- Massachusetts harbors a variety of public land areas that include state forests and parks, historic sites, historical parks, wildlife refuges and a national seashore. Western Massachusetts encompasses the Berkshire Mountains within the Appalachian chain. These rolling hills some of the most interesting cultural institutions in the state including: Tanglewood, Daniel Chester French home, The Mount, etc. State Forests offer recreationists open space to pursue their favorite sports. Mt. Greylock State Reserve contains the highest peak in the state, Mt. Greylock, at a height of 3,491 feet. The Appalachian Trail leads through this region.
Copyright: National Park Service
Boston National Historical Park
The Connecticut River forms the western border of central Massachusetts. Interstate 91 follows the river and small communities line corridor. Springfield and Worcester are the largest communities in this region and Quabbin Reservoir is the largest body of water. Several smaller lakes and ponds lie within the region, many of which provide public access and support water sports. Historic sites such as, Springfield Armory National Historic Site, Minute Man National Historical Park and the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, illustrate the role the state played in the development of the United States.
North of Boston is the Merrimack River Valley, where the mills of Lowell lie within Lowell National Historical Park. A few state forests and state parks protect open space within this thickly settled region. Peninsulas, beaches and barrier islands lie along the Atlantic coast. Thirty miles of shoreline stretch north of Boston to the New Hampshire state line. Within those thirty miles are Salem Maritime National Historic Site and Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site.
Boston is the political and cultural capital of the state. A myriad of museums, art centers and historic sites lie within the boundaries of this metro area. A hot spot for revolutionary activities in the eighteenth century, Boston contains many protected sites that portray the Colonial, Revolutionary and Federal periods of the nation. The Freedom and Black Heritage Trails lead visitors to many historic sites throughout the city.
The area immediately south of Boston is thickly settled then becomes less populated moving toward Buzzards Bay. This area includes Plymouth, of famed Pilgrim landing and its various tourist sites and museums. Plimoth Plantation always provides a refreshing perspective on life in New England during the seventeenth century. Adams National Historic Site lies in this region and tells the story of the Adams Family and their important role in American government. Natural areas south of Boston include Miles Standish State Forest and Freetown Fall River State Forest. A plethora of water access sites line the coast in this area.
Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket comprise the southern reaches of this state. These are some of the favorite vacation spots of New Yorkers and New Englanders. Crowds should be expected in these small areas during the summer tourist season. Cape Cod National Seashore lies on the outer cape and provides access to some beautiful beaches, dunes and waterscapes. Historic sites are plentiful in this historic whaling region of the nation. Picturesque Cape Cod architecture completes the landscape in small fishing villages throughout the region.
Recreation - This states diverse landscape allows outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy a plethora of activities. The western region of the state supports many facilities for camping, hiking, mountain biking and stream and lake fishing. Eastern Massachusetts long coastline supports every water activity including: sailing, water skiing, swimming and fishing.
Climate - Massachusetts experiences four distinct seasons with slightly varying temperatures in the inland and coastal regions. Along the coast the water is a moderating factor that often prevents large amounts of snowfall from accumulating through the winter. Summer temperatures are usually cooler than low lying inland areas, due to ocean breezes. This region of the country experiences high humidity in the summer season and temperatures that average close to 80 degrees F. Fall and Spring are pleasant times to visit the region with crisp air and low humidity. Brilliant foliage colors can be found in the central and western regions of the state in late September and October. Winter temperatures can be brutally cold on occasion with a humidity-filled wind, but on average winter daytime temperatures reach 35 degrees F and lows reach into the teens. Spring is usually the wettest time of year, but trees, bushes and flowers are blooming by early May.