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As the old cliché goes, some of the best things in life are free. For evidence, skeptics need look no further than some of the picturesque beaches, historic trails and other scenic spots that dot the Massachusetts landscape.
If you’re looking to plan a day trip, a long weekend or just a little time to relax and be disconnected, these five spots are great for all three.
Just the place for a family picnic, dipping your feet in the water or stretching your legs, Crocker Park is a great spot for a relaxing time outside. With public benches, a gazebo, pavilion and plenty of space to walk around, this Marblehead locale is proof that some of the best things in life really don’t cost anything. If you’re staying around the area, the quaint Harbor Light Inn is just a short walk away and local dining at The Landing is nearby, too.
Photo: Crocker Park in Marblehead by Tim Grafft
Springtime is the perfect time to see the Boston Harbor Islands, and on May 26th, you can see them in a truly special way. The Adirondack III Schooner will whisk travelers on an exclusive three-hour picnic event around the Boston Harbor Islands with views of Island Head Light, Fort Independence, and Boston Light. Adults and kids will have time to interact with the captain and crew of the sail on the nautical excursion, which will leave from Rowes Wharf at noon. For those traveling into the area who’d like to stay on the water, some of Boston’s finest lodging locations are nearby— including Boston Harbor Hotel, Intercontinental Boston, and the Fairmont Battery Warf (just to name a few!).
Photo: Adirondack III Schooner
If fishing is your choice way to spend the day, head for the Swift River in Belchertown and Ware. Connected to the Quabbin Reservoir, this Pioneer Valley destination is ideal for fly fishing enthusiasts. With seven miles of trails, ample bird watching and an abundance of greenery, this state reservation is also a treat for those just looking to enjoy the natural landscape.
Photo: Fishing in the Swift River by Paul Schnaittacher
Looking for a bit of a challenge? Try a hike through the rocky peaks of the Yokun Ridge and the Burbank Trails along the Taconic Mountains, after which you’ll be rewarded with a one-of-a-kind view of Berkshire County. For more moderate to intermediate hikers, well-maintained trails (without as many cliffs) are available, along with plenty of natural wildlife to explore in this conservation zone. Also nearby is the Taconic Golf Club in Williamstown, a top-notch course with exceptional views of the mountain range. And of course, there are plenty of dining options after a long day on the trails or the course, as well as many places to rest nearby.
Photo: View from Olivia’s Overlook via Tim Grafft/MOTT
Surrounded by sea grass and calm waters, Fiddler’s Cove is wonderfully scenic and the perfect place for a day of kayaking. For the avid boatman, boat rentals and plenty of storage are available at the marina, which also provides access to a number of cruising grounds. To stretch out your time in the area, there are plenty of places to stay, eat and play nearby.
Photo: Kayaking in Fiddler’s Cove