Cooped up inside all week? While social distancing is critical toward slowing the spread of coronavirus, there are still ways to get outside safely and release some energy while soaking in the sun in the Boston area.
Please be sure to maintain a safe distance between all non-family members and if any outdoor area becomes too crowded, consider moving on to a more spacious area.
Here are 10 outdoor recommendations in Massachusetts:
Blue Hills Reservation, Milton
While trails to Great Blue Hill from the Trailside Museum on Route 138 are notably popular, Blue Hills Reservation has more than 7,000 acres of land with 125 miles of trails from Quincy to Dedham. The Skyline Trail offers a strenuous route connecting most of the 22 hills in the reservation. There are mountain biking trails, moderate hiking trails, and a few picnic areas available near Houghton’s Pond.
Breakheart Reservation, Wakefield
Less crowded than Blue Hills or Middlesex Fells, Breakheart Reservation also offers quality hiking trails with views of downtown Boston. The 650-acre reservation winds under power lines and over rocky hills from Wakefield to Saugus. It offers access to Silver and Pearce lakes and to the Saugus River, where birdwatching is possible.
Cape Cod Bike Trails
There are several bike paths available on Cape Cod. The Cape Cod Canal trail connects Bourne and Sandwich with seven miles of bike paths on both sides of the canal. The Shining Sea Bikeway extends 10.7 miles from North Falmouth to Woods Hole with great views of Martha's Vineyard and Little Harbor. The Cape Cod Rail Trail is a more extensive network of bike trails in the eastern part of the Cape with access points in South Dennis and Orleans. Parking areas can be found on Route 134 and Route 124 for this 22-mile network of paths.
Crane Beach and Castle Island, Ipswich
With 5.5 miles of trails traversing dunes and beachfront vistas on Ipswich Bay, Crane Beach offers a scenic opportunity to walk near the sea. All buildings are closed, including the Castle Island Estate, and the park is not allowing horseback riders going forward. As of March 13, parking at the outdoor properties was made free to minimize contact between trustees staff and the public.
deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln
While the indoor portion of the museum is closed indefinitely, deCordova's outdoor sculpture park encompasses 30 acres. The park features more than 60 works, including a watershed designed and built in 2019 by famous sculptor Andy Goldsworthy. The outdoor portion is free and open to the public with parking available on site. There are also hiking trails around nearby Flints Pond that emanate from the park and connect with a trail system that extends throughout nearby Walden Woods.
Fruitlands Museum Walking Trails, Harvard
There are 3.2 miles of well-marked trails available on the 210 acres owned by the museum. The indoor exhibits are closed, but families with young children can enjoy the meadow landscape with distant views of Mount Wachusett and Mount Monadnock. There are five trail loops with a self-guided tour of the Willard Farm Site, and access to the ruins of the Pergolas Mansion. Be aware of the potential danger posed by ticks.
Mount Tom State Reservation, Easthampton
This reservation features more than 20 trails ranging from easy to difficult. There are exposed cliffs overlooking the Pioneer Valley, as well as an old quarry in Holyoke with views of the Connecticut River. Those interested in a little history can take the 2.4-mile out and back trail to the Eyrie House Ruins, which are the remains of a hotel that burned down in 1901.
Noanet Woodlands, Dover
When combined with adjoining Hale Reservation, Noanet Woodlands has approximately 37 miles of trails to explore. Kids can walk the half-mile Caryl Trail to an old mill site and there are several trails to Noanet Peak, the area's high point. Official parking for about 30 cars is available on Powisett Road in Dover.
October Mountain State Forest, Lee
The largest state park in Massachusetts contains 16,500 acres of land with dozens of hiking trails. Trailheads can be found along the Housatonic River, or on Route 20 in Becket. The Appalachian Trail, a continuous footpath that travels nearly 2,200 miles from Maine to Georgia, runs through the state forest. Hikers could find a seven mile loop from Woodland Road in Lee that goes over October Mountain on the Felton Trail.
Southern New England Trunkline Trail, Franklin
This wide 23.5-mile trail from Franklin to East Thompson, Connecticut offers space for walkers, bikers, or horseback riders. The trail connects to the Blackstone Bike Path to offer a potential turnaround point and offers access to a network of hiking trails in Douglas. Nearby Blackstone Gorge has trails along the Blackstone River with excellent views.