Massachusetts is New England’s most populous state, famous for its scenic capital, Boston, plus an impressive colonial history.
Massachusetts borders the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and is known for its rich colonial past. Lighthouses are dotted around — a striking reminder of the state's maritime history, while Plymouth is the site of a former New England colony and the town of Salem is known for the infamous Witch Trials of 1692. Visit during whale season, from May to October, and you're likely to see majestic humpbacks. We recommend heading to Boston to see some of the area’s loveliest parks and open spaces, which are particularly attractive during the autumn.
Massachusetts holiday highlights
The capital, Boston, is a must-see if you’re planning on visiting Massachusetts thanks to its attractive parks and refreshingly laid-back city vibe. Boston Common is beautifully scenic in the spring and offers ice-skating here in the winter months; you start the famous Freedom Trail from here before finishing at the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown. Charles River is flat and calm, making it a great spot for kayaking and paddleboarding in the summer. Boston is also home to Faneuil Hall, a majestic red-brick building from 1740 near the waterfront – it was historically used for anti-slavery meetings, and in 2008 it was rated number 4 in America's 25 Most Visited Tourist Sites by Forbes Traveler.
Cape Cod is the point where Massachusetts meets the Atlantic, home to a pretty bay with golden sands that is an ideal spot for relaxation during the summer. The famous Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice comes from the Cape Cod area (cranberry season is September to November), and there are some charming seaside towns here including Falmouth, Chatham, Provincetown and Hyannis — visit the latter for the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum. Further south you'll find Martha’s Vineyard — 7 miles off the coast of Cape Cod and the filming location for Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, this affluent island actually has nothing to do with wine and is instead known for its enchanting 'gingerbread' cottages. It's surprisingly big, so staying overnight can be a good option.
Head to nearby Plymouth to see the Plimoth Plantation, a living museum that aims to recreate the original 17th-Century Plymouth Colony and explore the lives of the Colonial Americans, with actors doing tasks including building, gardening and military exercises. There’s also a full-scale reproduction of the famous Mayflower at Plymouth Pier. If you want to explore a bit further inland, visit the city of Worcester in central Massachusetts to see the EcoTarium, a family-friendly indoor-outdoor science and nature museum.