Over 20 million people travel to Boston every year and it is a fantastic destination for a vacation. Lots of yearly festivals and events attract tourists from around the globe, like the famous Boston Marathon, the Boston Wine and Food Festival, the 4th of July and so many more celebrations.
When these special events aren't going on visitors can take advantage of all the great tourist attractions that are available year-round. With so many things to do, start planning your trip itinerary now! If you don't know where to start, take a look at this list of the best museums in Boston.
Even though there are lots of things to do in the city it can be fun to take day trips outside of town, too and there are some incredible things to see on the East Coast. And if you are looking for ideas, we've got you covered. There is just one more place to stop before you head out of town. Make your way to Bounce luggage storage in Boston. Take advantage of safe luggage storage so you won't have to carry your things around all day.
How to get out of Boston
Despite being one of the most populated cities in the country, Boston is actually quite small. With so many people the streets can get busy, especially during rush hour, and if possible you should avoid driving during those times. Although driving is a possibility, it is not recommended since impatient drivers, one-way streets and traffic are common.
But there is no need to worry since public transportation options like buses, trains, subway lines, and even boats can help you get around! Walking and cycling are great choices, too. If you want to learn more about transportation in the city, read this guide on how to get around Boston.
When it comes to leaving the city for farther out destinations, things won't be much different. You can drive in and out of town if you choose to, although other options might be better for a stress-free day trip from Boston. In most cases, the commuter railway and buses will be able to help you get to where you need to go.
From Boston to Salem
If you have never heard of the Salem Witch Trials, we would be surprised. Visiting Salem is a great Boston day trip, especially for history enthusiasts, and lots of the city's past can still be admired in the streets today. Many of the buildings date back from the 18th or 19th centuries and are quite impressive, although there is lots more to do here than just sightseeing!
If you are interested you can tour a few of the historic homes which are some of the nicest from that time period in all of New England. Try exploring the Philips House or the House of the Seven Gables! Those who would like to learn more about the witch trials should go to the Peabody Essex Museum along with the Salem Witch Museum and the 1642 Witch House. Want to meet some modern-day witches? Sign up for a Bewitched After Dark Walking Tour. If you want to make your visit even creepier head to the Burying Point, which is one of the biggest cemeteries in Salem.
How to get to Salem
Getting to Salem from Boston will be easy and there are several ways to get there. Take the Newburyport-Rockport line of the commuter train and it will only take about 40 minutes from Boston's North Station. If that doesn't work for you, other options are to drive or to take a ferry ride with Boston Harbor Cruises.
From Boston to Cape Cod
Are you in the mood for ice cream, sunny weather and beach day trips? Cape Cod is where you should go. This peninsula is situated just Southeast of Boston and is home to beautiful white sand beaches on the Cape Cod National Seashore, like the stunning Race Point Beach. If you explore the area you will no doubt find a cute seaside town with attractions and places for you to visit, or you can just sit on the sand and admire all the fishing boats. Each small town in the area has something different to offer so try to stop by more than one of them if you can.
For some ideas of what to do, we recommend passing through Sandwich and Hyannis Port. The former is home to the Dexter Grist Mill (which is three centuries old!) and the Sandwich Glass Museum, and the latter is where you can find a John F. Kennedy memorial and the stunning area of Lewis Bay. If you can get to the southern shore we recommend taking a ferry ride to visit Martha's Vineyard which is the perfect spot for a romantic day trip.
How to get to Cape Cod
The beautiful landscape of this area is what makes it one of the best Boston day trips. It will take a couple of hours to get here but the journey will all be worth it once you arrive! A Cape Cod day trip is best done by car, at least partly. If you drive the whole way you will start reaching the small villages of the area in about an hour and a half. If you want to keep the driving to a minimum you can take the bus from Boston to Woods Hole and there is a ferry that you can take the rest of the way from there. Another option is to take the train from the South Station in Boston to Hyannis, it will take a bit over two hours.
From Boston to Newport Rhode Island
Newport is our next destination for a day trip from Boston. This charming town by the seaside is elegant and lined with mansions that resemble palaces and are sure to grab your attention. It has earned its reputation as a summer destination for some of the wealthiest people in the area and, although the city center is modern, the outskirts still hold lots of historic sites and attractions.
If you like spending time outside you will have a great time on the Cliff Walk which will bring you on a 3.5 mile long adventure through the coastline. You will get to pass by some of the city's most impressive mansions as well. The Breakers, The Elms and the Marble House are some of the most extravagant! Another good activity is to stop by some of the local breweries and vineyards to sample a couple of glasses of wine. If you have some free time we suggest checking out the art galleries and art museums in the area like the Newport Art Museum or the Rhode Island School of Design museum.
How to get to Newport Rhode Island
Are you convinced to visit Rhode Island yet? You can get there in about an hour and a half by car directly from Boston. If you are taking public transportation you should take the bus from the South Station; it is over a two hour drive. Another option is to take a train to Provenance and get on a bus from there to Newport, this is a good idea if you want to explore both areas in one day.
From Boston to White Mountain National Forest
Calling all nature lovers looking for outdoor adventures in Massachusetts! The White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire is one of the most picturesque day trips from Boston and we definitely suggest visiting if you are a fan of pretty views and fresh air. Bonus points if you are passing by in autumn when all of the leaves begin changing colors; the sight is breathtaking. The wintertime boasts snow sports and summers are the optimal time for exploring nature trails or camping.
You can definitely do lots of hiking here but if you are more interested in just admiring nature from a distance you can take a ride on one of the trains or gondolas that bring you to a mountain peak. Once you've had your fill of walking in nature you can make your way to North Conway, a small ski town that is full of boutique shops, retail stores, resorts and fantastic restaurants.
How to get to White Mountain National Park
This gorgeous spot, although worth the trip, is a bit far from Boston. You can get here using public transport buses but it is a bit of a hassle which is why most people choose to drive instead. It will take you around two and a half hours by car and it can be a lot of driving if you are planning to leave and come back in the same day. North Conway has some very nice lodges and hotels, which is why we suggest that you make it an overnight trip! There is quite a lot to do here so turning your Boston day trip into a lovely weekend getaway would be easy.
From Boston to Plimoth Plantation
The history of Plymouth began in December of 1620 when it was first visited by a group of people seeking a fresh start. Their arrival created New England's very first permanent settlement! Today you can take a trip back in time to see what life was like hundreds of years ago. This New England town has been transformed into a living history museum located just outside of Boston and is an impressively accurate representation of a village from the 17th century.
Everything from the setting to the people who work there, who are dressed in time-appropriate clothing, will make you feel as though you were visiting the town at the time that it was created. On the site, there is a full replica of Mayflower, a village, fully equipped with working farms and a functioning water-powered mill. There is also a replicated Native American settlement that is still inhabited by Native American peoples today. They can give you a modern insight into the culture and ways of their people.
How to get to Plimoth Plantation
Plimoth Plantation is the perfect Boston day trip because it is located only an hour away! Although some of the attractions are open year round there are parts of the living history museum that can only be experienced between March and November. You can get here easily by bus from Boston to Plymouth, and then will need to take a short taxi or car-share ride to the Plimoth Plantation.
From Boston to Lexington and Concord
Lexington and Concord are fantastic places to go if you want to learn even more about the fascinating history of Massachusetts. Stop by the Lexington Green, which is the location of the first shots of the American Civil War of Independence in 1775, as well as the city of Concord which is where the first real battle occurred. While you are here come see the North Bridge where the British soldiers were held back by the colonial militia.
Make sure that you take a journey through the Minute Man National Historic Park which sometimes hosts performances and reenactments of the battles. Monuments and historic buildings are found throughout the entire area of Lexington and Concord and you can either explore these destinations at your own pace with a self guided tour or sign up to follow a group. Concord was also home to some very intelligent thinkers and creators like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Bronson Alcott, and Henry David Thoreau.
How to get to Lexington and Concord
These places have been monumental in Revolutionary War history which is why you should definitely check them out. If you have access to a car you can get to Lexington and Concord in only 20 minutes! Using public transit will take you a bit longer but is simple and affordable. You will have to take the metro and bus and it will take you a bit over an hour.
The Best New England Day Trips from Boston
Although Boston has so many great attractions there is no reason to limit your vacation to the city. You don't have to travel far to find a quintessential New England town or beautiful park that you can make into a fun day trip. Each of the places listed above provides marvelous destinations to explore for a few hours before heading back to Boston.
If you have more time we recommend finding other places to visit from Boston, like a trip to the Old Sturbridge Village or a walk down the cobblestone streets and historic Downtown area of Rockport. Still looking for more to do? Check out art galleries on the Commercial Street of Provincetown.