The Best Day Trips From Boston, Massachusetts

Provincetown and its beautiful surroundings, including the Race Point Lighthouse, are a short drive from Boston
Provincetown and its beautiful surroundings, including the Race Point Lighthouse, are a short drive from Boston | © lucky-photographer / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Dave Afshar
20 April 2021

Its location on the New England coast means Boston is one of the best places to live for people who need the occasional escape from city life. From charming Kennebunkport to the wooded Blue Hills Reservation, a day trip from the city is never more than a quick drive away. Here are some of the best and most accessible ways to spend a little time outside the capital of Massachusetts.

Blue Hills Reservation

Park
Map View
View of the Boston skyline, Boston Harbor, and Quincy as seen from atop the Great Blue Hill south of  Boston, Massachusetts, USA
© Marcus Baker / Alamy Stock Photo
Just a 20-minute drive from downtown Boston, the Blue Hills Reservation in Milton boasts 125mi (201km) of hiking trails through forests, hills and wetlands. The Skyline Trail is a popular choice for day hikes and can take anywhere from four to seven hours to complete.

Cape Cod National Seashore

Natural Feature
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A land/seascape on Cape Cod in the Town of Wellfleet, Massachusetts, USA. Cape Cod National Seashore, Griffin Island.
© Tom Croke / Alamy Stock Photo
Stretching about 40mi (64km) along the coast, the Cape Cod National Seashore offers incredible views of the ocean, old lighthouses, cranberry bogs and marshes. Only about a two-hour drive from Boston, the area is especially popular with hikers and cyclists. If you’d like to make it more than just a day trip, we recommend booking one of these excellent Cape Cod hotels.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Natural Feature
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Whaleback Lighthouse in Portsmouth Harbor on the New Hampshire/Maine boarder, New England, USA
© Marcus Baker / Alamy Stock Photo

Approximately an hour’s drive from Boston, Portsmouth is a small New Hampshire port city with a ton of character. Craft breweries, vintage clothing stores and charming cafes and restaurants are in no short supply, with the Portsmouth Brewery and Liars Bench Beer and Bodega being two favorites.

Good Harbor Beach

Natural Feature
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USA, Massachusetts, Cape Ann, Gloucester, Good Harbor Beach, surfers
© Danita Delimont / Alamy Stock Photo

Less than an hour’s drive from Boston, Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester offers smooth, white sand and beautiful Atlantic Ocean views. During low tide, it’s possible to walk out to Salt Island, a 5-acre (2ha) sandbar that’s popular with beachgoers and explorers.

Old Sturbridge Village

Museum, Historical Landmark
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Recreating past times at Old Sturbridge Village, a museum depicting early New England life, Massachusetts, New England, USA
© robertharding / Alamy Stock Photo
Old Sturbridge Village is a great choice for families. This historical village-living museum will give you a window into what life was like for New Englanders in the 1800s. It’s only an hour from Boston and hosts special events and re-enactments throughout the year.

Provincetown

Natural Feature
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Commercial Street (the Main Street), Provincetown, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA
© Ian Dagnall / Alamy Stock Photo
This small coastal town is known for its thriving art scene, rich history and popularity among the LGBTQ community, and its population grows significantly in the summer – from 3,000 to 60,000. The drive takes approximately two hours from Boston in easy traffic, so you may want to consider staying the night.
These recommendations were updated on April 20, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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