Ready to Get Out? Here’s Seven Scenic Day Trips to Escape the City This Summer
Sunscreen? Check. Bug spray? Check. Mask and hand sanitizer? (Sigh.) Check. Now all you have to do is go.
One thing’s for sure: This isn’t going to be a normal summer. There’ll be no fireworks. No festivals. No concerts. And we’re all going to have to get used to strolling on the beach in a bathing suit and a mask. But that doesn’t mean you have to stay inside all season and miss out on a wicked-good New England summer—no way. The fresh mountain air, the fried clams and ice cream, and the bracingly cold Atlantic on a hot, humid day are hardly canceled, and the good news is you don’t have to travel far from home to get a taste. Featuring destinations less than two and a half hours from Boston, the following day trips are designed to help you safely get outdoors, whether you’re in the mood to bike up (and down) a mountain, eat a peaceful picnic near the water, or check out a quirky display of vintage rocking horses in a field (yes, that’s really a thing). So, while it may not be a normal summer, there’s never been a better time to load up the car, grab a bottle of Purell, and just drive.
Approximate Drive Time From Boston: 1 hour
The South Shore and the Cape might hog the summertime spotlight, but the cities and towns surrounding Buzzards Bay shouldn’t be overlooked. After all, they’re packed with just as much coastal beauty and plenty of quirky character to boot, including brand-new public art exhibits and a (possibly) haunted forest to explore.
Approximate Drive Time From Boston: 50 minutes
Looking for new adventures close to home? Venturing beyond 128 has its rewards—namely, mountain-climbing, stargazing, and one very satisfying chili dog. Along the way, you’ll discover remnants of old mill towns that bring the state’s manufacturing history to life.
Approximate Drive Time From Boston: 30 minutes
Urban sprawl hasn’t compromised Lincoln’s still-rural character or Concord’s colonial charm, which remains centuries after Paul Revere set out for the town on his famous midnight ride. It also hasn’t compromised the still-quiet natural attractions in both places, from freshwater wetlands teeming with wildlife to recently built rail trails. Get trotting.
Approximate Drive Time From Boston: 2 hours and 20 minutes
You may not be rolling out the picnic blanket at Tanglewood this summer, but there are still plenty of reasons to head west on the Pike for the day. Among them: idyllic artist-inspired strolls, overflowing gardens, and one seriously hard-core mountain-bike ride.
Approximate Drive Time From Boston: 35 minutes
Need an excuse to road-trip down to the famous Island Creek Oysters farm for a few shuckable delights? Try getting your steps in with a quiet walk in the woods across from a Duxbury cranberry bog, or pointing your bike toward a leafy trail in Marshfield. Then break out the oyster knife and enjoy the sweet taste of summer on the South Shore.
Approximate Drive Time From Boston: 1.2 to 2 hours
You don’t have to check into a weekly rental to enjoy everything the Cape has to offer, from the surf and sand you’ve always loved to rugged but gorgeous trails that veer well off the beaten path. Just load up the car (don’t forget the bathing suits!), cross the Sagamore, and find your
Approximate Drive Time From Boston: 30 to 45 minutes
Think summer here is all about crowded beaches and greenheads? Think again. There are plenty of quieter moments to be had in the forests and salt marshes from Wenham all the way up to Cape Ann. Some traditions, however, shouldn’t be messed with: No matter where you go, you’ll still want to make a pit stop for Woodman’s legendary fried clams—which somehow taste even better al fresco.
Four scenic drives within an hour of the city, no masks required.
Rejoining civilization for the first time in months? You might have a few questions.
All you need is the Internet and a little imagination to enjoy these virtual day trips.