Boston, the state’s capital, is a thriving center of tradition, culture, and innovation. Even the most ardent city inhabitants, though, occasionally need a respite from the commotion. Fortunately, the gorgeous cities, breathtaking coasts, and enchanting landscapes of New England are well known. So why not make the most of your stay in Boston by visiting the greatest day trip locations nearby?
This guide will take you on a tour through the top day trips from Boston, such as scenic highways, quaint villages, and picturesque beaches. We have activities for everyone, whether you want to unwind in the great outdoors, experience colonial history, or have a good time at the beach. So prepare yourself to explore memorable day trips from Boston!
#1. Lexington and Concord: First Shots of the Revolution
This is unquestionably one of the best day trips from Boston. On April 19, 1775, near Lexington Green, the first bullets of the American War of Independence were fired. At the adjacent town of Concord, militiamen from the colonies defeated British soldiers at North Bridge in the first actual action of the Revolution. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louisa May Alcott, William Ellery Channing, and Henry David Thoreau were among the most prominent figures in American literature and philosophy who resided in Concord.
You can visit their residences as well as locations related to them, like Author’s Ridge in the picturesque Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Walden Pond, and Alcott’s Orchard House. The Concord Museum’s artifacts and displays cover the histories of literature and the American Revolution. Walden Pond is currently a park.
#2. Portland, ME
The largest city in Maine draws foodies from all over the nation to its cobblestone streets. Explore the Old Port neighborhood, where every kind of shop you can imagine advertises colorful goods. Enjoy the State Theatre and Portland Museum of Art, both of which were built by I.M. Pei, in the West End arts neighborhood.
The food scene stands up to the hype, with restaurants such as Baharat serving up modern takes on traditional meze from the Mediterranean, Cong Tu Bot serving up nationally renowned Vietnamese cuisine, and Green Elephant serving up creative vegetarian dishes. In the Press Hotel, there is a thriving local-centric eatery called Union.
#3. New England Day Trip – Rockport
In Rockport, there are about 7,000 residents. This little New England town is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on three sides and is located near the extremity of the Cape Ann peninsula. Rockport was once the location of a few Native American communities, and today the majority of its residents are fishermen and artists.
Additionally, visitors take pleasure in exploring Rockport’s historic downtown and its beaches. The area’s most well-known tourist destinations include Halibut Point State Park, Thacher Island, the Paper House, and the Rockport Art Colony Gallery. Also, the city is home to a number of performing arts venues.
Salem is also one of the top day trips from Boston and has many of the grand homes from the 18th and 19th centuries that were constructed for prosperous businessmen and sea captains. A few of the finest mansions are available for tours; they are equipped with heirloom-quality antiques and ornamental art imported from the Far East. The Salem Maritime National Historical Park is made up of docks, two historic mansions, a replica sailing ship, the Customs House, warehouses, and exhibitions.
The sole structure specifically linked to the witch trials is the House of the Seven Gables, made famous by the Nathaniel Hawthorne novel. The Boston to Salem High-Speed Ferry is the easiest and quickest way to get from Boston to Salem.
#5. Newburyport, MA
The majority of downtown is included in the National Register of Historic Places’ Newburyport Historic District. It features the Customs House Maritime Museum and statesman Caleb Cushing’s residence, the Cushing House Museum & Garden. Regular concerts are held at the Waterfront Park and Boardwalk, while plays and performances are presented at the Firehouse Center for the Arts. The Plum Island Restaurant offers a deck seat for watching the sunset, while the Newburyport Brewing Company has a welcoming tap room and beer garden.
#6. Good Harbour Beach
Good Harbor Beach, one of the best day trips from Boston is close to Gloucester, offers pristine white sands and breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. Visitors can walk to Salt Island or engage in body and boogie-boarding activities when the tides are favorable. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, lifeguards keep watch over the beach every day.
There are services such as restrooms, restaurants, concession booths, and small markets at Good Harbor Beach. The cost of parking close to the beach is often $25 per vehicle or $30 on weekends and holidays. Visitors are advised to arrive early because parking is scarce.
#7. Provincetown, MA
A hip LGBT destination called P-Town is 90 minutes from Boston. With its galleries, eateries, and nightlife hot spots, Commercial Street is the pulsating center of the community. For traditional lobster rolls and delicious fresh seafood dishes, The Lobster Pot is the most well-known name in town. Visit Race Point Beach to experience the sights, sounds, and aromas of the open ocean, as well as the 252-foot granite Pilgrim Monument for spectacular harbor vistas. Visit the stunningly desolate Outer Cape section of the Cape Cod National Seashore, which includes the charming Highland Light in Truro.
Read Also: BEST TOWNS IN MAINE: Top 12 Towns in Maine
#8. Martha’s Vineyard
To reach Oak Bluffs on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, the Island Queen Ferry travels across Vineyard Sound. You can board and depart the public transportation bus in Falmouth to visit lighthouses, Aquinnah Cliffs, historic Edgartown’s art galleries, and gingerbread houses. Also, you can ride the Flying Horses Carousel on Chappaquiddick Island by taking a ferry there.
Visit the 1672 Vincent House in the formerly active whaling port of Edgartown for a look back at life on the island over its 400-year history. On the day trip from Boston, a coach will take you to the port city of Falmouth, where you can catch a ferry to the island. The island discount card will provide you with six hours to explore on your own.
Another famous seaside city that attracts visitors from all across the country is Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Historic buildings, forts, cemeteries, gardens, and parks are some of Portsmouth’s most famous tourist destinations. Portsmouth is rich in history. For families, Portsmouth offers the biggest water park in New England as well as a science and marine discovery center.
Beaches and museums are both excellent options for family day outings. Portsmouth offers plenty of nightlife for adults in addition to wineries, golf courses, shopping malls, upscale dining establishments, river cruises, hiking trails, independently run tours and more. It is without a doubt one of the perfect day trips from Boston.
#10. New England Coast
A beautiful day excursion from Boston takes you to the beaches and rugged headlands of the coasts of New Hampshire and southern Maine. Depending on how many stops you make, you can travel as far north as the historic Maine towns of Old Orchard and Kennebunkport. Along the coastline, you can witness grand turn-of-the-century summer “cottages,” Cape Neddick’s famed Nubble Lighthouse, as well as the residences of sea captains, shops, and art galleries. In addition, a waterfront restaurant serves fresh Maine seafood.
#11. Watch Hill, RI
Watch Hill, a seaside community in the town of Westerly, is one of the best-liked day trips from Boston and it features one of the nicest beaches on the East Coast with plenty of celebrity glitz. Get in town early and take a stroll along Napatree Point Conservation Area; you’ll see the ruins of Fort Mansfield there, along with a variety of stunning species, including osprey and piping plovers.
After your nature hike, stroll through the quaint village and do some shopping. The old carousel will be a hit with the youngsters, and lunch at the Olympia Tea Room—reportedly Taylor Swift’s favorite—is a must. You can even sneak a peek inside her house because it’s impossible to miss. In the stunning Ocean House, where you can enjoy a drink and a snack at the Verandah Raw Bar while watching the war, round off the day with some cocktails.
#12. Shopping and Seafood Portland, Maine
It takes just two hours to drive to Portland, or you can take the Amtrak Downeaster from Boston, which gives you seven hours to enjoy a seafood lunch or early dinner at a waterfront restaurant and an afternoon of shopping in Portland’s historic downtown. There are many restaurants and stores that specialize in Maine goods along the bustling fishing harbor.
Furthermore, Edgecomb Potters make pottery with sea and mountain themes; Lisa-Made Marie’s in Maine sells jewelry, original artwork, and gourmet cuisine; and Maine Craft Portland, located in the historic Mechanics Hall, features work by regional artists. You can also see talented craftspeople repurpose sea-worn sails into fashionable totes and bags at the Sea Bags Factory Shop on Custom House Wharf.
Alternatively, spend your time in this port city exploring the outstanding Portland Museum of Art or the magnificent interiors of the Victoria Mansion, one of the most significant 19th-century historic residences in America.
Can You Visit Cape Cod From Boston?
Yes. If you want to drive, it will take you around 2 1/2 hours to travel from Boston to Provincetown, which is located at the easternmost point of Cape Cod.
What Is Cape Cod Famous for?
Sand beaches, lobster rolls, and casual fun are Cape Cod’s most well-known attractions. Yet the Cape and Islands have also been the inspiration for some fantastic, unique brands and goods inspired by beach living.