When it comes to summer fun, New England has six standout attractions, according to USA Today readers.
The publication released its lists of best summer attractions on Friday, and six New England destinations across three categories made the cut: aerial adventure parks, aquariums, and botanical gardens. The lists are part of the publication’s 2020 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards.
New England snagged the most winners in the category of best aerial adventure park, with three entries: Alpine Adventures in Lincoln, N.H. ranked No. 5; Ramblewild in Lanesborough ranked No. 6; and ArborTrek Canopy Adventures in Jeffersonville, Vermont, ranked No. 9 (though the park is temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic).
The No. 1 aerial park in the country is Shepherd of the Hills Adventure Park in Branson, Mo.
Here’s what USA Today had to say about Alpine Adventures, New England’s top aerial adventure park:
“The Thrillsville Aerial Park features a self-guided obstacle course of bridges, rope ladders, cargo nets, and a climbing tower, while the Tree Top Canopy Tour comprises six ziplines ranging in length from 250 to 1,000 feet. The Super SkyRider Tour turns up the thrills with seven ziplines.”
Two New England gardens wowed USA Today readers, landing on the publication’s list of best botanical gardens: Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, Maine, ranked No. 4, and Garden in the Woods in Framingham ranked No. 8. The No. 1 botanical garden is Mt. Cuba Center in Hockessin, Del.
The following is what USA Today wrote about the top botanical garden in New England, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens:
“On these 270 acres of tidal shoreline in mid-coast Maine, visitors follow granite pathways snaking through rustic woodland, manicured and themed gardens, including the interactive Lerner Garden of the Five Senses. A planned expansion will include a restaurant pavilion, plant nursery, horticulture research center and glass conservatory.”
USA Today noted the following about Mystic Aquarium:
“The most popular residents at the Mystic Aquarium are New England’s only beluga whales; guests can observe these gentle giants from above and below the surface. Animal interaction is the name of the game at Discovery Lab, while Shark Lagoon features one of the ocean’s most misunderstood animals.”
For the 10Best Reader’s Choice Awards lists, USA Today travel experts selected 20 nominees in topics that range from food to lodging, destinations to things to do, and then asked readers to cast votes to determine the top 10.
View all best summer attraction lists.