Little girl wearing a hat and striped shirt smiles at the camera with woman in turquoise swimsuit on a sunny beach

Best Day Trips from Boston

Little girl wearing a hat and striped shirt smiles at the camera with woman in turquoise swimsuit on a sunny beach

Best Day Trips from Boston

The city of Boston offers plenty of things to see, to do, and to taste on your next day trip. From coastlines to historic universities, here's what to see.

With attractions like Fenway Park, Faneuil Hall, and the Freedom Trail, it’s not surprising that travelers from around the world come to Boston, Massachusetts. While this exciting metropolis offers plenty of things to do, it also makes a great launching pad for fun-filled day trips. If you have an adventurous spirit, all sorts of possibilities await — from a journey steeped in American history to a seaside mansion tour. The best day trips from Boston offer a little something for everyone.

Cape Cod National Seashore

Although the traffic on Sagamore Bridge is sometimes taxing, you can arrive at Cape Cod National Seashore in less than two hours if you start early. With a landscape stretching over 44,000 acres, this day trip destination offers sand dunes, salt marshes, cranberry bogs, and woodlands. Favorite beaches in Cape Cod for sunning and swimming include Coast Guard Beach, Head of the Meadow Beach, and Marconi Beach. The lighthouses in the villages of Truro and Eastham always make enjoyable stops.

In addition to long stretches of sand, Cape Cod National Seashore offers several walking and biking trails spread across the area. For an entertaining two-hour excursion through the Cape, board a tour train at the Cape Cod Central Railroad and enjoy snacks, beverages, and a pre-ordered box lunch as you ride.

Side profile of the John Harvard statue in Cambridge, taken during the American History Tour, in front of orange and yellow trees on a cool, autumn day.

American History Tour

After you discover all the history Boston has to offer, exploring nearby Cambridge, Lexington, and Concord makes a logical next step. Enter the American History Tour from Viator. Departing from and returning to the State Transportation Building in Boston’s Park Plaza, this four-and-a-half hour bus tour passes by Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the homes of famous writers like Louisa May Alcott, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Motoring along the Battle Road Trail between Lexington and Concord, you feel like you’ve gone back in time to the Revolutionary War era, and stops at the Old North Bridge and Lexington Battle Green come with many details about historic figures and events. With a comfortable, climate-controlled coach and knowledgeable guides, you can soak up history in style.

Boats docked at Rockport Massachusetts coastline in front of a large red building on a picturesque summer afternoon.

Rockport, Massachusetts

Situated on the Cape Ann Peninsula, Rockport, Massachusetts, offers the perfect picture of a charming coastal town. A stroll up Bearskin Neck presents a string of fisherman shacks turned shops and dozens of galleries that showcase works by local artists, including drawings, paintings, photographs, and sculptures.

If you’re looking for lunch with a view, then head to Paradise Key Dockside Bar and Grill. A menu full of burgers and scrumptious seafood dishes helps satisfy your taste buds, and outdoor seating provides spectacular views of the bay and wildlife preserve. Just 40 miles from the city and accessible by car or commuter rail, Rockport is one of the quickest and best day trips from Boston.

Rustic trail lined with tall, leafy green trees in a Massachusetts forest at Blue Hills Reservation in the afternoon on an early summer day.

Blue Hills Reservation

If you’re hoping to connect with nature and still make it back to the city in time for dinner, then enjoy an escape to Blue Hills Reservation. This 6,000-acre state park in Norfolk County sits just 20 miles from downtown Boston and extends through parts of Braintree, Canton, Dedham, Milton, and Quincy, Massachusetts. You can boat, canoe, and kayak on Ponkapoag Pond in Canton; fish, swim, and picnic at Houghton’s Pond in Milton; and hike some of the 125 miles of well-marked trails throughout the area. With exhibits, maps, and plenty of parking, the Blue Hills Trailside Museum in Milton makes a good place to enter the park. Bring food, beverages, swimsuits, towels, and other essentials for daylong fun.

Newport, Rhode Island’s cliff walk along the coast, lined with a white railing and leafy greenery with pink flowers shows a white gazebo in the background along the Atlantic coast.

Newport, Rhode Island

Just 72 miles south of Boston, Newport, Rhode Island, makes a favorite getaway for locals. With Gatsby-style mansions showcasing park-like lawns and gardens, this seaside community offers a glimpse into the lives of the uber-rich.

One of the most impressive estates in Newport is The Elms, featuring an 18th century French chateau, grand fountains, marble pavilions, and a sunken garden. Alternatively, you can visit The Breakers, a 70-room palazzo built by the Vanderbilt family as a summer home, sporting opulent neo-Renaissance style and a magnificent three-story dining room. Both homes are open daily for touring. A stroll along the Cliff Walk in Newport promises splendid mansion views on one side and a panorama of the mighty Atlantic Ocean on the other.

When it comes to daytime adventure, the area around Boston delivers with historic sites, charming villages, and outdoor recreation. Do you have a favorite New England day trip destination? Share your stories and photos by tagging us on Instagram.

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