Are you looking for fun day trips from Boston, Massachusetts? There are so many charming towns in New England, but which ones are worth the trip? You’ll love the 7 charming and historic towns on my list!
This post about the best day trips from Boston was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.
Boston is an exciting place to visit, with important historical sites, a prestigious food scene, and world-class sports teams. But while you’re here, you should definitely take advantage of the amazing day trips from Boston!
Just a short drive away, you can visit towns like Concord and Provide, Rhode Island, which feature their own unique attractions and history. Or head to Salem for all of its historic architecture and spooky fun.
For more on these fabulous Boston day trips and more, keep reading!
FAQ about Boston Day Trips
What towns are 1 hour from Boston?
There are several small towns and cities within an hour of Boston worth taking a day trip to see! Only half an hour away is Salem, known for the Salem Witch Trials and other historic sites. There’s also Concord, less than 40 minutes away. This New England town was home to many famous American authors. And Rockport is a beautiful coastal city an hour from Boston where you can enjoy a thriving arts scene and great shopping.
Is Cape Cod a day trip from Boston?
Yes, Cape Cod makes a fantastic Boston day trip! Cape Cod is known for its beautiful beaches, charming towns, and picturesque landscapes. It’s the perfect spot for beachcombing, exploring lighthouses, and enjoying fresh seafood. Just a 2-hour drive from Boston, you can enjoy the Cape’s unique coastal culture and a variety of outdoor attractions.
What’s the easiest way to get from Boston to Martha’s Vineyard?
The easiest way to Martha’s Vineyard from Boston is by taking a ferry. The main car ferry terminal is at Woods Hole, or you can take a passenger ferry from Hyannis, Falmouth, or New Bedford. You can drive or take a bus to the ferry (by bus, you’re looking at 1 hour and 45 minutes to the ferry). The ferry ride typically takes around an hour, depending on where you leave from. More ferries run during the summer months than in the off-season.
Is White Mountain National Forest a good day trip from Boston?
White Mountain National Forest is 2-3 hours away from Boston in New Hampshire, depending on traffic. You’ll have 4-6 hours in the car round trip and have limited time for exploring the park. With the wealth of natural beauty, hiking trails, and scenic vistas that White Mountain National Forest has to offer, I suggest saving this destination for a time when you can take an overnight trip and spend more time in the park!
7 Incredible Day Trips from Boston
Boston is one of the top cities in the United States for good reason. Not only is it the #1 sports city in America, but it’s also enriched by amazing history!
If you’re planning a trip to Boston, MA or you’re from the area, be sure to check out these other amazing day trips from Boston.
Keep in mind that all of these day trips from Boston are of course reachable by car, though this is a list of places that are easily reached utilizing public transportation as well!
Located just across the Charles River, Cambridge is a beautiful little town filled with lots to do.
If you love the historical city feel of Boston, but not the crowds, Cambridge is probably for you!
I personally like Cambridge more than Boston itself. I did all of my college internships there, despite being a university student in the Fenway area.
To get to Cambridge from Boston, simply take one of the MBTA buses or hop on the red line towards Alewife. Make sure it’s not towards Mattapan or Braintree, or you’ll be going in the opposite direction!
When visiting Cambridge, be sure to take some time to really explore Harvard University! Harvard Square is beautiful and you’re free to also roam the campus itself.
Trust me, there’s some great photo opportunities here!
Another great place to explore is Porter Square. There’s a lovely bookstore in the area called Porter Square Books. Plus, they also have their own cafe inside.
There are also lots of cool alleyways with great street art in this area, so remember to bring your camera.
There’s an abundance of great places to eat in Boston. And Cambridge offers many of the same restaurants, but in a different location!
If you’re looking for a quick and affordable place to eat while in Cambridge, be sure to check out Roxy’s Grilled Cheese.
They have some of the best grilled cheese and burgers, and their poutine is out of this world!
Book a discounted Cambridge Hop On Hop Off Tour
Where to Stay in Cambridge
Do you have extra time and want to extend your day trip to an overnight trip? Here are my suggestions for where to stay in Cambridge, Massachusetts:
- The Charles Hotel (super close to Harvard)
- Le Meridien (super close to MIT)
- Royal Sonesta Boston (walkable to the Freedom Trail)
2. Concord is only a Day Trip Away from Boston!
Another popular day trip from Boston is to Concord, MA. It’s easy to get here via public transportation.
Just take the Fitchburg Line from North Station and get off at the stop called Concord.
This is definitely a town for history buffs! Concord is known for all of its Revolutionary War history.
You’ll find many historic buildings and landmarks that you can visit there today.
The top historical site to visit in Concord is the Minute Man National Historic Park. Believe it or not, this is where the very first battle of the Revolutionary War took place.
There are lots to explore in this park, and by foot, you can easily go on any of the trails in the area.
And many famous authors frequented Concord, including Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. They were both known to love visiting Walden Pond.
The atmosphere there is so calming and it’s lovely to visit!
Louisa May Alcott, the author of Little Women, grew up in Concord as well. You can visit her Orchard House which is now a museum.
Concord is actually where Little Women takes place! So, if you’re a fan of her book, it’s definitely worth checking out!
Where to Stay in Concord
Make your day trip from Boston into an overnight trip with one of these quality hotels in Concord:
- Residence Inn by Marriott Boston Concord (free breakfast and an indoor pool)
- Best Western At Historic Concord (free breakfast and an outdoor pool)
Gloucester is a beautiful coastal town located north of Boston near Rockport. It’s actually the oldest seaport in all of the USA!
Many people frequent Gloucester to go whale watching, especially in the warmer months.
It’s really easy to get there from Boston by taking the Newbury/Rockport Commuter Rail Line. Just get off at the Gloucester stop.
There’s so much to do in this area. I’ve had friends who have done whale-watching tours like this one in Gloucester, and they’ve loved it!
You could also visit one of the beaches in the area, including Good Harbor Beach and Wingaersheek Beach. Especially if you have kids, Good Harbor Beach is great because it has a sandy shore.
Singing Beach is located nearby but it’s easier to reach by car. This beach offers amazing views and is actually located in Manchester-by-the-Sea.
If you aren’t interested in swimming but want some amazing views, be sure to take a short trip to Halibut Point State Park!
One of the most popular attractions in Gloucester is the Hammond Castle Museum. This is one of the historical homes in New England that every traveler should visit.
The castle was owned by an inventor named John Hayes Hammond Jr. in the 1920’s. Hammond was so inspired by his travels in Europe that he built a castle for himself!
Today, you can visit and take tours.
While you’re in this New England town, check out the Cape Ann Museum. This is a must-do for art lovers.
The original colony in this town was very art-oriented! This art museum features local artists, but also pieces from the earliest days of Gloucester.
Though it’s a small museum, you could easily spend more than a few hours here.
Where to Stay in Gloucester
Is a day trip to Gloucester from Boston not enough? check out these convenient places to stay in Gloucester:
Located in the North Shore, Newburyport is another seaside town like Gloucester that you’ll want to visit.
All the fishing boats on the water and the cobblestone streets make it the quintessential New England town!
For Boston day trips, it’s super easy to get there. Just take the Newburyport/Rockport Commuter Rail Line towards Newburyport and get off at the very end!
This is yet another area near Boston with a lot of history. The US Coast Guard was actually created here.
If you’re interested in learning more about ships, be sure to check out the Custom House Maritime Museum in the Market Square Historic District.
This museum serves as a look into Newburyport’s history and features a bunch of nautical exhibits.
Both breweries were founded in 2012 and have some great beverages and lively atmospheres. There are beer gardens at each location where you can hang out and enjoy a fresh-brewed pint!
Where to Stay in Newburyport
Turn your day trip from Boston into a weekend trip with a room at one of the best hotels and inns in Newburyport:
- Clark Currier Inn (near the Waterfront Promenade Park)
- Essex Street Inn & Suites, Ascend Hotel Collection (near lots of attractions)
- The Inn at Ring’s Island (cute hotel across the river)
5. Providence, Rhode Island
It’s super easy to even take a day trip from Boston out of state! You could hop on the train and visit Providence, Rhode Island for the day.
As Rhode Island’s capital city, you’ll find a healthy variety of things to do here. There’s a vibrant arts scene, notable universities, and a riverfront area with local shops and restaurants.
To get to Providence using public transportation, you have to take Amtrak from South Station.
Just hop on the Acela Express towards Washington Union Station and get off at Providence Station. Yes, it’s that easy!
If you’re into art, design, and fashion, you’ll for sure have to visit the Rhode Island School of Design’s museum.
It’s one of the biggest art museums in the US! The rooms hold lots of designs from alumni and current students.
Interested in other schools in the area? Definitely check out Brown University and just roam the campus grounds. As one of the Ivy’s, this campus is absolutely beautiful!
There are also lots of kid-friendly activities in Providence, like the Providence Children’s Museum (which I loved as a child).
It’s filled with a bunch of activities that your kids can interact with!
Other fun kid-friendly activities include the Roger Williams Park Zoo and Waterplace Park.
Do you have more time than just a day to spend in Rhode Island? Consider also taking a short trip to Newport.
This stunning coastal town is known for its impressive mansions, natural beauty, and sailing culture.
Where to Stay in Providence
If you need more time to explore Providence, Rhode Island than just a day trip from Boston, check out these highly rated hotels near top attractions:
- Omni Providence Hotel (indoor pool and pet-friendly)
- Hyatt Place Warwick / Providence Airport (free breakfast and pool)
- Hotel Providence (great location)
6. Take a Day Trip to Salem
Salem, Massachusetts is one of those places that everyone has learned about during their studies in elementary school.
Have you ever heard of the Salem Witch Trials? Yeah, that happened in Salem, MA! But that’s just beginning of what Salem has to offer visitors.
Salem is located just north of Boston and is easy to reach using public transportation. All you’ll need is a CharlieCard for the commuter rail and you’re good to go!
From North Station, you’ll want to take the Newbury/Rockport Line towards Newburyport. Remember to get off at the stop called Salem.
Because of the deep-rooted history in this New England town, there’s a lot to do in Salem!
The most popular attraction in Salem is of course the Salem Witch Museum, which will provide you with a lot of the town’s rich history involving witches.
Many people also love the Peabody Essex Museum. This is a family-friendly museum that you’re sure to love.
For history buffs interested in American history, I recommend touring Nathaniel Hawthorn’s Birthplace. Next door is The House of the Seven Gables, which inspired his novel.
Or just take a walk down Essex Street and Derby Street to see all the stunning historic buildings! Some date back to the 1690s and are designated as a national historic landmark.
And near the water, another excellent landmark is the Salem Maritime National Historic Site. You can learn about the area’s maritime history and see a cool old ship on the water.
If you have time, be sure to also stroll over to Salem Willows Park. This is a great spot for amazing views of the water, plus arcade games and an old-fashioned carousel!
Book a discounted Salem History & Witchcraft tour
Where to Stay in Salem
If a day trip to Salem from Boston is just not enough, here are some places to stay that I recommend:
Where to Stay in Salem
- Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites (near TONS of witch-related attractions)
- Hampton Inn Salem Boston (free breakfast and pool)
- The Salem Inn (free breakfast and great location)
7. Somerville Day Trip
Located just across the Charles River from Boston, Somerville is another excellent New England destination. It’s a quaint little town just outside of Cambridge.
Boston is filled with an abundance of Instagrammable sites, and so is Somerville!
The easiest way to get there is to take the Red Line T towards Alewife and get off at Davis Square.
If you like street art, you’ll love it in Somerville. The T stations here are really artsy and well-decorated, and so are a lot of the alleyways in the area!
My top recommended place to visit in Somerville is Flatbread Pizza Company. They serve some of the best flatbread pizzas I’ve ever had!
They also have extensive amounts of brews, with a lot of them being local brands. Flatbread Pizza Company is located insie of Sacco’s Bowl Heaven, which is candlepin bowling!
If you’re coming with family, the whole crew will love it here.
Or maybe you’re more interested in having pub food. Be sure to check out The Burren, which is an Irish pub with live music!
Where to Stay in Somerville
Whether your day trip just isn’t enough time, or you’re looking for an affordable place to stay near Boston, book one of these great hotels for the night:
- La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Boston Somerville (free breakfast and near Assembly Square)
- Cambria Hotel Boston Somerville (there’s a game room)
Check Out the Best Destinations for Boston day Trips
Hope you enjoyed this comprehensive of the best day trips from Boston.
Perhaps you’re looking for a lovely weekend getaway or are a local Bostonian looking for new thing to do in New England with the family! I hope you found something on my list that piques your interest.
Krystianna is the blogger behind Volumes & Voyages, a book and travel blog. She studied abroad in Spring 2019 in Dublin, Ireland, and has been chasing her wanderlust ever since. Volumes & Voyages mainly covers travel in Europe and the US, but once Krystianna travels more around the world, she’s hoping to expand her content.