Visiting a national park in Massachusetts is always a great idea.
There are so many Massachusetts state parks to visit, and the best part about it is that they’re all free!
For those of you who live in Boston, there are some really amazing day trips that you can take as well.
In this blog post we will talk about these Massachusetts state parks and why it’s worth the trip for anyone looking to spend time outdoors, or learning about the history of the United Staes!
The United States is full of some unbelievable national parks!
Be sure to check out our list of the 10 best national parks to visit with family too!
1. Blackstone River Valley National Historic Park
Blackstone River Valley National Historic Park is a beautiful Massachusetts state park, and it’s considered the birthplace of American industry.
The region has deep roots in manufacturing so visitors can expect to see old factories on display during their visit!
The Blackstone River dates back to 1716 and served as an important source of energy for Massachusetts until it was closed down in 1924 due to pollution.
Luckily, thanks to government intervention that happened over 50 years later, the river reopened after going through two major cleanup efforts between 1987-1992.
Visitors will be able to enjoy exploring four miles of trails with access points from Whitinsville Dam downstream all the way up close by Woonsocket Falls at Mount Hope Bay State Reservation.
Blackstone River Valley is a great place to go if you’re interested in history, but it is also great for those who want to kayak, canoe, and paddle board on the river!
Guests will also be able to enjoy beautiful hikes, bike rides, and scenery at this gem of a park.
2. Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area
Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area is a Massachusetts state park that’s conveniently located in the city of Boston.
In order to enjoy this Massachusetts state park, you’ll need to catch one of the ferries departing from Rowe’s Wharf or Long Wharf (or one of their partner docks) and make your way out to Georges Island.
From there on it’s just about exploring these islands!
You can kayak around for endless hours, take hikes along trails with scenic views of Boston skyline, and get some quality time outdoors without ever leaving Boston!
And if you decide to spend more than a day on the beautiful islands there are plenty of camping spots available as well!
The best part? This Massachusetts state park is open all year round so visitors will have plenty of opportunities try visiting anytime they want!
Visitors should also keep in mind that the Massachusetts state park is an important nesting ground for migratory shorebirds, so it’s not recommended that you go there during their breeding and nesting season.
One of the most famous attractions at this state park is Fort Warren that was built in 1833 and is still standing strong today!
Visitors can check out the old buildings, take guided tours on weekends, or use it as a meeting spot before exploring some of the many things to do nearby.
On Little Brewster Island, you can also visit the oldest lighthouse in the country!
Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area is a Massachusetts state park that’s worth checking out if you’re looking for an adventure near Boston.
3. John F. Kennedy National Historic Site
The John F. Kennedy National Historic Site is a Massachusetts state park that’s located in the town of Brookline, Massachusetts and it honors the former president who was assassinated on November 22nd 1963 in Dallas Texas.
The Massachusetts state park offers visitors with sweeping views of Boston as well as plenty to see during their visit!
Visitors will be able to tour JFK’s birthplace at 83 Beals Street, his grandparents’ home – which he often visited while growing up – at 179 Chestnut Hill Ave., and even explore some other historic sites like Elmwood Cemetery where members of his family are buried or St. James Episcopal Church, an important site for President Kennedy’s funeral services.
It also features the Ambassador Hotel where President John F. Kennedy made his last speech.
This Massachusetts state park is a great place to visit if you’re interested in history and want to honor the legacy of JFK while exploring some beautiful spots on your day off from work or school!
4. Boston African American National Historic Site
Boston African American National Historic Site is a Massachusetts state park that celebrates the history of Boston’s black community and their contributions to society.
It commemorates sites related to slavery, abolitionism, civil rights movements in our country, and Black History Month.
Visitors will be able to tour Robert Gould Shaw Memorial by Samuel Parker Johnson which honors an officer of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment who was killed during the Civil War while leading his men into battle at Fort Wagner;
The New England Historic Genealogical Society which has an extensive collection of records and archives related to African American families; the Black Heritage Trail in Boston Common that features 16 monuments dedicated to important figures from our community, as well as other Massachusetts state parks.
This Massachusetts state park is a great place for those looking to learn more about black culture while exploring some notable sites!
5. Adams National Historical Park
Adams National Historical Park is a Massachusetts state park that would be perfect for visitors looking to learn about our country’s founding fathers and history!
The Massachusetts state park features the home where second U.S President John Adams lived from 1788-1801 called Peacefield which offers tours of the gardens as well as his library where he hosted many guests during this time period.
The home of the sixth U.S President John Quincy Adams is at this Historic park as well!
Visitors will also have access to two other important sites including: George Washington House – now operated by Plymouth Plantation, offering guided tours with interpreters in Colonial costumes who bring life back to 18th century Boston; and Woodlawn Cemetery which includes monuments honoring historic figures like William Lloyd Garrison, Samuel Gridley Howe, and Lucy Stone.
Adams National Historical Park is a great place for those who are interested in the history of the United States, and who like to see historic sites from the early stages of the countries development.
6. Boston National Historical Park
Boston National Historical Park is a Massachusetts state park that features sites related to the Revolutionary War and early American history.
Visitors will see places like: Boston Common, which was established as an important public space in 1634; Faneuil Hall Marketplace on the Freedom Trail with shops, restaurants, and exhibits about historic events; Old South Meeting House where Samuel Adams first called for independence from Great Britain during a meeting here on December 16th 1773 – now visitors can explore this site for free!
There is a 2.5-mile trail called Freedom Trail that goes through this park connecting many historic sites to see including where the Boston Tea Party was, and well as where Paul Revere took his Midnight Ride.
All of these sites are really cool to see and the Freedom Trail is a great way to get to see all of them in person.
This Massachusetts state park would be perfect for those who are looking to learn more about our country’s rich past while exploring some of its most famous locations including Massachusetts’ State House located nearby at Beacon Hill.
7. Longfellow House – Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site
Longfellow House – Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site is a Massachusetts state park that celebrates the history of American patriots!
Visitors can explore the historic Longfellow House, which was home to famous poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
This Massachusetts state park features a long trail with scenic views through Concord and Lexington battlefields where you will find monuments honoring participants in an event called “The Shot Heard Around the World.”
Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Park is full of rich history about our founding fathers and their fight against Great Britain during 1775-1776.
It includes some places like: Old North Bridge, where colonists were able to stop the British troops who were trying to destroy their ammunition; and Buckman Tavern which served as Washington’s headquarters during a key time in American history.
This Massachusetts state park is perfect for those looking for an educational experience about this important period of our country’s development!
8. New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park
New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park is a Massachusetts state park that explores the history of American whaling.
Visitors will see places like: The Old Dartmouth Historical Society, which has an exhibit called “Life and Death at Sea” about all aspects of life on board a 19th century whaleship; or New Bedford’s Commercial Street where visitors can explore the fascinating architecture and learn more about how this city became America’s second largest seaport in terms of tonnage by 1866.
In that time period whale oil was used for lamps and to make soaps, lubricants, paints, candles and varnish.
Whalers would have used harpoons to kill these giants – towers are located throughout this Massachusetts state park with some replicas showing what they looked like!
Some other cool things that people could do while visiting includes watching the marine mammals (including whales!) frolic in New Bedford’s North River.
9. Cape Cod National Seashore
Cape Cod National Seashore is a Massachusetts state park that protects some of the most beautiful beaches in America!
Visitors will see places like: The historic Cape Cod Canal, which was completed in 1914 and cut through solid granite rock to make a passage for boats.
Cape Cod National Seashore has miles of coastline with amazing views on many different types of sand including Sandy Beach, or Nauset Light Beach where you can visit an iconic lighthouse built back from 1857.
You’ll also find sandy white coves such as Herring Creek Cove – there are even so-called “hummocks” found here made out of red clay by wind and water erosion over centuries.
Campers should be aware that Cape Cod National Seashore does not have camping facilities, but you can enjoy the solitude at Whitehouse Landing Beach or head to one of many well-known campgrounds in nearby towns.
This Massachusetts state park is perfect for those looking to escape from bustling city life and enjoy more natural beauty!
10. Springfield Armory National Historic Site
Springfield Armory National Historic Site is Massachusetts state park that has preserved some of the world’s most famous firearms.
Visitors will see places like: The Assembly Building, which was used to produce Model 1903 rifles and other weapons for both World War I and II; or Springfield Exhibit Center where visitors can explore a variety of exhibits including “From Muskets to Missiles” about the evolution of military technology.
This state park also features indoor galleries with displays such as an early 20th century machine shop with tools still in use today!
Timed tickets are required for this Massachusetts state park – so be sure to plan your visit ahead of time by purchasing them online in advance!
The Massachusetts state parks listed above are perfect for those looking to escape from bustling city life and enjoy more natural beauty, or learn about the history in the area.
Whether you’re visiting the British battlefields during 1775-1776 or exploring New Bedford’s Commercial Street, these Massachusetts state parks will provide a variety of sights that everyone can appreciate!
Whether you’re looking for a day trip from Boston, or a longer vacation, there are many parks in Massachusetts to explore!
For all your future vacation planning and needs be sure to check out Destinations Travel Guide!
- Blackstone River Valley National Historic Park
- Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area
- John F. Kennedy National Historic Site
- Boston African American National Historic Site
- Adams National Historical Park
- Boston National Historical Park
- Longfellow House – Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site
- New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park
- Cape Cod National Seashore
- Springfield Armory National Historic Site