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One day in Salem Massachusetts

How to spend one day in Salem Massachusetts: Best day trip from Boston

If you’re planning a trip to Boston and have a few extra days to spend in the city, then I highly recommend taking a day trip to Salem Massachusetts. The drive is only 30 minutes away and is so worth the visit.

There is so much to explore in Salem including the 1692 witch trials, the filming locations for the Hocus Pocus movie, and Salem’s Maritime history as well.

It’s such a charming little town, and learning more about the history outside of the Witch Trials was such an amazing experience.

On the blog, I will share all the top things to do in one day in Salem Massachusetts. You can easily see most of Salem’s main attractions in one day, which makes it the best day trip from Boston.

READ NEXT: Guide to Visiting Boston with kids

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One day in Salem Massachusetts

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How to get to Salem from Boston

  • Salem Massachusetts is an easy day trip from Boston and is only about a 30-minute drive away. There are parking garages in Salem, all within a walking distance of all the main attractions in Salem.
  • You can also get to Salem from Boston by train on “the T”, which is a commuter rail that connects both cities. The journey takes about 30-35 minutes on either the Newburyport or Rockport lines, which depart from Boston’s North Station, and makes a stop at the Salem Depot.
  • Another way to get to Salem from Boston is by ferry. During the Summer and fall, Boston Harbor City Cruises operates a ferry from Long Wharf to Salem. An adult roundtrip ferry ticket costs $45, Seniors $43, and kids 3-11 $34.

READ NEXT: Guide to visiting Plymouth MA with kids

One day in Salem Massachusetts

Best time to visit Salem Massachusetts

Since Salem MA is known for the Witch trials, one of the best times to visit is in October, during the Salem Haunted Happenings Event.

  • This is probably one of the most popular times to visit Salem, and if you’re planning to visit during this Halloween celebration in Salem, be prepared for crowds!
  • Salem Haunted Happenings goes from October 1-31, and is an annual celebration of Halloween and fall in New England.
  • Events usually include a Grand Parade, the Haunted Street Fair, Family Film Nights, costume balls, ghost tours, haunted houses, live music, and chilling theatrical presentations. Visit the website here for all the special events happening this Halloween.
  • The Grand Parade is a free event that happens on October 5, 2023, from 6:30-8pm and starts at Shetland Park, continues through downtown, and ends at the Salem Common.
  • Haunted Happenings Marketplace : Saturdays at Derby Square & Forten Park Sept. 30-Oct. 29, 2023 from 10 AM-8PM and Sundays 10 AM-6 PM . Vendors, performances, mural pop-up photo stations, street performers, and much more.
  • Guilty! A Salem Witch Trial Gallows Hill Salem : Oct. 1-31, 2023- 6:15 pm & 7:15pm. Event featuring the audience on trial for witchcraft!
  • Tickets: Adults:  $24 / Child:  $20 (8-13 years)  Children under 8 years are not allowed to attend. Reserve tickets here
  • Location: Gallows Hill & The Lost Museum-7 Lynde Street, Salem, MA 01970
  • History Alive Inc. Insists there are No  Ghosts at the Old Town Hall : Thurs., Sat. & Sun. nights October 12-31, 2023 at 7 & 8:30pm. No  Ghosts at the Old Town Hall is a kid-friendly combination haunted scavenger hunt/spooky storytelling/immersive theatre experience based on all the rumors of hauntings in this cherished 1816 building. 
  • Tickets: $26 Reserve tickets here
  • Location: Old Town Hall (Meet outside the building facing Essex Street)32 Derby Square  Salem, Massachusetts 01970
  • Hollowed Harvest at Wicked Labyrinth : From Sept. 23-Oct. 30, 2023, enjoy hundreds of intricately carved Jack-O-Lanterns at the Hollowed Harvest at Wicked Labyrinth, which is Salem’s only Jack-O’-Lantern festival. There will also be a Jack-O’-Lantern Tunnel, and a new season pass option this year.
  • Tickets: General admission – $20 adults / $16 kids / FREE 3 and under
  • VIP Tickets -$25 adults / $20 kids / FREE 3 and under
  • Seasons Pass -$50 adults / $40 kids
  • Tickets must be purchased online here
  • Location : 1 Sewall St, Salem, MA 01970
  • If you’re planning a visit to Salem in October, make sure to plan ahead of time and book hotels and tickets to attractions ahead of time to beat the crowds and to ensure you have tickets on the days you plan to visit!
  • I also recommend visiting in early October, the closer you get to Halloween, the more crowded the town gets.

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How to get around salem massachusetts.

One of the best ways to explore Salem Massachusetts is on the Salem trolley tour .

This hop-on-hop-off tour takes you to all the main attractions in Salem MA on a narrated one-hour tour, and can also be used as a shuttle service around Salem.

You can only purchase Salem Trolley tour tickets at the Salem Visitors Center, or at one of the trolley stops, and cost:

  • Adult (Ages 15-59):  $22.00
  • Senior (Ages 60+):  $21.00
  • Child (Ages 6-14):  $12.00
  • Young Child (Ages 5 and Under):  Free

You can easily explore Salem on foot, but the trolley tour is worth it, especially when visiting with kids.

One day in Salem Massachusetts

Where to eat in Salem

  • Red’s Sandwich Shop : We enjoyed lunch at Red’s Sandwich Shop which is known for its award-winning breakfast and home-cooked meals. We enjoyed the Lobster Rolls and Fried Shrimp platter.
  • Village Tavern: Serving New England staples like clam chowder, lobster mac and cheese, and more!
  • Howling Wolf Taqueria : Made from scratch Mexican cuisine with live music & margaritas.
  • Flying Saucer Pizza Company: Serving traditional, vegan & gluten-free pizzas with a sci-fi decor!
  • Ledger Restaurant: Upscale restaurant specializing in New England cuisine in a 19th-century bank building.
  • Ugly Mug’s Diner : Another great place for breakfast or lunch and specialty drinks
  • Ye Olde Pepper Companie : One of the best candy shops in Salem which is one of the oldest circa the 1800s.

One day in Salem Massachusetts

Top things to do in Salem Massachusetts 

Salem visitors center .

Your first stop when visiting Salem should be the Salem Regional Visitors Center. Watch a film, visit the exhibits, and purchase some souvenirs.

There are some Ranger-guided programs that you can take part in, which include a tour of some of the Historic Houses in Salem.

This is also the perfect place to get more information about Salem and all the things to do in the area.

The Visitors Center is also the pickup location when taking the Salem Trolley tours, which I highly recommend.

One day in Salem Massachusetts

You can purchase tickets on the spot, and the Trolley can be used as a hop-on-hop-off ride when visiting Salem.

The Salem Visitors Center is run by the National Park Service, so make sure to bring along the kid’s Junior Ranger book to get stamped.

You can also pick up a Junior Ranger book at the Visitors Center, or download one here for the kids to complete and get a Junior Ranger Badge.

One day in Salem Massachusetts

Walk the Salem Heritage Trail

One of the best ways to explore Salem is by following the Salem Heritage Trail.

The trail starts out at the Salem Regional Visitor Center and meanders its way along some of Salem’s most historic spots.

The line is red and you definitely can’t miss it! Make sure to pick up a map at the Visitors Center or download one here .

The Heritage Trail connects all of Salem’s main sites, including the Witch House, Old Burying Point Cemetery, Salem Witch Trials Memorial, and more. It’s the best way to explore the city on a self-guided tour.

You can also purchase tickets for the Salem Witchcraft Walking tour here .

One day in Salem Massachusetts

Visit the Salem Witch Museum

One of Salem’s main attractions is the Salem Witch Museum. There are exhibits & tours exploring the 1692 Salem witch trials.

Visitors are given a dramatic history lesson using stage sets with life-size figures, lighting, and narration.

  • Hours: Open daily from 10am-5pm, with extended hours in October.
  • Tickets: Tickets can only be purchased online and on the day of the visit here and cost $17.50 for adults, $16 for Seniors, and $14.50 for children (3-14). (The museum presentation depicts the tragic history and may not be suitable for younger children!)
  • Be aware that ticket times cannot be changed and are non-refundable. Check-in with a staff member when you arrive at the front of the museum at your allotted time and have your cell phone and confirmation email ready.
  • Location: 19 1/2 N Washington Square, Salem, MA 01970

One day in Salem Massachusetts

Tour the Witch House 

One of the most important landmarks in Salem is the Witch House , which is the former home of Jonathan Corwin, who was a trial judge during the Salem witch trials.

The Salem Witch House is the only building left that had direct ties to the 1692 Salem witch trials and is now a museum. You can go on a self-guided tour and explore the Witch House.

  • Hours: open daily from 10am-5pm (Winter hours are till 4pm from Nov.-March).
  • Tickets: Tickets can be purchased at the museum gift shop
  • GUIDED $10.25 for adults, $8.25 for Seniors, $6.25 for kids (6-14) , and free for kids under 6.
  • SELF-GUIDED TOURS COST $2 LESS.
  • Location: 310 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970.

One day in Salem Massachusetts

Visit the Salem Witch Trial Memorials

On your sightseeing stroll through Salem MA, don’t forget to visit the Salem Witch Trial Memorial.

This somber memorial is dedicated to the victims of the Salem Witch Trials. It consists of 20 granite benches inscribed with the name of the accused and the date of execution.

We learn so much about the Salem Witch trials through movies and books, but there’s nothing like visiting it in real life. It was such a sobering experience, and one you just have to experience for yourself.

One day in Salem Massachusetts

Visit the Old Burying Point cemetery

Adjacent to the Salem Witch trials memorial is the Old Burying Point Cemetery.

The Old Burying Point Cemetery is the oldest cemetery in Salem and one of the oldest in the United States.

This is the final resting place of several Salem notables, including Judge John Hathorne, one of the principal witchcraft trial magistrates.

One day in Salem Massachusetts

Tour the House of the Seven Gables

One of the best places to visit in Salem MA is the House of the Seven Gables .

This historic home in Salem was made famous by author Nathaniel Hawthorne, who wrote the novel “The House of the Seven Gables”.

You can go on a 45-minute guided tour of the House of the Seven Gables, and visit Nathaniel Hawthorne’s childhood home as well, which is located within the property.

If you’re short on time, you can purchase tickets to explore the grounds and gardens only, which cost $5 or $10 depending on the season.

This was actually one of our favorite tours we did in Salem, and is so worth the visit!

  • Hours: Open daily 10am-6pm
  • Tickets: Tickets can be purchased online here and guided tours cost
  • $25 for adults, $20 Seniors 65+, $17 for kids (5-12), and FREE for kids under 5.
  • A grounds Pass only ticket cost $12 (from May 1-Sept. 30.) and $6 (from Nov 1.-April 30)
  • Location: 115 Derby Street Salem, MA 01970

One day in Salem Massachusetts

Explore Salems Maritime History

Salem is most notably known for its Witch Trial History. On your sightseeing tour of Salem, get to know Salem’s Maritime history as well.

Your first stop should be at Salem’s Maritime National Historic Site .

Explore the city’s Maritime history by visiting some of the historic buildings, wharves, and replica ships that tell the story of Salem.

One day in Salem Massachusetts

The Salem Maritime historic site was established to preserve and interpret the maritime history of New England, It consists of 12 historic structures, and they’re all within walking distance along Derby Street.

Along the Derby Wharf , you can visit the Friendship of Salem Tall ship , which was a replica of a ship built in 1797 and was used in the East Indies Trade and brought back various goods and merchandise to Salem. Tours are available Sat. & Sun. from 12-3pm.

The Pedrick storehouse is also located on the wharf. This historic rigging sail loft was built around 1770 and was relocated to this location from Marblehead MA.

One day in Salem Massachusetts

Go shopping on Essex Street

When visiting Salem, make sure to stop by Essex Street and go shopping.

This historic pedestrianized street is lined with a cobblestone and brick walkway, located in the middle of downtown Salem.

You can find lots of attractions, museums, shops, restaurants, and cafes here.

Make sure to pick up some witch souvenirs, they can be found in pretty much every shop in the city.

One day in Salem Massachusetts

Visit Winter Island Park

Winter Island Park is a recreational park located just a short drive away from downtown Salem. On your visit, you can explore the historic Fort and Pickering Lighthouse.

There are also camp and RV sites on Winter Island with many recreational opportunities, including swimming, fishing, camping, boating, and relaxation under the sun. RV and tent camping are available from May 20-Nov. 1 and reservations can be made here .

One day in Salem Massachusetts

Go on a Salem Ghost Tour

One of the best things to do in Salem is a Ghost tour. A visit to Salem in October during the Haunted Happenings event is the best time to visit this spooky town in America. Go on a haunted ghost tour of some of Salem’s most spooky places.

One day in Salem Massachusetts

Go on a Hocus Pocus movie locations tour

Since you’re in Salem, make sure to go on a Hocus Pocus movie locations tour.

Some of the movie spots are located right in the city, and a few are a short drive away. Here is a list of some of the locations right in the city:

Max’s House

  • One of the best movie spots to visit in Salem is Max’s House. This is one of the most recognized houses from the movie, and it’s just a short drive away.
  • Keep in mind that the house is a private residence, so please respect the owners’ property and their privacy. You can find the house on 4 Ocean Ave. Salem MA.

One day in Salem Massachusetts

Old Town Hall

  • The Old Town Hall is another famous movie spot in Hocus Pocus and is known as the location of the Halloween Party where the Sanderson sisters sang the “I Put a Spell on You” song.
  • The Old Town Hall is the earliest surviving municipal structure in Salem, dating from 1816-17. It is located in the city center at 32 Derby Square Salem, MA.

One day in Salem Massachusetts

Ropes mansion

  • Visit the 18th-century Ropes Mansion in Salem, which is known as Allison’s house in the movie and is located at 318 Essex Street Salem, MA .
  • Now owned by the Peabody Essex Museum, you can tour the interior of the home which is open on Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays & Sundays 10 am–5 pm, Fridays 10 am-7 pm.
  • Tickets can be purchased online here and cost $20 for adults, $18 for Seniors, $12 for students with valid ID, and FREE (for kids ages 16 and under, Military & Salem residents with valid ID)

One day in Salem Massachusetts

Pioneer Village

  • The Pioneer Village is where the opening scenes of the movie were filmed. The scenes where the Sanderson sisters captured Emily Binx, and turned her brother Thackery into a black cat. 
  • Pioneer Village is actually a living history museum and is located at 310 West Ave. Salem, MA .
  • Tours of the village are offered during the summer and are open from 12-4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets cost $5 and can be purchased at the gate or online here .

One day in Salem Massachusetts

  • There are two other locations that we didn’t get to visit, which is the Phillips Elementary School where Max and Alison went to school. The school is located at 56 South Washington Square in Salem.
  • We also missed the Old Burial Hill Cemetery , where Max crosses the town’s bullies and loses his shoe. The scene was filmed in Marblehead at the Old Burial Hill, which is one of the most picturesque graveyards in New England. You can find the cemetery in Marblehead just about a 5-mile drive away from Salem.

READ NEXT: Weekend Coastal Maine road trip with kids

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One day in Salem Massachusetts

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one day trip around salem

1-Day Salem Itinerary

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  • Salem in 1 day
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one day trip around salem

Table of contents

1-day itinerary, peabody essex museum.

one day trip around salem

The Burying Point

one day trip around salem

Salem Witch Trials Memorial

Salem maritime national historic site, the house of the seven gables, where to eat, village tavern, sea level oyster bar, top searches in salem, popular road trips from salem, what's the weather like in salem .

It depends on when you visit! We've compiled data from NASA on what the weather is like in Salem for each month of the year: see the links below for more information.

  • Weather in Salem in January
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Salem throughout the year

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Perfect Salem Itinerary (+15 Epic Things To Do in Salem, MA!)

  • September 9, 2023

Witch house at Salem

There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through them, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you! As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. As ever, all opinions are my own.

Want to visit the Halloween capital of America? Then get ready, because Salem has some incredible things to do on a day trip – from the historical to the haunted.

People from all over the world have heard of Salem, whether that’s because of the witch trials or the movie Hocus Pocus. 

Most people visit Salem from Boston on a day trip, and, since it’s just 17 miles away, this makes perfect sense!

One day is the ideal amount of time to spend in this fascinating city.

It’s also the perfect way to extend your trip to Boston .

I was so unbelievably excited to visit Salem on my US trip, and it didn’t disappoint. I went on a wonderful Salem day trip from Boston and you can do the same by following this tried-and-tested one day in Salem itinerary .

So, here’s everything you need to know to take a great day trip from Boston to Salem.

Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

Day trip to Salem from Boston – How to Get There

Salem itinerary

Salem is one of the best day trips from Boston by public transport . You can usually catch the Newberry/Rockport train from Boston’s North Station.

The journey takes around 30 minutes and costs $8 each way .

From the Wonderland T station in Boston you can catch a direct bus (number 455 ) to Salem. This journey takes around an hour and is the cheapest way to get to Salem.

It costs just $1.75 each way with a Charlie Card!

The most fun way to get from Boston to Salem, by far, is to take the ferry!

The journey takes around 1 hour and is the perfect way to start your day trip to Salem, MA in style!

It’s far more scenic than taking the bus or train.

Plus, since a visit to Salem is sure to be such a memorable event there’s no reason not to celebrate!

A one-way ticket costs around $27 , with a return ticket costing $49 . If you’re keen to stick to a budget head to Salem on the ferry and return on the bus.

It’s the perfect way to balance out your transportation costs.

Click here to book your ferry tickets!

High street of Salem MA, the Halloween town of America

Things to Do in Salem, MA (In One Day)

Wondering what to do in Salem Massachusetts? I’ve got you covered. Here’s how to spend a brilliant day in Salem.

Oh – and you don’t need to arrive in Salem super early since there aren’t a million things to do here, so enjoy that lie-in!

I recommend arriving in Salem at around 11-11.30am so you’ll be able to check out a few attractions before lunch.

Stop 1 – The Witch House

Ella on a day trip to Salem from Boston

Why not start your day trip to Salem from Boston with the best attraction in town – The Witch House !

Also known as the Jonathan Corwin House , this place was the home of the judge who presided over the Salem Witch Trials in 1692.

This black-painted house is the quintessential Salem landmark, and a trip to Salem without a visit here would be a waste!

Massachusetts at Halloween

Entry costs $9 , and inside you’ll find the house restored to how it probably looked during the era of the witch trials.

There are a few historical artefacts here, as well as plenty of information regarding the Salem witch trials and life in Salem in the 17th century.

The house itself is pretty small so you’ll probably only need 30-45 minutes here.

Be prepared to queue here, though, if you’re visiting in October!

Stop 2 – Ropes Mansion and Garden

Ropes Mansion and Gardens

Just a couple of buildings down from the Witch House is the Ropes Mansion and Garden, built in the 1720s .

This stunning building was built for Samuel Bernard, a local merchant, before it was passed to Judge Nathaniel Ropes Jr in the 1760s.

The house was occupied by the Ropes family until 1907, and it opened as a museum in 1912.

The Ropes Mansion is free to enter. Wahoo!

It also has passionate guides who can answer any question you have on the history of the house as well as the history of Salem.

The gorgeous Ropes Garden is located behind the mansion. It’s small but lovely, with a small pond, flowers, and vines.

It’s a peaceful spot to wander around for a few minutes and imagine what life would have been like for the Mansion’s inhabitants.

Stop 3 – Lunch at Bambolina

Where to eat in Salem

If you’re looking for an incredible plate of pasta and some unique craft beers, look no further than Bambolina.

The service here is fabulous and the pasta here is to die for !

Make sure you arrive hungry because the portions here are ENORMOUS! You’ll need space in your bag, too, as you’ll likely need to take your leftovers to go. 

I ordered the Fettuccine Bolognese, which cost me $23 , and I can vouch for it!

Stop 4 – The Burying Point & Salem Witch Trials Memorial

One day in Salem itinerary

Eating at Bambolina puts you in the perfect location to explore more of Salem’s most famous things to do.

Next up on your Boston to Salem day trip itinerary is the Burying Point graveyard.

In this graveyard, you’ll find the resting places of Revolutionary War heroes and Bartholomew Gedney, a Judge of the Salem Witch Trials.

It is also thought that the bodies of some of the Witch Trial victims were buried in unmarked graves in this area.

Just outside the graveyard you’ll find the harrowing Salem Witch Trials Memorial , a small park square surrounded by large stone slabs jutting from the wall.

Each slab has the name of a victim of the witch trials as well as their execution date.

You’ll see that some people have left coins or flowers on these slabs in memory of the victims.

If you take the time to go around and read each name, you’ll be surprised by how many of the victims were male.

There’s a misconception that the Salem Witch Trials only affected women, but at this memorial you’ll see that this wasn’t the case.

Stop 5 – The House of the Seven Gables

House of the Seven Gables

Just a 10-minute walk away from the Salem Witch Trials Memorial is the House of the Seven Gables.

This is one of the most photographed buildings in Salem Massachusetts.

This colonial mansion was built in 1668 and made famous by the novel ‘The House of the Seven Gables’ by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Its black exterior is the perfect spooky backdrop for your Halloween photos, and it’s an essential stop on any Salem itinerary.

The House of the Seven Gables complex also contains the birthplace of Nathaniel Hawthorne , which was originally located elsewhere in Salem and relocated here in 1958. 

There are two different tickets you can purchase for the House of the Seven Gables.

The first is a ticket to the entire complex, which includes entry to the House of the Seven Gables itself via a guided tour, which costs $20 .

The second is a Grounds Pass, where you can explore the grounds, enter the Nathaniel Hawthorne House and see the House of the Seven Gables from the outside. This costs $12 .

I opted for the Grounds Pass, because I didn’t care enough about it to pay an additional $8 to see the inside of the House of the Seven Gables.

I felt happy with my choice to save some money and still got to check out how cool the house looks from the outside.

Stop 6 – Ye Olde Pepper Companie

Ye Olde Pepper Companie candy store

For an afternoon pick-me-up, it’s time for a sugar rush from Ye Olde Pepper Companie, Salem’s oldest candy shop .

It’s so old that Ye Olde Pepper Companie claims to be the oldest candy company in America, apparently dating back to 1806 !

This shop is just a couple of minutes’ walk from the House of the Seven Gables and looks so old-fashioned and adorable from the inside.

Here, you’ll find fudge, brittle candy, old-fashioned sweets and artisan chocolates.

I bought some strawberry and watermelon boiled sweets and they were such delicious souvenirs!

Stop 7 – Salem Common

Salem Common, Massachusetts

In the centre of downtown Salem you’ll find Salem Common, which has been a public park since the 17th century .

There’s nothing in particular to do here, but you’ll be passing anyway and it is pretty lovely – and worth a couple of photos!

Stop 8 – Bewitched Sculpture

Bewitched statue in Salem, MA

In nearby Lappin Park you’ll find the 9-foot tall bronze statue showing the character of Samantha from the hit 1960’s TV show “ Bewitched ”.

Aside from just having a witchy vibe (hence the name, I guess), Salem has a lot more to connect it to this TV show.

That’s because, in 1970, the show’s Hollywood set burnt down.

The producers, looking for a solution, decided to film a few episodes in Salem itself whilst the original set was repaired!

It’s one of Salem’s most popular places to visit and you’ll likely find a small queue of people waiting to take a photo of themselves with the sculpture.

Stop 9 – Take a Ghost Tour!

Visiting Salem at Halloween

If you have time I recommend extending your day trip to Salem so that you can attend this haunted history guided tour . This is easily one of the best things to do in Salem Massachusetts!

This tour will appeal to history nerds and ghost hunters alike as your guide leads you to the most haunted historic sites in Salem.

This would be the perfect way to round off any fall day trip to Salem, but a Salem ghost tour is worth taking any time of year .

After all, Salem embraces its spooky side, and you should too!

The tour lasts 80 minutes and stops at around 10 haunted locations.

This is by far the best way to learn first-hand why Salem is deemed one of the most haunted places in the USA!

Click here to book your spot!

More Things to Do in Salem, MA

Salem Witch Museum,  one of the best things to do in Salem Massachusetts

Got more time, or you’re just very quick and rocketed through this itinerary in record time? Want some more suggestions of cool Salem activities?

I’ve got you covered.

Here are my top recommendations for what to do in Salem Massachusetts when you’ve already seen the top attractions:

  • Peabody Essex Museum : a museum showcasing an extensive collection of art and cultural artifacts from around the world, spanning centuries.
  • Witch Dungeon Museum : offers a vivid (if not slightly gimmicky) glimpse into the 1692 witch trials, featuring live reenactments and historical displays.
  • Salem Maritime National Historic Park : lovely green space commemorating Salem’s maritime heritage with historic buildings, wharves, and the Friendship of Salem replica ship.
  • Salem Pioneer Village : established in 1930, this replica village provides a journey back to 1630, recreating the earliest settlement of the Massachusetts Bay Colony with authentic structures and exhibits.
  • Gallows Hill Museum : delves into the dark events of the Salem witch trials, bringing to life the stories and legends associated with the accused and their fates.
  • Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery : perfect for horror enthusiasts, this gallery hosts an impressive collection of lifelike figures and memorabilia from classic to contemporary horror films.

Getting Around Salem

Wondering what to do in Salem MA? Visit this witch statue!

Salem is very small and very walkable .

Like, very walkable.

The great news is that you won’t need to use public transport during your one day in Salem MA.

If you have mobility issues, or if the weather isn’t on your side, you can use the public bus system, which is surprisingly not bad.

The Google Maps app is pretty accurate when it comes to bus times and routes, so I recommend searching from A to B there and it’ll give you the best route.

Best Time to Visit Salem

Salem day trip from Boston

October is definitely the most popular time to spend a day Salem MA, and this is when the town comes into its full spooky season celebrations .

However, October is the most crowded time of the year, and you’ll have to queue for a few attractions.

If you’re visiting Salem in October try to visit on a weekday, or arrive early as everything will take longer!

I visited Salem in early June and this was a wonderful time to visit as there were no crowds and the weather was on our side.

However, there’s not a bad time to visit Salem!

In fact, it’s one of the best winter day trips from Boston.

There’s something so cosy about Salemy’s old-fashioned vibe that makes you just want to snuggle up over a coffee and escape the winter weather.

Salem Maritime National Historic Park sign - this is one of the top things to do in Salem MA

Where to Stay in Salem, MA

Tempted to extend your stay in Salem?

I don’t blame you! There are so many cool events, beautiful places, and interesting things to do in Salem. Plus, experiencing Salem at night is half of the fun of visiting!

But you’ll need a place to lay your head after an evening of ghost hunting, following in the steps of the Sanderson sisters, or hanging out at Salem’s many craft beer spots.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a huge range of accommodation options in Salem.

However, if you’re looking for something centrally-located yet affordable this chic hotel will meet all of your needs.

Prices start at just $140 per night for a double room, including breakfast.

It has an outstanding 9/10 rating on Booking.com and looks stunning!

Click here to check availability

What to do on one day in Salem

FAQs About Going on a Salem Day Trip

Is salem massachusetts worth visiting.

Salem is definitely worth visiting if you’re interested in learning more about the morbid history of the Salem witch trials, or you’re really into all things spooky and Halloween! However, it’s not for everybody.

I have a full post to help you decide whether or not Salem is worth visiting for you .

Can You Visit the Salem Witch Trials?

You can visit many sites made famous by the Salem Witch Trials in Salem, Massachusetts. Although many of the original buildings are no longer standing, you’re still able to visit the Witch House, the Salem Witch Trials Museum, and the Burying Point, Salem’s oldest graveyard.

Is Salem MA Walkable?

All of the sights you’ll want to see on your Salem day trip are close together, and the centre of Salem is very walkable. Unless you have mobility issues you won’t need to use public transport on your one day trip to Salem.

How Many Days Do You Need in Salem MA?

One day is the right amount of time to spend in Salem, MA. Unless you’re visiting Salem at Halloween, you won’t find enough things to do in Salem to keep you busy for two or more days.

Conclusion: Day Trip to Salem Itinerary

As you can see, there are lots of cool things to do in Salem Massachusetts – it’s easy to build an awesome Salem itinerary.

If you follow this tried-and-tested one day in Salem itinerary, I’m certain you’ll have a great day trip to Salem MA and really enjoy yourself!

Liked this post? Pin it!

Getting ready to visit Salem, Massachusetts this fall? This ultimate one day itinerary for Salem covers all of the best things to do, places to visit and Halloween inspiration for Salem!

Ella Moore is the founder of Many More Maps. Growing up just 45 minutes away from Liverpool, Ella has spent years exploring the city inside out. In her teenage years, she was introduced to the music of The Beatles, and the rest, they say, is history! Today, she stands as a leading authority on Beatles tourism in Liverpool, helping over 40,000 people a month to plan their dream trip to the city.

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Is there a way to print the itinerary so that we have it in front of us?

Hi Shelley, I don’t currently have printable versions of my posts but it’s something I’m working on! However, you can right click on anywhere in the post to print it, it just won’t be formatted very well. Hope you have a great time in Salem 🙂

this was so helpful! thank you!!!

You’re welcome! Thanks Ziggy

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New England Wanderlust

Massachusetts  ·  April 22, 2022

How To Plan The Perfect Salem, MA Day Trip: 19 Ideas + Tips! (2024)

Salem is known for being the ultimate New England destination for the entire month of October, and while that’s a really fun time to visit, a Salem day trip makes for a great excursion year-round. With so much history, waterfront scenery, beautiful streets, and awesome restaurants, there’s plenty to do that doesn’t involve anything spooky (but there’s also plenty of spooky to go around if that’s your reason for visiting!).

This post will be all about how to plan the perfect Salem, MA day trip, including my tips for visiting, ideas on things to do, and if visiting in October is actually worth it. With that, let’s begin!

Salem, MA in October. This is an especially fun time of year to plan a day trip!

New England Wanderlust contains affiliate links, and is a member of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. We may earn a commission from any purchases you choose to make from our links, at no additional cost to you. For more information, please refer to our  Privacy Policy .

Taking a day trip from Boston? Definitely consider taking the ferry to save you the hassle of parking! 🛳 Click here to check out the Boston → Salem ferry!

Is Salem, MA Worth Visiting?

Salem, MA is definitely worth visiting, whether it’s for a day trip, or a weekend getaway. It’s packed with New England charm at every corner with countless things to do that vary from historic walking tours and museums, to beautiful lighthouses and charming neighborhoods.

Salem is also part of the North Shore region of Massachusetts, and makes for a great home base to explore the coastline of Cape Ann and surrounding areas.

Is Visiting Salem, MA In October Worth It?

Having been to Salem in October, as well as other times throughout the year, I personally think Salem is worth doing once in October. There is an undeniable energy in October, and it’s really exciting to be a part of. It is, after all, one of the ultimate Halloween destinations in the entire world!

During the month of October, the town has Haunted Happenings events every single day, which includes special Halloween tours, activities, fairs, and parties. The entire town is also perfectly decorated to celebrate the season, and so many houses go all out with really amazing decorations.

A house decorated for Halloween in Salem, MA.

Tips For A Salem Day Trip In October

✓ Plan for crowds. October is most definitely the most busy and crowded time to visit Salem, and weekends especially will be the most packed. The busiest weekend tends to be the weekend closes to Halloween, which is also when the Halloween Ball takes place.

✓ To avoid crowds, try to visit on a weekday in October. Having been to Salem in October both on a weekday and a weekend, I can confirm that weekdays are less crowded! It’ll still be busy, but not quite as bad.

✓ Plan and book your tours and activities in advance. Many will sell out a few days beforehand in October, especially on weekends.

✓ Have a plan for how you want to get to Salem. Traffic getting there and around in October is very busy. If you want to drive in, arrive as early in the day as you can, and have a plan for parking. See the next section in this post for tips on where to park!

✓ I also recommend taking the ferry from Boston if that’s where you’re visiting from, as Salem is very walkable, and you won’t really need your car once you park downtown. The ferry is a bit expensive, but I think it’s worth it to avoid parking and traffic, especially on an October weekend! Just remember to book your return ticket, too, which is done separately!

🛳 Click here to check rates & availability for the Boston → Salem ferry!

Best Places To Park In Salem

My personal favorite place to park for a Salem day trip is the South Harbor Garage, which is located between the Maritime National Historic Site, and the center of the main part of Essex Street.

It’s also convenient to get to The House Of Seven Gables from this garage. I typically always find spots here if I arrive in the morning, and I think the daily/hourly rates are reasonable.

The town of Salem has an entire page on their website with information on parking. Click here to read more about parking in Salem .

Ideas & Things To Do On A Salem Day Trip

If you’re wondering how to plan your Salem day trip, here are the absolute best things to do in Salem, MA. You likely won’t be able to see and do everything on this list in a day, but you’ll be able to tackle most everything since Salem is pretty small and easy to walk around. Scroll down below to read my suggested itinerary of how to see as much as possible during your Salem day trip!

1. Visit The House Of Seven Gables

The House of Seven Gables in Salem, MA is one of the best places to visit on a day trip.

Made famous as the setting of Nathaniel Hawthorn’s book of the same name, The House Of Seven Gables is an actual historic landmark you can visit during your Salem day trip. Built in 1668 by Captain John Turner, a highly successful maritimes businessman, this waterfront home has 350 years of history and stories to share during tours.

Not only can you tour the inside of the house, you can also walk around the gorgeous and extensive coastal gardens, and take in views of Salem’s harbor front the front lawn of the property, which are worth the price of admission alone.

Tip : If you don’t want to pay to see the house, you can get a partial view of it from the street. Just type “House of Seven Gables” into Google maps, and it will take you right there. At minimum, I do suggest you pay for the gardens-only ticket because the grounds and the water views are definitely worth it!

2. Reflect At The Salem Witch Trials Memorial

The Witch Trial Memorial is one of the more somber things to do during a Salem day trip, but very significant and worth visiting.

One of the best things to do in Salem, MA during your day trip is to visit the Witch Trials Memorial. It’s a very simple display next to Burying Point Cemetery with a stone bench for each of the victims of the Salem Witch Trials. But as simple as it is, it’s also rather moving and memorable.

3. See The Lighthouse At Winter Island Park

Winter Island is a lesser-known destination in Salem, and worth the excursion outside of downtown to see the lighthouse and get away from the crowds.

Just outside of downtown is Winter Island Park, where you can visit Winter Island Lighthouse and enjoy views of Salem Harbor. This is a quiet little spot that’s not often crowded, which makes it a great place to venture to if you’re looking for a peaceful moment during your Salem day trip.

While you can walk to Winter Island Park from downtown, it’s almost 2 miles one-way, so it’s best to drive. I suggest you stop here either before parking your car for the day downtown, or at the end of the day just before leaving Salem (as long as it’s still light out).

4. Stop At The Salem Witch House

The Witch House is one of the most iconic places to see on a Salem, MA day trip.

One of the most famous sites and best things to do in Salem, MA is to visit the Witch House , also known as the Jonathan Corwin House. This house is significant because it’s the only known house in Salem that’s still standing to have direct ties to the Witch Trials, as Corwin was one of the judges during the infamous trials.

The house itself, especially at night, has an eery feel to it, and if you decide to purchase tickets for a tour of the inside, it’ll feel even more spooky because of how cruel the owner was.

Personally, I don’t think touring the inside is worth the price of admission. You’re only able to see a few rooms, and you may leave feeling like, “Was that it?” If you’re a big history buff and want to tour as many historic homes as possible, it may be worth it for you, but if you pay for admission to one historic home, I would suggest The House Of Seven Gables over this.

I definitely think it’s more than worth it to stop by the house to see it in person, and snap some photos. It’s a popular landmark for the town and a really cool place to see, but the tour itself may not be worth it for you.

5. See The Elizabeth Montgomery Statue

The Bewitched Statue in Salem, MA is a fun place to visit.

This is a fun little stop to make during your Salem day trip, and it’ll only take a few minutes of your time. I especially love it because my mom named me after Samantha on Bewitched , so it has a special place in my heart. But if you’re a fan of the show, or the actress, or just witches in general, be sure to swing by and snap a photo with this statue!

The Bewitched statue can be found at the corner of Washington and Essex in downtown Salem.

6. Walk Around The Salem Maritime National Historic Site

The Salem Maritime National Historic Site is a place that often gets overlooked by tourists, but is such a scenic destination to check out.

One of the best things to do in Salem, MA is to enjoy the waterfront, and visiting the Maritimes National Historic Site is a great way to spend some time by the water. This area isn’t very large, and more like a small park, but it makes for a scenic walk and allows you some nice photo opportunities.

The old Sail Loft building is such a great place to take photos on a Salem, MA day trip.

The Sail Loft is a gorgeous building that’s worth stopping by to see, and you’ll often find the Friendship of Salem ship docked here, which is an exact replica of the 1797 ship used to charter through the East India Trading Company routes.

7. Stroll Over To Derby Wharf Light Station

Most people don't know that Salem's downtown has this cute little lighthouse. Derby Wharf Light Station is definitely worth visiting, and can be found right at the Maritime National Historic Site.

While at the Maritime National Historic Site, be sure to walk all the way to the end of the path to visit Salem’s other lighthouse, Derby Wharf Station. This is a small little lighthouse, but worth your time during a Salem day trip for some great picture opportunities, and to feel like you’ve escaped from the lively downtown area for a few minutes.

8. Get A Psychic Reading

I’m not sure if I entirely buy into psychics, but I’ve had a reading done during a Salem day trip, and it was eerily accurate! To add to the mystical vibe of your Salem trip, this is something you may want to consider as something fun and different to do!

I chose to have my reading done at Magika , and my husband and I did it as a joint session. And during the reading, the medium knew that myself and my father-in-law suffered from the same illness, that my mother lost her dad when she was young from a heart condition, and that my husband and I would buy lots of land in our future together. At the time, the land thing threw us and we laughed about it, but when we bought our house, it came with 25 acres, which we hadn’t been looking for.

Some tips that I had read about getting an authentic psychic reading were helpful before our session, so here are some things I suggest:

  • Do your research and check claims that a medium makes before booking. If they claim they can talk to the dead, or make predictions with 100% accuracy, then they’re probably not legit.
  • Don’t provide anything but your name (and phone number if they require it, which most will) when booking your appointment.
  • Don’t tell the medium why you’re there. Keep it vague and say, “I’m just interested to know what you see or feel.”
  • Try not to show emotion, or give indication of whether or not the medium is right or wrong.
  • Take everything with a grain of salt. If they say something that goes against your gut instinct, rely on your own intuition. Even mediums admit that what they feel or see is not always accurate, or is misinterpreted.

I’m glad I did this experience once! It was fun, and added some mystery to one of our mystical Salem day trips in October.

9. Go On A Hocus Pocus Tour

While most of the sites that are in Salem from the movie Hocus Pocus can be found on your own, and are free to visit, if you want to take the stress out of planning each stop, this is an awesome place to take an official tour.

During the guided tour, you’ll go to 5 filming locations for the movie and get some great expert knowledge on Salem’s past and how it became known as the Witch City. If you’re a big fan of the movie, this is one of the best things to do in Salem, MA.

Click here to book your Hocus Pocus Walking Tour in Salem!

10. Get Some Homemade Chocolates & Fun Candies

Ye Olde Pepper Companie is such a fun place to stop on a Salem day trip if you're looking for quality chocolates.

Salem is home to two really amazing chocolate shops: Harbor Sweets and Ye Olde Pepper Companie, and they’re both worth visiting on your day trip! Also, there’s a very fun candy store called Curly Sue that you’ll definitely want to have on your radar.

Harbor Sweets is an adorable little shop that makes their own chocolates in small batches, and also sells some luxury and speciality chocolate brands for an amazingly curated chocolate feast at your fingertips!

Be sure to get some sweet sloops, which are little sailboat-shaped almond, buttercrunch and toffee chocolates that were invented in the neighboring town of Marblehead. But you can also pick up anything from caramels and truffles to chocolate sauces and dips while here.

Ye Olde Pepper Companie is the oldest candy shop in the country, so obviously, you’ll want to make a stop here, too 😉 This sweet little shop still uses original recipes that have been handed down over many generations, and you’ll find everything you could possibly want here.

At Pepper Companie, you’ll want to keep an eye out for Gibralters, which is a special rock candy invented in Salem, as well as Blackjacks, the first stick candy to be produced and sold in the U.S.!

Candies from Curly Sue in Salem, MA.

Finally, be sure to pop into Curly Sue Candy Shop to satisfy your sweet tooth cravings. They have one of the best gummy candy selections I’ve found, and this is especially perfect if you happen to visit during Halloween. They change out some of their candies seasonally, so no matter when you visit, you’re sure to find something that you can’t leave without.

They also have a great mix of traditional candies, too, for those who prefer all the classics.

11. Sip On A Lobster Martini At The Lobster Shanty

The lobster martini at The Lobster Shanty in Salem, MA.

My favorite restaurant in town is The Lobster Shanty, which is a casual restaurant that has awesome comfort food and seafood dishes. One of the best things to do in Salem, MA is to order a lobster martini here, which will come with a giant lobster claw garnish (which will make for the perfect photo opp!).

Some great menu items here are the lobster roll, crab cake sandwich, lobster grilled cheese and fish ‘n chips. They also have vegetarian menu selections and great cocktails!

12. Find All The Historic Houses

Touring the historic homes is one of the best things to do on a Salem day trip to truly get a feeling of how much history has taken place here over the years.

Being that Salem was one of the earliest established colonies in the New World, there are plenty of historic homes that are still standing around town, and one of the best things to do in Salem, MA is to walk around and take a self-guided tour of the houses.

All the historic homes will display a plaque with the date the house was built, and usually the original owner’s name and occupation. Just walking around and reflecting on how long these houses have been around, and the fact that they’re still standing and being used today, is an incredible experience on your Salem day trip.

My favorite neighborhood for touring historic homes is right by The House of Seven Gables. At the intersection of Derby and Turner, walk on Derby toward Carlton, and explore that area. One house in particular I really like in this area is the Stephen Daniels House, located at 1 Daniels Street.

13. Walk Around Pickering Wharf

Close to the Maritime National Historic site is Pickering Wharf, which is a small harbor-front destination with shops and restaurants. This is also where a lot of boat and sailing tours dock (including Schooner Fame), so if you’re looking to head out onto the water, this is a great place to check out.

While here, stop for lunch or drinks at Longboards , and snag an outdoor table with a water view. And if you’re in the market for some souvenirs to remember your Salem day trip by, the Marble Faun Books & Gifts shop is a cute little place with some unique finds and some lovely paper goods.

14. Stroll Along Chestnut Street

Chestnut Street in Salem, MA on an October Day.

Chestnut Street is one of the first planned streets in the country, and I think one of the prettiest streets to visit during your Salem day trip. Originally planned in 1796, and then renovated in 1803 to make the street wider, it’s currently lined with gorgeous homes, and trees that will provide tons of color in the fall.

If you visit during peak foliage season in October, this is definitely a place you’ll want to visit to see the fiery red and orange color lining the entire street, which will make a great backdrop for a photo.

15. Visit The Shops & Boutiques

Shopping in Salem, MA is always a treat!

One of the best shopping areas in Salem is along Essex Street, where you’ll find tons of shops and restaurants. There’s also a section on Essex called the Pedestrian Mall, which is where you’ll find the Essex Peabody Museum, and as I’m sure you’ve guessed, is a pedestrian-only walkway. This is a great area to stroll through if you’re looking to visit the local stores and grab a bite to eat during your Salem day trip.

Best Shops In Salem, MA To Check Out

  • Wicked Good Books – A small but absolutely charming little bookshop that I love visiting each time I come to Salem.
  • The Cheese Shop Of Salem – More than just cheese! A really lovely little stop to make to peruse not only amazing cheeses, but also wines and specialty foods. A great place for stocking your pantry.
  • 100 Derby Store – Of all the gifty-type shops in Salem, this is my favorite because it’s reminiscent of an old country store, and also features some locally-made items.
  • Oak + Moss – A gorgeous homewares boutique that sells live plants, and a beautifully curated selection of gifts and things for your home.

16. Set Sail On Schooner Fame

One of the best things to do in Salem, MA is to head out onto the harbor waters on Schooner Fame, which is a replica of a significant ship that set sail during the The War of 1812. Fame has five daily charters to choose from in-season, and you’ll learn about the history of the ship, get some amazing views from the harbor, as well as try your hand at hoisting the sails if you’d like!

The Schooner Fame crew also allows you to bring snacks aboard the ship (just no coolers to allow rooms for all guests aboard), and they also have snacks and drinks available on the ship for the duration of the cruise.

17. Explore The Peabody Essex Museum

The Essex Peabody Museum in Salem, MA is one of the best stops to make on a day trip.

The Peabody Essex Museum is a nationally-recognized, incredible destination that’s dedicated to the preservation of history, art, science and nature. It’s also one of the oldest operating museums in the U.S. that’s known for having one of the largest collections of Asian art.

Here at the museum, you’ll be able to admire paintings from the 1700s, walk through the Art & Nature center and visit the Museum Garden. You’ll also be able to see the model ship that was used to build the Friendship of Salem. It’s absolutely worth your time during a Salem day trip, especially if you have a particular interest in history and art.

18. Make Your Own Broom

The Witchery in Salem is a great place to visit to make the ultimate souvenir to bring home: your own, handmade, customized broom!

Workshops to make your own broom can be made online, and take about an hour. You’ll get to pick your own broom handle, embellishments like dried flowers, and then learn how to put it all together. When you’re done, you’ll walk out with a new piece for your home to remember your trip by.

Pro Tip : The Witchery also offers bookbinding workshops, if that’s more your speed!

19. Explore The Town By Trolley

A trolley tour through town is a great way to see Salem on a day trip if you're limited on time.

If you’re looking for an easy tour around town, Salem Trolley is a great one to consider. This hour-long narrated tour takes you through many of the best sites to see, and includes history and fun facts along the way to learn something new.

Pro Tip: The trolley tour is not designed as a hop-on/hop-off tour. They’ll sometimes allow visitors to use it that way when it’s not busy, but generally in the fall, it’s required that you experience it as the one-hour tour.

What’s The Scariest Thing To Do In Salem, MA?

Doing anything at night in Salem will automatically be scarier. Add in a ghost or spooky stories walking tour, and you’re sure to get goosebumps!

The scariest tours you can take in Salem would be the Mysteries & Murders of Salem Walking Tour and the Salem Voodoo, Vampires & Ghosts Walking Tour . Both are guided tours that take place at night, and go into the spooky history and stories surrounding Salem. Click the links below to book your tours.

Click here to check out the Mysteries & Murders of Salem walking tour!

Click here to check out the Salem Voodoo, Vampires & Ghosts Walking Tour in Salem!

Free Things To Do In Salem, MA

One of the great things about visiting Salem for a day trip is that a lot of things are free to see and do. Below is a list of all the free things you can do in Salem:

  • The Salem Maritime National Historic Site
  • Winter Island Park & Lighthouse
  • Derby Wharf Light Station
  • Tour the historic homes and side streets
  • Take a peak at The Witch House from outside
  • Walk through Essex Street and the Pedestrian Mall
  • The Elizabeth Montgomery/Bewitched Statue
  • Take a peak of The House of Seven Gables from outside
  • The Salem Witch Trials Memorial
  • Walk around Salem Common
  • Walk along Chestnut Street
  • The Salem Heritage Trail

A house in Salem, MA decorated for Halloween season.

Is The Hocus Pocus House in Salem?

Yes! Max and Dani’s house that was featured in the movie Hocus Pocus is in Salem, and can be found at 4 Ocean Avenue.

It’s not located right in the downtown area, but if you walk about a mile outside of downtown, you can see it. It’s important to be respectful when visiting because an actual family lives in the house, so be sure not to trespass, enjoy it from a distance, and be respectful.

Can You See Salem, MA In One Day?

Salem is very easy to see in a day! While it’s a city, most the attractions you’ll want to visit are all located within in a mile or so of each other, making it easy to get from one place to the next. While you can absolutely spend longer than a day here, a Salem day trip is more than doable.

How Do I Spend A Day In Salem, MA?

While a Salem day trip is very easy, it’s still a good idea to have a plan to make the most of your time. Below is a basic itinerary option that you can adjust based on your own preferences, which factors in where each attraction is, and groups them all together to maximize your day.

  • Start or end your day at Winter Island Park & Lighthouse.
  • Park at the South Harbor Waterfront Garage, and walk to the Maritime National Historic site, and also visit Derby Wharf Light Station.
  • Then walk to The House of Seven Gables, and walk around some of the side streets, including visiting the Stephen Daniels House. You can also visit Ye Olde Pepper Companie in this area.
  • Walk over to the Salem Witch Trials Memorial, then head over to Essex Street and visit the Peabody Essex Museum, or walk the Pedestrian Mall and the rest of Essex Street. As you make your way down Essex, you can also visit Old Town Hall (another Hocus Pocus filming location!), the Bewitched Statue and end at the Witch House.
  • Stop for lunch at The Lobster Shanty, which can also be done during your walk along Essex (it’ll be just a few blocks away).
  • From either Witch House or Lobster Shanty, head over to Chestnut Street and enjoy this picturesque New England street (I recommend also visiting some of the side streets in this area – they’re all beautiful).

That covers all the major sites! You’ll want to adjust based on your preferences, where you park, and also where you want to eat, and also if you do any tours.

Can You Do A Day Trip To Salem From Boston?

A Salem day trip is very easy to take from Boston. Whether you drive or take the ferry, the journey is only about an hour, which will leave you plenty of time to explore Salem, and not feel rushed. If you’re planning a fall trip to Boston and want to visit Salem for a day trip, I highly recommend it.

How To Get From Boston To Salem

The best ways to get from Boston to Salem for a day trip are to either drive or take the ferry. The drive will take about an hour or less, depending on traffic, and the ferry also takes about an hour dock to dock.

Click here to check out the ferry from Boston to Salem!

Tip : Keep in mind that the Boston to Salem ferries only run seasonally , so if you plan to visit Salem in the off-season or winter, you’ll likely have to drive.

Is Salem, MA Walkable?

Salem is a very walkable city, and most of the attractions are very close to each other. Once you arrive in Salem, I recommend you park your car for the entire day, and get around everywhere by foot. You shouldn’t need a car unless you’re not able to walk more than a mile, or if you want to drive to Winter Island Park.

Is There Uber In Salem, MA?

Yes, Uber is available in Salem. If you’re visiting in October, there will be higher than average wait times, as traffic is more congested. However, it’s pretty easy to navigate year-round.

Day Trips From Salem, MA

One of the great things about visiting Salem is that you’re able to take so many day trips to surrounding areas along the North Shore region of Massachusetts. You could easily make this a stop on a longer road trip through the coast of Northern MA, and visit some amazing places. Below is a list of all the beautiful towns that are easily drivable from Salem along the North Shore:

  • Marblehead (10-15 minute drive from Salem)
  • Manchester-By-The-Sea (25 minute drive from Salem)
  • Gloucester (30 minute drive from Salem)
  • Rockport (35 minute drive from Salem)
  • Essex (30 minute drive from Salem)
  • Newburyport & Plum Island (45 minute drive from Essex)
  • Portsmouth, NH (1 hour drive from Salem)

Here are some posts you may find helpful while planning a trip to this area:

  • Best Things To Do On Cape Ann
  • Best Things To Do In Rockport, MA
  • Best Things To Do In Marblehead
  • Cape Cod vs. Cape Ann
  • Best Things To Do In Newburyport, MA & Plum Island

If you’re not taking a Salem day trip from Boston, you can also get to Boston’s downtown in less than an hour from Salem, and visit the South Shore, which consists on the cute towns of Scitute, Cohasset, Hanover and Plymouth.

Best Time To Visit Salem, MA

October is the most popular and busiest time to visit Salem, and lots of events happen throughout the month to celebrate Halloween, and the town’s ties to all things spooky.

But Salem is actually a really great place to visit year-round, and if it’s not important to you to experience the Halloween festivities, June, July, August & September are also great months to visit, with November being my favorite time of year for a Salem day trip.

In early November, there’s often still some beautiful foliage around (even if a lot of it is on the ground), and the crowds have thinned out, making it more enjoyable to walk around. A great weekend to visit Salem is the first weekend after Halloween, as a lot of houses will still have their Halloween decorations up, and it still feels very much like October.

What Is Salem, MA Known For?

Salem, MA is most known for the infamous Salem Witch Trials, where 19 innocent people were sentenced to death by hanging after being accused of witchcraft.

Salem also has a deep and rich history in New England maritimes, and recently, President Obama signed a bill that officially recognized Salem as the birthplace of the National Guard.

Best Restaurants In Salem, MA

The lobster grilled cheese and lobster martini from The Lobster Shanty in Salem, MA.

If you’re looking to dine at the best restaurants during your Salem day trip, below is a list of my favorite places to eat while visiting:

  • The Lobster Shanty – I know I’ve already mentioned this as one of the best things to do in Salem, MA, but it bears repeating! You’ll often find people lining up here for a table, which speaks volumes about how great the food is.
  • Howling Wolf Taqueria – Fresh and delicious Mexican-inspired food and yummy margaritas.
  • Bella Verona – A small little Italian place that’s always packed because the food is that delicious.
  • Ledger Bar & Restaurant – A really cool and upscale bar/restaurant with traditional menu offerings and really good cocktails.
  • Melt – Awesome ice cream!
  • A&J King Artisan Bakers – Great for a cup of coffee/warm beverage and baked goods. Any flakey pastries like croissants are especially great here.

More posts you may find helpful:

  • Massachusetts In The Fall: Your Ultimate Guide On What To Do & Where To Go!
  • Best Boston Hotels Near The Aquarium
  • Best New England Day Trips
  • Best Things To Do In New England In The Fall
  • Best New England Ghost Tours
  • The Perfect New England Fall Road Trip

That’s A Wrap On Planning The Perfect Salem, MA Day Trip

Now that you know all the best things to do in Salem, MA, you’re ready to begin planning your Salem day trip. Hopefully you can see that Salem is a great destination to visit all year-round, but if you’re looking for the ultimate New England Halloween day trip, then visiting in October is definitely memorable. But regardless of when you visit, Salem makes for a perfect day trip getaway.

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Visiting Salem, Massachusetts in One Day

  • Post author: Rachel Means
  • Post published: 2021-09-22
  • Post last modified: 2023-10-25

Salem, Massachusetts is one of America’s most well-known historically haunted cities, thanks to movies and books like Hocus Pocus and The Crucible, and to its real-life history with the 1692 Salem Witch Trials.

Salem has embraced its history and the town has equal parts amazing history tours and museums and cheesy witch museums and shops.

Salem is an easy day trip from Boston or a convenient first stop on a road trip into Maine . There are plenty of things to do in Salem, but what if you only have one day?

Use this itinerary to hit the highlights and explore Salem in one day.

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This means if you click a link and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Table of Contents

Is Salem, Massachusetts Worth Visiting?

Salem, Massachusetts is one of those cities that you visit with expectations. If you’re in the area or have the opportunity to be, you have to try it at least once.

Niche cities that are done well, famous for one particular thing, can be enormously fun and amusing to visit!

  • Drumheller, Alberta, Canada: dinosaur capital of the world
  • Roswell, New Mexico: aliens capital of the world
  • Salem, Massachusetts: witching capital of the world

Salem has fully embraced its reputation, for better or worse, and October is always the busiest time of year to visit.

The town goes all out, and everyone has a good time!

Salem is bursting at the seams with witchy tourism , some true historical tours and museums and some extremely kitschy museums and shops.

The town does a good job of catering to both types of tourists.

If you are really into the lore surrounding witches, or just loved the movie Hocus Pocus growing up, then this town will not disappoint!

If you enjoy history and culture, then visiting Salem is a perfect day trip from Boston.

The town is one of the oldest in North America, with Plymouth Rock just a few miles down the coast and Mayflower passengers buried in the Salem cemetery.

Whether you’re here for the history or the mystery, Salem is worth visiting!

Large tan stone building with crenellated roofline and large cathedral windows houses the Salem Witch Museum. A white tarp out front protects visitors from the elements.

What Happened in Salem, Massachusetts?

It all started with a couple of young girls acting strangely and when pressured by adults for a reason, they made accusations.

It spiraled into neighbors accusing neighbors, over a hundred accusations, people being “struck by witchcraft”, arrests, torture, bogus trials, and a total of 25 people (and oddly, two dogs) dying for connections to witchcraft.

It makes for a thrilling story today, but, unfortunately, it’s all true. That all happened to real people.

Nineteen people were hanged, five died in prison, and one poor soul, who refused to say anything after being arrested, was pressed to death (slowly crushed by piling rocks on him in an attempt to make him talk).

The dogs were put down when the girls accused the animals of giving them the “evil eye” and they were assumed to be agents of Satan. 🤨

The number of he-said-she-said accusations, citing dreams as evidence of guilt, and the general pathetic excuse for “justice” dealt out at the trials eventually led to public outcry.

Judges publicly admitted to error in judgement, and the colonial government eventually admitted the trials were a mistake and compensated the families of the accused and the executed.

It’s history’s great warning of what can happen when lies and accusations mix with fear of the unknown and multiply through a community.

Not the only time in the history of the world that it’s happened, but it left a significant impression on America’s psyche.

The play The Crucible by Arthur Miller and its movie adaptations strive to capture the terror of that time in Salem.

Miller had ulterior motives, however, as he wrote his play in the early 1950’s right as McCarthyism was gripping the country, another witch hunt fed by mass paranoia and fear.

If you’re interested in the actual history behind the Salem Witch Trials, I recommend the book The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff .

It reads like a true crime drama because it is one. It reviews the timeline of events, the court records and transcripts, and the private journals of the judges and citizens involved.

We’ve come a long way as a society since then, but it is still shocking the parallels you can see today.

Words have consequences, and the power of suggestion is not to be taken lightly.

That’s all I have to say about that, as Forrest Gump would say.

An empty and peaceful pedestrian path with three black benches is surrounded by green trees, shrubs, and grass.

How to Get to Salem, Massachusetts

Boston is the gateway to Salem.

Of course, you can drive to Salem if you’re already in the area, but visitors from out of town will likely fly into Boston Logan International Airport and stay in the Boston area.

If you plan to rent a car, then Salem is only a 30-45 minute drive northeast of downtown and the airport.

But Boston also has good public transportation , by American standards, and you can hop a train (or ferry!) from downtown out to Salem.

Take the Train to Salem

Take the commuter rail Newburyport/Rockport line .

This commuter rail line connects to the subway at North Station on the green and orange lines, or to the SL3 bus line at the Bellingham Square Station.

Salem is in Commuter Rail Fare Zone 3, so a round trip ticket from downtown’s North Station will cost $16 per person ($8 one way). Travel time is about 30 minutes.

Take the Ferry to Salem

The ferry is available seasonally, April 1 through October 1, and takes the longest but has the best views .

Trust us, you wouldn’t want to be on the cold and windy Atlantic during the winter anyway.

Boston Harbor Cruises operates the ferry from Boston to Salem. Board the ferry at Long Wharf, right next to the New England Aquarium. Enjoy a sunny cruise up the coast and arrive at the Salem Ferry Terminal on Blaney Street.

Adult tickets are $56 roundtrip, or $31 one way.

Pro Tip : Save some time and money and combine a one way train ride with a one way ferry trip. If you time it right, you’ll arrive in Salem earlier than a ferry can you get there and then later catch a sunset ferry back to Boston.

Boston Harbor Cruises also offers a combo ticket with the Salem Trolley Tour company for $76.

Considering the Trolley Tour costs $20 per adult, you aren’t receiving any savings but you are saving the hassle of two transactions, if that matters to you.

Where to Park in Salem

It’s no secret that finding a place to park in Salem is no easy feat on a crowded weekend. Thankfully, Salem is small and walkable, so park the car and forget about it while you explore Salem for the day.

The easiest place to park, without fighting through traffic in town, is at the train station garage.

Garage rates are surprisingly affordable in Salem. The train station garage is $5 per day.

The Peabody Essex Museum garage is more central in town and costs $1.25 per hour, or $10 for an 8-hour day. Not bad.

Most on-street parking is metered and will accept either coins or electronic payment through the app listed on the meter.

Visiting Salem, Massachusetts with Only One Day

To be less rushed, I recommend spending a weekend rather than just one day in Salem.

But if one day is all you have available, then here are the top recommendations for what to see and what to skip.

The Salem Trolley Tour zips by as passengers gaze out the windows as the guide narrates the history of Salem

What to See in Salem in One Day

Salem trolley tour.

Hop on Hop off trolley tour with 14 stops around Salem. This is a fantastic highlights tour of Salem. Stops are as follows:

  • Salem Visitor Center and The Witch History Museum
  • Old Burying Point Cemetery and The Witch Trial Memorial
  • South Harbor Garage and New England Pirate Museum
  • Pickering Wharf and Sea Level Restaurant

Salem Maritime National Historic Site

  • The House of Seven Gables
  • The Salem Ferry
  • Winter Island
  • Salem Willows

Salem Witch Museum

  • Peabody Essex Museum and Salem Visitor Center
  • Witch Dungeon Museum
  • Salem Witch House and The Salem Inn
  • Historic District: Phillips House, Hamilton Hall, & Chestnut Street

Recommend starting with this as early as you can to get a good overview of the town’s history and sights.

Ride a full loop to get all the information, and then go back to the sights you want to hop off and see.

In October when they’re slammed with visitors, there’s no guarantee of a free seat for you to re-board the trolley.

Good to Know : You can’t visit and appreciate all 14 places in one day. You won’t have enough time. For a day trip to Salem we recommend that you ride a full loop and then decide on 2 to 4 stops to explore in more depth.

Pretty cheesy, but incredibly popular.

To be honest, all the witch museums in town are cheesy, have a live action portion, and use the same vintage mannequins in their exhibits that will make you giggle.

Tickets sell out well ahead of time for October dates , particularly the weekends. Buy tickets online as soon as possible for any October adventuring. Adult tickets cost $15.

If you can’t score tickets, never fear. Sub this out for the Witch History Museum or the Witch Dungeon Museum, discussed more below.

Headstones at Old Burying Point in Salem, MA with a large green tree and red building in the background

The Old Burying Point Cemetery & The Salem Witch Trials Memorial

Covered by most guided historical tours and the Salem Trolley Tour, but there are some informational plaques if you want to quick pop in and out.

Several noteworthy people are buried in this cemetery , including colonists that arrived on the Mayflower , the Massachusetts Bay Colony’s last governor, and the 1692 Witch Trials judge John Hathorne, author Nathaniel Hawthorne’s ancestor.

Note that none of the accused “witches” are buried here, as they were denied burial in consecrated ground.

However, in 1992 a memorial wall that borders the side of the graveyard was constructed in memory of the wrongly accused.

Elie Wiesel, the famed Holocaust survivor, author, and Nobel Laureate, dedicated the Salem Witch Trials Memorial , which appropriately features the phrase Lest Terror Be Forgotten .

Peabody Essex Museum

The largest collection of Asian art in the United States, the Peabody Essex Museum deserves an hour or two of your time.

This museum is a refreshing break for those that may tire of all the witch history and kitsch elsewhere in town.

An entire Qing Dynasty Chinese home was shipped to and reconstructed within the walls of the museum; the only home of its kind found outside of China .

Adult entry is $20. Note this museum is only open Thursday-Sunday and on holiday Mondays.

Stroll along the Essex Street Pedestrian Pathway

Enjoy the unique shops that line the street and pick up some sweet treats to take home.

The Witch History Museum is located here if you weren’t able to secure a ticket to the Salem Witch Museum.

Walk along Chestnut Street in the McIntire Historic District.

Beautiful colonial period residential architecture is on display here!

Touted as one of America’s Most Beautiful Streets , the district is named for Samuel McIntire, the architect that built most of these homes and buildings in the late 1700’s through early 1800’s.

Still mostly private homes, the Phillips House is the only home on beautiful Chestnut Street that is open to the public. Admission is $15 per adult if you have time.

If not, just walk down the street and take pictures to your heart’s (and Instagram followers’) content.

Townhome front porch in the McIntire Historic District are decorated for fall with pumpkins, mums, and an orange wreath

What Else to See in Salem with More Time

It’s not that these sights aren’t worth your time. It’s the fact that you can only see so much in one day in Salem.

If you have a weekend free, add these sights to the ones listed above and keep enjoying this fun New England town!

The Witch Dungeon Museum

Historical reenactment of the trial of Sarah Good, following the actual transcript from her trial. Buy online or $13 per adult at the gate.

A combo ticket also provides entry to the New England Pirate Museum and the Witch History Museum for an $8 savings.

The Witch History Museum

Another live action performance followed by a tour of the events of the 1692 Salem Witch Trials.

Not usually as busy as the Salem Witch Museum, but this museum shares similar information in a similar manner.

Entry is $13 per adult. Remember that combo ticket option if you also plan to visit the Witch Dungeon Museum and the New England Pirate Museum.

New England Pirate Museum

There’s more to Salem than witches!

The New England Pirate Museum features the town’s history as a port city and its experience with pirates. Kids especially will like this one.

And last time: $13 entry for adults, but don’t forget the combo ticket if you want to see pirates and witches.

Metal plaque set in asphalt denoting the McIntire Historic District with and arrow and red stripe pointing the way for the walkway

Bewitched Statue in Lappin Park

Watch Samantha’s nose on the Bewitched statue in Lappin Park, and see if it twitches!

Not the witch that drew you to Salem, but Samantha from Bewitched has fans of her own.

The 1960’s tv show filmed a few episodes in Salem, and the statue was donated to the city by TV Land.

Samantha is riding her broom through a crescent shaped moon. Nice photo op for fans of the show.

Take a Hocus Pocus Tour

Raise your hand if you watched this wonderous film every October, several times over, leading up to Halloween. 🙋‍♀️

Take a tour of several filming sites from the movie and get your picture at all of them!

The Witch House (James Corwin’s House)

The only original structure still standing connected to the 1692 Salem Witch Trials. This was the home of James Corwin, a judge for the trials.

Take a self-guided tour of the house and learn how its colonial inhabitants would have lived and worked. Adult tickets are $9.

Large gray 3 story home, known as the Witch House, decorated for Halloween with pumpkins in the yard

The House of the Seven Gables

The real-life namesake for Nathaniel Hawthorne’s book The House of the Seven Gables .

To answer your burning question: YES. The tour includes the secret stairway in the wall! 😉

The site also includes the relocated birthplace home of Nathaniel Hawthorne as well as beautiful gardens and views of Salem Harbor. Guided tours are $20 for adults.

A National Park Service site that has nothing to do with witches! Explore the colonial-era shipping life that dominated early Salem. (And do it all for free! Thanks NPS!)

The Salem Visitor Center , near the Peabody Essex Museum, is actually for the Maritime Historic Site, but the bulk of the buildings to see for this are on the waterfront.

Explore the Friendship of Salem , a replica large sailing ship on the water of Salem Harbor. See the many buildings near and along Derby Wharf , or even walk out to the Derby Light Station at the end of the wharf.

Proctor’s Ledge

This site was only recently identified as the actual spot where the accused were hanged during the 1692 Witch Trials, not Gallows Hill as was previously thought. A small memorial was built and dedicated in 2017.

There’s not much here as this was just another residential neighborhood in Salem until a few years ago.

The memorial is a small curved wall bump out from the sidewalk featuring each victim’s name with an oak tree planted in the center.

The residents that live adjacent to this site would appreciate your respect if you do visit. This memorial is meant to be that, a memorial to victims that lost their lives as a failure of justice.

Visiting Salem, Massachusetts in one day is possible and worth your time!

Hit the highlights, take lots of pictures, and enjoy a day away to this possibly haunted but definitely historical town!

Happy Travels!

Headshot of Rachel Means at Clingmans Dome in Smoky Mountains

About the Author : Rachel Means

With six-figure student loan debt and only 10 PTO days per year, Rachel started traveling the world. A decade later, she’s paid off her loans, changed careers, and been to 36 US states and 14 countries. She’s an expert at planning and budgeting for travel and loves to help others do it, too! Read her full story here.

one day trip around salem

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THE BEST Day Trips from Salem

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  • Salem to Boston
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1. Ultimate Boston Audio Tour Bundle

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2. Private Day Tour to Salem MA, Kennebunkport, Kittery

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3. Freedom Trail & Salem Witch Trail Self-Guided Walking Tour Bundle

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4. Private half Day Tour to Salem and Marbelhead from Boston with pick up

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Full Day Tour to Lincoln New Hampshire Ice Castles from Boston

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Highlights of Boston Private Tour

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Private Day Trip to Lexington and Concord from Boston

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Full-Day Tour from Boston with Lost River and Flume Gorge

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BEST Full Day Boston City Tour

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Lexington and Concord 5 Hour Private Driving Day Tour

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Half Day 5 Hour Driving Tour in Boston City

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Boston to Kennebunkport with Optional Lobster Tour

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Boston Walk Through History Private & All-Inclusive Tour

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Visit Historic Concord on a Private Day Trip from Boston

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Private Tour of Boston & Cambridge

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Boston Cambridge Lexington and Concord Private Day Tour

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Boston Lexington and Concord Revolutionary War full day tour

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Cambridge, Lexington, & Concord: Private Revolutionary War Tour

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Experience Lexington Concord and Boston Private Tour

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Visit Boston & Cambridge: Private Full-Day Driving Tour

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BEST 1-Day Tour to Portland-Maine from Boston

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Cape Cod and Provincetown 9 Hour Private Driving Day Tour

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Rhode Island in a Day

  • Boston Day Tour by Ferry: Salem Witch Trials Past to Present
  • Private half Day Tour to Salem and Marbelhead from Boston with pick up
  • Ultimate Boston Audio Tour Bundle
  • The North Shore: Salem & Cape Ann Private Day Trip from Boston
  • Freedom Trail & Salem Witch Trail Self-Guided Walking Tour Bundle
  • Satanic Salem Walking Tours
  • Krystina Yeager
  • Rekindled History
  • Witch City Walkabout
  • Tales of Salem: Halloween Tour

Salem: Day Trips Information

Adventures in New England

Adventures in New England

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what to do in Salem, MA

What to Do in Salem, Massachusetts: One Day Exploring Salem

one day trip around salem

If you are looking for a day trip from Boston with history and a lot of fun, a day trip from Boston to Salem is the answer.

Salem is a port city that was founded in 1626. It is now most famous for its Witch Trials of 1692, and its author, Nathaniel Hawthorne. It is also full of colonial architecture, world-class museums, shopping, and restaurants. Whether you are interested in art, pirates, witches, or history, you can easily spend more than a day here. But if you only have one day, a great day it will be! Read on for a few ideas to plan your Salem day trip.

Living just under two hours from Salem, Massachusetts, my family has visited many times for many reasons.

Table of Contents

What to Do in Salem, Massachusetts

An educational exploration of salem- exploring the crucible and salem witch trials.

Witch Hysteria was sweeping Europe. The governor of Massachusetts, William Phips, was off fighting the Indian Wars, which was just one of the wars raging around the Puritans of Salem. The Puritans, who believed in an invisible world, became part of their own hysteria, immortalized in The Crucible .

Many of the museums and tours in Salem serve to teach about the trials. Some are factual, and many tell a great story.

My husband is an English literature teacher, so one visit we took was researching his teaching. We took our three boys, who were very entertained. Years before, I had visited with my then sixth-grader, who was also very interested in Salem after reading a book about the trials.

Witch Dungeon Museum

Our first stop was the Witch Dungeon Museum . It has a recreation of the witch trial courtroom with actors. There is also a life-sized model of the dungeons where the accused witches were kept. It was very touristy but did give a good overview of the realities of the trials. This town has many re-creation museums, and you probably only need to visit one.

a day trip to Salem

Witch History Museum

We then went to the Witch History Museum . It was less interactive than the Witch Dungeon Museum, but I preferred this tour as I felt I learned more. Be sure to read the signs with all the facts in the waiting room. Per my husband, they were very informative but had a few historical inaccuracies, as all the museums did. Tours start every half hour.

Walking Tour- Myths and Misconceptions through the Essex National Heritage Organization

This no-frills walking tour will give you a factual overview of the witch trials. It visits the Salem Witch Trial Memorial and the town’s oldest cemetery, the Old Burying Point .

Tour the Witch House

Although no witches or trials happened here, the Jonathan Corwin House  is the only house still standing with a tie to the trials. Jonathan Corwin was one of the judges for the trials. The house, built in the 1600s, is open for tours.

Gallows Hill Theater

Salem MA activities

Enjoy a fact-filled show about the history and myths of Salem, while being entertained by the spooky effects at the Gallows Hill Theater. My nephew and I were especially entertained by their Lost Museum. We laughed and jumped, and it was a highlight of our day.

Nathaniel Hawthorne and Salem, Massachusetts

Nathaniel Hawthorne, the author of The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables , was born and raised in Salem. He is a descendant of one of the witch trial judges, John Hathorne.

Visit The House of the Seven Gables

How to spend a day in Salem, Mass

The Peabody Essex Museum

trips to salem massachusetts

I wouldn’t have guessed such an accomplished museum would be hiding in Salem. This art and culture museum, named among the top twenty art museums in the United States, also has one of the largest Asian art collections in the US.

Spooky Things to Do in Salem, Massachusetts, with Kids

When my oldest son (he was 12 at the time) and I came for a visit late one September, we were looking to experience Salem’s spookiness. If you want to see Salem at its spookiest, consider visiting at Halloween .

Salem Witch Village

My son wanted to learn more about witches. At the Salem Witch Villag e, we learned what lore was true and about the origins of some of our holidays. Our guide, Michael, did a great job educating us and keeping us entertained. The museum is on an alleyway with many other witch-themed attractions and haunted houses.

Salem’s Sinister Stories Ghost Tour

Ghost Tours in Salem, Mass

Our favorite part of our day was our 5 o’clock ghost tour with the interesting Kenneth of Sinister Stories of Salem . He has a long history in Salem. Kenneth is a Quaker, very soft-spoken, and a born storyteller. To be sure that you can hear him, he wears a microphone. He walked through town, sometimes breaking out in mournful songs or stopping to tell ghost stories about the town’s history. His information was both historical and supernatural. The 90-minute tour went well over two hours, and my son and I were never bored. In December, he does a different tour regarding St. Nicholas lore that I am interested in going back for.

Shopping and Eating in Salem, Massachusetts

things to see in Salem, Massachusetts

Essex Street Pedestrian Mall

There are great restaurants and shops all around town, but this pedestrian mall is a fun and comfortable place to explore.

Food Worth Eating in Salem, Massachusetts

Melt ice cream.

We first visited this spot a few years ago when this was Salem Screamery. Thankfully, the new owner has switched over to only homemade ice cream and still has a memorable salted caramel brownie.

Tavern in the Square

They claim the best burgers, and we did quite enjoy the bacon brie burger. We also love the location, right on the pedestrian Essex Street and the patio over the fountain map of Salem.

Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie

On the Heritage Trail, across from the House of the Seven Gables, is the US’ oldest candy shop, Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie . It contains some delightful early candy-making machines as well as most types of candy for sale.

Where should I Park in Salem?

How to get from boston to salem, take the ferry, take the train.

Looking for a convenient day trip from Boston that includes fun and history. Read on for the how and whys of visiting "witch city" Salem, Massachusetts from Boston. #Massachusettstravel #salemmass #daytripsfromBoston #visitma

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11 thoughts on “What to Do in Salem, Massachusetts: One Day Exploring Salem”

As a former English teacher, I introduced The Crucible to students on many occasions, but am afraid to say that I have never visited Salem. I loved this post and will definitely be making a point of visiting next time I am in the USA. The history is so interesting and it appears that the town has really worked on bringing this to life. I shall certainly be seeking out Kenneth – my kind of tour!

I have been to Salem once but barely remember it. I really need to get back and explore where the famous Witch Trials occurred. Such a tragic event for humankind but still very intriguing. I think Darcee would absolutely love exploring Nathaniel Hawthorne’s House of Seven Gables and other locations as well!

I would love to show you and Darcee around Salem!

I didn’t realize Salem was an easy day trip from Boston. What a great option for travellers to that area to get out of the city and learn about this small town’s history and stories. I imagine it would be popular around Halloween? To hear about the Witch Trials.

It is very popular around Halloween.

That’s an understatement!🤪🤪

I’ve always wanted to visit Salem and it’s good to know that the town can be easily reach from Boston. Thanks for letting us know places or things that worth to do during a day visit. I know that I won’t miss the Sinister Stories Ghost Tour.

Such a fascinating little town… the story of the witches of Salem is so intriguing, especially since some elements are actually true… I noted your comment about the museum being so rich and interesting for a small town. I have found really good museums in small towns, it’s always is a great surprise!

I have long been fascinated by the idea of exploring Salem and uncovering the story of the witches. This post makes me want to do it even more.

I am from Texas looking into coming to Boston this Labor Day Wkend! After reading about the stories I am going to try and make this trip happen!

If you do make it, I would personally be interested in what your experience is now two years later from when they were last there. As we are looking at planning a trip for 2023 possibly, any tips or things you find along the way would be equally appreciated!

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one day trip around salem

Day Trip to Salem Massachusetts, One Day Itinerary

One day of witchy fun in salem massachusetts.

It is difficult to determine how to best use 24 hours in Salem Massachusetts, there are so many fun things to see, do, and eat. Salem is famous for the 1692 Salem Witch Trials. This day trip itinerary is jam-packed with must-see sites and top attractions, including, the House of Seven Gables, the Mayflower ship, a witch trial reenactment, and more. Salem is a great day trip and an easy train ride from Boston . Looking for more options? Check these additional things to do in Salem to supplement this itinerary. Here is how to see the best of Salem in one day. Enjoy your time out of the office!

Read Two Week New England Road Trip Itinerary: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut

Essex Street Pedestrian Mall Salem Massachusetts, one day itinerary things to do day trip

Day Trip Itinerary for Salem Massachusetts

8 am harbor walk and street art.

Take the 8:10 train from Boston’s North Station to Salem, arriving at 8:43. Walk past the Bewitched Statue and down Washington Street to the Salem Harbor Walk. Make your way to the Punto Urban Art Museum. Grab a coffee and explore street art. Check out Pickering Wharf and the Friendship of Salem ship on your way to the House of Seven Gables.

Punto Urban Art Museum Street Art Salem Massachusetts, one day itinerary things to do day trip

10 am House of Seven Gables

Tour the House of Seven Gables. Stop in America’s Oldest Candy Store, Ye Olde Pepper Companie, for a treat. Check out the Salem Witch Trials Memorial and the Buring Point Cemetery. Make your way to the Salem Witch Museum and watch the witch trial presentation.

Ye Olde Pepper Companie Salem Massachusetts, one day itinerary things to do day trip

12 am Lunch and Souvenirs

Head to the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall for lunch. Check out Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery and have a souvenir photo taken at Witch Pix.

2 pm Watch a Witch Trial Reenactment

Watch the Cry Innocent witch trial presentation, question the accused, and participate in the Puritan jury.

Cry Innocent Salem Massachusetts, one day itinerary things to do day trip

5 pm Return to Boston by Train

Take the 5:15 train back to Boston arriving at 5:50. Head to Faneuil Hall Marketplace for dinner before returning to your hotel.

Be sure to check the Salem Massachusetts Tourism Board website for upcoming festivals, special events, and what’s happening during your stay.

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one day trip around salem

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Nice itinerary for a short visit to Salem. Who knew it was so close to Boston, I’d totally do the train ride, nice and easy instead of having to deal with parking. I’d skip all the witchy stuff and just hang out in the candy store. 🙂

Lol! The candy was really good

Whoa..did you watch the Witch Trial Reenactment? And the seance sounds spookiest of all. I love that vibrant street art…in fact I was expecting a witch theme in that too 🙂

I did participate in the re-enactment. Participants act as the jury, they get to ask questions and then vote. We all voted not guilty

Salem has so much history to explore! The street art looks incredible! I would love to walk around and see all of the beautiful masterpieces! xo – kam

America’s Oldest Candy Store? Sounds interesting. I know, I know, it’s Salem and there is so much “witchy fun” there as you’ve put it, but that house really looks charming. Like it came out of some cartoon. The whole town seems like a fun place to visit. 🙂

Yes, there’s a huge heritage area of older homes that are gorgeous

I would love to visit Salem! Although the rest of the photos look like what I pictured Salem to be, the mural really threw me off. I did not expect modern street art! What a pleasant surprise. I would love to learn to cast a spell, not sure about how I feel about a séance though. Sounds like it will give me nightmares.

There’s an entire apartment complex covered in amazing murals. I love it when art is all in one area, it feels like an outdoor gallery. I’m with you on the seance, no reason to take any chances!

I have to get up there. It is a place I have wanted to check out. I will save this post to refer back to for sure. Do you think a day is enough?

A day was enough for me, it’s quite touristy

I’ve always wanted to visit Salem and learn more about the witch trials. I’d be all for participating in the reenactment as well. It’s been years since I was in MA and a trip back for the seafood and incredible lobster rolls would be a bonus too.

Ohhhh the lobster rolls!

Who would have thought that the oldest candy shop in America in in Salem. I always had an image of witches luring kids with candy and, somehow, this confirms that. Sounds like a lot of fun though.

Huh. I hadn’t connected that, you have a good point

Cool murals! I have not been to Salem yet, only Boston a few times so I definitely need to check this out. My husband has never been to New England and I want to take him to experience all it has to offer!

There is so much to see and do in New England

I remember visiting Salem. I have to admit I didnt know what the town was about (as I am from England, UK) and had quite a lot of Witchy fun when I was there. Even got chased by someone down the street dressed up as a witch!

That made me laugh

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Home » Blog » Do » Salem in One Day

one day trip around salem

Salem in One Day

Salem is a town for all seasons . Planning your visit between November and April? Read this post as attractions run seasonally.

Getting to Salem

Arrive in Salem via the MBTA Commuter Rail or the Salem Ferry or drive into downtown Salem an park the car for the day.

Where to start

To see Salem in one day, we recommend arriving downtown by 10:00 am. Start your visit to Salem at the Salem Regional Visitor Center . Here you can pick up a Salem visitor guide and map .

From the Visitor Center, you can pick up the Salem Trolley , which includes an hour-long tour around Salem and the ability to hop on and off throughout the day. If you arrive in Salem in the morning you can catch the first tour at 10:00 am.

Salem Witch Museum

Disembark the trolley at the Salem Witch Museum (the museum is the stop before the Visitor Center where your tour began). Presentations at the Salem Witch Museum begin every half hour, so you should be able to catch either the 11:00 am or 11:30 am showing.

The Salem Witch Museum tells the history of the Salem Witch Trials through life-size sets, and dramatic lighting and narration based on actual trial documents. The experience continues with a tour of the museum’s second exhibit, Witches: Evolving Perceptions. This exhibit introduces you to the different ways that witches have been interpreted over time, including the truth behind common stereotypes, modern witchcraft, and historical connections to the present.

Pickering Wharf

one day trip around salem

Exit the Salem Witch Museum and cross the street onto Salem Common . Turn right and continue down Washington Square West which becomes Hawthorne Boulevard (with the Hawthorne Hotel to your left). Pass by the statue of Nathaniel Hawthorne (and stop for a photo!) and continue walking until you reach Derby Street, then take a left.

Spend some time wandering the shops at Pickering Wharf, with uniquely Salem stores like Joe’s Fresh Fish Prints and Salem Spice. When you’re ready for lunch, visit Sea Level Oyster Bar & Kitchen or Finz Seafood & Grill to enjoy fresh seafood by the waterfront or head to Longboards or Brodie’s Seaport for more casual American fare.

The House of the Seven Gables

After lunch, explore the Salem Maritime National Historic Site while on your way down Derby Street towards The House of the Seven Gables . Take the hour-long tour of the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion that served as the inspiration for Nathaniel Hawthorne’s work and spend some time wandering through the home’s seaside gardens. While there, be sure to view the 2018 exhibit, These Walls Do Talk , which focuses on the science and history behind the 350-year-old-mansion.

Shopping & Walking Tours

Pick up the Salem Trolley once more, or walk back towards the Salem Regional Visitor Center. From here you’ll be able to browse the shops that line Essex Street and find everything from Salem t-shirts to tarot cards. Don’t miss the shops on Central Street (located right off of Essex) to find retro clothing designs at Modern Millie’s and gifts for pets at New England Dog Biscuit Company.

If time allows, you can learn more about Salem’s history after the museums and attractions have closed for the day by taking a walking tour . Some tours begin as late as 8:00 pm, so you can always find one to take if you arrive in Salem later in the day or if you are looking to learn more before you head home.

Stay in Salem

Want to spend more than one day in Salem? Turn your spring day trip into a weekend getaway with the Family Fun Package from the Salem Inn . The package includes a two-night stay in a family suite along with passes to the Salem Witch Museum and The House of the Seven Gables, a $20 gift card to Flying Saucer Pizza Company and complimentary breakfast at the inn.

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The 20 best things to do around Salem, Oregon’s capital and day trip destination

  • Published: May. 24, 2021, 7:30 a.m.

Riverfront City Park

The Eco-Earth Globe sculpture sits beside the Peter Courtney Minto Island Bridge in Salem's Riverfront City Park. Jamie Hale/The Oregonian

  • Jamie Hale | The Oregonian/OregonLive

There’s a false yet common sentiment I hear all the time among Portlanders: There’s just nothing to do in Salem. How shortsighted is that?

In fact, there’s so much to do in and around Oregon’s capital, that you might as well book some lodging and spend a full weekend exploring all you can. Even then, you’ll probably wind up driving back there for more.

The state Capitol building is perhaps the best-known landmark in Salem, topped by the bronze “Oregon Pioneer” statue, but don’t let it distract you from all the other attractions in the city: places like beautiful Riverfront City Park, the many manicured gardens that bloom every spring or the food carts and restaurants that make up a vibrant dining scene around town.

Expand your field of vision to the surrounding towns just outside of Salem and you’ll find even more: incredible waterfalls, riverside trails, mountain views and one of the best wine regions in the Pacific Northwest.

There’s more than enough to pack into a single day trip — especially if you take advantage of long spring and summer days — but do yourself a favor and spend a few days around town.

You might say there’s simply too much to do around Salem. Here are the 20 best places to visit while you’re there.

Silver Falls State Park

LEGACY: Hikers who have enjoyed access to the gorgeous waterfalls of Silver Falls State Park near Silverton have the Civilian Conservation Corps to thank. The park is just one Oregon landmark that owes its existence to one of the most difficult moments in American history: the Great Depression. (Jamie Hale/Staff) Jamie Hale/Staff

Silver Falls

Considered the crown jewel of Oregon’s state park system, Silver Falls State Park truly is a magical place. Whether you stop by to see towering South Falls or hike the entire Trail of Ten Falls , it’s a must-visit park for some of the best natural beauty in Oregon.

Open dawn to dusk daily; located off Oregon 214 in Silverton, about 23 miles east of Salem; 503-873-8681.

Riverfront City Park

Pedestrians cross the Peter Courtney Minto Island Bridge in Salem's Riverfront City Park on a sunny spring day. Jamie Hale/The Oregonian

Riverfront City Park

A sprawling urban park in downtown Salem, Riverfront City Park features riverside paths, large grassy areas, a sternwheeler, a carousel, play areas and the Eco-Earth Globe sculpture. Beside the globe you’ll find a beautiful pedestrian bridge that leads across the Willamette Slough to Minto-Brown Island Park.

Open dawn to dusk daily; 200 Water St. N.E.; 503-588-6261.

A woman and child walk along a park trail with a person with a white poodle following

People flock to Minto-Brown Island Park, a 1,200-acre nature park along the Willamette River in Salem, on a warm spring evening. Jamie Hale/The Oregonian

Minto-Brown Island Park

The 1,200-acre Minto-Brown Island Park features 29 miles of trails and bike paths that wind through forests, past open meadows and along the Willamette River. The park also features a 30-acre dog park and a reservable picnic shelter. Conveniently, the bike paths connect directly to Riverfront City Park and downtown Salem.

Open dawn to dusk daily; 2100 Minto Island Road S.E.; 503-588-6261.

Bush's Pasture Park

Tulips bloom outside the Bush House at Bush's Pasture Park in Salem. Jamie Hale/The Oregonian

Bush’s Pasture Park

What used to be land owned by the Asahel Bush family is now Bush’s Pasture Park , a 90.5-acre city park with walking paths, playgrounds, sports fields and the beautiful manicured gardens that surround the original Bush family house, now operating as a museum (the interior of the museum is currently closed due to the pandemic).

Open dawn to dusk daily; 600 Mission St. S.E.; 503-588-6261.

Willamette Mission State Park

A viewpoint looks out over Mission Lake at Willamette Mission State Park, with a "ghost structure" sculpture of the original Methodist Mission visible across the water. Jamie Hale/The Oregonian

Willamette Mission State Park

The site of a former Methodist mission established in 1834, Willamette Mission State Park is now a scenic nature park along the Willamette River with hiking trails, bike paths and a disc golf course. It’s also popular among boaters and fishers.

Open dawn to dusk daily; located off Wheatland Road Northeast in Gervais, about nine miles north of Salem; 503-393-1172.

Ankeny Wildlife Refuge

Boardwalk at Wood Duck Pond Trail, Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge, south of Salem. LC-The Oregonian

Ankeny and Baskett Slough national wildlife refuges

A pair of national wildlife refuges just outside Salem offer good opportunities for bird watching or a quiet nature walk. Ankeny is found south of town, and features miles of dirt trail with boardwalks and bird blinds. Baskett Slough is west of town and provides habitat to dusky Canada geese.

Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge is open dawn to dusk daily; located on Ankeny Hill Road Southeast, about eight miles south of Salem; 541-757-7236.

Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge is open dawn to dusk daily, some trails closed Oct. 1-March 31; located on Coville Road, about 13 miles west of Salem; 541-757-7236.

Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway

The Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway is Oregon's first designated bikeway. This section of the 132 mile route, is inside Champoeg State Heritage Area near St. Paul. LC- LC- The Oregonian

Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway

The 134-mile Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway is a popular destination for long-distance bike rides, following the Willamette River through Salem and beyond. The bikeway begins at Champoeg State Heritage Area in Wilsonville and ends at Armitage Park in Eugene. Find a route map and other resources at traveloregon.com .

ATTRACTIONS

Oregon State Capitol cherry blossoms

Oregon State Capitol cherry blossoms on March 21, 2014. LC- Yuxing Zheng/The Oregonian LC- Yuxing Zheng/The Oregonian

Oregon State Capitol

The inside of the Oregon State Capitol is closed to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the Capitol grounds (officially State Capitol State Park ) are worth a visit on their own. Walk among the gardens, visit the various monuments and get a good glimpse of the famous “Oregon Pioneer” statue atop the building.

Oregon State Capitol State Park is open dawn to dusk daily; 155 Waverly St. N.E.; 800-552-6949.

Gaeity Hollow

Gaiety Hollow in Salem is the home, garden and studio of Elizabeth Lord and Edith Schryver, which opens to the public on select Saturdays between April and September each year. The Lord & Schryver Conservancy

Salem gardens

Salem is the garden capital of Oregon , filled with public gardens, private gardens and garden spaces at area nurseries that all come alive each spring. Stop by Deepwood Museum & Gardens , Gaiety Hollow , Schreiner’s Iris Garden or any of the other beautiful spaces around town.

Silverton Oregon Garden

Flowers bloom and plants grow hardy during summer 2017 at the Oregon Garden in Silverton. Jamie Hale/The Oregonian

Oregon Garden

An 80-acre botanical garden in nearby Silverton, the Oregon Garden is one of the best garden spaces in the region, with more than 20 specialty gardens showing off the amazing growing potential in the verdant Willamette Valley. The garden is designed to allow visitors to discover something beautiful any time of year.

Open 10 a.m.-4 p.m., daily (hours vary in fall and winter); 879 W. Main St., Silverton; admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, $9 for students and $6 for kids; 503-874-4294.

Oregon State Hospital museum

The Oregon State Hospital Memorial features a glassed-in area filled with cans of cremains.

Oregon State Hospital

A hospital may seem like an odd attraction, but the Oregon State Hospital is worth a stop. The Museum of Mental Healt h (currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic) houses a fascinating, albeit troubling, collection of artifacts from the former mental hospital. And on museum grounds is the touching Oregon State Hospital Memorial, which houses patient cremains that were never claimed by families.

Museum of Mental Health temporarily closed; hospital grounds open 24 hours daily; 2600 Center St. S.E.; 503-945-2800.

Enchanted Forest

Enchanted Forest opened late in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic and now finds itself in debt. (Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian)

Enchanted Forest

The beloved fairy tale-themed amusement park south of Salem has endured a lot of hardships over the last year, and currently it remains closed to the public. Once Enchanted Forest reopens, however, it promises to once again claim its place as one of the most popular destinations in the area, with family-friendly rides and the many handmade sculptures that fill its forested grounds.

Temporarily closed; 8462 Enchanted Way S.E., Turner; 503-371-4242.

Oregon State Fair 2015

Family day at the Oregon State Fair in Salem, Oregon, Sun., Aug. 30, 2015. Thomas Boyd/The Oregonian

Oregon State Fair

The Oregon State Fair is easily the biggest annual event in Salem, drawing thousands of people from across the region for its many events, concerts, rides, food and competitions. Organizers of the state fair have yet to announce whether it will return in full force for 2021, but they have already set aside dates at the end of the summer: Aug. 27 to Sept. 6.

FOOD AND DRINK

Salem wine tasting

A glass of Pinot Grigio and mountain views at Redhawk Vineyard and Winery in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA just west of Salem. Jamie Hale/The Oregonian

Wine tasting

Salem is in the thick of Willamette Valley wine country, right next door to the Eola-Amity Hills region just west of the city. There are more than two dozen wineries spread out across the wine region, many with tasting rooms and beautiful views. Find a map and a full list of wineries to visit at eolaamityhills.com .

Salem fair food culture

Bin-Yay Fried Chicken Sliders at Noble Wave are made with beignets instead of buns. The Salem restaurant serves fried chicken sandwiches, gumbo and other Baton Rouge dishes. Jamie Hale/The Oregonian

The Baton Rouge-inspired Noble Wave specializes in fried chicken alongside a host of Louisiana delicacies including alligator, beignets and their King Cake Bread Pudding. Their real claim to fame might be the Bin-yay Fried Chicken Sliders: fried chicken tenders served between beignets as buns, dusted with powdered sugar.

Open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday., 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 189 Liberty St. N.E.; 971-304-7974.

Salem fair food culture

The Churro Sunday at Don Bigote, an dessert food cart based in Salem, comes with ice cream, a warm churro twist, a chocolate shell and fruity pebbles for a pop of color. Jamie Hale/The Oregonian

Warm churros and ice cream are a match made in heaven, and nobody seems to understand the potential of that combination quite like Don Bigote . The churreria is anchored in a food cart on the north end of Salem, serving a dozen different churro desserts alongside ice cream, crepes and savory snacks. The Churro Sunday — a scoop of ice cream with a chocolate shell, toppings and a ribbon of sweet churro — is particularly inspired.

Open noon-9 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday and Sunday, noon-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 3390 Portland Road N.E.; 503-990-4860.

Xicha Brewing

Piquillos de Pollo makes a good meal at Xicha Brewing in West Salem. Jamie Hale/The Oregonian

Xicha Brewing

Xicha Brewing is Salem’s first Latin American brewery, holding down a popular restaurant at a spot in West Salem. The food alone is worth a visit, with a menu that ranges from croquettes to empanadas to hot wings. Try the Piquillos de Pollo (chili peppers stuffed with chicken) or keep it simple with tacos and beer.

Open 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday; 576 Patterson St. N.W.; 503-990-8359.

Valiant the Sandwich

A roast beef sandwich called A Roast Beef Sandwich Has No Name is served with coleslaw at Valiant the Sandwich in Salem. Jamie Hale/The Oregonian

Valiant the Sandwich

Valiant the Sandwich advertises “big, fat sandwiches” and does not disappoint. Their surprisingly wide variety of meaty, cheesy concoctions make the sandwich shop a perfect stop for lunch. Try the Farley Burger, The Reuben or A Roast Beef Sandwich Has No Name.

Open 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday; 315 High St. S.E.; 503-689-1821.

Salt Creek Cider House

A glass of cider goes well with the bucolic setting at Salt Creek Cider House in Dallas, just west of Salem. Jamie Hale/The Oregonian

Salt Creek Cider House

A simple cidery set in a bucolic setting just west of town, Salt Creek Cider House is a great place to spend a sunny afternoon. The small-batch cider is served inside a retrofitted barn on their orchard, but the outdoor seating area is the real destination, with picnic tables on a shaded deck, a grassy lawn beside a still pond and a play area for kids.

Open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. daily; 14500 Salt Creek Road, Dallas; 503-831-8006.

--Jamie Hale; [email protected] ; 503-294-4077; @HaleJamesB

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Intentional Travelers

3 Fantastic Day Trips from Salem

Although often in the shadow of its bigger and “hipper” neighbor, Portland, this capitol city (and my former home town) has its share of unique and visit-worthy attractions. 

one day trip around salem

Updated: Summer 2019

As we dive into all the great restaurants , coffee-shops , parks , and other must-see attractions in our Rediscovering Salem series, here are three easy day trips that we really enjoy. In fact, these trips are close enough to Salem, they can each be done in 4 hours (sometimes less) with half a day to spare.

Looking for a great place to stay in Salem? Read our Salem Accommodations Guide >

* Get access to our Salem map here *

What travel restrictions and rules are in place in Oregon? Find post-pandemic travel updates for Oregon here: What you need to know about Oregon travel right now

McMinnville

McMinnville, OR | Intentional Travelers

It’s no surprise that Third Street in McMinnville is currently a finalist for America’s Best Main Street. The tree-lined streets, charming historic buildings, and vibrant small businesses give McMinnville its quintessential small town character.

Surrounded by Oregon’s wine country , the town has become a hub for wine-tasting.

Best Playground Ever

I wouldn’t be surprised if the 10,000 square foot play structure in McMinnville’s City Park won an award. I’ve never seen anything like it. Like Game of Thrones meets Lincoln Logs- it’s a huge castle and fortress, complete with all the jungle gym contraptions imaginable.

McMinnville, OR | Intentional Travelers

Downtown Dining

McMinnville boasts a wealth of dining options, especially for a town of its size. From the classic, large-portion diner like Wild Wood Cafe  (pictured below) to upscale French or Italian, you won’t tire of dining no matter how long you stay.

one day trip around salem

You can please your taste buds at Serendipity Ice Cream, which serves up heaping scoops of Cascade Glacier ice cream, freshly baked cookies, and home-made soups. This corner shop is owned by Mid-Valley Rehabilitation, a non-profit supporting persons with disabilities.

one day trip around salem

Among the top dining establishments to enjoy in historic downtown are La Rambla (above), Bistro Maison (below), and Nick’s Italian Cafe . If you come when the weather is nice, enjoy Bistro Maison’s backyard seating (and Jedd recommends the duck l’orange).

When it comes to funky, artful, repurposed restaurants and hotels, McMenamins has the monopoly in the Pacific Northwest. If you’ve ever been to a McMenamins establishment, you’ll probably agree that the ambiance usually outshines the food.

Hotel Oregon in downtown McMinnville is definitely worth a visit, even just to explore all the murals and enjoy a drink on the roof top bar. We’ve never stayed at the hotel but can definitely say it’s one of a kind.

one day trip around salem

Silver Falls State Park

Silver Creek Falls, OR | Intentional Travelers

Silver Falls has long been one of my family’s favorite day trips. This is what the Oregon outdoors are all about.

This State Park features the “Trail of Ten Falls,” which can be broken down from 2 to 9 mile hikes. The trail actually passes behind four of the waterfalls, which is truly spectacular. These misty falls, paired with the lush out-of-this-world greenery make Silver Falls a true gem.

one day trip around salem

Baskett Slough

Baskett Slough | Intentional Travelers

The Bread Board, Falls City

The Bread Board, Falls City, OR | Intentional Travelers

Bonus: Silverton and the Oregon Gardens

Silverton Oregon Staycation | Intentional Travelers

We’re updating this post with a fourth great day trip we had the opportunity to enjoy. Not far from Silver Falls State Park is the charming little historic town of Silverton and the world-class Oregon Garden and Resort. Learn more about our mini retreat at this lovely locale  here .

Accommodations Around Salem, McMinville, Silverton

Looking for a place to stay in Salem or nearby? These are our best recommendations for where to stay in Salem, Silverton, and McMinville (Disclosure: some of these are affiliate links, which means we get a small commission if you book, at no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting the blog by using our links!) :

– To be honest, the hotels in Salem aren’t very well located, with the exception of The Grand Hotel (aka Phoenix Inn Convention Center) in the heart of downtown.

– The Oregon Garden Resort on the outskirts of Silverton is the nearest resort with its own extensive gardens. We reviewed it a couple years ago. Click here to check availability and prices >

– McMinville has the very iconic and artsy McMenamins Hotel Oregon – great atmosphere and rooftop bar in downtown. Click here to check availability and prices >

Read more from our Rediscovering Salem series here: 5 Favorite Places to Run (or Walk) in Salem Top Places to Enjoy Salem’s Summer Harvest Favorite Spots to Hang Out in Salem, Oregon Best Coffee Shops with Wifi for Work or Studying in Salem, Oregon Top Breakfast Restaurants in Salem, Oregon Best Willamette Valley Wineries Near Salem Oregon

Are you familiar with Salem? What day trips do you recommend? Do you have any restaurant or attraction recommendations for our upcoming series, “Rediscovering Salem?” Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Beautiful hikes and charming towns to visit on a day trip from Salem, Oregon

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Sunset Chasing Blonde

The Perfect Day Trip to Salem from Boston (Witch City Guide)

one day trip around salem

Looking to take a Day trip to Salem from Boston? 🧹✨

I’ve spent many a weekend or day trip from Boston to Salem, Massachusetts on the North Shore. It’s a really cool spot that I think is often overlooked, with the exception of October in Salem.

Most people have heard about Salem during Halloween, which is a fun experience (although incredibly busy, in my opinion), but there’s also plenty to do year round if you’re looking to take a day trip to Salem from Boston.

If you’re in need of a plan for how to get to Salem from Boston, what things to do in Salem for the day, as well as how to get around, you’ve come to the right place!

How to get to Salem from Boston

Salem is a great place for a day trip, but how do you actually get there from Boston? You have several options for getting to Salem from Boston. Options that I would recommend are driving, taking the ferry, or taking the train.

✔️ Ferry to Salem from Boston

A unique way to take a Boston to Salem day trip is to take the ferry. The Salem Ferry is a high-speed catamaran service that runs from May through October and will take you about an hour. Not only will you get a beautiful view of the Boston skyline, you’ll skip out on any traffic on the way.

🚢 Grab a spot on the High Speed Ferry !

✔️ Train to Salem, MA from Boston

Another great option for taking a day trip to Salem from Boston is to travel via the MBTA commuter rail train. The train leaves from Boston’s North Station and runs often throughout the day (year-round).

The line you’ll take is the Newburyport/Rockport line and you’ll get off at Salem Station which will take you about a half hour which is pretty quick! Again, you’ll skip the traffic and the train will take you straight to Salem.

✔️ Boston to Salem by Car

A more private way to get to Salem is by car . By car, the quickest route to Salem will take you about a half hour to 45 minutes to get from Boston to Salem. Of course this will depend on traffic and what time of day you are heading North. You can either take US-1N up to Salem or a combination of I-93N and I-95N.

So what’s the best or easiest way to get to Salem from Boston? I recommend taking the Salem Ferry at least one way and then using the commuter rail for the opposite direction for transportation. The ferry is a really unique experience that you don’t want to miss out on!

Should I Take a Day Trip to Salem from Boston?

Yes! Salem is a town filled with not only history but also loads of New England charm. There is so much to see and do, lots of food to eat , and plenty of history.

While you can definitely spend one day in Salem, MA I generally recommend that you plan for a weekend if you are able to. Or at least an overnight visit to give you time to explore a few really great options and squeeze in meals at some good restaurants while in town.

If you don’t have a weekend, don’t fret, you can still see this exciting city in one day. I’ll break out how to get there and some of the top things to do in Salem when you arrive.

Top Things to do in Salem Massachusetts

Salem is a historic town located north of Boston. Salem is most well-known for its association with the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, but the city has a lot more to offer visitors today. Here are some of the top things to do in Salem or things to add to your Salem itinerary.

1. Salem Witch Museum

The Salem Witch Museum in Massachusetts

Learn about the infamous Salem Witch Trials of 1692 at the Salem Witch Museum . This museum is one of the most popular attractions in Salem and tells the story of the witch trials using life-size figures, stage sets, and narration.

The museum is located on the site of the witch trials and is a must-visit for anyone interested in this rather dark period of American history. The museum and narration is extremely educational and definitely could be an interesting thing to add to your day trip.

  • Hours: 10am to 5pm year round, 10am to 7pm in July and August and extended hours in October
  • Tickets: Adults – $17.50, Senior Citizen – $16.00, Children (3-14) – $14.50

2. Peabody Essex Museum

Stroll through Peabody Essex Museum , one of the oldest museums in America, and view their extensive collection of art and maritime artifacts. This museum is one of the region’s largest art museums and holds vast collections and exhibitions. There’s also a library with over 400,000 books and manuscripts.

One of the most popular exhibits to see is the Yin Yu Tang exhibit which is a traditional Chinese house that was dismantled in China and brought to the museum. The house has been reassembled on-site and is open for tours. This is the only traditional Chinese architectural style on display in the United States. Isn’t that awesome?

3. Salem Witch Dungeon Museum

The outside of the Salem Witch Dungeon Museum

If you’re interested in learning more about the Salem Witch Trials, be sure to visit the Witch Dungeon Museum . This museum is located in a historic building that was once used as a jail during the witch trials.

The museum uses professional actors to reenact a trial of an accused witch during the Salem Witch Trials. The reenactment is based off historical transcripts of 1692. This is a very popular attraction and definitely provides some chills! The museum is small but well put together and provides a great look into this chilling time period of Salem.

4. House of the Seven Gables

Exterior of the House of the Seven Gables in Salem Mass

The House of the Seven Gables is a historic house that was built in 1668 and is known for being one of the oldest wooden mansions in America. The house was built by sea captain John Turner and today, it is a museum that is open for tours.

The house is also known for being the inspiration for writer Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The House of the Seven Gables. The house is located on 12 acres of land and also has a garden that is open to the public. The House of the Seven Gables is definitely a must-see if you’re interested in American history or architecture.

This was one of my favorite stops in Salem when I was taking the grand tour of everything in town!

Pro-Tip: Rumor has it there’s a hidden staircase here that you can climb up if you’re on a guided tour. Who doesn’t love a good secret staircase?

5. Salem Maritime National Historic Site

Historic ship named Friendship of Salem anchored at Salem Maritime National Historic Site

Salem Maritime National Historic Site is a great place to learn about Salem’s maritime history. The town was big in the maritime industry back in the 18th century and this site tells that story.

The site located on Pickering Wharf includes historic buildings, wharves, and a replica tall ship, and about 9 acres of land along the waterfront in Salem. Some of the popular sites here include:

  • The Darby Wharf – one of the historic wharves that leads into the Salem Harbor
  • The Darby Light Station (lighthouse) – Located at the end of Darby Wharf and once powered by an oil lamp it’s now powered by solar
  • The Friendship of Salem – a beautiful tall ship replica of the type of ships that Salem merchants would have used in the 18th century
  • The Custom House – reflects the work of the Customs inspectors back in the day and is also the site where Nathaniel Hawthorne worked out of for 3 years which inspired his novel The Scarlett Letter

Many people visit Salem for the witch trials history, but this is an awesome area to check out that is quite underrated for the history and influence of the area.

6. Visit the Hocus Pocus House

If you’re a fan of the 1993 Halloween movie Hocus Pocus, then you’ll want to visit the Hocus Pocus House. This is the house that was used in the movie as Max and Dani’s house and is in several scenes for the movie. The house is located on 4 Ocean Ave in Salem.

However, it’s important to note that you are not able to go inside the house since it is a private residence, but you can still see it in person and take pictures. Please be respectful though as it is still a private residence.

Did you know that many of the Hocus Pocus filming locations can be seen and visited in Salem and nearby towns? Now you know!

🧙‍♀️ Check Availability on this Hocus Pocus Walking Tour !

7. Salem Witch Trial Memorial

At the Salem Witch Trials Memorial - flowers on a bench for one of the victims - Sarah Good

The Salem Witch Trial Memorial is a memorial to the victims of the 1692 witch trials. The memorial is located on Liberty Street in Salem and is a great way to pay your respects to those who lost their lives.

The memorial is made up of 20 granite benches that have the names of the victims inscribed on them. The benches are arranged in a crescent shape and there is also a granite pillar in the center of the memorial that has the words “In Memory of the Victims of the Witch Trials 1692” inscribed on it.

The Salem Witch Trial Memorial is a beautiful and moving memorial that is definitely worth a visit. While you’re here, check out the Old Burying Point Cemetery nearby which is the final resting place for many notable figures from Salem’s past

8. Walk the Salem Heritage Trail

Essex St in Salem, Massachusetts - the red line that is the Heritage Trail

The Salem Heritage Trail is a 2.5 mile walking trail that will take you around some of the most historic and important sites in Salem. The trail is a great way to see Salem and learn about its history.

Some of the sites you’ll see on the trail include The Witch Trial Memorial, The Witch House, the Salem Maritime National Historic Site, and more. The trail is well marked and easy to follow.

If you’re looking for a way to see Salem and learn about its history, then the Salem Heritage Trail is a great option.

9. Visit the Bewitched Sculpture

The Bewitched Sculpture honors Elizabeth Montgomery, the actress on Bewitched TV Show in Salem MA

Take a trip down memory lane as this captivating bronze artwork immortalizes Samantha Stephens, the iconic character from the popular sitcom “Bewitched.” With elegance and grace, Samantha stands before you, almost ready to cast her famous nose-twitching spells.

The sculpture is more than just a tribute; it’s a portal to the past, giving feelings of nostalgia for those who loved the show (like me!). So, strike a pose with Samantha, and let the whimsical atmosphere of Salem transport you to the era of classic television.

Where to Eat in Salem, Massachusetts

Savory crepe with apples on the side from the Ugly Mug Diner in Salem on my day trip

There’s a lot of incredible food to choose from in Salem (but not quite as much food as Boston has though)! From Italian food to seafood, this town has a little bit of everything. Here are some of the places I recommend for where to eat in Salem:

  • Finz Seafood & Grill – This Salem seafood restaurant is a local favorite and has been open since 1986. The menu includes fresh seafood, steak, and pasta. I recommend the seafood chowder and the lobster roll. This restaurant is located right on the wharf too, so you can enjoy beautiful views of the water while you eat.
  • Howling Wolf Taqueria – If you’re in the mood for Mexican food, Howling Wolf Taqueria is the place to go. This Salem restaurant serves up fresh and authentic Mexican cuisine. The menu includes burritos, tacos, quesadillas, and more. I recommend the chicken tacos and the guacamole. Portions are pretty large here and there’s outside seating!
  • The Tavern at Hawthorne Hotel – This hotel restaurant is a great option if you’re looking for a little more upscale dining. The atmosphere definitely has a vintage vibe, and the decoration is cozy and charming. The menu includes American classics like burgers, steak and seafood. I recommend the seafood chowder and the Seafood Risotto. The Coconut-Curry bowl is another fan favorite.
  • Ugly Mug Diner – If you’re looking for a spot with a casual dining experience and all-day breakfast, the Ugly Mug Diner is the place for you. This diner-style Salem restaurant is known for its fabulous eggs Benedict, espresso drinks, and waffles. They even have great lunch offerings like their burgers, sandwiches, and fries.

How to Get Around Salem Massachusetts

In Salem, there are a few options for getting around. You can walk, bike, or drive. In my opinion, the best way to get around Salem is on foot. Salem is a small city, and you can easily walk to all of the major attractions pretty easily. This also gives you access to take in all of the sights and sounds of the historic city.

Another great option is to use the Salem Trolley Tour which is a hop on hop off tour that will take you to the many popular places in Salem. It’s a great way to hear a narrated guide for the city and an easy way to get around.

If you’re looking for a more active way to get around, you can rent a bike. Check out the Bluebike stations in the area to learn more about how you can go about renting bikes. It’s a fun and quick way to see the city.

If you’re driving to Salem, parking can be difficult to find, especially during busy seasons. There are several parking garages in the city, but they can fill up quickly. If you’re planning on driving, it’s best to arrive early.

What are the Best Salem Tours?

If you’re looking for ways to see the city with a guide, there are several different Salem tours (and even plenty of witch tours and ghost tours ) to choose from.

✅ Salem Trolley Tour

The Salem Trolley Tour is a popular excursion in the city of Salem, which lasts about an hour and includes narrated history of the area.

You’ll learn about the city’s history and see some of its most popular landmarks, like the Salem Witch Museum, the House of the Seven Gables, and the Witch Trials Memorial. The trolley brings you to 16 different sites throughout Salem, and the shuttle service allows you to do so at your leisure.

✅ History and Sightseeing Walking Tour

If you’re looking to learn more about the history of the town as well as visit some of the major attractions, you might be interested in the Salem History and Sightseeing Walking Tour .

This particular tour runs about 2.5 hours and will take you to places like the Witch Trials Memorial, the Pickering House, Old Town Hall, and more. This is a fantastic tour for history buffs that want to know all of Salem’s history, not just the witch-related history!

👟 Save your spot on this exciting History Walking Tour!

FAQ’s About a Salem, MA Day Trip

Here are some frequently asked questions that will help you plan your day trip as you travel to Salem from Boston.

Absolutely! Salem is a charming and unique city, rich with history and culture. If you’re looking for an interesting day trip from Boston, Salem is the perfect place to go.

The best time to visit Salem is from late May to early October. This is when the weather is most pleasant, and the city is full of tourists. However, Salem is also a great place to visit during the Halloween season .

There are several parking options in Salem. You can park on the street for free, or there are several parking garages and lots available for a fee. Spots fill up fast, though!

Just a hop, skip, and a witchy broomstick ride away – Salem is about 30 minutes north of Boston or a distance of about 25 miles! Perfect for a day trip filled with magic and history.

Yes, definitely! October is prime time for a thrilling day trip to Salem, MA, where Halloween magic comes alive. However, keep in mind that it’s the busiest season of the year, so be sure to book well in advance and be prepared for crowds!

Nope! It’s a city north of Boston by about 30 minutes. It’s pretty easy to plan a day trip to Salem, MA though.

Related: Is Cambridge in Boston?

Final Thoughts: A Day Trip to Salem From Boston

Salem is a great place to visit for a day trip from Boston . There is so much to do in the city, from learning about and exploring the historical sites to checking out all of the shops and restaurants. You can meander through the streets at your own leisure, or you can decide on a guided tour of the area.

There’s a little bit of something for everyone, whether you’re interested in Salem’s Witch history or if you’re just a history buff wanting to know more about Salem’s general history. A day trip to Salem from Boston is a memorable experience you won’t want to miss out on!

Let me know what you’re most excited about seeing in Salem in the comments!

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30 something female traveler obsessed with creating travel guides and travel destination posts for both herself and for others. She's traveled to 8 countries (so far) and lived in 8 US States!

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  • The Salem Witch Trials
  • Metaphysics

Day Trip to Salem from Boston

What you need to know.

Day-Trip-Salem-Boston

If you’re in Boston, a day trip to Salem is the perfect way to experience not only the Northshore region but one of the United States’ most interesting small towns. Steeped in history and featuring a vibrant modern tourist industry, Salem complements Boston well with plenty of activities (both free and paid), restaurants, and shopping destinations to fill your day. Here’s everything you need to know to have a fantastic day trip to Salem from Boston.

We’ve included far more things to do here than you could actually get to in one day. If you’d rather download an itinerary for your trip, we’ve got one for you here! This gets you in town around 9:30 in the morning and you’ll depart around 8:30PM. In the middle, you’ve got three meals, tons of things to do, and a jam-packed schedule for your day trip to Salem from Boston. This itinerary assumes you’re coming via car or train. If you’re coming in on the ferry, you’ll need to adjust the itinerary times. Download the Boston to Salem Day Trip Itinerary Here

Table of Contents

What’s the best way to travel to salem ma.

There are a few factors to consider here. Time of year and day are definitely the top two to consider. Salem is only about 15 miles due north of Boston. While driving seems like the obvious solution, there are two other methods that might be better, depending on your situation.

Getting to Salem from Boston

What to do in salem ma.

First and foremost, the absolute best thing you can do in Salem, if you’re able of course, is walk around! Almost everything you’d want to see in town is within a mile radius. You’ll want to make your way to Essex Street and browse! If you want slightly more guidance, here are our top stops for your Boston to Salem day trip.

Salem MA Attractions

No matter what time of year you visit, there’s plenty to do by way of Salem’s attractions. Here are a few of our favorites to check out on your day trip. Note that we’ve put all attractions relating to the Salem Witch Trials in their own category below, so head there if that’s where your interest lies.

yu-tang-house-peabody-essex-museum-salem-massachusetts-1280x960-02

Salem Witch Trials

Of course, one can’t do a day trip to Salem without checking out at least one Salem Witch Trials attraction. Here’s a selection of our favorites to check out while you’re in town.

salem-witch-trials-memorial-massachusetts-bridget-bishop-1280x960

Shopping in Salem

If you heeded our earlier advice and decided to walk around downtown Salem a bit, chances are you’ve already encountered some fantastic Salem shops. We say whatever grabs your attention, go in and browse! To help get you started, here are three very different shops, each reflecting a different aspect of Salem’s personality. 

blackcraft-salem

from Blackcraft Facebook Page

Blackcraft Salem  – The newest of the entries on this list, Blackcraft Salem opened in 2022 and quickly vaulted (that’s a pun, but you’ll have to visit to understand it lol) to among the best of Salem’s gothic apparel shops. While there are a smattering of other great apparel shops that feature mostly black clothes (Vampfangs and Die with Your Boots On are also worth checking out), the decor in Blackcraft can’t be beaten. Visitors are met with a towering space featuring a giant central witch statue. Even if you’re not looking to goth it up, this shop is worth seeing.  Visit Blackcraft Salem at 253 Essex St . 

salem-regional-visitor-center-inside

from Coven’s Cottage Facebook

The Coven’s Cottage – It wouldn’t be a day trip to Salem without at least one stop in a witch shop. And our favorite has long been The Coven’s Cottage . This quaint shop features a decidedly more earthly presentation, doesn’t allow pictures taken inside, and has a very nicely-curated selection of books, ritual items, and more. To be honest, you can’t go wrong with many of the new-age stores in Salem (I’d also recommend Pyramid Books for the largest book collection, Crow Haven Corner for the most historic witch shop in town, and Hauswitch for a pseudo-Brooklyn witchy vibe), but there’s just something so charming about The Coven’s Cottage. You can visit The Coven’s Cottage at 190 Essex St .

salem-massachusetts-trolley-tour

Best Salem MA Tours

Like a lot of other things in Salem, what tours are available depends very much on when you visit. For the purposes of your Salem to Boston day trip, we’ve included three very different options that are running year-round. If you’re visiting Salem around Halloween, we recommend checking out our Halloween page for tours that are a little more in line with the spooky vibes. 

Salem Trolley Tour 2

Salem Massachusetts Food

Something that surprises a lot of Boston to Salem day trippers is just how incredible the food scene in Salem is. There are so many incredible options to explore and, again, some are seasonal. Below are three very different choices for your breakfast, lunch, and dinner in Salem. 

visit-salem-ma-gulu-gulu-cafe-05-1024x768

Photo from Yelp

Lunch: Life Alive Organic Cafe or Red’s Sandwich Shop – If you’re health-conscious or have dietary restrictions, Life Alive Organic Cafe is the Salem lunch spot for you. Serving healthy bowls, smoothies, and healthy shots, this place is perfect for charging up with healthy macros and micros before continuing your Salem day trip. Find Life Alive Organic Cafe at 281 Essex St . If you’re looking for something with a little more of a diner feel, check out Red’s Sandwich Shop. Bacon, eggs, omelets, endless coffee – this is the place to go to fuel up on those delicious comfort foods for a reasonable price before moving on to your next location. You can find Red’s at 15 Central St .

ledger-salem

Pic from Ledger’s Site

Dinner:  Ledger – Ledger is a newer Salem location, but it suited itself to the city immediately with Ouija board-themed desserts, an eclectic dinner menu, and delicious cocktails. This one is a little more pricey and you’ll almost always want to get reservations, but it’s well worth the meal if you’ve got the cash. You can find Ledger at 247 Essex St.

Thank you so much for checking out our Salem to Boston day trip article. Again, if you’d rather have a more curated experience, we’ve got two options for you. The first is this FREE-day trip itinerary. It includes everything you’ll need to have the perfect day and assumes you’re coming via car or train. If you’re coming in on the ferry, you’ll need to adjust the itinerary times. If you’d rather have a personalized tour, reach out to us via the Contact page to get more info. Thanks again and we’ll see you in the Witch City! 

Download the Boston to Salem Day Trip Itinerary Here

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  • Travel Tips

Simply Sid & Co

What to Do in Salem in a Day: Maximize Your Day Trip to Salem!

Maximize your Salem day trip with this guide on what to do in Salem, MA in one day!

what to do in salem

Day trips can be crazy! On the one hand, you have one day to just explore an amazing city! On the other hand, you ONLY have one day to explore an amazing city! That’s why preparation can be so useful to make sure that you maximize your day and have as few regrets as possible!

We love day trips to small towns, and a day trip to Salem, Massachusetts, is a GREAT way to get acquainted with the city. There is so much history, some pretty iconic landmarks, and great movie sites! It may seem difficult to fit it all into your schedule in one day! We’ve got you covered with our top must-see attractions and tips for maximizing your time in the city. Whether you’re interested in witchcraft and the supernatural, American history, or simply want to soak up the coastal charm of New England, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive in!

This post is all about what to do in Salem, MA in ONE day!

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What to do in Salem in One Day

one day trip around salem

Salem, Massachusetts is a charming coastal city that offers a wealth of attractions and activities for visitors. I’m talking about “Stars Hollow” charming. Whether you’re interested in American history, or witchcraft, or simply want to soak up the picturesque scenery of New England, Salem has something for you!

If you only have one day to explore this fascinating city, it’s important to plan your itinerary carefully and make the most of your time. From historical landmarks to hidden gems, I’m going to help you create the perfect itinerary for your Salem day trip. So, let’s get started and discover all this charming city has to offer!

Planning Your Day in Salem, MA

To make the most of your Salem day trip, let’s talk about getting you to Salem! Here are some tips to help you plan your day.

How to Get to Salem, MA

If you’re coming from a nearby city, like Boston, you can take the commuter train. They are usually pretty cost-effective and won’t take too much time out of your day! To find schedules and costs, you can visit this website .

If you’re looking for a unique way to get to Salem, there is a ferry that you can take from Boston . It takes about an hour each way and advanced tickets are usually similar in price to take the commuter train. There is indoor seating too, so you don’t have to worry about getting too chilly if you are going in the fall.

Driving to Salem is another way to get there! However, like Boston, driving in Salem is going to be tricky and there is typically not a lot of parking in many places. 

Best Time to Visit Salem, MA

Honestly, Salem is amazing year-round! If you are looking to get into the Halloween mood, the best time to go is in October. Even late September would be great too! They really go all out for Halloween!

If you want a more quiet atmosphere, then spring or summer would be best! It would also make taking the ferry so much better because you can sit outside!

what to do in salem

Insider Tips for Maximizing Your Time in Salem, MA

Alright, now that I’ve got you ready to book your trip on another tab, let’s talk about ways to maximize your time in Salem! Here are some tips to help you do that!

Avoiding Crowds and Long Lines

Some museums and attractions can get really busy, especially during the peak fall times. For example, the Salem Witch Museum and the House of the Seven Gables can get packed. For those, try to book them early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid crowds. 

Another good way to avoid lines is to book your attractions in advance! That way, you can get right in. 

Getting Around Salem

Salem is a walkable city for the most part so walking to all of the places you want to visit is totally manageable! It’s a great way to see more of the city’s charm. 

However, if you want to venture a little further out of the main Salem hub, renting a bike is so worth it. We rode bikes to the Pioneer Village and Max and Dani’s house and it saved us so much time. The Blue Bikes had stations throughout the city which made it easy to get around.

Salem Trolley

Part of me still wishes we would have done the Salem Trolley! Especially on chilly days like when we went. Getting to sit inside and be driven around looked like a dream! The trolley takes you to all of the city’s main attractions and you can get on and off all day. 

SALEM TROLLEY

SHOP OUR FAVORITES

Must-see attractions in salem , ma.

When it comes to what to do in Salem, your list is not going to be left wanting! Salem is home to a variety of attractions that showcase the city’s rich history and culture. Here are some of the top things to do in Salem!

Historical Sites

The salem witch museum – $.

19 1/2 N Washington Square, Salem, MA 01970

This museum is so unique! There is so much history in here regarding telling the story of the 1692 witch trials.

Salem Witch Trials Memorial 

24 Liberty St, Salem, MA 01970

This memorial commemorates the individuals who were killed during the Salem Witch trials in the 1600s. It’s quite a somber place.

one day trip around salem

The Witch House – $

310 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970

It just looks like it should be called the Witch House, doesn’t it? This is the house, turned museum, of Judge Jonathan Corwin who sent 19 people to the gallows for witchcraft. It’s actually the only house that is still around with ties to the Salem Witch Trials!

Gallows Hill

Salem, MA 01970

This is the site that is believed to be where the Salem Witch Trials executions occurred.

The House of the Seven Gables – $

115 Derby St, Salem, MA 01970

Have you read the book? It’s ok. I haven’t. And you don’t need to in order to appreciate this historic home! The House of the Seven Gables is a home built in 1668 and made famous by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s book. It is now a museum and so worth the visit! 

what to do in salem

The Peabody Essex Museum – $

161 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970

This museum expands beyond Salem and into the rest of the world with all that it houses! There is so much beautiful art and history and is one of the top 10 North American art museums. 

The Salem Maritime National Historic Site 

160 Derby St, Salem, MA 01970

If you’re looking for that quintessential, New England, waterfront vibe, you don’t want to miss the Salem Maritime National Historic Site! It’s a waterfront park that includes historic ships, buildings, and exhibits.

Salem Common 

N Washington Square, Salem, MA 01970

This is a public park that dates back to the 17th century and features historic architecture and beautiful green spaces. It’s a great place for a picnic or to let your kids run around!

The Pickering Wharf Marina

23 Congress St, Salem, MA 01970

Pickering Wharf is a fun place to visit to explore and see what Salem has to offer! This is a hub of restaurants, shops, and nightlife that offers something for everyone!

Salem Willows Park 

165 Fort Ave, Salem, MA 01970

This park is off the beaten path, but if you can make it there, you should! It’s a beautiful waterfront park that offers stunning views of the ocean! It better be for how far away it is, right?? It’s a great place to relax and unwind.

Pickering House – $

The Pickering House, 18 Broad St, Salem, MA 01970

The Pickering House is an old, colonial home that is now a museum! It is gorgeous and allows you to see how people lived in the 1600s.

Burying Point Cemetary

51 Charter St, Salem, MA 01970

This cemetery is one of the oldest in the country, with some gravestones dating back to the 1600s!

Salem Woods Highland Park

Willson St, Salem, MA 01970

The “Salem Woods” as they are sometimes referred to is a beautiful woodland park. There are hikes you can do or plenty of picnic spots to relax at. It is a bit of a walk to get to, but if you have a car or get an Uber, it’s a short 10-minute drive from downtown Salem.

Hocus Pocus Movie Sites

A lot of people that go to Salem go to learn about the Salem Witch Trials and to see the Hocus Pocus sites in person! I’ve got an entire walking tour blog post that shares the best way to get around if you want to visit all of the sites! Check it out below!

HOCUS POCUS SITES IN SALEM // SELF-GUIDED WALKING TOUR

Here is an overview of some of those sites!

Old Town Hall

32 Derby Square, Salem, MA 01970

The Old Town Hall is the location that was used for the Halloween Party that the adults go to. Even though the actual party was filmed elsewhere, the outside was used for the movie!

Pioneer Village – $

98 West Ave, Salem, MA 01970

If you’re looking for an immersive experience, and where they filmed the beginning scenes of Hocus Pocus, the Pioneer Village is the place for you!

hocus pocus sites in salem

Ropes Mansion and Garden

318 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970

This beautiful home that acts as Allison’s house in the movie is a must-see in person! The gardens in the back are gorgeous as well. In the summer, you can tour the inside on the weekends!

John Bailey High School

86 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970

This is the high school that Max and Allison come out of at the beginning of the movie and where they dance outside after burning the witches! It’s not a school anymore, so it’s really just a stop-and-take-your-picture kind of place. It is across from the Salem Common though!

Max & Dani’s House

4 Ocean Ave, Salem, MA 01970

If you’ve watched the movie, this is the iconic house with the little window room at the top. It’s super cute! However, it’s someone’s house though, so it’s mostly just a place to go and see. It’s on the way to the Pioneer Village if you’re heading that way and there is a super cute, tiny waterfront spot right next to it as well!

There you have it! I hope this answers your question of what to do in Salem in one day! On the surface, it can seem like it’s impossible to get everything done that you may want to do. Thankfully though, Salem is not a large city so most of the places to visit are in pretty close proximity to each other. This definitely makes it easier to see everything in Salem that you may want to!

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3 Days in Salem: The Perfect Weekend Itinerary

It’s rather difficult to think of Salem and not think of the 1692 Salem Witch Trials. The trials will forever remain in our history books, and we have more questions than answers about what could have led to such a gruesome time in our history.

Salem today embraces its past and celebrates a culture that was once persecuted. The Salem witch community is thriving, and they’re eager to tell you more about what exactly witchcraft is when you visit the aptly nicknamed Witch City. 

But celebrating witches is just one part of the many things to do in Salem. For some parts of Salem, it’s Halloween all year round. For other parts, it’s a place with fine dining, boutique shopping, and live music every night. With museums on every corner dedicated to history, art, and much more, there’s always something to keep you busy in Salem.

But visiting Salem for a 3-day weekend is best done at certain times of the year. If you want to get the full witchy experience, the best time to visit Salem is in October, when the city is gearing up for its massive Haunted Happenings events. From galas to tours to haunted houses, it’s a month of spooky fun. 

However, Haunted Happenings brings about thousands of visitors every year. The crowds during this time are intense, and they get worse the closer to Halloween you visit. Visiting earlier in the fall will let you enjoy some spooky activities, as well as the changing leaves and other autumn beauty, without all the people around.

Visiting in summer lets you enjoy an entirely different side of Salem. The weather is perfect for kayaking trips, sailing on historic boats, and dining by the water. Plus, there is always some spookiness about in Salem, so you’ll still find scary things to do, like ghost tours. 

Salem is a highly walkable city, but because of how cold it gets in the winter, you won’t want to be outside for long. When scheduling your long weekend, stick to late spring to mid-fall.

Planning a long weekend trip in Salem? With so much to do and see in this historic city, it’s tough to know where to start. We’ve put together a 3-day Salem itinerary to help you see all that you can of Witch City. Follow these recommendations, from where to eat to what to do, and you’re bound to have an amazing time exploring Salem!

If you’re still deciding where to stay then make sure to check out our article on the  best boutique hotels in Salem !

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase or booking through one of our links we may earn a small commission (don’t worry, it’s at no extra cost to you).

How to Spend a Weekend in Salem, Massachusetts

Getting around salem.

3 Days in Salem, Massachusetts: Getting Around

You don’t really need a car in Salem. Salem is a very walkable city. You’ll find that much of our Salem itinerary can be accomplished by foot, with a few taxis or Ubers thrown in to help get to some places that are a little ways from downtown. 

The only time you may want to consider renting a car is to get from the airport to Salem. You’ll most likely be flying into Logan International Airport in Boston for your 3-day Salem vacation. The airport is between a 30- to 45-minute drive from Salem. 

If you don’t want to have a car with you during your vacation, you can most likely just take a taxi or Uber from the airport to Salem, though it can be a bit costly. Still, taking this one long taxi or Uber ride is likely less expensive than renting a car for the whole trip.

Your other option is to take the subway and train system, though the way to get to Salem is a bit complicated. You would take the T, or Boston’s subway system, from the airport to Boston’s North Station. From there, you’d take the commuter rail to Salem. 

As someone who lived in Boston, I honestly wouldn’t recommend this method. If you have a plane to catch or a strict timetable for when you need to get into Salem, you’re not going to want to be at the mercy of the T. 

The T is a great, inexpensive public transportation option, especially for those living in Boston. However, it can be a bit unpredictable, and you may end up being delayed on your journey because of it. 

That said, the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) does do a good job of keeping up with the demand to get to Salem. If you were to take the commuter rail, you’d take the Newburyport/Rockport Line.

Recognizing that more people want to visit Salem in October during the area’s Haunted Happenings festivities, the MBTA adds more trains to this line to accommodate the added guests. So, you’ll still likely be able to get into Salem using this method, even during its busiest season. 

If you’re visiting Salem in the summer and fall, and you’re not in any rush, you may want to take the ferry instead. It’s a scenic cruise that’s a lovely way to see the Boston area. 

This ferry departs from Long Wharf. You can either take an Uber or taxi to the wharf or take the T to the aquarium and take a quick stroll to the wharf’s ferry station from there.

Salem Weekend Itinerary – Day 1

For Day 1 of your 3 days in Salem, you’ll enjoy the spooky and unexplainable side of Salem. Start your Salem weekend with breakfast at Deb’s Diner on Boston Street. This unassuming family diner is serving up one of the best breakfasts in Salem. 

The menu is simply filled with all your favorite breakfast staples, and you’ll be amazed by the massive portion sizes. You’ll leave here very satisfied and fueled up to start your Salem vacation. 

Crow Haven Corner 

Salem, Massachusetts 3 Day Itinerary: Crow Haven Corner

Once you’ve finished up breakfast, head on over to Crow Haven Corner on Essex Street for one of the most unique things to do in Salem. You’ll either want to take a quick Uber or taxi ride or enjoy a long stroll to get there. 

Are you a believer in the unbelievable? You’ll find a home at this shop, the oldest witch shop in Salem. But what makes this store a must-do is its owner, Salem’s famous love clairvoyant. 

Lorelei has been a staple of Salem for over 35 years, performing psychic readings for visitors, particularly of the love variety. Lorelei often books up far in advance, especially if you’re trying to book her during the spooky season. 

So, it’s best not to wait until the last minute to schedule a reading. But if you can’t get Lorelei, don’t fret – she has a well-trained team that specializes in all different types of readings, from tarot readings to mediumship to career guidance.

Over on Derby Street, you’ll find Jolie Tea Company . If you’ve ever wanted a classic and classy high tea lunch, you’ll find it at this bright and colorful location. Featuring teas of all kinds, scones, tea sandwiches, and macarons, you’ll feel full and fancy after dining here. Though Jolie Tea Company does take walk-ins, it’s best to make a reservation to schedule your high tea time.

Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery

Weekend in Salem, Massachusetts: Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery

After lunch, head over to Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery on Essex Street, the only museum in Salem dedicated to cinema’s greatest monsters. Named for the main antagonist of the classic 1922 German silent film Nosferatu , it’s the perfect place to visit in Salem if you love the history of the horror genre.

You’ll find more than 60 life-sized creatures in this one-of-a-kind gallery. Werewolves and vampires and zombies, oh my! The detail work in these sculptures is truly astounding and maybe just a bit terrifying. 

Nathaniel’s

Salem, Massachusetts Weekend Itinerary: Nathaniel's

All that screaming probably worked up an appetite, so take a short stroll over to the Hawthorne Hotel, where you’ll find Nathaniel’s . This supposedly haunted hotel is home to one of the best fine-dining restaurants in Salem. 

Offering live jazz in a lounge-like atmosphere, with classic and delicious American fare on the menu, you’ll have a positively delightful evening at this hotel. Though you may have a few additional dinner guests if the haunting rumors are true. 

Salem Ghosts

3 Days in Salem, Massachusetts: Salem Ghosts

After dinner, embrace the night with a ghost tour, like the ones provided by Salem Ghosts . Explore the darker side of Salem when you meet famous ghosts like Mr. Derby, the once-prominent merchant who is rumored to be at Old Town Hall, or Abigail Ropes, whose angry spirit haunts the hallowed halls of the famous Ropes Mansion. 

All tours meet at the Salem Five Savings Bank on Essex Street, an easily-accessible location in Downtown Salem that’s only a few doors down from Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery. You can take either the standard tour, which is one hour and has eight stops, or the extended tour, which is 90 minutes with 12 stops. Both are walking tours.

Enjoy a Salem Ghost Tour

Salem Weekend Itinerary – Day 2

For the second day of your 3-day trip to Salem, we’re going to focus less on the spooky and more on the history of this iconic location. Start your day off at Fountain Place on Essex Street, a family-friendly breakfast joint that feels like home. 

Though the restaurant offers plenty of waffle and omelet options, their specialty is their eggs benedict, which is served in tons of different ways. From ones with housemade crab cakes to options with corned beef hash, everyone is sure to find a style of this breakfast favorite that they’ll love.

Salem Witch Museum

Weekend in Salem, Massachusetts: Witch Museum

After breakfast, head to the Salem Witch Museum in Washington Square, which unpacks the tragedy of the Salem Witch Trials. This museum consists of two exhibits. In the first, you’ll be provided an immersive look into the events of 1692 through 13 life-size stage sets depicting the Salem witch hunt. 

But the second exhibit provides a more hopeful look into the reality of witches. Though there’s a great deal of questioning about whether or not anyone who was punished during the Witch Trials was actually a witch, there is a thriving witch community in Salem today. In this second exhibit, you’ll explore the meaning of the word witch and how it’s evolved with time. 

Salem, Massachusetts 3 Day Itinerary: Salem Witch Museum

Visit the Witch Museum

Red’s Sandwich Shop 

How to Spend a Weekend in Salem, Massachusetts: Red's Sandwich Shop

Over on Central Street, you’ll find the perfect place for lunch on the second day of your 3 days in Salem: Red’s Sandwich Shop . This historic restaurant is a local favorite for a good reason. Dive into a Monte Cristo, chow down on a Buffalo Chicken Roll-Up, or munch on a Red’s Grilled Cheese Club. You really can’t go wrong with anything on this menu. 

Peabody Essex Museum

3 Days in Salem, Massachusetts: Peabody Essex Museum

Once you wrap up lunch, explore a different sort of history at the Peabody Essex Museum on Essex Street. The story of this museum dates back to 1799. The East India Marine Society, an organization of Salem captains and supercargoes who sailed beyond the Cape of Good Hope or Cape Horn, wanted to build a place for their “cabinet of natural and artificial curiosities.” These curiosities came from all over the world, from the Americas to Asia to Africa and beyond. 

When the museum as we know it today was established in 1992, it contained more than 840,000 works of art and culture. Two libraries on-site boasted over 400,000 books, manuscripts, and other historical documents. Today, the collection has grown to over one million works. 

But the museum is more than just one building. It covers three city blocks and several off-site properties, including the famous Ropes Mansion, the Quaker Meeting House, and the John Ward House, all of which you can visit on a self-guided tour. 

Salem, Massachusetts 3 Day Itinerary: Peabody Essex Museum

Stroll on over to the famous Turner’s Seafood at Lyceum Hall for dinner. Before Lyceum Hall became a historical landmark, it was an apple orchard owned by none other than Bridget Bishop, the first woman to face her demise during the Witch Trials. Diners at Turner’s have said that Bishop haunts the halls.

But whether you want to see a ghost or not, you’ll love dining at Turner’s, which serves fresh New England seafood in upscale ways. From Gloucester Hake Masala to Mussels & Calamari Fra Diavolo, there’s nothing on this menu that isn’t fresh and delicious. 

You’ve had a long day of exploring, but if you’re still ready for more, end the night with drinks at one of the most haunted places in the city, Mercy Tavern , located on Derby Street, which has quite a history. It was once a brothel that supposedly used to take part in kidnapping the young sailors who frequented it to force them into servitude aboard ships that lacked a crew. 

The brothel had underground tunnels, and although those tunnels have mostly been filled, people claim they hear shouting and fighting under the building. And more than one patron says they’ve seen a specter of a sailor roaming the halls of the pub. 

Today, though, Mercy Tavern is simply a lovely historic place to have a few drinks with friends and listen to live music. But you just may end up having someone unexpected join you for your drink.

Salem Weekend Itinerary – Day 3

You’ve had a weekend filled with adventuring around Salem. Now it’s time for a bit more leisurely day of just exploring the sights for the final day of your long weekend trip to Salem. 

Caramel French Patisserie 

Salem, Massachusetts Weekend Itinerary: Caramel French Patisserie

Start the last day of your Salem vacation with breakfast at Caramel French Patisserie . It’s a great place to stop if you don’t want a full breakfast and instead just want something quick to grab on your way. Don’t forget to stock up on macarons for dessert later!

After picking up your pastry, spend the morning wandering Essex Street. Especially around October, this area of the city is perfect for finding witchy souvenirs. But even throughout the rest of the year, you’ll love exploring this downtown area. Don’t forget to check out the iconic Bewitched statue at the corner of Essex and Washington Streets.

Pickering Wharf

How to Spend a Weekend in Salem, Massachusetts: Pickering Wharf

Enjoy strolling down Essex Street and stop by the Salem Common. It’s a wonderful place for a picnic. But if you’d rather grab a bite to eat elsewhere, head to your next destination: Pickering Wharf.

From Essex Street, head to Pickering Wharf for some more scenic views and chances to explore the city. For lunch, visit the Regatta Pub , located in the Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites. The menu is simple and delightful, sure to please even the pickiest of eaters. From lobster rolls and fish and chips to burgers and chicken tenders, there’s something for everyone.

Then, head out to explore more of the wharf. Although Essex Street is a perfect place for witchy souvenirs, Pickering Wharf is more focused on Salem’s maritime history and has plenty of shops dedicated to the beachy, watery side of Salem. Shop around these stores, which often have local wares you can’t get anywhere else.

You’ll want to stick around Pickering Wharf when the sun goes down to take in the sunset over the water. At night on the wharf, you’ll often hear live music in the breeze emanating from the area’s many restaurants. 

Our top pick for dinner and drinks, along with great music, is the Sea Level Oyster Bar . Serving up local seafood, inspired libations, and waterfront views, it’s the ideal place to end your weekend in Salem. This restaurant offers seafood with clever twists. From white clam pizza to Baja tacos to baked seafood pie, you’ll leave this place satisfied, happy, and eager to come back.

More Places to Eat & Drink in Salem

3 Days in Salem, Massachusetts: Places to Eat and Drink

Eat and play at Bit Bar : This barcade offers old-school arcade games, as well as a playful menu, like deep-friend mac and cheese and a burger made with brisket and short rib. Despite being a bar setting that’s 21 and up after 8 pm, it’s a family-friendly establishment throughout the rest of the day. There’s even a full menu for little ones, who also get $3 in game tokens with their kid’s meal.

Have a pizza at Bambolina : This rustic Italian eatery serves up wood-fired, Neapolitan-style pizzas that are truly inspired. But what’s even better about this location is that its sister restaurant, Kokeshi , can now be found here, too. So you can now enjoy Kokeshi’s Asian street food on the same menu as Bambolina’s Italian fare.

Enjoy cozy vibes, live music, and comfort food at Gulu-Gulu Cafe : This boho spot is where you’ll find local craft beer, coffee that would please even the biggest coffee lover, eclectic cocktails, an all-day breakfast menu, tons of sweet treats, and simple and not-so-simple sandwiches. Plenty of this menu is vegetarian- or vegan-friendly, making it even easier to find something for everyone.

What to do if you have more than 3 days in Salem

Salem trolley.

Salem, Massachusetts 3 Day Itinerary: Salem Trolley

Hop on the Salem Trolley . Running daily from April to November and on weekends throughout November, the Salem Trolley takes you on a tour of Witch City, guiding you around the most beloved spots in Salem. On select nights, the trolley transforms into the Tales & Tombstones Tour, showing you the darkest sides of the city. And for a truly unique holiday celebration, you can catch a one-of-a-kind performance of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens aboard the trolley from the end of November to the end of December.

Haunted Happenings

Attend the Haunted Happenings . All throughout October, the Witch City truly lives up to its name with a unique festival put on by the Salem Chamber of Commerce and the Salem Witch Museum . Guests are invited to numerous events, from costume balls to spooky tours to terrifying haunted houses. There’s plenty to do for everyone. It’s a family-friendly festival, but there are also haunted houses that are definitely best left to the biggest of thrill-seeking adults.

Take the Haunted Salem Walking Tour

Salem Willows

Hang out in the Salem Willows . You may think that Salem is best for fall travel, but visiting in the summer allows you to spend some time at the family-friendly Salem Willows. Sitting on over 35 acres of oceanfront views, you’ll find two arcades in addition to picnic areas, a band shell, and basketball and tennis courts. From bumper cars to water boats to a 1905 carousel, it’s a perfect place to take little ones on a Salem vacation. You can also rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard to take out on the water here or book yourself a tour.

Fame of Salem

Enjoy becoming a part of the crew on the Fame of Salem . Running from May to October, the Fame offers one of the best sailing cruises in the Salem area. This Fame is a replica of the 1812 privateer of the same name. While you can sit back and relax on this ride, you can also help raise the sails yourself.

Boston Bucket List: Freedom Trail

Take a trip into Boston. If you’re in the Salem area for longer than three days, you shouldn’t pass up the chance to spend a day in historic Boston. From walking the Freedom Trail to seeing a Red Sox game at Fenway , Boston has so much to do. For more things to do in Boston, check out our guide to the 15 best things to do in the city !  

Boston Hop On, Hop Off Trolley Tour

We hope you enjoy your weekend trip to Salem, MA! Should we add something else to our 3-day Salem itinerary? Let us know in the comments.

Planning a trip to Massachusetts? Check out our favorite travel guides and resources!

New England Travel Guide by Fodor's Travel

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Salem Weekend Itinerary

About the Author:

Jacqueline Gualtieri

Jacqueline is a writer and editor pursuing the freelance life to explore the world. Born and raised in New Jersey, she spent her college years in Boston before settling down with her partner and puppy in Monterey, California. When she’s not writing, you can often find her planning her next trip. Road trips are her favorite, whether it’s driving across the country or simply exploring a new city in her own backyard. She loves uncovering the history of every new place she goes. Jacqueline has a restless passion for learning and makes it a goal to pick up a new skill every year. She’s picked up embroidery, crocheting, knitting, and cross-stitching, but she’s hoping to master more languages to help her in her travels. She’s also a published author, with short stories and poetry appearing in several anthologies.

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Why Not Walk?

How to Spend the Best Day in Salem, MA

No october in new england is complete without a few things: leaf peeping, fall flannels, apple picking, and… a visit to salem — arguably the premier halloween destination in the united states., first, a bit of history:.

Salem was first founded in 1626, and was incorporated as a city in 1836. Originally called Naumkeag , settlers started calling it Salem shortly thereafter, derived from the Hebrew word for “peace.” 

In 1628, the Massachusetts Bay Company arrived to then-struggling Naumkeag and formed a Puritan settlement there. Less than 10 years later, the first sea voyages began, and Salem gained a name and reputation for its salted cod and other wares, trading them as far as the West Indies. 

By the end of the American Revolution, ships from Salem had gone as far as India, China, and Russia, cementing Salem’s legacy as a maritime heavyweight.  

Salem played an active role in the American Revolution and the War of 1812, and was designated in 2013 by then-President Obama as the birthplace of the National Guard.

However, despite being one of the oldest towns in the U.S., most people know Salem as the U.S.’s “witchiest” city, due to the Salem Witch Trials, which transpired there in 1692. 

What happened and why continues to captivate the world to this day, and has been the subject of much debate and fanfare. 

Here’s what we know for sure: 

19 people (14 women and 5 men) were executed in a variety of gruesome ways during this period of hysteria, found guilty of supposed “witchcraft.” This seems to have originated due to the boredom of a few schoolgirls , who pretended to have fits of satanic possession and blamed those around them, accusing them of practicing witchcraft. In the very strict, Puritan society of the time, things quickly got out of hand.

Today, museums and history books dedicated to the subject show us what happens when rumors and fanaticism are allowed to take root in this way, and the devastation they can cause . Salem is home to a wealth of information on the subject of the witch trials, as well as Wiccan culture today. 

In addition to its historical attractions, Salem also has  incredible period architecture and world-class museums , as well as a variety of  cafes and bookstores  to explore. 

If you’re in Boston or New England, we really recommend a day trip to Salem!

Getting to Salem:

Did you know that Salem is a super-quick (less than 40-minute!) ride away from Boston? 

It’s likely easiest to take the commuter rail from North Station–  just hop on the Newburyport-Rockport line, and remember that there are often discounted weekend passes, “all you can ride”  for   $ 10! This way, you can pair a visit to Salem with other area stops, such as Ipswich , Newburyport, Rockport, and more for a really reasonable fare. Check out our guides to those day trips at the links above. 

If you do decide to drive , there is plenty of metered parking, but note that the area gets super, super crowded on weekends, especially in the fall. 

Ultimately, we really recommend taking the commuter rail . It’s a very short walk from the commuter rail stop to the heart of downtown, and the trains run regularly.

Salem Walking Guide

Start out with a "museum morning".

Salem is an eminently walkable city, with all the top sights located quite close to each other.

When you first arrive, we recommend making a beeline for the  Salem Witch Museum , as they often give zoned-entry passes on crowded days. 

For example, you could arrive fairly early in the morning and still be given an entry time of 1PM. The entry passes are given by way of a sticker with a time written on it. When it’s your time to enter, you just show your sticker. 

While the museum is certainly quite dated and could use some upgrades, it is without a doubt  the regional (if not national) expert on the 1692 Witch Trials. It’s been around since 1972, and opened due to works of literature like  The Crucible  by Arthur Miller becoming standard secondary school required material, which drew heightened attention to the Witch Trials.

Relying on original trial documents, the museum created life-size set-pieces to walk visitors through the story of the witch trials in the form of a narrated audiovisual “show.”  

After the seated portion, a tour guide will share information about modern Wiccan practices and the Wiccan religion, international witch hunts in the aftermath of Salem, and more .  While the subject matter is certainly more than a bit unpleasant, we wouldn’t say that this museum is inappropriate for children. 

While we wouldn’t give this museum a repeat visit– it was very informative, but as we said before, quite dated– we do recommend visiting the museum as a means to ground your first visit to town. While Halloween in Salem is fun, with lots of folks in silly costumes, it bears remembering and honoring the fact that the reason why Salem is famous is because 19 innocent people were brutally executed for crimes they did not commit. 

Lastly, there are plenty of other  witch-related museums in Salem, like the  Witch Board Museum , Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery , and the Witch Dungeon Museum , but these are much sillier and more fantastical than the purely-historical Salem Witch Museum. We’d definitely file them under “tourist trap” more than anything else. 

Speaking of museums, no visit to Salem is complete without spending at least a few hours at the  Peabody Essex , or PEM– truly a regional treasure. 

The Peabody Essex is rooted in the East India Marine Society , chartered in 1799. As the story goes, a group of Salem’s sea captains had collected all sorts of odds and ends on their travels around the world, and wanted to establish “a cabinet of natural and artificial curiosities” to share them with their community back home. While this may have begun as a collection of trinkets and souvenirs, today those same objects form the base collection of an enormous museum– the Peabody Essex. 

The PEM also boasts excellent rotating and visiting exhibits, as well as an incredible permanent collection of Asian art . Keep in mind that you will have to prioritize what to see– the museum is huge, and it would likely take you more than a full day to see everything in detail. However, we do recommend setting aside ~2 hours to check it out. Admission is a bit steep at $20 (more reasonable student ticket at $12), but it’s worth it. 

MA residents can get discounted tickets through their local library, and it’s free for Salem residents. 

When you finish up at the PEM, perhaps you’re in the mood for a bite to eat. There are several pretty good restaurants along the main drag in Salem, Essex Street. We recommend: Gulu-Gulu for “eclectic/bohemian” fare; Rockafellas for “casual chic”; or The Roof , Salem’s only rooftop eatery. 

While we wouldn’t call Salem a “foodie destination,” these places and others are quite good and often have pretty reasonably-priced lunch options. Note, again, that during the fall the area is a madhouse and most places may have a significant wait. 

Afternoon history + architecture tour:

Once you’re refreshed and ready to go again after lunch, there are several options for your afternoon. 

In nearby  Lappin Park , don’t miss the commemorative statue of actress Samantha Stephens, who played the beloved main character on the 1960s sitcom  Bewitched.  S eason 7 of the show was actually filmed in Salem, and TV Land gifted the town with the statue on the 40th anniversary.  Note that there is often a line for photos, but it moves quickly.

All along Essex Street, you can’t miss the street festival that pops up every weekend (and on many weekdays, especially in October!) Called the Essex Street Fair , there are all sorts of quirky things to look at, including many witch-themed arts and crafts; secondhand clothing; handmade soaps, essential oils, and other handiworks; and more. There are also street performers, folks dressed up in funny costumes, and an overwhelming amount of things to look at.

For fans of history and architecture, Salem has an excellent free walking tour called the  Heritage Trail . Similar to Boston’s Freedom Trail (which we’re obsessed with, check out our step-by-step guide here ) the Heritage Trail is a  self-guided tour of historic Salem . 

Instead of the Freedom Trail’s signature 2-brick pathway, just follow the red line painted on the sidewalk.  The trail begins  at the National Park Service’s Salem Regional Visitor Center  at 2 Liberty Street. Before you start the trail, be sure to pop into the center to grab a map and check out the brief (27-minute) film about Salem,  called Where Past is Present.  The NPS also offers  guided tours of Salem for a fee, if you prefer, but walking the Heritage Trail self-guided is super straightforward. 

On the trail, you’ll see various historically-significant sites. Some of these include: 

  • The Samuel McIntire Architectural District ;
  • The Ropes Mansion and its beautiful gardens; 
  • Salem’s old and new City Hall buildings;
  • The   “Witch House” , the only remaining period house from the Salem Witch Trials, belonging to trial judge Jonathan Corwin;
  • The  Burying Point   and   Howard Street Cemetery ,  the 2 cemeteries associated with the victims of the witch trials. The Burying Point is the oldest cemetery in Salem, including the grave of a Mayflower passenger, and the Howard Street Cemetery is where Giles Corey, a victim of the witch trials, is said to have been “pressed” to death by heavy stones.
  • The House of the Seven Gables ,  the inspiration for Nathaniel Hawthorne’s book of the same name. Originally built in 1668, the house is considered the oldest house in all of New England! Don’t miss the unparalleled views of Salem Harbor from both inside and outside the house, though there is a $25 admission to enter that we’re not entirely sure is worth it. 

Before you leave, try to squeeze in some time for a quick walk around the Salem Maritime National Historic Site . Fun fact: designated in 1938, Salem Maritime is actually America’s very first National Historic Site!

The protected area sits on 9 acres of pristine waterfront , and consists of twelve buildings of historical importance. Check out the replica of the 1797 Friendship of Salem , a two-masted tall ship that, prior to being captured during the War of 1812, made 15 voyages to India, Spain, Russia, and beyond. We also recommend going for a stroll along the Derby Wharf , as well as exploring the   Custom House and 1675  Narbonne House . 

The NPS offers tours of the area, on subjects such as historic houses and the history of slavery in Salem. You can learn more  here .

If by now you’re in the mood for a hot cocoa or perhaps an ice cream cone (honestly, fall weather in New England is so fickle that there’s a good chance for either!) there are a few places to check out: Front Street Cafe, the Ugly Mug, and our personal favorite, Jaho Coffee Roaster and Wine Bar. 

Lastly, we absolutely  love Wicked Good Books , an adorable local bookstore on Essex Street, and visit every time we’re in Salem. Another cool option for occult fans is Blackcraft Cult , also on Essex, that recently opened a super cool café in fall of 2023. Check it out!

Have you visited Salem? What did you think? Let us know in the comments !

For more New England content and day trips , check out our New England landing page here .

Don’t forget to Pin our guide for future reference and travel planning ! Click here:

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A Weekend in Venice

The best day trip to efteling, you may also like, a long weekend in cape town, a weekend in porto, 2 day trips from madrid, a weekend in valencia, a weekend in madrid, dolomites hiking guide, dolomites itinerary, a weekend in texel, 18 comments.

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Thank you so much for this guide! Salem is one of my dreams! All these historical facts and witched things are very, very interesting and I haven’t seen something so interesting in Europe. I really hope one day to go to America and visit Salem!!!

Great! I hope you can come visit the U.S. soon!

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I haven’t visited Salem as of yet, but learning about Salem never ceases to amaze me. The history and story behind it make me wonder how something so gruesome could take place. Great post, I learned a lot and would be interested in exploring.

Yes, definitely makes me wonder every time we visit, too. Hope you can visit soon!

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Spooky! I would totally visit!

Spooky indeed! 🙂

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Great post! Lots of interesting facts! October is definitely the time to visit Salem. The weather and the Halloween/Fall decorations are perfect complements.

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Wow! I’m definitely adding Salem to my bucket list.

Great read! Informative, captivating and very useful. I’m definitely adding Salem to my bucket list!

Yay, so glad you liked it! Hope you can visit soon!

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This guide is amazing! You’ve just convinced me to visit New England as soon as I can. I’ve always wanted to see Salem and I now I know that autumn is the best time to go. Thanks for sharing!

Yay! We’re biased of course, but we love it here so much 🙂

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Salem is definitely a must for anyone looking for a town with some mysterious history! Great post!

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Great guide! I haven’t been to Salem in many years, but I’d love to go back, especially at this time of year.

Yes, it’s a must-see this time of year! 🙂

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I can not wait until i can spend halloween in Salem!!

Fingers crossed for next year!!!

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Wonderfully informative! Thank you for sharing!

Comments are closed.

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The MoneyFesto

The MoneyFesto

9 Day Trips From Roanoke, Virginia: Mountainous Views

Posted: July 20, 2023 | Last updated: July 20, 2023

<p><span>This charming city with the Blue Ridge Mountains is also referred to as the “<em>Magic City”</em>. Roanoke is the cultural hub of Virginia and has good food, great people.</span></p> <p><span>It has many cultural attractions in the city, but it makes for a great jumping-off point to explore other cities around the state as well. Let us explore some of the best <a href="https://samplingamerica.com/anchorage-day-trips/">day trips</a> from Roanoke which you can take.</span></p>

This charming city with the Blue Ridge Mountains is also referred to as the “ Magic City” . Roanoke is the cultural hub of Virginia and has good food, great people.

It has many cultural attractions in the city, but it makes for a great jumping-off point to explore other cities around the state as well. Let us explore some of the best day trips from Roanoke which you can take.

<ul> <li><span><strong>Distance:</strong> 29 minutes</span></li> <li><span><strong>Ideal for:</strong> Relaxed drive</span></li> </ul><p><span>The Blue Ridge Parkway is a fantastic highway that weaves through the region’s vibrant living traditions. This 469-mile scenic byway goes through the spine of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains and makes for one of the best day trips from Roanoke.</span></p><p><span>The most popular length of the highway is the  National Park System. The Parkway spans the southern and central Appalachians and offers an exceptional glimpse into the region’s flora and fauna.</span></p><p><span>This is the longest linear park and connects to the Shenandoah National Park to the north and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the south.</span></p>

Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia

  • Distance: 29 minutes
  • Ideal for: Relaxed drive

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a fantastic highway that weaves through the region’s vibrant living traditions. This 469-mile scenic byway goes through the spine of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains and makes for one of the best day trips from Roanoke.

The most popular length of the highway is the  National Park System. The Parkway spans the southern and central Appalachians and offers an exceptional glimpse into the region’s flora and fauna.

This is the longest linear park and connects to the Shenandoah National Park to the north and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the south.

<ul> <li><span><strong>Distance:</strong> 15 minutes</span></li> <li><span><strong>Ideal for:</strong> Historic getaway</span></li> </ul><p><span>Founded in 1802, the City of Salem is located in Roanoke County and is bordered by the city of Roanoke. This <a href="https://samplingamerica.com/atlanta-day-trips/">historical town has a lot to offer and makes for a great day trip</a> from Roanoke.</span></p><p><span>There is archaeological evidence showing the existence of Native American Tribes, dating from as far as 8000 B.C to the 18th century. </span></p><p><span>Apart from that, there are many tourist destinations worth visiting like Fort Lewis and Salem Public Library.</span></p>

City of Salem, Virginia

  • Distance: 15 minutes
  • Ideal for: Historic getaway

Founded in 1802, the City of Salem is located in Roanoke County and is bordered by the city of Roanoke. This historical town has a lot to offer and makes for a great day trip from Roanoke.

There is archaeological evidence showing the existence of Native American Tribes, dating from as far as 8000 B.C to the 18th century. 

Apart from that, there are many tourist destinations worth visiting like Fort Lewis and Salem Public Library.

<ul> <li><span><strong>Distance:</strong> 1 hour and 13 minutes</span></li> <li><span><strong>Ideal for:</strong> Mountain lovers</span></li> </ul><p><span>Located in the northwestern end of North Carolina, Brushy Mountain is an isolated spur of the Blue Ridge Mountains. These mountains span five counties- Yadkin, Iredell, Wilkes, Alexander, and Caldwell.</span></p><p><span>Approximately 45 miles long and 6 miles wide, Brushy Mountain ranges are approximately 45 miles long and about 6 miles wide. There are lots of apple orchards here and celebrations are held every year to celebrate the harvest.</span></p><p><span>Another place you can visit is the Brushy Mountain Penitentiary, where tourists can get a chance to visit the infamous maximum-security prison. </span></p>

Brushy Mountain, North Carolina

  • Distance: 1 hour and 13 minutes
  • Ideal for: Mountain lovers

Located in the northwestern end of North Carolina, Brushy Mountain is an isolated spur of the Blue Ridge Mountains. These mountains span five counties- Yadkin, Iredell, Wilkes, Alexander, and Caldwell.

Approximately 45 miles long and 6 miles wide, Brushy Mountain ranges are approximately 45 miles long and about 6 miles wide. There are lots of apple orchards here and celebrations are held every year to celebrate the harvest.

Another place you can visit is the Brushy Mountain Penitentiary, where tourists can get a chance to visit the infamous maximum-security prison. 

<ul> <li><span><strong>Distance:</strong> 3 minutes</span></li> <li><span><strong>Ideal for:</strong> Train enthusiasts</span></li> </ul><p><span>The Roanoke Transportation Museum was originally formed as a partnership of the Norfolk & Western Railway and today serves as a museum that attracts many. A great day trip for train enthusiasts, this museum includes electric and diesel locomotives, antique automobiles and trucks, aviation, and vintage steam.</span></p><p><span>You will also get a chance to see a Class A locomotive which is known for its durability and power.</span></p>

Virginia Museum of Transportation, Virginia

  • Distance: 3 minutes
  • Ideal for: Train enthusiasts

The Roanoke Transportation Museum was originally formed as a partnership of the Norfolk & Western Railway and today serves as a museum that attracts many. A great day trip for train enthusiasts, this museum includes electric and diesel locomotives, antique automobiles and trucks, aviation, and vintage steam.

You will also get a chance to see a Class A locomotive which is known for its durability and power.

<ul> <li><span><strong>Distance:</strong> 2 hours and  11 minutes</span></li> <li><span><strong>Ideal for:</strong> Romantic getaway</span></li> </ul><p><span>Shenandoah Valley makes for one of the most romantic trips in Virginia for couples. This place is a wine country escape which is only two hours away from Roanoke.</span></p><p><span>Discover some of the most incredible vineyards in the region, indulge in fine cuisine, or take a horseback tour through the region. Any which way, it will be a memorable trip for sure.</span></p>

Shenandoah Valley, Virginia

  • Distance: 2 hours and  11 minutes
  • Ideal for: Romantic getaway

Shenandoah Valley makes for one of the most romantic trips in Virginia for couples. This place is a wine country escape which is only two hours away from Roanoke.

Discover some of the most incredible vineyards in the region, indulge in fine cuisine, or take a horseback tour through the region. Any which way, it will be a memorable trip for sure.

<ul> <li><span><strong>Distance:</strong> 3 hours and  5 minutes</span></li> <li><span><strong>Ideal for:</strong> Fun getaway</span></li> </ul><p><span>Charlotte in NC makes for a great day trip from Roanoke, Virginia. Choose from a variety of things to do in Charlotte from U.S. National White Water Rafting Center to NFL and NBA games; there are tons to explore.</span></p><p><span>Plus, there is incredible nightlife and shopping here to keep you occupied. Located just three hours away from Roanoke, this is a great destination.</span></p>

Charlotte, North Carolina

  • Distance: 3 hours and  5 minutes
  • Ideal for: Fun getaway

Charlotte in NC makes for a great day trip from Roanoke, Virginia. Choose from a variety of things to do in Charlotte from U.S. National White Water Rafting Center to NFL and NBA games; there are tons to explore.

Plus, there is incredible nightlife and shopping here to keep you occupied. Located just three hours away from Roanoke, this is a great destination.

<ul> <li><span><strong>Distance:</strong> 17 minutes</span></li> <li><span><strong>Ideal for:</strong> Hikers</span></li> </ul><p><span>Read Mountain is one of the County’s largest passive recreation areas. contains 243 acres of forested land and aims at preserving a natural environment. Day trip to Read Mountain Preserve makes for a great day trip and is a place where you can get your entire family along, including your pets.</span></p><p><span>The park includes a 5-mile trail system with moderate to strenuous levels of difficulty. You can take the hike to be rewarded with lovely views of the preserve.</span></p><p><span>The main feature of this hidden gem is a 1.9-mile moderately rugged trail that takes the average hiker approximately 2.5 hours to get to the top.</span></p>

Read Mountain Preserve, Virginia

  • Distance: 17 minutes
  • Ideal for: Hikers

Read Mountain is one of the County’s largest passive recreation areas. contains 243 acres of forested land and aims at preserving a natural environment. Day trip to Read Mountain Preserve makes for a great day trip and is a place where you can get your entire family along, including your pets.

The park includes a 5-mile trail system with moderate to strenuous levels of difficulty. You can take the hike to be rewarded with lovely views of the preserve.

The main feature of this hidden gem is a 1.9-mile moderately rugged trail that takes the average hiker approximately 2.5 hours to get to the top.

<ul> <li><span><strong>Distance:</strong> 1 hour and 12 minutes</span></li> <li><span><strong>Ideal for:</strong> Hiking</span></li> </ul><p><span>There are beautiful colors all along the trails in the form of wildflowers, trees, and other plant life. The trail makes for a great getaway if you want to be around nature.</span></p><p><span>Take a stroll through the trail as you enjoy the wonderful views of the gorge. Rock Castle Gorge boasts over 200 species of wildflowers, 45 species of trees, and 28 species of ferns.</span></p>

Rock Castle Gorge Trail, Virginia

  • Distance: 1 hour and 12 minutes
  • Ideal for: Hiking

There are beautiful colors all along the trails in the form of wildflowers, trees, and other plant life. The trail makes for a great getaway if you want to be around nature.

Take a stroll through the trail as you enjoy the wonderful views of the gorge. Rock Castle Gorge boasts over 200 species of wildflowers, 45 species of trees, and 28 species of ferns.

<ul> <li><span><strong>Distance:</strong> 2 hours and 51 minutes</span></li> <li><span><strong>Ideal for:</strong> Family getaway</span></li> </ul><p><span>Located three hours away from Richmond, it is the capital city of the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The most popular attraction in this city is the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, where you will find extensive collections and exquisite pieces of art on display all year round.</span></p><p><span>You can also visit the gorgeous Maymont, a 100-acre (40.5-hectare) estate given to the community by James and Sallie Dooley who lived there from 1893 to 1925.  Another popular attraction is the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.</span></p><p><span>Virginia is the gem to explore and there are many destinations to visit around Roanoke. From the city of Richmond to the lovely Shenandoah Valley, there are lots to do. </span></p>

Richmond, Virginia

  • Distance: 2 hours and 51 minutes
  • Ideal for: Family getaway

Located three hours away from Richmond, it is the capital city of the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The most popular attraction in this city is the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, where you will find extensive collections and exquisite pieces of art on display all year round.

You can also visit the gorgeous Maymont, a 100-acre (40.5-hectare) estate given to the community by James and Sallie Dooley who lived there from 1893 to 1925.  Another popular attraction is the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.

Virginia is the gem to explore and there are many destinations to visit around Roanoke. From the city of Richmond to the lovely Shenandoah Valley, there are lots to do. 

<p>Discover the top day trips from Virginia Beach that offer a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. From exploring the historical sites of Colonial Williamsburg to witnessing the wild ponies on Chincoteague and Assateague Islands, this article has something for everyone. So, plan your mini-vacation now and explore the best of Virginia’s gems!</p><ul> <li><a href="https://samplingamerica.com/virginia-beach-day-trips/">9 Day Trips From Virginia Beach Full of Rich History</a></li> </ul>

  • 9 Day Trips From Virginia Beach Full of Rich History

Discover the top day trips from Virginia Beach that offer a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. From exploring the historical sites of Colonial Williamsburg to witnessing the wild ponies on Chincoteague and Assateague Islands, this article has something for everyone. So, plan your mini-vacation now and explore the best of Virginia’s gems!

<p>If you’re planning a trip to Santa Barbara, don’t miss out on exploring the nearby destinations that offer something for everyone. From hiking in the Los Padres National Forest to relaxing on the beaches of Avila Beach, you’ll enjoy this list of the best day trips from Santa Barbara. Whether you’re a wine enthusiast or a film buff, there’s something for everyone on this list of exciting day trips.</p><ul> <li><a href="https://samplingamerica.com/santa-barbara-day-trips/">16 Aesthetic Beach View Day Trips From Santa Barbara</a></li> </ul>

  • 16 Aesthetic Beach View Day Trips From Santa Barbara

If you’re planning a trip to Santa Barbara, don’t miss out on exploring the nearby destinations that offer something for everyone. From hiking in the Los Padres National Forest to relaxing on the beaches of Avila Beach, you’ll enjoy this list of the best day trips from Santa Barbara. Whether you’re a wine enthusiast or a film buff, there’s something for everyone on this list of exciting day trips.

<p>If you’re planning a trip to Gainesville, Florida, don’t miss out on exploring the nearby destinations that offer something for everyone. From the historic city of St. Augustine to the beautiful beaches of Daytona and Cedar Key, we’ve compiled a list of the best day trips from Gainesville. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or a history buff, there’s something for everyone on this list of exciting day trips. So, plan your mini-vacation now and explore the best of Florida’s gems!</p><ul> <li><a href="https://samplingamerica.com/gainesville-day-trips/">10 Day Trips From Gainesville</a></li> </ul>

  • 10 Day Trips From Gainesville

If you’re planning a trip to Gainesville, Florida, don’t miss out on exploring the nearby destinations that offer something for everyone. From the historic city of St. Augustine to the beautiful beaches of Daytona and Cedar Key, we’ve compiled a list of the best day trips from Gainesville. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or a history buff, there’s something for everyone on this list of exciting day trips. So, plan your mini-vacation now and explore the best of Florida’s gems!

<p>If you’re planning a trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, don’t miss out on exploring the nearby destinations that offer something for everyone. From the charming fishing town of Murrells Inlet to the historic city of Charleston, this article has compiled a list of the best day trips from Myrtle Beach. Whether you’re a beach lover or a history buff, there’s something for everyone on this list of exciting day trips. So, plan your mini-vacation now and explore the best of South Carolina’s gems!</p><ul> <li><a href="https://samplingamerica.com/myrtle-beach-day-trip/">Best 16 Day Trip Spots From Myrtle Beach</a></li> </ul><p>The post <a href="https://samplingamerica.com/10-wacky-and-unusual-attractions/" rel="nofollow">10 Wacky And Unusual Attractions For Your Next Road Trip</a> appeared first on <a href="https://samplingamerica.com" rel="nofollow">Sampling America - Stories From The Road | Travel Tips & Gear</a>.</p>

  • Best 16 Day Trip Spots From Myrtle Beach

If you’re planning a trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, don’t miss out on exploring the nearby destinations that offer something for everyone. From the charming fishing town of Murrells Inlet to the historic city of Charleston, this article has compiled a list of the best day trips from Myrtle Beach. Whether you’re a beach lover or a history buff, there’s something for everyone on this list of exciting day trips. So, plan your mini-vacation now and explore the best of South Carolina’s gems!

The post 9 Day Trips From Roanoke, Virginia: Mountainous Views appeared first on Sampling America - Stories From The Road | Travel Tips & Gear .

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A temple to a top Hindu deity was built over a destroyed mosque in India. Here is why it matters

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has opened a grand temple built on the site of a destroyed mosque in the northern city of Ayodhya.

FILE - Workers put up cutouts of Hindu deity Lord Ram and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to mark the opening of a grand temple for Lord Ram in Ayodhya, India, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2024. Coming ahead of the upcoming national elections, the ceremony has welded into a potent mix of religion and statecraft that analysts say will secure an enduring, though contentious legacy for Modi who is seeking a third-consecutive term. (AP Photo/Deepak Sharma, File)

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FILE - Security officers guard the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, closing off the disputed site claimed by Muslims and Hindus, Oct. 29, 1990. Hindus believe that Hindu deity Ram was born at the exact same site in Ayodhya where the 16th-century Babri mosque once stood. The mosque was destroyed by a Hindu mob in December 1992. (AP Photo/Barbara Walton, File)

FILE - An Indian family watches epic television series “Ramayan” at their home after country’s public broadcaster revived the wildly popular series from the 80s for a captive audience staying home due to the coronavirus pandemic in Jammu, India, May 18, 2020. The mythological Hindu epic “Ramayan” tells the story of Ram’s journey from a prince to a king, with numerous retellings and adaptations in popular culture. The Indian TV series “Ramayan” created in the late 80’s is one of the world’s most viewed mythological shows and continues to have a faithful audience. (AP Photo/Channi Anand, File)

FILE - Standing before a poster of the Hindu deity Ram, a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) member shouts slogans during a rally to protest against the raid on a Hindu temple in northern India, in Gauhati, India, July 7, 2005. While the slogan “Jai Sri Ram,” or “Hail Lord Ram,” has become a political battle cry for Hindu nationalists, “Ram-Ram” remains a popular way of greeting across rural India. (AP Photo/Gautam Singh, File)

FILE - The newly built Maharishi Valmiki International Airport is decorated the day before it is scheduled to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Ayodhya, India, Dec. 29, 2023. The city, once known for its narrow lanes crowded with Hindu monks and pilgrims thronging street shops selling miniature idols of Ram, has been given a complete facelift with modern infrastructure and state-of the art services for visitors. Ayodhya’s modest airstrip has grown into an expansive international airport with a 2200-meter runway in the first phase. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh, File)

FILE- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi performs rituals during the groundbreaking ceremony of a temple dedicated to the Hindu god Ram, in Ayodhya, India, Aug. 5, 2020. Modi has been the face of an unprecedented, and unapologetic, fusion of religion and politics in India, with his Hindu nationalist party promising to build a Ram temple as part of its election strategy. Modi, who led the temple’s groundbreaking ceremony in 2020, has asked people to celebrate the consecration by lighting lamps at homes and temples. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh, File)

FILE - A construction crew works on Ram Mandir, a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Ram in Ayodhya, India, on Jan. 16, 2024. Spread over an area of nearly 3 hectares, the Ram temple will be a three-story structure made in pink sandstone with intricate wall carvings and 46 doors — 42 of which will have a layer of gold totaling around 100 kilograms (220 pounds). The temple is being built at an estimated cost of $217 million, though it is far from complete. (AP Photo/Deepak Sharma, File)

AYODHYA, India (AP) — About 80 chartered flights have landed at the new international airport of India’s holy city of Ayodhya for Monday’s partial opening of the controversial grand temple for one of Hinduism’s most revered deities, Lord Ram.

Ayodhya’s airport can barely accommodate the influx of private jets. “The planes will depart after dropping guests,” airport manager Saurabh Singh said.

The temple was built over a razed mosque, and most political opposition leaders are boycotting the temple’s opening, saying it doesn’t befit a secular India.

However, the attendees are some of India’s most influential people: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, industrialists Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani, and Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan.

Workers decorate a temple dedicated to Hindu deity Lord Ram with flowers the day before the temple's grand opening in Ayodhya, India, Sunday, Jan. 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

Workers decorate a temple dedicated to Hindu deity Lord Ram with flowers the day before the temple’s grand opening in Ayodhya, India, Sunday, Jan. 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

Ahead of the upcoming general election, Modi’s Hindu nationalist party is using the elaborate consecration ceremony to lobby the country’s Hindu majority.

THE LEGEND OF RAM, THE PRINCE OF AYODHYA

The temple will be the sacred abode of one of the Hindu pantheon’s most popular gods, Ram, who Hindus believe was born at the exact site in Ayodhya.

Millions of Hindus worship Lord Ram with an intense belief that chanting his name in times of adversity will bring peace and prosperity, and most of those who practice Hinduism keep idols of Ram in their homes. Major Hindu festivals like Dussehra and Diwali are associated with mythological tales of Ram extolling the virtues of truth, sacrifice and ethical governance.

A general view of the audience during the opening of a temple dedicated to Hindu deity Lord Ram, in Ayodhya, India, Monday, Jan.22, 2024. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to open a controversial Hindu temple built on the ruins of an ancient mosque in the holy city of Ayodhya in a grand event that is expected to galvanize Hindu voters months before a general election. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

The mythological Hindu epic “Ramayan,” which tells the story of Ram’s journey from prince to king, has often been adapted in popular culture. One of the most-viewed fabled shows is the TV series “Ramayan” created in the 1980s, which continues to have a faithful audience.

Ram’s divinity is not only a dominant religious force in India but also part of the cultural heritage in countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar and Malaysia.

A TEMPLE RISES

Spread over nearly 3 hectares (7.4 acres), the temple — which is still being built — has an estimated cost of $217 million. It’s made with pink sandstone, adorned with intricate carvings, and has 46 doors — 42 of which will have a layer of gold.

Anil Mishra, a member of the trust overseeing the construction, said the temple blends traditional design with cutting-edge technology and is “crafted without the use of iron, steel, or cement.”

Workers decorate a temple dedicated to Hindu deity Lord Ram with flowers the day before the temple's grand opening in Ayodhya, India, Sunday, Jan. 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

A 1.3-meter (4.25-foot) dark stone sculpture depicting Ram was installed in the temple’s inner sanctum for Monday’s consecration. The religious ritual of “Pran Pratishtha,” which signifies giving life to the idol, will be conducted according to Hindu Vedic scriptures. The deity can then receive and bless devotees.

After the ceremony, the temple will open to the public and an estimated 100,000 devotees are likely to visit daily, authorities say.

AYODHYA, PAST AND PRESENT

The city known for its narrow lanes crowded with Hindu pilgrims and shops selling miniature Ram idols, has been given a facelift with modern infrastructure and services. Ayodhya’s modest airstrip has grown into an expansive international airport with a 2.2-kilometer (about 1.4-mile) runway in the first phase. The clean railway station has a daily passenger capacity of about 50,000 people.

“The historical and spiritual significance of Ayodhya makes it a compelling destination,” and a huge surge in demand is anticipated, said Ravi Singh, a representative of the Indian Hotels Company Limited.

THE CONTROVERSY

Ayodhya has been at the center of India’s turbulent politics and the Hindu majoritarian quest to redeem the country’s religious past for decades. Its diverse, multicultural past was overrun by strident Hindu nationalism after mobs demolished the 16th-century Babri mosque in 1992.

Indian Air force helicopters shower flower petals over a temple dedicated to Hindu deity Lord Ram with flowers the day before the temple's grand opening in Ayodhya, India, Sunday, Jan. 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

Indian Air force helicopters shower flower petals over a temple dedicated to Hindu deity Lord Ram with flowers the day before the temple’s grand opening in Ayodhya, India, Sunday, Jan. 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

Hindus won a prolonged legal battle in 2019 , allowing them to build the temple . Hindus make up about 80% of India’s population but the country is also home to some 200 million Muslims who have frequently come under attack by Hindu nationalists.

Modi has been the face of an unprecedented — and unapologetic — fusion of religion and politics in India and led the temple’s groundbreaking ceremony in 2020.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, center, poses with workers during the inauguration of Kashi Vishwanath Dham Corridor, a promenade that connects the sacred Ganges River with the centuries-old temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in Varanasi, India, Monday, Dec. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

Critics say the idea of a diverse, constitutionally secular state leading a Hindu religious ritual is deplorable. Most opposition leaders have declined the invitation, saying the event is being used for political campaigning by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, which promised to build a Ram temple as part of its election strategy.

Modi has asked people to publicly celebrate the consecration by lighting lamps at homes and temples. The message is clear: Mobilization of Hindu voters will be a key issue in the upcoming national election as Modi looks to extend his rule for a record third-consecutive term.

Deepak reported from New Delhi.

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  24. THE LEGEND OF RAM, THE PRINCE OF AYODHYA

    Workers decorate a temple dedicated to Hindu deity Lord Ram with flowers the day before the temple's grand opening in Ayodhya, India, Sunday, Jan. 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh) A 1.3-meter (4.25-foot) dark stone sculpture depicting Ram was installed in the temple's inner sanctum for Monday's consecration.