Boston is not only a hub for baseball, brownstones and bookish collegiate types. It's also home to America's first large free municipal public library, the first subway system, the first public school and the first public park. To say the city is historic would be an understatement, but this wicked smart college town doesn't linger in the past, either. A well-rounded trip to Boston integrates the classic with the contemporary: Split your time between cherished sites like the Paul Revere House and Faneuil Hall and modern attractions like the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Venture to Beacon Hill and you'll stumble upon the graceful mansions of yore juxtaposed with chic boutiques and innovative hotels. So, yes, come first for the history, but don't miss out on the opportunity to sample the unmistakable Beantown flavor.
This college town, home to two of the most famous universities in the country, if not the world (Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology), is certainly known for its highbrow intellectual pursuits. But it also has its fair share of world-class museums, a thriving music and arts scene, all sorts of boutiques, fantastic restaurants and independent bars and cafes. Even though it's a hop, skip and a jump from Boston, just across the Charles River, it's a destination in its own right, with its own character and charms.
With its colorful clam shacks, shingle-style cottages and serene beaches, it's easy to see why Cape Cod – or simply "the Cape" to locals – is a top summer retreat for New England mainlanders. Quaint bed-and-breakfasts wrap around rugged sand dunes, scenic bike trails snake along forests and the seemingly endless seashore is punctuated by bright kayaks and fishing boats. Life moves at a slower pace here – but that's part of the charm. And while the Cape is a sought-after spot for celebrities and athletes, it's actually an unassuming place, with a surprisingly laid-back personality.
This triangle-shaped island – sitting about 8 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts – has been a secret summer hideaway of the rich and famous for more than a century. Today, the "Hollywood East" reputation is going strong thanks to frequent visitors like former President Barack Obama, David Letterman and Bill Murray, among many others. But despite the all-star summer lineup, a laid-back lifestyle rules the island. The main draw rushing Vineyard visitors off the ferry is the chance to let their hair down for a long weekend. Sure, you'll find insanely expensive summer cottages and pricey restaurants in some corners of the island like Chilmark. But low-key towns and villages like Vineyard Haven and Menemsha are still predominantly focused on their marine industries and offer a more casual experience. Even the island's must-have souvenir – a Black Dog sweatshirt – is informal. So swap the stilettos for your scrappiest flat sandals, and do play it cool when you spy some film stars in Edgartown; everyone deserves a slice of a Vineyard vacation.
"There once was a man from Nantucket…" Go ahead, finish the rest of the limerick in your head, and then get that giggle out of your system. Because despite being maligned with rhyming obscenities — many of which you can find printed on souvenirs around town — Nantucket is better known as a refined vacation destination. And it's becoming more posh by the year. Located about 30 miles south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, this tiny island relishes its isolation, beckoning to the upper-crust prepsters and Northeastern bluebloods looking for a summer escape.
Home to winding roads surrounded by picture-perfect mountaintops, vast farmland and scattered herds of cattle, the Berkshires offer the perfect mix of lively fun and relaxation. Located about 140 miles north of New York City and a little more than 120 miles west of Boston, this rural region in western Massachusetts serves as an idyllic retreat for city dwellers in need of a countryside escape. Outdoor enthusiasts make the trek year-round to take advantage of sweeping mountains, which facilitate hiking, skiing, climbing or zip lining. Meanwhile, the region's many lakes offer countless opportunities for paddleboarding, fishing and kayaking. The Berkshires will also satisfy any culture hound thanks to its eclectic festivals and museums.
Best Places to Visit in the USA