21 Massachusetts State Parks

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The New England state of Massachusetts is America’s sixth smallest state but that’s not to say there’s less to do. This state is brimming with exciting cultural, historical, and natural things to do. Massachusetts Is perhaps best known for its internationally rated colleges like Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Among the prestige of these top schools, Massachusetts also has several wonderful state parks.

The Bay State has 48 state parks, but this is a list of the best 20 Massachusetts state parks you must visit. Whether you are spending a lot of time in the state of simply passing through on a New England road trip, these parks are well worth a visit.

Massachusetts State Parks

21 State Parks In Massachusetts To Visit

1- Massasoit State Park

Massasoit State Park massachusetts
Massasoit State Park is one of the lovely state parks in Massachusetts for nature lovers.

Massasoit State Park is on the north end of Lake Rico in southern Massachusetts and is set in a lovely forested area.

This is one park where you can swim, kayak, mountain bike, hike and fish.

It’s great for families as there’s a playground that will keep kids entertained for hours.

The park encompasses 1,200 acres, six lakes and ponds, and a unique natural area, the cranberry bog.

You can walk around the cranberry bog and see this red fruit in the harvest.

If you want to launch a boat, head to the boat launch at the north end of Lake Rico.

Massasoit State Park is at 1361 Middleboro Ave, East Taunton, MA 02718.

2- Bash Bish Falls State Park

Bash Bish Falls State Park waterfall cascading into a pool in the fall
Bash Bish Falls State Park is a beautiful state park in Massachusetts to visit in the fall.

Bash Bish just sounds like it’s going to be a good state park. The fun-named Bash Bish Falls State Park’s main focal point is the waterfall.

This waterfall and state park is in the southwest corner of Massachusetts, close to the border with New York.

Bash Bish Falls is the highest waterfall in the state at around 80 feet (24 m).

The waterfall’s base has an emerald plunge pool and several hiking routes to reach the falls.

There are several ways to access the park.

Park at Massachusetts Parking Lot and take a 0.6-mile rugged trip to the falls or park at the New York Parking Lot and take a 1.5-mile (2.4 km) round-trip hike that’s more gradual.

Another way in is to take the South Taconic Trail, which is 12.4 miles (20 km) and access to the start of this trail is at Taconic State Park in New York.

Bash Bish Falls State Park is at Falls Rd, Mt Washington, MA 01258.

3- Pearl Hill State Park

The beautiful Pearl Hill State Park is in northern Massachusetts, around 4 miles (6.4 km) outside of Townsend.

If you are searching for a quiet, tranquil spot to spend time with the family, this is a great place to be.

You can swim at Pearl Hill Brook Pond and stay the night by camping at one of the 50 campsites.

In the morning, you can head out along the park’s hiking trails or grab mountain bikes and whizz along the trails.

In winter, there are opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling too.

Pearl Hill State Park is at 105 New Fitchburg Rd, Townsend, MA 01474.

4- Chicopee Memorial State Park

Looking for a beach that’s not by the coast? Chicopee Memorial State Park is a brilliant place to swim and relax on the sandy shoreline.

Located just a 10-minute drive outside Springfield, this is a great state park to escape city life and relax.

On a hot day, you’ll first want to take a dip in the Chicopee Reservoir.

With a backdrop of trees, this is a real love place to lol about in the water.

There are some excellent trails in the park. You can check out the 2.6-mile (4.2 km) loop Chicopee Paved Trail which guides you around the lake.

This trail is frequented by walkers, runners, and road bikers but it’s usually relatively quiet.

Chicopee Memorial State Park is at 570 Burnett Rd, Chicopee, MA 01020.

5- Borderland State Park

A little different to many of the state parks on this list, Borderland State Park features a historic mansion and grounds.

Located in North Easton, around 40 minutes drive south of Boston, Borderland State Park is a must-visit if you are in the area.

Within this 1,800 acres (728 ha) park, there are plenty of things to see and do.

There are six ponds where you can fish.

You can also hike and bike around the park’s many trails.

Of course, the main attraction at this state park is the historic mansion.

The Ames property was a country estate during the 1900s and the home is a three-story mansion built with stope.

You can explore inside the house and check out the first floor.

Borderland State Park is at 259 Massapoag Ave, North Easton, MA 02356.

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6- Hopkinton State Park

The pinnacle of Hopkinton State Park is the Hopkinton reservoir but there’s a little bit of everything to see and do at this Massachusetts state park.

The forested 1,500-acre (607 ha) park is interwoven with hiking trails.

You can swim at the designated swimming beach from late May to Labor Day.

You can also enjoy boating in summer by renting kayaks, paddleboards and canoes.

Pack a picnic as you can enjoy over 300 picnic spots, including grill sites.

What is more, it’s only a 40-minute drive west of Boston to reach this park so it’s perfect for a day trip away from the city.

Hopkinton State Park is at 164 Cedar St, Hopkinton, MA 01748.

7- C.M. Gardner State Park

The beautiful C.M. Gardner State Park is a 40-minute drive outside Springfield set in the foothills of the Berkshire countryside.

While the park itself is not very big, there are plenty of things to do from hiking trails to kayaking and canoeing on Littleville Lake as well as opportunities to fish.

With grills and picnic areas, it’s also an excellent place to relax and enjoy lunch with friends or family.

C.M. Gardner State Park is at 170 Worthington Rd, Huntington, MA 01050.

8- Dunn State Park

Dunn Pond sits between Dunn State Park and Gardner Heritage State Park. Dunn State Park is just a five-minute drive from Gardner in northern Massachusetts.

This park provides a pond-side experience and an island you can explore by canoe or kayak.

The pond has many interesting coves you can discover.

You can interact with wildlife, too as there are ducks, turtles and gulls.

There are two fishing piers and anglers can enjoy the well-stocked trout pond.

The wheelchair-accessible Woodland Trail leads you through the forest to Dunn Pond and the 1.1-mile Pond Loop Trail finishes at the Pond House Visitor Center.

Dunn State Park is at 289 Pearl St, Gardner, MA 01440.

9- Cochituate State Park

Cochituate State Park is around 20 miles (32 km) west of Boston and consists of three linked ponds that make up Lake Cochituate.

With such an extensive lake system, water activities are at the top of most people’s agenda when visiting the park.

Non-motorised boats are allowed on the lake and there are often sailing boats, canoes, and kayaks.

In winter, the park turns into a cross-country skiing haven.

Cochituate State Park is at 43 Commonwealth Rd, Natick, MA 01760.

10- Clarksburg State Park

Clarksburg State Park is a small and intimate park in the northwestern corner of Massachusetts.

The park is 368 acres (149 ha) and is covered in hardwood trees.

Hiking among the beautiful trees of this state park is one of the best things you can do there.

The Pine Cobble Trail is a 3.3-mile (5.3 km) out-and-back trail that takes around 2 hours and 15 minutes to complete.

This is popular in summer and for snowshoeing in winter.

The trail is well-marked and maintained and provides excellent views of the surrounding forest.

Clarksburg State Park is at 1199 Middle Rd, Clarksburg, MA 01247.

11- Ashland State Park

Ashland State Park is next to Ashland Reservoir, just 30 miles from Boston and is a 470-acre (190 ha) park with a massive 157-acre (64 ha) reservoir.

There is no vehicle access or restroom facilities in this park between Labor Day (September 4th) and Memorial Day (May 29th).

During the rest of the year, visitors can enjoy various activities, from hiking and biking to boating and swimming.

Ashland State Park is at 156 W Union St, Ashland, MA 01721.

12- Nickerson State Park

If you are searching for state parks on Cape Cod, look no further than Nickerson State Park, which is around 3 miles (4.8 km) outside Brewster and is well worth visiting.

Cape Cod is beautiful, and Nickerson State Park is no exception.

Cliff Pond is the park’s central feature and a popular spot for swimming and boating.

Surrounding the pond, there are plenty of trails that lead you through woodland as well as to other ponds.

There are also eight miles of bike paths that also connect with the 22-mile (35 km) Cape Cod Rail Trail.

This is also a popular place for camping, with more than 400 campsite spots.

Nickerson State Park is at 3488 Main St, Brewster, MA 02631.

13- Wompatuck State Park

Just a stone’s throw away from Boston, Wompatuck State Park makes for a great day out.

This 3,536-acre (1431 ha) park is set in a forest with many streams and ponds.

It is a popular Massachusetts state park for camping, with 250 campground sites to enjoy a long weekend away from Boston.

With 40 miles (64 km) of forest trails, you can get back to nature at this state park.

There are also plenty of enjoyable trails for those with mountain bikes. And winter sports enthusiasts will love the area for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.

Wompatuck State Park is at 204 Union St, Hingham, MA 02043.

14- Moore State Park

Moore State Park is just under 10 miles (16 km) northwest of Worcester. Located right in the heart of Massachusetts, this is an excellent park for people visiting from all over the state.

This area was home to grist and sawmills during the 18th and 20th centuries, but now it’s a popular park for walking and watching the cascading waterfalls.

If you are looking for historic insight into the state and the area’s industry, then this state park is for you.

There’s also the chance to see the foundations of an old stone mill and a restored sawmill.

Nature is plentiful in this state park and nature walks are encouraged. There are rhododendrons, azaleas and laurels to wander through.

There are also opportunities for boating on Eames Pond.

Moore State Park is at 1 Sawmill Rd, Paxton, MA 01612.

15- Ames Nowell State Park

Head to the Massachusetts town of Abington, and you’ll find Ames Nowell State Park.

The main activities at this state park are boating and fishing on Cleveland Pond.

This body of water is interesting for kayakers and canoers because there are several islands, crooks and crevasse to explore.

A great circular route around the park is 3.3 miles (5.3 km) long.

This trail guides you on an hour hike around the park, passing by the Cleveland Pond and through the woodland.

Ames Nowell State Park is at Linwood St, Abington, MA 02351.

16- Robinson State Park

Wildlife lovers should put Robinson State Park on their list as the park is home to several rare dragonflies, turtles and bears and wildflowers bloom in spring.

One of the best ways to explore is to join the Robinson State Park Extended Loop trail, which is a 10-mile (16.4 km) trail that takes around four hours and allows you to see a lot of the park and follows much of the Westfield River.

Robinson State Park is at 428 North St, Feeding Hills, MA 01030.

17- Wells State Park

In between Worcester and Springfield in southern Massachusetts is Wells State Park.

Wells State Park was first established in 1968 and now features 567 ha (1400 acres) of public recreation facilities.

There are 12 miles (19 km) of hiking trails waiting to be explored.

In the summer months, mountain bikers and horse riders hit the trails, while in winter, the park turns into a cross-country skier’s paradise.

One of the best things about Wells State Park is its diverse landscape of forests, ridges and wetlands that provide unique habitats for local wildlife.

One of the best trails you can take is up to the cliffs of Carpenter Rocks, named after John Carpenter, the local sawmill builder.

Here you can enjoy scenic views of Walker Pond and the surrounding wooded valley.

There are also opportunities to go boating and fishing.

The fish you might be able to catch include largemouth bass, chain pickerel, yellow perch, bluegill and much more.

Wells State Park is at 159 Walker Pond Rd, Sturbridge, MA 01566.

18- Myles Standish State Forest Park

Close to Cape Cod is between Plymouth and Wareham and around a 15-minute drive from the Atlantic Ocean, Myles Standish State Forest Park is home to some ecologically important coastal “kettle” ponds.

These delicate ecosystems are to be observed and treated with care.

This park has 35 miles (56 km) of equestrian trails, 15 miles (24 km) of biking trails and 13 miles (21 km) of hiking trails, so there’s plenty to do for those who love the outdoors.

Myles Standish State Forest Park is at 194 Cranberry Rd, Carver, MA 02330.

19- Bradley Palmer State Park

Bradley Palmer State Park is situated on the Ipswich River.

This state park features pine trees and beautiful rolling meadows that flourish in spring and summertime.

With a visit to Bradley Palmer State Park, you’ll be treated to an array of trails that pass through beautiful rural landscapes.

The Bay Circuit Trail and the Discover Hamilton Trail are two main trails through the park.

This state park also links to Willowdale State Forest, which is worth visiting.

Bradley Palmer State Park is at 40 Asbury St, Topsfield, MA 01983.

20- Maudslay State Park

Maudslay State Park is known for its 19th-century gardens, rolling meadows and large pine trees.

This park is also known for having Massachusetts’s largest amount of naturally occurring mountain laurel.

Wander along the park’s trails or on a bike to discover a vast array of flora. 

During the summer, you can enrol yourself or your kids in the state park’s educational programs to learn about the park, its history, geography and the species found there.

Maudslay State Park is at 74 Curzon Mill Rd, Newburyport, MA 01950. 

21- Halibut Point State Park

halibut point aerial view
Halibut Point State Park is a unique Massachusetts state park to visit.

One reason to visit Halibut Point State Park is for its stunning coastal views.

The park sits on a peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean and offers panoramic views of the ocean, islands and rocky coastal landscapes.

Trails wind along the coastline and offer vantage points to take in the views.

On of the unique features of this park is its quarry exhibit, where you’ll delight in discovering the history of granite quarrying in the area.

It’s a must-visit state park in Massachusetts for history and geology enthusiasts.

The park is near Rockport and named after Halibut Point, a rocky outcropping that was once a major source of granite used for building construction.

Besides hiking, this Massachusetts state park is perfect for fishing and bird viewing as you’ll get a chance to spot ospreys, hawks and falcons. 

The park is a venue for concerts and other events in summer and is open year-round but some facilities may be closed in winter. 

Halibut Point State Park is at Gott Ave, Rockport, MA 01966.

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harriet comley
Harriet Comley is a travel enthusiast, freelance travel writer and a lover of safaris. Since 2017 she has been travelling the globe living in the UK, Canada, Vietnam, China and now Zambia, where she is completing her PhD in Sustainable Tourism. For 3 1/2 years she taught English in Vietnam and China. Now she has turned her attention to writing, having contributed to a number of travel blogs and websites always focusing on what she loves most…exploring!