With hectic schedules and family budgets, it’s not always possible to get away for a full vacation. But for Boston residents, there are many local day trips full of history and fun, making for a great vacation in your own backyard.
Witch City USA is located about 25 miles north of Boston and is home to a number of fun attractions. Best known for the historic witch trials of 1692, Salem offers cultural activities for the whole family.
- The Salem Witch Museum is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm and 10 am to 7 pm in July and August, respectively. The museum transports you back to 1692 to explore the history of the witch trials through life-size stages and narration.
- The Peabody Essex Museum displays maritime Asian exports and Japanese art and hosts many events year-round. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm.
- The House of the Seven Gables, one of the many historic homes in Salem, is open for tours from 10 am to 5 pm daily and until 7 pm in the summer. Made famous by author Nathaniel Hawthorne, this preserved home lets you step back in time and learn about the maritime history of this great city.
- Salem Willows, one of Salem’s hidden gems, has arcades, restaurants, beaches, and walking trails.
Lexington and Concord
History buffs will know that “the shot heard round the world” was in none other than the Boston suburb of Lexington, MA. Walk or ride along the Battle Road Trail, a 5.5-mile path that follows the route the British soldiers took on during the start of the Revolutionary War. Many historic homes and sites are open for tours or just enjoy the nature trails in Minute Man National Historical Park. Also in the area, you can tour Orchard House, the home of author Louisa May Alcott, and the setting of her novel Little Women. Or grab some sunscreen and spend the afternoon at Walden Pond, where Henry David Thoreau lived while gathering material for his book, Walden. Now a popular swimming hole, there are also hiking trails and a reconstruction of Thoreau’s cabin.
Cape Cod, known locally as the Cape, is a popular trip for a day or weekend. Small towns are full of shops and restaurants to explore, with hiking and biking trails at every turn and miles of coastline to enjoy. Some towns to visit include the following:
- Sandwich is the oldest and most historic town on the Cape. Check out the Sandwich Glass Museum (open daily from 9:30 am to 5 pm) and the Heritage Museums and Gardens (open daily from 10 am to 5 pm). At the Heritage Museum, you’ll find antique cars, a historic carousel, and acres of gardens to explore.
- Woods Hole is a small fishing village that’s also home to the oceanographic institute, where you can learn about local marine life.
- Hyannis is full of shops and restaurants and is where the Kennedy family calls home. From here, you can catch a ferry out to Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket for the day.
- You can’t beat Chatham for a picturesque day on the Cape, with its lighthouse and shifting sandbars.
In addition to these day trips, there are many other areas to explore near Boston. Providence, RI, is 45 minutes away, and Newport, RI, with its historic mansions, is also within reach. Head up to Kittery, ME, for some outlet shopping or the White Mountains and Franconia Notch in New Hampshire for hiking and scenery. There’s no shortage of day trips in the Boston area, and you can find everything from historical sites to modern art. Explore your backyard and discover all that New England has to offer. If you need a new vehicle for your day trips, visit Nissan 24 to test drive our 2015 models.