Day Trip from Boston: Port Towns, Islands and Old Quarries

If you are a big city dweller like us, you may often try to find ways to break the daily rhythm and search for a calmer place outside the craziness of the city.

After living in Boston for nearly a decade, we have compiled a brief list of places we often enjoy traveling to as our own escape.

The Tranquil Town of Rockport

Picturesque and reminiscent of an iconic New England coastal town, Rockport is located just one hour drive from the city at the tip of Cape Ann. In its small downtown, you will find a mix of local stores selling everything from homemade candy to fine art.

Make sure to walk along Bearskin Neck, a pedestrian street filled with shops that will eventually lead you to a small pier offering stunning views of the ocean. Another highlight close by is the main harbor, where many of the town’s boats dock.

We usually go there for the calm waters and to enjoy the cool ocean breeze.

A little further north is my favorite place in the whole cape: Halibut Point State Park. The park has in its center the old abandoned Babson Farm Quarry that is filled with water and trails that lead all the way to the shore.

If you enjoy photography, pack a sandwich, sit on the tall rocks lining the shore and enjoy the colorful sunset the area delivers.

An Island Reservation and Historical Newburyport

Another fifty minutes north is the town of Newburyport. Bigger than Rockport, it retains a charm of its own with red brick buildings taking over the town’s landscape. Simply take a peaceful stroll along its waterfront and then jump right over to the various shops located in every nook and cranny of the historical downtown.

If you are into decorating, this is a must place! I cannot remember, how many sail boats, handmade pillows and antique furniture I have purchased here.

Newburyport is also near various beaches and state reservations so you can pretty much spend the whole day driving around and exploring the area. One great spot to visit not far from town is Plum Island. This 11 mile barrier island is also a national wildlife refuge with many beaches and trails.

The island remains open year-round and you can explore its maze of boardwalk paths and lookouts even when the beaches are blanketed with snow.