Boston Harbor Islands
Boats leave Long Wharf, near the New Eng­land Aquarium, each hour to shuttle adven­ture seekers to Spec­tacle and Georges islands, the two most pop­ular and acces­sible islands in the Boston Harbor Islands National Recre­ation Area. Spec­tacle is a beach­goers par­adise, with a scenic shore and hiking trails, while his­tory buffs will enjoy Georges, the site of Fort Warren, a Civil War-​​era bas­tion.

This bewitching North Shore com­mu­nity gets most of its tourists around Hal­loween, but a ferry runs daily between Salem and Boston. Check out the local haunts before October, when Salem gets overrun with tourists clam­oring for their witch fix.

The drive to the tip of Cape Cod may be daunting, but the col­orful com­mu­nity of Province­town is just 90 min­utes from Boston via fer­ries oper­ated by two Boston-​​based com­pa­nies. Be sure to schedule your return to coin­cide with sunset — you’ll catch a rare East Coast sunset over the ocean and arrive in Boston under the lights, from stars, passing air­craft and sky­scrapers.

Charlestown – Navy Pier
The MBTA ferry ser­vice pro­vides access from down­town Boston to the Charlestown Navy Yard, the national park where the U.S.S. Con­sti­tu­tion is berthed. It’s also close to the Tavern on the Water, a Charlestown restau­rant that offers excel­lent food and even better views of down­town Boston. 

Nan­tucket and Martha’s Vine­yard
It may seem impos­sible, but you can get from South Sta­tion to Martha’s Vine­yard or Nan­tucket in less than three hours, thanks to bus ser­vice to Woods Hole and a ferry con­nec­tion with the Steamship Authority.