How to Travel from Boston to Washington, DC by Train, Bus, Car, and Plane

TripSavvy / Julie Bang

Washington, DC is almost 450 miles southwest of Boston, Massachusetts. Because of the relatively short distance between the two, there are a variety of ways to get from Boston to Washington, DC, including by train, plane, bus, and car.

Your best bet for traveling from Boston to Washington, DC will depend on your personal preferences, including how much time you want to spend traveling, what your budget is, and where exactly you are traveling to and from within each city. Flying will get you there fastest, and can also be quite affordable thanks to the high frequency of direct flights available. But if time isn’t an issue and you want to make stops along the way, you may opt for taking the train or driving.

Here are the top ways to get from Boston to Washington, DC. Visit our Washington, DC guides to find out the best time to visit, sights to see, how to get around, and more.

How to Get From Boston to Washington, DC
  Time Cost Best For
Plane 1 hour, 35 minutes from $73 or $99, depending on the airport Fast travel
Train 6 hours, 49 minutes from $55 Multi-tasking and departures/arrivals right in the city
Bus 9 hours from $15 Traveling on a budget
Car 7 hours or more 440 miles (708 kilometers) Flexibility to explore
Washington, DC National Mall

 Getty Images

What Is the Fastest Way to Get From Boston to Washington, DC?

There are two options when flying from Boston Logan International Airport to Washington, DC: You can fly into Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) or Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD). Nonstop flights to either airport take just over 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Reagan is conveniently located just 4 miles from Washington, DC, while Dulles is 26 miles away. JetBlue, Delta, and American Airlines fly direct from Boston to Reagan, while United serves direct flights to Dulles. That said, the airport you choose may depend on which airline you prefer to fly.

One-way flights from Boston to Reagan range from $70 to $320, while flights to Dulles range from $90 to $460.

What Is the Cheapest Way to Get From Boston to Washington, DC?

The bus from Boston to Washington, DC is fairly cheap, with one-way tickets ranging from $15 to $70, depending on the bus company.

However, the bus takes longer than any other mode of transit, as you'll not only need to account for inevitable traffic patterns, but most likely stops in other cities along the route.

Greyhound and Flixbus offer the fastest and most direct routes, taking travelers from one city to the next in about 9 hours and just a couple stops (if any at all). Other companies like MegaBus and BoltBus will have you stop in New York City and transfer to another bus, adding time to your trip. Buses depart from Boston’s South Station and arrive at Washington Union Station.

If you want cheap prices, frequent departure times, and you don’t mind sitting for extended periods of time, the bus may be for you. Bring your laptop and hope the Wi-Fi signal is strong enough to get through your to-do list. Or if that fails, dive into a good book.

How Long Does It Take to Drive?

It takes at least 7 hours to drive the 440 miles from Boston to Washington, DC—more if you hit traffic at any point, which is likely. Despite the time and focus it takes to drive this route, some do prefer the flexibility it offers, especially if there are plans to stop in other destinations along the way like New York City or Philadelphia. You may also opt to drive if you're traveling with family or a group of friends; you can bring as much luggage as you can fit and you only have to pay for gas.

You’ll take multiple highways to get there, but the majority of the drive is spent traveling on I-95 South. While you will save money compared to other methods of transportation—especially if you are traveling with multiple people—be sure you account for the cost of parking at your end destination, as it can be expensive in any city.

How Long Is the Train Ride?

Many will find taking the train to Washington, DC a low-stress method of transportation, as long as you don’t mind that it takes longer than flying.

Taking the Amtrak Acela is just under 7 hours (6 hours and 40 to 50 minutes to be more exact). These trains run every hour or two for a total of 10 times a day on weekdays, three times on Saturdays, and six on Sundays. This is often the least expensive Amtrak option despite being the fastest.

The other train that goes from Boston to Washington, DC is the Amtrak Northeast Regional. These trains also have multiple departures each day, but will add at least an hour to your trip. Most take somewhere between 7 hours, 45 minutes to 8 hours, 15 minutes, though the overnight train takes 9.5 hours. However, the latter may be a good option for you if you need to be in Washington, DC first thing in the morning and don’t want to spend money on a hotel.

Both Amtrak trains leave from Boston’s South Station and drop you off at Washington Union Station. Taking Amtrak from Boston to Washington, DC typically costs anywhere from $55 to $210 for a one-way ticket, which can be purchased on or in-person at Boston’s South Station.

When Is the Best Time to Travel to Washington, DC?

The best time to visit is in fall and spring, with an extra bonus if you arrive in late March or early April to experience the cherry blossoms in bloom.

Can I Use Public Transportation to Travel From the Airport?

From Reagan, you can utilize public transportation and take the Metrorail’s Blue and Yellow lines into the city. If you do choose to fly into Dulles, you can get into the city in a variety of ways, including renting a car or taking a bus.

Taxis and ride-sharing services like Uber are also available.

What Is There to Do in Washington, DC?

As our nation’s capital, the District of Columbus is a popular destination for tourists looking for a trip within the United States. There’s more to see and do than you could possibly see in one weekend or week-long trip, but you can hit the major sights if you plan ahead. Be sure to visit the National Mall, which is where you’ll find a good amount of the city’s historic landmarks, including monuments, museums and memorials. You’ll also want to spend time exploring the city’s different neighborhoods, parks, restaurants, and more. For details on when to visit, what to see and do, where to stay and more, visit our guide to Washington, DC.

Was this page helpful?