Whether you are a regular park visitor or new to Massachusetts state parks, open space is more valuable than ever! You can help DCR keep properties safe, welcoming and more climate resilient by planning your visit in advance. Learn about spring, self-guided and accessible adventures, parking, programs and events, dogs and pet waste, camping, fishing, hunting, and more!
Guide Visiting Massachusetts State Parks Guide
Table of Contents
Know before you go
DCR has many self-guided Covid-19 friendly guides to get out and enjoy the fresh air. Visit the DCR Programs and Events page for more info.
Find a Massachusetts State Park
The Department of Conservation and Recreation manages over 150 state parks across the Commonwealth. These protected lands include mountains, freshwater beaches, saltwater beaches, and much more.
If you know what you want to do in a state park, search parks by recreation type or amenities.
Parking fees and passes for state parks
Many DCR facilities have a parking fee. Massachusetts residents pay lower fees than non-residents. Resident and non resident status is determined by the vehicle license plate. Some parks only charge fees during certain times of the year. Click the link below to view the most recent parking fees schedule for every state park.
Annual Parking Pass
You can save money on park visits by getting an annual ParksPass. A ParksPass waives the daily parking fee for most DCR parks. The parking pass costs $60 for Massachusetts residents.
In an effort to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, non-resident park passes are currently unavailable
These vehicles do not need a DCR ParksPass. Daily parking fees are waived for vehicles with a:
- Handicapped license plate or placard
- Purple Heart Recipient license plate or placard
- Disabled veteran license plate or placard
Massachusetts residents aged 62 and older can buy a lifetime parking pass. The lifetime Senior ParksPass costs $10. Senior Parkspasses may only be bought in person or by mail.
Additional Resources for Parking fees and passes for state parks
Find park information and restrictions
It is important to be prepared for your trip to a state park. Make sure you have a map, know park restrictions, and have a parking pass.
Look for these symbols at the top of state park pages to find out more about the park.
Check the "Accessibility" and "Restrictions" sections of park web pages for more information on rules and accessible recreation.
Accessibility at state parks
The Department of Conservation and Recreation's Universal
Access Program ensures that people of all abilities can enjoy the Massachusetts state parks system.
Through the Universal Access Program, DCR offers accessible recreation at parks across the state, including:
- Accessible hiking
- Accessible camping
- Accessible beaches and pools
- Accessible boating
- Accessible ice skating
- Accessible skiing
- Accessible fishing
- Accessible scenic views
Prepare for hiking, biking, and other recreation with a printable trail map. Every park with a trail map will have a download link for the map at the top of the park's web page. A full list of trail maps is linked below.
Reserve a campsite or day use site
Are you planning a big event or simply looking to go camping for the weekend? There are 29 state parks that allow camping and many have facilities for daytime use.
State parks with campgrounds will have the following link on their page:
Reserve a campsite
Through the "Reserve a campsite" link on park web pages you can find:
- Camping rates
- Amenities at campsites
- Available campsite types
- Camping season information
- Campground rules
There are 22 Massachusetts state parks with sites that can be rented for daytime use. Pavilions, picnic areas, and other sites are available for events, such as field trips, family reunions, and weddings.
Weddings and other special events
How to get recreational permits or licenses
To keep park patrons and the environment safe, the Commonwealth offers services that prepare you for various types of recreation.
Hunting is allowed at numerous state parks. It is important to know the hunting regulations for state parks to ensure everyone has a safe and fun time.
Fishing is popular at inland and coastal parks. In addition to acquiring a freshwater or saltwater fishing license, you will need to follow the fishing rules of the park you visit.
Many state parks have boat ramps for public use. All motorized boats are required to be registered with the Massachusetts Environmental Police, Bureau of Registration and Titling
Educational programs and park events
Many DCR state parks offer activities for all age groups. These activities can include:
- Nature walks
- Historical talks
Parks that list educational programs will have a "Find park programs and events" link at the top of the park web page or at the bottom in the "More info" section. Through the link below you can view upcoming park events or search events by park.
Find park events and programs