Car Rental in Massachusetts
Cheapest Car Rental Rates
Most Popular Car Rental Deals
Why rent a car in Massachusetts?
With the Freedom Trail in Boston; Concord and Lexington, where the Revolutionary War began; Salem, famous for its witch trials; and Plymouth, where the Pilgrims settled, Massachusetts is teeming with history and one of the most visited states. Of course, there are also plenty of stunning, tranquil seaside villages to relax in, including those of Cape Cod and the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. The western part of the states also contains mountains, perfect for hiking and camping.
The state of Massachusetts, having the largest and the main international airport of the region, is the perfect place to begin a trip through New England. Vermont and New Hampshire to the north are both rural and mountainous, though different culturally. Maine is the state with the second-lowest population density in the United States and is therefore perfect for those seeking unspoiled Atlantic coastline or wilderness. Upstate New York, though technically not a part of New England, is also reachable from the state.
While a trip to Boston would not require a rental car, venturing to any of the historic or scenic places outside of it is best done with one. Nothing beats being able to travel at your own pace, stop where you want to stop, and make it to the most remote places possible.
One-way Car Rentals in Massachusetts
Here are the most popular one-way rental options for pickup in Massachusetts and drop off in another country:
- From Massachusetts to New York - 47 offers from US$ 65.83 per day
- From Massachusetts to California - 19 offers from US$ 109.86 per day
- From Massachusetts to Illinois - 50 offers from US$ 62.20 per day
- From Massachusetts to Canada - 13 offers from US$ 114.59 per day
- From Massachusetts to Connecticut - 14 offers from US$ 124.11 per day
Top ways to enter Massachusetts
Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) is the main gateway to not only Massachusetts but New England as a whole. It is the largest airport in New England and hosts many international flights. The airport has a rental car center that can be reached from all terminals via a blue-and-white shuttle bus found on the lower level of each terminal.
Bradley International Airport (BDL), located north of Hartford, Connecticut, is the most convenient airport for those whose destination is Springfield or any other place in the Pioneer Valley. Though smaller than Boston International, the airport has many flights from major U.S. hubs. It’s only international connect as of now are Montreal and Toronto in Canada and Dublin, Ireland. The airport is served by major rental suppliers, all of which are easily reachable by a shuttle from the airport terminal.
Boston is the end of the line for the two most popular Amtrak routes, the Acela Express, and the Northeast Regional, both of which connect the city to New York City and Washington D.C. The Downeaster goes between Boston and Brunswick, Maine via Portland and the coast and the Lake Shore Limited goes between Boston and Chicago via Albany and the other major cities in Upstate New York. Additionally, the Vermonter connects Washington D.C. with St. Albans, Vermont via New York City, Connecticut, the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts and Burlington, the largest city in Vermont. Rental cars can be picked up at the downtown offices of rental car companies in cities such as Boston and Springfield.
Massachusetts is well-connected to the other states of the Northeastern U.S. by highways. In most cases, it is possible to take a rental car from surrounding states to Massachusetts. If planning to take I-90 from Upstate New York or to cross any of the tolled bridges or tunnels in Boston, be sure you have opted into the rental car company’s toll program and have an EZ-Pass. Otherwise, you may be in for a shock for the fees the car rental company will charge for pay the tolls for you.
I-90 connects the southern part of Massachusetts with Upstate New York. I-95 connects Boston with Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York City to the south and Maine to the north. Travelers can reach Massachusetts from New Hampshire via I-93 and Springfield from Vermont and Connecticut via I-91. Of these, only I-90, known as the Massachusetts Turnpike, is tolled.
Top cities and places to visit
- Cape Cod - The easternmost arm of Massachusetts that sticks out into the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Cod is a popular summer destination for both residents of Massachusetts and those from other states. Provincetown, where the Mayflower originally dropped anchor and wrote the Mayflower Compact, is the most popular resort town and offers exceptionally calm waters for swimming. The outer side of the island facing the Atlantic Ocean is mostly part of the Cape Cod National Seashore. Its main attraction is its long, pristine beach. Old King’s highway, Highway 6A, is the most scenic way to reach the cape along with being one of the best scenic roads in the country.
- Martha’s Vineyard - An island located about 8 miles off of the southern part of Cape Cod, Marth’s Vineyard is a popular summer destination for celebrities and New England residents. This is due to its mild summers when it is warm enough to swim but not overbearingly hot. The moderating influence of the Atlantic Ocean causes this. The island can be reached year-round from Woods Hole, MA, an hour and a half drive from Boston. Though this ferry carries cars, it is unlikely your rental supplier will allow your rental car to be taken onboard. In the summer, the island can be reached from other places in New England and New York City. Of course, flights are also available.
- Nantucket - A smaller island east of Martha’s Vineyard and about 30 miles south of Cape Cod, Nantucket is also a popular summer getaway spot. It can likewise be reached by ferry or by air, but don’t count on being able to take your rental car there. The island has everything one would expect from a New England island: beautiful harbors, nice beaches, many lighthouses, and gorgeous homes and landscaping.
- Salem - Famous for the Salem witch trials in 1692-1693, Salem is a popular tourist destination. It is only a thirty-minute drive from Boston. There are multiple museums that cover the history of the witch trials. The town is still a great destination for those that might not care about what they may deem as tourist traps related to the trials. The town was once one of the largest and richest in the colonies and during the early part of the country’s history. After Independence, it slowly lost its status and therefore would not develop as other cities would. This left behind an abundance of historic architecture for visitors to enjoy. So forget about the “witches” for a little bit and enjoy the town’s multiple historic districts.
- Plymouth - Famous as the landing place of the Mayflower and the second English colony in North America, Plymouth is an extremely popular tourist town just an hours drive south of Boston. Its most famous attraction is Plymouth Rock, traditionally where the Pilgrims disembarked from the Mayflower. Don’t be shocked when you find that it’s actually just a small rock with the year 1620 inscribed on it. Plymouth Plantation (sometimes spelled Plimouth in the Old English way) is south of the main part of town and is the major attraction. It is a recreation of a 17th-century village in the colony and includes actors that play the role of villagers going about their daily tasks. The entrance fee also includes entrance to a replica of the Mayflower ship in the harbor of the main part of town.
- Kennebunkport - Located on the coast in southern Maine, Kennebunkport is a popular destination for Bostonites. It takes less than two hours to drive there from Boston. Kennebunkport is popular for its seaside town for the wealthy and is thereby one of the richest places in Maine. It is worth noting that you must obtain a parking sticker to park anywhere at Goose Rocks Beach from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.
- Concord and Lexington - Where the Revolutionary War began, the first battle (or rather skirmishes) of the war took place in Lexington and Concord. In Lexington, the Battle Green in the center of the city is where the opening shots of the war were fired. In Concord, the Minutemen and British Regulars had a brief skirmish at the Old North Bridge. Ralph Waldo Emerson called the first shot here “the shot heard round the world.” In between the cities lies Minute Man National Historical Park which contains the battlefields and structures of the opening battle. In the summer, a trolley runs between the towns and passes most of the tourist sites. It is also very easy to drive between them all.
- Springfield - The center of the Pioneer Valley of the state, Springfield is the largest city on the Connecticut River in Massachusetts. It is an hour-and-a-half drive from Boston. The city is well known for its Victorian architecture. Springfield was the childhood home of Theodor Seuss Geise, more commonly known by the pen name Doctor Seuss. The Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden was opened in the city in 2002 and includes sculptures of various characters from his books. As Springfield is where James Naismith invented the game of basketball, it is the home of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Most popular rental car
The most popular class of rental car in Boston is the economy class of which the Toyota Yaris is an excellent example. Many families visit Boston and New England for vacation. They choose to rent larger cars, such as standard and intermediate classes, of which the VW Jetta and Hyundai Elantra are great examples, respectively.
Driver license requirements
The minimum age for renting a car in Massachusetts is, as in most other states is 21. An underage driver surcharge is charged by almost all car rental companies for those between 21 and 24. Drivers in this age category are also often restricted from renting luxury cars and larger vans.
If you are traveling from abroad and your driving license from your country of residence is in the Latin script, it is recommended, but not required, to have an International Driver’s Permit. If your driving license is not in the Latin script (for example, Russian, Japanese, or Arabic) then you must have an International Driving Permit or another certified translation of your license. Keep in mind that you must present your actual driving license in addition to the IDP and have it with you at all times.
In most cases, you can rent a car in Massachusetts and drive to Canada provided that you are not a Canadian resident. One-way rentals are even possible, though these will entail an additional fee.
It is also usually possible to drive to all of the states surrounding Massachusetts in addition to all of the states in New York. If you plan to travel further south, it is a good idea to notify the rental company in advance to make sure that it is permitted and see if there is an additional fee for such.
All tolls in Massachusetts are cashless. The only methods for paying for tolls are EZ Pass and Pay by Plate. While those in their own vehicles can have a picture of their license plate taken and an invoice sent to them in the mail which can be paid online, those in a rental car, unfortunately, can not since the invoice is sent to the rental company. Note that if you attempt this, the rental company is likely to charge an additional penalty fee that is likely to be quite high in addition to the cost of the toll. It is, therefore, best to take the rental car company’s plan for tolls which usually comes with an EZ Pass transponder and a daily fee.
All of the highway tunnels and one bridge crossing the Boston Harbor are tolled. These are, from east to west, the Ted Williams Tunnel, the Callahan Tunnel, the Sumner Tunnel, and the Tobin Memorial Bridge. Additionally, the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90) is tolled throughout the state.
Top driving routes
- Mohawk Trail - Widely regarded as one of the best scenic routes in the country, the Mohawk Trail has been extremely popular amongst tourists since the rise of the automobile. Once a path for Native America traders, most of the historic footpath is now the Mohawk Trail which is part of Routes 2 and 2A in Western Massachusetts. It begins in Greenfield and ends in Williamstown. There are many places to stop along the way, both directly on the road and a short drive away from it. The Mohawk Trail State Forest and the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Flowers are amongst them.
Be sure to stop at one of the sugar houses along the way. In late winter and early spring, you can see the maple trees being tapped for their sap which is then boiled down to make a delicious syrup. Of course, at other times of the year, you can enjoy this with pancakes or french toast.
- Old King’s Highway - Running from Sandwich in the south part of Cape Cod to Provincetown, the Old King’s Highway is one of the most popular scenic roads in New England. Traversing what was once a Native American route then a route used by colonial settlers, the route runs through many historic places. Starting with many quaint seaside towns, the road eventually merges with Highway 2 prior to the Cape Cod National Seashore, where travelers have access to 40 miles of pristine coastline. The road ends at historic Provincetown where the Pilgrims signed the Mayflower Compact. It is now a popular summer destination.
- Battle Road Scenic Byway - This scenic road follows the path used by the British soldiers when they made their way to Concord and Lexington to confiscate militia stores. They would be met by Minutemen starting the Revolutionary War. The route passes the Battle Green in Lexington where the first shots were fired and the Old North Bridge where “the shot heard round the world” was fired killing the British soldier of the war. The Minute Man National Historic Park is also along the route.
- Connecticut River Byway - The major river of New England, the Connecticut River runs the height of New Hampshire and Vermont serving as the border between the two before going through Massachusetts and Connecticut on the way to the Long Island Sound. The river’s banks host the richest farmland in New England. A scenic byway travels the length of the river from the Candian border to South Hadley north of Springfield, Massachusetts. It passes through villages that date back to the 1600s, rich pastoral landscapes, tobacco barns, and incredible views of the river. Though the Highway is only 39 miles long in Massachusetts, it totals 274 miles in total. This makes for a multi-day drive with stops and activities on the way.
- Acadia National Park Loop (Maine) - Located on Mount Desert Island, Acadia National Park is the only national park in New England. It is the seventh most-visited national park. Its popularity is well founded. While the carriage tracks that are perfect for hiking, cycling, and horseback riding are a highlight, as is camping, no trip to the park is complete without a circle around the Park Loop. The eastern section of the road is limited to one-way travel heading south. An entrance station for the park is located just north of Sand Beach where the one-way sections ends. You can additionally pay the entrance fee at the park’s visitor centers.
- Mt. Washington Auto Road (New Hampshire) - If you have experience driving in the mountains, then this road would certainly a highlight of driving in New England. The private road that ascends more than 4,600ft. (1,400m) to the summit of Mount Washington requires a fee to drive (both for the car and any additional passengers). If you are unsure of your ability to drive the road, guided tours with a driver are also offered. Be sure to read the information given to you at the start and use the tips to avoid overstressing your engine and breaks. Frequent pull-offs are available. Use them to let faster drivers by, take in the scenery, and give your car’s engine a rest if necessary.
Car Rental Prices
- Large cars - from $75 per day
- Medium cars - from $63 per day
- People Carriers/Vans - from $182 per day
- Premium cars - from $89 per day
- Small cars - from $62 per day
- SUVs - from $109 per day
Map of Car Rental Locations
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Most Popular Car Models of Rental Suppliers
|Budget||Toyota Camry||4||2||Large cars|
|Budget||Kia Rio||4||2||Small cars|
|Budget||Kia Soul||4||2||Medium cars|
|Budget||Ford Fusion||4||2||Large cars|
|Budget||Ford Focus||4||2||Medium cars|
|Budget||Hyundai Elantra||4||2||Large cars|
|Thrifty||Jeep Wrangler||2||2||Large cars|
|Avis||Kia Soul||4||2||Medium cars|
|Avis||Toyota Corolla||4||1||Large cars|
|SIXT||Mercedes-Benz A-Class||4||2||Premium cars|