5 Road Trips 3 Hours or Less From Boston

Boston is a fantastic city with plenty of sporting events and historic sites. After cruising in the Swan Boats and attending a Red Sox game, you might be ready to explore the wider area. With so many great places to visit in New England, it’s time to get out and take a short road trip. With the help of Boston magazine, we’ve picked five destinations only three hours or less from Boston.

Northbridge, Massachusetts

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Northbridge is only a one-hour road trip west of Boston. The Shining Rock Golf Club has a 146-acre course cut into a granite canyon. It offers a challenging design for any golfer and scenic views, Boston magazine reports. The course reopened for the 2021 season in March.

Northbridge is part of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, run by the National Park Service. It’s a great area for biking, canoeing, kayaking, and hiking. At the end of the day, stay at the Beechwood Hotel.

Newport, Rhode Island

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Drive an hour and a half south of Boston to reach Newport, Rhode Island. This spot offers scenic water views and Gilded Age mansions.

Outdoor enthusiasts will love the Cliff Walk and hiking trails, providing beautiful vistas and fresh air. The 3.5-mile Cliff Walk is nicest in good weather but less crowded during the winter off-season.

On your road trip, a 10-mile drive passes homes like the Breakers and Rough Point. The Breakers has recently reopened for tours, but most of the houses and grounds remain closed because of the pandemic.

For dinner, try Forty 1° North or Christie’s. Then stay overnight at Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina or Castle Hill Inn.

Mashantucket, Connecticut

About two hours southwest of Boston, this quaint Connecticut town is home to one of the world’s largest casinos. Located on the Mashantucket Pequot reservation, Foxwoods Resort Casino offers the Scorpion Bar, Shrine nightclub, G Spa, Alta Strada restaurant, and Grand Theater shows. Visitors too young to gamble can check out the Tree House Arcade.

At the end of the night, the Fox Tower at Foxwoods is a beautiful place to lay your head. This indoor entertainment complex is open year-round. Note that Foxwoods has pandemic safety protocols in place, so call ahead to check for updates.

Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire

Meander two hours north of Boston to reach Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire. This area offers something for everyone. It’s home to the largest lake in the state, the New Hampshire Lakes Region Tourism Association reports. Enjoy boating and waterskiing in the warmer months and ice sailing and ice fishing in the winter. Venture out from the lake for skiing and snowmobiling in the area.

Also, find historic locations and boat museums in the towns of Laconia, Meredith, and Wolfeboro. Motorcycle enthusiasts arrive for the annual Laconia Motorcycle Week, happening in June. And adventurers can take in the views of the White Mountains and Ossipee Mountains on a Lakes Region Seaplane Services tour.

Stowe, Vermont

Stowe, Vermont, is a three-hour drive northwest of Boston. This mountain resort town offers plenty of outdoor adventures year-round, including hiking, biking, leaf peeping, and skiing.

Bicyclists will enjoy the 5.3-mile Stowe Recreation Path, Thrillist reports. Or bike on more than 25 miles of paths while staying at the Trapp Family Lodge, founded by the family made famous in The Sound of Music.

Thirsty and/or hungry? Check out Idletyme Brewing Company for lunch or dinner, or try the ciders at Stowe Cider. In nearby Waterbury, Hen of the Woods also serves a great dinner.

With warmer weather arriving in New England, summer and fall are excellent seasons for a road trip to some of these destinations. Great options exist north, south, and west of Boston.