Free Massachusetts travel guides, written by locals who love Massachusetts.

View of the swan boats sailing on the lake near the Public Garden, Massachusetts
Overlooking the swan boats in the Public Garden, Boston.

Why We Love Massachusetts: Massachusetts is a vibrant state known as the birthplace of the American Revolution. Here, you can travel back in time and learn about important moments and places from throughout American history. Experience everything from storied historical sites to buzzing city experiences. Massachusetts is also home to beautiful beaches, plenty of nature activities, and over 114 colleges and universities. You can always find something remarkable to do, see, or explore in Massachusetts.

Best of Massachusetts

🏙️ Destinations

The author Claudicet Pena, drinking a coffee at an outdoor patio in South End, Boston
Me enjoying outdoor patio dining in South End, Boston

Massachusetts is a must-visit destination for lovers of history and culture. Nature also shares the stage here. Some of the best places to visit in Massachusetts include:

  • Boston – One of the oldest cities in the U.S. and capital of Massachusetts. Boston is home to cultural and historic activities, fine dining, and more.
  • Cape Cod – This seashore has lighthouses, cranberry bogs, beaches, and more. Cape Cod is a super popular summer destination.
  • Plymouth – America’s first Pilgrim settlement. Visit Plimouth Plantation and take a tour of the Mayflower II.
  • Nantucket – Another popular summer destination in Massachusetts. Here, you can enjoy the beaches, cliffs, lighthouses, mansions, and gardens. 
  • Salem – Where the famous Salem witch trials took place. Visit the Salem Witch Museum and enjoy popular events throughout the year.

Things to Do

Massachusetts is a multi-faceted state. It is famous for its many historical, natural, coastal, and art-related activities:

  • Go on a Tour of Museums – Highlights include the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Museum of Science, and the Peabody Essex Museum.
  • Learn About History – Massachusetts has a rich history. Boston’s iconic Freedom Trail is a popular site, along with churches, meeting houses, and burial sites.
  • Root for the Red Sox – Cheer on the Red Sox at Fenway Park, America’s oldest major league baseball stadium. Then, enjoy food and drinks in the Back Bay Fens area.
  • Relax at Cape Cod – Enjoy beautiful Cape Cod beaches. Walk or bike the Cape Cod Rail Trail with beautiful scenery of Cape Cod towns. 
  • Visit the Spooky City of Salem – Explore all things witches, ghosts, and goblins, as well as the House of the Seven Gables.

👉 Read the full list of best things to do in Massachusetts.

Exterior view of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston
Museum of Fine Arts Boston

🗺️ Where to Stay

View of the facade of Boston Public Library at the corner of the street in Copley Square
Boston Public Library in Copley Square

Massachusetts is filled with amazing places to stay whether you’re visiting for sports, history, culture, or beach activities. These are the top areas:

  • Boston – The perfect combination of old and new. Experience centuries-old neighborhoods, art, culture, history, and a breathtaking skyline. 
  • Cambridge – Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are in Cambridge. It’s also home to student hangouts, art venues, and more. 
  • Rockport – One of Massachusetts’ most eclectic towns. The seaside village has unique shops, restaurants, art galleries, and magical views. 
  • Nantucket – This remote island is a charming escape filled with maritime history, culture, and simply beautiful nature. 
  • Plymouth – Famous for its premier living history experiences. See replicas of houses, farmyards, villages, and a replica Mayflower II. 

🛎️ Best Hotels

View of the people chilling on the lounge chairs outside the
The White Elephant Hotel on Nantucket Island (photo: EQRoy / Shutterstock)

Massachusetts offers a wide range of accommodations. From wonderful B&Bs in restored homes to luxury hotels in the city—there are options for a variety of tastes and budgets.

  • White Elephant Hotel – A luxury landmark hotel in Nantucket with recently updated suites and rooms. The building is gorgeous and overlooks the harbor. 
  • The Archer Hotel – This boutique, business-friendly hotel is in a walkable town center in Burlington, surrounded by unique shops and restaurants. 
  • The Verb – A boutique, music-themed hotel in Boston. The Verb is steps away from Fenway Park and offers a retro, rock & roll experience.
  • Cape Cod Veranda – A family resort minutes away from the Barnstable Municipal Airport. There’s an outdoor pool, a shared lounge with continental breakfast, and more.
  • Addison Choate – This boutique hotel offers visitors a coastal vibe with historic charm,  in the heart of Rockport.

🚗 Best Road Trips

The author Claudicet Pena, posing near the car with the beach in the background
Me, enjoying a beach road trip through Cape Cod

You are in for a treat with a road trip in Massachusetts. Take a drive to cascading waterfalls or experience the breathtaking views of fall foliage in New England.

  • Foliage Road Trip – Enjoy fall foliage along the Mohawk Trail. Start your trip at Appleton Farms, go through the town of Deerfield, and end at Savoy Mountain State Forest. 
  • Christmas Lights Road Trip – Check out magical holiday lighting at Bright Nights Forest Park and then make your way to La Salette Festival of Lights. 
  • Waterfalls Road Trip – Start at Doane Falls to tour Massachusetts’ best waterfalls. Take this 8-hour road trip in the springtime for heavy flowing waterfalls.
  • Lighthouse Road Trip – Start your picturesque drive at Crane’s Beach and make your way down to Cape Cod. I recommend this road trip in the summer.
  • Central Hills Loop – This underrated road trip features the most scenic spots in Massachusetts and takes you through a gorgeous line of fall foliage. 

⛱️ Best Beaches

View of the clear blue water surrounded by rocky shoreline and mountain views in Singing Beach
Singing Beach near Manchester-by-the-Sea

Massachusetts is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Maine. Countless beaches line its long 200 miles of coastline. 

  • Singing Beach – Singing Beach is south of Manchester-by-the-Sea and is calm, quiet, and features beautiful views. 
  • South Beach – This endless stretch of beach near Martha’s Vineyard is known for its rough waves, perfect for boogie-boarding, surfing, and kitesurfing.
  • Good Harbour Beach – A peaceful beach near Gloucester, perfect for paddling and searching for crabs and shells at low tide.
  • Mayflower Beach Along Cape Cod Bay, Mayflower Beach is home to calm waters, stunning views, and epic outdoor activities. 
  • Crane Beach – A breathtaking beach with a pristine coastline, scenic trails, and a protected conservation area on Ipswich Bay.

⛰️ Best Mountains

Aerial view of the houses surrounded by fall foliage in the mountain of The Berkshires
The Berkshires—a mountainous region in Western Massachusetts

Western Massachusetts is full of incredible peaks, rolling hills and stunning mountain views. Here are my top picks for the best mountains in Massachusetts:

  • Mount Greylock – The highest peak in Massachusetts. Visitors can drive to the summit and explore 70 miles of hiking, skiing, and snowshoeing trails. 
  • The Berkshires – Highlights of this mountainous region include a section of the Appalachian Trail, Mohawk Trail State Forest, Mount Washington State Forest, and Bash-Bish Falls.
  • Saddle Ball Mountain – The second highest mountain in Massachusetts. You can reach the summit of Saddle Ball Mountain by taking the Appalachian Trail. 
  • Wachusett Mountain – Wachusett Mountain is over 2,000 feet above sea level and offers many recreational activities including skiing in the winter.

⛷️ Best Ski Resorts

View of the skiers at the Wachusett Mountain
Skiing at Wachusett Mountain (photo: Jay Yuan / Shutterstock)

Massachusetts is home to many winter sports destinations. These ski resorts make the perfect getaway from busy city life:

  • Wachusett Mountain – A family-friendly ski resort that offers night skiing and two family trails. The resort hosts fun events like “Science on the Slopes.” 
  • Jiminy Peak – New skiers will love this resort. Over half of Jiminy Peak’s trails are suited for beginners making it a great resort to learn. 
  • Blue Hills – This ski resort is the closest to Boston and can be done as a day trip. There is a mix of beginner and advanced slopes. Night-skiing is also offered.
  • Ski Butternut – The largest ski resort in Massachusetts with 12 miles of slopes, over 10 ski lifts, and a fantastic tubing course. 

🖼️ Best Museums

View inside the grand Boston Museum of Fine Arts
The Boston Museum of Fine Arts (photo: aphotostory / Shutterstock)

Massachusetts is home to some of the most beautiful museums, whatever the time of year may be. Here are my top picks:

  • Boston Children’s Museum – Highlights of this educational kids museum include the Art Lab, Construction Zone, and the STEAM Lab. You can bring your own lunch here.
  • Boston Museum of Fine Arts – One of the largest art museums in the world with over 100 galleries. Events like lectures, film viewings, and art classes are hosted here.
  • Peabody Essex Museum – A Salem museum with works of art and culture from around the world including Native American artifacts and a Fashion + Design Gallery. 
  • Museum of Science – This Boston museum has exhibits showcasing dinosaur fossils, human biology, and more. It’s perfect for all ages.
  • The Harvard Museum of Natural Science – This museum is all about the natural world. Highlights include the Glass Flower exhibits and the Great Mammal Hall.

Massachusetts Travel Advice

🗓️ Best Time to Visit

Massachusetts is a great destination no matter the season. I recommend deciding what activities you want to do, and planning your visit accordingly.

  • 🌼 Spring – A great time to visit for a Red Sox game. Botanical gardens and Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum blossom during this time of year as well. 
  • 🌞 Summer – Summer is busy since visitors from all over flock to Massachusetts’ beaches. Whale-watching excursions are also popular in summer
  • 🍂 Fall – Autumn is a vibrant time of year. Take a day trip to see stunning fall foliage throughout Massachusetts.
  • ❄️ Winter – There are tons of winter activities for everyone to enjoy. You can go skiing at Wachusett Mountain or ice skating on Boston Frog Pond. Wear plenty of layers!

🚌 Getting In & Around

A car is an excellent way to get around Massachusetts. The state is well connected via public transit as well.

  • ✈️ Airports – Massachusetts has 38 public airports. Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) is the main hub. 
  • 🚗 Driving – Driving is the best way to explore Massachusetts. However, Boston and its neighboring cities can be explored car-free.
  • 🚇 Public Transit – Public transportation (mostly bus or subway) provides routes in communities across Massachusetts. 
  • ⛴️ Ferry Ferry travel in Massachusetts is a handy way to visit Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod, and Nantucket. 
  • 📲 Ride Share – Traveling around the cities of Massachusetts is a lot easier with Lyft and Uber, as both are widely available.
  • 🚴‍♀️ Biking – There are plenty of biking trails throughout Massachusetts and you can ride your bike on any street or bikeway in cities. 
  • 🚶‍♀️ Walking – Some communities are more walkable than others. Boston is a great walking city.

👉 Tips & Things to Know

  • 🗣️ – Brush Up on Your Pronunciation – Some Massachusetts cities and towns are confusing to pronounce. Worcester is often mispronounced and should be pronounced “wuh-staa.”
  • 🏨 – Book Your Hotel Early – Book accommodations early if you plan to visit in the summer, spring, and fall. Winter offers good hotel deals.
  • 🅿️ – Parking in Boston – The “perfect parking spot” in Boston does not exist. Do not pass up on a parking spot.
  • 📜 – Brush Up on Your History – Brush up on history while visiting Massachusetts. History is on every corner and will play a part in any visit.  
  • 🌡️ – Always Check the Weather – The weather is unpredictable in Massachusetts. Carry an umbrella in the summer and keep gloves handy in the fall.

🧳 What to Pack

  • 👟 – Comfortable Shoes – Massachusetts is pretty walkable. Pack comfortable walking or hiking shoes, whether in the city or in the countryside.
  • 🧥 – Jackets – Pack layers—shirts, sweaters, jackets, vests—to be prepared for unpredictable weather
  • 🎒 – Bag – Keep a bag or daypack handy so you can keep weather gear like an umbrella or gloves handy.
  • ☀️ – Beach Things – Summer is a busy time in Massachusetts. Bring a swimsuit for beach days and plenty of sunblock. 
  • ⚫ – Black Attire – Massachusetts locals dress conservatively. Black is the dominant clothing color. Other colors range in neutrals such as navy, taupe, and gray.

🤓 Facts & Info

  • Population – 6.95 Million
  • Capital – Boston
  • Largest Metro Areas – Boston, Worcester, Springfield, Cambridge, Lowell
  • Time Zone – Eastern Time Zone
  • Airports – Boston Logan International Airpoirt (BOS), Worcester Regional Airport (ORH), Nantucket Memorial Airport (ACK), Martha’s Vineyard Airport (MVY), Cape Cod Gateway Airport (HYA)
  • Colleges & Universities – Harvard University, Boston College, Northeastern University, MIT, Berklee College of Music
  • Nickname – The Bay State, The Baked Bean State, The Codfish State, The Spirit of America
  • Demonynm – Massachusetts, Baystater, or most popular Masshole
  • USPS Abbreviation – MA
  • Governor – Maura Healey (Democratic Party)
  • CountryUnited States of America

💵 Costs & Budgeting

  • MERIC Cost of Living State Rank – 50th most affordable 
  • 3 Star Hotel Room – $120  -200+/night
  • 1 Bedroom Apartment Rental – $120+/night
  • Rental Car – $30/day
  • Public Transit Ticket – $1.50-$2.50
  • Take Out Meal for Two – $25-$35
  • Sit Down Dinner for Two – $50+
  • Draft Beer – $8

FAQs About Visiting Massachusetts

Is Massachusetts safe for tourists?

Massachusetts is safe for tourists and a generally low-risk destination overall. Massachusetts is the birthplace of the first subway system in the United States, so public transportation is also quite safe.

What is the best month to visit Massachusetts?

The best month to visit Massachusetts depends on the person, but April through October are generally the best months. Spring brings blooming flowers, summer brings beach activities and whale watching, and fall brings beautiful foliage. Winter is also a good time to visit because there are plenty of indoor attractions.

What is the most visited town in Massachusetts?

Boston is the most visited city in Massachusetts. Millions of people visit Boston each year to experience its rich heritage, cultural attractions, entertaining venues, and attractive dining scene.

What is the prettiest street in Massachusetts?

The prettiest street in Massachusetts is on Beacon Hill, according to Architectural Digest. The prettiest street in Boston is Acorn Street, which is also the most photographed street because it offers visitors a peek into colonial Boston. 

Meet Our Massachusetts Travel Expert

Claudicet Peña, a Travel Lemming writer

Claudicet Pena

Claudicet Pena is a mami and creative writer based in Boston, Massachusetts. She loves to romanticize her life by exploring new destinations and hidden gems. Claudicet devotes her time to her daughter. Together they cultivate a lifestyle of art and culture. They love exploring the city of Boston and traveling abroad. Claudicet’s favorite destination and home away from home is the Dominican Republic. Claudicet is dedicating her time to experimenting new art techniques and discovering remarkable spots.

👉 Read Claudicet’s Articles

📰 Massachusetts Travel Guides

Massachusetts is a state that’s rich in our nation’s history. There are plenty of worthwhile places to visit, from Boston to Cape Cod and beyond. To learn more about everything Massachusetts has to offer, check out our guides:

🗺️ Massachusetts Map