Are you looking for fun New England road trip ideas? Keep scrolling to check out 7 of the best day trips from Boston, Massachusetts that are worth the drive! Scroll down for our recommendations!
This post about the best day trips from Boston 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.
Guest post by Krystianna from Volumes & Voyages
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 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!
7 Incredible Day Trips from Boston
Located just across the Charles River, Cambridge is a beautiful little town filled with lots to do. It’s especially worth noting that you should visit Cambridge if you want to experience the historical city feel of Boston without so many people!
I personally like Cambridge more than Boston itself, and have even done all of my college internships there, despite being a university student in the Fenway area.
To get to Cambridge from Boston, simply either take one of the MBTA buses or hop on the red line towards Alewife. Make sure it’s not towards Mattapan or Braintree, or else you’d be going in the complete 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 and they also have their own cafe right inside. It’s a great way to support local bookshops!
There are also lots of cool alleyways with great street art in this area, so remember to bring your camera.
Though there is an abundance of great places to eat in Boston, Cambridge also offers the same restaurants but in different locations!
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 in all of Boston, and their poutine is out of this world!
Book a discounted Cambridge Hop On Hop Off Tour
Where to Stay in Cambridge
- 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 utilizing public transportation by taking the Fitchburg Line from North Station and getting off at the stop called Concord.
If you’re a history buff, then this is definitely the town that you’ll want to visit! Concord is known for all of its Revolutionary War history and there are many historical sites that you can still 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.
Many famous authors also frequented Concord, including Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. They were both known to love visiting Walden Pond, which you can still visit today. The atmosphere there is so calming and it’s lovely to visit!
Louisa May Alcott grew up in Concord as well, the author of Little Women. You can visit her Orchard House which is now a museum. This 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
- 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 stop called Gloucester.
There’s so much to do in this area. If you want to do more oceanic activities, be sure to book a whale-watching tour. I’ve had friends who have done 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. Singing Beach is located nearby, but is more reachable 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. The castle was owned by an inventor named John Hayes Hammond Jr. in the 1920’s and today can be visited by tourists.
This is one place that any traveler should visit, especially because Hammond Jr. was actually so inspired by his travels in Europe, which is why he built the castle in the first place.
It’s also worth visiting the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester. The original colony in this town was very art-oriented, and a lot of the art is in this museum today!
Though it’s a small museum, you could easily spend more than a few hours here since there’s so much in such a tiny space.
Where to Stay in Gloucester
- Castle Manor Inn (near a lot of attractions)
- Rockport Inn And Suites (walkable to several beaches)
Located in the North Shore, Newburyport is yet another coastal town like Gloucester that you’ll surely want to visit.
It’s super easy to get there from Boston. All you have to do is 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, which is filled with a bunch of nautical exhibits. This museum serves as a look into Newburyport’s history.
Brew fans will feel right at home in Newburyport. Consider visiting either RiverWalk Brewing Co. or Newburyport Brewing Co.
Both breweries were founded in 2012 and have some great beverages and lively atmospheres. There are even beer gardens at each location where you could enjoy a fresh-brewed pint!
Where to Stay 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)
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.
To get to Providence using public transportation, you have to take an Amtrak. Hop on the Acela Express towards Washington Union Station from South 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 states! The rooms hold lots of designs from alumni and current students.
If you want to visit another school in the area, definitely roam the campus of Brown University. As one of the Ivy’s, its campus is beautiful!
There are also lots of kid-friendly activities in Providence. There’s 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, one of the most beautiful coastal towns in America that are located in Rhode Island.
Where to Stay in Providence
- Omni Providence Hotel (indoor pool and pet-friendly)
- Hyatt Place Warwick / Providence Airport (free breakfast and pool)
- Hotel Providence (great location)
6. Day Trip to Salem
Salem, Massachusetts is one of those places that I’m sure 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!
Salem is located slightly north of Boston and can be easily reached using public transportation. All you’ll need is a Charlie Ticket for the commuter rail and you’re good to go.
You’ll want to take the Newbury/Rockport Line towards Newburyport and get on at North Station. Remember to get off at the stop called Salem.
Because of its deep-rooted history, 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, which is a family-friendly museum that you’re sure to love.
While you’re in the area, be sure to also stroll over to the oceanfront. A great place to do this is at Salem Willows Park, which will give you some amazing views of the water.
If you explore the waterfront located more near the downtown area, then you’ll find a lot of old ships that are also worth exploring.
Book a discounted Salem History & Witchcraft tour
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
Like Cambridge, Somerville is another destination that is super easy to reach using just public transportation from Boston. Somerville is a quaint little town just outside of Cambridge, and it’s actually right near where Tufts University is located!
The easiest way to get there from Boston is to take the Red Line T towards Alewife and get off at Davis Square. You’ll soon find that the T stations in this area are really artsy and well-decorated, and so are a lot of the alleyways in the area.
Boston is filled with an abundance of Instagrammable sites, and so is Somerville!
My top recommended place to visit in Somerville is Flatbread Pizza Company & Sacco’s Bowl Heaven. They serve some of the best flatbread pizzas I’ve ever had and they have extensive amounts of brews on top, with a lot of them from local places.
Located instead Flatbread Pizza Company is Sacco’s Bowl Heaven, which is candlepin bowling! This is fun for all ages. If you’re more interested in having pub food, be sure to check out The Burren, which is an Irish pub with live music!
Another great thing to do in the area is book a Davis Square Somerville Food Tour. I had an internship in Davis Square so I frequently ate out in the area, and there are some amazing places to eat here.
Booking a tour will allow you to try all these amazing places and put them on your radar! This is especially a good option if you’re short on time.
Where to Stay in Somerville
- La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Boston Somerville (free breakfast and near Assembly Square)
- Cambria Hotel Boston Somerville (there’s a game room)
Hope you enjoyed this comprehensive of the best day trips from Boston, let us know which you ended up going on in a comment below!
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.
Follow her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook.
Thursday 10th of September 2020
Great post that brought back a warm & fuzzy feeling :) I just moved from Massachusetts this summer to Florida. I don't miss it! However New England is truly exceptional and especially idyllic in the fall. I would also add an unsolicited day trip to Portsmouth, NH! :-)
Thursday 10th of September 2020
Oh that's awesome! And great tip about Portsmouth, NH!