Want to create an itinerary from this post?
Everybody who knows Massachusetts knows that western Mass has mountains, Cape Cod has wonderful beaches, and Metro West has shopping.
Far fewer people know that MetroWest and Central Mass also offer some of the best strolling spaces in all of New England! At each of these outdoor destinations, you’ll find something of interest along the way: picturesque stone walls, waterside views, birds, beavers, and more.
Spend a morning or afternoon, and be sure to return as the seasons change.
Cedariver in Millis, MA
Open space to explore at Cedariver
An easy walk brings you down to the banks of the Charles River, where you’ll get a great view of the water and might even see a muskrat swimming along in the shallows. Circle back on the loop trail of this Trustees of Reservations property, which winds through woodlands and open fields. And in the summer, remember to bring bug spray!
DelCarte Conservation Area in Franklin, MA
A look inside DelCarte Conservation Area
The town of Franklin recently constructed a floating bridge (great fun!) along one section of the trail, making for easier walking. Canoeing, kayaking, and fishing (catch-and-release only) are a few more of the recreational opportunities at DelCarte. A new playground near the parking area, just off Pleasant Street in Franklin, has quickly become a popular spot for little ones who tire of the trail, too. (note: the playground is temporarily closed for repairs, so please inquire about it, if you will soon be visiting).
Upper Charles Trail “Missing Link” in Milford, MA
This stunningly quiet section of paved bike trail, just a block off Route 16 through a section of downtown Milford, is a true gem. The “link,” (Phase 3 on Upper Charles Trail maps), which was completed in 2014, ties the Milford and Holliston portions of the trail together, providing continuity for bike riders, much better access for walkers, and quicker transportation for many other folks.
Ambling along the “Missing Link” in autumn
Enjoy the stone walls and woods in this short section of trail, or plan to continue on toward Holliston or Hopkinton. I’ve found that it’s best to park at Friendly’s on Rt. 109, just off Rt. 495 in Milford, or at the very back of Hannaford’s, Rt. 16 and 109.
Waseeka Wildlife Sanctuary in Hopkinton, MA
Forest fires and beavers have left an impression at Waseeka, a Mass Audubon property on Clinton Street. Undergrowth is cleared out along one trail because of a past fire; another trail was altered due to beaver activity, which also increased the size of the pond.
Waseeka at its tranquil best
Inside Waseeka, you may spot fresh beaver “chews” alongside the trail. The trail also passes right next to the beaver dam, an impressive feat of engineering and a pleasant sight to go along with your time outside.
Mill Pond in Westborough, MA
Bring your kayak or canoe for a nice paddle, or simply wear your sneakers for an easy walk with great water views along the north shore of Mill Pond in Westborough. Due west on Route 30 outside Westborough center on Mill Road, it’s simple to find and offers easy access.
Geese landing at Mill Pond
Geese, swans, and other birds frequent the area, so you can expect a little company. Beavers bustle along the shoreline as well, leaving behind their signature chewed stumps—always a fun discovery for children.
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and has completed two guides to Easy Walking trails in south central Massachusetts, titled “Easy Walks in Massachusetts” and “More Easy Walks in Massachusetts.” A native Floridian, she came north for college and snow!