3- or 4-Day Boston Area Tour
You can get a good taste of New England in just a few days: Boston, Cambridge, Salem, Concord, Plymouth, Providence, Newport, colonial & revolutionary history, beaches & lobsters!
The 4-day itinerary below gives you two days in Boston and Cambridge MA, and two days exploring other destinations in eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island on day-trip excursions by bus, train or car (map).
Feel free to spend a third day in Boston, and only one day on an excursion, perhaps depending upon the weather.
Day 1 - Freedom Trail
Follow the Freedom Trail around Boston's most historic sights, have lunch in or near Faneuil Hall Marketplace or, if it's a fine day, cruise out to the Boston Harbor Islands for a picnic. Spend some time strolling and shopping at Downtown Crossing or along Newbury Street, and have a good dinner in one of the city's better restaurants.
Day 2 - Top Museums
Visit one or two of the city's better museums (Museum of Fine Arts, Gardner Museum, Museum of Science, Children's Museum), then take the subway to Harvard Square in Cambridge for some café-sitting, shopping, and a tour of Harvard University.
Day 3 - Concord
Drive, or take the suburban MBTA Commuter Rail train, to Concord for a walk around that historic town and out to Old North Bridge, where the second battle of the Revolutionary War was fought. Walk around Walden Pond and visit other sites connected with Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry David Thoreau.
Or, instead of heading west to Concord, you can drive or take a train (or in summer a boat) north to the North Shore and Salem to explore New England's maritime history at the Peabody-Essex Museum, and Salem Maritime National Historic Site. You can get a look at some of Salem's witch lore as well. Continue by car or train north to Gloucester and/or Rockport, a picturesque art colony on Cape Ann.
Day 4 - Plymouth
With an extra day you can do both of the excursions outlined in Day 3. If Pilgrim lore is fascinating to you, drive or take a bus or MBTA Commuter Rail train south to Plymouth for a look at Plymouth Rock, the Mayflower II, and other sites in Plymouth, then spend the afternoon at Plimoth Patuxet Museums south of town.
Providence RI, a delightful small city with fine art museums, good restaurants and interesting architecture, is only an hour's drive or train ride from Boston. Make it an overnight and you can visit the sumptuous Gilded Age mansions of Newport RI, by bus or car. More...
In summer, you can travel from Boston to Cape Cod by car, bus, plane, train or boat in as little as an hour, and spend the day on the beach at the Cape Cod National Seashore, or wander (by car) among the Cape's picturesque old towns and villages. More...