25 Best Day Trips From Boston

Rocks at sunset in Ogunquit, United States – Places to drive from Boston

Boston is a vibrant and historical destination known for its colonial architecture, prestigious universities, and seafood delicacies. But the charm of Boston doesn’t end with its city limits.

The surrounding areas are filled with natural beauty, small towns, exciting cities, and landmarks that make for perfect adventures outside the city.

So let’s explore some of the best day trips from Boston!

Best Day Trips From Boston

Everything on our list is under 3 hours one-way. While you can certainly go further than that and find some incredible places, we wanted to share actual day trips from Boston that you could get to, spend time at, and get back in 10 hours or less.

1. Lexington & Concord

One-Way Travel Time – 30 min

Lexington and Concord are two historic towns just a short drive from Boston. They played a significant role in the American Revolution and are famous for the battles that took place there in April 1775.

If you’re planning a visit to Lexington and Concord, one thing you shouldn’t miss is the Battle Road Trail.

The Battle Road Trail is a 5-mile path connecting the majority of the important historical sites in both towns, including where Paul Revere was captured and Old North Bridge.

Wandering along the trail is a great way to learn about the history of the American Revolution and how it impacted these two cities.

2. Salem

One-Way Travel Time – 40 min

Salem is a vibrant city that attracts visitors worldwide. It is best known for its infamous Salem Witch Trials of 1692, but it also has a fascinating maritime history.

While there is much to recommend related to the witch trials, we suggest adding a ghost tour to the end of your day. Salem has a long and spooky history; many visitors come to the town to learn about its cursed past.

During the tour, you can visit some of Salem’s most haunted locations, including Old Burying Point Cemetery and the Witch House. All the while, a knowledgeable guide will be providing ghostly legends and folklore associated with the sites.

Whether you believe in the paranormal or are just looking for a fun and spooky experience, a ghost tour is a must.

3. Gloucester

One-Way Travel Time – 50 min

As the US’s oldest fishing port, Gloucester doesn’t sound all that thrilling for a day trip. But this coastal town is rich with maritime history, has incredible beaches, and fresh seafood to chow down on that was caught the same day.

Top of your list when in Gloucester should be taking a whale-watching tour. Off the coast of Massachusetts is one of the best places in the world to see whales in their natural habitat, and several companies offer tours from the harbor.

During the summer, you can head out to Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary to see humpback whales, fin whales, minke whales, and other marine wildlife. All the while, you are learning about the whales from naturalists passionate about wildlife.

During our tour, we spent quality time with a 3-year-old juvenile humpback who got so close to the boat I couldn’t get him all in a camera frame!

4. Newburyport

One-Way Travel Time – 50 min

With beautiful historical architecture, a picturesque harbor, and a quaint downtown area, Newburyport is the perfect place to head for the day.

The city has the best of everything regarding coastal New England. It has plenty of incredible seafood restaurants, shops, and galleries to browse. But it also has plenty of outdoor activities if you want to experience boating, fishing, or even beachcombing.

While in Newburyport, stop by the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge just a few miles outside the city.

The refuge offers a range of outdoor activities, including hiking, birdwatching, and wildlife viewing. During a visit, look for deer, foxes, coyotes, and various bird species that could be residents or migratory, depending on when you visit.

5. Rockport

One-Way Travel Time – 55 min

Rockport is a small coastal town with quaint New England charm that is surrounded by beautiful beaches and rocky shorelines.

The town has quite the art scene, with several galleries and studios showcasing local artists’ work in various formats. One of the most painted and photographed places in town (and the whole US) is the red fishing shack known as Motif #1.

While in town, stroll along Bearskin Neck, the narrow stretch of land that juts out into the harbor.

This stretch is filled with charming shops, art galleries, and restaurants and offers beautiful ocean views. It is also where you will find Motif #1.

And when you need a break, stop for a sweet treat at the adorable Ice Cream Store.

6. Plymouth

One-Way Travel Time – 1 hour, 15 min

Located on the coast, Plymouth is famous for being the site of the first permanent English settlement in North America, established by the Pilgrims in 1620.

There is plenty of historical significance in the city to experience, from Plymouth Rock to Burial Hill Cemetery.

While we think you should certainly see those things, we will also suggest you not miss the Mayflower II.

The Mayflower II is a full-scale replica of the original Mayflower, the ship that transported the Pilgrims to the New World.

The replica was built in the 1950s in England and sailed across the Atlantic to the US, where it has been on display ever since.

You can board the ship and learn about what life was like for the Pilgrims during their journey to America. The boat is furnished with replica period items and exhibits, and there are guides on hand to share the history and stories of the Pilgrims.

7. Old Sturbridge Village

One-Way Travel Time – 1 hour, 15 min

Old Sturbridge Village is a living history museum that recreates a rural New England village from the 1830s and provides a glimpse into daily life during this period.

The village covers over 200 acres and includes more than 40 historic buildings. This includes homes, shops, farm buildings, and more that have all been carefully recreated to provide you with an authentic experience.

The staff portrays villagers and demonstrates traditional crafts and skills, like blacksmithing, woodworking, and textiles.

Take some time to talk to these costumed interpreters, as they can provide interesting insights and answer all your burning questions about what life was like during the 1800s.

8. Falmouth

One-Way Travel Time – 1 hour, 55 min

On the southwestern tip of Cape Cod, Falmouth has beautiful beaches, historic landmarks like the Nobska Lighthouse, and scenic nature trails.

While there is plenty to keep you busy in this quaint town, we suggest you explore the Shining Sea Bikeway. This 10.7-mile paved trail winds its way through some of the most scenic areas of Falmouth.

Following along a former railroad line, the trail passes by saltwater marshes, wooded areas, beaches, and offers breathtaking views of the ocean in spots along the way.

You can rent a bike from one of the local shops or bring your own and spend the day leisurely pedaling along the trail.

Also read: An epic father-son cycling trip across America

9. Provincetown

One-Way Travel Time – 2 hours, 35 min

Like our last suggestion, Provincetown is also located on Cape Cod. Nearly on opposite ends from each other, this picturesque town is located at the northeastern tip instead.

You can’t come to a place like Provincetown and not hit the beach.

When we think of iconic beaches in New England, we picture sand dunes, patches of tall grass blowing in the breeze, and wooden picket fences. You will certainly find that here, with Race Point Beach being a popular choice.

But if you want to find a quieter location, there are 45 miles of beaches to choose from. So whether you want to be in the heart of all the action or quietly relax with a good book in solitude, there will be a place for you.

10. Martha’s Vineyard

One-Way Travel Time – 3 hours (give or take due to ferry ride)

Martha’s Vineyard is a well-known island just off Cape Cod’s coast. With stunning beaches, charming towns, and a laid-back atmosphere, Martha’s Vineyard is a popular destination for visitors worldwide.

We suggest heading to Oak Bluffs, where you will find colorful Victorian-style homes and quaint shops.

Wander through the town and admire the charming gingerbread cottages adorned with intricate details and colors.

See the historic Flying Horses Carousel, the nation’s oldest continuously working platform carousel, which dates back to 1884. The carousel features hand-carved horses, a traditional band organ, and a brass ring game that has entertained riders for over a century.

Day Trips From Boston To Maine

Let’s move on from Massachusetts and talk about some of the best day trips from Boston to cities in Maine.

11. York, Maine

One-Way Travel Time – 1 hour, 10 min

York in southern Maine has some great historical sites to check out on a day trip.

Head to the York Historic District, which features several well-preserved buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries. Stop by the oldest church in the state or the Old York Gaol (jail).

A visit to see the Nubble Lighthouse is also in order. This picturesque lighthouse is considered one of the most photographed lighthouses in the US.

As the lighthouse sits on a small rocky island just off the coast, you cannot actually visit the lighthouse. But from Sohier Park, you can learn more about it and take in some epic views.

12. Ogunquit, Maine

One-Way Travel Time – 1 hour, 20 min

Ogunquit is a charming town with picturesque beaches, many cute restaurant spots, and a thriving arts scene.

One thing you should do when in Ogunquit is walk on the Marginal Way. The Marginal Way is a scenic footpath that winds along the rocky coastline between Ogunquit and neighboring Perkins Cove.

The path is just over a mile long and offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean, with plenty of spots to sit and take in the scenery along the way. It is a great way to experience the natural beauty of Ogunquit and is gorgeous during sunrise and sunset.

And if you walk all the way to Perkins Cove, you will have an additional opportunity to spend time in a quaint coastal town.

13. Portland, Maine

One-Way Travel Time – 1 hour, 50 min

Portland is a coastal city known for its Old Port district, historic architecture, and culinary scene.

If you want to take in some history, wander the Portland Freedom Trail. This self-guided trail takes you past more than 10 locations used as part of the Underground Railroad to move enslaved people to Canada from Maine secretly.

We suggest you visit the Portland Head Light.

Located in Cape Elizabeth, just a few miles south of downtown Portland, this lighthouse dates back to 1791. It is the oldest lighthouse in Maine.

Unlike the Nubble Lighthouse in York discussed above, this one is part of the mainland and can be seen up close. Stop by the museum on a visit.

Or explore Fort Wiliams Park, where the lighthouse sits. The park is nearly 100 acres and has plenty to do, from hiking to beachcombing to finding a quiet spot to people watch.

Best Day Trips From Boston To Rhode Island

Rhode Island is close to Massachusetts, and several places in the state make our list of best day trips from Boston.

14. Providence, Rhode Island

One-Way Travel Time – 1 hour, 35 min

Providence is the capital city of Rhode Island and has historic charm and prestigious universities.

If you want to visit university campuses, Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) are located here.

Head to the RISD museum. It features more than 100,000 works of art from around the world, including ancient art, contemporary art, and decorative art. The museum also offers workshops and educational programs.

If you can time your visit right, we can’t suggest visiting WaterFire after dark enough.

WaterFire is an art installation featuring a series of bonfires lit on the rivers, accompanied by music, art, and food vendors. It is held every couple of weeks over the summer months and draws visitors from all over the region.

Also read: Best open-air museums across the world

15. Bristol, Rhode Island 

One-Way Travel Time – 1 hour, 50 min


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Bristol is just a short drive from Providence, so you can probably fit them into a single trip. You will want to head here for its quaint New England feel.

One thing to do on a visit to Bristol is to explore the Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum. This historic estate was built in the late 19th century and features a stunning mansion surrounded by acres of beautifully landscaped gardens and wooded trails.

Take a guided tour of the mansion to learn about the lives of the family who lived there and the history of the estate itself. The gardens are a true oasis, with various plant species and stunning views of Narragansett Bay.

You might also enjoy: Wanna dive into gardening? Here’s how to get started on a budget

16. Newport, Rhode Island

One-Way Travel Time – 2 hours

With historic mansions, scenic ocean views, and rich sailing heritage, Newport had to make our list.

On a visit to Newport, visiting the famous Newport Mansions is a must.

These grand estates were built during the Gilded Age of the late 19th century by wealthy industrialists and are now open to the public for tours.

The most famous of these mansions include The Breakers, Marble House, and The Elms, all of which are located along the scenic Cliff Walk.

You can marvel at the opulent interiors, expansive gardens, and breathtaking ocean views that make these mansions true American treasures.

17. Jamestown, Rhode Island

One-Way Travel Time – 2 hours, 15 min

One of the most historic towns in Rhode Island and famous for its gorgeous old architecture, Jamestown is located in Narragansett Bay.

While in town, we suggest you head to Beavertail State Park. The park is on the southern tip of Conanicut Island and offers incredible views of the Atlantic Ocean.

You can explore the rocky shoreline, hike on the trails, or have a picnic. One of the park’s highlights is the historic lighthouse, the third oldest in the US.

When finished at the park, swing by the Jamestown windmill. Built in 1787, it was in operation for over 100 years and is still in working condition.

Boston Day Trips To New Hampshire

Up next are a few places in New Hampshire that we know you won’t regret visiting.

18. Portsmouth, New Hampshire

One-Way Travel Time – 1 hour, 5 min

Portsmouth is a coastal city known for its rich history, scenic waterfront, and vibrant cultural scene.

One thing to do on a visit to Portsmouth is to visit the Strawbery Banke Museum. This living history museum showcases the lives of Portsmouth residents from the late 1600s to the mid-1900s.

You can explore more than 30 historic buildings, including homes, shops, and gardens, that have been restored to their original condition.

Costumed interpreters bring the past to life, demonstrating traditional crafts and trades and sharing stories about those who lived and worked in the area.

Strawbery Banke Museum is a unique and immersive experience that provides a fascinating glimpse into Portsmouth’s history and heritage.

19. Concord, New Hampshire

One-Way Travel Time – 1 hour, 10 min

Concord is the capital city of New Hampshire, located in the heart of the state.

There is plenty to do here, like visit the New Hampshire Historical Society Museum to learn about the state’s history. Or, if you want to get out in nature, you can kayak down the Merrimack River or hike in the forested Winant Park.

More on kayaking:

Best kayaking spots across the world

Benefits of kayaking

We suggest you visit the New Hampshire State House. This stunning Greek revival-style building was completed in 1819 and is one of the oldest state capitol buildings in the US.

The State House features a beautiful dome, impressive artwork, and exciting exhibits. You can take a guided tour to learn about the history of the building and its significance to New Hampshire’s political past.

It is undoubtedly the perfect stop for history buffs and architecture enthusiasts.

20. Canterbury Shaker Village, New Hampshire

One-Way Travel Time – 1 hour, 25 min

Canterbury Shaker Village was once home to a Shaker religious community. It is now a living museum and popular tourist destination that allows visitors to experience Shaker life and culture.

You can explore the many historic buildings on the grounds, including the 1792 Meeting House, the 1823 Schoolhouse, and the 1837 Bee House, on your own or on a guided tour.

Guides provide insight into the daily life of the Shakers, sharing knowledge about the community and demonstrating crafts like broom-making.

The village features exhibits showcasing the Shakers’ unique architecture, furniture, and artistic creations.

You might also enjoy: A comprehensive guide to the Amish way of life

21. Littleton, New Hampshire (& White Mountains)

One-Way Travel Time – 2 hours, 30 min

You can’t say much about Littleton other than it is quintessential New England. With an adorable Main Street, a nearby covered bridge, and a grist mill, you really can’t get much more perfect in terms of what you expect to see in the Northeast.

The quaint downtown area is lined with historic brick buildings that house various shops, restaurants, and galleries. It is also home to the famous Chutters candy store, which boasts the world’s longest candy counter.

Be on the lookout for the Pollyanna statue, which honors the beloved children’s book character created by Littleton native Eleanor H Porter.

If you visit in the fall, heading to the White Mountains is mandatory. The colorful leaves are insane and a top-rated attraction that brings visitors from places far and wide.

At all times of the year, the White Mountains are filled with the magical natural beauty of peaks, valleys, waterfalls, and forests. And it is home to numerous hiking trails, including a section of the famous Appalachian Trail.

Day Trips From Boston To Connecticut

And last but certainly not least are day trips from Boston to Connecticut.

22. Hartford, Connecticut

One-Way Travel Time – 1 hour, 45 min

Located in the center of the state is the capital city of Hartford. With so much history, beautiful city parks, and the oldest public art museum in the US, it is a great city to visit for a bit.

We recommend popping by the Mark Twain House and Museum.

This historic site was the home of the famous American author Mark Twain from 1874 to 1891, and where he wrote some of his most famous works, such as “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.”

Take a guided tour of the house and learn about Twain’s life and his work, and see many of the furnishings and personal items that belonged to him and his family.

23. Mystic, Connecticut

One-Way Travel Time – 2 hours, 15 min

Located on the coast in southeastern Connecticut, Mystic is celebrated for its maritime history and small-town charm. Or you might know it from the movie “Mystic Pizza” with Julia Roberts.

Because of the movie, most visitors enjoy a stop at Mystic Pizza. While this wasn’t where the actual movie was filmed, the restaurant pays homage to the movie, and the pizza is pretty good too.

After picking up a slice, make your way to Mystic Seaport Museum.

The museum features a recreated 19th-century seafaring village and working shipyard, where you can learn about the history of maritime life in New England.

You will have the opportunity to see the last wooden whale ship in the world, the Charles W. Morgan. And see demonstrations of traditional maritime crafts such as blacksmithing, coopering, and sailmaking.

Also read: Sailing across the Atlantic Ocean – An insider’s story

24. Essex, Connecticut

One-Way Travel Time – 2 hours, 20 min

Essex is home to a delightful Main Street lined with beautifully preserved colonial and Victorian-era homes and buildings.

After strolling down Main Street, stop at the Connecticut River Museum. The museum showcases the history of the Connecticut River and its impact on the surrounding region.

It features exhibits on the river’s ecology, wildlife, history, and a collection of boats and artifacts related to the river’s past.

Then book a scenic cruise on the Connecticut River itself. The museum and several other options offer guided boat tours on the longest river in New England. Enjoy the surrounding countryside while looking for wildlife like eagles and ospreys.

25. New Haven, Connecticut

One-Way Travel Time – 2 hours, 30 min

Last but not least is New Haven. Known as the “cultural capital of Connecticut,” the city has plenty of museums, theaters, festivals, and fantastic cuisine to keep you busy.

If you didn’t get enough pizza in Mystic, then this is the place to go. The city even has its own style of pizza called the “apizza.” While we have yet to try it ourselves, this thin-crusted pizza baked in a wood-fired brick oven sounds divine.

While in New Haven, drop by the renowned Yale University.

One of the US’s oldest and most prominent institutions is Yale University, founded in 1701. Its campus is home to several iconic landmarks and buildings, including the Gothic-style Sterling Memorial Library and the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

You can also stroll through the beautiful courtyards and gardens of the campus and explore the Yale University Art Gallery, one of the country’s most distinguished art museums.

Conclusion – 25 Best Day Trips From Boston

Boston is a fantastic city to spend time in, but it also serves as an excellent starting point for exploring the surrounding region.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day by the beach, a hike through the mountains, or a stroll through a quaint New England town, you’ll find plenty of options within easy reach of the city.

So when planning one of the best day trips from Boston, consider one of the destinations mentioned here. And prepare to have an unforgettable adventure! 

Keep reading:

Jenny & John run Traveling In Focus.