I’ve been in Boston for about three years, and one of my favorite things about living here is visiting all the amazing places in New England. Coming from the Midwest, it has been so nice to live somewhere where it is such a breeze to drive to cool new towns. Since traveling with a toddler can sometimes be challenging, day trips are the perfect way to check out new places without disrupting the routine too much. 

In order to make the trip enjoyable for everyone, try these tips I’ve learned along the way:

Keep the drive short

I won’t do a day trip that is more than one and a half hours each way. That is pretty much the limit on how much anyone in the family wants to drive in one day.

Eat at a good restaurant

In order to make the trip enjoyable for the adults, I research restaurants that look amazing and try not to worry whether it is suitable for kids. I think any restaurant can be “kid friendly” for breakfast or lunch, so I look for a place where I want to eat.

Let your kids run

For my toddler to stay happy, he needs space to run around. I look for nice parks, beaches, or big open spaces to hang at so he can get his energy out.

And here are five great places I’ve been to lately that make awesome day trips:

Portsmouth, NH :: 55 miles from Boston

To eat: For contemporary seafood, fun cocktails, and a cool atmosphere, head to Row 34 (they also have a Boston location). If you’re in the mood for something a little more casual, I highly recommend The River House, with gorgeous views of the Piscataqua River and a great lobster roll! 

To do: Definitely head to Prescott Park, where the little ones can run around and adults can take in the fantastic views of the river and beautiful gardens. Stroll down Market Street and check out all the cute shops and galleries. Your kids might even enjoy shopping if you take them to G. Willikers! Books and Toys!

Providence, RI :: 50 miles from Boston

To eat: I had a great brunch at The Salted Slate, and its central location made it ideal for walking around after. In order to ease those sweet cravings, head to Knead Doughnuts. With two Providence locations, it’s the perfect place for a little treat.

To do: I love to check out all the amazing old college campuses in New England, and Brown University was the perfect place for my little guy to run around. If you’re looking for more kid-friendly fun, the Roger Williams Park Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the country and has more than 150 animals from all over the world. I also loved the shopping in Providence, and Westminster Street has tons of local boutiques that are super cute.

Ogunquit, ME :: 75 miles from Boston

To eat: The best blueberry pancakes I’ve ever had were at the Greenery Cafe in Ogunquit. Go now for these delicious eats and other yummy brunch food. If you’re looking for more traditional Maine coastal seafood, there are tons of good options, like The Lobster Shack and Barnacle Billy’s.

To do: If you’re looking for beautiful beaches, Ogunquit is the place to go. Ogunquit Beach has over three miles of sandy beach that will provide plenty of fun for the family. I also loved walking the Marginal Way, which is a stroller-friendly pedestrian path that offers breathtaking views of the ocean.

Salem, MA :: 20 miles from Boston

To eat: I had so much fun eating delicious seafood on the scenic patio at Sea Level Oyster Bar. The warm lobster roll was delicious, and the gorgeous view of Salem Harbor made for a terrific lunch. 

To do: I was a little hesitant to bring my 2-year-old to the Peabody Essex Museum, but I’m so glad I did. It’s a beautiful art museum that features really interesting Native American, Chinese, and American art. The “Wild Designs” exhibit was perfect for my little guy and had tons of hands-on activities for him to explore. 

Newburyport, MA :: 50 miles from Boston

To eat: It’s hard for me to travel to any coastal New England town without eating seafood, and Newburyport was no exception! I ate lunch at Brine, which is a contemporary oyster bar with delicious seafood options. 

To do: I loved strolling down State Street and checking out all the local Newburyport boutiques. Plum Island is one of the prettiest beaches I’ve seen in New England and is just a 10-minute drive from downtown Newburyport. 

Looking for more day trip ideas from Boston? Check out these other posts from the Boston Moms Blog team!

7 Family Day Trips from Boston

Day Tripping Through New England