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Just a short ride from Boston, Salem is a must-see destination known for its rich history and haunted happenings. If you’re wondering how to take the T train from Boston to Salem, you have a few excellent public transit options.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The easiest way to take the T from Boston to Salem is to ride the MBTA’s Newburyport/Rockport commuter rail line from North Station to Salem Station. Trains run regularly each day and take just under 30 minutes one-way.

Read on for a complete guide to navigating your way between these two Massachusetts cities via MBTA subway, commuter rail, ferry and beyond.

Connecting Between Boston and Salem by Public Transportation

If you’re planning a trip to Boston and want to explore the historic city of Salem, taking public transportation is a convenient and cost-effective option. Both cities are well-connected by various modes of public transit, making it easy for visitors to travel between them.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a fan of the supernatural, or simply looking to experience the charm of New England, here’s a complete guide on how to take the T from Boston to Salem.

1. Commuter Rail:

The most popular and direct way to travel from Boston to Salem is by taking the commuter rail. Operated by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), the commuter rail offers regular service between the two cities.

Trains depart from Boston’s North Station and arrive at Salem Station, conveniently located near the city center. The journey takes approximately 30 minutes, providing a scenic ride along the coast.

For up-to-date schedules and ticket information, you can visit the official MBTA website

Commuter Rail

2. Bus:

If you prefer a more budget-friendly option, taking the bus is another great choice. The MBTA operates several bus routes that connect Boston and Salem, providing a flexible and affordable way to travel between the two cities.

Buses depart from various locations in Boston and arrive at Salem’s Transit Hub, conveniently located in the heart of downtown.

To plan your bus journey and check for the latest schedules, you can visit the official MBTA website or use popular transit apps like Google Maps or Transit.

3. Ferry:

For a unique and scenic experience, consider taking the ferry from Boston to Salem. The Salem Ferry, operated by Boston Harbor Cruises, offers a seasonal service between the two cities. The ferry departs from Long Wharf in Boston and arrives at Blaney Street in Salem.

The journey takes approximately one hour and provides stunning views of the Boston skyline and the North Shore coastline.

It’s worth noting that the ferry service operates from May to October, so be sure to check the schedule in advance. For more information and ticket bookings, you can visit the official Boston Harbor Cruises website. 

Boston Harbor Cruises

4. Car Rental:

If you prefer the convenience of driving, renting a car is a viable option. Both Boston and Salem are easily accessible by major highways, and there are several car rental companies available in both cities.

However, it’s important to consider factors such as traffic and parking availability, as both cities can get congested during peak hours.

When using a car rental service, be sure to check for any additional fees or restrictions, such as tolls or parking charges. It’s also advisable to have a GPS or navigation app handy to navigate the streets of Boston and Salem.

Whichever mode of transportation you choose, exploring the historic city of Salem from Boston is a seamless and enjoyable experience. So, hop on the T and embark on a journey filled with history, culture, and enchantment.

Taking the Commuter Rail Between Cities

Fastest and most direct public transit option

When it comes to traveling between Boston and Salem, taking the commuter rail is the fastest and most direct public transit option available.

The commuter rail system connects various cities and towns in Massachusetts, providing a convenient and efficient mode of transportation for commuters and travelers alike.

Newburyport/Rockport line from Boston’s North Station

The Newburyport/Rockport line is the commuter rail line that runs from Boston’s North Station to Salem. This line offers a direct route between the two cities, making it a popular choice for those looking to travel quickly and conveniently.

By taking the Newburyport/Rockport line, passengers can enjoy a comfortable ride with amenities such as comfortable seating, onboard restrooms, and free Wi-Fi. The trains on this line are usually well-maintained and offer a smooth and enjoyable journey.

Boston's North Station

About a 30-minute one-way trip

The journey from Boston’s North Station to Salem on the Newburyport/Rockport line typically takes about 30 minutes, making it a relatively quick trip. This makes it an excellent option for those who want to explore the historic city of Salem and its attractions without having to worry about driving or dealing with traffic.

During the peak hours, trains on this line run frequently, allowing passengers to choose a convenient departure time that fits their schedule. It’s important to check the commuter rail schedule to ensure that you have the most up-to-date information on departure times and any potential delays.

Combining the Subway and Bus

Take Blue Line to Wonderland, then 455 bus to Salem

If you’re looking to travel from Boston to Salem using public transit, combining the subway and bus is a convenient option. To begin your journey, head to the nearest subway station and take the Blue Line towards Wonderland.

The Blue Line will take you to Wonderland Station, which is the final stop on the line. Once you arrive at Wonderland Station, you will need to transfer to the 455 bus, which will take you directly to Salem.

The 455 bus is a reliable and efficient mode of transportation that connects Wonderland Station to Salem. The bus route is specifically designed to provide a seamless connection between the subway and Salem, making it an ideal choice for commuters and tourists alike. The bus operates at regular intervals throughout the day, ensuring that you won’t have to wait too long for your ride.

During your bus journey, you’ll be able to sit back and relax as you enjoy the scenic views of the North Shore. The bus route passes through various neighborhoods and landmarks, giving you a glimpse of the surrounding areas. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, this can be a great way to explore different parts of Boston and Salem.

Involves transfers, takes about 70 minutes total

When combining the subway and bus to travel from Boston to Salem, it’s important to note that the journey involves transfers.

You will need to transfer from the Blue Line to the 455 bus at Wonderland Station. However, the transfer process is relatively straightforward, and there are clear signs and announcements to guide you along the way.

The total travel time from Boston to Salem when using the subway and bus combination is approximately 70 minutes. This includes the time spent on the subway and the bus, as well as any waiting time for transfers.

It’s always a good idea to check the schedule and plan your journey in advance to ensure a smooth and efficient trip.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that the subway and bus combination is a cost-effective option for traveling from Boston to Salem. The fares for both the subway and the bus are affordable, making it a budget-friendly choice for commuters and travelers. By utilizing public transit, you can save money on parking fees and avoid the hassle of driving in traffic.

Riding the Ferry from Boston

Seasonal ferry service between Salem and Boston

If you’re looking for a unique and scenic way to travel from Boston to Salem, taking the ferry is the perfect option. The seasonal ferry service operates from May to October and offers a picturesque journey across the sparkling waters of the Atlantic.

This mode of transportation allows you to avoid traffic congestion and enjoy the stunning coastal views along the way. The ferry ride not only provides a convenient means of travel, but it also adds an extra touch of adventure to your journey.

Riding the Ferry

Limited schedule, about an hour trip

The ferry service between Boston and Salem operates on a limited schedule, so it’s essential to plan your trip accordingly. The trip duration is approximately an hour, making it a relatively quick and enjoyable way to reach your destination.

Whether you’re a local looking for a day trip or a tourist exploring the area, the ferry ride allows you to make the most of your time and experience the beauty of the Massachusetts coastline.

For the latest schedule and ticket information, you can visit the Boston Harbor Cruises website. It’s always a good idea to check the schedule in advance to ensure you don’t miss the ferry and to plan your day accordingly. Remember to arrive at the ferry terminal a little early to secure your spot and avoid any last-minute rush.

Once on board, you’ll have the opportunity to relax and take in the scenic views as you sail towards Salem. The ferry offers comfortable seating, onboard amenities, and friendly staff to make your journey as enjoyable as possible.

Whether you choose to sit inside and enjoy the air-conditioned cabin or soak up the sun on the outdoor deck, the ferry ride promises to be a memorable part of your trip.

So, if you’re planning a visit to Salem and want to add a touch of adventure to your journey, consider taking the ferry from Boston. It’s a convenient, scenic, and enjoyable way to travel and experience the beauty of the Massachusetts coastline. Don’t forget to check the schedule and make your reservations in advance for a hassle-free trip. Bon voyage!

Key Tips for Taking the Train

Validate your ticket before boarding

When taking the train from Boston to Salem, it is important to remember to validate your ticket before boarding. This ensures that your ticket is activated and ready for use.

Look for a ticket validation machine at the station and insert your ticket to get it stamped with the date and time. Failure to validate your ticket may result in a fine or penalty. So, don’t forget to validate!

Travel during off-peak for more seat options

If you want to have more seat options and a more comfortable journey, it is advisable to travel during off-peak hours. Peak hours are typically during morning and evening rush hours when commuters are traveling to and from work.

By choosing to travel during off-peak hours, you can avoid overcrowded trains and have a better chance of finding a seat. Plus, you might even be able to enjoy a more relaxed and peaceful ride. So, consider adjusting your travel plans to make the most of your train journey.

Travel during off-peak

Reserve bikes ahead if wanting to pedal Salem

If you are planning to explore Salem by bike, it is important to reserve a spot for your bike ahead of time. Some trains have limited space for bikes, and by reserving in advance, you can ensure that there will be room for your bike on the train.

This way, you won’t have to worry about finding alternative transportation or missing out on the opportunity to pedal around Salem. Check the train’s website or contact the train service provider to learn more about their bike reservation policy and make your reservation. Happy biking!

Navigating Salem Without a Car

Exploring Salem without a car is not only possible, but it can also be a convenient and fun way to experience this historic city. With a well-connected public transit system and various alternative modes of transportation, getting around Salem has never been easier.

Whether you’re visiting for a day trip or staying for a longer period, here’s a complete guide on how to navigate Salem without a car.

Walking to key downtown attractions

Salem’s compact downtown area makes it perfect for exploring on foot. Many of the city’s key attractions, such as the Witch Trials Memorial, the Peabody Essex Museum, and the Salem Maritime National Historic Site, are located within walking distance of each other.

Take a stroll through the charming streets lined with historic buildings and enjoy the unique atmosphere of this enchanting city. Don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes and bring a map or use a navigation app to help you find your way around.

Salem Ferry and taxis from train station

If you’re arriving in Salem by train, you can easily continue your journey without a car. The Salem Ferry, operated by Boston Harbor Cruises, offers a scenic and convenient way to travel between Boston and Salem.

The ferry departs from Long Wharf in Boston and arrives at Blaney Street in Salem, just a short walk from downtown. Alternatively, you can also take a taxi or rideshare service from the Salem train station to your desired destination within the city.

Biking the coast and parks

For those who enjoy cycling, exploring Salem by bike is a fantastic option. The city boasts several bike-friendly routes, including the Coastline Loop, which takes you along the scenic coastline and through picturesque parks.

Rent a bike from one of the local bike shops or consider using a bike-sharing service if available. Biking allows you to cover more ground and discover hidden gems off the beaten path. Just remember to follow traffic rules and wear a helmet for your safety.

By utilizing these various transportation options, you can navigate Salem without a car and make the most of your time exploring this fascinating city. Whether you choose to walk, take a ferry, or ride a bike, you’ll have the freedom to immerse yourself in Salem’s rich history and vibrant culture.


With frequent commuter rail service, easy bus connections and seasonal ferry rides, getting from Boston to Salem using the T public transit is smooth and straightforward.

In just about 70 minutes, you can travel between these two amazing Massachusetts cities rich with history, culture and natural beauty. 

Use this transit guide to start planning your easy car-free adventures! We hope this outline has helped explain the best ways to take the T train from Boston to Salem.

Whether you opt for the speedy commuter rail, combined subway and bus, or relaxing seasonal ferry, you’ll enjoy leaving the driving to the MBTA as you explore these two classic New England destinations.

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