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Swan Boats, Boston MA
Swan Boats of Boston

by Eric Hurwitz. Page updated on 11/21/16

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(Editor's note: Links to Massachusetts travel article appear after this somewhat interesting intro) - Massachusetts has it all. Whether it's swimming in a Cape Cod ocean, hiking in the Berkshires, visiting the "Hub of the Universe" known as Boston, taking a nice country drive through the Quabbin Reservoir area, or visiting the great little towns and villages with a deep sense of history, one could live in Massachusetts a lifetime and not get to experience every special aspect of this special state.

Although one of the smaller states in New England, Massachusetts is packed with many things to do for the tourist, perfect for repeated vacations. The most obvious starting point is Boston. From the European leanings of Newbury Street to the festive shops and restaurants at Fanueil Hall, Boston is truly the "Hub of the Universe." With over 40 academic institutions, the magnificent Boston Common with masterful flower gardens, fine harbor views, world class restaurants, the Italian-flavored North End, some fascinating museums, the historic Freedom Trail, and a compact layout tailor made for walking, Boston deserves an extended visit.

Cape Cod is a famous tourist destination, now more built for year-round enjoyment -- why deny yourself to its charm just one or two seasons of the year? Cape Cod has three distinct personalities -- the commercial-laden miniature golf, motels, hotels, candle shop mania on sectors of Route 28 in and around Hyannis; the salt-air, tree-lined Route 6A hugging the ocean with its captain's homes, fine New England restaurants and charming bed and breakfasts; and the barren, expansive beaches found at the Cape Cod National Seashore Park in towns like Eastham, Truro and Welfleet. What that means is there are so many things to do for everyone within this famed 70 mile stretch. For those who say Cape Cod isn't what it used to be, trip-back-in-time towns like Yarmouthport, Chatham and Brewster give us the vision of true Cape Cod. For those who say Cape Cod is too boring, Hyannis, Falmouth and Yarmouth offer endless retail and nightlife possibilities. The bottom line is that there are sandy, warm water (for New England) beaches, enough so that you can find your own spot, enjoy the glorious moment, and start your trip planning to this famed vacation land.

The Berkshire Hills make for another top-notch Massachusetts tourist destination. With over 90 lakes and 90,000 acres of recreational land (golf, skiing, parks, etc.) within 45 miles north to south, the Berkshire Hills are a favorite amongst Bostonians and New Yorkers. Home of the famed Tanglewood Music Festival in Lenox, Mass., the Berkshires appeal to vacationers with its rolling hills, farmland, all-American, Norman Rockwell-type Main Streets (Stockbridge, Great Barrington, North Adams, West Stockbridge to name a few). North Adams, in particular, has enjoyed a wonderful turnaround, going from dumpy factory town to a charming tourist destination with interesting shops set to beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. Mount Greylock serves as the region's official mountain, actually being the highest point in Massachusetts at 3,491 feet. At Mt. Greylock, the dramatic and rather scary hairpin turn affords views of Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, Connecticut and New Hampshire. The Berkshire may not have the spectacular mountains of the nearby Green Mountains, of Vermont, but what it does have is true vacation appeal, courtesy of the lovely, gentle, unspoiled towns.

Massachusetts may have these major vacation destinations, but what really makes this one of New England's best states are the small towns and villages that give this compact state its true flavor. Towns like Petersham, Templeton, Westminster, Rutland, Barre, and West Brookfield in the middle and northern part of the state have no pretension or excessive development, just a lot of nice old homes, village greens and farmland that just goes to show that beyond the Boston suburbs begins the predominant rural character of Massachusetts. Especially nice is Quabbin Reservoir in the center of Massachusetts, where one can find a truly natural setting and capture perfect solitude, save an occasional eagle flying by.

On the more well known end, a stroll through historic Concord, including a peaceful stroll around Walden Pond(Henry David Thoreau's former home), or a day at a beach on the North Shore (Rockport, Gloucester, Ipswich, Manchester-By-The-Sea, Newburyport) are a few more ideas to get your Massachusetts vacation kicking into high gear.

We encourage you to "travel Massachusetts" through our library--at Visiting New England.com, native New Englanders bring you the best in New England vacation planning and travel information with detailed essays, reviews, tips and resources. We hope you enjoy browsing our Massachusetts travel library and hope to see you travel New England soon.
 

Find a hotel in Massachusetts

Massachusetts Travel and Vacation Articles from VisitingNewEngland and The Thrifty New England Traveler

Discover great Massachusetts destinations in the Best New England towns and cities article

Experience Massachusetts family fun things to do in the Best New England Attractions article

Find the best classic diners in Massachusetts through the Best Diners in New England book

How to enjoy a Massachusetts town common

See which apple orchards in Massachusetts made the Best of New England list

Visit great Massachusetts ice cream stands mentioned the Best Ice Cream Stands in New England article

The Best Seafood Restaurants in New England post reveals some amazing Massachusetts destinations

Massachusetts seafood shacks mentioned in The Best and Biggest Lobster Rolls in New England article

Find out which Massachusetts country stores are mentioned in the Best Country Stores in New England story

Recommended amusement and theme parks in Massachusetts, New England

Celebrate at Christmas festivals and events in Massachusetts

Old North Bridge in Concord is a revolutionary travel destination

Adams Farm in Walpole makes for a great escape

Take a tour of great Boston neighborhoods

New Bedford Whaling Museum offers a whale of a good time

What makes Plymouth America's hometown?

Faneuil Hall is a centerpiece of Boston travel

Cape Cod summer family attractions

Kimball Farm in Westford is not just an ice cream stand -- it's a destination

How to enjoy a vacation in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts

Gloucester: not your typical coastal vacation destination

The Swan Boats of Boston is a beloved local summer family travel attraction

Explore quaint downtown Walpole

Hidden Hopedale is a small, quaint town with big time history

Montague Bookmill in Montague: hard to find, worth the drive

Salem Cross Inn in West Brookfield features charming historic dining and delicious local fare

Longfellow's Wayside Inn in Sudbury offers a classic traditional New England dining experience

Classic old-fashioned New England doughnut shop: Country Kitchen Donuts in Walpole

What to expect beyond the Leaning Tower of Pizza at Prince Pizzeria in Saugus

Lobster rolls, fried clams plates and roast beef highlight Kelly's Roast Beef at Revere Beach

Regina Pizzeria in the North End of Boston serves incredible brick oven pizza

Quaint North Easton abounds with small town history

1761 Old Mill in Westminster might just be one of New England's most scenic restaurants

SPoT! in Norwood: bagel shop, old-time soda and candy store under one roof

Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls features hundreds of flowers on a former trolley bridge

West Brookfield offers a wonderfully quaint, small town New England travel eperience

Four town commons perfect for the fall season

See commanding views at the Hairpin Turn in the Berkshires

Salem Willows and FarmCoast mentioned in the 6 Great Hidden Gem New England Travel Destinations article

7 Best Independent bookstores in Massachusetts

Exploring Historic Deerfield

Walking through underrated downtown Greenfield

6 easy day trips from Boston to quaint country stores

Halibut Point in Rockport: a spectacular scenic coastal destination

Nuns at Wrentham monastery make, sell handmade chocolates

Wilson's Department Store in Greenfield: one of the last family owned and operated departments stores in the USA

Why you should walk in Williamstown

Traveling on a budget to Plymouth

Free and inexpensive museum admission in the Boston area

Turner Pond in Walpole offers outdoor pond skating, cozy fireplaced lodge

World's End in Hingham; an amazing coastal walk not too far from Boston

Fall apple picking, year-round country store, apple dumplings highlight Brookfield ORchards in North Brookfield

12 great budget travel ideas for Concord

America's pastime shines at a Cape Cod League Baseball game

Onset Village: a Cape Cod beach town alternative

The five best Cape Cod beaches

Enjoy a Fenway Park tour

Visit Nantucket on a budget

Why the Boston Public Garden should be on your Boston trip planning list

See 4 world class Boston attractions at a huge discount

6 low key things to near near Boston

Cabot's, an old-fashioned ice cream parolor in Boston

Family ice skating at the Boston Frog Pond

Tour the Freedom Trail in Boston

Nantasket Beach on a family budget

Bird Park in Walpole is simply beautiful


Book a Room in Massachusetts and get a great rate


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