Looking for short day trips from Boston? You’re in the right place.
Boston is the London of America: it’s politically important and culturally significant with an academic vibe that borders on artsy.
Whether you’re moving to the area, or have an extra day in the city, everything in New England is so close together it’s possible to take some really great adventures out of Boston.
Here are my favorites from when I lived in New England during college.
10 Short Day Trips from Boston
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Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts
Miles from Boston: Lexington 15, Concord 20
Both towns are significant to American political history in that many key events during our fight to secure independence from Great Britain occurred in these once sleepy little towns.
Lexington even has the honor of being the “official” birthplace of the Revolutionary War, as the famous shot heard ’round the world was allegedly fired on Lexington Green…although there’s some fun debate as to whether or not that’s true.
You’ll have to visit and decide for yourself!
Miles from Boston: 25
Salem is spooky all year round! While most people choose to visit Salem during October, the history of the Witch Trials, as well as the maritime history, is worth a visit no matter the season.
I was pleasantly surprised by just how quaint and relaxing this seaside town is.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Miles from Boston: 70ish, depending on the town you visit.
Cape Cod (locally pronounced as Cape Cahd) is a great place to go for the seaside, quaint cabins in the woods, and cranberry bogs. It’s also where the Kennedy family compound is, so if you’re one of the brave souls who is willing to socialize with them, see if you can score an invite to one of their bonfires.
My friends and I stopped by a nearby beach to get a look at the house, but when I called my mom about it, she about came through the phone to set me straight. “Don’t you ever get into any sort of transportation with a Kennedy boy, Emily. It’ll be the last thing you do.”
Moms. Always looking out for you.
Miles from Boston: 90ish, depending on the town you visit.
Step aside Boston, Western Mass is the true educational hub of Massachusetts.
Yes, it’s where I went to college, so I am extremely biased, but the number of things to do in the area still make it worth the trip. Emily Dickinson grew up in Amherst, so you can visit her house, and if you like to relive the simpler days of your childhood, the Eric Carle Museum is for you.
The five colleges in the area (Mount Holyoke, Smith, Amherst, Hampshire, and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst) also usually have a full calendar of academic and cultural events to choose from.
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Sturbridge Village, Massachusetts
Miles from Boston: 60
I’m a sucker for historic houses. When studying history, we learn so much about politics, war, geography, and the like that it’s just so refreshing for me to just be in a home.
I LOVE seeing how people’s day to day lives were. How they ate. What they wore. How they did their laundry. What kinds of toys the kids had. I feel like visiting historic houses humanizes the past, so Sturbridge Village was a dream come true for me because as the name suggests, it’s not just a historic house, but an entire village dedicated to 1830’s New England.
Miles from Boston: 40
Seeing Plymouth Rock is actually anticlimactic AF, givin that’s tiny and I’m pretty sure the rock on display isn’t actually the rock the pilgrims landed on, nor in the same vicinity at all, but oh well.
It’s still cool to see the town of Plimouth Plantation, a living history museum where you can learn about the early days of American Colonialism and the Native Americans who lived in the area before the English arrived.
Newport, Rhode Island
Miles from Boston: 72
Newport is one of the best short day trips from Boston to take because of its famous Gilded Age mansions. Early buisness magnates like the Vanderbilts vanderbuilt (lols) palatial homes on the Atlantic seashore that are the ultimate #HouseHunterGoals.
It’s easy to spend a day exploring and envisioning yourself as a member of the elite.
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Watch Hill, Rhode Island
Miles from Boston: 98
While the Robber Barons hid out in Newport, Watch Hill, Rhode Island is where the modern day rich and famous go for a little seaside fun. Most notably, this quaint seaside village is home to country superstar Taylor Swift’s summer cottage.
And by cottage, I mean multi-million dollar mansion. It’s where she hosts her annual star-studded 4th of July party, so if you’re keen to meet a celebrity, that’s a good time to pop down.
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Portland and Freeport, Maine
Miles from Boston: Portland 112 / Freeport 123
Quintessential Maine: LL Bean Boots, lobster, and lighthouses. All things that are very easy to come by in Portland and Freeport.
Maine is one of the best short day trips from Boston to take because where else can you pose with a giant boot AND eat fresh lobster all in the same day? As you’re sitting on the waterfront with new Bean Boots on your feet, and lobster butter on your fingers, the state’s tourism slogan will never feel truer.
Maine: the way life should be.
Miles from Boston: 100
I tend to travel to places because Julia Roberts once ate pizza there.
For example, I ate at the Pizzeria di Michele in Naples, Italy because of Eat, Pray, Love and Mystic Pizza in Mystic, Connecticut…for the movie, you guessed it, Mystic Pizza.
Be sure to watch the 1988 coming-of-age classic before heading down for your day of fun. The Mystic Aquarium even has Beluga Whales — making it one of the best short day trips from Boston.