Coastal Massachusetts and Rhode Island Vacation Ideas Coastal Massachusetts and Rhode Island - Road Trip Planner

Places to Visit in Boston, Cape Cod, Newport, CT, Coastal MA and RI

Things to do / Travel Guide

Whether you're a history buff or a water-sports enthusiastic, Coastal Massachusetts and Rhode Island offers an amazing amount of places to see and things to do, starting from near the new Hampshire border and heading south - all the way down to Block Island and the Long Island Sound.

North of Boston, Massachusetts

Lexington and Concord - These cities played a significant part in the Revolutionary War; Concord was a literary capital in the early-to-mid 19th century.

Salem - Although the Puritans, who founded Salem, hoped it would be a quiet haven for farming and fishing, the town will forever be associated with the infamous Witch Trials of 1692, the story of which is told at several museums.

Cape Ann - Cape Ann, located at the northern tip of the Massachusetts Coast, includes the scenic towns of Gloucester, Rockport, Essex, and Manchester-by-the-Sea, all of which offer whale-watching trips, relaxing beaches, great seafood restaurants, and spectacular ocean-front sunsets.

Boston Area

Boston, the capital of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and New England's largest and most important city, is a great place to begin your tour of the region. Known as the “Cradle of Liberty” for its role in the American Revolution and as the “Athens of America” for its rich cultural and intellectual life, Boston's wealth of historic sites and museums will make American history come alive for you and your entire family. Boston's Boston Common is the oldest urban park in the country, and the prototype to other similar parks such as New York City's Central Park.

To the north of Boston and just across the Charles River Basin is Cambridge, the original capital of the colonial Massachusetts Bay Company and the home of Harvard University, the oldest university in North America.

South of Boston, Massachusetts

Plymouth - With nearly one million visitors coming to see it every year, Plymouth Rock, located in the Pilgrim State Park, is undoubtedly one of the most popular rocks on the planet. The story of the Mayflower's landing is recreated at one of the U.S.'s most famous living history museums, Plimoth Plantation. In Plymouth's immediate area there are a number of other historical attractions, such as the only still-standing house in which an original Pilgrim is known to have lived.

Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket, Massachusetts

Cape Cod - Follow the Massachusetts coastline further south to reach Cape Cod. With over 550 miles of unspoiled coastline, 27 public golf courses, and more than 50 miles of bike trails, it's no wonder that Cape Cod is one of the U.S.'s favorite get-away destinations. Hyannis is the largest port on the Cape, and the place from which you can get to the islands listed below. Be warned, however, that Cape Cod, in addition to Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, are jam-packed at the height of summer; it's therefore best to make a planned holiday visit in the less-busy months of May and September.

Martha's Vineyard - South of Cape Cod is Martha's Vineyard. “The Vineyard,” as it's called by the locals, is famous for the unspoiled beauty of its many scenic beaches. It's also one of “the” places to see and be seen, if you happen to be a politician or a celebrity.

Nantucket - East of Martha's Vineyard is the island of Nantucket. With its miles of wide, sandy beaches, and its several quaint towns, Nantucket is one of the most scenic and relaxing spots in the region. The spring is an especially great time to visit when millions of daffodils are in bloom. This island is most famous for its history as a point of departure for whalers in the 19th century, and traces of this formerly-glorious industry can be found in the island's every nook and cranny. Unfortunately (though very fortunately for the whales), the island's whaling industry suffered decline starting as early as the 1850s, when the young men spurned the Atlantic for the Pacific Coast, traveling to California during the Gold Rush.

Be warned, however, that Cape Cod, in addition to Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, are jam-packed at the height of summer; it's therefore best to make a planned holiday visit in the less-busy months of May and September. Furthermore, many beaches that you might think you want to go to are actually off-limits to the public. People lived in these areas for centuries before they became the prime tourist destination they have become, and for this reason much of the land is owned. This also means that the beaches there are, while there are a good amount, are never that large. In a way, however, their small size adds to the ambiance.

Rhode Island

East of Massachusetts is the state of Rhode Island, known as the “Ocean State.” It surrounds on three sides Narragansett Bay, which additionally contains a large number of small islands.

Providence - Rhode Islanders are very proud of their state's capital, Providence. The city's period architecture is immaculately preserved, boasting buildings from the Colonial period to the present day.

Newport - At the southern tip of the state is Newport, “The City by the Sea,” actually on the island called “Rhode Island.” The city has been attracting visitors for centuries, and with good reason. With miles of coastline, splendid mansions from the Gilded Age of the mid-to-late 19th century, and quaint shops and galleries, Newport is a treat for the artist and the historian. Today it is inundated by visitors coming for tennis and yachting competitions.

On Rhode Island's coast, to the west of the Narragansett Bay, you'll find inlets, haunting coves, smaller and smaller islands, and very nice, wooded property. The principle cities south of Providence are Cranston, Warwick, and North Kingstown and South Kingstown.

Rhode Island's South County - This area extends along Rhode Island's southern coast from Watch Hill Cove to Narragansett and its eponymous bay. There are pretty beaches, very pleasant fishing and hiking, and a stretch of barrier islands. The nice old towns include Watch Hill, Weekapaug, and Narragansett. If you ever wanted to know where the Phish song “Weekapaug Groove” came from, now you know. If this helps you decipher the song's lyrics, you must know something we don't.

Block Island - South of the mainland is small and unspoiled Block Island. The island is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful spots in the region, thanks to its rolling green hills, dramatic Mohegan Bluffs, 17 miles of beaches, and 365 freshwater ponds. There is lots to do here in terms of all the water sports and activities.


Keep heading west and you're in Mystic country, the town known as Mystic, Connecticut.

Mystic Seaport - Experience what life was like in a 19th-century ocean-front village at Mystic Seaport, the largest maritime museum in the United States. This attraction is a museum; you'll find other villages of similar nature in the vicinity as well, such as Stonington, and, in Rhode Island, Watch Hill Cove.

Foxwoods Resort Casino - Head due north to Ledyard to try your luck at the Foxwoods Resort Casino. Operated by the Mashantucket Pequot tribe, Foxwoods Resort Casino is the largest casino in the world. Need we say more?

Mohegan Sun - Mohegan Sun casino, located in nearby Uncasville, Connecticut, has more than 6,000 slot machines, the world's largest planetarium dome, and dozens of places to eat, shop, and be entertained. It's also just 15-20 minutes away from Foxwoods Resort Casino, for those who like to go casino-hopping.

Places to Visit in Boston, Cape Cod, Newport, Connecticut, Coastal Massachusetts and Rhode Island

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