What to Pack for New England Winter Getaways (Plus Winter Things to Do in New England)

Ultimate Packing Checklist for Winter in New England

If you’re wondering what to pack for New England winter getaways, take it from a local: you’d better be prepared. While winter offers gorgeous, dramatic scenes worthy of Ansel Adams’ photography, when temperatures drop, it literally takes your breath away.

I’ve created this Ultimate Packing Checklist for Winter in New England to tell you everything you’ll need to bring.

Whether you plan to explore New England’s photographic beauty, snuggle up by the fire, or enjoy winter sports, don’t miss the printable packing checklist download to make packing easy for your New England winter getaways. Bonus: It even covers survival gear.)

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more information. As an affiliate, I earn a small commission every time you make a qualifying purchase through one of my affiliate links (if applicable) at no additional cost to you.

What to Expect | New England Weather

Winter in New England typically arrives without warning as cold, dry air rushes in and the days become shorter.

It’s cold, but you can’t help but admire the scenic beauty New England offers through the winter months. The glimmer of snow and chill in the air compliments its classic charm.

RELATED:  Love winter photography? Check out these picturesque New England winter scenes in Bethel. Maine. 

New England weather is notoriously unpredictable—try as they might!

The region averages 60 to 120 inches (1,500 to 3,000 mm) of snow each year, and temperatures typically range between a high of 45 degrees (F) and a bitter low of 0 degrees and below. B-r-r-r-r!

While visiting, you might experience your first “nor’ easter” one day, followed by blue sky and sunshine the next.

Mother Nature might dump a foot or more of snow overnight, creating a snow-capped winter wonderland.

New England Winter Getaways | A Snowy Covered Bridge

Or, she might pummel you with cold, icy, wind-swept rain, coating bare branches with a sparkling layer of ice and making driving treacherous.

New Englanders are tough and resilient with good reason.

Snow and storm predictions can change at a moment’s notice, for better or worse. My advice? Don’t buy into news hype, but be prepared.

The best advice may be, “Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised.” (Source: Dennis Waitley)

Sometimes, you’ll luck out with a “warm” bright day in the 40s after a deep freeze, finding the perfect for ice-skating or skiing.

[bctt tweet=””Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised.” These words of wisdom apply to winter in New England! (Click for winter packing tips.)” username=”enjoytravellif1″]

25 Things to Do in New England in the Winter

Looking for things to do in New England in the Winter? With mountainous landscapes and coastal areas, it’s is a prime destination for outdoor winter sports and other activities, or just to enjoy the magical scenery.

relaxing by the fire on a winter day

Here are 25 Winter Activities in New England I suggest you try:

  1. Hit the ski slopes.
  2. Photograph the natural scenic beauty…it’s everywhere!
  3. Take up snowshoeing.
  4. Try tubing!
  5. Go ice skating at a pop-up outdoor rink or on a lake.
  6. Visit ice sculptures on display across the region.
  7. Go ice-fishing!
  8. Take a mountain drive for the most spectacular views.
  9. Snuggle up under warm blankets with a window cracked open for cool air.
  10. Talk a winter walk in the woods. (Don’t forget to watch for wildlife tracks in the snow!)
  11. Catch snowflakes on your tongue.
  12. Go sledding!
  13. Make snowcones with freshly fallen snow topped with maple syrup.
  14. Cozy up with a hot cup of cocoa (or hot toddy) in a charming bed-and-breakfast.
  15. Explore the beauty and charm of historic New England villages.
  16. Hunt for antiques and vintage goods in the village.
  17. Make or eat a hearty, hot soup on a cold day.
  18. Take your selfie in a festive gazebo on the town Common.
  19. Taste an (clean) icicle.
  20. Go snowmobiling!
  21. Read a book beside a roaring fire.
  22. Make a snowman or “angel-wings”–nevermind your age…it’s fun!
  23. Stargaze on a crisp winter evening.
  24. Birdwatch through the window of a warm room.
  25. Take a romantic sleigh ride.
RELATED:  Here’s my favorite little suitcase if you’re looking for something that’s light, durable and holds more than you’d guess. 

How to Dress for New England Winter Getaways

Woman dressed warmly for winter with hot beverage

Locals know how to dress for winter in New England. It’s essential to enjoying the season.

When you’re visiting New England in wintertime, remember to:

  • Dress in layers
  • Bring warm winter clothing
  • Pack waterproof layers
  • Be prepared for storm conditions

The layers are especially important becuase you’ll be going from sometimes frigid outdoor environments to toasty warm interiors.

And, don’t be the least bit bothered by the weather during your New England winter getaway.

With so much to see and do amidst New England’s majestic winter beauty, if you pack properly, you’ll hardly mind the cold.

Free Printable Packing List

RELATED: Most people think of Cape Cod as a summer destination, but it’s also lovely as a restorative off-season getaway in New England. 

I’ve created this FREE printable “Ultimate New England Winter Packing Checklist to help you pack for your winter visit to New England.

It even includes survival gear, should your lodging arrangements be independent.

What do you like to do on a wintery day?

Here’s the Instant Download packing list:

Ultimate Packing Checklist for New England in Winter

Ready for beautiful winter scenes and outdoor fun in New England? Make sure you pack right for it!

Download your FREE Printable from Enjoy Travel Life today.

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Jackie Gately

Jackie Gately is a seasoned travel writer, photographer, and marketing consultant who is passionate about travel. She loves casual-luxury experiences, coastal getaways, cultural attractions, and local, wholesome food and wine pairings. A perfect day ends with her toes in the sand or by chasing the sunset with her camera--ideally both.

20 thoughts on “What to Pack for New England Winter Getaways (Plus Winter Things to Do in New England)

  • Avatar
    January 11, 2020 at 7:35 am
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    Having lived in Boston for close to 20 years now, I experienced all that winter brings. From blizzards, ice storms, beautiful snow days to those mild days. In fact, it’s January and this weekend brings temperatures in the 60s. “Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised.” fits right in when it comes to New England weather.

    Reply
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      January 13, 2020 at 12:56 am
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      I’m glad you concur! I couldn’t believe the 50-year high this weekend…hence the layers!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    January 11, 2020 at 5:46 am
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    I visited Canada in the snow a couple of years ago and had a fabulous time snow shoeing in the woods, driving around frozen lakes, chatting on the lake to people ice fishing etc. I’d dearly love to visit New England one day and I bet it’s even more beautiful in the snow than it is in autumn.

    Reply
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      January 13, 2020 at 12:58 am
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      One of the things I love about New England is that each season brings new beauty. The snowy scenes can be just breathtaking! I hope you get to New England one of these days to see for yourself, Kathryn!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    January 9, 2020 at 4:03 am
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    Wow, the winter activities sound amazing in New England. I have heard a lot about the maple syrup snow cone, made from fresh snow. Hearty hot soup is bliss on a cold day. Thank you for the packing list. One really needs to prepare well, else the pleasures of travel are lost.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    January 8, 2020 at 6:03 pm
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    We love New England SOOOO much that we got married there (even though neither my wife or i grew up or have family there). So we can totally relate. And your tips on layering are spot on, so crucial, cause even when you are outside doing something like snowshoing you can get overheated.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      January 9, 2020 at 10:19 pm
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      I bet it was a beautiful wedding. Great choice! Come back again soon!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    January 8, 2020 at 8:45 am
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    I love New England in the summer and have not visited in the winter. The Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised sounds like the best advise EVER. I would absolutely love checking out the ice sculptures and tubing sounds like a lot of fun. Packing is always a challenge in the winter, going from freezing outside to hot inside is difficult, great advice to dress in layers

    Reply
    • Avatar
      January 9, 2020 at 10:21 pm
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      I hope you give New England in winter a try! It really can be magical, especially when you experience those ice sculptures!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    January 8, 2020 at 7:51 am
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    You know – I have never tried catching a snow flake on my tongue. To be honest, have not had too many opportunities but I think I would like to try that for sure. Snowtubing sounds like a lot of fun. Again, something I have never done. Layers are definitely a good idea when in New England. It does seem to be the only way to have fun in the cold.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      January 9, 2020 at 10:22 pm
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      The snow reminds me of childhood and carefree fun like catching snowflakes, Ami. I hope you think of me next time you see the snow and remember to stick your tongue out! LOL

      Reply
  • Avatar
    January 7, 2020 at 1:01 am
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    As I live in a place where winters are rare, so I always love to see snowy places with freezing temperatures. Thanks for useful post about what to pack for New England. It is great that you tipped us for getting prepared for storms in advance. I always carry waterproof clothing and layered winter clothes whenever i visit snowy areas.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      January 9, 2020 at 10:23 pm
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      That is great, Yukti, because many people don’t think about getting wet from snow…but as you know, it melts as soon as it hits your skin or you go inside. Glad you found my tips helpful.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    January 6, 2020 at 9:39 pm
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    It’s always difficult to find good things to do i winter/cold weather so I am glad you put together this list. I actually had no idea you could go ice fishing in New England. I always figured that was more of an Alaska thing! I’ve actually always wanted to give it a try though so I might have to check it out!

    Reply
  • Avatar
    January 6, 2020 at 2:42 pm
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    I too love a winter getaway, snow makes the scenery so much more inviting. But this So Cal girl doesn’t have much in the way of warm weather clothes so I layer what I do have and so far it’s been enough. Although, maybe not for a chilly winter snowshoeing in New England.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      January 9, 2020 at 10:26 pm
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      Sounds like you are all set. You work up a sweat snowshoeing so I bet you’d be fine!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    January 5, 2020 at 3:17 pm
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    I have only done New England (all the states) in the summer months but would love to come here in the winter months and check out the natural beauty under a layer of snow (after the changing of the colours in the fall that is). After looking at the list, I am really trying to taste (in my mind) what a snowcone will taste like with maple syrup, it sounds mindblowing.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      January 6, 2020 at 11:20 am
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      New England really is beautiful under a coating of snow. In fact, there’s a line from a James Taylor song (Sweet Baby James) that goes “…Now the first of December was covered with snow / So was the turnpike from Stockbridge to Boston / The Berkshires seemed dreamlike on account of that frosting…” I think it captures the experience perfectly! And, you really do have to try the maple syrup snowcone. It’s a family tradition here. 😉

      Reply

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