As one of the original Thirteen Colonies and birthplace of the American Revolution, it is no wonder Massachusetts is renowned for its rich history. It was here in the early seventeenth-century that the first colonists arrived and set up settlements.
Tucked away in the northeast of the United States in New England, its long Atlantic Ocean coastline is dominated by the three ginormous bays that shape it. While countless historic sites litter the Bay State, it also has scenic spots such as Cape Cod for holidaymakers to enjoy.
Here’s a look at the best places to visit in Massachusetts:
Number 10. Cambridge
A world leader in higher education, Cambridge is home to both Harvard and MIT; two of the most prestigious universities around. Lying just across the Charles River from Boston, it has historic campuses to tour around with impressive buildings and museums dotted here and there.
Often considered part of Boston, Cambridge is very much a city in its own right, though much of town life revolves around its famous universities.
At Harvard Yard, for instance, you can see amazing old halls and charming libraries while Kendall Square is known as ‘the most innovative square mile on the planet’.
Number 9. The Berkshires
Nature and the arts exist compatibly in the Berkshires, a hilly area in western Massachusetts. Most of the hills are under 1,200 feet high, though a couple do climb higher to the sky. The Berkshires are filled with hiking trails, including parts of the Appalachian Trail. The highest waterfall in Massachusetts, Bash Bush Falls, is located here.
Travelers who get tired of hiking can take in an art museum or two, including the Norman Rockwell Museum, or a concert at Tanglewood Music Center.
Number 8. Minute Man National Historical Park
Commemorating the opening battle in the American Revolutionary War is the Minute Man National Historical Park just outside Concord.
Here you can see the exact route marched by the British from Boston and where the Colonials first engaged them in battle on April 19, 1775. At the historic park, visitors can cross over North Bridge – the site of the skirmish – and walk along the ‘Battle Road Trail’.
Restored colonial buildings highlight key events while uniforms and artifacts are shown in its visitor center.
Number 7. Nantucket
The island of Nantucket is a popular summer tourist destination with a population that jumps from almost 11,000 year-round residents to 50,000 in the summer. It offers quiet harbors, dramatic cliffs, sandy beaches and beautiful old mansions.
The history of Nantucket properly begins in 1659, when it was purchased for thirty pounds and two beaver hats by Tristram Coffin from its original settler. There’s evidence of its long history in almost everything about Nantucket, from the charming cobblestoned Main Street and the Jethro Coffin House, all the way to the Brant Point Light, established in 1746.
Number 6. New Bedford
Located on the on the southern coast, New Bedford is known as “the whaling city” as it was one of the most important whaling port in the world during the 19th century.
The New Bedford Whaling Museum is the largest museum in the United Sates devoted to whaling. Across the street from the museum, Seamen’s Bethel is the chapel that was immortalized in Moby Dick. Visitors can also tour a whaling merchant’s home as well as museums devoted to art and firefighting equipment.
Number 5. Martha’s Vineyard
Lying just to the south of Cape Cod, the magnificent Martha’s Vineyard has long been popular with the rich and famous. Despite the wealth of artists, celebrities, musicians, and presidents who vacation here, New England’s largest island has a lovely laidback air, with pretty and picturesque scenery to discover.
Dotted about the quaint countryside are small towns and villages full of cosy inns, boutique hotels, and exquisite restaurants, while scenic beaches line its shores. Besides its fine dining and relaxing retreats, there are also many excellent outdoor activities to partake in, including cycling and golfing.
Number 4. Salem
Travelers who aren’t afraid of ghosts and goblins may want to spend Halloween in Salem, home of the famous witchcraft trials in the days when Puritans ruled the city. Haunted happenings take place all over Salem then, but those who visit at other times can learn about witches at a special museum devoted just to them.
Even before the trials, Salem had a long and proud history on the sea. Its beautiful waterfront isn’t just for picnics and beach days.
Here, you can explore ancient ships and custom houses and buildings still standing from the 1600s.
Number 3. Plymouth
Plymouth is where it all began back in 1620. Travelers can transport themselves back in time at Plimouth Plantation, a living history museum that shows how the Pilgrims lived in 1627.
Next comes a tour of Mayflower II, a replica of the ship that carried the Pilgrims to the New World.
Or they can be one of the estimated one million visitors a year to Plymouth Rock, the site where the Pilgrims supposedly stepped ashore. Travelers can also tour a cranberry farm, visit historic homes or play a round of golf on more than a dozen courses.
Number 2. Cape Cod
Cape Cod is an arm-shaped peninsula located on the easternmost part of Massachusetts. It has developed into one of the most popular destinations in the state in the summer. Lighthouses, cranberry bogs, sandy beaches, and walking and biking trails dot the Cape Cod National Seashore.
The popular resort town of Provincetown, at the very tip of the peninsula, is the site of the first landing of the Pilgrims. While Cape Cod is known for its artist colonies and quaint villages, it’s the village of Hyannis that put the cape on the map because it is the summer home of the Kennedy family.
Number 1. Boston
Boston is loaded with history, from being one of the oldest cities in the United States to hosting the world’s most famous tea “party.” Visitors can relive Boston’s participation in the American Revolution by walking the Freedom Trail.
But the commonwealth’s capital is so much more than history.
The largest city in New England is also also home to successful professional athletic teams as well as the Boston Pops Orchestra. Whether travelers are visiting Paul Revere’s house or Fenway Park, cultural activities and fine dining opportunities abound in this eastern city by the bay..