Big city to coastal city. Finding your way to Salem, Massachusetts
Located a mere 16 miles north of Boston in New England, Salem is best known for the witchcraft trials that took place there in the 17th century – the Salem Witch Trials. These haunted happenings have made many people want to visit Salem for a quick day trip or to truly learn about the witchcraft, especially around Halloween, and have put destination Salem on the map. This historic coastal town also has a long wharf with many Boston Harbor cruises along the north shore, the Salem Maritime National Historic Site, and the Peabody Essex Museum. It also has a rich literary tradition as the former stomping grounds of novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne, which you will learn about from any travel guide on a walking tour of the city or at the visitor center.
From buses to a ferry to other public transportation, there are multiple options for getting to Salem from Boston and, depending on which you choose, your round trip can be part of the fun.
Boston and Salem are connected via a commuter rail operated by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, which locals refer to as "the T." Both the Newburyport and Rockport lines, which depart from Boston's North Station, stop at the Salem Depot. The trip takes between 30 and 35 minutes. Be mindful that repairs and maintenance work can impact service on weekends. Holidays and bad weather during the winter months can also affect service.
Cheaper than the commuter rail though not as comfortable, travelers looking to save a few dollars can get to Salem via the #450 bus that departs from Boston's Haymarket Station on weekdays and from Wonderland West Busway, located in the neighboring town of Revere, on weekends and holidays. The trip takes between 35 and 55 minutes.
If you're looking to get to Salem after flying into Boston's Logan International Airport, hop on the #459 bus from Terminal C, and you'll be there in just over an hour.
MBTA buses accept cash – make sure to have exact change – as well reloadable passes known as CharlieCards and CharlieTickets. Fares are lowest when you pay with a CharlieCard, a plastic card available for purchase from customer service agents at MBTA stations around the city and at the CharlieCard store at Downtown Crossing Station. CharlieTickets, which are made of paper, can be purchased from station vending machines. Fares paid with cash and CharlieTickets are subject to surcharges.
Salem is a 30-minute drive from Boston via Route 114 East. The drive is even shorter - approximately 25 minutes - from Logan International Airport along Route 1A North. When driving to Salem or elsewhere in Massachusetts remember that, per state law, pedestrians have the right-of-way.
From Memorial Day through October, visitors can get to Salem via a high-speed catamaran ride known as the Salem Ferry that departs from Central Wharf in Boston. The trip takes about 50 minutes each way. Snacks are available for purchase on board. Passengers disembark at the Blaney Street Wharf, which is a 15-minute stroll from downtown Salem. Rather not walk? Hop aboard the Salem Trolley instead.