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Boston to Portland via NH/VT

Level Contributor
14 posts
2 reviews
Boston to Portland via NH/VT

Hi All,

We will be driving from Boston to Portland in September 8 to 12 of Sep. I will rent a car with my girlfriend in Boston and fly out from Portland at the end of the journey. The below is our rough plan for:

Sat 8 Sep - Around 3pm Drive out of Boston towards Portsmouth and spend the night in Portsmouth/Ogunquit/Kennebunkport.

Sun 9 Sep - Drive to Stowe/Burlington with lunch, scenic stops on the way. Stay the night in VT.

Mon 10 Sep - Explore a couple of towns in VT in the morning and head towards White Mountains in the afternoon. Lodge somewhere near White Mountains.

Tue 11 Sep - White Mountains - hiking, activities etc.

Wed 12 Sep - Leave WM after breakfast and head towards Maine coastal towns. Sleep in Portland or a town nearby.

Thur 13 Sep - Explore Portland old town & lunch. Drop off the car at the air port and fly out at 1.30pm.

Please can you provide any tips or suggestions that we can use to get the best out of this road trip? We are mainly interested in visiting the “must see”, if you like, attractions, beautiful landscapes and add in a couple of hikes/kayak rides if possible. It seems that in Maine/Vermont/New Hampshire alone has hundreds of amazing places to visit. But would appreciate some help with narrowing them down to a realistic and feasible amount!

Thanks!

6 replies to this topic
Georgia
Level Contributor
3,199 posts
4 reviews
1. Re: Boston to Portland via NH/VT

Rommie,

Don't go to Portsmouth/Ogunquit/etc... first. They are way out of the way, if you are headed to VT. You can make the short drive down from Portland while there. Or swing throu/stay a night in Portsmouth after the White mtns. Make the 3.5 hour/216 mile drive to Burlington when you leave Boston. It's a long drive, but it's all highway. Any traffic, which shouldn't be too bad, would thin out north of Manchester. You could lay up short of driving all the way to Burlington. Stowe, Montpelier, Woodstock VT would all be somewhat shorter.

You can alter a little from what google maps suggests for routes. I altered it already to bring you down through Franconia Notch and over the Kancamagus Highway.

Maybe this works:

https://goo.gl/maps/nYSsQMGgJZz

Antrim, New...
Level Contributor
2,248 posts
23 reviews
2. Re: Boston to Portland via NH/VT

Totally agree with Kevin. Go directly to Burlington. If you do decide to stay over on the way, Woodstock is kind of off the path. But really, the distance is easily doable in the afternoon/evening from Boston. If you need a dinner stop, consider Lebanon, NH. Beyond that, the towns in eastern VT are kind of sparse along I-89. Once you get to Montpelier, you are 30-40 minutes from Burlington. Just push on through. Great dining options and nightlife to reward your drive in downtown Burlington.

By the way, if it is not too late. It sounds like you are flying into Boston but don't plan to return there. If you can change your plans, you would do better with this itinerary to fly into Manchester. It is an hour out of Boston and avoids afternoon traffic leaving Boston, and it is an hour closer to Burlington.

Level Contributor
14 posts
2 reviews
3. Re: Boston to Portland via NH/VT

Kevin – that’s very nice of you to share that map with me, thanks! I think this is a great idea so once we’ve had the chance to see the mountain areas we can return to the coast line and drive up to Portland along the scenic route.

NextStopls – We are actually coming up north from New York City and will be starting the road trip from Boston. As we are staying a couple of days in Boston to explore the city I guess starting from Manchester wouldn’t make sense for us. But thanks for the great tips!!

What do you guys think about this amended plan? I would appreciate any helpful suggestions/tips on where to stay, things to do, scenic routes, hiking trails, good food etc..!!!

Sat 8 Sep - Around 3pm Drive out of Boston & head directly towards Montpellier/Burlington for dinner otherwise dinner stop in Lebanon if needed. Any tips on where to stay?

Sun 9 Sep - Explore a couple of nice towns in VT in the morning, other touristy options. Relaxed and easy day!!

Mon 10 Sep – Start early and head towards White Mountains. Explore the surroundings and add in hiking and other activities etc.

Tue 11 Sep - White Mountains - hiking, activities etc.

Wed 12 Sep - Leave WM after breakfast and head towards Portsmouth. After spending a couple of hours in Portsmouth, drive up north towards Portland with stops along the way. Perhaps add some whale watching activity or kayaking etc. Spend the night in either Portland or one of the pretty towns nearby.

Thur 13 Sep - Explore Portland old town & lunch. Drop off the car at the airport and fly out at 1.30pm.

Thanks!!

Antrim, New...
Level Contributor
2,248 posts
23 reviews
4. Re: Boston to Portland via NH/VT

Sounds fine. You might consider dropping Portsmouth, setting as portland is a destination. While both are very nice, there will be a certain amount of similarity. With such short time, minimize driving. The coast from Portsmouth to portland is lovely, but you could keep it all closer to portland - Cape Elizabeth, Portland Head Light, the Promenade Park along Casco Bay, and more. If you are considering a whale, you need to consider that this is a 4 hour excursion. Well worth doing.

You're days are limited and you are covering a lot of territory across three states. Decide if this is a setting trip or a doing trip and adjust accordingly.

As for Burlington, I'd recommend a downtown hotel, b&b, or airbnb/vrbo. Downtown hotels include Courtyard, Hilton Garden Inn, or Hilton Burlington. This is a great walking city and this will put you on the edge of the lake and in the middle of everything. If you prefer a more bucolic setting, consider Stowe. It is a ski town with many inns, hotels, and b&bs, large and small. It is still a half hour or less from Burlington, if you want to go there.

Massachusetts
Level Contributor
4,974 posts
265 reviews
5. Re: Boston to Portland via NH/VT

On Sept 12 you will not be able to add 'whale watching' in - this is a 4 hour activity, at a minimum.

Central Maine
Destination Expert
for Maine
Level Contributor
7,236 posts
160 reviews
6. Re: Boston to Portland via NH/VT

Thurs the 13th.... not a lot of time for "exploring the Old Port and have lunch" before catching a 1:30 flight... You'll want to be at the airport by 11:30 or so to do your car return, clear TSA etc... I'd try to get into town the night before in time to have dinner in the Old Port, then on Thursday morning take a quick run out to Portland Head Light lighthouse before heading to the airport... It will make a great "final impression" of your time in Maine.

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