Last updated on July 31, 2019 at 10:33 am
Have a blast this summer and leave the car in the driveway (where it belongs). Check out the two train trips and three ferry rides we’ve suggested below; click on the links for travel details and ideas for things to do once you arrive.
Ride the rails: 2 places to get to by train
1) Head down to the Cape on the new Cape Flyer
Skip the traffic on Route 3 and the long waits getting over the bridge. Getting to the Cape on the weekend just got a lot less stressful this summer. Now you can take a traffic-free ride down to Hyannis from South Station. Bikes ride free. The Cape Flyer’s website has links to help you plan a trip to Nantucket, the Vineyard (the ferries leave from Hyannis) and beyond.
- The Boston Globe just wrote about travel logistics and things to do once you step off the train; read “The Cape Flyer to Hyannis”
2) You really can get there from here: Discover Maine on Amtrak’s Downeaster service
Amtrak’s Downeaster service (five daily round trips) takes you from Boston’s North Station to Portland, Maine and stops in between, including Freeport, Kennebunkport , and Old Orchard Beach. And once you get there, you’ll be just fine without your car because Amtrak also provides car-free travel packages for these destinations: http://downeasterpackages.com/.
- New York Times: 36 Hours in Portland, ME
It’s faster by ferry: 3 places to get away by boat
3) P-town is fun, fabulous and funky. Bike, beach, have a ball: you can do it all in Provincetown. You have three options to get to Provincetown by water: The Bay State Cruise Company and Boston Harbor Cruises both offer fast ferry service from Boston; or if you’re on or near the South Shore, you can take the 90-minute trip from Plymouth Harbor instead.
4) Witch way to Salem? With its world-class Peabody Essex Museum, rich history dating back to the 1600s, and pedestrian-friendly town center filled with boutiques, restaurants, and the occasional psychic, Salem’s not just for Halloween—or witches, for that matter. You can take Boston Harbor Cruise’s fast ferry from Boston’s Long Wharf (near the New England Aquarium) to Salem’s town center for $27 round trip.
5) Block Island. 17 miles of beaches ring this tiny pork-chop of an island (just 7 miles by 3 miles), located between Rhode Island and Long Island. The number of vehicles allowed on the island is severely limited, making this a bike-riding and walking paradise. Ongoing efforts to preserve Block Island’s pristine beauty are also why the Nature Conservancy has called it one of the Earth’s “last great places”
- Block Island Wildlife Refuge
- Trip Advisor’s 28 things to do on Block Island
What did we miss? What’s your favorite car-free vacation destination?
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