Massachusetts might just be one of our favourite places on the East Coast! Trust me, when you visit, you’ll be spoilt for choice with all the best places in Massachusetts that are dotted all across the state.
We totally loved visiting and savoured every second of our time travelling across Massachusetts; and not just because of all the delicious lobster!
So, to help you get the most out of your trip, I wanted to share some of the totally gorgeous gems you shouldn’t miss. This way, stick to the exploring without getting bogged down with all the planning.
Take a look, below, at the best places in Massachusetts to visit. Have a totally fun time exploring the East Coast.
One of the most historic cities in the US, Boston is an absolute must when visiting Massachusetts.
On our last visit, we spent around 5-days exploring the city and totally loved the downtown area and the shoreline that’s just sp epic to explore. In fact, I kinda wished we’d stayed longer.
Whilst here, be sure to take some time to explore the historic Faneuil Hall. Built back in the 1700s, it’s an iconic piece of Boston that you really can’t miss. Since then, it was given as a hall to
the city by Peter Faneuil and housed many lively debates and protests that have shaped the area.
Fancy a stroll? Then head out on the iconic Freedom Trail that crisscrosses some historic spots in Boston. Linking sixteen attractions and historic landmarks, you’ll get to explore Boston Common, Massachusetts State House and the Old State House (to name a few).
Even though the trail is only around 2.5 miles in length, give yourself extra time to explore. I guarantee you’ll keep stopping along so make sure to add a few more hours to your itinerary.
For a chilled out afternoon, spend some more time in Boston Common. It’s totally idyllic to visit and it’s even got the Public Garden Swan Boats that’s across the road in the Boston Public Garden. Bordered at one end by Back Bay and at the other end by Commonwealth Road, it’s one of the best places in Massachusetts for a quirky slice of Bostonian history!
Wanna watch a game? Head over to the historic Fenway Park. Over 100 years old, it’s an iconic baseball park that sits pride of place in Boston.
To this day, It still has many of its features present since its opening in 1912 such as the iconic Green Monster and the manually operated scoreboard that you can’t miss.
Finally, be sure to stop off at the stunning Museum of Fine Arts with its world-class collections and the Institute of Contemporary Art. The latter is down on the Waterfront and really easy to visit when you’re already visiting the nearby Boston Tea Party Ships.
Oh, and for a tasty bite, get yourself over to the iconic Union Oyster House. It’s well-known in the city and has been around since the 1800s. Their oyster clam chowder is everything!
We had the best time exploring Cambridge and it’s so easy to visit from Boston itself. You see, it’s just across the Charles River and will take no time at all to get here.
Home to Harvard Square and world-class museums, it’s well worth exploring for a half-day trip.
After arriving, be sure to stroll around the iconic Harvard campus (especially around Harvard Yard) that houses so many historic buildings and outstanding museums and history you can’t miss.
If it’s museums you’re after, check out the Harvard Art Museums that features centuries of historical art that you can’t miss. Plus, it’s one of the oldest in Cambridge.
Also, be sure to take a gander inside Longfellow House that was the former home of poet, Henry Longfellow. Here, you can take tours inside – it feels as if time has stood still within the rooms!
Afterwards, take a gander around the techy-haven of MIT Museum. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience that’s great for a nosey around. You’ll totally love it if you geek out (like me).
3.) Cape Cod
The gorgeous peninsular of Cape Cod is totally beautiful and one of the best places in Massachusetts to explore via a coastal road trip.
With the most stunning beaches, gorgeous little towns and villages and parks, it’s the kind of region where you can easily spend a week exploring!
Whilst driving around, be sure to stop off in Woods Hole for a little wander across the waterfront and for taking the boat to Martha’s Vineyard. Also, be sure to spend plenty of time on the stunning beaches and dunes of Cape Cod National Seashore.
We love Race Point Beach!
Afterwards, pop over to Provincetown and head to the Lobster Pot for their fresh seafood. From here, you can easily wander across the causeway and take in the views of Wood End Lighthouse and Long Point Beach.
Just be sure to pack some comfy shoes and plenty of water and snacks; it can be a long stroll.
One of Massachusetts more famous cities, Salem is pretty well-known for its witch trials that took place many centuries ago.
After arriving, be sure to visit the Salem Witch Museum to learn all about the trials, events around witchcraft and the history of perceived witches in Salem itself. It’s pretty fascinating.
Want to learn more about the witch trials? Head over to the Witch House at Salem. It’s the only surviving structure in all of Salem that has direct links to the trials themselves. You see, this is the former home of Jonathan Corwin; a key judge in the Salem witch trials.
Of course, you have to visit the House of the Seven Gables, too. It’s a home from the 1600s that became totally iconic after Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel from the 1800s. The house is so gorgeous and the tours are totally informative.
Afterwards, head over to Turner’s Seafood at Lyceum Hall for their freshly-caught lobster dinner and seared scallops in bacon. So good!
Situated at the mouth of Cape Cod Bay, Plymouth was the very first permanent settlement by Europeans that arrived in New England.
Today, it’s a thriving little place, especially around the Historic District (which you can’t miss). After parking up, get yourself over to the Mayflower II that’s a full-scale replica of the original Mayflower. You can even head on a tour within the ship itself and is pretty epic to see.
Also, make sure to make a little stop in the state’s oldest museum, Pilgrim Hall. Yes, it’s quite small but it’s totally gorgeous – especially with all the art.
Afterwards, you’ll get to wander around Howland House and visit the 1749 Court House, too. They’re all part of the historic makeup of Plymouth and have been around for hundreds of years!
Oh, and for some of the best burgers in Massachusetts, stop off at KKatie’s.
Their crabby patty benny burger is so yummy (and huge). Though don’t worry if you miss the one in Plymouth, they also have two other joints in Hyannis and Marshfield.
6.) Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary
Right on the shoreline of Massachusetts, the vast Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary is incredible to visit on a boat tour.
You see, the Stellwagen Bank is among the most biologically productive ocean environments in the whole world. Without getting into the whole marine geology of the area, it’s a vast underwater that sustains an incredible ecosystem right at the mouth of Massachusetts Bay.
Now, there are many tours to book in most coastal towns and cities in Massachusetts. For instance, you can easily depart from Plymouth, Boston or the towns in Cape Cod; it just depends on where you’re based.
There’s no real wrong or right tour company to go with but some species can be present seasonally (for instance the whales). This means, if you want to increase your chances of a sighting then head across in the summer months.
Although not always on people’s idea of the best places in Massachusetts to visit, the area around Sudbury has a lot going for it! Not only that, it’s a perfect stopping point as you head inland to explore the western fringes of Massachusetts itself.
Just off Highway 20, make sure to take a pit stop at the historic Wayside Inn Grist Mill. It’s one of the state’s most famous stone mills that has been around for almost 100 years. It’s totally picturesque and a gorgeous place for a stroll.
Fancy some more time in the great outdoors? Head over to nearby Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge. The trails around Puffer Pond and Taylor Brook are gorgeous.
8.) Martha’s Vineyard
Just across the waters from Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard is one of the best places in Massachusetts to visit that’s known the world over. Easily visited (by boat) from Nantucket, Hyannis, Woods Hole or New Bedford it’s an island that’s well worth staying for a few days to chill and really soak up the island.
Take some time to stroll the streets of Oak Bluffs, Edgartown and Tisbury before heading over to Aquinnah Cliffs Overlook. The views from the coastline are just gorgeous.
Oh, and be sure to visit the Mytoi Japanese Garden that’s so lovely. Plus, it’s not too far from Edgartown either.
9.) Watatic Mountain State Wildlife Area
Right on the fringes of Massachusetts, the Watatic Mountain State Wildlife Area is a great spot to visit to explore the great outdoors. You see, here, you can take the trails right to the top of Mount Watatic where the views are spectacular.
Head up via the Mt. Watatic Trailhead and follow the Midstate Trail that’ll get you right to the summit. Though, as with every hike, always wear good shoes, take supplies and plan according. After all, no one likes a reckless hiker.
Right in the heart of the state, Worcester is one of the best places in Massachusetts to explore whilst heading further west from Boston (that’s a 60-minutes drive away).
Once in Worcester, take a gander through the huge exhibitions at the Worcester Art Museum. You can easily spend a good few hours inside.
Plus, be sure to also spot the Bancroft Tower that’s been around in Worcester since 1900.
After strolling all day, grab a table at Mezcal Tequila Cantina for their incredible dishes and cocktails. Their fried haddock tacos and spicey “rattler” cocktail are everything!
Just off the coast of Cape Cod, Nantucket is one of the iconic islands in Massachusetts you don’t want to miss. Easily reached by boat from Hyannis or Martha’s Vineyard, it’s the kind of spot that’s picture-perfect to visit.
After hopping off the boat, be sure to explore the historic downtown district, visit Sankaty Head Lighthouse and pop over to Madaket Beach that’s such a sandy paradise. It’s a totally great spot for sunset.
12.) Wingaersheek Beach
Overlooking Ipswich Bay, Wingaersheek Beach is a totally easy spot to visit whilst driving north from Boston to New Hampshire.
The beach itself is totally stunning and so clean and beautiful. It’s totally perfect for a little paddle on a calm sunny day.
Plus, at sunset, the beach is basked in the most gorgeous orange hues (from the sunset setting behind the beach itself).
13.) Pontoosuc Lake
Around 10-miles from the state border with New York, Pontoosuc Lake is a gem to visit for a stroll. Not only that, with nearby Lake Onata nearby you’ll get to have the best chillout around (or on) the lakes.
After some time at the lakes, pop over to the Berkshire Museum that’s within Pittsfield. It’s a perfect museum to explore if you’re travelling with your family and has loads of exhibits for all ages to enjoy.
Oh, and don’t forget to grab some of the best ice creams at Krispy Cones. Their peanut butter cones are so yummy!