Looking for day-trip ideas from Boston? Salem is located just 16 miles north of the city, making it a convenient and memorable day-trip to take while visiting Boston.
During the season (May 20 – October 31) the Salem Ferry can travel from Boston’s Long Wharf to Blaney Street in Salem in just under one hour. To make the most of a day-trip to Salem, plan on taking the 9:30 am ferry, and arriving in Salem just before 10:30 am. Tickets may be purchased online in advance of your trip, and rates and schedules are available at SalemFerry.com.
Purchase your ferry tickets online, and you will also have the option of selecting a combination ticket for the Salem Ferry and the Salem Trolley. With your trolley ticket, you will be able to pick up the trolley from the stop located by the Salem Ferry landing and take in an overview of Salem’s history in a one-hour trolley tour (with the option to hop on and off as you like).
Ride through a couple of stops on the trolley, and hop off at the Peabody Essex Museum. One of the fastest-growing art museums in the country, the Peabody Essex Museum offers a large collection of Asian and maritime art along with historical house tours, including the 200 year old Yin Yu Tang house which was moved to the museum from China. Admission rates for the museum and a calendar of events may be viewed prior to your visit at PEM.org.
Once you have your fill of art for the day, hop back on the trolley and go one stop to the Witch Dungeon Museum. At the museum, learn about the tragic events that unfolded in 1692 through an award-winning reenactment of one of the trials followed by a guided tour of the dungeon. Thinking about spending more time in Salem? Consider purchasing a combination pass for the Witch Dungeon Museum, Witch History Museum, and New England Pirate Museum if your day trip turns into an overnight stay.
Ready for lunch? Hop back on the trolley to continue the tour, and hop off on Pickering Wharf. Walk around the corner of the Salem Waterfront Hotel and Suites and enjoy lunch near the waterfront at the hotel’s Regatta Pub. The Regatta Pub offers a relaxed atmosphere with indoor and outdoor seating available to enjoy lunch by the water.
After lunch, pick up the trolley on Pickering Wharf and continue the last couple of stops along the tour before hopping off once more on Blaney Street. From here, spend the afternoon aboard Sea Shuttle’s catamaran Endeavor while learning about various sea creatures in an onboard aquarium and taking in beautiful views of Salem Harbor and Misery Island.
With some time to spare before returning to Boston for the evening, take the trolley back towards the downtown area and hop off at the Salem Regional Visitor Center. A short walk up St. Peter’s Street will bring you to Bit Bar, where you can enjoy retro-gaming inspired cocktails while showing off your skills on classic arcade games from the 80s and 90s.
The last two departures for the Salem Ferry from Blaney Street are 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm. Keep your eye on the time while playing at Bit Bar and be sure to get back to the Ferry Landing in time to make your return trip to Boston. Looking to catch the 7:00 pm ferry but worried about getting there with the trolley tour ending at 5? Walk to the nearest Zagster bike station and take a scenic ride back down to Blaney Street to meet the ferry.