Whether your vacation rental is in Boston, western Massachusetts, or the South Shore, you’ll still be in close proximity to a multitude of historic sites and national parks. Known as the Spirit of America, you can explore a variety of historic places in Massachusetts such as taking a walk on the Freedom Trail in downtown Boston or wandering around JFK’s old house in Brookline. Here are Tripping.com’s top 10 national parks in Massachusetts.
1. Cape Cod National Seashore
As one of the most popular vacation destinations in New England, Cape Cod is home to 40 miles of the National Seashore. The National Seashore includes trails, visitor centers, and six beaches that are open year round. There are lifeguards on the beaches from late June through Labor Day. No matter where your vacation rental is in the Cape, whether it be in the lower cape in Yarmouth or in Provincetown at the tip of the cape, the National Seashore is just a short drive away.
2. Boston National Historical Park
As one of the first cities in America, Boston is home to numerous historic monuments, museums, and sites. See where the Boston Tea Party was and then take a walk along the Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail is a great way to see a lot of sites, such as Faneuil Hall and the Old South Meeting House if you’re short on time. Other notable historic sites include the USS Constitution and the Paul Revere House.
3. New England National Scenic Trail
The New England Trail is a 215-mile trail that goes from Long Island up into Massachusetts. Along the trail, you can see waterfalls, beautiful fall foliage, village centers, and more. If your vacation rental is in central Massachusetts, you can bring the family hiking on a trail such as the Mount Norwottuck Loop. If you’re in the northern part of the state, a good family trail is along Royalston Falls, which has great views.
4. Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area
The Boston Harbor Islands are a collection of 34 islands and peninsulas just outside of Boston. The two most popular islands are generally Spectacle and Georges. On the islands, you can walk through a fort from the Civil War, hike along trails with views of the Boston skyline, have a picnic, go fishing, and more.
5. John Fitzgerald Kennedy Historic Site
Rose Kennedy recreated the home she raised her son John Fitzgerald Kennedy in in Brookline, Massachusetts. Since this year is the centennial of JFK’s birth in 1917, the site will be having special events. In July and August, the house is open 9:30 am to 5 pm. In September and October, the house is only open Wednesday through Sunday.
6. Lowell National Historical Park
If you’re interested in learning more about the Industrial Revolution and its’ impact on America’s economy today, there is no better place to be than Lowell, Massachusetts. See the historic textile mills firsthand. Explore the exhibits at the Boott Mills Museum, listen to folk music as you walk through the Lowell National Historic Park, or go to some of the events at the Tsongas Industrial History Center.
7. Appalachian National Scenic Trail
The Appalachian Trail stretches for over 2,000 miles along the eastern part of the United States. You can start in Massachusetts and work your way up or down. The trail is open 24 hours a day all year round. Certain sections, particularly up in Maine, may be closed at any given time depending on weather conditions.
8. Springfield Armory National Historic Site
Located in western Massachusetts, the Springfield Armory is America’s first armory and is known for its’ crucial part in providing firearms in past wars. Learn about the innovative manufacturing processes and technologies utilized in America’s past. The visitor center includes a museum that focuses on weapons made for the American Industrial Revolution.
9. Essex National Heritage Area
Located just outside of Boston, the Essex National Heritage Area spans 500 square miles and includes 13 visitor centers. Learn about the iron and steel industry at the Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site or see the exhibits at the George Peabody House Museum. You have a lot of options based on which town or industrial area you are interested in learning about.
10. Salem Maritime National Historic Site
Salem is known for more than being the setting of The Crucible and witch trials. The park is nine acres and features historic buildings and replicas of famous ships. Visit the lighthouse, Hawkes House, Derby House, and more. The Salem Maritime National Historic Site is an ideal location for families since it has Junior Ranger programs, guided tours, and special events throughout the year.
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