Exploring the outdoors is something that many people love to do when visiting a new location, and going to some of a state’s state parks is one of the best ways of seeing the sights in an area. There are many state parks to enjoy in Massachusetts, and each showcases different aspects of the state’s natural beauty. Also, they each have different activities to enjoy that will suit different ages and personal preferences. To help you decide where to visit while you are in the state, here are the 10 best state parks in Massachusetts.
10. Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park
The birthplace of the industrial revolution in America is the Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park. Not only is the park a beautiful place to visit, but it also gives visitors the chance to learn more about the important roles that canals have played in transporting both raw materials and manufactured goods. You should begin your time at the state park at the River Bend Farm Visitors Center, says Vacation Idea. At the visitor’s center, you can learn more about the area’s local history and about the natural environment in the park. You can then take your pick of one of the many trails to hike.
9. Mount Washington State Forest
Mount Washington State Forest is in South Egremont in the far south-east corner of Massachusetts, and it is known for its breathtaking views and spectacular scenery. Visitors can hike 2,250-feet to the summit of Alander Mountain along the South Taconic Trail or hike the section of the Appalachian Trail through Sage’s Ravine. One of the best times to visit the park is in springtime, as the sides of the mountain are covered in blooming azaleas and laurel.
8. Mohawk Trail State Park
Those who visit Mohawk Trail State Park have the rare opportunity to experience the natural beauty of the real wilderness. The park spans more than 6,000-acres of scenic woodland, old-growth trees, deep gorges, and mountain ridges. One of the highlights of visiting the park is walking along the same path as the Native Americans by hiking the Mahican-Mohawk trail that runs between the Hudson and Connecticut River Valleys. Visitors can spend the night in one of the 47 campsites within the park or upgrade to one of the log cabins.
7. Bear Town State Park
Bear Town State Park in Monterey is sometimes overlooked by visitors to Massachusetts, as it is one of the smaller state parks. However, it has many features that make it worth including in your vacation itinerary. The forested area covers 12,000-acres, amidst which there is an extensive network of trails. Along the trails, there are many wildlife species, including black bears, fisher cats, bobcats, and deer. The park is a popular destination for hiking, fishing, boating, camping, and snowmobiling.
6. Nickerson State Park
There are more than 1,900-acres of woods and meadows to explore in Nickerson State Park. In the park, there is also an eight-mile bike path leading to Cape Cod Rail Trail and several ponds that are well-stocked with trout. If you fancy spending the night in this park, which is in the county of Barnstable, there is a huge campground with more than 400 sites.
5. Halibut Point State Park
Halibut Point State Park is one of the newest state parks as the land in Rockport was only purchased by the state in 1981. On a clear day, it is possible to enjoy amazing views of Mount Agamenticus in Maine and the waters off Cape Ann. One of the best vantage points for enjoying the views is from the observation deck of the WWII fire tower at the visitor’s center. When you walk through this state park, you will see colorful rocks, granite formations, and pretty wildflowers. It is also known as a fantastic park for birdwatching.
4. Bish Bash State Park
Located around Mount Washington, the main feature of Bish Bash State Park is the Bish Bash Falls. It is a double-pronged waterfall that plunges 80-feet from the top of a rugged cliff to a pool below. However, the waterfall is not the only thing to enjoy at this park, as there are fishing holes, thick forests, and dramatic rock formations. It is also a fantastic place for wildlife lovers to visit as there are black bears, peregrine falcons, bobcats, and many birds and insect species living in this park.
3. Myles Standish State Forest
Located in Carver in Plymouth County, Myles Standish State Forest covers 12,029 acres. The park boasts 16 ponds, 13 miles of hiking trails, 15 miles of bicycle trails, and 35 miles of equestrian trails. There are also planned cultural history walks and cranberry bog explorations in the summer months. The park has five camping areas that are along the edges of four of the park’s ponds.
2. Mount Greylock State Reservation
Mount Greylock State Reservation was Massachusetts’ first state park. There are over 50 miles of trails within the park, and these have various viewing points where you can enjoy views across the five surrounding states. There are two options if you want to spend the night in the park to extend your exploration time over two or more days. The first is to camp in Greylock Campground. Alternatively, you can stay at the more luxurious Bascom Lodge, which sits on Mount Greylock and has awesome views.
1. Purgatory Chasm State Reservation
According to Only In Your State, the best state park in Massachusetts is Purgatory Chasm State Reservation. The main features of this park are jagged stones and magnificent cliff faces, which together create a rather dramatic landscape. Many of the interesting rock formations have unusual names, such as the Coffin, Corn Crib, and Fat Man’s Misery. Once you have explored the park and scrambled over the rocks, you can head to the picnic and grilling area. You will find this state park in the county of Worcester.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson