Pump Up The Fun Summer Survey Finds Cape Cod Beaches Are The Hot Spots For Travel

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PORTSMOUTH, NH —  New Englanders are setting their GPS’s for the coast and making the beaches of Cape Cod their number-one travel destination now through Labor Day, according to Irving Oil’s Pump Up the Fun Summer Survey. Survey respondents also selected WaterFire Full Lighting, a river-based experience of music and flame, and the Winter Harbor Lobster Festival in the fishing village of Winter Harbor, Maine, as the two top ‘must-see’ experiences for August. The Pump Up the Fun Summer Survey was conducted through hundreds of online interviews between August 4 through 6. 

As part of Irving Oil’s Pump Up the Fun $5 Million Summer Giveaway, the company interviewed New Englanders to identify the travel hot spots for the month of August. Pump Up the Fun runs until September 7 at all participating Irving Oil retail locations throughout New England and marks the largest retail promotion in the company’s history. Contest information can be found at irvingfun.com.

“Wherever they’re headed, travelers will need to refuel along the way and we want that experience to be as exciting and rewarding as the destination itself,” says Sarah Irving, Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer for Irving Oil.  “It’s why we created Pump Up the Fun, a retail promotional campaign offering customers chances to win instant prizes, fuel discounts, and for some lucky New Englanders, Ford Escapes™, Can-Am Spyders™ or SEA-DOOs™.” 


Irving Oil is a privately owned regional energy and marketing company that provides Eastern Canada and New England with high-quality products and customer service. Founded in 1924 and based in Saint John, NB, Irving Oil maintains a strong tradition of committed community service and partnerships through programs in healthcare, the environment, education and youth sports. For more information about Irving Oil and its community programs, please visit us at www.irvingoil.com or follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/irvingoil.

Media Contact:

Sam Robinson
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Pump Up the Fun Summer Survey Results

The survey asked New England adults to choose among 10 destinations across New England they are likely to visit in August or over Labor Day weekend. Asked to imagine they could visit only one destination, 34 percent of respondents chose Cape Cod beaches.  Mystic, CT was second with 26 percent, while Newport RI rounded the top 3 destinations with 23 percent of the vote.  Here’s how they ranked from top to bottom, based on a tally of respondents saying they would definitely or likely visit.


  1.     Cape Cod Beaches, MA
  2.     Mystic, CT
  3.     Newport, RI
  4.     Lake Winnipesaukee, NH
  5.     White Mountains, NH
  6.     Block Island, RI
  7.     Nantucket, MA
  8.     Acadia National Park, ME
  9.     Lake Champlain, Burlington, VT
  10.   Smuggler’s Notch, Stowe, VT

When it comes to events and attractions, the month of August is packed with activities that New Englanders can experience either as a day trip or part of an extended vacation.   Asked to choose just one event to attend, WaterFire Full Lighting tied the Winter Harbor Lobster Festival at 14 percent, edging out the Great Falls Balloon Festival (13 percent), and St. Anthony’s Feast (12 percent).  In just a few hundred square miles, travelers in the six New England states can go from the visual artistry and sounds of Providence’s unique WaterFire Full Lighting experience to the smells and tastes of Boston’s historic North End and to the stunning beauty and photographic experience of the Great Falls Balloon Festival in Lewiston/Auburn, Maine.  

Rounding out the rest of the Top 10 New England events to attend as ranked by survey respondents were:


  1.     WaterFire Full Lighting, Providence, RI, Aug. 29 (tied for first)
  2.     Winter Harbor Lobster Festival and Lobster Boat Races, Winter Harbor, ME, Aug. 8- 9 (tied for first)
  3.     Great Falls Balloon Festival, Lewiston/Auburn, ME, Aug. 21-23
  4.     St. Anthony’s Feast, North End, Boston, MA Aug. 28- 31
  5.     Friday night fireworks at Weirs Beach Lake Winnipesaukee, NH, Aug. 7, Aug. 14, Aug. 21
  6.     Rhode Island International Film Festival, Providence, Bristol, Jamestown, Newport, Westerly, East Greenwich, Woonsocket, RI, Aug. 4-9
  7.     Machias Wild Blueberry Festival 2015, Machias, ME, Aug. 14-15
  8.     Connecticut Open at Yale University, New Haven, CT, Aug. 21-29
  9.     Annual White Mountain Boogie N’ Blues Festival, N.H., Aug. 14-16, Pemigewasset  River Valley
  10.   Jet Cars Under the Stars, New England Dragway, Epping, NH Aug. 8

Survey Fun Facts and Write-ins

Asked to choose ‘the most fun thing to do’ as part of summer vacation, respondents chose going to the beach (25 percent), followed by camping (15 percent), water parks (11 percent), staying home (10.5 percent), hiking (9.5 percent), kayaking (7.5 percent), fishing (6.25 percent), gondola rides/alpine slides (6.25 percent), sailing (5.5 percent) and biking (3.5 percent).

The summer travel survey included an open-ended question: What is your favorite place to take a scenic drive in New England?

A sampling of comments:

“Bristol, Maine, would be my favorite for a scenic drive. It's nice and wooded, kind of secluded, but has the rich scent of the ocean. [The scent] makes the biggest impact after a storm.”

“I enjoy a scenic drive up the coast between Boston and Rockport. Because I do not drive a car I go on ‘the drive’ taking the MBTA Commuter rail. I love seeing the water from the train window.”

“I like driving in Vermont up by the Canadian border. I almost always see moose there.”

“I like driving through cranberry country. So Middleborough, Lakeville, Carver, or Plymouth.”

“Newport because it has a whole bunch of stores and mansions there. It’s really calm and peaceful and has very clean beaches.”