Eugene O'Neill helped to put Provincetown on the map in 1914 when he set up the Provincetown Playhouse in a shack. This clapboard fishing village at the end of Cape Cod peninsula now has many summer visitors, attracted by galleries, shops and restaurants. Provincetown has also been a gay hangout since the days of the beatniks.
By car: follow Routes 93 and 3 south, then 6 east and follow signs; journey time 1 hour plus. By boat: The Bay State Cruise Line high-speed ferry operates May to late September from Boston Harbour; journey time 1 hour plus.
Follow in the footsteps of the 102 pilgrims who stepped ashore here in December 1620. The stunning South Shore is made up of historic towns, beautiful beaches, cranberry bogs and saltwater marshlands. Step back in time and play at being a pilgrim with a visit to Plimoth Plantation, a "living history" museum, which shows life as it was in the Plymouth Colony of 1627. Feeling thirsty? Pop into Cranberry World for a lesson in how the tart red berries are processed into juice.
By car: follow Routes 93 and 3 south, 44 east, then 3a south and follow signs; journey time approx 45 mins.
Cape Codder Resort & Spa
JFK spent his glory days hanging out in Hyannis and today you can live it up at the refurbished Cape Codder Resort and Spa, which is the last word in luxury. There are elegant suites with working fireplaces and outsize jacuzzis, three tempting restaurants, a massive indoor wavepool-cum-waterpark and a spa, offering reiki and massage. On the doorstep you can spot whales, soak up the rays on the pristine beaches or shop in Cape Cod Mall.
By car: follow Routes 93 and 3 south, then 6 east and follow signs; journey time approx 1 hour.
Be spellbound by the witch hysteria of 1690s Salem at the Salem Witch Museum. Life-size figures, clever lighting and spine-chilling stories provide an overview of the dramatic Witch Trials. The museum manages to draw parallels with modern persecution and racism but expect loads of black hats, broomsticks and other spook memorabilia nonetheless.
By car: follow Routes 93, then 1 and follow signs; journey time approx 50 mins. By train: frequent service from Boston's North station; journey time approx 1 hour.
Wrentham Village Premium Outlets
Shopaholic heaven with 170 stores, including those of top-name designers such as Donna Karan, Gap, Boss, Kenneth Cole, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Timberland, Versace et al. The absence of a state sales tax on clothing provides an even greater incentive for bargain hunters. Take an empty suitcase with you or buy one at the Samsonite store here.
By car: follow Routes 93 and 95 south, then 495 and follow signs; journey time approx 45 mins. By coach: Brush Hill Tours (00 1 781 986 6100) picks up from main hotels at around 10am.
Massachusetts is one of the world's top four whale-watching spots and between April and October you can take a short boat ride from Boston to view a great concentration of whales including, humpback and minke, cavorting in the waters close to the boats.
By boat: Boston Harbour Cruises (00 1 617 227 4321) offer trips from Long Wharf; journey time 1 hour plus.
America Direct (0870 889 0827; www.americadirect.co.uk) offers a seven-night room-only break at the Midtown Hotel from £499 per person, including return BA flights from Heathrow and one week's free economy car hire and free hotel parking. Massachusetts Office of Travel (020 7978 7429: www.massvacation.com).Reuse content