Summer in Boston: Take a Day Trip

photo collage of things to do in New England with caption over photos saying summer in boston: take a day trip

Summertime in Boston is something like no other. The birds are singing and trying to eat all of the scraps from the Boston Common, Duck Boat's swim through traffic lights, and blue bikes fly past cars in a hurry. The air is humid, and the sun is vibrant. Something about the city in the summer makes me want to explore.

Thankfully, there's plenty to do here and nearby. Boston can get congested as the weather gets warmer and tourists pop up to catch a game or try their first lobster roll. Sometimes, all we need is a day away from the city to enjoy it again once we're back. Today, Spot Easy is highlighting some of our hand-picked, favorite day trips around the Greater Boston area. We're breaking it down by travel time, since we'll assume you don't want to spend your whole day in the. car.

photo of young kids in bright red blow up floating tube bumper cars at starling sportsplex and fun park in Massachusetts Photo Source: Starland Sportsplex and Fun Park

One Hour South

Blue Hills Reservation: If you've resided in Boston for over one year, we can assume you've taken a trip to Blue Hills in Milton. If on the off chance you have yet to visit, let this be your sign to head south for a day. Around 35 minutes away, this 7,000 acres of land holds over 125 miles of trails for hiking, biking and skiing. In addition, this facility also offers the opportunity to camp, canoe or kayak, golf, rock climb, swim, or horseback ride. Dogs are welcome on the trails, and non-motor boats are allowed. On the next sunny day, ditch the city life for a day and get moving down in Milton.

World's End: Nearby and similar to Blue Hills, World's End in Hingham offers one of the most incredible skyline views of the city of Boston across the water. This 400 acre peninsula holds roiughly 4.5 miles of moderate hiking trails, with marshes and meadows surrounded by red cedars and blueberry thickens depending on the season. If you're feeling especially adventurous, check out Blue Hills and World's End on the same day! 

Wompatuck State Park: Right down the street from World's End, Wompatuck State Park is a 3,500+ acred campground with over 250 campsites. Open year 'round and similar to Blue Hills, Wompatuck offers biking, hiking and skiing trails, with the opportunity for horseback riding, snowmobiling, motor-less boating, hunting, and educational programs. For Massachusetts residents, overnight camping is only $17 per night, so take a leap of faith this summer and try camping if you haven't yet!

Starland Sportsplex and Fun Park: 20 miles south of Boston, Starland Sportplex is the perfect place to spend a day with the family. Broken into two categories, their sportsplex offers soccer, lacrosse, volleyball, flag football, baseball, basketball, pickle-ball and group classes. Meanwhile, their fun park offers go-carts, batting cages, inflatables, laser tag, rock climbing walls, eurobungy, bumper cars and mini golf. With an outdoor patio and beer garden, plus an espresso bar and concession stand, this is a great location for a group outing of any age, in any season!

Two Hours South

Little Compton, Rhode Island: A little over one and a half hours south, Little Compton, Rhode Island is one of the best spots to visit in the summer. Aside from the mansions, Rhode Island has a great stretch of historic monuments and learning opportunities in Little Compton. Take a tour of the Wilbor House, Sakonnet Point, The Friends Meeting House, The Commons or Adamsville. To top off the day, take a drive to the Sakonnet Lighthouse.

Provincetown, Cape Cod: Just over two hours away, Cape Cod is one of Massachusetts most well-known getaways for the summer. On the hook of Mass, the Cape offers beaches, shops, dining, museums, architecture and nightlife like no other. Some overlooked spots that you can't miss include the Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM), Moby Dick's Seafood Restaurant, Beech Forest Loop Trail, Race Point Lighthouse Station, and the Maple Grove Bird Sanctuary

photo of two statues on grass in front of PAAM Provincetown art association and museum in cape cod MassachusettsPhoto Source: PAAM

Rhode Island Historical Society: On the northern boarder of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Historical Society has some of the most moving museums in the state. Telling the story of immigrants who worked at the Blackstone River Mills, there is the Museum of Work and Culture. In the surrounding area, visit the John Brown House Museum, or the Mary Elizabeth Robinson Research Center. While these museums make for the perfect rainy-day activity, on sunny days, make your trip longer by checking out their extensive list of walking tours.

Providence Ghost Tour: For something a bit different, Rhode Island offers a spooky twist to their quaint state of mansions and boathouses. Beginning in 2006, this tour skyrocketed across the state, due to the ghosts guests have come to see. With raving reviews, and the opportunity to bring your camera, attempting ghost photography may be your new hobby, but do you dare try it out? Bring a friend, and maybe a stress-ball, and meet some new, ghostly friends in Providence!

sitka Alaska boat dock pier bright red with blue skies and sea in Rockport MassachusettsPhoto Source: Newengland.com 

One Hour North

Salem, Massachusetts: About 40 minutes Northeast of Boston, Salem is one of Massachusetts most unforgettable towns. In the Halloween-hub of New England, if not the United States, there's plenty of tours, museums and events highlighting stories of the 1600's Witch Trials. Stop by the Witch House, Witch Dungeon Museum, Salem Witch Museum, or the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) for a unique behind-the-scenes look at the city of Salem, the Witch Trials, and Salem's best artwork. Nearby, stop by Marblehead or Beverly for a day at the beach, or fill up on Flying Saucer pizza and Goodnight Fatty cookies.

Gloucester and Rockport, Massachusetts: As if it wanted to be Cape Cod, the coast of Essex, MA offers Gloucester and Rockport attractions from boating, to swimming, all the way to camping and whale watching. Some highlights from this area include the Paper House, Stage Fort Park, Halibut Point State Park, 7th Wave Restaurant, and The Art Nook Gallery on Bearskin Neck, one of the most lovely strips in Rockport. Being on the coast, the beaches here are unbelievable, with the full list shown here. In addition, fresh seafood will be delicious wherever you choose to eat. Take the day to enjoy all Northeast, Massachusetts has to offer!

Newburyport, Massachusetts: Similar to the beach-town vibe Gloucester and Rockport give off, Newburyport off Salisbury is one of my personal favorite places in the state. With every type of food you could imagine, and plenty of shopping, there's plenty to try here. Grab some tacos at Agave, or gelato from Dolce Freddo Gelato. Sit by the waterfront and enjoy the boats being docked, or the people strumming their guitars. This relaxing town will have you wishing you lived in a beach town, but with so many nearby, you don't need to!

Hampton Beach State Park, New Hampshire: If you haven't yet gotten your beach fix, try going to Hampton Beach instead! This unique strip of A-Z lettered streets has restaurants, stores, bars and arcades along the beachfront. With weekly fireworks, plenty of concerts and an annual sandcastle contest, Hampton Beach never fails to entertain its guests during the season. Even during the off-season, you can stop by plenty of stores and restaurants that keep their doors open all year-round. Pro tip: get Tripolis pizza, trust me.

log cabin themed room in north Conway New Hampshire adventure suitesPhoto Source: Adventure Suites

Two Hours North

Conway, New Hampshire: Across the White Mountains, New Hampshire, there's plenty of hiking, swimming, biking, camping and boating opportunities. To keep from getting repetitive, we'll only share unique experiences. For starters, the Conway Scenic Railroad in North Conway offers amazing, 360 degree views of New Hampshire all year-round. If you're sick of the usual lodging experience, try Huttopia, nation-wide glamping cabins and lakeside accommodations, specifically in the White Mountains. If you're really sick of camping, try out the Adventure Suites instead. With themed rooms, all included with a two-jet hot tub, guest groups from one to six people can enjoy staying in the jungle, a penthouse, an igloo, haunted house, or dozens of other destinations, without leaving New Hampshire!

Lincoln, New Hampshire: A few hours west of Conway, Lincoln offers a similar experience in the White Mountains. For people of all ages, try Clarks Bears. Formerly known as Clarks Trading Post, here you can watch the bear shows, eat fresh fudge, rock climb, or take the train to see the Old Man of the Mountain. If you're still feeling adventurous, take a trip to Flume Gorge. Offering a short or moderate, two-mile path, Flume Gorge is one of the most popular destinations in the White Mountains for a reason. The natural-made trail may cause some stress with the narrow rock-holes you must climb through. However, the views are out of this world.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Staying along the shoreline, Portsmouth New Hampshire is another wonderful spot to take a trip for a day or weekend. Prescott Park, Odiorne Point State Park, Bedrock Gardens, and the USS Albacore Museum are some of the best spots to visit in Portsmouth. Similar to the other beach towns, Portsmouth has a lovely downtown area filled with unique shops, delicious food and plenty more to explore. Make a weekend out of New Hampshire and explore more than one town on this list!

Kittery and York, Maine: We couldn't pick just one city to finish this list on, so we picked two. Neighboring cities of Kittery and York, Maine are two of the most well-known areas in the New England region. Much like everywhere else, there's beaches, arcades, piers, restaurants and drinks. But, does every other city have an aerial adventure course? I didn't think so! Try out Take Flight in York, an outdoor course where you're strapped in fully, prepared to propel across the jungle gym. If propelling from the air isn't how you'd like to spend your day off, check out the York Art Association Museums across town, or the Kittery Outlets. Maine also has lovely attractions in Bar Harbor, Portland and Old Orchard Beach. However, we made sure to save some room for another list, since we only covered four out of six states!

take flight New England jungle gym coursePhoto Source: Take Flight

Whether you're staying overnight or just passing through, New England is one of the best places in America to visit. With some of the best hiking and camping opportunities, plus delectable seafood and art museums galore, there's plenty to do in all four seasons across New England. If you're ever getting sick of Boston, travel anywhere nearby, and I promise there will be something new to explore. 

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