New England Ski Towns to Visit in Summer

Newsroom Summer Mountain Getaways New England Ski Towns to Visit in Summer

While ski resorts wind down their winter operations in spring, the fun continues after the lifts stop spinning for the winter ski season. Many New England ski towns have just as much to offer, if not more, during the summer. You’ll find cool music festivals, interesting museums, tons of outdoor activities, and more in some of New England’s top ski towns. These are some of the best New England ski towns to visit during the summer. 

The Best New England Ski Towns In Summer

Stowe, Vermont 

Fittingly, we kick things off in Stowe, the quintessential ski town of New England. Stowe Resort, located on Mt. Mansfield, Vermont’s tallest peak, is bustling with fun summer activities. Take a hike up one of the scenic trails or ride the gondola to the top to enjoy the views. The Cliff House, which we named one of the best ski resort restaurants with a view, is open during the summer for lunch. For a different way to see Mt. Mansfield, meander your way up the historic Toll Road, featuring incredible views of Stowe, Lake Champlain, and the Adirondacks.

Biking down wooded trail with a dog running behind them
©Go Stowe

Fun summer activities abound in Stowe. The area has an extensive network of trails, including 50 miles of well-maintained single track. The Boston Globe called Stowe a “mountain biking mecca.” Those faster pace adventurers can enjoy ziplining nearby at ArbortTrek Canopy Adventures, while there are plenty of slow-paced adventures to experience like paddleboarding, fishing, and golfing. The town of Stowe is full of great restaurants, shops, and breweries.

Stowe is also home to some iconic landmarks, including the famous Trapp Family Lodge and the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum.  Just a short drive away, in Waterbury, is Ben and Jerry’s world-famous ice cream factory, which guests can actually tour. 

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Woodstock, Vermont

Woodstock is a gateway to some of New England’s most famous ski resorts, including Killington Resort, the Beast of the East, and Saskadena Six, which is located just outside of town. Both Killington and Saskadena Six have a lot going on in the summer. Ski operations continue at Killington late into spring, while it overflows with fun summer activities, headlined by the Killington Bike Park, featuring 3 high-speed lifts serving more than 30 miles of trails. Saskadena Six has a number of trails, and a skills park, all of which are free to use. 

The town of Woodstock itself exudes Vermont charm, filled with local shops, restaurants, picturesque brick buildings, and covered bridges.  Pick up a coffee from Mon Vert Cafe and stroll around town to take in all that Woodstock has to offer. Go on a self-guided tour of its historic covered bridges, stop by the Woodstock Farmers’ Market, go horseback riding, or enjoy a meal from any number of Woodstock’s great restaurants. While you’re in Woodstock, check out Vermont’s only national park, Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. Cap off your day with a stay at the award-winning Woodstocker B&B in the heart of the village.

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The Woodstocker Bed and Breakfast during the day on a fall day
©The Woodstocker Bed and Breakfast

Manchester, Vermont 

Manchester, located just down the road from Bromley Mountain, offers a great a taste of the New England experience. Explore the American Museum of Fly Fishing, take a walk in the sculpture gardens of the Southern Vermont Arts Center, or experience the beauty of summer along the Mount Equinox Skyline Drive. Make sure to pack your hiking books, so you can enjoy a hike on The Equinox Preserve’s acres of preserved land on the slopes of Mt. Equinox.

Manchester is full of fun local experiences and events, from farmers’ markets to the Taconic Music Festival to Manchester Hot Glass to the Sugar Shack, where you can pick up some Vermont maple syrup to take home. Bromley, located 15 minutes away, is a great family destination. Bromley’s summer activities include an alpine slide, giant swing, mini golf, and more family-oriented activities. 

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Main entrance to the Equinox Hotel and Resort on a sunny day in Manchester
©Shutterstock/Lee Snider Photo Images of Equinox Hotel and Resort

Lincoln, New Hampshire 

Lincoln, New Hampshire, home to Loon Mountain, is an easy drive from some of New England’s major metropolitan areas, making it a great summer weekend getaway for outdoor enthusiasts. It’s a prefect base to experience some of New Hampshire’s best hiking destinations, like Franconia Notch State Park, and the White Mountains. Hikes range from the quick 1.5-mile loop up Artists Bluff for incredible views to more strenuous hikes up some of the White’s most notable summits. Bag two peaks and hike Franconia Ridge to see the summits of Mt. Lincoln and Mt. Lafayette, or explore the wondrous waterways of Flume Gorge. For a unique ski resort adventure, hike up Cannon Mountain Resort and take the tram down for a one-of-a-kind view.

Cannon Mountain Gondola traveling down the mountain on a summer day
©Ski New Hampshire

There’s a lot to love around Lincoln for those who prefer two wheels. Loon has several trails on the mountain for a wide-range of riders, while there are tons of biking trails throughout Franconia Notch State Park and the White Mountains. Franconia Notch Bike Path is a fun 20-mile round-trip path that parallels the Franconia Notch Parkway, bringing riders near attractions like the Flume Gorge, Echo Lake, and Cannon Mountain. 

Lincoln has a ton of great activities for families, including Whale’s Tale Waterpark, and Granite State Scenic Railway, which provides a number of different train excursions, plus offers the unique experience of a rail bike ride along the shores of Lake Winnisquam.

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North Conway, New Hampshire 

North Conway is repeatedly ranked as one of the “Best Ski Towns” by USA Today’s readers. It’s home to Cranmore Mountain Resort, while Attitash is less than 10 miles away. Cranmore Resort’s Mountain Adventure Park is where it’s at during the warmer months, featuring a mountain coaster, lift-accessed mountain biking, summer tubing, climbing wall, scenic chairlift, and a lot more. Outdoor adventures abound in the region. Avid climbers flock to Cathedral and Whitehorse Ledges, while more low-key adventurers can head to the Saco River for some of the region’s best tubing for views of covered bridges and access to small swimming holes. 

Mother and daughter riding down tracks on a mountain coaster at Cranmore Mountain Resort
©Ski New Hampshire of Cranmore’s mountain coaster

The North Conway area is teeming with activities for families. The Mount Washington Observatory Weather Discovery Center is the perfect place for kids to explore on a rainy day and learn about the historic weather patterns on the famed East Coast summit. Just a little bit outside of town is Storyland, affectionately known as the Disneyland of New Hampshire. This fairytale-themed amusement park is great for little ones with rides suitable for ages three and up. Take one of Conway Scenic Railroad’s train excursions for one of the most unique ways to see the region.

If shopping is more your speed, Settlers Green has more than 100 outlet stores and smaller local shops to explore. International Mountain Equipment is a great place to find new outdoor gear at consignment prices. Lastly, North Conway is home to the New England Ski Museum, which is a great spot to learn about the rich history of the sport in the area. 

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Bethel, Maine

Home to Sunday River, Bethel is another New England town that’s repeatedly near the top of lists, like USA Today, of the best ski towns. Bethel is near some incredible outdoor destinations, like Grafton Notch State Park, where you’ll find a range of moderate to strenuous hikes, plus a stretch of the Appalachian Trail. There are also plenty of hikes that are on the lighter side, like the aptly-named Blueberry Mountain, where if you hit it during the right season, you’ll find the trail lined with blueberries. If you prefer to hit the water, Bethel Outdoor Adventure rents out canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards for use in the nearby rivers, while Frenchmens is a popular scenic waterfall and swimming hole. Cool off with a cold one at Sunday River Brewing Company. 

Sunday River Resort has a ton of fun summer activities, like golfing at the Sunday River Golf Club, scenic chairlift rides, and one of its most unique experiences, axe throwing at its axe throwing range. If you prefer adventures on two wheels, check out Mt. Abram Bike Park, which has a number of green, blue, and black trails. When you want a break from outdoor adventures, visit the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum, the Museums of the Bethel Historical Society, and the Lovejoy covered bridge on Route 5 coming into town.

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Sunday River Golf Club on a sunny fall day
©Sunday River

Berkshires, Massachusetts

While it’s not a town per se, we’d be remiss to talk about the best New England summer destinations without mentioning The Berkshires. The Berkshires, a region of western Massachusetts, is a popular destination for New England vacationers year-round. From skiing at Berkshire East in the winter to hiking Mount Greylock in the summer to leaf peeping the rolling hills in the fall, the Berkshires is rich with New England culture. As such, the Berkshires are best explored by car, since there are several great towns and areas to visit. 

Stroll through the quaint downtowns of Stockbridge and Lenox, filled with local shops and tons of dining. Stockbridge is also home to the Norman Rockwell Museum. Explore the grounds of his original studio and see the display of his work at the gallery. Elsewhere, see a show at Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, a hub for performing arts in the Berkshires. Tanglewood is a popular music venue in Lenox, with the Boston Symphony Orchestra taking up residence there in the summer. 

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Looking to travel outside New England this summer? Check out our highlights of the best ski towns across the U.S.

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