Drive Along The Beautiful New England Coast On This Road Trip Route

Many a great road trip has started out in Boston, Massachusetts. America's longest road and its longest interstate highway both begin in Boston, but they'll take you all the way across the country to Newport, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, respectively. As nice as the Pacific Northwest might be, you don't have to spend a week or more driving more than 3,000 miles to those places if you want to see the coast. In fact, you can take a much shorter road trip from Boston to Maine that will allow you to see the New England coast in about six hours of driving time.

If you break the trip up over a few days, it will give you more time to explore the quaint fishing ports, literary landmarks, and historic New England cities along the way. The route from Boston to Bar Harbor, Maine, will take you through places like Salem, Massachusetts, along with Maine's largest city and economic capital, Portland, and the resort town of Camden.

Before you hit the Pine Tree State, you'll pass through New Hampshire, where you can enjoy a scenic drive along the coast from Hampton Beach to Portsmouth. And while it might add 40 minutes to your trip, bringing it up to a full 300 miles one-way, Stephen King fans will definitely want to detour at the end to see Bangor, Maine, the inspiration for the fictional town of Derry in the works of one of America's bestselling authors.

Boston and Salem to Portsmouth

Boston ranks as America's safest city to drive through, so that's just one more reason why it might be a good starting point for a road trip. Whether you visit the Museum of Fine Arts, walk the Freedom Trail, take in a Red Sox or Celtics game, or just stroll along the waterfront, there's no end to what you can do in Boston. Spending time in New England's biggest city may also give you a greater appreciation for some of its charming seaside towns once you leave Boston behind.

When you hit the road, you'll be following I-95 much of the way. However, there's a coastal ferry from Boston to Salem, Massachusetts, so the latter could be done as a day trip first. Needless to say, all things witch-related can be found in Salem, from the Salem Witch Trials Memorial to the Witch Dungeon Museum, where live reenactments take place. Even a statue of Elizabeth Montgomery from the sitcom "Bewitched" stands in Salem. At Pickering Wharf, you can keep the coastal spirit alive, and at the House of the Seven Gables, you can see a U.S. National Historic Landmark District made famous by Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel of the same name.

If you don't want to backtrack to Boston, you could spend the night in Salem and rent a car there, continuing onward to Hampton Beach, New Hampshire. Some of the prettiest coastal views can be seen along the NH-1A stretch from Hampton Beach to Portsmouth.

Portland, Camden, Bangor, and Bar Harbor

Portland, Maine, is a great place to explore the culinary side of the New England coast. You can get your seafood fix at restaurants like the Eventide Oyster Company and the seasonal Portland Lobster Company. Located on Maine Wharf in Portland's Old Port neighborhood, Scales has an open kitchen and raw bar where you can see seafood on ice (and boats cruising by through the windows). Like the Salem Ferry, the Portland Schooner and Casco Bay Lines will both take you out on the water, where you can sail by lighthouses and New England cottages. Back on land, another literary landmark you can check out is poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's house, Portland's oldest standing brick structure.

Camden, Maine, holds a beautiful harbor park, along with the autumn paradise of Camden Hills State Park and the 19th-century homes of the High Street Historic District. In Bangor, you can see Stephen King landmarks like the Mount Hope Cemetery (featured in the original "Pet Sematary" movie), plus the sewer drain and theĀ 31-foot Paul Bunyan statue that inspired key scenes in his novel "It."

As one of the five most-visited U.S. national parks, Acadia National Park offers dramatic views of the rugged Atlantic coastline near Bar Harbor. Here, you can take a drive along the picturesque Park Loop Road or make the winding ascent to the park's highest peak on Cadillac Summit Road. It's perhaps the perfect way to culminate your coastal road trip through New England.