If you are looking for the best day trips from Boston, then you are in the right place!
Boston is ideally situated in the northeastern portion of the United States. This area of New England boasts gorgeous beaches, charming small towns, and loads of history.
Massachusetts and the surrounding area provide unique and fun attractions to help you on a day trip out of the city.
Whether you are looking for museums, great restaurants, waterfalls, sprawling beaches, or miles of hiking trails, you can find one of these day trips that will fit the bill.
While several of these day trips can be accomplished using public transportation or a guided tour, you might be better served to rent a car. The choice is totally up to you.
Let’s get started; check out all of the Boston day trips!
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Boston Day Trips Within 1 Hour
1. Cambridge, MA (5 min)
Even if you are only spending a weekend in Boston, you have to take time to head across the Charles River to the historic town of Cambridge.
Best known for the great universities, Harvard and MIT, this town boasts gorgeous architecture, perfect parks, and incredible restaurants.
Most people visit Cambridge to tour the university campuses here, so don’t miss that on your day trip. Be sure to check out the Harvard art museums and the Harvard Museum of Natural History while on the Harvard campus.
When you are ready to explore more of Cambridge, check out the Longfellow House, home of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
Harvard Square is the perfect place to shop or grab a bit to eat. Just be sure to save room for ice cream from Toscanini’s!
2. Castle Island Park (15 min)
History lovers will want Castle Island Park on their list of day trips from Boston.
Castle Island Park is home to Fort Independence, a pentagon-shaped historic fort built in the 1800s. You can go on a narrated tour or a self-guided tour at your own pace during your time at the fort.
In addition, there are numerous walking, biking, and jogging trails on the 22 acres of protected land that surrounds Fort Independence. on Castle Island Park.
Take note that Fort Independence is open from Memorial Day to Columbus Day.
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3. Lexington and Concord, MA (30 min)
If you have studied U.S. History or taken a U.S. History course, then the names of these two towns definitely ring a bell.
The American Revolutionary War started in Lexington and Concord, meaning you are surrounded by Revolutionary war history. Lexington has more than 10 historic battle sites, cemeteries, and memorials that are available to be toured.
A visit to Lexington Green will allow you to see the site of the first battle of the Revolutionary War. In addition, a trip to Minute Man National Historic Park will teach you all about the young men involved at the beginning of the war.
Wrap up your tour of Lexington by seeing the Lexington Depot historic train.
4. Wompatuck State Park (30 min)
Wompatuck State Park is one of the best Boston day trips for nature lovers.
Here you will find over 12 miles of paved bicycle paths, hiking trails, places to ride mountain bikes, and horseback riding trails.
When you combine that with their 250 campsites, Wompatuck State Park would actually make for a great weekend getaway also.
5. Old Sturbridge Village (1 hour)
You will find yourself immersed in a living history museum when you visit Old Sturbridge Village. Located about an hour from Boston, this is one of the easy trips from Boston for you to enjoy.
Old Sturbridge Village is home to several authentic buildings from the 1800s, including a home, tavern, store, sawmill, barn, church, and more. This museum allows visitors to truly see what life was like in 1800s New England.
There are also several places in the village to enjoy some shopping and grab a bite to eat. From time to time, the museum also does historic reenactments and special events.
6. Hampton Beach, NH (1 hour)
If you are longing for one of your day trips from Boston to be to the beach, then you definitely want to consider Hampton Beach in New Hampshire.
Hampton Beach offers loads of fun beach activities, which are the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Enjoy the stretches of soft white sand on the beach before hitting up the boardwalk that is located nearby. The Hampton Beach boardwalk offers numerous bars, restaurants, shops, and even an arcade!
7. Kittery, Maine (1 hour)
This historic ship-building town in Maine is one of the great trips from Boston. Home to some fabulous shops, a great state park, museums, beaches, and more.
Head to Tributary Brewing Company or Blue Current Brewery to do a beer tasting before enjoying your day touring Kittery.
Shopping is a huge deal in Kittery. Many people come here to enjoy the huge outlet mall to find great bargains on name-brand merchandise. The Kittery Trading Post is another popular shopping option in the area.
Be sure to check out Fort McClary State Park and the Kittery Historical and Naval Museum. If you want some time on the beach, then Seaport Beach should be on your list also.
8. Rockport, Massachusetts (50 min)
If you want your day trips from Boston to include a cute seaside town, then head to Rockport, MA. You will find Rockport located just under an hour from Boston, so this is a quick and easy getaway.
Rockport is a great New England town that is home to incredible art galleries, fabulous beaches, and a historic downtown area. Honestly, Rockport is the quintessential New England town.
The fact that Rockport is located on the tip of the Cape Ann Peninsula and is surrounded by water on three sides means it is the perfect place to enjoy some time out on the water. This could include time fishing or just boat riding.
A trip to Halibut Point State Park (see below for more detail) is also a must-do.
Enjoy a walk on Front Beach before visiting the fun boutique shops and fabulous art galleries around town. Of course, you have to get a lobster roll while in town as well!
9. Portsmouth, New Hampshire (1 hour)
This popular New England day trip is located right about an hour from Boston. What started as a colony in 1653, Portsmouth was a busy shipping port and also served as the hub of government for this area.
Today, visitors from all over flock to Portsmouth to enjoy a day of shopping, thanks to the fact that New Hampshire doesn’t have a sales tax.
Spend time touring Strawbery Bank Museum, which consists of 40 buildings that range from the 17th to the 20th century. You can also tour the USS Albacore Museum before enjoying the many boutique shops and historic architecture that surrounds you.
10. Halibut Point State Park
This is one of the most beautiful day trips from Boston. I mean, beautiful! That’s because Halibut Point State Park is famous for its gorgeous New England seascape views. Located in Rockport, this can easily be combined with a day in the New England town of Rockport, or as a stand-alone trip on its own.
You can enjoy hiking, biking, and bird watching, while surrounded by gorgeous rock outcroppings and incredible cliffs.
11. Newburyport, MA (1 hour)
Located about an hour north of Boston, Newburyport is a little hidden gem in New England, making it one of the best Boston day trips to avoid crowds!
This small town started as a shipping port, and the historic aspect of the town surrounds you at every turn. Don’t let that fool you, though; Newburyport has become a very modern town as well, creating the perfect juxtaposition between old and new.
While in Newburyport, visit the fun shops and restaurants in the area before heading to Plum Island. Plum Island is a great place to do some bird watching and to see the dunes.
This is truly one of the fabulous New England day trips.
12. Salem, Massachusetts (45 min)
You cannot have a list of day trips from Boston and not include the Witch City, Salem, Massachusetts. There are so many great things to do in Salem that you might find yourself wanting this to be one of your weekend getaways instead of just making it a day trip.
One of the most popular things to do in Salem is to visit the Salem Witch Museum. Here you can learn about the history of Salem through an animatronic recreation of the Salem Witch Trials. Honestly, the Salem Witch Museum is popular, but it was our least favorite thing in Salem.
Another popular attraction (that is worth a visit) is the House of Seven Gables. The House of Seven Gables is one of the historic homes in Salem that was made popular by author Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Be sure to visit the Salem Witch Trials Memorial and tour the Witch House, home to one of the judges from the Witch Trials.
You can also check out the Peabody Essex Museum and the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall during your day trip from Boston to Salem.
13. Good Harbor Beach (50 min)
For a day trip from Boston that includes soft sandy beaches and gorgeous views of the Atlantic Ocean, then head to Good Harbor Beach.
Good Harbor Beach allows you to enjoy great outdoor activities, including swimming, playing some beach sports, or just enjoying a day out in the sun. When the tide is low, you can even walk to Salt Island!
Amenities near Good Harbor Beach include restaurants serving up fresh seafood, restrooms, and concession stands.
14. Plimoth Plantations (45 min)
Plimoth Plantation is another living history museum that is one of the easy day trips from Boston.
The site, located about 45 minutes outside of Boston, is one of the fun and easy day trips from Boston.
What began as a movie set in 1947 is now a popular tourist destination featuring several historic pieces to explore. Visitors can check out the grist mill, Wampanoag Homesite, the Mayflower II, and several barns.
Plimoth Plantation also holds numerous events and reenactments throughout the season for kids to get hands-on demonstrations of what life was like for the early settlers.
15. Gloucester (1 hour)
Gloucester is another of the day trips on our list within an hour of Boston.
Gloucester has a different feel than Rockport, boasting over 400 years of maritime history. The minute you arrive in Gloucester, you feel it. The city just looks different and has a different vibe than the touristy Rockport.
History lovers will want to head to the Cape Ann Museum to see all of the artifacts that are specific to this area. This museum gives a great insight into the history that shaped Gloucester.
A visit to Gloucester’s beaches is in order in the warmer months. Two top-rated beaches in Gloucester are Good Harbor Beach and Wingaersheek Beach. We wrote about Good Harbor Beach specifically above. Wingaersheek Beach is suitable for families thanks to the gentle waves that reach the shore.
If the weather permits and you are here from early May through October, you definitely want to go on a whale-watching trip!
If this is one of the day trips from Boston that you are taking during the colder months, then you will find refuge from the cold in one of the many great restaurants around town. One specifically to consider is the 1606 Restaurant at the Beauport Hotel. 1606 has great views and a nice, cozy fireplace!
Believe it or not, Gloucester is also home to a European-style medieval castle. Hammond Castle is great to check out during your time here!
16. Nashoba Valley Vineyards (1 hour)
Would you believe me if I told you that a great vineyard is located just outside of Boston? It’s true! In less than an hour’s time, you can be sipping wine in a great family-owned vineyard.
Nashoba Valley Vineyards is one of the best day trips from Boston and makes for a quick and easy weekend getaway!
At Nashoba Valley, you can enjoy sipping wine while enjoying some great vineyard views. If wine isn’t your thing, don’t worry, Nashoba also has a distillery and brewery on site! They distill various liquor, including whiskey, brandy, and vodka.
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Day Trips From Boston Within 2 Hours
17. Bristol, Rhode Island (1 hour 20 min)
A day trip to Rhode Island is a great getaway from Boston.
Head to Bristol for a fabulous New England day trip. Bristol, Rhode Island, offers stunning views, historic homes, a great state park, and more for you to enjoy.
Colt State Parks offers visitors 464 acres of land to explore. Spend time walking by the shoreline, having a picnic, or hiking the 3.9-mile loop around the park.
Blithewold Mansion, Garden and Arboretum is another great attraction to consider during your day trip to Bristol. You can tour the historic 45-room estate and explore the 10 acres of gardens and outdoor space.
If you are in the mood for another historic mansion, consider adding a trip to Linden Place Mansion to your day trip itinerary.
If you want to try your hand at sailing, consider a sailing lesson at Herreshoff Marine Museum. You read that correctly; you can learn to sail at a museum. That is because, in addition to the great display of historic boats, the Herreshoff also offers a sailing school!
A visit to Coggeshall Farm Museum allows visitors to see what life was like for farmers in the 18th century. You can explore several buildings here and interact with the farm animals that still call Coggeshall home.
18. New Bedford (1 hour 15 min)
Located in Southern Massachusetts, New Bedford was once “the city that lit the world,” thanks to its whale oil production. I guess that makes sense since they have been the fishing and whaling industry hubs since the 1800s.
The narrow cobblestone streets of this New England city ooze charm and history. Check them out while exploring the great shops and restaurants around town.
If you want to learn more about the local history, then your first stop should be the New Bedford Whaling Museum. The New Bedford Whaling Museum offers visitors the chance to learn about the town’s history and the conservation efforts taking place today to protect and preserve the whale population.
You must get out on the water during your day trip to New Bedford. To help accomplish that, take one of the many cruises offered. Cruises from New Bedford include seasonal whale and seal-watching tours, sunset cruises, and theatre cruises.
A trip to Fort Taber Park allows visitors to check out a historic fort that is ideally situated on the gorgeous waters of Buzzards Bay. In addition to seeing the fort, you can also hike or walk the 50 acres of the park, including a great bike path.
19. Newport, RI (1.5 hours)
A day trip to New Port, Rhode Island, from Boston, promises stunning views and even more stunning historic homes!
The beautiful New England coastline shines in Newport, Rhode Island. One visit and you quickly see why taking the 10-mile drive on Ocean Drive is one of the most popular things to do here. This windy road hugs the coastline offering incredible views for you to enjoy!
During your drive, you will notice the incredible homes that call Newport home as well. Many of the most opulent homes in Newport were summer homes for America’s extremely wealthy. Several of these are now museums available for you to tour and enjoy. Be sure you add a visit to The Breakers, The Elms, and the Marble House to your day trip itinerary.
To get some exercise during your day trip, you must check out the 3.5-mile Cliff Walk in Newport. Of course, you can also check out the area’s state parks and hiking and walking trails.
Of course, being a historic New England city means having museums. Newport is home to the U.S. Naval War College Museum, Herreshoff Marine Museum, and the National Museum of American Illustration. Three very unique museums to visit.
Consider booking this Newport Mansions Tour from Boston and let someone else drive for the day!
20. Kennebunkport, Maine (1.5 hours)
People have been planning trips to Kennebunkport, Maine, since the 1800s. It makes sense when you see all this coastal town has to offer.
With activities ranging from whale watching and swimming to museums and art galleries, everyone is sure to find something they love.
Like most towns in this area, you can take a whale-watching cruise between May and October to get a chance to see the whales migrating through the Atlantic waters. If you are visiting outside of whale watching season, then consider adding a sunset dinner cruise to your day trip itinerary.
A fun and informative trolley tour will take you around Kennebunkport and introduce you to some of the main stops and history of the town. This is a great place to start if this is your first visit here.
You can also visit the First Families Kennebunkport Museum which focuses on 200 years of the town’s history, including information about the 41st president, George H.W. Bush. Another fun museum is the Seashore Trolley Museum. This 330-acre living history museum allows visitors to see numerous transportation exhibits and lets you take unlimited rides on the restored streetcars!
Take a stroll along the town’s beaches during your time here. Popular beaches include Gooch’s Beach, Middle Beach, and Mothers Beach, all of which run consecutively into one another.
You can also check out W. Robert Paine Gallery during your day trip to Kennebunkport. This art gallery showcases the work of W. Robert Paine, an accomplished artist, and producer.
Photographers won’t miss the Wedding Cake House during their time here. This ornate house was built in 1825 and is Maine’s “most photographed house,” thanks to the exterior that resembles a wedding cake.
A guided tour to Kennebunkport might be perfect for you! Consider taking this tour and allowing someone else to drive for you!
21. Provincetown, Massachusetts (2 hours)
Located on the tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown is a fun and quirky town that made our list of day trips from Boston.
Home to numerous art galleries, fabulous restaurants, and great beaches, Provincetown is the perfect Cape Cod getaway.
One of the most popular things to do in this town is to head to Race Point Beach. The soft fine sand welcomes visitors to enjoy a day of bird or seal watching, swimming, or just lounging on the beach! The best part is that Race Point Beach offers seasonal restrooms, changing rooms, and showers!
If you are in the mood for shopping, head to the appropriately named Commercial Street. You can find everything from vintage jewelry to trendy art and home decor here. This 3-mile stretch also has rotating art exhibits on the buildings, so keep your eyes peeled.
If art is your thing, then you won’t want to miss the thriving art scene during your day trip to Provincetown. Head to any of the 40-plus galleries on Commercial Street to see if you can find your favorite piece of artwork.
Of course, there are also numerous museums throughout the city and some great adventure tours you can take.
It is easy to see why Provincetown is such a popular getaway in Cape Cod!
22. Cape Cod National Seashore (1 hour 45 minutes)
Natural beauty is what draws people to Cape Cod National Seashore. This 40-mile stretch of beach is surrounded by a diverse ecosystem that includes ponds, wild cranberry bogs, and incredible historic lighthouses.
Cape Cod National Seashore allows visitors to explore so much of the great outdoors in the beautiful Cape Cod area. You can hike or bike along the beach, hire one of the fishing boats for a fishing excursion, or enjoy the day listening to the sounds of the ocean. The choice is truly yours!
You can also book a day full of outdoor adventures when you check out the many tours in the area!
23. Providence, Rhode Island (1.5 hours)
Located just an hour and a half from Boston, another one of the great New England day trips is the town of Providence, Rhode Island. This is the place to be for people who love architecture and history. Located on the very tip of Narragansett Bay, the state’s capital city is full of personality and things to do.
One of the most popular attractions is the Roger Williams Park Zoo. This 40-acre zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the country but boasts a truly modern approach to zookeeping. In addition to the animals, Roger Williams Park also offers a 435-acre park with a botanical center, stage, carousel, trackless train, and historic cottage.
Since this is an artist community, it only makes sense that Providence is home to numerous art galleries and museums. Be sure to check out the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum of Art to see works from worldwide.
As we mentioned above, Providence is an architecture lover’s dream. Take time to learn about the city by exploring the state capital building before wandering to Benefit Street’s “Mile of History.” This street starts at Brown University and showcases the incredible architectural history of the city. Here you can enjoy all different styles of homes, including Federal style, Victorian style, and craftsman style.
24. Portland, Maine (1 hour 45 min)
The cobblestone streets of Portland, Maine beckon for foodies from all over to come and visit. Combine that with the majestic lighthouses in the area, and you have the perfect day trip from Boston. Thankfully, that is easy from Boston since it is just a short drive north of the city.
Some of America’s best chefs call Portland home, so bring your appetite when visiting here. Honestly, one of the perfect weekend trips would be a food and pub tour around town.
Of course, when your stomach is full and you need to work off some of that food, Portland offers plenty of activities.
Walk around the Portland Arts District to check out the museums, theatres, and galleries that call this area home. If you are here on the first Friday of the month, then don’t miss the “First Friday Art Walk” which takes place from 5-8 pm. During this walk, many participating institutions offer free admission and serve food and drinks to guests.
Portland also offers great museums, a lively shopping district, and many outdoor parks.
25. Mystic, CT (1 hour 55 min)
The seaside town of Mystic, Connecticut, is located about an hour and a half from Boston. This easy day trip from Boston is home to fantastic seafood restaurants, fun museums, and fabulous outdoor recreation, meaning it has something for everyone.
Start your tour at the Mystic Seaport Museum, where you can learn about the area’s maritime history. This museum is home to four National Historic Landmark vessels, including the last wooden whaleship in the world and America’s oldest commercial ship. You can also check out the seafaring village, which includes dozens of buildings from the 1800s.
Enjoy some time in nature when you visit the 350-acre Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center before taking a fishing or sailing charter out to see the town from the water.
Animal lovers will want to include a visit to the Mystic Aquarium on their day trip from Boston itinerary. Here visitors can learn all about the behaviors and lives of all sorts of sea creatures. The Mystic Aquarium even has a 750,000-gallon outdoor beluga whale habitat.
Spend some time shopping on Mystic’s Main Street as well. Here you can enjoy numerous boutiques, galleries, and, of course, the infamous Mystic Pizza.
26. Woodstock, New Hampshire (2 hours)
A day trip from Boston to the Ice Castles in Woodstock, New Hampshire, is a must during winter.
The Ice Castles are an art exhibition that entails placing millions of icicles meticulously placed by artists to create an incredible attraction. The display includes tunnels, slides, fountains, and more, all lit up using LED lights.
Boston Day Trips Within 3 Hours
27. Stockbridge, MA (2 hours 5 min)
Located in western Massachusetts, Stockbridge is home to museums, historic homes, and great outdoor recreation areas, making this a great day trip from Boston!
This small town could be out of a Norman Rockwell painting. It is only fitting that the Norman Rockwell Museum is here then. The town’s Main Street makes you feel like you stepped out of a painting!
A walk on Main Street is essential during your visit. Take time to visit the boutique shops and specialty food stores. You might find the perfect gift to take back with you!
The Berkshire Botanical Gardens is another stop that should be on your list. This garden includes 25 garden display areas that contain beautiful plants and flowers.
If you want more beautiful gardens, head to the Historic Naumkeag Mansion and Gardens. Built in 1884, Naumkeag was one of the elaborate homes from the gilded age of Stockbridge. Another beautiful home in the area to consider is Chesterwood. Chesterwood was the summer home of the famous artist Daniel Chester. In addition to touring the home and studio, you can enjoy the gardens surrounding the property.
There are also numerous parks and trails around town for you to explore.
Stockbridge is one of the East Coast getaways you could easily make one of your weekend getaways from Boston.
28. Glendale Falls (2 hours 10 min)
Glendale Falls is located in Middlefield, Massachusetts, and is considered the state’s highest and longest waterfall. That alone makes it well work a trip from Boston.
While the falls are the main attraction, the surrounding forest land makes for a beautiful day in nature. You can enjoy hiking, biking, nature walking, fishing, and more during your trip to Glendale Falls.
29. Washington, CT (2 hours 40 min)
A trip to Washington, Connecticut, boasts gorgeous countryside and historic architecture to explore.
Washington is home to a cool and unique art venue, the Judy Black Memorial Park and Gardens. An abandoned gas station has been transformed into a cool space to exhibit art. This isn’t the only art gallery/museum in town. Washington, CT, is loaded with museums and galleries to explore.
While here, you can also explore the Flanders Nature Center. This Nature Center is home to gorgeous local vegetation and wildlife. They also host numerous community events throughout the year.
Of course, many historic homes also call Washington, CT, home. You can tour the Glebe House Museum and the Tapping Reeve House during your time here.
30. Martha’s Vineyard (2 hours 40 min)
Taking a day trip from Boston to Martha’s Vineyard is a treat; just be ready for a long day, though. From Boston, drive to Woods Hole and catch the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard.
This island, located off of the Cape Cod peninsula, was once a whaling town (like many of the seaside towns in this area) that has turned into a playground for the rich and famous.
Martha’s Vineyard comprises six small towns, each with their own individual attractions and personality.
During your time in Martha’s Vineyard, visit Gay Head Cliffs and watch the sunset over the ocean.
Enjoy strolling the long, sandy beaches and taking in the beautiful Cape Cod architecture that lines the streets here. Of course, you don’t want to miss the gingerbread houses and the great boutique shops and restaurants in each town.
There are also numerous lighthouses around the island, including Edgartown Lighthouse, which was built in 1828.
I think making Martha’s Vineyard one of your Cape Cod weekend getaways from Boston is a great idea!
Check out this guided tour to save you the time and hassle of driving and planning for yourself!
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About The Author
Michelle Snell is a travel writer, history buff, wine lover, and enthusiast of different cultures. Michelle enjoys bringing places to life through her informative writing style on her blogs, That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel. Her practical tips and suggestions help make travel dreams a reality while immersing her readers in the history, culture, and food of a region. She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.