Friday, Aug 11, 2023 8:00a -
Sunday, Oct 01, 2023 4:00p

Greater Boston
Near Boston
Boston, MA

EventScheduled OfflineEventAttendanceMode


Art, Date Idea, Drinks, Food, History, LGBTQ+, Music, Photoworthy, Seasonal, Shopping

September and a rigorous return to school and work may be looming, but the summer’s not over yet. The end of the season can be one of the best times to visit coastal hotspots, after the crowds have died down and the prices have lowered. Consider one of these public transit-accessible coastal and island day trips (or heck, weekend trips) to send off summer with a bang. 

Most of these destinations can be reached on the MBTA Commuter Rail which runs a $10 weekend pass special. Take as many train rides as you want, anywhere, for just $10 for the whole weekend.

by Celina Colby

Newburyport, MA

Distance: 38 miles from Downtown

Transit: Newburyport/Rockport Commuter Rail Line

Info: Newburyport achieves the perfect balance between trendiness and quaint New England charm. Browse local shops along the brick-laden downtown, drive out to the Plum Island beaches, and dine along the waterfront.

Pro Tips: Literary lovers will swoon at Jabberwocky Bookshop, a massive and progressive local book hub. Foodies and Instagrammers alike head to chic Thai fusion restaurant The Joy Nest

Provincetown, MA

Distance: 115 miles from Downtown

Transit: Ferry from Seaport or Peter Pan Bus

Info: No Boston experience is complete without a trip to the Cape’s historic LGBTQIA+ hub: Provincetown. A long-time refuge for artists and creatives, Provincetown offers beautiful galleries, sandy beaches, cool restaurants, and a vibrant nightlife scene. 

Pro Tips: If you love your time in Provincetown (and how could you not), plan a trip back during one of their festivals, such as Pride Month or Carnival, for an out-of-this-world party experience. Either way be sure to grab a bite at The Lobster Pot, a local landmark for delicious seafood then head to The Canteen for a drink right by the beach.

Rockport, MA

Distance: 40.1 miles from Downtown

Transit: Newburyport/Rockport Commuter Rail Line

Info: Nothing says “New England” quite like the charming fishing town of Rockport. Stroll down Bearskin Neck to poke into local shops, galleries, and eateries, then walk out into the harbor on the rocky jetty. Outdoor lovers can bike out to Halibut Point State Park to hike around oceanside quarries.

Pro Tips: Don’t leave without having a lobster roll at Roy Moore Lobster Co., they literally pulled the lobster out of the water that morning. Music lovers consider a concert at the stunning Shalin Liu Performance Center overlooking the ocean.

Martha’s Vineyard, MA

Distance: 89.7 miles from Downtown

Transit: Peter Pan or P-B Bus to Woods Hole, Ferry to Martha’s Vineyard

Info: The Vineyard isn’t just for former presidents to enjoy. This beautiful sprawling island offers rich natural beauty, innovative cuisine, and old-school New England charm. Almost 50 years later you’ll still feel like you’re walking into “Jaws.” 

Pro Tips: Ferries go into two places, Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs. Check out each port and decide which appeals to you more. You won’t be able to see the whole island in one day so choose one town and spend the day there.

If you decide to make it a weekend trip, take a drive to Gay Head Lighthouse at the westernmost point of the island for some breathtaking views of the water and a rich Native American history. If you visit after peak season (starting September 15), you have to check out Lucy Vincent Beach (pictured) for an unmatched waterfront experience. You’ll swear you’re on an Hawaiin beach. 

Nantucket, MA

Distance: 99 miles from Downtown

Transit: Peter Pan Bus to Hyannis, Hy-Line Ferry to Nantucket

Info: History and the high-end prevail on this famed island. What started as a whaling hub has now become a favorite vacation spot for the wealthy. Explore the cobblestone streets of downtown, visit the Whaling Museum, and enjoy the pristine beaches and scenic lighthouses dotting the island.

Pro Tips: Tailwind runs seaplane flights directly from Reelhouse Oyster Bar in Seaport to Nantucket. This is not only a unique experience, it significantly cuts down on your travel time. It’s less than an hour door to door.

Newport, RI

Distance: 71.2 miles from Downtown

Transit: Peter Pan Bus 

Info: Transport yourself back to the Gilded Age with a visit to charming Newport and the famous Newport Mansions, lavish vacation homes owned by regional elites at the turn of the century. You’ll also find beautiful ocean views and locally owned restaurants at this chic waterfront locale.

Pro Tips: To get off the glittering beaten path of Newport, head to Brenton Point State Park and visit The Bells, a dilapidated mansion that used to house Egyptian artifacts and now touts some of Rhode Island’s best graffiti artists.

Portsmouth, NH

Distance: 57 miles from Downtown

Transit: C&J Bus

Info: Just over an hour from Boston, Portsmouth is an easy and delightful day trip. The port town showcases a wide spectrum of local shops, galleries and concert venues, and trendy restaurants and breweries. It’s also home to a rich heritage as one of the early established towns in the country.

Pro Tips: 3S Artspace is a trendy nonprofit arts gallery and event space on the outskirts of downtown Portsmouth. Head there for cool concerts, open mic nights, innovative art installations, and margaritas from the adjoining taco restaurant.

Portland, ME

Distance: 108 miles from Downtown

Transit: Greyhound or Concord Coach Bus, Amtrak Downeaster 

Info: Portland is a foodie paradise just a two hour bus ride from Boston. Come hungry, because there’s no shortage of chef-driven restaurants, distilleries, farms, and cocktail bars to keep you busy. Portland is also a great spot for vintage shopping and gallery hopping.

Pro Tips: Art lovers flock to the Portland Museum of Art, a mighty museum with a robust contemporary collection. To get a different perspective on the city take a historic schooner boat ride around the harbor where you’ll spot iconic lighthouses at every turn. 

Salem, MA

Distance: 21.9 miles from Downtown

Transit: Newburyport/Rockport Commuter Rail Line

Info: Salem has more to offer than just witches and tarot card readings (though we love those things). Slurp down oysters on the waterfront, learn about New England’s deep literary history, and visit one of the country’s best collections of fashion arts at the Peabody Essex Museum.

Pro Tips: Snap your best Instagram photos at the Punto Urban Art Museum, a network of murals by local and global street artists tucked in the streets of The Point neighborhood.

Scituate, MA

Distance: 30.5 miles from Downtown

Transit: Greenbush Commuter Rail Line

Info: Scituate harbor is another classic example of a seaside New England town with shingled buildings, carefully maintained boats moored in the harbor, and charming shops and restaurants lining Main Street.

Pro Tips: If you visit on a Friday take in the monthly First Friday in the Harbor event where live music and entertainment perform downtown, shopkeepers stay open late with local wares, and lights adorn the harbor.

Dennis, MA

Distance: 77 miles from Downtown

Transit: Peter Pan Bus

Info: Experience the allure of Dennis and Brewster, Massachusetts, before the fall season sets in. Wander along their idyllic settings and laid-back atmosphere. While you're there, consider staying at Pelham on Main or Pelham on Earle for an affordable option, and take advantage of the free shuttle to Pelham House Resort. Enjoy their private beach and other amenities without breaking the bank!

Pro Tips: Don't miss the chance to explore Brewster's fascinating low tides too, where you can venture nearly a mile out and even observe oyster traps up close.

Photo: Lucy Vincent Beach, Martha’s Vineyard

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08/11/2023 08:00:00 10/01/2023 16:00:00 America/New_York 10+ Coastal Day Trips Outside of Boston to Take Before the First Day of Fall <p>September and a rigorous return to school and work may be looming, but the summer’s not over yet. The end of the season can be one of the best times to visit coastal hotspots, after the crowds h... Greater Boston, Boston, MA false MM/DD/YYYY