Now is a perfect time to start planning a family nature walk! I have compiled a list of 20 Kid-Friendly Nature Walks in Massachusetts, with locations spanning across the state.
Walden Pond State Reservation includes 335 acres of protected open space so that visitors from near and far may come to experience the pond that inspired Thoreau. In summer the Reservation is a popular swimming destination. In the spring and fall, many people hike the trails that ring the pond and visit the replica of Thoreau’s one-room cabin.
At Drumlin Farm, you can experience life on a working farm and explore a wildlife sanctuary at the same time. Watch the pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, and cows in the farmyard; see how crops are sustainably grown; walk the trails to observe plants and animals in their native settings; and observe resident owls, a fox, and deer in the native wildlife exhibit.
The Middlesex Fells Reservation’s 2,575 acres offer a welcome retreat for city dwellers and a suitable terrain for hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, rock climbers, cross-country skiers and picnickers as well as natural and cultural history buffs.
Located along the northeast coast of Massachusetts, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1941 to provide feeding, resting, and nesting habitat for migratory birds. Most commonly associated with Plum Island – a barrier beach island – the refuge is composed of more than 4700 acres of diverse habitats including sandy beach and dune, cranberry bog, maritime forest and shrub land, and freshwater marsh.
Sprawling across the southern sections of Plymouth and Carver, Myles Standish State Forest is the largest publicly owned recreation area in southeastern Massachusetts. Fifteen miles of bicycle trails, 35 miles of equestrian trails and 13 miles of hiking trails take visitors deep into the forest, which includes one of the largest contiguous pitch pine/scrub oak communities.
The Mount Misery Conservation Lands provide beautiful views of the Sudbury River and Fairhaven Bay. This is a circular hike on gently sloped and well-groomed trails.
The conservation land covering more than 2,000 acres in the heart of the Pioneer Valley is home to 75 percent of the state’s reptile and amphibian species. Mt. Tom boasts an unparalleled view of the Connecticut Valley north and south, the Berkshire mountains to the west and the Pelham hills to the east.
This park features 19th century gardens and plantings, rolling meadows, towering pines, and one of the largest naturally occurring stands of mountain laurel in Massachusetts.
Rolling grasslands, grazing livestock, stone walls, and historic farm buildings are part of this 1,000 acre pastoral landscape – a rare glimpse into New England’s agricultural past.
10. Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary – Natick, Ma
Broadmoor is an ever-changing environment brimming with wildlife: dragonflies darting, turtles basking, otters leaving tracks in the mud or snow, and more than 150 species of birds. Easy-to-rugged well-groomed trails.
The park consists of approximately 1000 acres and has over 20 miles of trails available for walkers, hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders.
Here, you can explore the region’s wildlife-rich habitats (salt marshes, mudflats, rivers, bays, and coastal waters) through guided tours, marine touch tanks, art exhibits, drop-in programs, and interpretive displays.
More than two miles of trails at Great Misery Island lead you to spectacular overlooks, stony beaches, and grassy fields.
Trails lead to a wide variety of rock formations, with such romantic names as The Corn Crib, The Coffin, The Pulpit, Lovers’ Leap and Fat Man’s Misery. An adventurous playground, equipped with a play structure, swings and a merry-go-round, is now located near the visitor center.
With 10 miles of carriage paths and trails that meander through the park, you can find plenty of room to picnic, bird watch, walk, cross-country ski, and simply appreciate the outdoors. Children love the Ledge Hill Trail – a 2-mile round-trip walk among magical-looking, fern-covered boulders.
182 acres of woodlands, fields, and old estate property is surrounded on three sides by the Charles River.
Fort Independence, a pentagonal five-bastioned, granite fort built between 1834 and 1851, is the dominating feature of Castle Island. This 22-acre urban park is connected to the mainland by both pedestrian and vehicular causeways.
Broad Meadow Brook in Worcester is the largest urban wildlife sanctuary in New England, with over 400 acres of trails through woods, fields, streams, and marsh.
Gentle trails wind through deciduous and evergreen forests, across meadows, and around ponds and vernal pools. Habitat offers year-round programs for all ages.
The Arboretum is a living museum dedicated to the study and appreciation of woody plants. Upon its 281 acres grow 15,000 trees, shrubs and vines, each of which is scientifically documented and available for teaching or research.
[…] great time to go on a family walk in one of the Massachusetts many parks. Check out this list of 20 Kid-approved Nature Walks in Massachusetts from a fellow family blogger (and see if you can find our picture in the […]
Nature walks for us is normally a trip down to the river valley. We live about 3 hours away from the mountains so we don’t get a chance to go there very often but when we do we love going to Banff and going to Johnston’s Canyon. Such a beautiful location!
This is such a great list! I’ve never been to Mass. before, but would love to visit!! I wish I could live somewhere where hikes were so easy to access!
Great post, something I love to read about. Nature walks really get my mind to rest – the rock formations are something I wish I lived near as I find them so fascinating.
So many options in what seems like such a small state. And so much history, too! I had to go up to Plymouth for work training several years ago but we didn’t have time to do much sight-seeing.
Deb Clem-Buckert (@debclembuckert) says
All of these places sound great. So important to be outdoors and get fresh air and exercise.
My family is from Massachusetts! I am definitely saving this for the next time we visit. 🙂
I like how you have different activities for everyone, especially families. I need one like this for Virginia! Great post
Great list! We aren’t far from many of these places. Will have to add to our list!
laura londergan says
my daughter and her dad would love this as they really enjoy the outdoors. me – I prefer to NOT be walking amongst all the critters/ bugs in the woods. lol
blythea (Prime Beauty Blog) says
Makes me wish I lived in Massachusetts. I do remember visit Walden Pond when I was a kid. It was beautiful.
Eileen xo says
Love visiting Massachusetts. You have captured wonderful places here. I love Walden Pond and I must visit the wildlife sanctuary
I love this! Kids outside as much as possible and loving it. Boom!
Ana De Jesus says
I love going for walks, it is always great to get some much needed fresh air. You never know what you can discover too x
Kids Are A Trip says
These activities look like a ton of fun. Our family loves getting outside to explore during the summer. Wish we lived closer! Pinning.
We loved Appleton Farm when we lived on the North Shore! So fun! We live in Maine now and love to go to Mt Battie, or to any of the beaches…when it is warm anyways!
Our Family World says
All these places sound amazing. What kid wouldn’t love these fun activities?
I love LOVE Massachusetts! We haven’t ever taken the kids before, but we really want to, we will have to try these out!
Yona Williams says
Wow…this is a great post because I don’t think I can even think of 20 good nature walks for kids where I live. I love exploring nature – loved it as a kid and still do.
Jennifer Pilgrim says
Fantastic list! I have a good friend that lives in MA so I am sending her this. I want to try each and every one of these!!
Erin (@SugarCrumbs) says
Well now I need to go to Mass! We have a lot of natural parks and trails around here. I should check them out!
Great list! We love Rock House Reservation, located on Route 9 in West Brookfield (not far from Sturbridge).
Been a few of these places with family having lived on the North Shore and now Central Massachusetts. Purgatory Chasm is an awesome place. Lots of visitors now, after it was featured in a travel magazine. Broad Brook Meadow has lovely mix of well maintained trails and wooden ramps over wet areas. They have many nature programs there too. A visit to Broad Brook and then side trip to the playground at Elm Park in the Woo where we catch the parked ice cream truck is a welcomed adventure with the grand kids.