The historic city of Boston is filled with popular attractions itself, but it also makes a great jumping off point for visiting nearby destinations. If you want to get out of town for two or three days and explore some of New England’s scenic spots, there are plenty of options in the vicinity. Beyond the ever-popular Cape Cod, check out the following suggestions for some easy weekend getaways from Boston.
1. Pawtucket, Rhode Island
With its active arts community, the city of Pawtucket attracts visitors from all over New England and further afield. Its proximity to the Massachusetts border makes it a convenient weekend jaunt from Boston. Sports enthusiasts might want to pick up tickets to see the Pawtucket Red Sox play at McCoy Stadium or enjoy a hike through Slater Memorial Park. This former mill town was the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution, so a visit to the Slater Mill Museum is a must. With plenty of pubs, theaters, galleries and sites along the “Rhode Island cultural mile,” you’ll easily be able to fill up a fun weekend.
2. Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
One of the most popular weekend getaways from Boston, Martha’s Vineyard is a world-famous island located off Cape Cod. Its enchanting coast is sprinkled with windswept beaches, lighthouses and cliffs. Because tourism is so heavy during the summer, Martha’s Vineyard is home to plenty of cozy hotels, inns and B&Bs. There are also cottage rental options if you want to enjoy a more private or long term trip. There are upscale eateries and fish & chip shacks, swanky boutiques and cottage craft shops. Don’t miss sites like South Beach, Edgartown Lighthouse and Gay Head Cliffs. Daytrippers flock to Martha’s Vineyard in the summer, but if you can swing a few nights here, you’ll get to experience mornings and evenings without the tourist crowds. Go in the off-season (October to May) to really discover the quiet charms of this island.
3. Cooperstown, New York
If you are a baseball fan, you might want to plan a long weekend in Cooperstown, New York, home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. If you enjoy playing the sport yourself, you should make a stop at the Cooperstown Bat Company to purchase a bat or even a specially engraved bat as a souvenir. Once you’ve gotten your fill of baseball, you might enjoy a visit to one of the city’s breweries or distilleries for a tour and tasting. The city is also home to the Farmer’s Museum, which showcases America’s rural heritage. You’ll also want to stroll down the village Main Street, for a taste of that bygone Norman Rockwell era. It’s about four hour drive away from Boston, so it’s best to stay a night or two before making the drive back.
4. Nantucket, Massachusetts
Historic Nantucket is a major East Coast gem that beckons vacationers looking to escape the city. The 50-square island is ideal for a long weekend trip, full of quaint inns, seaside cottages, historic homes, chowder shacks, boutiques, galleries and more. This former whaling port is a National Historic Landmark District, and it’s famous for its cultural and scenic attractions. Be sure to visit the Nantucket Whaling Museum, Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge and Great Point Light. The island’s beaches are popular for exploring, enjoying water sports or simply watching the sailboats from the sand dunes. There are several ferries to Nantucket from Hyannis, Cape Cod or quick 20 minute flights from Boston.
5. Portland, Maine
Roughly 100 miles from Boston, the city of Portland is loaded with scenic and cultural delights, especially around the Old Port. The rugged coast is postcard-worthy and an idyllic place to explore by foot or by bike if you want to spend time outdoors. Depending on your interests, you can check out Victoria Mansion, the Calendar Islands, the Portland Museum of Art and the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co and Museum. Foodies will love the renowned restaurant and microbrewery scene, surprisingly diverse for such a small city.
6. White Mountains, New Hampshire
Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a fun weekend with the kids, the White Mountains are a great choice if you want to get out of Beantown. You’ll find plenty of accommodation options throughout the region to suit your budget, from rustic cabins to luxury resorts. With crystal lakes, hiking trails, pretty cascades, scenic drives, covered bridges and golf courses, there is plenty to see and do in the region. Don’t miss the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway or the Lost River Gorge & Boulder Caves.
7. New York City
New York City is a quick plane or train ride from Boston, just two hundred miles away. The Big Apple has a personality and flair unlike any other urban center, so it’s a satisfying getaway to spend a night or two at one of the many central boutique hotels. During the day, you can stroll through Central Park, explore the Metropolitan Museum of Art or shop down Fifth Avenue. In the evening, you can catch a Broadway play after dining at one of the city’s revered restaurants. Let’s face it, NYC doesn’t need a sales pitch. The fun doesn’t stop in “the city that never sleeps” so you’ll never be bored on a weekend escape here.
8. Green Mountains, Vermont
If you’re looking for ideas for winter weekend getaways from Boston, head to the Vermont’s Green Mountains for some excellent skiing at Stowe or Smuggler’s Notch. During the summer, this mountain wilderness make for exciting hiking and camping trips, especially along the Long Trail. Scattered throughout the region, you’ll find charming inns, restaurants, microbreweries, museums and antique shops. During the fall, the terrain is ideal for apple picking and witnessing the colorful fall foliage.
9. Newport, Rhode Island
Just 70 miles south of Boston, the maritime city of Newport is known for its stunning ocean views and historic colonial mansions, many of which can be toured. Sailing, biking, and hanging out on the coast are popular Newport pastimes. Be sure to climb down the famed “40 Steps” that descend to the sea and watch the waves crashing onto the shore. Taking the Cliff Walk is also a great way to enjoy the coastal beauty of Aquidneck Island. During the summer months, there are frequent classical, folk and jazz music festivals.
10. Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Situated within an easy distance of Boston, the pleasant seaside city of Portsmouth is celebrated for its tax-free shopping. Plan a weekend jaunt before the holidays to search for some special gifts at one the many boutiques and artisan shops. After a busy day of shopping or sightseeing, relax in beautiful Prescott Park or kick back in one of the quaint hotels that overlook the sea. Settled in 1623, Portsmouth is the third oldest city in America, and is dripping with historic charm.