Massachusetts travel guide
The Pilgrims knew they were onto a good thing when they arrived in Massachusetts, and today this northeastern gem is an irresistible blend of high-class culture, idyllic beaches and adventures galore.
You can explore the nation's early history, walk in the steps of the Pilgrims, tour battleships, catch the excitement of a Boston Red Sox baseball game or be awed by whales drifting along the coastline.
The gateway to New England, Massachusetts was the destination of the Mayflower in 1620 and site of the Boston Tea Party, which helped ignite the American Revolution in 1773. Boston’s Freedom Trail is a must-do, but Massachusetts is more than a history lesson.
From masterpieces at the Museum of Fine Arts to a world-renowned symphony orchestra, Boston’s cultural scene is world class. (It has a cheeky side too – you can eye up complete disasters at the Museum of Bad Art.) Across the river, Cambridge is brainiac central, where both Harvard and MIT show off their share of fascinating museums. With all these genius academics come hip neighbourhoods buzzing with bakeries, bookshops and indie boutiques.
Cape Cod curls like a jester’s shoe and serves up simple seaside pleasures: unspoiled beaches, fresh lobster, excellent hiking, terrific sailing and a golf course for every week of the year. It’s one of the world’s best whale-watching spots – minkes, humpbacks, pilots and blue whales all swim offshore. And it’s a short hop to the slow-paced islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket with their beachfront cottages, historic lighthouses and homemade ice cream.
Drag yourself from this blissful life to the Berkshire Hills. Hike, bike or raft by day, then bring a picnic to Tanglewood, the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s summer home, for an unforgettable evening.
23,931 sq km (9,240 sq miles).
6.8 million (2015).
283.9 per sq km.