50 things to do outside this spring across Massachusetts

Looking for things to do in Mass.? Use this guide, which includes activities from whale watches to historic trails to living history.

Swan boats made their debut at Boston's Public Garden in April 2013.
Boston's iconic swan boats open in the Public Garden on April 15. Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff

Spring opens up plenty of possibilities for outdoor activities across Massachusetts.

Ahead, discover 50 things to do outside this spring.

Greater Boston

1. Walk Boston’s iconic Freedom Trail
Follow the world-renowned 2.5-mile trail famously marked with a red line that links 16 nationally significant historic sites — from churches to meeting houses to burying grounds — and learn the story of the American Revolution and beyond. (139 Tremont St., Boston)

2. Ride the Swan Boats in the Public Garden
Spend time in America’s first public botanical garden and take a ride on a swan boat, a Boston tradition dating back to the 19th century. The boats open for the season on April 15. (4 Charles St., Boston)


3. Mingle with the animals at Franklin Park Zoo
Meet gorillas, lions, tigers, giraffes, and more during a trip to Boston’s 72-acre zoo. (1 Franklin Park Road, Boston)

4. Choose your adventure on Boston Common
America’s oldest public park offers plenty of activities, from carousel rides to free Shakespeare on the Common, to year-round events at the Frog Pond. (139 Tremont St., Boston)

5. Follow the Black Heritage Trail
This 1.6-mile trail through Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood links more than 15 pre-Civil War structures and sites that depict Boston’s Black history. (46 Joy St., Boston)

6. Go to a Red Sox game
Fenway Park, America’s oldest major league baseball stadium, will welcome fans for the 2023 season on March 30. (4 Yawkey Way, Boston)

7. Spend time on the Charles River Esplanade
Recently named one of the 10 best riverwalks in America, the Esplanade is a 64-acre park with 17 miles of running trails along the waterfront.

8. Explore the Emerald Necklace
This 1,100-acre chain of urban parks created by Frederick Law Olmsted, known as the founder of American landscape architecture, links more than a dozen city neighborhoods stretching from the Back Bay to Dorchester. (various locations)

9. Hike at the Blue Hills Reservation
Head for the Skyline Trail for a fantastic view of the Boston skyline at this 6,000-acre state park, which was recommended the most by readers during the pandemic. (695 Hillside St., Milton)


10. Stroll through Harvard Square
Explore this international destination full of shops, cultural offerings, and restaurants, some of which offer outside dining. (Brattle Street, Cambridge)

South of Boston

The breakwater in Plymouth Harbor. – Kristi Palma /

11. Explore a World War II ship in Battleship Cove
You can experience firsthand what it was like to serve on a navy ship in World War II and the Vietnam War era. (5 Water St., Fall River)

12. Take a scenic walk on the Plymouth Harbor Breakwater
Take in the harbor while walking right through it on this 3,500-foot long breakwater. (located behind East Bay Grille, Plymouth)

13. Step back in time at Plimoth Patuxet Museums
You can walk through Plymouth Colony as it was in 1627 at this living history museum. (137 Warren Ave., Plymouth)

14. Gaze at the iconic Plymouth Rock
Visit America’s most famous rock, which marks where the Mayflower Pilgrims began Plymouth Colony in 1620, inside Pilgrim Memorial State Park. (79 Water St., Plymouth)

15. Take in the view at World’s End
When you hike this 251-acre park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, you’re rewarded with sweeping views of the city skyline. (Martins Lane, Hingham)

16. Meet the animals at Buttonwood Park Zoo
This zoo, established in 1894, is the 12th oldest zoo in the United States. (425 Hawthorn St., New Bedford)

17. Explore the Fort Phoenix State Reservation
Check out the historic remains of Revolutionary-era Fort Phoenix, then walk along the hurricane barrier for an excellent view of the Atlantic Ocean. (Green Street, Fairhaven)


18. Play disc golf at World War I Memorial Park and Zoo
You can play disc golf, hike the trails, and see animals at this free park, which is maintained by the North Attleborough Park and Recreation Department. (365 Elmwood St., North Attleboro)

19. Shoot photos of Scituate Light
The historic lighthouse on Cedar Point, built in 1810, offers an Instagrammable moment. (100 Lighthouse Road, Scituate)

20. Ride the nearly century old Paragon Carousel
The 1928 Nantasket Beach carousel is the last remaining attraction from the Paragon Park amusement park that closed in the 1980s. (205 Nantasket Ave., Hull)

Cape & Islands

The Aquinnah Cliffs on Martha’s Vineyard. – Photo by Kristi Palma /

21. Bike, walk, or jog the Cape Cod Rail Trail
Enjoy the scenery along this 22-mile trail, a former railroad track, which cuts through the Cape Cod towns of Dennis, Harwich, Brewster, Orleans, Eastham, and Wellfleet. It leads to Nickerson State Park in Brewster. (3488 Main St., Brewster)

22. Stroll the Bass Hole Boardwalk at Grays Beach
You can hike through old cranberry bogs and fields in The Callery Darling Conservation Area, which includes this 858-foot boardwalk at Grays Beach that goes out into the marsh. (400 Center St., Yarmouth Port)

23. Get a hole in one at Pirate’s Cove
This mini golf course with an elaborate pirate theme features two 18-hole courses and opens in early April. (728 Main St., South Yarmouth)

24. Roam the Cape Cod Lavender Farm
Peak color and bloom begins in late June, but you can visit this 11-acre family-owned farm between March and December and walk the grounds and peruse more than 20 different lavender products made from its 7,000 plants. (Off Weston Woods Road, Harwich)


25. Visit the gardens at Heritage Museums & Gardens
Wander through 100 acres of gardens, trees, flowers, shrubs, and sweeping lawns at this expansive green space, which is billed as the largest public garden in southern New England. (67 Grove St., Sandwich)

26. Spend time at the Cape Cod National Seashore
Choose your adventure at the Cape Cod National Seashore, which has 11 hiking trails, three bike trails, and six beaches. It was recently named one of the most visited National Park Service sites in America. (various towns)

27. Sip wine on the lawn of  Truro Vineyards
Order a glass of wine or a cocktail from South Hollow Spirits, the vineyard’s on-site distillery, and relax in an Adirondack chair while you sip. (11 Shore Road, Route 6A, North Truro)

28. Rent a bike at Young’s Bicycle Shop
This shop has been outfitting visitors with two wheels for island exploring since 1931. (6 Broad St., Nantucket)

29. Take photos at the dramatic Aquinnah Cliffs
This National Historic Landmark on Martha’s Vineyard was recently named among the most stunning scenic locations in the Northeast by AAA. Bonus: You can also see Gay Head Light, the oldest lighthouse on Martha’s Vineyard. (31 Aquinnah Circle, Aquinnah)

30. Hang with the alpacas at Island Alpaca Co. of Martha’s Vineyard
You can visit the more than 70 alpacas that live on this 19-acre farm in Vineyard Haven, which includes a 200-year-old barn. (1 Head of the Pond Road, Vineyard Haven)

North of Boston

The House of the Seven Gables in Salem. – Destination Salem

31. Immerse yourself in history on the Battle Road Trail
The theme of this five-mile trail in Minute Man National Historical Park is the Battle of April 19, 1775, which launched the American Revolution. (3113 Marrett Road, Lexington)


32. Make like Thoreau at Walden Pond
Connect with nature at the pond made famous by Henry David Thoreau’s Walden with a self-guided walking tour that begins at the Thoreau house replica. (915 Walden St., Concord)

33. Examine the sculptures at the deCordova Museum and Sculpture Park
Take in more than 60 contemporary sculptures by 20th and 21-century artists spread out among 30 acres of lawns, gardens, fields, forests, and terraces at this internationally recognized venue for outdoor art. (51 Sandy Pond Road, Lincoln)

34. Go on a scavenger hunt at the House of the Seven Gables
The seaside mansion and inspiration for Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1851 novel offers two ways of exploring: a guided tour experience or a grounds pass, which gives you access to a 30-minute narrated historic site tour from your own personal device. (115 Derby St., Salem)

35. Take a selfie with Motif No. 1
It’s your chance to pose with Motif No. 1, the iconic red fishing shack on Bearskin Neck wharf that’s often called the most painted building in the world. (Bearskin Neck, Rockport)

36. Bike, jog, or rollerblade along the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail
This 25-mile route, the old New Haven Railroad Framingham & Lowell line, offers a 10-foot-wide paved path through the communities of Lowell, Chelmsford, Westford, Carlisle, Acton, Concord, Sudbury, and Framingham. (14 Littleton Road, Chelmsford)

37. Pick strawberries at Russel Orchards
This family owned and operated 120-acre fruit farm welcomes visitors for strawberry and raspberry picking in June and blueberries, cherries, and blackberries over the summer. (143 Argilla Road, Ipswich)

38. Look for whales at Cape Ann Whale Watch
You’ll head out to Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary with Cape Ann Whale Watch, part of the Massachusetts Whale Trail, for guaranteed whale sightings when the season opens April 22. (415 Main St., Gloucester)


39. View local art on the Clipper City Rail Trail
You’ll pass by sculptures and murals created by local artists on this art-filled trail and enjoy beautiful water views when passing through the downtown area. (Washington Street, Newburyport)

40. Go birdwatching at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
The refuge’s 4,700 acres contain more than 300 species of resident and migratory birds, making it a birdwatcher’s dream. (6 Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport)

Western & Central Massachusetts

Ramblewild in Lanesborough. – David Wade

41. Get up into the trees at Ramblewild
The challenge at this tree-to-tree adventure park, which opens for the season on April 15, is making it through the trees on high wires, zip lines, balancing logs, rope ladders, and suspension bridges. (110 Brodie Mountain Road, Lanesborough)

42. Attend a daffodil and tulip festival at Naumkeag
This Gilded Age estate, a National Historic Landmark, will include more than 130,000 daffodils and tulips in April and May. (5 Prospect Hill Road, Stockbridge)

43. Tackle part of the famous Appalachian Trail
There’s a 90-mile stretch in Massachusetts of this famous trail that runs 2,175 miles from Georgia to Maine, and it includes Mount Greylock, the highest point in the state at 3,491 feet. (30 Rockwell Road, Lanesborough)

44. Learn about the Shakers at Hancock Shaker Village
This history museum honoring the Shakers includes a working farm with 20 buildings, gardens, a nature trail, outdoor picnic tables, and more. It opens for the season on April 16. (1843 West Housatonic St., Pittsfield)

45. Hike Monument Mountain
Follow in the footsteps of 19th century literary icons Herman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne, who famously hiked this mountain. It was named one of the most beautiful sights in the U.S. by USA Today. (Route 7, Great Barrington)


46. Look up at Bish Bash Falls State Park
Gaze in wonder at the highest single-drop waterfall in the state at 60 feet and then tackle the 30 miles of trails in nearby Mount Washington State Forest. (Falls Road, Mount Washington)

47. Follow the Melville trail
Fans of Herman Melville can check out the landscapes and buildings that inspired the author’s writing, such as Park Square, Pontoosuc Lake, and Arrowhead, the 19th century home where he wrote “Moby-Dick.” (780 Holmes Road, Pittsfield)

48. Explore the gardens at Tower Hill Botanic Garden
Examine 17 colorful gardens at this 171-acre property, which features more than 25,000 daffodils each spring. (11 French Drive, Boylston)

49. Go on a 19th-century adventure at Old Sturbridge Village
See how folks lived in rural New England in the 1830s when you explore this museum, billed as New England’s largest outdoor living history museum. (1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge)

50. Shop the Brimfield Flea Market
The market, which takes place three times a year and is scheduled to open May 9-14, is billed as the largest outdoor antiques flea market in the country. It boasts thousands of exhibitors selling all types of antiques, collectibles, and memorabilia. (Route 20, Brimfield)


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