21 Best Day Trips From Boston, Massachusetts

Here are my favorite day trips from Boston, ranging from cities and charming seaside towns to national parks, state parks, and more!

Because I was born and raised in Massachusetts, I’ve spend much of my life exploring New England.

Though exploring my home didn’t excite me as much as going overseas, I have grown to love and appreciate the beauty and charm of New England.

So I’ve decided to write a post about the best day trips from Boston!

Boston is one of the USA’s most incredible cities. It’s packed with history, architecture, museums, nightlife, and lots of cool attractions.

If you’re visiting Boston and you’d like to escape the city for a day, here are some beautiful day trips from Boston. I’ll also include some fun weekend getaways at the end!

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How To Get Around On Day Trips From Boston

I would like to note that public transportation in the US is not great. There are some buses and trains, but having a car is the best way to get around.

Consider renting a car for the day if you want to visit one of these places. You don’t need a car in Boston itself though. Parking is expensive and honestly, Boston is a nightmare to drive around.

But if you want to leave the city and explore more of New England, it’s worth renting a car!

I’ll also link to some guided day trips that include transport.

These are convenient options for those who don’t want to rent a car, and there are cool day trips to places like Salem, York, Plymouth, and Martha’s Vineyard.

girl looking at fall foliage on day trips from boston
Try some of these day trips from Boston in autumn so you can see the best of the New England foliage!

Best Day Trips From Boston

Here are my favorite day trips from Boston, listed in no particular order.

Whether you want forest, beach, historic villages, or classic New England towns, there is lots to see and do outside the city.

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1. Bolton, MA

  • 40 minutes from Boston

Bolton is a peaceful residential town in Central Massachusetts. This is near where I grew up, and there is actually a lot to do here!

Pick your own apples in autumn at Bolton Spring Farm. Or visit Bolton Orchards for that classic rural New England farm stand. Here you can drink fresh apple cider, grab a homemade sandwich at the deli, or get an ice cream from the cafe.

Or if wine is more your style, head to Nashoba Valley Winery for wine tasting and nibbles outside overlooking the countryside.

2. Salem, MA

  • 40 minutes from Boston

Located a short drive north of Boston, Salem is a historic Massachusetts town made famous by the Salem Witch Trials of the late 1600s.

Salem also has a rich maritime history which you can explore at the various museums, landmarks, and historic sites around town.

The best way to learn all the fun facts about Salem is on a guided night walking tour! You can also book a day trip from Boston to Salem via ferry that includes a visit to the Witch Museum.

3. York, ME

  • 1 hour from Boston

At just over an hour drive from downtown Boston, York is a beautiful seaside town in Maine.

Here you can enjoy the beach, tour a brewery or distillery, go golfing, and get ice cream or lobster rolls at a local restaurant. Be sure to also check out the iconic Nubble Lighthouse.

Book this highly-rated day trip from Boston that includes the highlights of Maine’s south coast such as York, Kennebunkport, and Ogunquit.

4. Purgatory Chasm State Reservation, MA

  • 1 hour from Boston

Located in Sutton, Massachusetts, Purgatory Chasm is a great place to stretch the legs outside Boston.

Full of huge rock formations, lush forests, and walking trails, this place is perfect for nature lovers and families.

But the rocks can be slippery in snow, rain, or ice, so avoid hiking in winter or wet weather.

Parking is $5 for MA residents and $20 for non residents.

5. Newport, RI

  • 1 hour and 45 minutes from Boston

This charming Rhode Island city is one of the coolest places to visit in New England.

Known for its historic mansions, fun nightlife, cool shops, and beautiful coastline, there is so much to do in Newport.

Check out the unique shops on the historic Thames Street or go on a scenic boat cruise in Narragansett Bay. Stroll along the Cliff Walk or surf at Easton’s Beach.

Check out my full list of the best things to do in Newport here!

thames street in newport rhode island
Thames Street in Newport, Rhode Island

6. Douglas State Forest, MA

  • 1 hour and 15 minutes from Boston

A beautiful place to escape into nature near Boston is Douglas State Forest.

The state park is open sunrise to sunset, and parking fees are charged between May and October for $9 (MA residents) or $30 (non-residents).

Douglas State Forest offers all sorts of outdoor activities including hiking, swimming, boating, horseback riding, fishing, bird watching, mountain biking, or cross country skiing and snowshoeing in winter.

7. Hampton Beach, NH

  • 1 hour from Boston

One of the best places for a beach day near Boston is Hampton Beach, New Hampshire.

The long strip of golden sand is framed by a lively boardwalk packed with eateries, arcades, souvenir shops, and entertainment venues.

It’s a popular spot for surfing as well, though the water is always freezing cold! You can also go swimming, walking, fishing, exploring, and camping at Hampton Beach State Park.

8. Cape Cod, MA

  • 1-2 hours from Boston

Often referred to ask the “arm of Massachusetts”, Cape Cod is the peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean from the state’s eastern side.

A popular holiday spot and retirement destination for Massachusetts locals, Cape Cod is known for its charming towns, sandy beaches, and laid-back coastal vibe.

Cape Cod is packed with bustling towns like Falmouth, Mashpee, Hyannis, Bourne, Chatham, and Provincetown. Though every corner of the Cape has something special about it.

Flanked on both sides by sand dunes and beaches Cape Cod offers plenty of places to relax on the sand, swim in the sea, bike along the shore, and go on whale watching cruises.

Cape Cod National Seashore is a protected area of coastline where you can explore historic lighthouses, wildlife-filled marshes, and biking trails.

9. Old Sturbridge Village, MA

  • 1 hour and 10 minutes from Boston

Whether you’re a history lover or you’re traveling with kids, Old Sturbridge Village is an educational and interactive place to visit near Boston.

Old Sturbridge Village is like a living museum! Wander through the sprawling replica of a rural Massachusetts town from the 1830s and learn what life was like back in the day.

10. Providence, RI

  • 1 hour from Boston

The exciting capital city of Rhode Island is just 1 hour from Boston!

A day trip or even a weekend trip to Providence is well worth it because this city is packed with entertainment and culture.

Visit a museum, explore a local art market, go on a ghost tour, or indulge in the nightlife. I’ve had so many fun experiences in Providence over the years and it’s truly an awesome city.

11. Keene, NH

  • 2 hours from Boston

Keene is a quaint town in southwest New Hampshire that also makes a nice day trip from Boston.

Known for being a college town, Keene has a walkable town center full of classic New England architecture, cute cafes, green spaces, and nice restaurants.

There are also some great hiking trails around Keene, such as Mount Monadnock.

Harry Potter nerds should consider visiting Keene during the last week of July, also known as “Keene Wizarding Week”, when all the local businesses around town have Harry Potter-themed events and decorations!

downtown keene new hampshire, one of the best day trips from boston
Downtown Keene, NH

12. Plymouth, MA

  • 1 hour from Boston

Plymouth is known for being the arrival point of the pilgrims who came over from England in 1620. It’s where the first European Settlement in New England began, thus playing an important role in US history.

Tourists flock to Plymouth to see the famous Plymouth Rock and the exact replica of the Mayflower II, the ship that the pilgrims arrived on.

Plymouth also has cool museums, gardens, walking trails, forests, and even a winery.

You can book a day trip to Plymouth as well! This includes Boston hotel pick-up, guided tours around the historical sites, and a stop in Quincy (another historic Massachusetts town where 2 US presidents were born).

13. Walden Pond, MA

  • 30 minutes from Boston

Located in Concord, Massachusetts, Walden Pond is one of the easiest day trips from Boston.

Here you can stroll through the peaceful nature, swim in the pond, or try water sports such as kayaking, canoeing, or boating.

Walden Pond became famous when Henry David Thoreau wrote an entire book about the beauty of nature here (the book was titled Walden).

So if you’re looking to escape the city and really dive into the natural beauty of Massachusetts, Walden Pond is the place to go.

14. Kittery, ME

  • 1 hour and 10 minutes from Boston

Kittery is an adorable coastal town located near Maine’s southern border.

With pebbly beaches, cozy seafood restaurants, and unique museums, Kittery has lots to offer day trippers from Boston.

Go bike riding around the historic Fort Foster and eat a Maine lobster at Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier. Or shop for local produce at the Kittery Community Market on Sundays.

Go for a chilly ocean swim at Crescent Beach or Seapoint Beach. Kittery has lots of places to get outside and soak in the salty, seaside air!

sunrise on the beach in kittery maine
Kittery is home to lots of beautiful beaches!

15. Plum Island, MA

  • 1 hour from Boston

A beautiful barrier island located off the coast of northern Massachusetts, Plum Island is the perfect summer getaway from the city.

It’s about 11 miles long and filled with soft sandy beaches, lobster shacks, and the protected ecosystems of the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge.

Sandy Point State Reservation is also a great place for bird watching, sunbathing, and exploring the peaceful nature.

16. Portland, ME

  • 1 hour and 45 minutes from Boston

Portland is a super cool city in Maine that is one of the best day trips from Boston.

This small city has new art galleries, ice cream shops, live music venues, dispensaries, museums, and more popping up all the time.

Grab a brew at Allagash Brewing Company, enjoy the views at the Portland Head Lighthouse, or check out the Portland Museum of Art.

Take your sightseeing to the waters with a scenic cruise, or cover more ground on a historic trolley tour!

More Day Trips From Boston (Better Suited To Weekend Trips)

There are so many amazing places to visit on a weekend trip from Boston, including New York City and Acadia National Park. These are about a 4 hour journey from Boston though, so you probably wouldn’t want to do these as a day trip.

However, here are some more epic locations that could be done as either a day trip or a weekend getaway.

The drive is around 2-3 hours for all of these. So you’d be better off on a weekend trip unless you want to wake up early and smash out lots of driving in one day.

Use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights around the US!

17. Martha’s Vineyard, MA

  • 2 hours and 45 minutes from Boston

Martha’s Vineyard is an iconic Massachusetts getaway. It’s a bit of a mission to get there from Boston, which is why it’s better suited to a weekend trip.

Travel by car, bus, or ferry to Wood Hole in Falmouth, Cape Cod. Then catch the ferry over to Martha’s Vineyard.

Or book a convenient day tour from Boston that includes all your transport so you can visit the island without all the hassle.

Once you arrive, spend the day strolling through the little town center, where there are quirky stores, seafood restaurants, fudge shops, and plenty of other cute attractions.

The colorful, intricate, fairytale houses of Oak Bluffs Campground are a highlight of Martha’s Vineyard as well!

18. White Mountains, NH

  • 2.5 hours from Boston

The White Mountains in New Hampshire are a haven for wilderness lovers.

Filled with towering peaks, challenging trails, epic gorges, quaint mountain towns, and more, this located offers a wholesome getaway from the city.

Flume Gorge is a super cool attraction to check out. For those classic New England fall foliage views, visit the White Mountains in October or November!

Read my complete hiking guide to Flume Gorge for more info.

fall foliage in the white mountains on day trips from boston
Views on the Flume Gorge Trail in the White Mountains

19. Block Island, RI

  • 3 hours from Boston

This tiny but fun island off the coast of Rhode Island is another top beach destination in New England.

Admire the sand dunes at Mohegan Bluffs, hike along the Clay Head Nature Trail, or admire one of the few adorable lighthouses.

Block Island is also filled with beaches, restaurants, bars, and cozy inns if you want to stay the night.

20. Nantucket, MA

  • 3.5 hours from Boston

Nantucket is another stunning island that you can get to in a few hours from Boston!

You’ll need to get yourself to Hyannis in Cape Cod and then catch the ferry from there. Consider combining Nantucket into a weekend trip to Cape Cod if you want!

Top things to do on Nantucket include strolling the Sconset Bluff Walk, seeing Brant Point Lighthouse, and visiting the Whaling Museum.

And of course, hitting the beach. Sconset Beach, Jetties Beach, Madaket Beach, and Steps Beach are top choices.

21. Lake Winnepesaukee, NH

  • 2 hours from Boston

One of the top destinations for a weekend trip from Boston is Lake Winnepesaukee, the largest lake in New Hampshire.

Nestled at the foothills of the White Mountains, New England locals flock here in summer for boating, swimming, and enjoying that lazy lake life.

Popular beaches on Lake Winnepesaukee include Weirs Beach, Bartlett Beach, and Allen Albee Beach.

Other highlights of the area include the local museums, riding the Winnepesaukee Scenic Railroad, seeing a movie at the Weird Drive-In Theatre, and playing games at Funspot Arcade.

kayaking on a lake on a day trip from boston
New Hampshire’s lakes are the perfect escape from the summer heat in the city.

Thanks for reading about my favorite day trips from Boston!

For anyone traveling to the USA, check out my list of 50 budget travel tips to save money. The USA isn’t a very cheap country to travel around!

I also definitely recommend having travel insurance. The healthcare system in the USA is insane, and if something bad happens you may just go bankrupt trying to pay for emergency care out of pocket.

Check out my budget traveler’s guide to travel insurance for more info. Or check out my favorite travel insurance website, Squaremouth Insurance!

You also need a visa to visit the USA! Don’t forget to apply before you arrive.

best day trips from boston

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