Step outside the city limits to see how the American Revolution began in nearby Lexington and Concord. See how the war's opening battle was fought at Minute Man National Historic Park. Live like a literary luminary and visit Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House, or take a dip at Walden Pond, famously depicted in Henry David Thoreau's Walden. Head north to the spooky city of Salem, where Halloween lives on 365 days a year. Learn about the Salem witch trials at the Salem Witch Museum, or step inside the House of Seven Gables made famous by Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel. Also in Salem is the Peabody Essex Museum, home of one of the major collections of Asian art in the US. Don't miss the peaceful sea breezes on Cape Ann, where towns like Rockport and Essex are the epitome of peaceful, oceanfront New England. South of the city you'll find historic Plymouth, where you can step back in time at Plimouth Plantation, home to costumed staff who seem to have come straight out of the 17th century. Climb aboard the Mayflower II, a reproduction of the original ship. Historic New Bedford, once the center of the Massachusetts whaling industry, is not only a tourist destination but a great spot to hop the ferry to Woods Hole on Cape Cod. Catch some rays on the Cape, where New England summers of ice cream and clam shacks reign supreme. Travel to Nantucket, or head to Martha's Vineyard, where you can grab a ride on the Flying Horses Carousel in Oak Bluffs, one of the oldest carousels in the country.
If you're looking to head farther out from Boston, central Massachusetts is filled with natural wonder that will delight any outdoorsman. Ski the slopes at Wachusett Mountain, or stroll through Tower Hill Botanic Garden, which is open year-round. Explore the 200-acre Old Sturbridge Village, where time has stopped in the 1800s. Continue into Springfield to relive your childhood at the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum and Sculpture Garden, or shoot some hoops at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Don't forget to make a stop at the brand new MGM Springfield, New England’s first integrated luxury resort. Try your luck in the 125,000-square-foot casino, or catch a concert at the 8,000-seat MassMutual Center.
The rolling mountains of the Berkshires draw tourists from far and wide, thanks to the exquisite natural beauty and rich cultural offerings. Catch a performance of the Boston Symphony Orchestra at their summer home, Tanglewood, or visit the iconic Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival. Quote the Bard with the best of them at the Shakespeare Theatre Festival, or head north for the annual Williamstown Theatre Festival. Stretch it out at Kripalu, or get pampered at Canyon Ranch or Cranwell Spa & Golf Resort. Step back in time at Hancock Shaker Village, or check out the art scene at the Mass MoCa and Norman Rockwell Museum.
In every corner of the Bay State, you'll find exciting opportunities. But take a word of advice from us: If you're coming in the winter, be sure to dress warm. New England winters do not mess around.
Best of Massachusetts: Boston Travel Guide