When you feel the need to hit the open road, few locations can compare with the New England states. Within just a couple of hours, you can drive from coast to mountain; from highway to am-I-the-first-person-to-drive-on-this-road?. Casual is the name of the game in all but the biggest cities, so leave your stilettos behind and bring your boots.
For a truly relaxing and unique visit, you’ll want to head to the north and eastern parts of the region. While Boston and the areas in closer proximity to NYC have their own appeal, the rest of the New England states are much more casual and laid-back – just what your ramble requires. Not to mention that parking is a breeze.
I’ve taken many a road trip around New England over the 25 years I’ve been living here. Throughout that time I’ve been both an under-packer and an over-packer. Here is my edited list of items to consider taking with you so that you’re prepared for anything. After all, the beauty of tripping by car is that you’re not limited by the size of your suitcase or the 3 oz. rule. This list should be suitable for a 3 or 4 day long weekend.
A word of advice: when in these parts of New England avoid any type of reference, verbal or otherwise, to our arch enemies – the New York Yankees.
Hit the road, Jackie!
- 1 pair jeans – not too ripped up… you’ll be able to wear jeans to most any restaurant
- 1 fleece jacket
- 3 comfy t-shirts
- 3 or 4 pairs Smartwool socks – if a walk in the woods beckons (visit our Keeping Warm When Traveling post for more details. Smartwool is good for warm and cool climates)
- Coobie bra – absolutely the most comfortable bra
- 1 scarf/wrap
- 1 pair casual pants – you don’t have to go all khaki/preppy, any cargo pants will do fine
1 pair shorts – if you’re really clever combine pants and short with these convertible pants from Prana
- 1 swimsuit – if it’s summer you’ll hit the beach, in the cooler weather you might happen across a hot tub
- 1 cute skirt – choose one that can be worn with your boots
- 1 pair walking/running shoes – try New Balance Minimus for the ultimate traveling sneaker
- 1 pair flat boots – such as cowboy boots or suede booties
- 1 pair flip flops – for beaching in the summer and hot tub nights
- 1 pair flats – for walking on cobblestones or uneven sidewalks
- perfume/scented lotion – nothing too heavy
- hair oil – it tends to be dry around New England in the wintertime and this does the trick
- hand lotion – ditto above
- sunscreen – even though it’s cooler, the sun’s still out there
- some hair elastics – for a ponytail or messy bun (try a headband)
- ipod and cord for the car – soundtrack to ‘Thelma and Louise’ optional
- GPS – use with caution: many roads won’t be on it, and some that are won’t be passable
- a small set of speakers – for tunes at the beach or on your picnic
It’s a short trip, so your tech gear packing list will be much shorter than normally recommended.
- 1 pair hoop earrings – stay classic here
- 1 chunky necklace – to dress up your t-shirts
- small bills – for any flea market shopping you may encounter
- swiss army knife with knife and corkscrew – for the picnic lunch you’ll have
- GoVino wine glasses – same as above (these are stemless, flexible, shatterproof, recyclable)
- umbrella or rain jacket – New England changes in the blink of an eye and you’ll want to stay dry
- camera – to photograph the changing leaves, rugged coastline, covered bridges
- string bag/small backpack – handy to have for any spontaneous hiking or walking (have a peek at these stuffable bags)
- small cooler – for the craft beer or local cheeses that you’ll want to purchase
- Bananagrams – great for beach entertainment or for meeting new people
Book a Viator Tour for Your Trip to Rhode Island and Vermont
Since the trolley tour explores Ocean Drive and Bellevue Avenue, it’s a great way to get an overview of the city’s exclusive neighborhoods and beautiful coastal scenery, with an onboard guide to share Newport facts and history as you explore.
See quaint villages, striking scenery, and more on this full-day, small-group tour of northern Vermont.
About the author: Nancy has traveled to all 7 continents, either via land, sea or air. Her favorite way to experience a destination is on foot so her running shoes are her constant companions. She has lived in the New England area for over 25 years and during that time has discovered many ‘roads less traveled’. Her next travel adventure will be spending 2 months in Paris living like a local. Cheers!
Download This Packing Checklist Now
Plus get access to 100+ more FREE downloadable packing lists.