BY CAR: To reach Salem directly from Boston, take I-93 north to I-95 north and then Route 128 north. Exit at Route 114 east and follow Route 114 into downtown Salem. This is about a 45-minute drive, outside of rush hour. Salem has plenty of metered street parking and a reasonably priced garage opposite the visitor center.
BY BUS: MBTA (tel. 800/392-6100 or tel. 617/222-3200) buses nos. 450/450W to Salem depart from Haymarket in Boston; the trip takes 55 minutes. For either destination, the one-way fare is $4 with a CharlieCard, $5 with a CharlieTicket or cash.
BY TRAIN: MBTA commuter trains run to Salem from Boston’s North Station. It’s a 30- to 35-minute trip; the round-trip fare is $15. The station is about 5 blocks from the downtown area.
BY FERRY: From late May through October, the 50-minute Salem Ferry (tel. 877/733-9425 or tel. 617/227-4321) leaves from Long Wharf in Boston (next to the New England Aquarium and MBTA Blue Line), arriving at Salem’s Blaney Street Wharf, off Derby Street, a 15-minute walk from downtown. (It’s also on the Salem Trolley route.) Adult fare is $25 one-way, $45 round-trip, with discounts for seniors and children; you can purchase in advance (recommended) online. There are only four or five ferries a day, so always be sure you know the schedule for your return trip.
The National Park Service Salem Visitor Center, 2 New Liberty St. (tel. 978/740-1650), is open daily 9am–5pm from May through October (the rest of the year, it’s open Wed–Sun only, 10am–4pm), with historical exhibits, a free film, and brochures and pamphlets, including a walking tour pamphlet. The Salem Chamber of Commerce, 265 Essex St., Suite 101 (tel. 978/744-0004), open weekdays 9am to 5pm, also has brochures and pamphlets.
Information about Salem is also available online at Destination Salem (tel. 877/SALEM-MA [725-3662] or tel. 978/744-3663), the city website www.salem.com, and an excellent community website www.salemweb.com.
In congested downtown Salem, walking is also the way to go, but you may opt for riding the Salem Trolley (tel. 508/744-5469), which offers a 1-hour narrated tour and unlimited reboarding at any of its 14 stops. The tour starts at the Essex Street side of the visitor center. It operates daily April through October from 10am to 5pm (last tour at 4pm); check ahead for off-season hours. Tickets ($18 adults, $17 seniors, $8 children 6–14) are good all day.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.