25 Best New England Day Trips (From Boston & Beyond!)

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Are you looking for day trips in New England? I can help! I’ve spent 20 years exploring New England, and made countless day trips in that time. I’m going to share some of the best.

There are New England day trips that take you to vibrant cities like Portland and Burlington, or day trip destinations to quaint hidden gem towns tucked away on the coast. If you’re based in Boston, this list includes several awesome day trips from Boston, but there are options from other starting points, too. New England’s small size makes it so great for this kind of trip!

I know there’s something for everyone on this list of day trips, whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures, cultural hotspots, or something somewhere in between!

A pintrest image with four images of New England for "fantastic New England day trips"

The Very Best Day Trips in New England

Manchester, VT

A girl rides a bike in Manchester, Vermont

This is one of my personal favorites for New England day trips! I’ve been visiting Manchester, Vermont for 20+ years, and even though I no longer live in this area, I return to it often.

This southern Vermont gem is gorgeous year round, but I especially like visiting in the summer and fall when the weather is convenient for exploring and enjoying everything this area has to offer.

For example, a hike – or drive! – up Mount Equinox is the best way to really and truly appreciate the scenery of this stunning area of Vermont. The toll road is closed November through April, so if you’re counting on being able to drive up, time your trip accordingly.

Manchester is full of lovely shops and restaurants. My suggestions for can’t miss Manchester things to do include a visit to the Northshire Bookstore, tubing down the Batten Kill River, sampling a maple latte at Charlie’s Coffee House, and visiting the charming Vermont Country Store in nearby Weston.

A girl leans against a vintage pick up truck in front of the Vermont Country Store in Weston, Vermont.
Quintessential small town Vermont vibes!

Seriously, it’s a Vermont institution. You can’t miss it!

Otherwise, grab a bite to eat at any one of Manchester’s delicious restaurants: Depot Street Burgers in Manchester Center serves up a wicked good burger.

My personal recommendation for where to stay in Manchester is the Kimpton Taconic Hotel. This is such a charming boutique hotel experience and my husband and I absolutely love staying there.

A couple holds hands at the Kimpton Taconic Hotel in Manchester, Vermont

It’s also home to the Copper Grouse, one of our favorite brunch spots!

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Best as a day trip from Northwestern Massachusetts, the Berkshires area, and the rest of Vermont

The Berkshires, Massachusetts

Looking for New England day trips that are perfect for outdoor adventure? Head to the Berkshires!

There is outdoor fun to be found in this area of Massachusetts year round, with excellent hiking trails, cross country skiing trails, ski areas, and more. The Berkshires is a blast in summer, fall, and winter!

If it’s more indoor recreation you’re after, you’ll love museums like Mass MoCA, the Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum, and The Mount, Edith Wharton’s turn-of-the-century estate.

If you end up staying overnight, there are cool vacation rentals, cute cabins, and nice inns and hotels to choose from.

33 Main is a beautiful inn in lovely Lenox that’s perfect for a couples’ stay in the Berkshires!

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Best as a day trip from Northwestern Massachusetts, Northern Connecticut, and Southern Vermont

Rockport, Massachusetts

A woman stands with her back to the camera, facing the sea in Rockport, Massachusetts
Rockport is one of my favorite New England towns!

Rockport is one of my personal favorite New England day trips! I’ve visited many times and love exploring this beautiful coastal town.

There are a ton of boutique shops and art galleries, delicious places to eat and grab breakfast, and some fantastic coastal scenery, including the iconic Motif #1.

A red fishing shack is seen on a long stone pier with a coastal New England town beyond it
Rockport is one of those interesting, artsy towns in New England.

As an added bonus, you also have nearby Gloucester, home to one of the best beaches on the North Shore, Wingaersheek Beach. The water is so beautifully clear!

Don’t miss out on a visit to Lobsta Land, one of the top restaurants in Gloucester.

I love Cape Ann and always enjoy a visit to this beautiful area of New England.

Water front view from a porch at one of the top inns in Rockport, Massachusetts on a sunny day

If you end up staying overnight, you should definitely book a room at the Emerson Inn. It’s absolutely delightful!

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Best as a day trip from Portland ME, Boston, and Plymouth

Bristol, RI

Super cute, quaint, and very patriotic if you’re planning your New England day trip around the 4th of July, Bristol is one of those small town fun type of places that can feel like a breath of fresh air!

This is the perfect one day getaway destination for anyone who wants to have a nice, relaxing reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the daily grind.

Hang at Bristol Town Beach, tour Blithewold Mansion, check out the Mosaic Art Gallery, then grab a bite to eat. Portside Tavern is always a great choice for lunch and dinner, and they also have live music often.

PS if your day trip is during the weekend, they serve an incredible brunch with bottomless mimosas. Just sayin’.

If you do decide to do an overnight, book the historic Williams Grant Inn for a classic B&B experience.

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Best as a day trip from Providence, Newport, and Boston

Plymouth, MA

What could be a better New England day trip idea than a visit to America’s hometown? 

There’s a lot to do and see in Plymouth, like scoping out the Plimoth Patuxet Museum, Plymouth Rock, and the Mayflower II replica for the history buffs out there, and places like the Plymouth Bay Winery for enjoying the present day indulgences, as well!

As for restaurants, there are lots of great choices for where to eat during a Plymouth day trip. Two of the most distinctively Plymouth restaurants are the Rye Tavern, which dates back to the 1700s, and Tavern on the Wharf, one of the top seafood restaurants in the area!

For a little extra pampering, book a room at Mirbeau Inn & Spa and extending your trip – you won’t regret it!

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Best as a day trip from Providence, Newport, Cape Cod, and Boston

Woodstock, Vermont

A wooden covered bridge with lattice truss sides in Woodstock Vermont with fall foliage alongside

One of my absolutely favorite day trip destinations is Woodstock, Vermont. This is such a fun little town to visit!

You’ve got the Village Green and Woodstock Village that are everything that makes small town New England so freakin charming. You’ve also got covered bridges to enjoy, including some of the best in the state.

A photo of a man with a toddler in a stroller in Woodstock, Vermont

You’ve got boutique shopping at places like Yankee Bookshop and FH Gillingham & Sons, Vermont’s oldest independent bookstore and oldest family run general store, respetively.

A two story historic brick building with the name F.H. Gillingham & Sons on the front.
Historic shops like F.H. Gillingham’s are one of the reasons Woodstock is such a charming small town!

Farm to table dining at spots like Worthy Kitchen abound, and it’s one of those restaurants where even just a burger and fries becomes a memorable meal!

The view from a balcony of a popular Woodstock, Vermont hotel

I’ve stayed in a few local hotels and inns, but if you’re interested in a room with a view, book 506 on the River Inn. As the name suggests, you’re on the river and it’s beautiful.

You can read more about my stay here.

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Best as a day trip from all of Vermont and most of New Hampshire

Providence, RI

A takeout coffee cup from 'Little City Coffee' rests on a windowsill, with a view of the urban landscape and classical architecture in the background, evoking a cozy, reflective moment in a bustling city, Providence, Rhode Island

The capital city of Rhode Island makes for one of the best day trips New England has to offer, period! 

There’s all kinds of great fun to be had in Providence, with an amazing art scene, interesting history, cute coffee shops, cool breweries, fantastic restaurants, and their Italian food? Whew.

If you find yourself at Andino’s in Federal Hill, you’re going to want to save room for dessert. It’s going to be hard to choose between crowd favorites like the homemade tiramisu and the ricotta cannoli, so maybe just order both?

If you can plan your trip to coincide with Waterfire, the incredible art installation that takes place numerous weekends throughout the year, you’ll really be in for a memorable Providence day trip!

PS if you wanted to just go ahead and upgrade to a weekend trip to PVD, I don’t blame you. There are a ton of great hotels in Providence, including historic hotels like The Graduate, formerly known as the Biltmore.

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Best as a day trip from Cape Cod, Boston, and Newport

Newburyport, MA

Looking for a cute little seaside town to set up shop in during your coastal New England day trip? Say less, you want Newburyport MA! 

Less than an hour’s drive from Boston, you’ll find one of the best beach towns in Massachusetts, with Plum Island for all your strolling-on-the-sand-while-gazing-dramatically-out-to-sea needs. 

Newburyport is full of lovely coastal scenery like that, with the Newburyport Lighthouse, Plum Island Lighthouse, and Maudslay State Park offering some of the best views.

In fact, if you’d like to combine views with some of the best seafood on the coast, head to Michael’s Harborside for lunch or dinner. This is North Shore waterfront dining at its best!

It also has a super cute little B&B, so if you’re looking for romantic day trips from New England that will morph into an overnight trip, check out Compass Rose Inn.

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Best as a day trip from Portland ME, Boston, and North Shore

Boston, Massachusetts

People on a street in Boston with signs for Union Oyster House

Depending on where you’re coming from, a day trip TO Boston might be on the docket, especially if it’s more big city vibes you’re after.

Boston is one of those places that truly has something for everyone. Sports fans will love catching a game or tour of Fenway Park, history lovers will appreciate walking the Boston Freedom Trail, and art and culture lovers will enjoy the multitude of Boston museums. 

A Boston statue with a row of green trees surrounding and a white steepled church in the distance in Boston, Massachusetts

One thing I love about Boston is the wide variety of options. There are incredible restaurants, coffee shops, breweries, rooftop restaurants and bars, and more. Contessa is one of the coolest rooftop restaurants in town, so if you can get in, GO!

Don’t forget to hit some of the top North End restaurants, including some famous cannoli bakeries.

A white Mike's Pastry box as seen in a Boston park

I can tell you, seeing other people carrying around that little blue and white Mike’s Pastry box becomes Pavlovian… It’s hard to not drop everything and head to the North End to get my own!

A crispy shelled cannoli from Mike's Pastry in Boston, Massachusetts

There’s a lot to choose from if you want to stick to only one day in Boston, so if you decide to extend to a weekend or longer, I completely understand! If you decide to stay longer than a day, check out these resources:

I loved staying at the Fairmont Copley Plaza during our romantic couples trip to Boston. It was just the right amount of luxury and elegance for us!

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Best as a day trip from Southern NH, other parts of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut

Kennebunkport, ME

For that classic Maine coastal vibe, it’s hard to find a better New England day trip than Kennebunkport! You’ve got craggy beaches, boutique shopping, incredible restaurants, and so much more. 

Stroll through Dock Square, popping in and out of the great shops you’ll find there. It’s boutique shopping at its finest! Then head to one of the popular local beaches like Goose Rocks or Gooch’s to take in that sweet and salty sea air.

In fact, this is another one of those spots that really deserves more than a day, so consider booking a room at one of the Kennebunkport hotels like The Boathouse Waterfront Hotel – it’s also home to one of the best seafood restaurants in Kennebunkport!

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Best as a day trip from Portland, Portsmouth, or other points in Maine and New Hampshire

New Haven, Connecticut

One of the top New England day trip destinations in coastal Connecticut, New Haven is a definite must visit.

Home to Yale, one of the most prestigious universities in the US, New Haven is one of those towns that is small in size but big in attractions!

This coastal Connecticut town has plenty of arts, culture, and attractions, with a variety of museums, libraries, coffee shops, parks, theaters, and restaurants to choose from – there’s always something happening in this college town!

Lighthouse Point Park and the New Haven green are two lovely outdoor spots to visit during your day trip. The New Haven green is one of the oldest in New England!

If you decide to extend your New Haven day trip overnight, book a room at The Blake so you can enjoy their art gallery expos and concert series that happen onsite. Live music at one of the trendiest boutique hotels in Connecticut? Sounds perfect!

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Best as a day trip from throughout Connecticut, Southern MA, and Rhode Island

Burlington, Vermont

an image of an empty shopping street on a sunny day. colorful banners cross over the blue sky and a long bricked walkway leads to a distant church
The most iconic view in Burlington VT on a sunny spring day

My home for several years, I’ll always have a soft spot for Burlington, Vermont, and recommend everyone visit this incredible city at least once!

As far as day trips in New England go, Burlington may be an official city, but it still has that small town feel and it’s pretty easy to get around and fit a lot of fun into one trip.

Located on the shores of Lake Champlain, Burlington has so much to see and do and is a great place to visit for foodies and craft beer lovers especially.

Hand holding a beer in Burlington, Vermont

In true Vermont fashion, most restaurants pride themselves on ingredients being locally sourced. Burlington is big on keeping the consumer footprint small!

Church Street Marketplace is one of the must visit places to go in Burlington, and there’s shopping, cafes, and street entertainment pretty much year round. Onyx Tonics is one of my favorite coffee shops, I suggest you order a maple latte – delish!

You really can’t skip out on a visit to Lake Champlain during your day trip to Burlington, and it’s walkable from Church Street.

Flowering trees on a walkway near Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vermont

There’s a beautiful waterfront park and the Burlington Bike Path skirts the edges for several miles, providing an ideal route for a bike ride or a run and lots of great hiking nearby, too.

A sunset over Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vermont

If you’ve got time, getting out on the water is a must! You can go sailing, stand up paddle boarding or kayaking, or hop aboard one of the scenic ferries. A scenic cruise on Lake Champlain is always a good time.

Staying overnight? You’ve got a ton of great options but I recommend Hotel Vermont, it’s got a brilliant location and is within walking distance of all kinds of local hot spots.

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Best as a day trip from New Hampshire and Massachusetts

Martha’s Vineyard, MA

Looking for island fun? Located off the coast of Massachusetts is one of the most beautiful New England day trip destinations for the summer. As long as you plan your visit during the warm weather months, there will be plenty of opportunities to head over and back on the ferry all in one day!

Martha’s Vineyard is full of fun things to see and do! You’ve got delicious restaurants, beautiful inns and hotels, and cool vacation rentals if your day trip turns into an overnight.

 Oak Bluffs is a great place for your New England day trip, offering a chance to see some of the top island sights like the colorful gingerbread houses, scenic Ocean Park, and the historic Flying Horses Carousel.

Interested in turning your day trip into an overnight? Book a room at the colorful boutique hotel, Summercamp!

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Best as a day trip from Cape Cod

Litchfield Hills, Connecticut

This is about as classic small town New England as you can get! 

If you plan your Litchfield Hills day trip for autumn, you can enjoy some of the fantastic fall foliage this area is known for. It's quintessential New England countryside, and you'll find some of the loveliest scenery in the Nutmeg State in this area of farms and gently rolling hills.

There are quaint fall day trip activities like fly-fishing on the Housatonic, kayaking on Lake Waraumag, and some of the best apple-picking, pumpkin-patching, and corn-mazing in the state! 

There are some of the best New England farm to table restaurants in Litchfield restaurants and surrounding areas, as well. This is one of the best day trips in New England for those looking for a slower pace.

The Litchfield Hills includes towns such as Torrington, Woodbury, Kent, Cornwall, and Washington - very English-y names, aren’t they?

If you’re looking for a lovely place to extend your stay, consider The Mayflower Inn & Spa in Washington. Not only is this a perfectly classic New England hotel, but legend has it it was also the inspiration for Lorelei Gilmore’s inn The Dragonfly in the popular Gilmore Girls tv show.

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Portsmouth, New Hampshire

The historic charm of a New England street captured in the golden hour, featuring pedestrians crossing, a classic church spire rising into the sky, and the dynamic play of sunlight and clouds above.

Pretty Portsmouth is one of the top destinations on New Hampshire’s Seacoast, and I love visiting this cute little town! Portsmouth is very historic and is actually the third oldest city in the nation. It’s an excellent New England day trip for history lovers.

One of the must visit spots in Portsmouth is the Strawbery Banke Museum, the outdoor living history museum with actors portraying historic residents of the town and showcasing what life may have been like in historic Portsmouth.

Prescott Park is another outdoor spot you should scope out on your day trip. It's so pretty!

Portsmouth has a great foodie scene, and a visit to Market Square is perfect for shopping. There are some pretty cool bars and breweries in Portsmouth, too!

If you do decide to extend your visit, book a room at the Hotel Portsmouth!

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Best as a day trip from Boston, other parts of Massachusetts and NH

Stowe, Vermont

A colorful Welcome to Stowe mural on the side of a blue building

Looking for a New England day trip that takes you to a classic, iconic mountain town? Stowe, Vermont is where you want to go!

Nestled in the heart of Vermont’s Green Mountains, you’ll find this lovely mountain town is perfect for day trips in summer, fall, or winter.

The Main Street of this stunning village has a white-steepled church and an old-fashioned general store, and the mountains provide a perfectly picturesque backdrop. This is an especially popular Vermont fall foliage day trip destination.

There are countless cozy eateries and shops to explore.

Shaw's General Store with brick road beneath under a cloudy sky in Stowe, Vermont

The Von Trapp Brewery and Bierhall is one of my top recommendations because it's just oh, so Stowe.

A large restaurant/brewery with high ceilings and rustic decor in Stowe, Vermont

Hiking is plentiful, with trails suitable for all ages that offer a variety of beautiful mountain views. If you're looking for a skiing day trip in New England, Stowe is a top notch choice.

Stowe is a lot of fun and I always enjoy my visits. It is one of those day trip places in New England that achieves the perfect balance of outdoor activities with relaxation and ‘indoor stuff.’ I personally find it especially fun in summer!

PS did you know Emily's Bridge in Stowe is considered not only one of the most haunted places in Vermont, but also in all of New England?? Cross it... if you dare.

A covered bridge called "Emily's Bridge" in Stowe, Vermont

Planning to extend your day trip to an overnight? You’ve got some great hotels and vacation rentals to choose from, but you can't go wrong booking a stay at the culturally significant Trapp Family Lodge!

A large Austrian inspired lodge in Stowe, Vermont, called the Trapp Family Lodge

It’s a bucket list New England experience.

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Best as a day trip from Burlington, Woodstock, and the White Mountains

Acadia National Park, Maine

Hikers in shoes relaxing as they rest on a trail in front of a gorgeous view of water
A couple taking a break while hiking along the Maine coast

Attention all outdoor enthusiasts, I’ve got the perfect New England day trip for you!

Acadia National Park is one of those beautiful areas of New England where the mountains and the ocean collide, and visitors are treated to stupendous views in addition to all the fun this area offers.

Located on Mt. Desert Island, you’ll find all kinds of great hiking and natural attractions, like Thunder Hole and Ocean Path. There’s a wide variety of things to do during your day trip to Acadia!

View of the ocean from on top of a hill. A forest with fall foliage colors can be seen, making it the best time to visit Acadia National Park.
Fall is the best time to visit Acadia National Park!

Beautiful Bar Harbor (the town at the entrance of the park) is filled with restaurants, shops, and great places to stay, so if you’re looking to extend your visit, you’ll find plenty of gorgeous Acadia hotels, cabins, camping sites, and more to choose from.

Definitely grab a bite at Side Street Cafe while in Bar Harbor, it's absolutely fantastic!

Signs for a cafe in Bar Harbor Maine

If you do end up staying overnight, I recommend Bar Harbor Inn & Spa.

Front of a white building that says Bar Harbor Inn at night. A pumpkin is perched in the foreground.

It’s absolutely gorgeous and I love staying at this beautiful inn!

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Best as a day trip from Bangor, Portland, and Augusta

Cape Cod

A grey brick Cape Cod structure with a maritime theme wheel in the garden

Listen, there are so many Cape Cod towns that would be the perfect New England day trip that I couldn’t decide on just one!

There are beautiful and peaceful walking trails and scenic views along Cape Cod National Seashore, gorgeous beaches, lighthouses, and so many great attractions all along the Cape.

A bike on a grassy lawn with white lawn chairs on Cape Cod

You can go whale watching, stroll the darling downtown areas and their art galleries and gift shops, visit the wineries, and fill your belly at the top ice cream spots and restaurants on the Cape. 

Truly, Cape Cod is home to some of the best seafood restaurants in New England, so seafood lovers will rejoice!

There are incredible places to visit and stay all around the Cape, so you won’t go wrong wherever you choose!

A lush yard with a white gazebo is seen with adirondack chairs and beautiful flowering trees

I especially loved staying at the charming Captain’s House Inn in Chatham with my little family.

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More About Cape Cod:

Best as a day trip from Boston, Plymouth, Providence, and Newport

Newport, Rhode Island

Bowen's Wharf sign on a cobblestone street in Newport, Rhode Island
One of the loveliest towns in Rhode Island!

Looking for a little taste of luxury and glamour on your New England day trip? You’ll definitely find it on Aquidneck Island in Newport RI

It’s one of those NE day trips that is fun year round, but it becomes especially charming at Christmastime. Hallmark Christmas movie vibes, for sure.

One of the main attractions in Newport is visiting the Newport Mansions, the historic Gilded Age gems that you can tour and fawn over. I especially loved touring The Breakers.

An ostentatiously decorated Gilded Age mansion with lots of gold and elaborate decor.

Newport is one of those day trip destinations where there are plenty of opportunities for dining, shopping, beach walking, and museum-hopping.

There’s also the iconic Cliff Walk, where you can enjoy views of both the incredible ocean and the historic mansions. It's an incredible way to see Newport.

If you’d like to make this an overnight, there are some gorgeous hotels, including luxury options, and nice vacation rentals, as well.

If you’d like a personal recommendation, I absolutely loved staying at the Hotel Viking.

Two massage tables at a fancy hotel in Newport Rhode Island

Their spa services are phenomenal!

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Best as a day trip from Boston, Providence, Mystic, and Hartford

North Conway, New Hampshire

One of the best day trips in New England for those seeking fun in the mountains, North Conway is the perfect gateway to the White Mountain National Forest.

New Hampshire’s White Mountains offer spectacular hiking trails and the Saco River for tubing and paddling. After your outdoor adventure, North Conway can help you refuel!

Conway is a mountain town providing a great mix of shopping and restaurants. Muddy Moose Restaurant and Pub is the perfect spot for dinner and drinks after a fun day out exploring the White Mountains.

A sign for Lincoln Woods Trailhead in the White Mountains of New Hampshire

Nearby Lincoln is also a great day trip destination, with Loon Mountain and all its fun! You can go skiing and ice skating in the winter, or ride the scenic gondola in the summer and fall to get a birds eye view of this gorgeous area.

If you’re looking to stay overnight, there are lots of cool places to stay in the area. The North Conway Grand Hotel is the perfect spot to get a good night’s rest!

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Best as a day trip from Portland, Montpelier, Burlington, and Portsmouth

Salem, Massachusetts

A brick road leading to a historic brick building in Salem, Massachusetts
Want to see Salem without the crowds? Get thee thence at 7am!!!

One of those iconic New England day trips that everyone should make at least once, Salem, Massachusetts is rich with history. You’ll have your pick of museums like the Peabody Essex Museum, and notable sites like the Salem Maritime National Historic Site to explore.

The site of the infamous Salem Witch Trials, you’ll find this area has many interesting historic sites and educational opportunities. Of course, there are also a variety of great walking tours, including ghost tours, if you’d like to get the full effect of the Witch City!

Salem is a town with lots of great things to do, places to eat, and if you’re into the spookier side of things, you can even visit some of its most haunted spots

I, as a child of the 90s, am particularly fond of visiting the Hocus Pocus filming sites. It's so cool to see them in person!

A large white historic home in Salem MA
Allison's House in the Hocus Pocus movie, aka the historic Ropes Mansion in Salem

You can follow my ready made one day in Salem itinerary to take the guesswork out of your day trip. If it's a weekend Salem itinerary you'd like, I have that too.

If you’re feeling daring and want to stay in one of the most haunted hotels in Salem, I can recommend the Salem Inn!

A large brick historic inn in Salem, Massachusetts with green trees in front and blue skies overhead
The Salem Inn

I didn’t experience any paranormal activity while staying there with my husband, but we did love our stay there.

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Best as a day trip from Boston, Plymouth, Cape Cod, Newport, and Providence

The Lakes Region, New Hampshire

If you’re looking for day trips for summer in New England, I wholeheartedly recommend the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. There’s so much fun to be had in this area of freshwater bliss!

It’s the perfect day trip for a summer day spent swimming and lounging at the lake.

The Lakes Region includes the areas surrounding Lake Winnipesaukee, Winnisquam Lake, Squam Lake, and Newfound Lake, and other smaller lakes and ponds (there are 273 in total!)

Some of the towns to visit include adorable Meredith (right on Lake Winnipesaukee), fun Laconia, and pretty Center Harbor.

In fact, if you’re staying overnight, you should definitely book a room in Meredith at gorgeous Mill Falls at the Lake. They have so many options!

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Best as a day trip from Portland, Portsmouth, Boston, and Montpelier

Portland, Maine

Portland is one of those New England day trips that should be on everyone’s bucket list!

You’ve got arts and culture, boutique shops, craft breweries, excellent restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops and so much more in this classic port town.

Are you a seafood lover? Yeah, you’re going to love the lobster roll selection in Portland. You can even get a lobster roll flight at Highroller Lobster Co !

The nearby lighthouses, including Portland Head Light on Cape Elizabeth, are some of the most often photographed lighthouses in New England, and they’re a definite must see. Get out on the water on one of these popular Portland boat tours to see these beauties during your day trip.

Portland is a great day trip location, but there’s so much to do and see that it’s understandable if you decide to extend your trip

You’ve got great options as far as where to stay in Portland goes, with cool boutique hotels and unique vacation rentals. I think the Press Hotel looks incredibly cool!

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Best as a day trip from Boston, Augusta, Portsmouth, and the White Mountains

Mystic, Connecticut

A long walking pier beside the Mystic River in Mystic Connecticut

I love Mystic! I truly believe it is one of the best day trips in New England. 

With classic New England seaside vibes throughout, this is an excellent way to explore the coast. Visit the Mystic Seaport and Museum to learn about maritime history and see the beautiful historic ships.

That’s not all there is to do in Mystic either. Must-visit sites on your day trip include the Mystic Aquarium, where you can say hi to the beluga whales, and Olde Mystick Village, where you can shop and enjoy incredible spots like Alice in the Village.

A colorful Alice in Wonderland themed shop with brightly colored lamps hanging from the ceiling
Alice in the Village is so cute!

As awesome as this photo is, it was even cooler in person!

Don’t skip out on Mystic Pizza, yes that one from the Julia Roberts movie from the 80s. You younger kiddos might not get it, but send a pic of you dining at this pizzeria to your older relatives, they'll appreciate it!

The exterior of a building that houses iconic Mystic Pizza in Mystic CT

Mystic is home to lots of great places to eat and stay, so if you do decide to extend your trip, I get it! The Whaler’s Inn is a beautiful boutique inn on the water.

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Best as a day trip from Boston, Providence, Newport, and Hartford

Concord, MA

Interested in a little literary history? Head to Concord, where you can walk Walden Pond and find yourself again like Thoreau. Then visit the Ralph Waldo Emerson Home and the Louisa May Alcott house to see if the inspiration for the next American classic might strike you.

Concord has several great little restaurants and lovely outdoor spaces to explore like the Minute Man Visitor Center to make it the perfect low-key New England day trip.

Want to turn your day trip into an overnight? Book a room at Concord’s Colonial Inn, an absolutely charming historic hotel with popular onsite dining.

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Best as a day trip from Cape Cod, Portsmouth, Providence, Newport, and Hartford

When is the best time of year for a New England day trip?

Personally, I like planning for a summer or fall day trip. This makes it less likely that the weather might curtail your quick travel plans, and in general, New England is beyond beautiful this time of year.

Of course, New England is also a winter lover's paradise! There is incredible skiing, XC trails, outdoor ice skating, snowmobiling, and other winter activities all around the state. It really just depends on what you're after, and always have your back up plan in case you have to extend due to weather.

🚗 Renting a Car: If you’ll need a car rental for your day trip, you should check out the best rates at Discover Cars.

One of the best parts of exploring this beautiful region is that there's something for everyone! Whether it's beachy bliss, mountain fun, or city sights you're after, you can find the perfect New England day trip to suit your needs.

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