Although Wolfeboro, New Hampshire has a long history of attracting the rich and famous—everyone from Monaco’s Prince Rainer to Drew Barrymore—the town of 7,000 “does it’s best to maintain a quaint image,” said the Associated Press. A trolley named “Molly” runs from one end of Main Street to the other, and the First Congregational Church regularly hosts ham-and-bean suppers. As far as the scenery goes, it’s “classic New England, a picturesque canvas of deep blue waters bordered by tall forest-green trees, with cottages, homes and inns with wide verandahs dotting the shore of the state’s largest lake, at 72 square miles.” The lake is great for fishing (bass, perch, salmon, and lake trout), and offers “plenty of opportunities” for swimming, kayaking, sailing, water-skiing, and “even scuba diving.”

In Burlington, Vermont—set between Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains, with a population of 40,000—the residents are “so welcoming,” said Kerri Westenberg on, that in less than 24 hours there I already “felt like an insider.” At a fundraiser for some farmers who had been flooded out, I “mingled with artists with tattoos, tanned and fit parents of young kids, bearded students from the University of Vermont.” More opportunities to chat with locals came at the farmers’ market, which is held every Saturday from May through October in the town square and has “the feel of a community celebration.” The town is full of “well-tended, stately Victorian and Georgian homes,” but still “deserves its outdoorsy, hippie reputation”: In the brick-paved, open air pedestrian mall, a street musician played Pete Seeger songs and “bikes overflowed a bike rack.” Down by the waterfront, boats offer sightseeing tours, and walking and biking trails “stretch for miles in either direction.”

Further up north in Bar Harbor, Maine, Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island is a haven for outdoors-types of all ages, and offers spectacular views of the rocky Maine coast, said Karen Samelson on It’s “the perfect vacation spot for families,” with tons of diverse, kid-friendly activities, such as “hiking on flat paths or climbing up vertical iron ladders,” kayaking, biking on “rustic carriage trails,” or looking for “creature filled” tide pools. Visitors may also spot “a peregrine falcon, fox or, on rare occasions, a moose.” To appreciate the full experience, avoid staying in the often-congested town of Bar Harbor and camp at one of the many campgrounds in Acadia instead. Blackwoods Campground “is only five miles from stores and restaurants in Bar Harbor but seems a world away.”