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Train, Bus, Plane, or Car: What's the Best Way to Travel Between Boston and New York City?

Boston New York City Train Travel
by Morgane Croissant Feb 27, 2024

Boston and New York City aren’t very far from each other, but making a decision as to how to get from one city to the other can become complicated when you have many choices and specific criteria to stick to. Whether you want the cheapest, fastest, greenest, most convenient, most comfortable, or even the most unique and scenic way to get from Boston to New York City, the answer you need is below. We did the research so you don’t have to.

What are the options to travel between Boston and New York and vice versa?

The four most obvious ways to travel between Boston and New York are: driving, riding the train, taking the bus, or flying. All of these options come at different price points and offer different levels of comfort and convenience.

Driving between Boston and New York

Diving the roughly 220 miles that separates the two cities takes between three hours and 45 minutes and four hours. The traffic conditions in both cities can make the drive longer.

Riding the train between Boston and New York

Amtrak operates two types of train between Boston and New York: the Acela, which is a high-speed train, and the Northeast Regional. Both run multiple times per day, every day, between the two cities. They take between three hours and 40 minutes and four hours and 20 minutes to complete the journey. The Acela is the faster of the two trains, riding at the top speed of 150 mph.

Note that both the Acela and the Northeast Regional trains travel between New York’s Moynihan Train Hall (opposite the existing Penn Station complex) and Boston’s South Station.

Riding the bus between Boston and New York

Multiple bus companies travel between Boston and New York, including FlixBus, Greyhound, Peter Pan Bus Lines, Go Buses, and OurBus. Departure and drop-off locations vary according to the company you choose to travel with. The trip by bus between the two cities takes between four hours and 15 minutes and five hours and 20 minutes, depending on the bus company, the time and day of travel, and the traffic conditions.

Flying between Boston and New York

Nonstop flights between Boston (BOS) and New York (LaGuardia or JFK) take around one hour and 15 minutes and are frequent throughout the day, every day, with multiple airlines, including JetBlue, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines.

You can also travel by seaplane between Boston and New York with Tailwind Air. From April to December, Tailwind Air offers very scenic direct flights of about one hour and 25 minutes between the two cities. Flying with Tailwind Air is unlike a regular airport experience since they depart and arrive in both cities’ downtowns: in New York Skyport in Manhattan and in Boston Harbor — Fan Pier Marina.

What is the best way to get from Boston to New York?

The shortest way to travel between Boston and New York is flying. Or is it? The time it takes to get to the departure airport from where you are located, and from the arrival airport to where you need to go, as well as the time you need to spend at the airport to go through check-in and security, adds up to a trip of about 3.5 hours or more.

Flying with the aforementioned Tailwind Air requires much less time since it departs and lands from both downtown New York City and Boston, and security and check-in take a total of two minutes. However, the cost is much higher than a regular flight. Flying between the two cities with Tailwind Air starts at $395 while flying with JetBlue, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, or American Airlines starts at around $95.

Riding the bus is the cheapest option, starting at $20 when you book early, but, much like driving, buses are subject to traffic conditions and can be delayed. Many of the buses that operate this route are fitted with bathrooms, have reclining seats, and offer WiFi; however, access to food is very limited.

Amtrak’s Acela is likely the most convenient and comfortable option of all. The Acela runs many times per day and departs/arrives from both the downtowns of both New York City and Boston. Acela trains have bathrooms, cafe cars, WiFi, and two classes of service to choose from (Business Class and First Class). While the Acela can run behind schedule, it is rarely delayed by more than 20-30 minutes. Riding the Acela train between New York and Boston starts at $59 in Business Class.

Is it better to take a bus or train between Boston and New York?

Riding the bus between Boston and New York is usually cheaper than riding the train, but it usually takes a little longer. (That is if you ride Amtrak’s high-speed Acela train; the Northeast Regional train takes as long, or longer, than the bus.) Both options are affordable, however, granted you purchase your tickets early enough. Riding on board the Acela train is much more comfortable than riding the bus, even though some bus companies offer reclining seats, and are equipped with bathrooms.

Is it better to fly or take a train from Boston to New York?

All in all, flying and riding the train between Boston and New York take about as much time. Riding the train is usually cheaper than flying, more comfortable, less stressful, and does not require that you trek to and from the airports that are located outside those cities. Riding the train is also a much greener option than flying so if you’re watching your carbon footprint, this is the best option.

How much is the train from Boston to New York City?

Riding the high-speed Acela train between Boston and New York starts at $59 in Business Class (there is no Coach Class in Acela trains). Traveling on the Northeast Regional train starts at $20 in Coach Class. Both options can be booked via Amtrak’s website. To get the best price, it is recommended to book your ticket as early as possible.

Is the train from Boston to New York nice?

There are two types of Amtrak trains traveling between Boston and New York City: the Acela and the Northeast Regional, both of which are comfortable and well equipped for a long journey.

The Acela is a high speed train, the only high-speed train in the US, that only offers Business Class and First Class seats, which can be selected upon booking. The seats are comfortable and all feature tables. There is a café car, a quiet car, and WiFi on board. First Class passengers benefit from complimentary onboard food and beverage, and have access to lounges in Boston’s South Station and New York’s Moynihan Train Hall.

Amtrak’s new Acela fleet, which was scheduled to begin service in late 2023 but has been delayed, will go faster (160 mph instead of the current 150 mph) and offer even nicer and updated interiors.

The Northeast Regional has three classes of service: Coach Class, Business Class, and First Class. There is a café car and WiFi on board. There are reclining seats with tray table, reading lights, and electric outlets in Coach Class. There is a bathroom in each car.

No matter which train you opt for, you’ll be rewarded with beautiful views of the Connecticut coastline if you sit on the right side of the train on your way to Boston and on the left side of the train on your way to New York City.

How much is the bus from Boston to New York?

OurBus is the cheapest bus option to get between Boston and New York City, starting at $20 if you book early. Peter Pan Bus Lines is the second cheapest option starting at $29. FlixBus and Greyhound tend to be a little more expensive, but remain very reasonably priced at under $50.

Note that cheaper does not always mean better. Read recent online reviews about safety, cleanliness, the professionalism of the drivers, and more before booking with any bus company to ensure that your trip goes smoothly.

Can you take a day trip to Boston from NYC?

Traveling between New York City and Boston, no matter the mode of transport, takes too long to make Boston a viable day-trip option. By car, train, bus, or regular commercial flights, it would take up almost seven hours of your day to go there and back.

The only way to make a day-trip to Boston from New York City worth it is to fly there and back with Tailwind Air on the same day. This option is costly (minimum $790), however, and the flights only run from April to December.

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