One rewarding way to spend a vacation is to learn a new outdoor skill or add to your knowledge while on holiday. You can find plenty of options in New England, ranging from formal weeklong classes to 1-day workshops.

There are lots of options; here are a few of the best:

  • Learn to fly-fish on New England’s fabled rivers. Among the most respected schools are the two offered by the region’s outdoor gear and apparel powerhouses: Orvis (tel. 888/235-9763 for retail, tel. 866/531-6213 for fly-fishing classes) in Manchester, Vermont, and Dennis, Massachusetts; and L.L.Bean (tel. 800/441-5713) in Freeport, Maine, and at other locations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. L.L.Bean also offers workshops on many other outdoor skills through its outstanding Outdoor Discovery Schools; call tel. 888/270-2326 for details.
  • Learn about birds and coastal ecosystems in Maine. Budding and experienced naturalists can expand their understanding of marine wildlife while residing on 333-acre Hog Island in Maine’s wild and scenic Muscongus Bay through the Hog Island Audubon Camp for teens, families, and adults (tel. 843/340-8673).
  • Sharpen your outdoor skills. The Appalachian Mountain Club (tel. 617/523-0636) offers outdoor adventure classes, many taught at AMC’s Highland Center at Crawford Notch in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. You could learn plein air painting, wilderness first aid, or backcountry orienteering. Free activities are offered daily. Courses with fees often include accommodations.

For Those Who Love Historic Homes

Historic New England is a nonprofit that owns and operates 37 properties around New England, ranging from 17th-century homes to a still-working 18th-century farm. Members tour all of the organization’s properties for free and receive other benefits. Memberships cost $50 per year for individuals or $60 for an entire household. For more information, visit, or call the organization’s Boston headquarters at tel. 617/227-3956.

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.