New England lends itself to adventures that combine fresh air and exercise with Mother Nature as your instructor in a vast, beautiful classroom. These experiences range from 3-day self-guided inn-to-inn biking trips to weeklong canoe and kayak expeditions. These reputable outfitters will get you started.

  • Allagash Canoe Trips (tel. 207/280-1551 or 207/280-0191), leads 5- to 7-day canoe trips down Maine’s noted and wild Allagash River and other local rivers. You provide a sleeping bag and clothing; they take care of everything else. 
  • Bullfrog Adventures (tel. 207/234-2158), will take you on a canoe camping adventure on a rigorous Maine river or a more placid lake or pond.
  • Country Walkers (tel. 800/234-6900), has a glorious color catalog (more like a wish book) outlining supported walking trips around the world. Among the offerings: walking tours in coastal Maine’s Acadia National Park and northern Vermont. Trips generally run 5 nights and include all meals, beer and wine, and lodging at appealing inns.
  • Maine Island Kayak Co. (tel. 207/766-2373), has a fleet of seaworthy kayaks for half- and full-day trips up and down the Maine coast. The firm has plenty of experience in training novices.
  • VBT (tel. 855/445-5513), is one of the more established and well-organized touring operations, with an extensive global bike tour schedule. VBT offers trips in Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine, including a 6-day Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard trip with abundant scenic highlights and picnics in remarkable spots.
  • The Wayfarers (tel. 800/249-4620 or 401/849-5087) has an extensive inventory of trips, including 4-night Maine coast walking vacations and 5-night trips in the White Mountains. Trips typically involve moderate day hiking coupled with nights at comfortable hotels.

Escorted General-Interest Tours

The price for a structured group tour usually includes everything from airport transfers to hotels, meals, admissions, and transportation. Despite the fact that these tours require big deposits and predetermine your itinerary, many people crave the one-stop shopping they offer. And it’s true—they do let you sit back and enjoy a trip without having to drive or worry about little details. They take you to a maximum number of sights, usually with the least amount of hassle. They’re particularly convenient for people with limited mobility, and they can be a great way to make new friends.

If you’re interested, dozens of companies operate bus tours of New England. Tauck World Discovery (tel. 800/788-7885), founded and still based in New England, is just one of many outfits offering fall foliage tours, for instance. Their 12-day autumn itinerary weaves together the region’s iconic places and tastes and the spellbinding storytelling of filmmakers Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.