From meeting new people to experiencing new sights, sounds, and smells – is there anything more exciting or rejuvenating than a break from the day-to-day mundanity? Traveling is an excellent way to immerse yourself in a new culture, setting, or way-of-life, but the best part is this: you don’t have to venture far from home to enjoy what this world has to offer.
Whether your journey takes you across your own city, to an unexplored part of your state, or even to the other side of the world, there’s no doubt you will still learn a lot about your surroundings – and yourself – along the way.
While the culture an hour away from your home might not be drastically different from what you’re used to, you can still gain a deepened sense of appreciation for where you’ve laid your roots. Plus, traveling locally has a lot of benefits:
More cost-effective. Local travel is certainly a budget-friendly way to explore! Many activities and parks are free or have a low cost of entry. For day trips, you can also pack your own meals to save.
Eco-friendly way to travel. Travel is hard on the environment, but putzing around your area is more sustainable than air travel.
Quick trips. Getting out locally means you can do it more often! Long weekend trips are a lot easier to take when the destination is a short drive away.
Easy to plan. Preparing your itinerary for a local getaway will likely save you some time and stress.
More convenient. Especially if you have little ones, sticking close to home may be much more convenient than far-off destinations. If you forget something, have an emergency, or need to cut the trip short, being closeby definitely has its benefits.
It’s one of the most historically significant cities in our country — and the site of Cheers. It hosts a world-famous yearly marathon and is one of the most active sports communities in America, and it’s also home to more colleges per capita than many other U.S. cities.
We’re talking about none other than Boston, Massachusetts — aka Beantown, aka the Athens of America. And whether you’ve been there for hours, days, or a whole lifetime, we’re willing to bet you haven’t experienced all it has to offer. Let's get ready to explore!
Boston is all city — but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some incredible outdoor recreation opportunities in the immediate vicinity. Here are some great state and national parks in the Boston, MA area.
Straddling the nearby neighborhoods of Cambridge, Arlington, and Somerville, Alewife Brook Reservation has offered a nearby wildlife retreat to Bostonians and for over 100 years. Much of the premises are wetlands, home to indgeneous and migratory birds, and the park’s three ponds are spring spawning grounds for herring and other fish that migrate in from the Atlantic.
Preserving coastal wetlands and the plants and animals that call them home, Belle Isle Marsh Reservation is the last remaining salt marsh in Boston proper. Visitors can enjoy a variety of walking paths as well as an observation tower to help you access sweeping seaside views.
Whether you’re looking for forested hiking trails, the historical intrigue of exploring Civil-War-era remains, the romance of meandering amongst lighthouses, or just a plain old relaxing time outdoors, the Boston Harbor Islands offer a unique opportunity to locals — and if you’re a good swimmer, you might not even need a ferry boat to get to them. (It’s probably a good idea, though.)
Although the historic town of Roxbury was annexed by Boston in 1868, you can still explore its unique history by visiting Roxbury Heritage State Park. Along with walking trails and wildlife viewing opportunities, this park is also home to the Dillaway-Thomas House, built circa 1750 — making it one of the oldest surviving structures in the area.
Encompassing the eastern portion of the Squantum Peninsula in nearby Quincy, Squantum Point Park offers visitors endless opportunities for fishing, bird-watching, picnicking and more, all within view of the city skyline. It’s especially lovely to walk along the pier at sunrise or sunset — high on our list of things for couples to do in Boston!
Whether or not you venture into any of the preserved wilderness areas around Boston, there are some wonderful ways to get acquainted with the landscape on foot. Here are some of the best hiking trails in Boston.
Running just over two miles through Marine Park and featuring beautiful wildflowers when the season is right, the Boston Harbor and Castle Island Trail is a popular destination — but not so popular as to be overcrowded. Along with walking, running, and biking, this area is also a great option for those looking to sea kayak and is best used between April and October.
Bright, sunshiney, and dog-friendly (assuming your pups are leashed, of course), Deer Island Trail is a heavily-trafficked loop, so we recommend arriving early if you want a good parking spot (and the opportunity to get some solitude). Running just under three miles in length and seeing very little elevation gain, this is a hike that’s accessible to many different fitness and ability levels.
Don’t get scared off by the total length of this extensive trail system, which dates back to the time of Frederick Law Olmsted. While Boston’s Emerald Necklace Trail may measure more than 30 miles altogether, there are plenty of opportunities to take shorter adventures along the way, whether it’s a long, leisurely walk or a quick morning run. (Plus, you’ll get to see plenty of Boston’s most famous sights along the way!)
The Neponset River Reservation is a popular getaway locale for local Bostonians, and its namesake Neponset Trail is a great place for an afternoon wander. Measuring a little more than three miles in total length and seeing very little in the way of elevation gain, this is considered an easy hike, but still a relaxing and worthwhile way to get some fresh air and exercise.
Running about three and a half miles and seeing some undulating elevation gain, Millennium Park is a popular loop for walkers, hikers, bikers, runners and more. It’s particularly well-regarded amongst those with pets, so if you’ve got a dog — or just want the opportunity to go pet and play with someone else’s — this might just be the perfect place.
The amount of things to do and places to explore in Boston on any given weekend can be downright overwhelming — and you’re definitely going to need some solid fuel to get you through the day. Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities for delicious eating! Here are some of the best restaurants in Boston, from Italian to Indian and everything in between.
There’s no shortage of Tuscan cuisine in Boston, but Guilia is a special treat: offering inventive but classic pasta dishes with a side of friendly, old-world hospitality, this is easily one of the best Italian restaurants in Boston. One favorite you might not have had before: the pappardelle with wild boar. Otherwise, enjo the constantly-rotating menu, always based on what’s fresh, local and delicious.
Located in Boston’s famed Back Bay neighborhood, Douzo Sushi is both trendy and a standby, serving up unique and novel sushi dishes as well as old favorites accompanied by an extensive cocktail list. Their award-winning menu also features items like shrimp tempura and wagyu beef carpaccio, so even the non-sushi-eaters in your party will find something delicious to munch on.
Dishing up a wide variety of Punjabi classics, such as vindaloo, biryani and tikka masala, Vaisakhi Indian Restaurant is the perfect place to turn when you’re in the mood for something satisfying, filling and affordable. Fresh ingredients are spiced up and cooked with the good stuff, like ghee, tomatoes, onion, garlic and ginger. Enjoy!
Those in search of the best vegetarian and/or vegan eats in Boston will quickly find themselves in a whole ‘nother star system: Veggie Galaxy, where you’ll find an alternate dimension of indulgent diner comfort foods with a conscientious twist — they’re all plant-based! Whether you’re after a loaded breakfast sandwich or waffles piled high with fruit and maple syrup, you definitely won’t miss the meat or dairy.
Some places are just meant to succeed — and you could say that’s the story with Villa Mexico Cafe, which actually started inside a Beacon Hill gas station before migrating into its current downtown Boston location. Family-run and beloved by locals for decades, this is a quick and easy stop for anyone in search of a delicious and satisfying Mexican treat. Plus, sometimes, on Fridays, they offer free cookies!
Once you’ve dined and discovered the great outdoors, you’ve only just scratched the surface of fun things to do in Boston. Here are some options to help you start brainstorming.
Boston is a great place for kids and families. Here are some fun things to discover with the youngins.
If your kids — or you! — love Legos, you can’t miss a trip to Legoland Discovery Center. Located in Assembly Square, this sprawling indoor Lego playground includes two rides, 10 Lego build and play zones, a 4D cinema, and even more adventure to get into.
One of the most beloved institutions in the city, if not the whole northeast, the Boston Museum of Science holds enough interactive and educational exhibits to capture the attention of even the littlest members of your family — but the big kids (and parents) won’t be bored, either. Be sure to top off your visit by experiencing a film at the Mugar Omni Theater, whose 4D dome design literally brings you into the action.
The New England Aquarium is so much more than, well, just an aquarium. Drawing more than a million visitors each and every year, this organization is also well-known for its conservation efforts, and also hosts whale watches, feature films and more.
You probably know there’s plenty to do in Boston during the daytime — but what about after night falls?
Have no fear. Here are a few options.
Want to get a different view of Boston? Even if you’ve called the city home for a decade or longer, you may not have gotten the chance to see it from the water — and doing so is an incredible way to spend a long, meandering evening. A variety of companies offer sunset cruises, evening boat tours, onboard dinners and more, and many of these experiences are surprisingly affordable.
Seeing the skyline from the famed Skywalk Observatory at the top of the Prudential Center, or “the Pru” as it’s called, is certainly fun during the daytime… but it just gets that much more exhilarating at night. Offering sweeping 360-degree views of town and DIY audio tour, this is a relaxing and inviting way to get familiar with town… that is, once you get over your acrophobia.
Boston may not be the cheapest place to hang out, but it’s not always the most expensive, either! Here are some fun and affordable ways to experience Beantown.
While sitting down in a restaurant is appealing, sometimes, you really just want to wander around and get an eyeful before you decide what to eat… or even sample several smaller items. Faneuil Hall Marketplace allows you to do just that, and also to experience a unique piece of Boston’s history, all without spending much more than $20 or so.
Maps are fascinating, whether you’ve traveled extensively or you prefer to look at them and imagine where you might one day go. The Mapparium is a unique map museum tucked into the Mary Baker Eddy library, and admission is just $6 for adults and $4 for seniors and youths. (Kids up to age 5 get in for free!)
Speaking of “free”... Here are some more fun must-dos in Boston that don’t cost a single cent.
The Boston Freedom Trail is such an iconic experience, we simply can’t leave it off our list. Better yet, this 2.5-mile adventure, which winds its way past 16 nationally significant historic sites, is completely free to experience — though paid walking tours are also available.
Founded all the way back in 1636, Harvard is the oldest university in America — and you can give yourself a taste of the Harvard experience without racking up a five- or six-figure debt! Just grab a map for the self-guided walking tour of Harvard Yard, and enjoy the beautiful buildings and rolling greenery of this iconic campus.
Boston’s famous Common dates back to 1634 making it, arguably, the oldest park in the country. And no matter its age, it’s a great place to kick back with a book, enjoy some summer sunshine, walk hand-in-hand with your sweetheart or go for a run — all of which are free experiences!
Everyone needs some pampering from time to time. Whether you’re after a massage or a beautifying service like hair coloring, here are some of the best spas and salons in Boston.
Wellness is really a full-body experience, which the minds behind Exhale seem to understand. With several locations not only in Boston but around the country, Exhale is an all-inclusive kind of spa that offers everything from massage therapy to facials to acupuncture and more, along with fitness classes right on-site. Consider it a one-stop shop!
Loving the skin you’re in is important — and also involves taking good care of it. With a wide range of facials as well as more involved medi-spa treatments, Skin Spa, a company which originates out in New York, offers indulgent, detoxifying and beautifying treatments in Boston’s Back Bay area.
Sometimes, a new ‘do is just the thing to make you feel more like yourself — and at Viselli Salon, you can rest assured you’re in knowledgable, professional hands that are ready to create a new haircut, color, or style to your specifications. The salon also offers wedding and special occasion services, so keep them in mind for your big day!
Keeping up with your fitness routine is one of the best ways to ensure you’re feeling your best — let alone looking it. Here are some of the best gyms and yoga studios in Boston to help you get your sweat on.
Big box gyms are one thing — but if you’re more motivated by a friendly, neighborhood approach, Fisique Boston might just be the place to find your results. Offering small group training as well as one-on-one sessions with competent and experienced personal trainers, it’s easy to feel motivated when you’re treated like part of the family.
If you’re looking for a gym with less frills and fees and more get-’er-done attitude, Lifted Fitness is worth checking out. Offering a wide range of strength and cardio equipment as well as fitness classes, you’ll have everything you need to get where you’re going on your own time.
Nestled in the heart of South Boston, Radiant Yoga has been in the business for years, even when they were originally told their dream couldn’t survive. Offering a wide range of classes to cater to every interest and fitness level, this is a great place to introduce yourself to yoga… or to augment your existing practice.
Although there’s clearly no shortage of things to do in Boston proper, there are also some amazing day trips within easy reach. Here are some getaways to consider when the Cradle of Liberty is your home base.
While local Bostons might know it as “the city,” most folks in the northeast are talking about one town in particular when they use that vague moniker. With a variety of trains (or a simple three-and-a-half-hour drive) offering you access to the glitz and glamour of New York, the coolest thing about this day trip is that once you’re done, you can leave!
The Cape is well known for its beautiful, sandy beaches, serene seascapes, and laid-back lifestyle. It’s all less than two hours away from Boston, so why wouldn’t you take advantage of your proximity?
As a final reminder, some of these activities may need to wait until businesses fully reopen from coronavirus closures. However, there is still much to see and experience in Boston that you can enjoy today! What are your favorite spots in Boston? Send them our way [email protected] by tagging us on Instagram @rvshare and using the hashtag #rvsharelocal.