Massachusetts Bucket List – Reasons To Visit The Bay State

Things To Do In MassachusettsMassachusetts has, without a doubt, played a pivotal role in our country’s history, which naturally means there is a wealth of historical sites to visit. But there is a lighter side as well, with world-famous shopping and music venues, museums, zoos, and an aquarium, and natural beauty from the seaside to the mountains.

Things To Do In Massachusetts

1. The Freedom Trail – Follow the 2.5 mile red line along Boston’s sidewalks to see some of our nation’s most significant historical sites. Visit the USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned warship still afloat.. Climb the Bunker Hill Monument, where Colonel Prescott told the ill-equipped Colonial Militia, “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes!” For a bite to eat and some window-shopping, stop at Faneuil Hall, the marketplace and meeting hall where Americans first protested against the Sugar Act and the Stamp Act. End your tour at Boston Common, where you can ride the swan boats and check out the Make Way For Ducklings statues.


2. Museum of Science – In addition to the Museum’s 130,000 square feet of interactive exhibits, it also has a butterfly garden, an IMAX theater and a planetarium. Whether you spend your time at the Museum of Science watching indoor lightning made by the world’s largest air-insulted Van de Graaff generator, checking out the giant T-Rex, exploring the wonders of the human body, or catching one of the many live animal presentations, you’re sure to have a great day!

3. Fenway Park – If sports are more your thing, take in a game at the iconic Fenway Park! The oldest Major League ballpark, Fenway Park also offers tours if you’d like to get a more in-depth visit to the park. The best seats go fast (and are expensive), so buy your tickets early! Of course, if baseball isn’t your thing, Massachusetts is also home to the Patriots, the Bruins, and the Celtics, as well as the Basketball Hall of Fame.


5. Historic Salem – A trip to the North Shore pretty much got to include Salem. Site of the infamous witch trials in 1692/3, Salem has both somber museums as well as the more touristy sites, mostly located in its historic downtown. Within walking distance, you’ll find the Salem Witch Trials Memorial, adjacent to the Old Burying Point, and the House of Seven Gables. The House of Seven Gables, made famous by the novel of the same name (written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, who also wrote the Scarlet Letter), is a colonial mansion worth touring. The house holds a few secrets that are sure to delight you!

6. Salem Willows – While you’re in Salem, if you’re looking for something weighted more towards entertainment versus educational, Salem Willows, an old-fashioned amusement park is a very short drive away. Salem Willows has arcades, kiddie rides and a carousel, and plenty of places to eat. Make sure to try some flavored popcorn from Hobbs!

7. Bearskin Neck, Rockport – On a tiny little stretch of land jutting into Rockport Harbor is Bearskin Neck, a lively artist community full of little studios, shops, and restaurants. Take a photo of Motif #1, said to be the most-often painted building in America. A favorite shop among locals is the Country Store where you can buy all manner of souvenirs, vintage toys and games, penny candy, and for a quarter, listen to the player piano. For lunch, surrounded by the ocean, seafood from Roy Moore Lobster is an obvious choice, but another excellent choice is Top Dog, a gourmet hot dog joint where all the menu items are named after dogs (the Bad Dog – bacon, cheese, and grilled onions – is a popular choice). For a real splurge, stay in one of the cottages on Bearskin Neck!bareskin-neckBearSkinInn

8. King Richard’s Faire – Nestled in the woods in Carver, Massachusetts, is a recreated 16th-century marketplace, home to King Richard’s Faire, the largest and longest-running renaissance fair in New England. What sets King Richard’s Faire apart is that the forested setting is used only for the Faire, which means the buildings are permanent, year-round structures that lend a more authentic feel. Running only on weekends through September and October, you’ll find handmade crafts (including authentic weaponry, clothing, and armor), musicians, dancers, mimes, jugglers, magicians, comedians, puppeteers, gymnasts, Siberian tigers and ligers, acrobats, mud beggars, stilt walkers, knights jousting on horseback, a royal court, and of course, lots of food.king-richards-faire


9. Provincetown – Cape Cod is full of beautiful beaches and must-see attractions, but the best of them all is Provincetown, located at the extreme tip of the Cape. Provincetown is the spot where the Pilgrims signed the Mayflower Compact, but now it’s also known as the oldest art colony in America and a great summer vacation spot. Almost three quarters of Provincetown is preserved in its wild state as part of the Cape Cod National Seashore Park, so visiting the beach while you’re here is high on the list of must-do’s. The real draw in Province town, however, is Commercial Street downtown. Filled with quirky shops and eateries, you’ll have a great time exploring and people watching.

cape-cod-national-seashore-parkThe Knot

10. Mount Greylock State Reservation – The highest peak in Massachusetts can be found in the Berkshires, in the northwest corner of the state: Mount Greylock. You can drive to the top of Mount Greylock, but if you prefer to hike, you will find several trails available for woodland ambling, including 11.5 miles of the Appalachian Trail. The peak of Mount Greylock is home to an incongruous lighthouse (the Veterans War Memorial Tower) and, according to JK Rowling, the American school of wizardry, Ilvermorny. Muggles, however, will have to settle for Bascom Lodge, a rustic arts and crafts lodge that offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as overnight accommodations.

11. Tanglewood – The Boston Symphony Orchestra makes its summer home at the Tanglewood Music Center, an academy for advanced musical training nestled in the Berkshires. Tanglewood offers a wide variety of concerts which can be enjoyed in a reserved-seating covered pavilion, or on the lawn. While there is a concession stand, bringing a picnic to a concert is a popular way to spend a summer evening at Tanglewood. Guests are welcome to bring blankets, tables and chairs, and even small canopies to make themselves comfortable.

12. Whale Watch – There are many launching points for whale watches in Massachusetts. Whether you choose to depart from Gloucester on the north shore, Hyannis or Provincetown on the Cape, or Boston itself, a whale watch is a great way to spend a summer day. You’re most likely to catch sign of humpback whales on your cruise, but finback and minke whales are also common signs. Make sure to bring sunscreen, and you may even need a jacket – it can get cold on the water!


Author Bio: Rachel Raum is a homeschooling mom to four kids.  Originally from Massachusetts, she and her family are working towards their goal of seeing all fifty states.


  1. Renee Walters says

    I have always wanted to visit Massachusetts. My mother was born there and loves to tell us stories about Salem during Halloween.

  2. I don’t travel and I haven’t visited many places. The pictures of the places you described in this post are breath taking and make me want to visit. My history buff husband would love to visit Salem.

  3. Love these photos! I’ve never been to MA (too cold for my liking) but it looks beautiful.

  4. MA is on our bucket list to visit soon. We’ve been everywhere on the West Coast, but nothing on the East! This looks perfect!

  5. It’s as beautiful and historic as it looks in these pics! I’ve been a here since I was 1yr old … First ground covering snow here today too 🙂 Glad you had so much fun here and well, I envy your adventures!

  6. ellen beck says

    I have never been to Mass but I enjoy history and it is a place I would enjoy. I follow a number of bloggers who are from that area, and their pictures look so inteeresting. So much to see and enjoy!

  7. vickie couturier says

    how cool,,i didnt know about a lot of these,ive driven thru there before but havent stopped to enjoy the area

  8. Oh wow, so much to see there! I have never been there, but have always wanted to go on a Whale watch! Oh that would be so awesome to see one jump out of the water!

  9. My sisters husband is from Massachusetts. She has been there quite a bit. I am hoping one day soon to visit

  10. I just moved to MA and this list has narrowed my focus on what to see and do. Thank you!

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