With nearly 150 state parks in Massachusetts, we narrowed down our favourite 30 Massachusetts state parks that showcase the best of the state’s natural beauty. Among these state parks, Massachusetts shows off its diversity from grassy beaches in the south to lush forests in the north. Our best Massachusetts state parks include unique geographical phenomena like Balance Rock State Park and Purgatory Chasm State Park each with strange geologic formations and Massasoit State Park with its cranberry bogs.
Eastern Massachusetts State Parks
There are many Massachusetts State Parks located in the eastern side of the state. Residents of Boston are lucky to have some of the best state parks in Massachusetts on their doorstep. The three state parks in Cape Cod have campgrounds providing affordable family-friendly camping that allows everyone access to the natural beauty of the Cape. For an alternative to nature, check out Fall River Heritage State Park where you can see World War 2 battleships.
Boston Harbor Islands
The Boston Harbor Islands are both national parks as well as a Massachusetts state park. The Boston Harbor Islands visitor center is located at the Rose Kennedy Greenway next to the Greenway Carousel.
Some of the 34 islands that compose the Boston Harbor Islands are accessible by ferry from Boston’s Long Wharf North. You can even take a lighthouse tour of the harbor islands by boat to islands that are not accessible the public. It’s the best way to see Boston Light on Little Brewster Island which is the first US lighthouse built in 1716.
From June through September, rustic camping is available on three islands. Peddocks Island has both tent camping and rental yurts. Peddocks Island is the only equipped with electricity.
Things to do on the Boston Harbor Islands is hiking, boating, kayaking, canoeing, swimming and fishing.
Address: Boston Harbor Islands, Boston, MA 02110
Demarest Lloyd Memorial State Park
Some of the best Massachusetts state parks lie south of Boston towards Buzzards Bay. Demarest Lloyd State Park is no exception. There’s a large saltwater beach that is a great favorite among families because of its calm and shallow waters which retains the heat of the sun well.
The warmer water temperatures make these beaches a much-loved attraction and the shores are also favored by many aquatic birds, including egrets, herons, ospreys and hawks.
Address: 115 Barneys Joy Road, Dartmouth, MA 02748
Ellisville Harbor State Park
To the west of Cape Cod is one of the best state parks in Massachusetts. The park features a grand variety of biomes which brings with it a diverse landscape packed into a compact 97 acres.
The barrier beach creates dramatic scenes and lowland features, like the salt marsh and sphagnum bog, attract many bird species. You can also spot other marine and land wildlife, like harbor seals, making Ellisville Harbor State Park a popular place to visit with families.
The red pine forest makes for excellent hiking and the rolling meadows are simply picture perfect. There are also opportunities for fishing, swimming and boating.
Address: 1861 State Rd, Plymouth, MA 02360
Fall River Heritage State Park
This park is close to the border of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and is only 14-acres in size.
Unlike other Massachusetts state parks that are centered around natural landscapes, this park is a public recreation area that is historically themed. It is located beside the Charles M. Braga Jr. Memorial Bridge, where you can also visit Battleship Cove to see the WWII ship, the USS Massachusetts.
Address: Davol Street, Fall River, MA 02720
Great Brook Farm State Park
Covering over 900 acres, Great Brook Farm State Park was established in 1967 in Northern Massachusetts.
You will find 20-miles of trails across Great Brook Farm State Park for hiking, biking and horseback riding. You can also go fishing and canoeing in Meadow Pond.
One of the highlights this MA state park is the active dairy farm that visitors can take a tour to see how a dairy farm works The tour is free and you can lay eyes on the first robotic milking system in the state.
After good snowfall in the winter, this park is also frequented by cross-country skiers.
Address: 165 North Rd, Carlisle, MA 01741
Halibut Point State Park
Marvelous granite outcrops meet the crashing waves at Halibut Point State Park in Rockport on the North Shore in Massachusetts. Over centuries, water washing over these rocky shores has carved out tide pools that are now teeming with marine life.
For something completely different, tour the granite quarry. Alternatively, climb the World War 2 fire tower for panoramic views to New Hampshire and Maine on a clear day.
Address: 5 Gott Ave, Rockport, MA 01966
Hiking along the shore and through the forest provides a much-needed break from the bustling city life in Boston, less than an hour away.
Hopkinton State Park
Hopkinton State Park is 1500 acres in the eastern parts of Massachusetts.
Hopkinton State Park is formed around Hopkinton Reservoir. The reservoir also features various small islands that boating enthusiasts can explore. You can rent boats, kayaks, canoes and SUP during the summer season. There are also numerous beaches great for swimming and fishing.
There are lots of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding.
In winter, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing are options also.
Address: 164 Cedar St, Hopkinton, MA 017484
Manning State Park
North West of Boston this charming park features activities for the whole family. A quaint waterpark will refresh the young ones during the summer and exercise equipment along the walking trail is a great way to get an outdoor workout.
Cross-country skiing is beautiful in the winter with the snow covering the pine forest floor, and in the summer, you can enjoy shaded picnics at the many picnic benches in the park.
Address: 9 Chelmsford Rd, Billerica, MA 01821
Massasoit State Park
In the central southeast of Massachusetts lies one of the best parks the state has to offer. Spanning 1200 acres, Massasoit has forests, lakes, ponds and cranberry bogs.
Easily accessible and tidy camping areas are scattered amongst the pine trees. There is rustic camping as well as camp sites with electricity. For kids, there is a little playground nearby.
Visitors can enjoy many activities like fishing, canoeing, and hiking. Mountain biking is possible on the Five Pond Loop or Adams Trails.
Check out Massasoit State Park in the fall so that you can see the contrast between the red cranberry bogs against the green of the trees.
Address: 1361 Middleboro Ave, East Taunton, MA 02718
Maudslay State Park
What makes this park so special are the miles of 19th-century gardens that have been maintained and that lead to sprawling meadows. Many of the trees and shrubs burst into bloom as spring hits the air and the vivid pink hues of rhododendrons and azaleas decorate the landscape.
Things to do at Maudslay State Park in Newburyport include hiking, biking and horseback riding. In winter, there is also cross-country skiing available.
Address: 74 Curzon Mill Rd, Newburyport, MA 01950
Nickerson State Park
The 1900 acre Nickerson State Park is a magnificent park in the Cape Cod area that runs near the Old Kings Highway, one of the well-known Massachusetts scenic byways. The state park was created from the local estate of a Chicago liquor distiller. The scenery differs vastly from what one has come to expect from the Cape, as undulating wooded hills and crystal clear ponds form the landscape here. The largest pond is Mill Pond.
There are over 400 campsite places available including for tent camping and RV camping.
There is an 8 mile bike path that connects onto the Cape Cod Rail Trail and several hiking trails as well.With all the ponds, swimming, kayaking and canoeing are popular recreational activities as well. The 8 freshwater ponds are stocked with trout year-round and angling is a favorite activity.
Address: 3488 Main St, Brewster, MA 02631
Pilgrim Memorial State Park
Plymouth Rock is visited by over 1 million visitors annually as they delve into the history of America’s foundations. Having learned about the Pilgrims in school, many Americans include a visit to Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts.
The Pilgrim Trail enjoys year-round traffic as people of all skill levels can walk along the river and take in the historic sites which includes Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower II museum. Make sure to visit Plimoth Plantation and Myles Standish State Forest nearby too.
Address: 79 Water St., Plymouth, MA 02360
Sandy Point State Reservation
The 77-acre Sandy Point State Reservation is located on Plum Island in the northeast corner of the state. The pristine stretch of beach bordering the north Atlantic is perfect for swimming and soaking up the sun from the sandy shore.
Hunting is permitted on the inland section of the reservation and a variety of animals, including deer, roam freely here.
Address: Parker River Wildlife, Refuge Rd, Ipswich, MA 01938
South Cape Beach State Park
Located in the town of Mashpee in southern Cape Cod, the 4oo acres of the South Cape Beach State Park is part of the larger Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. The habitat is diverse with ponds, marshes and woodlands along with the dunes protecting a beach.
The mile long beach faces the Vineyard Sound with Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket in the distance. This calm expanse of ocean is perfect for swimming and water recreation, like canoeing or boating. You can also hike along the trails of South Cape Beach State Park.
Address: 668 Great Oak Rd, Mashpee, MA 02649
Walden Pond State Park
American philosopher, Henry David Thoreau, penned his well-known 1854 book “Walden” around Walden Pond around which Walden Pond State Park is based. The book gives an insightful look at living a modest life in one’s natural surroundings.
There’s even a recreation of Thoreau’s shack in the state park to visit. Nowadays though, it’s mostly used for swimming, hiking, biking and boating for visitors from nearby Boston.
Address: 915 Walden St, Concord, MA 01742
Wompatuck State Park
Established in 1969, the Wompatuck State Park spans 3500 acres. With its location relatively near to Boston, Wompatuck State Park is one of the most visited state parks in Massachusetts.
There are lots of amenities at Wompatuck State Park including 262 campsites.
There are over miles of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding. The Whitney Spur Rail Trail is noted for cycling. In winter, cross-country skiing is possible. Kayaking, canoeing and non-motorised boating is available on the Aaron River Reservoir.
Address: 204 Union St, Hingham, MA 02043
Western Massachusetts State Parks
Western Massachusetts State Parks are part of the famous Berkshires. It’s lucky to have both Mount Greylock State Reservation, the most famous Massachusetts State Park, and Bash Bish Falls, a Massachusetts state park with the highest waterfall.
Bash Bish Falls State Park
The main attraction at Bash Bish State Park is the Bash Bish Falls, of course. The 60 foot drop of the Bash Bish Falls are the highest drop waterfalls in Massachusetts. Conveniently located near the charming Berkshires town of Lenox MA, Bash Bish Falls is considered one of the hidden gems in Massachusetts.
Things to do in Bash Bish state park includes hiking, swimming, fishing and wildlife viewing.
Address: Falls Rd, Mt Washington, MA 01258
Balance Rock State Park
In the north-eastern outskirts of Massachusetts near Pittsfield is a monolith waiting to be discovered in the green forest.
Balance Rock, as its name states, is a giant 165-ton boulder balancing precariously on top of another, much smaller, rock. The rock itself is quite the spectacle to behold, but the surrounding hiking trails are marvelous as they meander through the lush forest surroundings.
Address: Balance Rock Rd, Pittsfield, MA 01201
Clarksburg State Park
This is one of the best state parks in Massachusetts to experience the fall foliage as sweeping orange, yellow, and red hues take over the scenery. Clarksburg State Park spans 368 acres.
There are 35 campsites near Mausert’s Pond where you can enjoy swimming, canoeing and fishing.
The Berkshire Hills and the Green Mountains can be seen from the Park’s unique vantage points and the Appalachian Trail also passes through the forest. There is also 9.5 miles of hiking trails going around the pond.
Address: 1199 Middle Rd, Clarksburg, MA 01247
Mount Greylock State Reservation
Mount Greylock, the highest point in Massachusetts, rises 3,491 feet above the valleys. A mature red spruce forest is the setting of the primitive hike-in camping for those looking to reach the summit. You will be met with panoramic views of five states from the peak, and the hike to the top is equally unforgettable.
Don’t feel like hiking to the top? Drive Rockwell Road from the Mount Greylock visitor’s center for 8 miles to reach the top with a lot less exertion. There’s a 1932 War Memorial at the top, too.
Address: 30 Rockwell Rd, Lanesborough, MA 01237
Natural Bridge State Park
State parks in Massachusetts all offer lovely ponds or lush forests, but Natural Bridge State Park is the only place in North America where visitors can see a natural white marble arch.
Thousands of years of corroding water has carved its way through the rock which now creates a splendid natural showcase as the Hudson Brook babbles through the 60-foot gorge.
Established in 1985, Natural Bridge state park is only 44 acres but totally worth visiting for its uniqueness.
Address: McAuley Rd, North Adams, MA 01247
Wahconah Falls State Park
The namesake of the park is a 40-foot tall cascading waterfall that tumbles into a clear swimming hole. The falls are in the heart of the Berkshire hills and visitors love to have picnics close to the scenic falls.
There is also a short half-mile hike that will take you higher up the stream and back to enjoy more of the superb surroundings.
Address: North St, Dalton, MA 01226, United States
Central Massachusetts State Parks
Pioneer Valley is the name given to the area around the Connecticut River that is in central Massachusetts. It is so-called for the early Massachusetts settlers pushing westward onto new land (for them). Skinner State Park, Mount Tom State Park and Robinson State Park are all state parks in Massachusetts in the Pioneer Valley.
Blackstone River and Canal State Park
This expansive 1,000-acre MA state park is located in Worcester County in central Massachusetts. It is perfect for a day trip where the whole family can enjoy canoeing and kayaking, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking.
Hunting is also permitted and there are various historical sites to visit on the grounds dating from the Industrial Revolution. You’ll learn how canals played a big role in the transportation of raw and finished goods between industrial centers.
In winter, snowmobiling and cross country skiing are permitted.
Address: 287 Oak St, Uxbridge, MA 0156
Chicopee Memorial State Park
The expansive 25-acre pond in the center of the park was once a reservoir but is now a recreation area that is in use year-round.
More than 500 acres can be explored by hiking or mountain biking, or you can relax around the pond and enjoy a picnic, or take a dip in the freshwater. Take an easy hike on Snake Brook Trail.
Address: 570 Burnett Rd, Chicopee, MA 01020
Mount Holyoke State Park
This is one of the larger state parks in Massachusetts and spans over 3,000-acres near Amherst Mass. The seven-mile ridged mountain was formed by lava rock millennia ago. More than 30-miles of roads and trails crisscross over the mountain.
Hiking and mountain biking are the dominant activities here. There are over 30 miles of trails in the park including the popular 8 mile Seven Sisters trail. Mountain bikers rate the Serpentine and Roller Coaster trails.
With dense snow can cover these parts in the winter, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling can also be enjoyed during winter.
Address: 500 West St, Amherst, MA 01002
Mount Tom State Park
West-central Massachusetts is home to Mount Tom State Park which features panoramic views across the Pioneer Valley. Bird watchers revel in the abundance of captivating bird species, including larger birds such as hawks.
There are 22 miles for hikers to enjoy at this MA state park. In winter, cross-country skiing can also be enjoyed at this park. There is no mountain biking allowed at Mount Tom State Park.
Address: 125 Reservation Rd, Holyoke, MA 01040
Purgatory Chasm State Park
Another unique Massachusetts state park is this geologic formation located in central MA, close to Worcester. It really is one of the hidden gems in Massachusetts.
The gorge is only a quarter of a mile long but it has many amazing rock formations throughout the trail. No one quite knows how this structure was formed but the theory is that it was formed by meltwater from the last Ice Age.
Rock climbers adore the intricate crevices of the granite walls that rise as high as 70 feet in some places. Purgatory Chasm State Park also has hiking trails and a playground.
Address: 198 Purgatory Rd, Sutton, MA 01590
Robinson State Park
On the northern border of the 1025 acre Robinson State Park is the winding Westfield River. Thanks to its unique habitat, the park is home to many wildflowers, including rare and unique species. Robinson State Park has 20 miles of trails for hiking and biking, including a portion of the historic Metacomet-Monadnock trail. There’s a small swimming pond and a beach area.
There is an abundance of wildlife in the park and small creatures like dragonflies and turtles are thriving. On the migration path of many birds, Robinson State Park is beloved by birdwatchers.
Address: 428 North St, Feeding Hills, MA 01030
Skinner State Park
Established in 1940, Skinner State Park lies over the western part of Mt Holyoke and covers 840 acres.
From April to November you can reach the summit by car and enjoy magnificent views of the Connecticut River Valley.
Make sure to take a tour of Summit House, an old hotel from 1851 which has been restored. From the Summit House, many paths lead across the mountain for hiking and biking. In the summertime, concerts are hosted here as well.
Skinner State Park is also a great place for fall foliage viewing in October.
Address: 10 Skinner State Park Rd, Hadley, MA 01035
Wells State Park
Established in 1968, Wells State Park is located in Sturbridge and a wonderful add-on if you are visiting Old Sturbridge Village and/or the Brimfield Antique fairs.
There are 55 sites for tent or RV camping and four yurts. You can camp from Memorial Day until Columbus Day.
There are 12 miles of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding. You can also go boating and fishing in Walker Pond located in Wells State Park. In winter, you can also go cross-country skiing.
Address: 159 Walker Pond Rd, Sturbridge, MA 01566
Map of Massachusetts State Parks
Here’s a map of Massachusetts State Parks listed above to help you plan your trip.
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