The Best Day Trips From Boston: Hidden Gems & Must-Visit Destinations

Feeling stuck in the city grind? Boston has more day trip options than you might think. Our guide to the best day trips from Boston is packed with nearby escapes that promise adventure, relaxation, or historical intrigue just a short journey away.

Dive in and discover your next getaway!

Key Takeaways

  • Escape the city and explore Newport, RI, where you can tour opulent mansions like The Breakers, sail Narragansett Bay, or enjoy fresh seafood with ocean views.
  • Visit Salem, MA to learn about the witch trials at immersive museums and wander historic streets lined with unique shops and waterfront attractions.
  • Discover scenic lighthouses and enjoy outdoor activities in Portland, ME; tour the vibrant Old Port district filled with craft breweries and seaside restaurants.
  • Experience coastal charm in Cape Cod, MA by sunbathing on wide beaches or biking through seaside villages; take a ferry for more adventures on Martha’s Vineyard.
  • Nature lovers will find serenity at places like Plum Island for birdwatching or Castle Island for history mixed with oceanside leisure.

Top Day Trips from Boston

Escape the hustle and bustle of city life with these top day trips from Boston, taking you to enchanting coastal towns, vibrant cities rich in art and cuisine, and historical hotspots where America’s past comes alive.

Discover the unparalleled charm of New England as we reveal some of the most alluring destinations just a short journey from Boston’s heartbeat.

Newport, RI

Newport, RI is a spectacular coastal city and a glamorous getaway for those looking to soak up oceanside charm just a couple of hours from Boston. Known for its stunning Gilded Age mansions like The Breakers and Marble House, it offers a peek into the opulent past of America’s wealthiest families.

Tour these architectural marvels or stroll along the Cliff Walk, where panoramic ocean views meet historic luxury.

Take to the sea with a scenic harbor cruise or feel the breeze on your face as you sail around Narragansett Bay. Foodies rejoice as Newport serves up fresh seafood delights; indulge in lobster rolls at wharf-side eateries or savor fine dining in upscale restaurants.

Engage with history at Fort Adams State Park, sail on an authentic America’s Cup yacht or browse through unique shops along Thames Street – Newport delivers unforgettable experiences only a short drive from Boston’s hustle and bustle.

Portland, ME

Portland, ME is an engaging coastal city just a two-hour drive from Boston, and it’s a perfect choice for travelers seeking picturesque views and vibrant culture. Its bustling seaport comes alive with the scent of the sea and the sound of gulls overhead while you explore charming cobblestone streets lined with unique boutiques and galleries.

Foodies flock to Portland to savor fresh seafood straight from the Atlantic Ocean at award-winning restaurants that pepper the city’s historic Old Port district. With its array of craft breweries, you can spend your afternoon sampling some of New England’s finest beers.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Portland Head Light offers stunning lighthouse vistas as well as trails winding through Fort Williams Park – ideal for those who love history mingled with nature.

Don’t miss catching a ferry out to Peaks Island where bikes await visitors eager to pedal along its scenic shores. With such diverse attractions, Portland ensures there’s something delightful for every kind of day-tripper.

Next on our list is Salem, MA – another rich historical hub not far from Boston.

Salem, MA

Salem, MA

Embark on a day trip from Boston to the historic city of Salem, MA, and step back in time to the infamous witch trials era. Just a short drive or train ride away from Boston, Salem offers visitors an immersive experience with its Witch Museums that showcase this dark chapter in history.

Stroll through the cobblestone streets as you explore unique shops filled with local crafts and witch-themed memorabilia.

Salem’s allure goes beyond witches; it boasts stunning waterfront views and historical landmarks like the House of Seven Gables. For art lovers, the Peabody Essex Museum presents an array of exhibits ranging from maritime art to contemporary works.

Dive into mouthwatering seafood at one of the many local restaurants before witnessing awe-inspiring performances by street artists along Derby Square. Salem encapsulates New England charm combined with spine-tingling history for an unforgettable day excursion from Boston.

Cape Cod, MA

Cape Cod, MA beckons with its windswept beaches and a shoreline that seems to stretch into forever. This iconic hook-shaped peninsula offers quintessential New England charm alongside sandy dunes and quaint seaside villages.

Get ready for a day trip from Boston packed with sunbathing, lighthouse tours, and fresh seafood catches. Explore the Cape Cod National Seashore for breathtaking ocean views, or take a leisurely bike ride along the Shining Sea Bikeway to experience the coastal beauty up close.

After relishing in Cape Cod’s soothing beach vibes, consider embarking on an adventure to Martha’s Vineyard. Just a short ferry ride away from the mainland, this island escape promises more scenic wonders and unique experiences as your day trips from Boston continue.

Martha’s Vineyard, MA

Martha's Vineyard, MA

Martha’s Vineyard, MA, offers a peaceful escape just a ferry ride away from Boston. Visitors revel in the island’s charming gingerbread cottages, pristine beaches, and lush farmland.

Art enthusiasts appreciate the numerous galleries dotting the quaint towns of Oak Bluffs, Edgartown, and Vineyard Haven. Foodies delight in fresh seafood served at local eateries where ocean views enhance the dining experience.

Outdoor activities abound on this idyllic island with biking trails weaving through scenic landscapes. Beach lovers bask in the sun at Aquinnah Cliffs or take to the waves for some surfing fun.

Martha’s Vineyard also holds cultural significance with its historic lighthouses and maritime heritage celebrated throughout the year with festivals and events. Inviting visitors to create lasting memories during their day trips from Boston.

Hidden Gems and Must-Visit Destinations

Discover the less-traveled paths on your next day trip from Boston, where enchanting locales await around every corner. Journey to these hidden gems and must-visit spots for an unforgettable experience that goes beyond the typical tourist trail.

Plum Island, MA

Plum Island, MA

Plum Island, MA, is a spectacular coastal escape just an hour north of Boston. This barrier island offers miles of unspoiled beaches ideal for sunbathing, swimming, and fishing. Bird watchers flock here to spot rare species at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge which covers much of the island.

Adventurers can explore the winding trails and observation towers that provide panoramic views of marshes teeming with wildlife. If you’re craving serenity, walk along pristine sands and breathe in the salty ocean breeze for the perfect day by the sea.

Whether you come with family or just need some time away from city life, Plum Island delivers nature’s beauty without fail.

Mystic, CT

Mystic, CT is a charming seaside town that beckons with New England charm and a maritime flair. Explore the iconic Mystic Seaport Museum, where tall ships and maritime history come to life.

Take a stroll through Olde Mistick Village for unique shopping experiences or indulge in fresh seafood at local eateries by the water’s edge. Kids will love meeting beluga whales at Mystic Aquarium, one of the area’s top attractions.

After savoring the coastal vibe in Mystic, set sail on an adventure to Stellwagen Bank for an unforgettable whale watching experience.

Stellwagen Bank – Whale Watching Cruises

Stellwagen Bank - Whale Watching Cruises

Set sail from Boston for a breathtaking adventure on Stellwagen Bank, recognized as one of the planet’s premier whale-watching spots. Here, you may encounter majestic humpbacks, friendly dolphins, and even colossal blue whales in their natural habitat.

These cruises offer an unforgettable experience with knowledgeable guides who share fascinating facts about the marine life you see.

Your voyage takes you through the nutrient-rich waters that draw these magnificent creatures year after year. Keep your camera ready for that perfect tail flip or breech moment that will have friends back home in awe.

As your boat glides back to shore reflecting on the wonders of the deep blue, consider exploring more historical sites next with a visit to Lexington & Concord, MA.

Lexington & Concord, MA

After an awe-inspiring encounter with the ocean’s gentle giants on a whale watching cruise, travelers can immerse themselves in America’s formative history with a day trip to Lexington and Concord, MA.

These towns are not just scenic spots near Boston but pivotal locations where the opening shots of the American Revolutionary War were fired. Visitors can feel the echo of colonial defiance as they walk along the historic Battle Road Trail or stand on Lexington Green where minutemen faced British soldiers.

Exploring these towns offers more than a stroll through history. It’s an opportunity to see relics preserved at places like Buckman Tavern or The Old North Bridge, where “the shot heard ’round the world” was fired.

Delve into stories of bravery at Minute Man National Historical Park, which captivates families and history buffs alike with its vivid reenactments and powerful narratives from the dawn of American independence.

A visit to these storied Massachusetts locales provides a profound connection to the nation’s past that is both educational and inspiring for all who come seeking knowledge about America’s revolutionary spirit.

Kittery, ME

Kittery, ME

Kittery, ME offers a slice of coastal charm for those looking to escape Boston’s city life. Just over an hour by car, it’s the perfect spot for day trippers and couples craving some seaside serenity.

Shoppers flock to Kittery for its famous outlet malls packed with deals on big-brand names. But there’s more than shopping in this quaint town. You can explore historic forts like Fort Foster or take a leisurely stroll through the scenic Fort McClary State Park.

Foodies rejoice at the fresh seafood served up at local eateries, where lobster rolls are a must-try. The Pepperrell Cove area serves as a picturesque backdrop for dining al fresco while watching boats bob in the harbor.

Outdoor enthusiasts can kayak along the peaceful Piscataqua River or bike across Memorial Bridge for stunning views of the waterway that separates Maine from New Hampshire. For beach lovers, a short drive takes you to Seapoint Beach where you can soak up sun and enjoy unspoiled ocean vistas away from crowds.

Day Trips for Nature Lovers

Escape the city’s hustle and revel in the tranquility of nature with these specially curated day trips. Whether you’re craving the vibrant colors of fall foliage or seeking serene coastal views, Boston’s proximity to pristine natural landscapes offers a refreshing retreat for every nature enthusiast.

New England Fall Foliage Tours

New England Fall Foliage Tours

Explore the vibrant colors of autumn on a New England fall foliage tour. As leaves transform into spectacular shades of red, orange, and gold, these guided trips provide an unforgettable experience for nature lovers.

You can journey through quaint towns and rolling hills from the comfort of a cozy bus or take to the trails for an up-close encounter with the changing season. Many tours offer expert commentary on local history and insights into the best spots for photography.

Venture out from Boston by car or join an organized group to capture this natural spectacle at its peak. The White Mountains in New Hampshire provide a panoramic backdrop while Vermont’s scenic byways beckon visitors seeking rustic charm amidst the maples.

Don’t miss out on Massachusetts’ own Berkshires, where winding roads lead to breathtaking vistas perfect for a day trip filled with awe-inspiring views and crisp autumn air.


Nantucket awaits as a premier day trip destination for those eager to explore the quintessence of New England charm. Just a ferry ride away from Boston, this picturesque island offers pristine beaches, cobblestone streets, and a laid-back atmosphere that captivates visitors year-round.

Step off the boat and into another world where boutique shops line historic downtown and local eateries serve up fresh seafood caught daily.

Nature lovers can revel in Nantucket’s conservation lands and walking trails that boast diverse ecosystems and offer peaceful retreats. Cyclists find paradise here too; miles of bike paths make it easy to discover secluded spots and scenic views around every turn.

Whether you seek leisurely coastal strolls or engaging tours at the Whaling Museum, Nantucket provides an idyllic escape with timeless appeal.

Concord, MA

Concord, MA

Concord, MA beckons history buffs and nature lovers alike for an unforgettable day trip from Boston. This small town brims with American Revolutionary War history; visitors can explore the Minute Man National Historical Park where the famous “shot heard ’round the world” was fired.

Take a stroll across North Bridge, a pivotal battle site now marked by Daniel Chester French’s stirring Minuteman Statue.

For those seeking tranquility, Walden Pond provides a serene escape in Concord’s lush surroundings. It’s here that Henry David Thoreau penned his classic work “Walden”. Wander around the pond or hike through the surrounding woodlands to experience the place that inspired him to live deliberately amongst nature.

With easy access by car or public transportation, Concord offers a rich combination of heritage and natural beauty just moments away from Boston’s hustle and bustle.

Castle Island

Castle Island invites nature lovers and history buffs alike for an unforgettable day trip from Boston. Only a quick drive or bus ride away, this peninsula boasts stunning ocean views, open green spaces, and the historic Fort Independence.

Visitors can explore the fort’s grounds on a free guided tour during the summer months to uncover the rich history of this Boston Harbor landmark.

Stroll along Pleasure Bay’s sandy shorelines or pack a kite to fly over the breezy parkland. Active folks enjoy jogging on well-maintained paths while families often gather for picnics under shaded areas.

Fishing enthusiasts cast lines off the pier as planes ascend gracefully from nearby Logan Airport, offering a unique blend of tranquility and urban excitement at Castle Island—a must-visit destination just moments from downtown Boston.

Historical Day Trips

Step back in time with day trips from Boston that bring history to life, from the battlefields of Lexington & Concord to the eerie streets of Salem; discover these storied locales that played pivotal roles in shaping America.

Keep reading to uncover the past waiting just beyond your doorstep.

Revolutionary War Sites in Lexington & Concord, MA

Lexington MA

Travel back in time with a visit to the Revolutionary War sites in Lexington and Concord, MA. These towns are steeped in history, marking the beginning of America’s fight for independence.

Walk the same grounds where the early battles took place at Lexington Green and cross North Bridge in Concord, where “the shot heard ’round the world” was fired. Visit Minute Man National Historical Park to see reenactments, explore colonial homes, and learn about the brave individuals who shaped our nation’s destiny.

Lexington’s Hancock-Clarke House tells stories of Patriots John Hancock and Samuel Adams. While Concord’s Orchard House gives insight into Louisa May Alcott’s life set against this historic backdrop.

Don’t miss exploring The Old Manse near Concord River or learning at The American Revolution Museum. Each landmark offers an interactive glimpse into pivotal moments that forged America’s future.

Salem – Witch Museums & Historic Sites

Salem, MA, beckons history buffs and the curious alike with its storied past of witch trials and maritime heritage. The Witch Museum in Salem offers a gripping dive into the dark events of 1692 through life-size figures, lighting, and a stirring narration that brings the witch hysteria to life.

Visitors can walk through the museum’s galleries understanding how fear and superstition led to a tragic miscarriage of justice that left an indelible mark on American history.

Step outside the museum and explore historic sites scattered around this quaint New England town. The Witch Trial Memorial provides a somber space for reflection, honoring those who were wrongly accused and executed.

History enthusiasts also flock to the House of Seven Gables, which inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne’s famous novel. It stands as a testament to Salem’s rich literary tradition intertwined with its haunting past.

Each site offers unique insights, making Salem one of the most compelling day trips from Boston for those intrigued by colonial lore and tales of yore.

Plimoth Patuxent, Mayflower II, Situate Lighthouse, Adams Birthplace

Plimoth Patuxent, Mayflower

Step back into the early days of American history with a visit to Plimoth Patuxent. Here, you’ll immerse yourself in the life of the 17th century through a living history museum where costumed actors bring Pilgrim and Native American stories to life.

Don’t miss exploring Mayflower II, a full-scale reproduction of the ship that brought the Pilgrims across the Atlantic. This floating piece of history allows you to experience firsthand what transatlantic travel was like for early settlers.

A short drive from Plimoth will lead you to Scituate Lighthouse, an iconic New England beacon that has guided sailors since 1811. Climb up for sweeping ocean views and a breath of salty sea air.

Round off your historical day trip by visiting Quincy’s Adams Birthplace, where two U.S. presidents were born: John Adams and his son John Quincy Adams. Explore these well-preserved homes that offer insight into their lives and legacies. Essential for any history buff looking for unforgettable Boston day trips by car or public transportation.

Boston Harbor Islands

Escape to the Boston Harbor Islands for a refreshing day trip from Boston by ferry. This collection of 34 islands offers an array of adventures for outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

Venture onto Spectacle or Georges Island and uncover historic forts, lighthouses, and Civil War-era structures that tell tales from centuries past. Hike scenic trails, spot wildlife, go kayaking along the coastline, or just relax on sandy beaches with views stretching back to the city skyline.

Pack a picnic and catch a ferry for some island hopping between these hidden gems near Boston. Each island has its own unique charm. With activities ranging from fishing to swimming to exploring sunken ships at low tide.

Whether traveling solo or looking for family-friendly outings. These islands provide the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable day out on the water surrounded by natural beauty and maritime wonders.


Boston bustles with historic sights and city life, but sometimes a change of scenery calls for adventure. With this list of the best day trips from Boston just a hop away, every excursion promises its own unique blend of charm and excitement.

Whether you’re craving salty sea air or the whispers of history in your ear, there’s a perfect day trip waiting for you. Grab your keys or catch the next train to uncover the treasures that lie beyond Boston’s skyline.

Let each journey turn today into an unforgettable story to tell tomorrow.


1. What are some popular day trip destinations from Boston?

Popular day trips from Boston include Salem, Cape Cod, and Plymouth.

2. Is there a beach close to Boston for a quick getaway?

Yes, Revere Beach is the closest beach to Boston for a quick day trip.

3. Can I find historic sites on day trips from Boston?

Many nearby towns like Lexington and Concord offer rich historic sites within a short drive.

4. Are there any nature spots near Boston for hiking or picnics?

The Blue Hills Reservation and Walden Pond State Reservation are great spots for hiking and picnics near Boston.

5. Do I need to book tours in advance for day trips around Boston?

Booking tours in advance can be helpful, especially during peak tourist seasons or for special events.

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