Boston may appear to be the be-all and end-all of New England, but we are here to tell you that, while we love the city, that certainly is not the case! Boston does indeed have a lot for you to experience, yes, but it also is so conveniently located that it makes for an excellent launching pad for discovering other exciting locations nearby for the perfect day trip from Boston.
So, when you are curious about checking out destinations near the city, you should hop in the car and go! Try these seven day trips from Boston to really get the full New England experience.
Salem, Massachusetts (35 Minutes)
Salem rings a bell for you, doesn’t it? That’s because we are all quite familiar with the infamous Salem Witch Trials of 1692, which were indeed conducted here.
While visiting Salem (a.k.a. the Witch City), you can learn more about the unique history there in a number of ways, one of which being the various “spooky” themed night tours. You can also visit the Corwin House, Old Burying Point Cemetery (the oldest cemetery in Salem, one resident being John Hathorne who was a judge in the Witch Trials), the Salem Witch Museum, and the House of Seven Gables.
Don’t forget to enjoy the natural beauty of this coastal town as well! Enjoy the quaint Pickering Wharf and the Salem Maritime National Historic Site found along the water.
Salem is also a hot spot for tourists during the fall and especially Halloween (is it really any wonder why?), so if you can make it happen, head to the town then and admire the many, many Halloween decorations!
Rockport, Massachusetts (1 hour)
Just an hour’s drive northeast from Boston leads you to the enamoring coastal town of Rockport. Rockport is one of the most beautiful and charming beachside towns in Massachusetts and provides visitors with a great deal of things to do, enjoy, and admire.
For the art fans out there, you should see the inspiration for the famous painting Motif No. 1 in reality (especially at sunset), which is the red fishing shack on Bradley Wharf. Fun fact: it is the most often painted building in America!
While in Rockport, be sure to have a leisurely stroll through the serene and coast-hugging Halibut Point State Park and along the street of Bearskin Neck, which is fraught with heart-warming cottages and shops. We also recommend laying our on the beach, like Wingaersheek Beach or Singing Beach.
Good Harbor Beach (55 Minutes)
Just a ten-minute drive from Rockport is a stunning beach you need to discover: Good Harbor Beach.
Good Harbor Beach is located in Gloucester, and is one of the best beaches in New England (so, yes, it’s actually more than just “good!”). It’s remarkably clean, the water is clear, and the temperature of it in the summer is refreshing and inviting.
So on those steamy summer days, escape the blistering sidewalks of the city and make this day trip from Boston to decompress, relax, and cool off at Good Harbor Beach!
Portsmouth, New Hampshire (1 hour, 5 Minutes)
Massachusetts isn’t the only state you should discover in New England. Head on up to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and prepare to fall in love with a truly mesmerizing coastal town.
There’s something for anyone and everyone to do at this tourist hotspot. It offers visitors various museums, as the town has an abundance of history, like the Strawberry Banke Museum, Isles of Shoals (the site of the infamous Appledore murders), USS Albacore Museum, and more.
There’s even a water park for the kiddies to enjoy! Water Country is the largest water park in New England as well, providing your children with ample rides and overall fun.
Not to worry: adults can have a blast in Portsmouth, too, as there is impressive nightlife here, tons of wineries to discover (like LaBelle Winery), river cruises to enjoy, and high-end restaurants to indulge in.
Expert’s Recommendation: Want to see more New England wineries? Check out our recommendations for the Top 6 Wineries in Massachusetts!
Portland, Maine (1 hour, 45 Minutes)
While it may sound like a bit of a longer trek than the other day trips from Boston on our list, the hip Portland, Maine is absolutely worth the miles. Located on a peninsula in Casco Bay, Portland makes for a truly beautiful day trip from Boston–and is especially ideal for those foodies out there!
When visiting, be sure to start by walking around the cobble-stoned streets of Old Port, which holds charming 19th-century buildings and fishing piers. Wander around, head into shops, admire your brief trip back in time, and head into nearly any eatery for some seriously delectable food!
After stuffing yourself with life-changing food, don’t forget to wash it down with a frothy brew at one of the breweries nearby! Some notables include Goodfire Brewing Company, Allagash Brewing Company, and Banded Brewing Company.
Looking for some nature? Take a ferry ride out to the Casco Bay Islands or enjoy a waterside picnic at the Eastern Promenade.
Blue Hills Reservation (20 Minutes)
If you are a nature lover but aren’t looking to venture too far to find it, then Blue Hills Reservation is the perfect day trip from Boston for you. Just minutes away from the heart of Boston, this reservation spans 7,000 acres and offers lush greenery, great hiking (over 125 miles of trails!), camping, kayaking, swimming, mountain biking, and views.
Enjoy the juxtaposition of the cityscape of Boston and the lush landscape of the reservation all while breathing fresh, crisp air and refreshing the mind, body, and soul.
Newport, Rhode Island (1 hour, 30 Minutes)
Newport, Rhode Island is a treasure trove of historic Gilded Age mansions overlooking the shimmering ocean. The harbor is brimming with yachts and the city holds an annual sailing regatta called America’s Cup– and has done so since 1930.
While exploring Newport, it will be easy to fall in love with the exquisite architecture of the grandiose mansions, like The Breakers (the Vanderbilt mansion), Rosecliff, The Elms, Kingscote, and many others.
Aside from gawking at the mansions in Newport, there’s plenty more to do! Walk along the Cliff Walk to see both the aforementioned mansions and the stunning ocean. Explore, relax, and sip in wineries and breweries. Relax, unwind, and sunbathe on a pristine beach, specifically Easton’s Beach (First Beach), Gooseberry Beach, and Sachuest Beach.
Satisfy your inner traveler and take any one (or all of!) our seven favorite day trips from Boston. Explore these unique destinations in New England and find out for yourself what the area has to offer aside from the bodacious Boston!
Marilyn Borth is a Boston-based writer and foodie who loves all things travel. She has lived in and backpacked through 36 countries and counting. When she isn’t tasting her way through the world, she can be found writing poetry, reading, and playing volleyball. Follow her travels on her blog at Her Quirky Journey!