New England’s most Picturesque Coastal Towns & Harbors

In the far northeast corner of the United States, the Atlantic coastline provides a wealth of locales that are worth their sea salt.

The region of New England is a patchwork of scenery that ranges from beaches and harbours to small towns and attractions, all landmarks and history that form the perfect backdrop for day trips, weekend getaways, extended harbour hops, and even your wedding day.  

Chartering a bus from Boston gives you and your travel troupe access to five states: Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, making this one awesome road trip opportunity!

Gloucester, Massachusetts

Distance : 50 minute bus ride from Boston

Visit Gloucester by renting a charter bus.
Take a day and visit Gloucester’s amazing beaches and in the evening have a bite to eat at the Seafood Trail. Photo courtesy of Discover Gloucester.

Historically speaking, this is home to America’s oldest seaport and the oldest working art colony in North America. It’s a town that’s both rugged and beautiful, meaning there’s as much adventure in the form of camping and whale watching as there are festivals and tours. Highlights include the Gloucester Seafood Trail for adventurous diners looking to explore ocean-to-table options; the five-day long St. Peter’s Fiesta, a city-wide party held in honour of the patron saint of fishermen; or just exploring the stretches of sand that surround it.

Newburyport, Massachusetts

Distance : 50 minute bus ride from Boston

Visit this amazing brewery by renting a charter bus.
Work hard, drink easy. Photo courtesy of Newburyport Craft Beer.

A quaint town of historic preservation stretching back to the beginning of the 20th century, this is the kind of place best visited for coastal weekend getaways. With its wildlife refuges and proximity to state and national parks like Maudslay State Park and part of Plum Island, what better place to go for a relaxed visit? It’s not all easygoing here, as the tempo can be easily picked up with boat tours followed by craft beers from either the Newburyport Brewing Company or the RiverWalk Brewing Company.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Distance : 1 hour 5 minutes from Boston

Visit this water park by renting a charter bus.
There’s no shortage of things to do in Portsmouth! Photo courtesy to Family New Hampshire Water Park.

A little gem of the Northeast, Portsmouth’s intimate qualities make it an ideal location for weddings, groups, and conferences. Leisure and sporting trips to the sea provide fun on the surf, and if you and your party want to take a break from the ocean, looking to land doesn’t disappoint either. Try visiting their water park—it’s the biggest in New England—and there’s always some kind of theatre or music to check out on land.

Sandwich, Massachusetts

Distance : 1 hour 15 minutes from Boston

Visit the heritage museum by renting a charter bus.
This museum and its gardens played an important role in the history of the town of Sandwich. Stop in to find out why! Photo courtesy of the Heritage museum.

Facing the Cape Cod Bay, this adorably-named town is one of rest and relaxation among the sandbanks, with charming hotels and lakefront cottages to luxuriate any visit. When you’re not visiting its surrounding beaches, visit the Heritage Museum and enjoy boardwalk-style bites like lobster rolls before hitting the links. If you’re more the type to stay on the move, this town makes a good spot to orient a trip along the Old King’s Highway, or you can seek out a few more thrills in the nearby Adventure Park for more aerial activities.

Newport, Rhode Island

Distance: 1 hour 30 minutes from Boston

Visit the International Tennis Hall of Fame by renting a charter bus.
By preserving and promoting the history of tennis and its champions, this hall serves as a vital partner in the growth of tennis globally. Photo courtesy of Tennis Hall of Fame.

This seaside city offers more of a refined treatment to the New England experience. It’s filled with esteemed cultural attractions: well-maintained Gilded Age mansions, the International Tennis Hall of Fame, award-winning wines, beers, and spirits from local vineyards, brewers, and distilleries, and a highly-reputed annual sailing regatta in its yacht-filled harbour. There’s more than enough to do when you’re not spending your time taking a cliff walk or lying on its beaches during its peak sunny season.

Kennebunkport, Maine

Distance: 1 hour 35 minutes from Boston

Visit Kennebunkport, Maine by renting a charter bus.
A day at the beach, is there anything better? Traveller photo submitted by Mrs-K-albany via Trip Advisor.

A more bucolic experience in nature awaits in this part of New England, either on land or at sea. While you’re visiting, be sure to take time on its beaches—particularly the long, sandy Goose Rocks Beach and the smaller Arundel Beach—and in wildlife reserves. Other options include scenic drives around the area with sightseeing spots, or hitting up one of several lobster bakes for a bit of northeastern hospitality.

Stonington, Connecticut

Distance: 2 hours from Boston

Visit DuBois Beach by renting a charter bus.
This sunset view is one of a kind. Traveller photo submitted by dpete1 via Trip Advisor.

This area forms a collection of villages, all of which have their own snapshot quality to them. There’s the town center known simply as “The Borough” by locals staying busy with local markets, visits to DuBois Beach, and walks along the harbour. About ten minutes away and over a drawbridge are the villages of Mystic and Old Mystic where there’s a wealth of wineries and breweries to enjoy happy hour at, as well as restaurants that couple farm-to-table offerings with oceanic eats.

Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

Distance: 2 hours 30 minutes from Boston

Visit Martha's Vineyard by renting a charter bus.
Hytoi Gardens is the perfect place to relax and reflect. Photo courtesy of Visit Massachusetts ~ Martha’s Vineyard.

A ferry ride across the sound from the mainland takes you to this secluded Atlantic gem: an island with a selection of different towns, each with their own allure. Best taken in for a miniature harbour hop that can take as long as a day or a weeklong escape from the city, especially when a visit to the stunning Chilmark or Aquinnah is included. That being said, be sure to enjoy the food and drink if you’ve gone out this far; sometimes you have to travel to get the best the northeast has to offer.

New Shoreham, Rhode Island

Distance : 3 hours from Boston

Visit the Southeast Lighthouse by renting a charter bus.
You can’t go wrong with this view! Photo courtesy of Southeast Lighthouse.

For one of the better places to enjoy some rugged beauty, New Shoreham is a key destination. Much like its name implies, Mansion Beach can offer a more curated feel, but just as much sand can be found by the Mohegan Bluffs as well. Not to mention that when visiting this part of New England, you’ve got to pay a visit to a lighthouse at least once. You’re in luck, as this town offers two, each with their own wide open views of the crashing surf. If you’re looking for a coastal scene that inspires photography, consider the lighthouses your mecca.

Camden, Maine

Distance: 3 hours 10 minutes

Visit Camden Hills State Park by renting a charter bus.
Visit the Camden Hills State Park for year-round trail activities and camping. Photo courtesy of BP Strader Photography.

You’ll know you’re in Maine when you’ve come to Camden; sailboats out on the blue waters, a small town with 19th-century homesteads, historic structures like its amphitheatre, opera house, and library, and a lone lighthouse guiding the wayward out on the offshore Curtis Island. While visits to the rural northeast are well spent in town, there’s a lot to find inland when considering a visit to either the Camden Hills State Park or scaling Mount Megunticook for sweeping views of the area.

Tempted? Inspired? Already dreaming of days walking along piers and kicking back on beaches? Time to figure out which bus is best to transport your crew! Get an estimate on Boston bus rentals by requesting a quote, and check out our guide to bus rentals if you’re a first-time renter.