Must-See Activities and Attractions
From Boston to the Berkshires, from Cape Ann to Cape Cod, there are many must-see attractions in the state. Although Massachusetts may appear small on a map, it is actually larger in land area than New Hampshire or Vermont, so you'll need to book accommodations in several Massachusetts destinations if you hope to experience all of the state's highlights.
The Boston metropolitan area is home to more than fifty museums for people of all ages, including the Boston Children's Museum (300 Congress Street, 617-426-8855,
Whether you're traveling with avid artists or budding scientists, curious naturalists or history buffs, Boston is teeming with learning experiences waiting to be discovered.
Cape Cod and the Islands
Cape Cod juts out from Massachusetts, extending seventy miles into the Atlantic Ocean. The Cape and islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard offer miles of glorious beaches; quaint villages; art galleries; outdoor recreation including biking, hiking, and golf; and attractions that are a mix of past and present.
The Freedom Trail
Information booth on Boston Common at Tremont Street
One of the best ways to see Boston's major historic landmarks is to follow the two and one-half mile Freedom Trail. It's easy to follow the red line that has been painted or bricked to permanently mark the route, and you'll find each of the sixteen stops along the trail marked with a sign. Boston Common, your best starting point, is the oldest public park in the United States.
Minute Man National Historical Park
174 Liberty Street, Concord
Relive the “shot heard 'round the world” that marked the beginning of the American Revolution when fighting broke out between the British and the American colonists at the Battle of Lexington and Concord. This 900-acre National Historic Site encompasses significant structures and landscapes associated with the Revolution's opening battles, plus original segments of the Battle Road traveled by the minutemen on April 19, 1775. Also within the park, you'll find the Hartwell Tavern, a restored eighteenth-century home and tavern where costumed park rangers demonstrate musket firing and talk about America's first soldiers, and the Wayside, home at different times to noted American authors Louisa May Alcott, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Margaret Sidney.
The Mohawk Trail
There are more than 100 attractions along this 63-mile stretch of highway that begins at the Massachusetts-New York border. A particularly scenic drive in autumn, Route 2, better known as the Mohawk Trail, is also lined with country inns, public and private camping areas, and quaint shops. This is also a spectacular region for winter skiing and summer whitewater rafting adventures.
Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
1150 West Columbus Avenue, Springfield
Did you know that Springfield, Massachusetts, is the birthplace of basketball? It's also home to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, where you can pay tribute to the game's great players, teams, and coaches and even get into the game with interactive exhibits.
New Bedford Whaling Museum and Battleship Cove
New Bedford Whaling Museum
18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford
Climb aboard a full-size replica of a whaling ship's forecastle, marvel at a 66-foot blue whale skeleton, and view the largest collection of artifacts and art devoted to America's whaling history at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.
Five Water Street, Fall River
In nearby Fall River, board a very different kind of ship — the battleship
Old Sturbridge Village
1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge
One of the area's leading attractions, this village recreates life in New England in the early 1800s. There are more than forty period buildings to explore at this 200-acre site, and costumed interpreters demonstrate spinning, weaving, blacksmithing, period cooking, and more as they interact with visitors and tell of their lives. There is also a working historical farm. Old Sturbridge Village hosts special events throughout the year; attend a gardening workshop, a re-creation of a traditional muster day, or special Christmas holiday celebrations.
137 Warren Avenue, Plymouth
A visit to the land of Pilgrims and Promise should include a stop at Plimoth Plantation, the living history museum that re-creates the lives of New England's first English settlers and their Native American friends and neighbors. While you're in Plymouth, you'll also want to tour the
Nearly one million people visit Plymouth Rock at Pilgrim Memorial State Park (Water Street, Plymouth, 508-866-2580,
Forever branded by the hysteria in 1692 that led to the infamous witchcraft trials, Salem takes advantage of its wicked past, offering up its own trail of attractions that not only tell the story for which the town is best known but also celebrate the city's seafaring heritage and its most notable former resident, author Nathaniel Hawthorne. Must-see stops include the Salem Witch Museum (Washington Square North, 978-744-1692,
Six Flags New England
1623 Main Street/Route 159, Agawam
You can bet your kids will be pleased if you include a stop at the region's premier amusement park. With ten phenomenal roller coasters, the Hurricane Harbor water park, and a full slate of shows and entertainment, the park caters to visitors of all ages. In 2007, Six Flags even debuted a Wiggles World-themed section of the park with rides and a restaurant that appeal to the youngest tots.