If you’re planning a trip to Massachusetts, the old adage “big things come in small packages,” should be kept in mind.Even though Massachusetts is only a fraction of the size of some of America’s states it is filled with enough monuments, attractions, and destinations to rival anywhere in the world.
As one of the original 13 colonies of New England, Massachusetts has played a central role in American history and visitors to the state can enjoy touring sites related to the Pilgrim’s arrival in America.The state is also known for its beautiful natural features like bays, coastlines, and islands that attract visitors of all types for recreation and relaxation.
Plimoth Plantation and Plymouth Rock
This living museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts is a popular destination for tourists and history lovers alike. The museum is a recreation of the 17th century Plymouth Colony known as one of the first establishments made by the English colonists known as Pilgrims who immigrated to America.
At the museum visitors can tour exhibits, listen to and view actors and interpreters who speak, act, and dress as villagers of the 1627 English Village. The exhibits interpret day-to-day life and feature seasonal activities, historical events, and special celebrations.
One of America’s most prestigious and well-known universities is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the U.S., dating to 1636, and its campus is recognized for its historical buildings.Visitors to Harvard can participate in guided historical walking tours where they will learn about the history of the school, its buildings, and what life is like for Harvard students. Information is also available for self-guided walking tours.
This island located south of Cape Cod is well known for the luxurious and decadent lifestyle of its residents and visitors. Martha’s Vineyard is primarily known as a summer colony that is known for its pleasant water, beautiful beaches, and a wide variety of activities. Visitors come to the island to vacation in a home or resort, but there are also several activities and events on the island. Another favorite attraction that is around throughout the year is the Flying Horses Carousel in Oak Bluffs which is the oldest carousel in the country.
Boston Common Park is America’s oldest park. It is a piece of landscape which has belonged to the people of Boston since 1634. The park is one of the most popular Boston Attractions for relaxing and enjoying nature. Visitors come to walk through the historic grounds where memorials, monuments and plaques tell the story of its remarkable over 375 year history of the Common.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
The Isabella Stewart Gardner museum houses an art collection of world importance, including significant examples of European, Asian, and American art, from paintings and sculpture to tapestries and decorative arts. Today, the museum hosts exhibitions of historic and contemporary art, as well as concerts, lectures, family and community programs, and changing courtyard displays. In accordance with the will of Isabella Stewart Gardner, admittance is discounted to those wearing Boston Red Sox memorabilia, and is free to anyone named Isabella.
Top Things to Do in Massachusetts
Minute Man National Park
The Minute Man National Historical Park memorializes the beginning of the American Revolution and is located near Lexington, Lincoln, and Concord. The park is made up of multiple sites which include Concord’s North Bridge,the five-mile Battle Road Trail which stretches between Lexington and Concord tracing the path of the battles between British and Colonial troops and the site where Paul Revere was captured.Visitors to the park can tour the main visitor center, watch the “Road to Revolution” film, tour each of the sites, and visit the Lexington Battle Green.
Boston’s Fenway Park is the oldest Major League Baseball stadium still in use. The park has hosted 11 World Series and hosts every home game of the Boston Red Sox, to typically sold-out crowds, making it a record breaker with more consecutive sold out games than any Major League Baseball team. The park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and it is a must-see for baseball fans and sports lovers visiting Boston.
House of the Seven Gables
The House of the Seven Gables made famous by American author Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel. The House of the Seven Gables is a 1668 colonial mansion in Salem, Massachusetts. You will discover over 300 years of Salem’s history as you explore the museum grounds and collection of historic buildings. Inside the House of the Seven Gables you will find a secret staircase. The mansion is the oldest 17th century wooden in New England.
The natural harbor of Massachusetts Bay is a popular destination for tourists to Boston, and a harbor cruise is one of the best ways to tour the harbor and appreciate the Boston skyline. A variety of harbor cruises are available which allow visitors to view the city while listening to informative and entertaining stories about Boston.
Pilgrim Monument & Provincetown Museum
The Pilgrim Monument was founded in 1892 to commemorate the Mayflower Pilgrim’s first landing in Provincetown. The monument is a 252 foot tall granite monument which visitors can climb via steps and ramps for a spectacular view.
The Provincetown Museum features exhibits about the arrival of the Mayflower Pilgrims, the town’s maritime history, and modern American theater in Provincetown. Favorite attractions at the museum also include a re-creation of a 19th century sea captain’s home and quarters at sea and a diorama of the Mayflower Compact being signed.
Things to Do in Massachusetts
Whether you’re headed to the Bay State for its historical interest or to unwind on a beautiful beach, Massachusetts packs a lot of fun into a small space.