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35 Delightful Day Trips from Boston, MA

As much as I love my home city of Boston, MA, getting out of the city is always welcome. Luckily there are TONS of fun day trips from Boston available.

Check out these 35 delightful day trips from Boston for ideas on what you can do when you want to explore the rest of New England.

Six Flags New England

Known as Riverside Amusement Park during my childhood, Six Flags New England is a large theme park that sits along the Connecticut River in Agawam, MA. It’s about 1 hour and 40 minutes southwest of the city.

Closeup of people riding the Bizarro roller coaster at Six Flags New England.
Photo courtesy of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism.

Six Flags New England boasts 12 roller coasters and a huge water park. There are also several live shows, a dance party, and Looney Tunes characters and Gotham City villains meet-and-greets.

Boston Harbor Islands

While some of the Harbor Islands are technically still part of Boston proper, it’s very much out of the city life, so I just had to include it as a day trip from Boston!

A man and woman kayaking off the coast of one of the Boston Harbor islands.
Photo by Tom Kates, courtesy of the Boston Harbor Island Alliance via the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism.

Ferry service to the islands is available at the dock next to the New England Aquarium from late Spring to mid Fall.

Fares are reasonable, ranging from free to less than $20, depending on whether you’re an adult, student, member of the military, and so on.

Make your way to Georges Island to visit Fort Warren, a Civil War era fortress open to the public.

Or perhaps head to Brewster Island to tour the oldest lighthouse in the US.

Hiking, fishing, bird watching, and relaxing on the beach are popular activities for a day trip to the Boston Harbor Islands.

A few of the Boston Harbor Islands also offer camping (note: NOT glamping or modern camping!).

You might also like: New England in the Fall: A Local’s Guide

Walden Pond

For an enjoyable, quiet day in nature, take a short drive out to Walden Pond State Reservation in Concord, MA.

Landscape view of Walden Pond in Concord, MA during the Fall season with red, yellow and green trees in the background.
Photo courtesy of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism.

American transcendentalist writer Henry David Thoreau famously spent 2 years, 2 months, and 2 days in a tiny cabin on Walden Pond and wrote a book about it: Walden.

Today, you can relax on the pond’s shore, go boating on the pond, and visit a replica of Thoreau’s cabin. Concord is about 30 minutes outside of Boston.

Lizzie Borden’s House

Fans of true life crime stories should hit up Fall River, MA, home of alleged murderer, Lizzie Borden.

Closeup of infamously alleged murderer Lizzie Borden's home.
Photo courtesy of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism.

Legend has it that Lizzie murdered her father and stepmother with an axe, but famously got away with it.

You can stay in the house where it all happened, as it now serves as a museum and bed and breakfast. Fall River is about 1 hour outside of Boston.

Gillette Stadium

Boston is NUTS for sports, especially when it comes to the King of Boston, Tom Brady, and his minions, the New England Patriots.

The New England Patriots play at Gillette Stadium, located out in Foxboro, MA.

Do yourself a favor and make it to at least one game if you’re here during NFL football season, which takes place between September and December.

To see when the next game is, check out the New England Patriots schedule.

Not a football fan? Right next to Gillette Stadium is Patriot Place, which is packed with shopping, restaurants, and entertainment.

The fun also includes Splitsville Luxury Lanes bowling, Howl at the Moon piano bar, and a TopGolf Swing Suite.

Shopping day trips from Boston

There are a handful of good shopping outlets within a reasonable drive from Boston that make a perfect day trip.

Freeport, ME

Freeport has outlet shops set amid a quaint New England backdrop about 2 hours north of Boston.

It is also home to the flagship store for preppy outdoor brand, L.L. Bean, maker of the uber popular duck boot gracing every New Englander’s feet in the colder months.

Kittery, ME

Growing up, I spent a lot of my school vacations in Bar Harbor, Maine.

The Kittery Outlets are located on the border of Maine and Massachusetts, so we’d often stop off on our way home to do some shopping.

The outlets are not in a single complex, which can be annoying since that makes it less walkable, but they are at least congregated to the same area.

Nonetheless, The Kittery Outlets always has good deals, so it’s worth the stop.

A few popular shops and outlets in Kittery include:

  • Calvin Klein
  • Coach
  • J.Crew Factory & Crew Cuts
  • Kate Spade New York
  • Lululemon athletica
  • Nike Factory Store

For a complete list of shops, outlets, and restaurants in Kittery, check out this link.

Wrentham, MA

Wrentham Village Premium Outlets is a popular outlet mall in Massachusetts. It can be a bit confusing to get to from Boston, so don’t rely on Google Maps to get there. I’m sure you can guess how I know.

Aside from that, the store selection is pretty good, so it’s still worth the trip out from Boston. Stores at the Wrentham Village Premium Outlets include:

  • Burton
  • Disney Outlet
  • Lucky Brand
  • Superdry
  • Ted Baker London
  • Vineyard Vines

For a full list of shops at this outlet, check out the Wrentham Village Premium Outlets stores list.

Rocky Neck Art Colony in Gloucester, MA

Most people know Gloucester as a big fishing town, as it’s home to the reality show Wicked Tuna, as well as the inspiration for the movie The Perfect Storm.

Sailboats off the coast of Gloucester, Massachusetts.

Gloucester is an excellent day trip about 50 minutes north of Boston.

It’s great for families with many options for kid-friendly activities, such as whale watching, beach walks, an aquarium (Maritime Gloucester), and a medieval castle (Hammond Castle).

Gloucester, and the surrounding Cape Ann area, is also home to the oldest art colony in the USA. Yep, true story!

The Rocky Neck Art Colony was established in the mid-1800s and is still kicking today.

The quirky and quaint colony is located on a peninsula and is full of art galleries, several restaurants, and a theater.

Mount Tom State Reservation

During my more youthful years (aka my childhood), Mount Tom in Holyoke, MA, was a local place to go skiing when you were too lazy to drive to Vermont.

Landscape view of Mount Tom State Reservation in Holyoke, MA
Photo courtesy of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism.

These days the ski resort is permanently closed, but the broader area, Mount Tom State Reservation, is still a popular place for cross country skiing, hiking, and mountain biking.

Mount Tom State Reservation also includes a playground, picnic tables, grills, and covered pavilions.

Lake Winnipesaukee, NH

Lake Winnipesaukee is a popular vacation and day trip destination for families.

There are many towns surrounding the lake, located in central New Hampshire, but Gilford and Laconia are probably the easiest to get to from Boston for a day trip.

Aside from the typical beach and lake activities, there are tons of family friendly activities available, such as go-karting, zip lining, a tie dye activity shop, and the NH Motor Speedway.

You might like: The Ultimate Guide to New Hampshire in the Fall

deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum

I have a special place in my heart for sculpture gardens. Sculpture gardens combine my love of weird art and the outdoors, after all.

View of a sculpture on the grounds of the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, MA.
Photo courtesy of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism.

One of the best sculpture parks near Boston is the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, MA, with over 60 sculptures spread out over 30 acres of beautiful grounds. The museum itself holds over 3400 works of art.

The sculptures and artwork at the deCordova Sculpture Park rotate out, so chances are high that repeat visits will be a new experience each time.

Foxwoods Casino

Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, CT, is known for its nightlife options, but also has a softer side with a spa and a golf course.

The variety of activities available at Foxwoods makes it a great destination for group day trips from Boston for celebrations such as bachelorette parties or girls’ getaways.

Oh and before I forget – they have their own outlet mall. An entire outlet mall! Who doesn’t love shopping at a discount?

Minute Man National Park

If you are interested in studying the Revolutionary War, head to Concord or Lexington, MA. Both towns, along with Lincoln, MA, are home to Minute Man National Historical Park.

People walking on a path in the Concord, MA section of Minute Man National Historical Park with orange, yellow, and green trees along the landscape.
Photo by James Higgins, courtesy of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism.

Minute Man National Historical Park is a nationally protected park that includes the site of the Battle of Lexington.

You can also walk the 5-mile Battle Road Trail between Concord and Lexington. I recommend visiting between Spring and Fall to take advantage of the living history program to help learn the story of this important site of the Revolutionary War.

Also of interest in Concord are the tombs of many famous authors, such as Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau. All of these authors are buried at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord.

You can also visit The Wayside, which was once home to Louisa May Alcott and Nathaniel Hawthorne, at separate times.

Interested in more military history travel? Check out these destinations, all in the USA.

Plum Island’s Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Plum Island is a small island off the coast of Newburyport, MA on the north shore area of metro Boston. Located on Plum Island is the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, over 4600 acres of conservation land.

Closeup of a piping plover chick standing on sand.

Parker River National Wildlife Refuge is a popular spot for birdwatching. Over 300 species of birds can be found there, such as piping plovers, saltmarsh sparrows, and blue herons.

As this is a national wildlife refuge, it is part of the US National Park network and your America the Beautiful Pass can be used for admission.

Otherwise, admission is $5 per car or $2 per bicycle. Season passes that cover entry for only the refuge are available for $20.

Newport, RI

Newport is a small town on the coast of Rhode Island. It is well-known for its historic mansions, many of which are open to the public for a guided tour. They are absolutely astounding!

The Breakers mansion in Newport, RI, as pictured here, is one of many mansions you can tour on a day trip from Boston, MA.
Photo courtesy of Rhode Island Commerce Corporation.

It also has several nice beaches, though some are quite loud thanks to the day clubs at a few of the on-shore bars. So if you’re looking for a beach day, I recommend other areas in New England if the club scene is not for you.

Beach day trips from Boston

Spending the day at the beach is a breeze from Boston. Check out these perfect beach day trips, all within a short drive from Boston, in the cutest New England towns.

Hampton Beach, NH

Photo of a family with 2 children walking toward the ocean at Hampton Beach, NH, one of many fun beaches available on a day trip from Boston.
Photo courtesy of NH Travel and Tourism.

New Hampshire doesn’t have much coastline, but what little exists is a popular spot for day trips from Boston. Hampton Beach, about 1 hour north, is the most popular.

Aside from the obvious benefits (sand, sun & water), Hampton Beach holds 2 popular events each year, the Hampton Beach Seafood Festival and the Hampton Beach Sand Sculpture Competition.

Hampton Beach also has a fireworks display every Wednesday evening during the Summer months.

Ipswich, MA

People setting up a clambake on Crane Beach in Ipswich, MA.
Woodman’s Clambake at Crane Beach in Ipswich, MA. Photo courtesy of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism.

Want to hit the beach but don’t want to deal with Boston-area traffic? Crane Beach in Ipswich is easily accessible by public transport.

Take the MBTA Commuter Rail Newburyport line to Ipswich, then hop on board the Ipswich Essex Explorer to Crane Beach.

Getting to Crane Beach without a car is super convenient, not to mention cheap!

And who doesn’t like enjoying an adult beverage or two to cool down? No driving = safe to drink (responsibly, of course!).

Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA

Singing Beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea is one of my favorite beaches in Massachusetts.

The sand at this super family-friendly beach squeaks when you walk on it, hence its name!

Although it is a public beach, it is not free to visit during the Summer season (mid-June through Labor Day) . A single day visit costs $7 and a “season pass” is available for $20.

Martha’s Vineyard, MA

This small island off the coast of Cape Cod is home to some of the cutest (and most expensive) beach cottages in all of New England.

Pop over for the day to lounge at one of the beaches, explore the small shops, and get homemade ice cream.

Martha’s Vineyard can be accessed by ferry or plane. You can find more info in my post about Boston to Cape Cod and the islands.

Old Orchard Beach, ME

Old Orchard Beach is on the southern coast of Maine. It’s a popular spot for a beach day trip outside of Massachusetts.

The beaches in Old Orchard Beach can be quite busy during the summer, but there are lots of fun activities nearby, like mini golf and a small theme park.

Northampton, MA

Northampton is a funky town in western Massachusetts known for its arts scene, as well as its thriving LGBT community.

Closeup of a light pole in Northampton, MA with a flower basket, American flag, and a red flag with "Northampton: Walk into something wonderful" written on it.
Photo courtesy of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism.

It is home to the Northampton Independent Film Festival, the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library & Museum, multiple art galleries, and indie music halls.

While you’re there, be sure to stop by Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium, my favorite New England-based candy shop. I recommend the chocolate covered Oreos and chocolate covered fresh fruit (if they have ’em!).

Plimouth Plantation

Plymouth is home to the first colony of non-native settlers of the US. In Plymouth, you can visit a variety of historically significant buildings and museums.

Three Wampanoag Native American women pose for a photo at Plimoth Plantation.
Photo courtesy of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism.

One such spot is Plimoth Plantation, a reenactment village of the US first non-native colony. You can also visit the Mayflower II, a replica of the original ship that carried the non-native settlers, as well as Plymouth Rock, the alleged spot where the Mayflower landed.

New in 2019 is the Wampanoag Homesite, a living history experience that provides the Native American counterpart to Plimoth Plantation.

ALL of the people that reenact at the Wampanoag Homesite are Native American (though not all specifically of the Wampanoag).

Not only can you learn about Wampanoag life in the past, you can also learn about native life in the current age. It’s a great, and long overdue, addition to Plimoth Plantation.

Portland, ME

Portland, ME has a thriving food scene that is well worth a visit. It’s doable in a day trip, but definitely makes for a great weekend getaway or even a longer trip.

One place you have to hit up at least once is The Holy Donut, which specializes in donuts made from potatoes. Yes, potatoes.

The Holy Donut has 2 locations in Portland and 1 in Scarborough, ME.

OTTO Pizza is another favorite of mine. They have a pizza made with mashed potatoes (I swear I eat more than potatoes!), scallions, and bacon that is to die for.

Another delicious combo OTTO Pizza serves up has butternut squash, ricotta, and cranberries. It’s like an American Thanksgiving dinner on a pizza. YUM!

For something a little more formal than pizza and donuts, check out Central Provisions. I’m a sucker for tapas because it’s a great way to try multiple dishes.

Central Provisions definitely knocks it out of the park with their tapas menu, which includes delicious ingredients like raw oysters, roasted peaches, and suckling pig (not all together, obviously).

Portsmouth, NH

Portsmouth, NH is another small New England coastal town with a bustling food scene.

A group of 4 adults sitting at an outdoor table at a restaurant with beer and food in Portsmouth, NH. Portsmouth is an up-and-coming foodie hotspot perfect for culinary day trips from Boston.
Photo courtesy of NH Travel and Tourism.

Pop on over to Portsmouth Book & Bar for a new novel and a coffee or craft beer. Hungry? They have food too!

For food-baby worthy comfort food, check out Cure. Cure’s menu is filled with classic dishes with a fancy twist. Think mac n cheese with lobster or pork chops with a honey-chipotle glaze.

Another interesting twist? The kitchen at Cure is open, so you can watch the executive chef and her team cook up a storm.

Wachusett Mountain

If you’re jonesing to go skiing but don’t want to deal with the long drive to the ski resorts in Vermont, take a day trip to Wachusett Mountain in Princeton, MA.

Woman snowboarding down Wachusett Mountain, wearing a light green coat and black ski pants.
Photo courtesy of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism.

Wachusett offers both day and night trails, and can create their own snow, so there’s no need to wait for a decent snowstorm to hit it up.

The best part? You can take the MBTA commuter rail Fitchburg line to get to Wachusett Mountain!

During the ski season, Wachusett Mountain also provides a free shuttle to the ski area on the weekends.

During the warmer months, Wachusett Mountain hosts a handful of fun events, such as a kids day camp, a food truck festival, and 2 craft beer festivals.

Providence, RI

A scene from College Hill in Providence, Rhode Island, just one of many cute spots to see on a day trip from Boston.
Photo courtesy of Rhode Island Commerce Corporation.

Providence, RI can be reached by car, MBTA, or coach bus. It has a growing foodie scene, as well as a fun arts scene.

Providence is well known for its waterfront entertainment and social district.

During the summer months, WaterFire Providence organizes tons of events, music, vendors, a fire sculpture installation, and more.

Lastly, Providence is also home to the International Tennis Hall of Fame. So stop by to meet Andy Roddick, not at all guaranteed.

Ok, but really, if you’re tennis fan, stop by to check out all the fun historical artifacts, as well as their immaculate indoor and outdoor (grass!) tennis courts.

Provincetown, MA

Landscape view of rocky coastline and a small cottage in Provincetown with a rainbow cascading behind the cottage.

While Provincetown is part of Cape Cod, it deserves its own section. I couldn’t leave you hanging without telling you more about this adorable town.

Provincetown is so lovely that my paternal grandparents made it their home for many years, up until their passing.

Located at the tip of the Cape, P-town, as it is affectionately called, is a summer haven for the LGBT community. It also has a robust Portuguese community (read: mouthwatering fooooood).

Provincetown is full of tasty seafood restaurants, funky coffee shops, ice cream bars, locally owned gift shops, and beautiful art galleries.

And given its shore location, there are plenty of beaches for fun in the sun. Lastly, P-town is a prime spot for whale watching, as well.

If you’re looking for more things to do while in Provincetown, check out my post on things to do in Cape Cod.

Salem, MA

View of Washington Street in Salem, MA during dusk with white lights on bare trees and a American flag hanging from a brick building.
Photo courtesy of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism.

Salem, MA is one of my favorite towns in all of Massachusetts. It’s a small suburb north of Boston, but it’s a ton of fun.

This quaint coastal town is full of fun shops (including those of the supernatural variety), museums, historical sites, and restaurants.

It’s also home to the famed House of Seven Gables, which you can learn more about in my post about the best things to do in Salem.

Lastly, Salem, along with nearby Danvers, is the site of the Salem Witch Trials. So naturally Salem is home to one badass month-long Halloween party. Just go!

Check out my itinerary for an October Weekend in Salem if you need ideas on how to make your trip the best.

Day trips from Boston to Springfield, MA

Landscape view of Memorial Bridge in Springfield at sunset.
Photo courtesy of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism.

Springfield is a small city not far from where I grew up. To be honest, it was nothing exciting growing up, or so I thought.

In recent years, there has been a lot of activity to revamp the city into a travel destination.

So to make up for my childhood indifference for this great city, check out these 4 fun things to do in Springfield, MA.

Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

A young boy measures his wingspan against a basketball player at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA.
Photo courtesy of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism.

Did you know that basketball was invented in Springfield, MA?

Yep, it totally was! James Naismith, a Canadian teacher, invented it while teaching in this small New England city.

Anyway, it should be no surprise that the biggest year-round attraction in Springfield is the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, located right off of Interstate 91.

Forest Park

A massive holiday light display at Forest Park in Springfield, MA. The sign reads "Happy Holidays, Springfield."
Photo courtesy of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism.

Forest Park, one of the largest city parks in the US, is another fun place to hangout.

There are several playgrounds, a public pool, sports fields, a rose garden, duck ponds, easy hiking trails, and more.

During the Winter holiday season, Forest Park is transformed into Bright Nights, a nighttime drive-thru attraction with lights displays depicting pop culture figures, winter scenery, local companies, and pop culture icons.

The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss

The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum is super popular with families that have small kids.

It is full of fun and quirky interactive exhibits that will keep kids occupied and happy.

MGM Springfield

Tap at MGM Springfield, a brewery and bowling spot.
Photo courtesy of MGM Springfield.

Lastly, in 2018, MGM opened its newest casino resort, MGM Springfield.

MGM Springfield is home to a casino, venue hall, bars, restaurants, and a luxury movie theater.

Old Sturbridge Village

Sturbridge, MA is a teeny tiny town in Massachusetts, but it is a place I visited many times growing up.

An elderly couple talks to a historian with 2 oxen at Old Sturbridge Village during the Fall season.
Photo courtesy of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism.

This is thanks to Old Sturbridge Village, a living history museum that depicts life in New England in the 1830s.

At Old Sturbridge Village, you can see replicas of homes, businesses, churches, and even a farm from the early 1800s.

Live demonstrations are another highlight at Old Sturbridge Village. Demonstrations include shoemaking, cabinet making, printing, musket firing, and much more.

Lastly, Old Sturbridge Village has several pretty nature trails for exploring. River boat horse-drawn carriage rides are also available.

Mohegan Sun Casino

Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT, is often rated by many as the #1 casino in the US.

While I’m not a frequent traveler to casinos, I can definitely see why. Mohegan Sun is known for its amazing entertainment schedule, with acts like Ed Sheeran and DJ Khaled in recent months.

They also own a WNBA team, the Connecticut Sun, which plays at their own sports arena. Connecticut’s professional lacrosse team, the Black Wolves, also plays at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

A third reason to love Mohegan Sun is its variety of restaurants. My top pick is Connecticut’s favorite pizza establishment, Frank Pepe’s, which serves the most amazing pizza with super fresh ingredients.

Wellfleet, MA

Crowds surrounding a table full of wellfleet oysters at the Wellfleet OysterFest.
Photo courtesy of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism.

Wellfleet is known for its eponymous oysters, one of the most popular types of oysters unique to the east coast US.

Stop by The Wicked Oyster or one of Wellfleet’s many seafood restaurants for a taste of these famous oysters.

Wellfleet is located in the Outer Cape, so if you’re not up for heading out to Wellfleet just for oysters, combine it with a day trip to another fun Outer Cape town, Provincetown, MA.

What are your favorite day trips from Boston?

So next time you visit Boston, which day trips will you work into your itinerary? Be sure to let me know below in the comments!

This post was originally published on August 17, 2017. It was last updated on June 19, 2022.

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