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State parks in Massachusetts are open to people of all abilities year-round, but the opportunities for outdoor activities really multiply as the weather gets warmer. You may already be aware of the many accessible trails, but did you know there are also accessible ways to fish, kayak, or be the pit master of an accessible grill? All of these activities and more can be found at parks throughout the Commonwealth through the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR)’s Universal Access Program.

You can get an overview of things to do with the universal access brochure, check for upcoming accessible events, or keep reading for just a small sample of the ways you can have fun outdoors.

Trails and Paths

Accessible trails are located at parks across Massachusetts and fall into two categories:

The Universal Access Office also provides ways for people who are blind to enjoy DCR parks, including recorded brochures and audio tours, as well as a Berkshire hike guidebook for use by sighted guides. For more information, call 413-545-5353 (voice) or 413-577-2200 (TTY).

Water Activities

Whether you want to get in the water, be on the water, or just drop a line, DCR offers many ways to enjoy both fresh and salt water.

Stay for the Day or Overnight

Want to refuel or catch a glimpse of the starry night sky? DCR parks offer a number of ways to extend your stay while enjoying the outdoors.

In addition, accessible restrooms are available at many DCR parks. Park maps also show the location of restrooms, parking, and other facilities.

Plan Ahead

While many of the accessible options at state parks are free and don’t require advance notice, some involve fees and can fill up at peak times. If your activity of choice involves DCR equipment or camping, it’s best to call ahead and make reservations. It’s also a good idea to call if bad weather is in the forecast — some programs may be cancelled if conditions are poor.

Many programs also require participants or parents/legal guardians to sign the DCR Participant Registration & Release form, and everyone should take a moment to read the Essential Eligibility Criteria for Program Participants, which covers everything you need to know to have a fun and safe experience at DCR state parks.

Get your summer started now! Whether you’re looking for nearby fun or you want to take a road trip, you won’t run out of accessible things to do in the great state of Massachusetts.

What is your favorite accessible activity? What’s your favorite DCR park? Tell us by commenting or tweeting @MassGov.

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