Massachusetts is known for being the perfect year-round tourist spot. Visitors worldwide come to the Bay State to enjoy the coastline and tour historical landmarks.
Iconic areas in Massachusetts include Nantucket, Salem, Cape Cod, Boston, and Martha’s Vineyard. Although the Freedom Trail, Harvard Square, and the Mayflower Museum attract the most annual tourists.
The following spots are lesser known but will make your trip truly a fantastic experience.
Beach Of Brant Point Light, Nantucket
The Beach of Brant Point Light in Nantucket is a coastal paradise that combines natural beauty with a touch of history. This picturesque beach is situated near the iconic Brant Point Lighthouse, making it a unique spot for visitors. You can stroll along the sandy shores, enjoy stunning views of the lighthouse, and even catch a glimpse of passing boats.
Bash Bish Falls
Bash Bish Falls is a pet-friendly state park located in Mt. Washington. The scenic park includes the highest waterfall in Massachusetts, with an 80-foot drop. Many guests choose to park at the nearby Taconic State Park and hike along the 12-mile trail to the falls. Closer lots allow you to hike 0.5 to 1.5 miles to the falls. Fishing with a permit is allowed in the park.
New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill
The New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill is a captivating horticultural haven nestled in the heart of Massachusetts. Spanning over acres of stunning landscapes, this botanical treasure showcases an impressive collection of plant species from the New England region and beyond. Visitors are treated to enchanting gardens, serene water features, and picturesque vistas that offer a sense of tranquility and wonder.
Forest Hills Cemetery
History lovers will enjoy a visit to the Forest Hills Cemetery in Boston. The massive cemetery covers over 250 acres and has an enchanted garden-like atmosphere. The graveyard was constructed in 1848 and has dozens of one-of-a-kind sculptures, including miniature villages. Notable people interred at the cemetery include EE Cummings, Anne Sexton, William Dwight, and Reggie Lewis.
The Ether Dome
One of Boston’s more unusual tourist sites is the Ether Dome, found at the Massachusetts General Hospital. The Ether Dome was the birthplace of modern anesthesia when Dr. William TG Morton performed the first public surgery utilizing ether. Through 1868, doctors performed more than 8,000 surgeries in the dome. Today, the Ether Dome acts as an amphitheater and small museum.
Natural Bridge State Park
If you want to travel back in time, head to the Natural Bridge State Park in North Adams. The park is home to the only white marble arch in North America, with scientists dating the structure as forming into an arch 13,000 years old when glacial ice melted. An artificial marble dam and marble quarry are also available to tour on-site.
With a name like Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg, it’s no surprise that the Webster recreational area also goes by the shorter Lake Webster. The lake has a surface area of 1,442 acres right above the Connecticut border. The location is perfect for those looking for a serene spot to boat, swim, or relax on the shore. Webster Lake was formed during the Ice Age and is the largest natural lake in the state. The lake also has the longest place name in the United States.
The Dr. Seuss Museum
Theodore Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, has a dedicated museum in Springfield, Massachusetts, the author’s birthplace. The interactive museum has exhibits covering two floors and is curated by direct descendants of the beloved children’s author. The first floor has fully bilingual exhibits that inspire storytelling, rhyming, and creativity. The second floor is a re-creation of Dr. Seuss’s writing studio and living room. Visitors can also view artifacts, including original artwork and letters.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, located in Boston, Massachusetts, is a cultural gem that mesmerizes visitors with its unique and eclectic collection. Founded by the renowned art collector Isabella Stewart Gardner in 1903, the museum showcases an exquisite array of art spanning various periods and styles from around the world. Housed in a stunning Venetian-inspired palace, the museum’s enchanting courtyard, galleries, and hidden nooks create an intimate and immersive atmosphere. The collection features masterpieces by artists like Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Titian, alongside rare manuscripts and exquisite decorative arts. A visit to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is an unparalleled journey into the world of art, history, and the fascinating life of its visionary founder.
Another destination formed due to the Ice Age is the Glacial Potholes at Shelburne Falls along the Deerfield River. The potholes came about when glaciers receded from the area over 14,000 years ago. More than 50 holes dot the riverbed, with each measuring anywhere from six inches to forty feet. Visitors can’t directly access the potholes but can view them at the end of Deerfield Avenue.
Danvers Hospital for the Criminally Insane
Once covering over 500 acres, the Danvers Hospital for the Criminally Insane was built in 1874 to provide long-term residential treatment to those suffering from mental illnesses. Although the hospital has attracted tourists because of a dark history with questionable treatments like lobotomies and shock therapy, many also come to view the incredible architecture. Renowned Massachusetts architect Thomas S. Kirkbrid designed the main structure, which has a distinct Victorian Gothic style.