White Mountains National Forest heading east from the town of North Woodstock and back to the town of Conway. If you’re starting a little to the south, pick up Route 16 in the town of Rochester. Only a few miles out of town, this highway slows to a meandering two-laner as it heads north all the way to the northern part of the state, past the White Mountains, to Berlin, and beyond and into Maine.
Swing into the village of Colebrook where you’ll find the 18-hole Balsams Panorama Golf Course. Nearly 6,800 yards of greenway await you all nestled in the foothills of the White Mountains and their impressive scenery. By now you’ll figure out that New Hampshire has cornered the market on top shelf golf courses set amid pristine mountain scenery. So continue your tour in the quiet little town of Bethlehem at the public Bethlehem Country Club.
For more information, contact (800) FUN-IN-NH;
The Empire State acts as a wonderful jumping-off point for exploring America’s Northeast. Kick off your tour by spinning through the Big Apple to witness the shine of the lights of Broadway or catch nine innings of baseball on Coney Island. In the north, the state offers a wealth of activities and escapes. Bet the ponies at Sarasota Springs, explore the high peaks of the Adirondack Mountains, or get to know legends of baseball in Cooperstown.
For the sports nut, the Empire State is second to none.
New York City
You know you’ve hit the big time when you’re playing in the Big Apple. New York City might not be the most convenient for RVers, but it offers a lot of activities for all. Who could ever forget their first trip to Yankee Stadium, or the “World’s Most Famous Arena.” Madison Square Garden? For something a little different, take a ride to Coney Island where, once you’re done strolling the boardwalk and enjoying the circus atmosphere, you can take in nine innings of the New York Mets’ class-A affiliate, the Brooklyn Cyclones.
If you find yourself on the way to the picturesque Adirondack Mountains, make a stop in the lovely town of Saratoga Springs, where you can bet on the ponies at the world-class Saratoga Race Track. This 350-acre track runs a six-week season which runs from late July through September.
Who could make a trip to this region without visiting Cooperstown? All you have to do is say the name of this New York hamlet and immediately images of baseball’s finest come to mind – all of which can be seen at the Baseball Hall of Fame.
For winter sports, head to the high peaks of the Adirondacks where you’ll find a winter wonderland in Lake Placid. It was here in 1980 that the world watched the “Miracle on Ice” as the United States ice hockey team captured Olympic gold. Today, the town is still home to a world-class Olympic training center and blue-chip events are held throughout the winter months.
If you do get the courage to pilot that 40 foot diesel into the Big Apple, you absolutely must make a stop along the Great White Way – Broadway. Each evening more than three dozen plays and musicals are performed around the famed Theater District. And that’s not including all the enterprising venues found off-Broadway or off-off Broadway, the more eclectic collections of smaller shows that tend to be less mainstream, but no less entertaining. Be sure to check out the Internet ahead of time, as there’s always a bargain to be had on Broadway.
Revolutionary War Battlegrounds
The Empire State boasts a wealth of Revolutionary War history just waiting to be explored.
New York City
Yes, even New York City played host to crucial moments of the War for our nation’s independence. It was here during the first year of the Revolution that a young General Washington found himself pinned in by British forces. With the American army on the ropes, Washington led his men in a hasty retreat from Manhattan to Brooklyn, where the army eventually made it to New Jersey. There, they would recoup their forces and make a triumphant attack near Trenton, New Jersey, and eventually turn the tide of the Revolutionary War.
A tour of Colonial upstate New York is delight. Begin at the Saratoga National Historic Park. While the surprise attack at Trenton gave the American forces a glimmer of hope against the mighty British, it was at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777 where the Colonists took their first decisive victory of the war. Located in the upper Hudson Valley, a visit to this important battlefield is a great complement to a tour of the area.
Near the northern shores of the Lake George you’ll find Fort Ticonderoga in the namesake town. This national historic landmark played an important role during both the French-Indian and Revolutionary Wars. Today, the fort is wonderfully restored and living-history actors bring the era alive for visitors.
While New York City seems to be home to all the great writers of today, many of America’s first literary stars lived and worked throughout the state. Here’s a look a some of the best places to tour if you’re looking for a little inspiration.
New York State is home to America’s first international literary star, Washington Irving. About an hour north of New York City near the Catskill Mountains is where Irving penned several early American classics, most notably The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle. His old homestead is well preserved in the town of Tarrytown. Right next door is the village of Sleepy Hollow, a charming little hamlet that has nicely embraced its famous legacy.
Headed to Cooperstown to worship The Babe, Hammerin’ Hank or the Say Hey Kid? Make a stop to brush up on your American literature at the James Fennimore Cooper House, a museum dedicated to another of America’s early great novelists. Also in town is the Oswego House, where Cooper penned some of his greatest work, including The Last of the Mohicans and The Deerslayer.
For more information, contact (800) CALL-NYS; www.iloveny.com.
Rhode Island may be our nation’s smallest state, but it doesn’t mean it’s without charm or a multitude of fun activities typical of New England escapes. The Providence/Newport area offers a wealth of pastimes ranging from exploring the state’s rich history to enjoying the palatial shoreline estates. Incidentally, you won’t find a finer string of public beaches in New England than those dotting the state’s southern shore.
True, the state may be tiny, but its historical influence runs deep, as does its appeal to RVers looking to delve into venerable mansions and museums.
Founded in the 17th century as a haven for religious persecution, the state capital of Providence enjoys a rich Colonial heritage. Start with the city’s “A Mile of History,” a mile or so stretch of road in the downtown area lined with exquisite historic homes. John Brown House is one such highlight. John Brown was a slave trader during the 18th-century. His home is meticulously preserved and an exceptional representative of the period’s architecture. While in the area, be sure take a tour of another of Mr. Brown’s namesake’s, Brown University, the nation’s seventh-oldest college institution, built in 1764.
While this resort town is most famous for its 19th-century mansions dazzling the waterfront (which doesn’t make a bad tour in itself), the city was an important trading post during the Colonial era. Two Colonial highlights include Historic Hill and the Museum of Newport History.
Well, it is called the Ocean State, after all. And what better way to explore Rhode Island than picking out the finest oceanside highlights?
Being an island, Newport enjoys the luxury of showing off its coastal delights. Fort Adams State Park is a good place to start, where you can enjoy hiking and biking while enjoying the scenery of Newport Harbor. Then take a stroll along the 3-mile Cliff Walk, which skirts the southern end of the island and shows off some of the town’s more historic residences.
Home to several great public beaches, Narragansett is an ideal spot to while away the long summer months. For several miles heading southwest you’ll find ocean access at towns like Port Judith and Jerusalem.
Located in the southwest corner of the state, the area delivers four public beaches in and around town, as well as the historic Watch Hill Lighthouse.
Autumn Foliage Tours
Yes, it’s our smallest state, but don’t make fun. There’s still plenty of byways to traverse, with big-time scenery ready to dazzle. Rhode Island is home to a pair of simply outstanding driving/foliage tours.
Begin in North Providence by getting off busy I-295 and exit at Route 44. Slow it down a little and enjoy this route winding its way through the scenic farmland of the Blackstone Valley. From North Providence, head west to the town of West Glocester, a historic town surrounded by state parks. From here, head south along Route 94 until you pick up Route 14 and head back east towards Providence. What a way to spend an afternoon!
Another exceptional drive explores the environs of Newport. It’s short and sweet, but a terrific way to stop and stretch your legs while exploring the grounds of the many seaside mansions to be found here. Be sure to take a spin along the oceanfront roads of Ridge Road, Ocean Avenue and Bellevue Ave.
For more information, contact (800) 556-2484; www.visitrhodeisland.com
Let’s face it, there’s nothing like Vermont in autumn. Or winter, or spring, or summer, for that matter. And what can be said about Vermont that hasn’t been said already. After all, these very environs inspired America’s greatest poet, Robert Frost.
Be sure to make a stopover in the state capital of Montpelier. There you’ll find the impressive post-Colonial State House as well as the Vermont Historical Society Museum. With only 8,000 residents, the city, err, town, happens to be the least populated capital in the nation. The town’s downtown district, however, is jammed with quaint shops and family-owned restaurants.
Autumn Foliage Tours
Like New Hampshire’s White Mountains, it’s almost worth getting a little lost in Vermont’s Green Mountains during the foliage season. One unparrelled route in this state is Route 7 as it heads north from Bennington all the way to Burlington. A third of the route winds through the rolling farmland and modest peaks of the lower Green Mountains. Along the way you’ll pass through many charming villages including Manchester Center and Rutland. Keep heading north and you’ll find yourself in the towns of Middlebury and Vergennes. Soon you’ll pass along the shores of the chilly Lake Champlain and into the wonderful town of Burlington. Those seeking more adventures should keep on Route 7 north until it spills across the Canadian border into the province of Quebec.
Visiting Small Towns
What better way to truly explore New England than hopping from one charming village to the next?
Rising from the ashes of an old agricultural town, Grafton was resurrected in the 1960s and rehabilitated into a year-round tourist village.
Historic Woodstock, located in the southeast corner of the state, is a throwback to 19th-century New England.
Those who enjoy immersing themselves into the preserved lives of their favorite authors won’t do much better than Vermont, as the state proudly showcases several important author’s personal histories.
While Robert Frost did spend some time in New Hampshire, he is probably most closely associated with the countryside of Vermont. Much of Frost’s adult life was spent in this state, which offers several memorials and museums in his honor. You can explore the poet’s life and works at the Robert Frost Museum in Shaftsbury.
It may seem odd, but the characters and tales of Rudyard Kipling’s best works found their origins in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Yes, the jungle settings of classics like The Jungle Book and Just-So Stories were penned here. Today, Kipling’s life and works can be explored at Naulakha (The Kipling House) in Dummerston.
Be sure you and your driver (the one in your golf bag, not in the cockpit) are on good terms before taking your swings at the Vermont National Country Club. The “Vermont National” boasts more than 7,000 yards of fairways and was designed by Jack Nicklaus himself.
If you find yourself in the northern part of the state in the outdoor wonderland that is the city of Killington, enjoy 18 holes at the outstanding Green Mountain National Golf Course. These links are a little slice of heaven nestled in token New England scenery.
For more information, contact (800) VERMONT;