things to do in salem, planning a last minute trip to salem ma

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Hi everyone, welcome back to the blog. For this week I wanted to chat about planning a last minute trip to Salem, MA. Sometimes, you don’t know your schedule until literal days beforehand and last minute is the only option. I hear you. So what should you know if you’re planning to come into the witch city on a whim? Here we go.

Be flexible

The first thing I need to mention is flexibility. This applies specifically to fall visits. Tickets to major fall events sell out way ahead of time and if you’re coming in last minute you might not be able to get your hands on one. Be flexible, have back up plans and expect to wait in line. I’d suggest having a rough list of back up options in case your first choices fall through or aren’t possible.

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When it comes to your hotel…

If you are visiting off season, you shouldn’t have much of an issue booking a hotel room. Click here for a list of options in and around Salem. If you’re visiting in the fall, you might be out of luck as hotel rooms book super early and fast. The easiest option here is to just make it a day trip, if that’s possible. If not and you are really trying to land a room in Salem for the fall, I have some ideas for you.

First, call the hotel directly. They might have had cancellations or have a running wait list in case rooms do open up. Second, pay attention to the hotel’s social media platforms. I have seen hotels create posts regarding “day of” cancellations to get rooms filled. This can be a great way to possibly get a reservation.

If you’re looking for more last minute hotel ideas, click here. I have an entire blog post dedicated to ways you can (hopefully!) score accommodations in Salem.

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Did you forget a costume?

Believe it or not, I have forgotten a costume before. The very first time I ventured into the witch city for Halloween, I didn’t have one. I was with my then boyfriend and we scrambled to throw something together that we found at a gift shop at the train station in Rockport!

Are you looking for a few places you can grab props to throw together? I would suggest checking out The Magic Parlor, the Army Barracks, CVS or Wynott’s Wands for odds and ends to make a costume. Between those locations you can probably sort something out!

Sometimes having no plan is the best plan

I do recognize that sometimes having no plan is the best plan. I have wandered Salem’s streets as well as many around New England with no plans at all and have found the cutest shops, the best food, the most delicious coffee, the most fun attractions I didn’t know about and more. Sometimes floating on a breeze can lead to unexpected adventures and finds, so embrace that.


If you’re coming in for a last minute day trip, I’d suggest minimally planning out parking. It can get pretty tricky around here, especially in the fall. The following links will help you if you’re driving into Salem.

Some time frames to keep in mind

Planning a last minute trip can be tons of fun, however you should still keep some time frames in mind. Some business do open later than you’d think, even in the fall. Some close earlier than you’d think, even in the fall. Some attractions keep seasonal hours. Buskers are not out on the streets daily, year ’round. If there are certain costumed performers or attractions you have your heart on, do research ahead of time. Make phone calls, check social media and do some reading to make sure you aren’t let down.

I hope this information helps! Feel free to comment below with your own last minute travel tips and tricks. Enjoy!! <3

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things to do in salem, plan your visit to salem ma

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things to do in salem, planning a last minute trip to salem ma