With prices on everything from gas to food to lodging on the rise, many will be opting for easy day trips from home to save money this summer. If you are planning to be frugal when it comes to vacation plans and need some inspiration, here are a few of our favorite spots to explore.
1. Portsmouth/Rye, NH
Odiorne Point State Park and the Seacoast Science Center are the perfect spot for a daytrip along New Hampshire’s seacoast. The state park offers hiking trails and tucked away beaches; as well as a playground and plenty of spots for a picnic. Escape the sun for a bit and explore the Seacoast Science Center to learn about the history of the area, the NH coastline and its ecosystem.
If you are looking to extend your stay, an overnight in the quaint town of Portsmouth will offer shopping and dining options to round out your trip. While visiting, definitely check out what’s happening in Prescott Park as well. The Prescott Park Arts Festival offers plays, concerts and movies in the park for a small donation.
2. Amesbury/Salisbury, MA
Right in our backyard, is Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury, MA. This family run farm offers it all, whether you are looking to shop, eat, play or pick your own flowers and/or fruits. They host regular events, as well, all dependent on the season, so check their website and events calendar.
For Laffely’s Broker/Owner, Sally Laffely, this is a favorite spot. Sally notes, “I like taking my granddaughter here so she can play in their little playground area, see the chickens and other animals and we’ve been flower picking since the fruit picking season isn’t underway yet.”
In downtown Amesbury, there are great options for lunch or dinner; or visit Hedgehog General Store and sit at the old -fashioned soda fountain for a refreshing treat.
If it’s a warmer day, heading over to Salisbury Beach is another option. Whether you are looking for a grab-and-go-lunch on the beach, ice cream, or some time at the carousal or arcades. Definitely a great place to unwind after time on the farm.
3. Freeport/Portland, ME
Looking to head a little further? Just a short drive up 95 you’ll find lots to do and see in Freeport, ME. One of our favorite spots is Wolfe’s Neck, located on Casco Bay and just a short ride from downtown Freeport. There are hiking trails, an agricultural center with farm animals, a café where you can grab a bite to eat and even a variety of camping options – from tents to cabins – if you are looking for a longer stay on Maine’s coast.
In town Freeport offers shops, restaurants and the not to be missed L.L. Bean flagship store. My boys love checking out all the outdoor and camping gear when we visit Freeport! They could get lost in there for hours.
If you decide to head south after your day in Freeport, you can always stop for dinner in Portland, ME. Dine in the Old Port and meander through the shops, or catch a Portland Sea Dogs game. If you are looking for a more relaxed evening, check out Thompson’s Point. On Thursdays and Fridays during the summer months they host Summer Sunsets, complete with food truck vendors and beverages from local businesses. This is a great spot to pull up a chair or set up a blanket, relax, and take in the day (see photo above).
We could go on. There are so many wonderful places to visit and explore in New England. There are the mountains and natural water slides in North Conway; a trip up to Cape Ann through Gloucester and Rockport offers quaint towns, castles and parks to explore; and a day trip into Boston offers museums, restaurants, history lessons, harbor rides and so much more. New England definitely offers a world of day-trip possibilities if you are looking to stay local and save some money this summer.
We are certainly lucky to live close to so many wonderful places and attractions. Take time, get out and explore!