If you are planning a road trip from southern New England, Boston can be a perfect base as it is centrally located. You can get a hotel and then take many great day trips from Boston to experience the best that this area has to offer.
You will want to start by taking a few days to experience New England’s largest city’s feel. You can read my guide for One Day in Boston with Kids (still a good overview even for adults). Also, be sure to check out my list of hikes right around Boston.
Short Day Trips from Boston
These day trips from Boston are around an hour’s drive from Boston.
Witch City, USA, also has a fantastic art museum and Hawthorne’s House of the Seven Gables. Read on for how to spend a day in Salem.
Fall River and New Bedford, Massachusetts
This center of fishing life in colonial New England is now predominately Portuguese. You can visit the New Bedford Whaling Museum, the church that was part of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick inspiration, and the Lizzie Bordon House. Read more about the area in Haunted New England.
Spend a day exploring this picture-perfect fishing village on the coast north of Boston.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
There is a lot to explore on this peninsula south of Boston, but you can explore the upper Cape in one day from Boston. Most of my exploration of the Cape has been by bicycle.
This foodie town also has lighthouses and parks to explore. Check out 47 Cool Things to Do in Portland, Maine.
Providence, Rhode Island
The capital of Rhode Island has canals to stroll along, great restaurants, and art museums. Read on for The Best Things to Do in Providence.
Newport, Rhode Island
This colonial town on Aquidneck Island has excellent beaches, hiking, dining, and a lot of history. Explore A Local’s Guide to Newport.
Hike this trail along the base of the 75-foot rock Purgatory Chasm and get ice cream at the farm next door. Read more about a day at Purgatory Chasm.
Concord was not only an important location in the American Revolution but also in American Literature. Walden Pond sits in Concord, as well as Louisa May Walcott’s home. Read my itinerary for one day in Concord, Massachusetts.
Visit the recreation of the Native American and pilgrim colony following the landing at Plymouth Rock.
New Bedford, Massachusetts
Explore the colonial whaling capital of the world, located on the southern coast of Massachusetts. This area also has a large Portuguese population, a fort, and was a stop on the Underground Railroad.
Read about how to spend a day in New Bedford.
Whole Day Trips from Boston
It will take about 2 hours to get to these full-day trips from Boston.
Sand dunes, farms, Kennedy history, and gingerbread cottages, this island off the coast of Massachusetts will introduce you to the best New England has to offer. Read on for Things to Do in Martha’s Vineyard.
Woodstock is sometimes known as the quintessential New England town. It is nestled in Vermont’s Green Mountains and alive with the state’s art culture. Plan your day with Things to Do in Woodstock, Vermont.
This arty town in northwest Massachusetts is the home of Smith College. Read on for how to spend a day in Northampton.
The Berkshires, Massachusetts
One of the most transcendent concerts you can experience will take place at Tanglewood in the rural mountains of western Massachusett. The Berkshires give ample opportunities for hiking, leaf-peeping, and exploring small New England towns.
New Hampshire’s White Mountains
Take a foliage drive or go waterfall hunting through the White Mountains.
Explore the seaport at this colonial town on the Mystic River. Investigate more things to do in Mystic.
Mount Major, New Hampshire
The views from the peak of this half-day hike are incredible. You will see New Hampshire’s lakes and highest peak, Mount Washington, in the distance. Learn more about climbing Mount Major.
Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts
This village nestled in the Berkshire Mountains has the Bridge of Flowers, a waterfall, glacial potholes and an art-filled downtown. Read about how to spend a full day in Shelburne Falls.
Which day trips around Boston have you taken? Which are the highest on your list? Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments.