Weekend Getaways From Boston: 15 Best Spots For Relaxation & Adventure | Stanton House Inn
One of the top weekend getaways from Boston, Mystic, a two hour drive away with great food on the water

Weekend Getaways from Boston: 15 Best Spots for Relaxation & Adventure

Portland Head Light, a famous lighthouse overlooking the Atlantic Ocean on weekend getaways from Boston

Boston, Massachusetts, is one of the most unique cities in America. And yet, it’s the quiet weekend escapes that beckon. A short trip from the city, the hinterlands of New England offer a treasure trove of weekend getaways from Boston.

Crave a fresh catch by the sea or the tranquility of a museum?

You’ll find it here.

Yearn for the rhythm of live music or the zest of trendy eateries?

There’s plenty to enjoy with some leisurely poking around.

Boston’s central spot in New England unlocks a realm of:

  • Outdoor thrills

  • Sandy stretches

  • Ocean vistas

  • Island havens

  • And quaint towns

Gaze into something much bigger than you on the coast, breathe deep in New England mountain, or wander through historic lanes of cute towns. Plan your next retreat from Boston and cherish these Northeast weekend getaways for years to come.

Ready to explore the best weekend getaways from Boston? Let’s get into it:

Quick hits

  • Cape Cod, land of picturesque towns and seafood, offers plenty of hiking and biking trails. This charming weekend destination is just 70 miles from Boston.

  • The White Mountain National Forest is an ideal retreat for outdoor enthusiasts. It offers camping, hiking, and skiing, all within a cozy range of 130 miles from Boston.

  • Acadia National Park, within a five-hour drive, provides a varied experience. Its diverse hiking trails, stunning scenery, and local craft breweries create a perfect blend of an escape.

 weekend getaways from boston map Weekend Getaways from Boston: 15 Best Spots for Relaxation & Adventure
Map design by Stanton House Inn  

The Best Weekend Getaways from Boston

You have a ton of options for weekend getaways from Boston. And with only 52 weekends in a year, you’ve got to narrow it down a bit. After all, one of the appeals of traveling in New England is that everywhere looks completely different than it did a few short months before.

So, in order of distance from Boston, Massachusetts:

Historic Salem, Massachusetts

Double red doors on a historic building in Salem, MA

A 37-minute drove from downtown Boston will bring you to Salem’s historic realm. This city, notorious for the 1692 witch trials, is a deep dive into history with a wealth of museums and sites. Visit The Witch House, with its direct ties to the trials. Or trace the town’s colonial and maritime past along the Salem Heritage Trail.

Salem is more than the witch trials; it’s got a ton of historic attractions. From eerie ghost tours to psychic experiences and historical explorations, there’s always something to do in Salem.

You can explore Salem’s history through:

  • Self-guided trails focusing on Salem’s architectural history

  • Self-guided trails focusing on African American Heritage Sites

  • Joining the Bewitched Historical Tour for a guided journey through the town’s intriguing past

This haven promises a unique and captivating tour for history buffs.

After a day of exploration, it’s time to relax. Book a room at the Hawthorne Hotel for a unique historic stay in Salem. Dine at The White Horse Tavern, America’s oldest tavern. There, you can enjoy traditional New England cuisine made with locally-sourced ingredients.

For stay at one of the unique places to stay in the much quieter (and less touristy) town of Marblehead, MA.

Cape Cod

Charming coastal escape in Cape Cod

Head about an hour drive southeast of Boston to arrive in enchanting Cape Cod. This coastal haven is sure to captivate you on classic New England summer getaways with its:

  • picturesque villages

  • renowned seafood restaurants

  • historic hotels

  • abundance of hiking and biking trails

Just around 70 miles from Boston, Cape Cod is conveniently close. It seems obvious why it’s one of the best weekend getaways from Boston.

Scenic gems to explore on your upcoming summer weekends from Boston include:

  • The Highland Light, the oldest and tallest lighthouse in Truro offers vast views and a glimpse into the region’s maritime history.

  • Ply the vast expanse of the Cape Cod National Seashore via conservation land trails to explore its diverse natural habitats.

  • The temptation of fresh seafood is hard to resist. Places like The Lobster Pot in Provincetown, MA, and The Impudent Oyster in Chatham regularly delight seafood enthusiasts.

  • Activities for kids or the young at heart include mini-golf, drive-in movies, and pirate-themed boat adventures.

Or luxuriate by the ocean for a few days.

A historic hotel like the Chatham Bars Inn is a great way to steep in Cape Cod’s history. This boutique hotel is one of the most romantic getaways from Boston.

Drive east from Cape Cod (and perhaps stop to check-out the Lizzie Borden house in Fall River, MA, along the way) to get to our next destination.

Newport, Rhode Island

Historic home in Newport, Rhode Island

Newport, Rhode Island, is a blend of history, luxury, and seaside adventure. Its luxurious seaside accommodations, historic sites, and fine dining are what have made it famous. Just kidding, it’s rich people that settled here en masse over a century ago. But all that other stuff developed around them, a classic chicken and egg scenario. Explore that rich history (literal and figurative) by visiting Newport, RI, mansions or taking a scenic walk along the Cliff Walk. The National Museum of American Illustration and Brenton Point State Park are worth a visit, too. Staying by the sea offers top-rated New England bed and breakfasts and boutique hotels like:

  • Castle Hill Inn

  • The Chanler at Cliff Walk

  • Newport Harbor Hotel and Marina

  • And Forty 1° North

Many of these spots offer stunning waterfront views and easy access to shopping and dining at Bowen’s Wharf. Newport’s culinary scene is diverse. The seafood is always fresh at The Mooring Seafood Kitchen & Bar. And America’s oldest tavern, The White Horse Tavern, is an ideal spot to enjoy traditional New England cuisine. More great restaurants here include The Mooring Seafood Kitchen & Bar and Castle Hill Inn.

And it’s only about an hour and half drive from the city center of Boston.

More Rhode Island Coastal Towns

Sailboats off the coast of Watch Hill, RI

Rhode Island’s coastal towns, such as Little Compton and Watch Hill, are year-round attractions. Their shopping and beaches make them perennially popular getaway destinations. These Rhode Island towns are quite unique.

  • Self-guided walking tours

  • Gondola or riverboat tours

Are ideal opportunities to delve into local history and views. Little Compton boasts picturesque landscapes and serene vineyards. Meanwhile, Watch Hill is most famous for its upscale resorts like the Ocean House.

The cultural and political center of Rhode Island, Providence boasts an artistic flair and gastronomic indulgences galore. Be sure to explore the Rhode Island School of Design, museums, historical landmarks, and the Roger Williams Park Zoo. Waterfire, a captivating event that combines music, art, and fire on the city’s waterways, is a great excuse to visit. Need a place to stay? Try Hammetts Hotel downtown or the Graduate Hotel. Both provide easy access to popular sites within walking distance.

And exploring the culinary scene Providence would be incomplete without enjoying a variety of local craft beers. They’re available at numerous breweries and gastropubs throughout the city.

Portland, Maine

Portland Head Lighthouse near Portland, Maine

The maritime atmosphere is what makes Portland, Maine, one of the best weekend trips. Any opportunity to discover local breweries, enjoy museum exhibits, and join lighthouse tours is a good one. Take a cruise across Casco Bay for whale watching.

Portland is famous throughout New England for its dining scene. Discover delectable lobster rolls at establishments like Duckfat and Highroller Lobster Co.. The city’s old port harbor area bustles with boat tours, ferry rides, and harbor cruises. And when it comes to accommodations, Portland presents a range from historic inns to modern hotels. Options include the Press Hotel and Inn by the Sea.

North Adams & the Berkshires

Early morning walk along fall foliage in western Massachusetts

A 2 hour and 45-minute drive is well worth a visit to the culturally rich North Adams, MA. North Adams is where art meets the elegant rusticity of the Berkshires. The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, known as Mass MoCA, is a hub for contemporary creations that stir the soul.

And for outdoorsy types, North Adams offers a variety of trails. Whether you prefer a leisurely walk or a challenging hike, there’s a path for you. And for a thrill, try zip lining, where you can soar without ever leaving the ground. North Adams truly blends cultural richness with the call of the wild.

North Adams is a fantastic weekend getaway in and of itself. That said, you’d be missing out if you don’t explore more of the charming towns of the Berkshires. Some personal favorites here for a perfect weekend getaway include:

Any of these towns are conveniently located in the region for visiting any of the other small town spots on this list.

White Mountains

Picturesque landscapes of White Mountain National Forest of New Hampshire

Or head about 2 and a half hours northeast of the city to our next destination in the mountains. The White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire, situated 130 miles from Boston, is a picturesque paradise. It offers stunning views of mountains, rivers, lakes, and forests. In any season, the White Mountains are a hub for outdoor activities, including:

  • Skiing and other winter sports

  • Camping, hiking, or mountain biking in the summer

Go hiking or snowshoeing on trails like the Mount Lafayette and Franconia Ridge Trail Loop.

And a place like this begs relaxing by a cozy fire afterwards. The Wentworth Inn or The Inn at Thorn Hill offer boutique experiences with modern amenities, spa services, and fine dining. Or head to Mountain View Majesty in Franconia for a rustic retreat with a homely atmosphere. Some other options range the spectrum from:

  • Secluded cabins by Franconia Notch State Park

  • To the luxurious Omni Mount Washington Resort

Bretton Woods

Snow Bretton Woods on weekend getaways from Boston

Bretton Woods is the largest ski area in New Hampshire. Its well-groomed trails, picturesque vistas, and après-ski vibe are a major draw among ski resorts in the Northeast. Skiers and snowboarders alike can enjoy the challenging ascent of Mount Washington. Unwind after a day on the slopes with a well-known après-ski scene. Luxury accommodation and fine dining are at the Omni Mount Washington Resort for a touch of opulence. Or head to the Adair Country Inn and Restaurant for a little rustic charm on a romantic getaway.

Martha’s Vineyard

Victorian cottages in Martha's Vineyard

What do the Obamas, the Clintons, David Letterman, and Spike Lee all have in common?

Politics aside, of course.

They all vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, among a lengthy cohort of hot shots in America.

This luxury weekend getaway destination needs little introduction. This tiny speck of land packs stunning beaches for surfing and kayaking. Plus, iconic lighthouses like

  • Gay Head Light

  • East Chop Light

  • Edgartown Harbor Light

And culinary festivals and local eateries only add to the appeal. Events like:

  • The annual Taste of the Vineyard Gourmet Stroll

  • The Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival

  • Along with wine tasting sessions at Little Compton’s Sakonnet Vineyards

Showcase the island’s rich culinary scene. Martha’s Vineyard promises a delightful summer experience. And that goes whether you’re searching for a peaceful escape or a culinary adventure.

And between the drive to Cape Cod, and the short ferry ride, it’s a little under 3 hours away from Boston. Or allocate even less time on a direct flight.

Personally, the list of the best things to do on Martha’s Vineyard is a little too pretentious for this writer. The next stop on this list better fits my style.

Block Island

Relaxing beachscape of Block Island

Three hours of a mix of driving and a short ferry ride will bring you to the next stop on the list, Block Island. Beautiful beaches, scenic walking trails, and picturesque lighthouses are what you’ll find here. It’s an ideal destination for a memorable weekend getaway, or just a day trip for the ambitious. The Block Island Ferry makes many daily departures from the mainland. So no need to stress running after a departing ferry. In this writer’s opinoin, the best way to explore the island is renting a bike to explore its 17-mile perimeter. Then, take your time exploring specialty shops, art galleries, and nature trails along the way. For an even slower pace, take advantage of the 28 miles of walking trails. Stop into the Block Island Maritime Institute for educational programs exploring the local marine environment.

Connecticut

Rainy evening on a street corner in Connecticut

Connecticut offers a unique blend of history and modern attractions. There are a ton of options for weekend getaways in Connecticut. This writer picked three that represent their respective regions the best.

And yes, our tiny state has regions. If you visited once in a while, you’d know that.

The more you know.

Mystic, CT

Mystic, Connecticut is the tourist trap of New England. But, like anywhere in the region, it does a great job of slathering on the New England charm. It’s home famous attractions like:

  • The Mystic Aquarium

  • The Mystic Seaport Museum, home to a recreated 19th-century coastal village, and a collection of sailing ships and boats

  • Olde Mistick Village, with artisanal shops and boutiques in a charming colonial-style setting

  • And the historic Bascule Bridge

All of which makes it an ideal spot for romantic getaways in CT or family vacations. Ready to plan your visit? Some of the best coastal CT bed and breakfasts are here. Top picks include the Stonecroft Country Inn Bed and Breakfast and Whaler’s Inn.

Litchfield, CT

This is a charming New England town in the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut. The town of Litchfield, CT, offers a bucolic escape from the hustle and bustle of Boston. With its colonial history and lush countryside, Litchfield is an ideal spot for a weekend getaway. Nature lovers will enjoy frolicking through the scenic Litchfield Hills. And the reward for leisurely drives along some of the best CT fall foliage driving routes will be breathtaking views. The town’s historic district boasts well-preserved 18th and 19th-century architecture. Landmarks to be on the lookout for include the Tapping Reeve House and Law School.

Greenwich, CT

Greenwich, Connecticut, is one of the most unique spots in New England. Like Newport, it’s been a vacation destination for New Yorkers for over a century. Unlike Newport, New Yorkers still move here every generation or so. As such, Greenwich is a mix of Manhattan cosmpolitanism and genteel New England vibes. The community is rich in New England charm and maritime history. Some of the local historic sites to visit include the Bush-Holley House and Putnam Cottage. High-end boutiques, art galleries, and designer stores on Greenwich Avenue will delight shoppers. Nature lovers will enjoy being able to lay on a Greenwich beach and be hiking on local hiking trails about a half hour later, or vice versa. Dining options cater to gourmet tastes with eateries and quaint cafes in downtown Greenwich. And everything is within walking distance of our downtown Greenwich, CT, bed and breakfast.

And don’t forget: you can fit a getaway from Boston to Greenwich, CT, into the standard Boston to NYC drive.

Nantucket Island

Summer weekend getaways from Boston spent exploring shops on Nantucket

For a luxury beach holiday, look no further than Nantucket. This island is a top summer destination for the wealthy, renowned for its exclusivity. Here, privacy is prized by those whose wealth is their best-kept secret.

But if you make it out there, you can rub elbows with the elite of the elite while enjoying:

  • Surfing

  • Kayaking

  • Paddleboarding

The Nantucket Whaling Museum provides insights into the island’s storied past. And local vineyards offer a taste of Nantucket’s vineyard ventures. Culinary festivals and eateries showcase the island’s rich culinary scene. Wander through charming boutiques, dine at local eateries, and immerse yourself however you can.

Who knows? You may wind-up a regular to its pristine beaches. Though you’ll have to start skipping the four-hour ferry ride and take a direct flight to get to the island’s luxury amenities a bit faster.

Acadia National Park

View of the water through rocky cliffs in Acadia National Park

Less than a five-hour drive from Boston, Acadia National Park, is a perfect weekend getaway. Hiking trails, stunning scenery, and local craft breweries have made it a destination for years. The park offers 158 miles of diverse hiking trails through habitats like:

  • Freshwater

  • Estuary

  • Forest

  • And intertidal zones

The park is ideal from mid-September to mid-October for a weekend getaway. That said, the summer months are just as busy. The Beehive Loop and Precipice Trail are exceptional picks for climbers.

Afterwards, return to Bar Harbor, Maine. Local breweries like:

  • Airline Brewing Co.

  • Atlantic Brewing Company

  • And Fogtown Brewing Company

Are great spots to unwind. And seafood enthusiasts can enjoy a lobster roll at great restaurants like The Travelin Lobster in Bar Harbor. Bar Harbor Grand Hotel, Harborside Hotel, Terramor Outdoor Resort, and Bar Harbor Manor, all offer a cozy New England atmosphere. And each is centrally located to town and for access to the park’s attractions.

Lake Champlain

Sunset over Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain is the farthest away from Boston, at almost five hour’s drive. Although a flight won’t save you much time, as a direct flight doesn’t exist. That said, the distance makes it more serene, the perfect getaway for outdoorsy types. It offers activities like:

  • Biking

  • Hiking

  • Kayaking

  • And swimming

Nearby attractions include Shelburne Farms. This working farm and education center offers cheese making workshops and walking trails. The Burlington Bike Path can be a leisurely ride along the lake, or enjoy a challenging hike up Mount Philo State Park.

And since you’re here, you might as well continue onwards for a few hours more into the nearby Adirondack Mountains.

Tl;dr

Congratulations, you’ve discovered 15 of the best weekend getaways from Boston. Each offers a unique blend of adventure, relaxation, and cultural experiences. Whether drawn to the great outdoors, rich history, delectable cuisine, or a break from urban life, you’ll find an ideal destination. So pack your bags and embark on a memorable journey. After all, life is an adventure to be lived, with a vast world out there ready for exploration!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you visit Niagara Falls from Boston?

Yes, Niagara Falls is accessible from Boston. You have the option to fly with airlines such as JetBlue Airways or Southwest Airlines. Or opt for a longer journey by bus or car. A Boston to Niagara Falls road trip is a great way to see the Northeast.

Is Boston a good weekend getaway?

Yes, Boston is a fantastic destination for a weekend getaway, offering a mix of iconic sights, rich history, and delicious local cuisine. It has something for everyone!

What activities can I enjoy in Cape Cod?

During your visit to Cape Cod, immerse yourself in the history of Highland Light in Truro. Explore the diverse habitats along the trails of Cape Cod National Seashore. Savor the fresh seafood at esteemed eateries. Cape Cod caters to a myriad of interests with its array of activities.

What is special about the White Mountains?

The White Mountains offer scenic splendor, drawing nature aficionados to a host of activities. Campers, hikers, and skiers each find their own adventure here. For a memorable wilderness experience, one can choose from secluded cabins to luxurious resorts, all promising cozy stays.

What can I do in Acadia National Park?

You can hike diverse trails, take in scenic views, and visit local craft breweries when visiting Acadia National Park. Some popular trails are The Beehive Loop, Jordan Pond Path, and the Gorham Mountain Loop. Enjoy your visit!

 

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