Written by Missy Johnston

Bowens Wharf Newport, RI

Bowens Wharf Newport, RI

While yacht charter destinations may be a bit more limited these days, a yacht charter vacation in New England is hands-down an excellent, luxurious getaway this summer—especially if you’re looking for a trip that allows for social distancing. Creating a private yacht charter itinerary provides so much flexibility. It is all about tailoring the trip to your desires, including what you want to see and do, making sure that the on board cuisine created by your private chef satisfies your food tastes and having your favorite wines on board.

Choose to stay aboard your private yacht for the entire charter—enjoying beautiful scenery and the crystal blue ocean, perfect for swimming and watersports fun or a swim to a deserted beach. Or, if you’re interested in seeing what New England has to offer ashore, disembark and head out. Visit museums and art galleries, try a little shopping for local favorites and take home a memory, or enjoy a terrific hike or bicycle ride. Or, perhaps a little beach time is in order. What are the best things to do on a New England private yacht charter vacation? Read below for our recommendations.

Q; Newport is my port of call—what is there to do here?

A: The “Gilded Age Mansions”

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The Breakers

Known as “Summer Cottages,” these wealthy mansions were originally built and owned by some very well-known families, including the Vanderbilts and the Belmonts. Located on Bellevue Avenue, they were built to showcase grand living as a stage for dinner parties, glamorous balls, and other extravagant affairs from the late 1800’s to early 1900’s. Today, why not have a private luxury dinner in one of the mansions? Enjoy a glitzy nine-course meal, perhaps featuring an original menu of foods once served at that very table over a century ago. Dinner is served privately for your group, perhaps with your own butler, who can share stories and gossip of “once upon a time” of the high life in that very dining room and other “Summer Cottages” where wealthy people whiled away the time during The Gilded Age.

Cliff Walk

Cliff Walk Newport Rhode Island

Cliff Walk

After a tour of the Gilded Age Mansions, it is just a few short steps to Cliff Walk—a beautiful 3.5-mile walking path by the ocean. Enjoy the serenity with a panoramic view of the ocean on one side and gorgeous mansions on the other. Listen as the waves roll onto the beach and against the rock cliffs and feel the cool ocean-breeze on your skin. During the early summer months, there is always a grand display of wildflowers and New England beach roses. Trust us, you’ll never want to leave.

Explore colonial history

Newport Rhode Island White Horse Tavern

The White Horse Tavern

History buffs will absolutely love Newport. Newport is one of the first towns in America to be established, and as such, is home to colonial architecture unlike any other location in the U.S. In fact, Newport has more colonial buildings still in use today than any other town in America. Home to a few “firsts” in America including the Redwood Library, the Old Quaker Meeting House, the Touro Synagogue, and the Whitehouse Tavern—all are the “first” of their kind in the United States.

Touro Synagogue Newport, Rhode Island

Touro Synagogue Newport, Rhode Island

Take a stroll off the beaten path to see some of the quieter streets in Newport, such as Historic Hill or the Point. Newport was once a busy harbor town, larger than New York City or Boston. The British occupied Newport during the Revolutionary War and blockaded the harbor, so Newport was brought to a standstill and remains very much just as it was from the late 1700’s. There are nearly 200 colonial-era homes and buildings to see while you’re here. Many lie on narrow, historic streets with a few still covered in cobblestones. The cobblestones were once used as ballasts in the bilge of big clipper ships for the Atlantic crossing. Upon reaching Newport, the cobblestones were offloaded and put to use paving local roads.

Schedule a private tour of the more important buildings, such as Hunter House, or the original old graveyard where many of the early patriots were laid to rest. Or perhaps partake in the Ghost Tour, as Newport is said to be one of the most haunted towns in the world. Any one of the tours will provide a true taste of Newport.

Q: Where should I hike, fish, or simply enjoy the great outdoors in New England?

A: Monhegan Island, Maine

Monhegan Island Harbor

Monhegan Island Harbor

This island can only be reached by boat, so yachting is the perfect way to reach this sweet little island off the coast of Maine—approximately one square mile to be exact. Monhegan Island is a nature lover’s paradise with numerous hiking trails, an abundance of wildlife and marine life, and of course, the woods are a haven for little fairies and their quaint fairy houses to be stumbled upon deep in the woods. There are nearly 17 miles of hiking trails to choose from, and no matter your interest or experience level, there is a trail to fit anyone’s needs and desires. Walk through the forest and see beautiful birds or try to spot a magical fairy along the way. Take a hike on a nearby cliff to see and hear the ocean—you might even spot a whale or two spouting in the distance.

It is no surprise that Monhegan Island is a very quiet place to visit, making it the perfect destination to escape it all. There are, however, several small cafes, a library, a museum, a little general store, and small shops to visit. Take home a piece of the island by visiting one of the small shops—which sell mainly locally-made crafts and jewelry. Or, visit the Monhegan Lighthouse which is home to beautiful art and amazing views.

Acadia National Park, Maine

Bass Harbor Headlight - Maine Photo Credit Chantal Maxwell

Bass Harbor Headlight, Arcadia National Park

One of the most treasured national parks in America is Acadia National Park. The magnificent snow-capped mountains surround Bar Harbor, Maine, and were the first mountain ranges to form east of the Mississippi River. There are roughly 41,000 acres of mountains, valleys, lakes, and beaches to explore throughout the park. Hikers can choose from a whopping 120 miles of trails with varying levels of difficulty. Not much of a hiker? Don’t fret. There is a 27-mile scenic drive—originally built by the Roosevelts for carriages—perfect for either a drive or bike ride. The drive includes views of gorgeous beaches, scenic lakes, and serene mountains. It’s a national treasure worth seeing while in New England.

Bicycling on Block Island, Rhode Island

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Block Island Bluffs

Block Island is a quiet, quaint island just 12 miles off the coast of Rhode Island and the perfect little island to tour by bicycle or moped. Rent a bicycle or moped from a local shop and take the day to explore the winding roads of Block Island. There is much to see, including the Southeast Lighthouse, 365 freshwater ponds, 300 miles of stone walls, 32 miles of natural trails, and endless white, sandy beaches. The island is beautifully preserved, as it is unsettled, with large open spaces, and is a wonderful place to relax in peace and quiet—especially on one of the 17 beautiful beaches that are nearly untouched.

After exploring the island, bike into town to check out shops and restaurants. Local shops can be found on the main street in Old Harbor and visitors can shop for books, jewelry, and clothing. After a day of biking and shopping, perhaps enjoy an ice cream, a wonderful New England clam chowder, or other freshly caught seafood as a delicious treat after a relaxing day outdoors.

Whale watching

Humpback Whale

Whale watching is absolutely fascinating and highly recommended. There are an abundance of locations in New England from which to spot whales —Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary ranks on the top of our list. This sanctuary is off the coast of Massachusetts and offers views of Humpback, Finback, Right, and Mike whales. The whales dine on mackerel, herring, krill, and other schooling fish found in abundance on Stellwagen Bank, and usually migrate to the New England coasts as they are rich feeding grounds. Other popular destinations to visit include Jeffreys Ledge or the Gulf of Maine. Whale watching is always available from the privacy of your private charter yacht—no need to buy a ticket and join a tour boat. No matter where in New England you choose to charter, whale watching will be an experience to remember.

Q: I want a real taste of New England—what do you recommend?

A: Lobster boil on the beach in Maine

Fresh-Lobster-Boil-on-the-Beach

Fresh Lobster Boil on the Beach

When thinking of Maine, lobster is sure to come to mind. Lobster boils are a culinary event in Maine and an excellent way to get a real taste of the region. What better way to enjoy freshly caught lobster than right on the beach? Your crew can create a private lobster boil on the beach, which begins with acquiring freshly caught lobster right off a lobster boat in the harbor or an onshore location. A lobster boil consists of lobster, soft shelled clams, mussels, Portuguese sausage, potatoes, and fresh corn on the cob. A very important part of the boil is making sure to cook everything in clean sea water with lots of fresh seaweed—this is key to ensuring the perfect pot and the sweetest-tasting lobster. It’s ready to devour after raw eggs that have been placed in the bottom of the pot rise to the surface once hard boiled. Pour everything out on a bed of seaweed on the beach, dig in, and enjoy!

Romantic dinner in Newport harbor

After spending a day in Newport exploring the many mansions, colonial history, and chic boutiques, why not enjoy a romantic high-class dinner right in the harbor on the top deck of your charter yacht? Dinner will be surrounded by beautiful blue water and magnificent yachts. Dine under gorgeous starry skies. Just imagine cool ocean breezes sweeping across your face while feasting on amazing cuisine. Of course, the best food to enjoy is local seafood, including freshly cooked lobster, swordfish, halibut, clams, and scallops. Your choice, of course, as requested from your private onboard chef. No matter the selection, the delicious food will match the unbelievable surroundings, making it a wonderful, never to be forgotten dining experience.

Fresh Oysters

Opened Oysters on metal plate with ice and lemon on metal background

Fresh Oysters

Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Maine all encourage aqua farming of oysters and mussels. The unique aspect of these bivalve mollusks is that they absorb the minerals and other nutrients of the waters in which they are grown, so each farm, in its unique location, produces oysters with an individual and unique flavor.

Collect oysters from various local farms with the shells still brimming with sea water to sample the subtle flavor differences. Have a blind oyster tasting contest to decide which is best—this is sure to produce more than one favorite. It is hard to get oysters and mussels that are fresher than from sea farm to galley.

Q: Which museums do you recommend?

A: Whaling Museum in Nantucket

Nantucket Harbor MA

Nantucket Harbor, MA

Nantucket is the original whaling town in New England. Whaling ships would come in and out of the harbor regularly to hunt for whales in the 19th century. At one point, nearly 88 whaling ships were housed in the harbor. Nantucket is home to the Whaling Museum—an enlightening peek into the world of 18th and 19th century whaling and life on board a whaling ship. After touring the museum, step outside and wander through the streets lined with homes built by the wealthy whaling folk of yore. Check rooftops for historic widow’s walks, typical atop historic Nantucket houses, where wives scanned the horizon in the hopes of seeing the masts of the ship bringing their husbands home.

Mystic Aquarium and Oceanography Institute in Mystic, Connecticut

Cute Beluga Whale waiting for his treat after performing at Mystic CT Aquarium

Beluga whale at the Mystic Aquarium

An absolute gem, the Mystic Aquarium and Oceanography Institute in Mystic, Connecticut is one of the most important aquariums in the United States. It is one of three aquariums in the country to house sea lions and has one of the largest outdoor Beluga Whale exhibits. Other amazing exhibits include a ray and shark touch pool, a huge “jellies” (jellyfish) gallery, and a special penguin habitat—which has a 24/7 live feed. The main gallery houses thousands of unique and colorful fish that range from eels, pufferfish, and sea slugs. Check out the Weird and Wonderful exhibit while you’re here to see some of nature’s most bizarre and fascinating creatures, such as the Giant Pacific Octopus, Giant Japanese Spider Crabs, and a live coral reef ecosystem.

Old Mystic Seaport

Mystic Seaport, CT

Mystic Seaport, CT

Your private charter yacht can sail right into Old Mystic Seaport and dock for a front row view of this active living museum. Old Mystic Seaport is a living maritime museum with a recreated port town of 19th century New England. The museum is filled with exhibits of maritime history and live exhibits of a typical port town in the 19th century that include candle making, casket making, and printing. Historic ships line the dock as well. There is so much to see and do in this port—it would be easy to spend more than a day docked here!

Yachting Museum in Newport

A yachting or boating enthusiast would most certainly enjoy the Yachting Museum in Newport. Located on Lower Thames Street within the International Yacht Restoration School, the museum showcases Newport’s international role in yachting history. The museum houses an impressive display of exhibits, artifacts, and a collection of yachts. Find information and displays on yacht restoration as well, perfect for those wanting to deep dive into all things yachting.

Q: What if I want to stay on board for the entirety of my trip?

A: 5-star cuisine

There’s no need to leave your charter yacht in order to enjoy local cuisine. Your 5-star chef can prepare an exquisite meal, all within the confines of your private yacht galley, surrounded by the beauty of the pristine waters and New England coast. Want to enjoy fresh seafood? No problem. Have any dietary restrictions? Let us know. Yacht charter cuisine is always tailored to your preferences without hesitation, making the trip relaxing—and delicious—without ever leaving your yacht.

Swimming from your yacht

We can’t think of a better way to enjoy the ocean than swimming right from your yacht. Your captain can find the best swimming spots to enjoy. Once anchored, hop right overboard into the cool, Atlantic Ocean. We recommend anchoring near a deserted beach, such as those found in the privately owned Elizabeth Islands. Swim right into the beach and bask in the glorious sun.

Tour New England from the yacht

It is easy to tour New England right from the decks of your own private charter yacht. Just say the word and we will work to accommodate your desires. Enjoy a yacht charter itinerary in southern New England including Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket, or a yacht charter itinerary cruising through Down East Maine. Pick a local harbor such as Newport Harbor in Rhode Island or Bar Harbor in Maine in which to anchor, and enjoy the gorgeous views from aboard your charter yacht. Feel connected to the hustle and bustle on land from afar. It’s the perfect way to vacation in comfort, privacy, and luxury.

Enjoy a romantic sunset dinner in the evening or toast a gorgeous sunrise with a delicious cup of coffee. New England is beautiful up close and from afar—so make this trip as wonderful and as private as you’d like. Every yacht charter visits a number of ports and private anchorages during a one week yacht charter, and there is always an ever changing array of amazing views from your onboard perch.

Enjoy a wonderful, private vacation in New England via your very own luxury charter yacht. From the gorgeous scenery, scrumptious onboard yacht charter cuisine created by your private charter chef, and a great peak at colonial history, there is something for everyone to enjoy while yachting in New England. If you prefer to stay aboard your yacht for the entirety of the trip, you’ll be sure to relax in luxury and privacy, well-tended by your private yacht charter crew. Contact us today to book your private yacht charter.