Looking for a summer getaway destination steeped in colonial history? Massachusetts was one of the most important centers of early American life. Today, the city of Cambridge is home to universities that lead the way in research and technology, while the Berkshire region in the west offers ample scenery and outdoor activities. As for accommodations, stay at one of many Massachusetts vacation rentals to be situated within short distance of Plymouth, Salem, and other historic cities and towns. Check out the top summer getaway spots in this New England state.

1. Boston

Experience Boston’s rich history by walking the Freedom Trail. The trail takes you past Boston Commons, Paul Revere’s house, the Old State House, and other important sites. The trail is about 2.5 miles long and is an easy walk for visitors of all ages. Interpretive posts provide educational tidbits about the sites.

If you love baseball, take some time to visit Fenway Park to watch the multiple-time World Series Champion Red Sox defend their home turf. Spend an evening out of your vacation home to visit the city’s numerous restaurants, including the tasty Italian establishments in the city’s ‘Little Italy’ neighborhood.

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2. Plymouth

Relive the experience of the Pilgrims by spending your summer vacation in Plymouth. Kids and adults alike can walk the grounds of Plimoth Plantation museum to view an attempted replica of the 17th-century settlement. Staff in period clothing help to bring the plantation to life through interpretive programs and crafts.

Pilgrim Memorial State Park features a replica of the Mayflower and a boulder believed by some to be the Pilgrim’s landing spot. To learn more history of the area while relaxing at sea, hop aboard a Pilgrim Belle Cruise paddle wheeler.

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3. Provincetown

Located on the point of Cape Cod, Provincetown offers a picturesque seaside setting with easy access to beaches and historic sites. As with Plymouth, many sites commemorate the Pilgrims, such as the Pilgrim Monument. Provincetown Museum hosts more exhibits related to these early settlers.

Bars and restaurants such as the Lobster Pot and Shipwreck Lounge are great places to grab drinks and seafood before heading back to your vacation rental for a night of sleep by the sea.

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4. Stockbridge

Stockbridge and surrounding towns offer a different experience than towns on the eastern coast. Located in the western Berkshire region of Massachusetts, Stockbridge provides a surrounding of forests, mountains, and wildlife. For a fun day trip for all ages, visit the Berkshire Botanical Garden to see both native and exotic plants. There are also plenty of hiking trails in nearby state parks that take visitors up hills and through dense forests.

A short drive from Stockbridge is Lennox, home of the Tanglewood concert series. Tanglewood is the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, which performs classical concerts in an open air concert venue through most of the summer. Visitors can set up chairs and picnic blankets in the surrounding lawn to experience sweeping music under the summer sky.

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5. Salem

Salem is site of the infamous witch trials of the late 17th century. The Witch House and other attractions relate to this period in history, but the city also offers more upbeat attractions.

Nathanial Hawthorne was born here, and his home still stands for viewing. If art is up your ally, stop by the Peabody Essex Museum and check out their impressive Asian art collection. Kids and adults alike can choose from over 80 rides at Canobie Lake Park, including roller coasters and water rides to stay cool in the summer heat.

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6. Martha’s Vineyard

If you prefer vacation rentals in a really upscale area, check out Martha’s Vineyard. Scenic beaches provide ample room for picnics, swimming, or just soaking in the sun. Shopping opportunities range from bookstores to candy shops to boutiques. Stop by the West Tisbury Farmers Market to grab fresh produce and baked goods, and end your day by catching a movie with family or friends during the island’s summer film festival.

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7. Amherst

The home of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst offers restaurants, bars, and cultural venues within a vibrant college town atmosphere. Stop by the university’s Mead Art Museum for samples of modern art from around the world. Kids and adults who are young at heart will love the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Books. This unique institution houses collections of classic children’s works by such authors as Arnold Lobel and Jerry Pinkney.

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8. Nantucket

If your dream vacation rental consists of an island with plenty of beaches, then try Nantucket for your next summer trip. The island is still home to many 18th century buildings, giving the island an old-fashioned New England seaside charm. Birdwatchers can spot several species of water birds at Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge. Learn about the whaling history of the region by paying a visit to the Nantucket Whaling Museum.

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9. Cambridge

Cambridge is famous as the home of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Grab a vacation home here, and several historic buildings and museums sit at your doorstep. The Harvard Museum of Natural History boasts 16 galleries featuring everything from dinosaur skeletons to astronomy exhibits.

Summer evenings in Cambridge offer a great chance for a scenic stroll. All Saints’ Church and the Church of St. Mary the Great are among the impressive edifices you may pass.

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10. Worcester

Worcester is one of Massachusetts’s largest cities, and so offers plenty of restaurants and shops in addition to museums. The Worcester Art Museum includes works by such greats as Goya and Monet, while the museum’s Helmutt’s Drop-in Studio offer hands-on activities for kids. EcoTarium is an ecology museum that educates kids about the environment. Featuring both indoor and outdoor exhibits, it is the perfect stop on a sunny summer day.

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