Flea markets are a New England summer staple. As you drive New England's meandering country roads and explore the region's small towns, the likelihood of stumbling upon an outdoor flea market is quite high.
Flea markets seem to spring up in parking lots, vacant fields and at fairgrounds just about every weekend during the summer travel season. Many of these flea markets are fundraising events for local charitable organizations, so they may only occur one weekend or even one day of the year.
If scouting for bargains and treasures at a flea market is one of your passions, be sure to ask your innkeepers and others you meet during your travels for information about flea market events, or pick up a local newspaper when you arrive.
If you'd rather not leave finding a New England flea market to chance, though, my guide will help you to locate regularly operating flea markets in all six New England states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. Among the markets, you'll also find a few that operate indoors year-round.
5 Reasons New England is America's Best Region for Flea Markets
I've made a bold claim, so now I'd better back it up! What exactly makes New England the ideal destination for flea market fans?
1. In New England, most flea markets are actually antiques markets, too, where many vendors sell highly collectible and potentially valuable items--not just cheap overstocks and yard sale junk.
The diversity you'll find at most flea markets in the region makes them so much fun to browse--even if you don't have room in your car or suitcase for large purchases.
2. New England is a region of old homes, farms and factories, and you just know there are still attics and barns and storerooms filled with one-of-a-kind items from the past.
When these treasures do see daylight, it's often at a flea market.
3. Because our six states are huddled close together, you can easily make a weekend of scouting several flea markets. And, if you're a vendor, you can also load up your van or truck and multitask, reaching one group of potential buyers on Saturday, then pedaling your wares elsewhere on Sunday.
4. New Englanders are notorious for being "frugal Yankees," and that means we never throw anything out if it might be of value down the line. It also means we support flea markets, and where the crowds are, the best vendors always are.
5. We have Brimfield: the granddaddy of all flea markets! The Brimfield Antique Show, held three times each year in Brimfield, Massachusetts, is commonly regarded as the largest outdoor antique show in the world. It's a bucket list destination for both serious collectors and the merely curious. Brimfield shows up on just about every top flea market list you'll find including CNN's guide to America's Best Flea Markets, Flea Market Insiders' list of the Top 20 Flea Markets in the US and Travel + Leisure's look at America's Best Flea Markets.