Despite the absence of National Parks in the state, Massachusetts is home to 18 National Park Services. Six National Historical Parks, two National Scenic Trails, seven National Historic Sites, and a National Historic Trail make up the national park system. Additionally, there is a National Seashore and a National Recreation Area. As you can see, travelers to The Bay State who enjoy history are in for a treat. Are you prepared to visit the fascinating historical sites and breathtaking natural settings? Here are some of the top national parks in Massachusetts to visit if that’s the case.
1- Appalachian – National Scenic Trail
The Appalachian Trail is the world’s longest hiking-only footpath, extending from Mount Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain in Georgia. The length of the trail varies occasionally due to rerouting and modifications, but it is roughly 2,200 miles long (3,500km). Three million people visit the Appalachian Trail annually as it passes through “wooded, pastoral, wild, and culturally resonant lands of the Appalachian Mountains.” Each year, 3,000 people attempt a thru-hike. Those who are able to hike the entire length of the Appalachian Trail in one trip are known as 2,000-milers. Only one in four people complete the course. Massachusetts is traversed by about 90 miles (145 km) of the Appalachian Trail. In this area, the trail travels through the state’s western Berkshires. For example, the trail passes through the towns of Dalton and Cheshire.
2- Boston Harbor Islands National & State Park
Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area is a city oasis just minutes from downtown Boston. The area consists of 34 islands and peninsulas in Boston Harbor, including the islands of Georges, Spectacle, Peddocks, Lovells, and Little Brewster. Many of the islands are accessible by public ferry, as well as by car or foot. Once on the islands, there are numerous recreational and relaxation activities to choose from, such as boat trips, hiking, and cultural events.
3- Bash Bish Falls State Park
Bash Bish Falls State Park is a great outdoor area to explore while in Massachusetts and is named after the namesake waterfall. The park’s most popular attraction, Bash Bish Falls, is the highest single-drop waterfall in the entire state at 60 feet and draws visitors from all over the country. The state park, which includes several gorges and an eastern hemlock ravine forest, was founded in 1924. While swimming is not permitted at the waterfall site, there are several streams and rock pools where you can swim. You can spend some time hiking there. Fishing and wildlife viewing are additional activities; you might see porcupines, black bears, and timber rattlesnakes there.
4- Cape Cod National Seashore
When visiting Massachusetts, Cape Cod National Seashore is a fantastic place to go hiking and exploring the outdoors because it is an IUCN category V protected landscape and seascape. It was created in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy and now spans more than 43,000 acres of ponds, beaches, and wooded areas. You shouldn’t miss a few fascinating features like the Doane Rock, the Dune Shacks of Peaked Hill Bars Historic District, Marconi Station, which was the location of the first two-way transatlantic radio transmission, and the Highlands Center for the Arts, which was formerly the North Truro Air Force Station. Numerous paved trails are also available, making them ideal for biking and hiking.
5- Mohawk Trail State Forest
Mohawk Trail State Forest has a lot to offer visitors of all ages, including recreational opportunities for those who enjoy being outside. Old-growth forests, gorges, and mountain ridges are spread across more than 7,700 acres of the outdoor area, which was first created in 1921. Rent one of their cabins to spend the night, or bring your tent and camp in one of their more rustic wooded campsites. There, visitors can go trail walking, hiking, cross-country skiing, picnicking, swimming, fishing, canoeing, and take part in one of the many interpretive programs offered by the forest. In some places, hunting is also permitted during specific seasons.