Chances are you’re already close to one of the more than 150 state parks in Massachusetts. This summer, get outdoors and host a picnic with friends, hike on a trail, or spend the day bird watching.
Learn where the Commonwealth’s many parks and recreation sites are located, how much the entrance fees cost, and how to make the most of your park visit, as well as how you can get involved in preserving our natural treasures.
Locations and Fees
Keep in mind that most DCR facilities charge day use parking fees. However, daily parking fees are waived for Annual MassParks Pass and Senior MassParks Pass holders, or for vehicles bearing a handicapped or disabled veteran license plate from any state.
Massachusetts residents can purchase a pass for $60 at any DCR park or beach that charges daily parking fees by bringing proof of residency, such as a driver’s license. The fee for nonresidents is $85 per calendar year, and the fee for a lifetime senior membership is $10. If you’re not ready to buy one, you can borrow a MassParks Pass from a participating library or recreation department.
Some DCR parks and recreation areas allow dogs. When bringing dogs into DCR state parks, make sure to follow the rules of each facility and be respectful of other visitors.
Activities and Attractions
Massachusetts parks have activities for visitors of all ages, abilities, and interests to try this summer.
- Walking, Hiking, and Biking — Break a sweat this summer by biking or hiking on a park trail. If you prefer a casual stroll to take in nature at your own pace, walking trails are also available.
- Camping and Picnicking — Spend the day picnicking at no cost or the night camping at designated campsites for a fee. Be sure to make a camping reservation and follow all DCR camping regulations.
- Kayaking, Canoeing, and Fishing — If you prefer water activities, check out the canoeing and kayaking options at state parks. Some DCR parks offer rentals, or you can bring your own. Recreational fishing is also available, but make sure you have a fishing license or permit if required before heading out to the water.
- Scenic Viewing — From the mountains in the Berkshires to the beaches of Cape Cod, enjoy breathtaking scenery at designated scenic viewing areas all over the Commonwealth.
Everyone can have fun at Massachusetts state parks through DCR’s Universal Access Program. Make sure your plans go off without a hitch by calling ahead, since some accessible activities may involve fees and can fill up fast.
How Else to Get Involved
DCR provides various opportunities for residents to get involved and to help shape Massachusetts parks and recreation areas. You can start by:
- Volunteering — There are many opportunities to volunteer in parks. Make sure to review the program guide and sign a release form before starting.
- Educating — Share your enthusiasm with your family and friends and engage them in a conversation about DCR parks and recreational areas. If you have young children, sign them up for educational trips where they can learn hands-on about nature and wildlife at no cost, or get a DCR Park Passport and explore on your own.
- Donating — Donate to DCR’s trust fund to help maintain state parks, forests, and recreational areas. The contributions are tax-deductible and can be allocated to your favorite park. To donate, fill out a donation form and mail it to DCR.
What are your favorite outdoor activities? Share below or tweet us @MassGov.
Tags: accessible activities, Camping, Canoe, Department of Conservation and Recreation, Great Outdoors, hiking, outdoor activities, outdoors, Park and Recreation Month, parks, recreation, recreational fishing, volunteers in parks program
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