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Massachusetts Parks, Gardens, & Nature Areas

From scenic beaches, picturesque marinas, and lush parks to exceptional urban recreational facilities, newcomers will discover a world of natural and quality amenities for an active lifestyle. For every imaginable outdoor activity, Massachusetts provides a scenic backdrop and outstanding facilities. Panoramic bike trails, horseback riding paths, miles of hiking trails, camping sites, delightful nature centers, exquisite gardens, and environmental education centers are never far from home. Hikers, walkers, and nature lovers will discover the perfect places to enjoy New England's natural beauty. During the summer months, many residents look forward to visiting Cape Cod getaways.
Cape Cod's Natural Splendor
Stretching nearly 44,000 acres of upland landscape features and shimmering shoreline, the Cape Cod National Seashore claims a 40-mile stretch of pristine sandy beach. Dozens of clear, deep, freshwater kettle ponds add to the water-rich landscape, punctuating a terrain with upland scenes that reflect the way people have utilized the land. A wide variety of colorful and charming historic structures lie within the boundaries of the national seashore, including wonderful lighthouses, a lifesaving station, and numerous Cape Cod homes. The seashore offers six swimming beaches, nearly a dozen self-guiding nature trails, serene picnic areas, and breathtaking scenic overlooks. For more information as you plan a getaway or vacation to the Cape Cod area, contact:

Cape Cod National Seashore
Provincetown 508-255-3421
www.nps.gov/caco
The Emerald Necklace
Frederick Law Olmsted, the nation's first landscape architect, designed a chain of semi-rustic parks called the Emerald Necklace that stretch from the Back Bay to Arnold Arboretum and Franklin Park. These lush parks ring Boston with green space from downtown to Forest Hills. The Boston Park Rangers offer tours that focus on urban ecology, architecture, history, botany, wildlife and sailing.

* Franklin Park: Golf course with rural setting and zoo in a 500-acre park
* Arnold Arboretum: World-renowned, international collection of plants and shrubs
* Jamaica Park: 60-acre pond with fishing, rowing
* Olmsted Park: Green space for bicycling, walking, jogging, and nature study
* Riverway Park: Narrowest of the parks, easily accessible via public transportation
* Back Bay Fens: Nearest park to downtown Boston showcases brilliant blooms

For more information on each park in the Emerald Necklace system and available activities, contact:

The Emerald Necklace Conservancy
Brookline 617-232-5374
www.emeraldnecklace.org
Beaches & Water Sports
Division of Urban Parks & Recreation
617-727-9547
View Website
The Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation maintains a separate division for urban parks and recreation. More than 18 miles of beaches are located within the Greater Boston area alone—all accessible by public transportation. Local parks and recreation commissions maintain the suburban beaches
Metropolitan Beaches
Carson Beach, Castle Island Beach, City Point Beach, Pleasure Bay Beach, “M” Street Beach
Day Boulevard, South Boston
Constitution Beach
East Boston (Orient Heights)
Lovells Island
Boston Harbor
Malibu Beach, Savin Hill Beach, Tenean Beach
Morrissey Boulevard, Dorchester
Suburban Beaches
Avalon Beach, Baker Beach, Manet Beach, Mound Street Beach, Nickerson Beach, Perry Beach, Wollaston Beach
Quincy
Crane’s Beach
Ipswich
Egypt Beach, Humarock Beach, Minot Beach, North Scituate Beach, Peggotty Beach, Sand Hills Beach
Scituate
King’s Beach, Lynn Beach
Lynn
Lane Beach, Lake Street Beach, Wessagusset Beach
Weymouth
Nahant Beach, Revere Beach, Winthrop Beach, Nantasket Beach
Hull
Smith Beach, Sunset Lake
Braintree
Wingaersheek Beach
Gloucester
Boston Highlights
Arnold Arboretum
Jamaica Plain 617-524-1718
View Website
Administered by Harvard University, this exceptional 265-acre arboretum features thousands of varieties of blooms, shrubs, and trees. Established in the late 1800s, the arboretum provides a tranquil and beautiful retreat in the middle of a bustling urban environment. Some of the most spectacular scenes are full bloom seasons for rhododendrons, lilacs, magnolias, and fruit trees or the fiery display of autumn.
Boston Common
Boston 617-635 4505
View Website
Celebrated as the oldest public park in the nation, the Boston Common is considered to be one of the largest and certainly the most famous of New England's many town commons. Dating as far back as the 1600s, the park shares its rich historic heritage with the surrounding city and once served as ground for cattle. Although modern residents still exercise their right of freedom of speech at this site, most visitors just enjoy relaxing, picnicking, walking, and enjoying the natural beauty of the public gardens and green space.
Boston Public Gardens
Boston 617-635 4505
View Website
Located at Charles, Beacon, Boylston, and Arlington streets, these lovely gardens are distinguished as the nation's oldest botanical garden. Dating from the early 1800s, they showcase some of the finest formal plantings in central Boston. Occupying former salt marshes on the edge of the common, the walkways are lined with large beds that are replanted for spring and summer to ensure maximum color and beauty. In May, the gardens showcase a wide variety of stunningly colorful tulips.
Cape Cod National Seashore
Provincetown 508-255-3421
View Website
The Emerald Necklace Conservancy
Brookline 617-232-5374
View Website
Massachusetts State Forests
Beartown State Forest
Monterey 413-528-0904
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Boxford State Forest
Boxford 617-626-1250
Chester-Blandford State Forest
Chester 413-354-6347
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DAR State Forest
Goshen 413-268-7098
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Douglas State Forest
Douglas 508-476-7872
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F. Gilbert Hills State Forest
Foxboro 508-543-5850
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Freetown-Fall River State Forest
Assonet 508-644-5522
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Georgetown-Rowley State Forest
Sandwich 508-888-0351
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Granville State Forest
Granville 413-357-6611
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Kenneth Dubuque Memorial State Forest
Hawley 413-339-5504
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Leominster State Forest
Westminster 978-874-2303
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Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro State Forest
Lowell 978-453-0592
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Manuel F. Correllus State Forest
Martha's Vineyard 508-693 2540
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Miles Standish State Forest
Carver 508-866-2526
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Mohawk Trail State Forest
Charlemont 413-339-5504
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Monroe State Forest
Monroe 413-339-5504
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Mt. Washington State Forest
Mt. Washington 413-528-0330
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October Mountain State Forest
Lee 413-243-1778
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Pittsfield State Forest
Pittsfield 413-442-8992
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Sandisfield State Forest
Sandisfield 413-229-8212
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Savoy Mountain State Forest
Savoy 413-663-8469
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Shawme Crowell State Forest
Sandwich 508-888-0351
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Spencer State Forest
Spencer 508-886-6333
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Tolland State Forest
East Otis 413-269-6002
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Upton State Forest
Upton 508-278-6486
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Willard Brook State Forest
Townsend 978-597-8802
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Willowdale State Forest
Ipswich 978-887-5931
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Windsor State Forest
Windsor 413-663-8469
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Nature Preserves
Ashumet Holly Wildlife Sanctuary
East Falmouth 508-362-1426
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Boston Nature Center & Wildlife Sanctuary
Mattapan 617-983-8500
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Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary
Natick 508-655-2296
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Cape Cod National Seashore
Provincetown 508-255-3421
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Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary
Lincoln 781-259-2200
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Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary
Edgartown 508-627-4850
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Habitat Education Center & Wildlife Sanctuary
Belmont 617-489-5050
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Ipswitch River Wildlife Sanctuary
Topsfield 978-887-9264
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Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary
Sharon 781-784-5691
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North Hill Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary
Edgartown 508-627-4850
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North River Wildlife Sanctuary
Marshfield 781-837-9400
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Oak Knoll Wildlife Sanctuary
Attleboro 508-223-3060
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Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary
Norfolk 508-528-3140
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Visual Arts Center & Mildred Morse Allen Wildlife Sanctuary
Canton 781-821-8853
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Whitney and Thayer Woods
Cohasset 781-821-2977
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World’s End
Hingham 781-740-6665
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Regional State Parks
Ames Nowell State Park
Abington 781-857-1336
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Ashland State Park
Ashland 508-435-4303
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Borderland State Park
Sharon 508-238-6566
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Boston Harbor Islands State Park
Hingham 781-740-1605
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Bradley Palmer State Park
Topsfield 978-887-5931
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C.M. Gardner State Park
Huntington 413-354-6347
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Callahan State Park
Framingham 508-653-9641
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Cochituate State Park
Natick 508-653-9641
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Great Brook Farm State Park
Carlisle 978-369-6312
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Halibut Point State Park
Rockport 978-546-2997
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Harold Parker State Forest
Andover 978-686-3391
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Hopkinton State Park
Hopkinton 508-435-4303
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Maudslay State Park
Newburyport 978-465-7223
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Moore State Park
Paxton 508-792-3969
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Pearl Hill State Park
West Townsend 978-597-8802
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Salisbury Beach State Reservation
Salisbury 978-462-4481
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Sandy Point State Reservation
Ipswich 978-462-4481
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Walden Pond State Reservation
Concord 978 369-3254
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Webb Memorial State Park
Weymouth 781-740-1605
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Whitehall State Park
Hopkinton 508-435-4303
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Wompatuck State Park
Hingham 781 749-7160
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