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Best Day Trips from Boston

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This post covers the most popular day trips from Boston, including details about the distance to each location and how to get there.

There will also be details about things to do in each area and how to save money on popular activities.


Salem

The history of this region is well-known across the entire country, and that makes it one of the most popular locations to visit during a day trip from Boston.

One of the reasons that Salem is such a popular destination is due to its proximity, as it’s only around 30 minutes north of Boston.

If you’re traveling by car, it typically only takes around 30 minutes to reach Salem via US-1 N or I-93 and I-95.

There is also a ferry to Salem, and this option typically takes around 50 minutes.

Here are a few of the most popular activities:

If you’re looking to save money on these or other things to do, check Groupon for special deals you won’t find anywhere else.

Boston Travel Tips

Martha’s Vineyard

This is one of the most beautiful areas of New England, so it’s no surprise that so many people are drawn to take a day trip from Boston to Martha’s Vineyard.

If you’re planning to come by car, you can expect the journey to take 2 ½ - 3 hours, and the quickest route is usually MA-3 S.

We have a post to help you plan your trip from Boston to Martha's Vineyard on your own.

Alternatively, you may want to consider an organized bus tour to avoid all the driving.

Here are a few of the best activities to enjoy in Martha’s Vineyard:


Cape Cod

Located south of Boston, this is another popular destination for day trips, as there is plenty to see and do in the area.

You can get here by car using MA-3 S, and it will typically take about 1 ½ hours. We have a post explaining it all.

Alternatively, there is also a ferry from Boston to Cape Cod which takes between 1 ½ - 3 hours on average.

Here are some of the more interesting things to do in Cape Cod:

Check this list of activities in Cape Cod for even more fun ideas, and save money in the process!


Newport

This is one of the most beautiful areas of Rhode Island, and it’s just south of Boston, so it’s a perfect spot for day trips.

Newport is well-known for its mansions, scenery, and lighthouses.

If you choose to drive here by car, it usually takes less than 1 ½ hours using MA-24.

There are also organized bus tours which offer both transportation to Newport and admission to popular attractions.

There are a lot of fun things to see and do here, including the following ideas:


Lexington/Concord

If you’re interested in heading west of Boston, these two towns are some of the most historic in the entire state, making either location an excellent place to visit during a day trip.

Both towns are relatively close to Boston. Lexington is just about 25 minutes from the city, and you can get there using MA-2 W or I-93 and I-95.

Concord is only 30 minutes out, and you can use the same roads to reach this location.

There are organized bus tours to this part of Massachusetts, but prices can be a bit steep.

Here are some of the better activities you can enjoy in Lexington and Concord:


Plymouth

This is another very popular destination for day trips from Boston, and it’s one of the most historic locations in the entire country!

Plymouth is just south of Boston, and it’s approximately 40-45 minutes away by car. The fastest route is via I-93 S and MA-3 S.

There are also organized bus tours that will take you to Quincy, Plymouth, and include admission to Mayflower II.

Here are a few other activities you might want to consider while visiting this town:


More Day Trips From Boston

While the day trips listed above are among the most popular, there are a lot of other noteworthy locations in the New England area that are close enough for a visit.

This section covers some of the other options you might not always think about, including information on fun things to do in each area or where to learn more about fun activities.


Whale Watching Excursions

If you’re in Boston, there are several companies offering whale watching opportunities right in the city. In fact, the New England Aquarium frequently provides their own service!

Ajay Suresh from New York, NY, USA, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The peak season for this activity runs from April - October, so if you’re visiting during those months, consider heading out on the water to see some of the most majestic creatures in the world.

For more details about this activity, check our post covering whale watching in Boston.


Fall Foliage in the White Mountains

This is one of the most popular activities in the fall, as New England really brightens up with leaves changing color.

Many companies offer day trips from Boston to the White Mountains to see this natural beauty.

Of course, there are also a lot of beautiful trees changing color in the Boston area, so you might not even have to leave the city.

Consider taking a Fall Foliage Luncheon Cruise around the harbor instead!


Portsmouth

This is another beautiful area of New England located just an hour north in New Hampshire.

You can reach Portsmouth using the I-93 N and I-95 N.

There are a variety of fun things to do here, including the following options:


York Beach

If you’re looking for a beautiful beachfront community, this is one of the best spots in New England.

Located around an hour north of Boston, the I-95 N should take you most of the way to York Beach.!


New York City

Most people who plan on going from Boston to New York will set aside more than a day, because there’s a lot to see and do in the city and it can take around 4 hours to get there by car.

As a matter of fact, we recommend catching a flight to NYC if you’re interested in visiting, as it usually only takes about 1-2 hours!

If you need help planning out what to do when you get there, make sure to read our post covering things to do in New York City.


Foxborough

While it might not seem like a popular destination for a day trip from Boston, some fans who make the trip out to see a New England Patriots game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough will find a way to spend most of their day in the area.

John Phelan, CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Depending on which route you take, it will typically take around 30-45 minutes to get here by car. T

here are a lot of fun and interesting things to see and do here, and you can find out more by checking the list of activities on Groupon.

About The Author

Brian Burgess

Brian was born in Cambridge and has been living in the Boston area all his life. He is a graduate of Boston's Emerson College with a degree in communications with a journalism/history focus. He has been leading tours for Free Tours By Foot Boston since it was started in the city of Boston in 2012, and enjoys sharing his knowledge of Boston's rich history with not only the guests on his tours, but with everyone he meets.
Updated: July 18th, 2022
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