My home city of Boston is a top US travel destination. It’s also a great jumping off point for exploring what the rest of New England has to offer. Check out these 33 day trips from Boston for a few ideas on were you can go to get out of the city.
East coast is the sweet coast. The US is home to many beautiful beaches, but for me, nothing compares to a New England beach! Golden sand and cold ocean water to cool you off in the middle of the Summer is THE BEST!
You can’t mention day trips from Boston without mentioning Cape Cod, otherwise known as the arm of Massachusetts.
The Cape is filled with lovely beaches (upwards of 60 beaches open to the public!), coastal inns and cottages, kayaking, biking, bird watching, whale watching, golf, and so much more.
A few popular towns to check out are Chatham, Hyannis, Provincetown, and Wellfleet.
Hampton Beach, NH
New Hampshire doesn’t have much coastline, but what little exists is a popular spot for day trips from Boston. Hampton Beach, in particular, 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.
Want to hit the beach but don’t want to deal with Boston-area traffic? Crane Beach is where you want to go. Take the MBTA Newburyport line to Ipswich, then hop on board the Ipswich Essex Explorer to Crane Beach. Super convenient!
Lake Winaupasakee, NH
Lake Winaupasakee is a popular 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.
Singing Beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea is one of my favorite beaches in Massachusetts, outside of Cape Cod. This family friendly beach squeaks when you walk on it, hence its name!
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 are quite busy, but there are lots of fun activities nearby, like mini golf and a small theme park.
Casinos + Entertainment
Can’t make it out to Vegas or Atlantic City? Both of these casinos offer gambling, shopping, food, and drool-worthy entertainment line ups.
Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, CT, is known for its nightlife options, but also has a softer side with a spa and a golf course. This variety of activities makes Foxwoods a great destination for group trips, like 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?
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.
Food + Drink
There are a number of delicious food festivals in Boston, but if you’re looking to fill your belly AND get out of town, hit up these New England towns for tasty day trips from Boston.
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. The 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 is another small New England coastal town with a bustling food scene.
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 is open, so you can watch the executive chef and her team cook up a storm.
Wellfleet is known for its eponymous oysters, one of the most popular types of oysters unique to the east coast. Stop by The Wicked Oyster or one of Wellfleet’s many seafood restaurants for a taste of these famous oysters.
History + Culture
Whether you want to go back in time or admire the arts, these quaint New England towns, reachable as a day trip from Boston, are where you’ll want to be.
The western Massachusetts town of Amherst has been home at one point or another to popular names in the arts world, such as poet Emily Dickinson, poet Robert Frost, writer Eugene Field, and actress Uma Thurman. Popular cultural attractions in Amherst include the Emily Dickinson Museum and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.
Amherst is home to 3 well-known higher education institutions, University of Massachusetts (main campus), Amherst College, and Hampshire College.
Concord, MA + Lexington, MA
Those interested in studying the Revolutionary War will definitely be interested in visiting Concord and Lexington. Both towns, along with Lincoln, MA, are home to Minute Man National Historical Park. 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.
Fall River, MA
Fans of true life crime stories should hit up Fall River, home of alleged murderer Lizzie Borden.
Legend has it that Lizzie murdered her father and stepmother, but 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.
Most people know Gloucester as a big fishing town. It’s where the true events that inspired the movie The Perfect Storm took place.
But did you also know that it’s also home to the oldest art colony in the US?
The Rocky Neck Art Colony was established in the mid-1800s and is still kicking today. The colony is located on a peninsula and is full of art galleries, a theatre, and many restaurants.
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 tours. It also has several nice beaches, though some are quite loud thanks to the day clubs at a few of the on-shore bars.
North Adams, MA
North Adams might be a teeny, tiny town, but it is also home to the US’ largest contemporary art museum, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. In addition to the museum, the town is filled with art galleries and artist residences.
Northampton is a funky town in western Massachusetts known for its arts scene, as well as its thriving LGBT community. 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!).
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.
One such spot is Plimouth 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.
Salem, MA is one of my favorite towns in all of Massachusetts. It’s a small suburb of Boston, but it’s a ton of fun. It is full of fun shops (including those of the supernatural variety) and restaurants.
Salem, along with nearby Danvers, is the site of the Salem Witch Trials. 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.
Sturbridge is a tiny town in Massachusetts, but it is a place I visited many times growing up. This is thanks to Old Sturbridge Village, a living history museum that depicts life in New England in the 1830s. You can see replicas of homes, businesses, churches, and even a farm from this era.
Outdoor + Adventure
I totally get it. Sometimes the city is just not enough. Don’t worry – there is so much to offer in the realm of outdoor and adventure activities within a day trip from Boston.
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!
Ferry service to the islands is available nearby 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.
A few of the islands offer camping (note: NOT glamping or modern camping!). There is also hiking, beaches, fishing, and bird watching. Georges Island is home to Fort Warren, a Civil War era fortress open to the public. While Brewster Island is home to the US’ oldest lighthouse and is also open for tours.
Charlemont is located in northwestern MA and is home to just over 1,000 people. It is a hotspot for outdoor activities, such as ziplining, camping, hiking, skiing, biking, white water rafting, and more.
Growing up, Mount Tom in Holyoke, MA, was a popular place to go skiing. While the ski resort is closed permanently, it’s still a great place for cross country skiing, hiking, and mountain biking.
Six Flags New England
Known as Riverside during my childhood, Six Flags New England is a theme park that sits along the Connecticut River in Agawam, MA. It boasts 12 roller coasters and a huge water park!
Wachusett Mountain Ski Area
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. Wachusett offers both day and night trails, and can create their own snow, so no need to wait for a decent snowstorm to hit it up.
I can’t not tell you where to get your shopping done, right? I love a good deal and luckily there are a handful of good outlet shops suitable for a day trip from Boston.
Freeport has outlet shops set amid a quaint New England backdrop. It is also home to the flagship store for preppy outdoor brand, L.L. Bean.
Growing up, I spent a lot of my school vacations in Bar Harbor, Maine. The Kittery Outlets are just over the border crossing in to Maine, so we’d often stop off 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.
Wrentham Village Premium Outlets is a popular outlet mall in Massachusetts. It can be a bit confusing to get to from the city, so don’t rely on Google Maps to get there.
Aside from that, the store selection is pretty good (Burton, Columbia, Disney Store, Gap, J. Crew, Lucky Brand, among others), so it’s still worth the trip out from Boston.
Other Day Trips from Boston
These towns have a little something for everyone, whether it be beaches, art galleries, delicious food, and more.
Martha’s Vineyard is reachable from Hyannis, MA via ferry. You can also fly, but that’s probably more trouble than it’s worth for a day trip in my opinion.
Martha’s Vineyard has lots of beaches, plenty of seafood restaurants and ice cream shops, preppy shops and art galleries.
While Provincetown is part of Cape Cod, which I’ve mentioned above in the Beaches section, I couldn’t leave you hanging without telling you more about this adorable town.
Located at the tip of the Cape, P-town, as it is affectionately called, is a summer haven for the LGBT community. It’s full of fun restaurants and bars, locally owned shops, and art galleries. Of course, it also has beaches and whale watching.
Providence can be reached by car, MBTA or 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 lights installation, and more.
Springfield is a small city not far from where I grew up. To be honest, it was nothing exciting growing up, but in recent years, there has been a lot of activity to revamp the city into a bigger tourist destination.
Forest Park, one of the largest city parks in the US, is another fun place to hangout. There are several playgrounds, a zoo, 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.
In the Fall, Springfield is home to the Big E, a massive fair with rides, food, livestock competitions, and vendors.
Springfield is also slated to become home to MGM’s newest casino resort, MGM Springfield, in 2018.
What are your favorite day trips from Boston?