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DCR Programs and Events

Learn about programs and events in state parks. Come out and play!
boy with red sox hat

 

Fresh air and family fun are the perfect combination for your outdoor plans. Come out and play in your Massachusetts State Parks and enjoy a fantastic array of family friendly programs and experiences for all ages. 

Table of Contents

DCR Trip Tip Self-Guided Family Adventures

DCR Trip tip

Spring is a wonderful time to experience your state park system!  DCR is offering a variety of family-friendly self -guided opportunities to help you make the most of your vacation and throughout the spring.

Adventure awaits! The DCR Trip-Tip provides families with information and fun ideas to explore the great outdoors at DCR Massachusetts State Parks and Watersheds. With a little preparation and a sense of adventure, people of all ages can safely enjoy our beautiful outdoor spaces.

Share you adventure!

Tweet, post, and tag photos on social media using @MassDCR and #DCRTripTip.

A few helpful reminders for your visit.

  • Park in designated areas only, and if a parking lot is full come back another time.
  • Many visitor centers remain closed. However, restrooms or porta-johns within many DCR parks remain open.
  • Dogs are to be on leash in state parks unless signage designates otherwise. Dogs are not permitted on DCR Water Supply Protection areas. To find a dog-friendly park, visit the DCR website.

Central Massachusetts

Quabbin Spring Ramble

Location: Quabbin Reservoir, Gate 39, Route 110 & South Meadow Road, Clinton

Quabbin Reservoir is a vital water supply source for approximately 3 million people in Massachusetts. Participants will discover three unique areas in the Quabbin Reservation that spotlight what life was like before four towns were removed to build the reservoir: Quabbin Park, Quabbin Park Cemetery and Enfield Lookout Trail, and Dana Common (Gate 40). Please note, dogs are not allowed anywhere in Quabbin Park or Quabbin Reservation. Suitable for all ages. No parking fees apply. 

Explore Wachusett Watershed

Location: Wachusett Reservoir, 180 Beaman St., West Boylston  

Explore the Wachusett Watershed. This DCR Trip-Tip self-guided adventure features easy walks located within 15 minutes driving time of one another in the Wachusett Watershed area for great views of water features. Visit these three locations: North Dike Wachusett Reservoir in Clinton for Earth, Wind and Water; Gate 22 Wachusett Reservoir in West Boylston for Forest Hike, and Mass Central Rail Trail in Sterling for Watershed View.  No parking fees apply.

Trip Tip Explore the Central Valley

Locations:   Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park, 287 Oak Street, Uxbridge

                     Upton State Forest, 205 Westboro Road, Upton

                     Moore State Park, 1 Sawmill Road, Paxton

Massachusetts’ state parks are known for their scenic and natural beauty, but visitors can also see evidence of the human history of the area. Families will experience a walk along the Tow Path at Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park. Along the way you will see a dam and control gate, the remains of a bridge, and the Stanley Woolen Mill which used water power from the canal to operate machinery during the industrial revolution.

At Upton State Forest, explore see the remains of the Civilian Conservation Corps Camp from the 1930s. Take a walk on the Healthy Heart Loop to Moore State Park in Paxton. Enjoy the Water Power Walk to explore the remains of the mill village built on this site. Discover how they used the creek to power the mills that were the heart of the village. Suitable for all ages. No parking fees apply.

 

girl on log

Southeastern Massachusetts

"Spring is Blossoming" Adventure

Locations:   Borderland State Park, 259 Massapoag Avenue, North Easton

Bristol Blake State Reservation, 108 North Street, Norfolk 

F. Gilbert Hills State Forest, 45 Mill Street, Foxborough

Discover parks with diverse woodlands and view the wildlife living in the forest! This self-guided Trip-Tip features three DCR parks that are located close to one another in Norfolk County: Borderland State Park, Bristol Blake State Reservation, and F. Gilbert Hills State Forest. Participants will enjoy Botanical Sketching at Borderland State Park, Birding at Bristol Blake State Reservation and Tree Identification Challenge at F. Gilbert Hills State Forest. Suitable for all ages. Parking fees apply at Borderland State Park only.

Blue Hills Spring Exploration

Location: Blue Hills Reservation, 695 Hillside Street, Milton

Investigate the Spring Exploration of the Blue Hills Reservation! This self-guided Trip-Tip features three park areas located within the 7,000-acre Blue Hills Reservation. Activities include a walk along the edge of Marigold Marsh to look for signs of animal activity at Houghton’s Pond Recreation Area, Brookwood Farm, and the Great Blue Hill Adventure. The Blue Hills Reservation encompasses approximately 10 square miles and stretches from Dedham to Quincy, and Milton to Randolph, providing a surprisingly large open space only 35 miles from Boston. Suitable for all ages. No parking fees apply.

Western Massachusetts

Sensing Spring

Location:    Bradley Farm at Mount Greylock State Reservation, 30 Rockwell Rd., Lanesborough

                    Ashuwillticook Rail Trail, along MA Route 8 in Cheshire and Adams

                    Glen Meadow Loop, Greylock Glen, Gould Rd., Adams

Springtime is in the air! Warm breezes and the sweet scents of spring awaken our senses, enticing us to get out and explore nature’s long awaited re-vival! Spring is a great time to explore the outdoors at these Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) state park properties in the northern Berkshires. This Sensing Spring Trip Tip leads you to: Bradley Farm Interpretive Trail at Mount Greylock State Reservation in Lanesborough; Ashuwillticook Rail Trail in Cheshire, and Adams; and Glen Meadow Loop at Greylock Glen in Adams.

Spring Migration

Locations:        Norwottock Rail Trail, 292 Station Rd., Amherst

                        Mount Sugarloaf State Reservation, 300 Sugarloaf St., South Deerfield     

                        Canalside Rail Trail in Turners Falls

Each spring, thousands of migrating birds fly north through the Connecticut River Valley to nest. They join year-round resident birds looking for the best places to raise families. As you bike and hike and “migrate from park to park” like a bird, meet the early birds of spring and immerse yourself in the season. In this Spring Migration Trip Tip, these three signature parks in the Connecticut River Greenway State Park are all within 50 minutes of each other. With this guide, and a little preparation, each adventure offers a fresh look at how to fly full speed into spring. Habitat is Home at Norwottock Rail Trail in Amherst, Soar to the Top at Mount Sugarloaf State Reservation in South Deerfield, Going with the Flow at Canalside Rail Trail in Turners Falls

kids in forest

Northeastern, Massachusetts

Beaver Lodge Hunt and Find

Location:    Bradley Palmer State Park, 40 Asbury Street, Topsfield

 Harold Parker State Forest, 305 Middleton Road, North Andover

Explore the spring woods and find the homes of nature’s engineers! The beaver is a rarely seen, secretive animal, but their signs are easily noticed if you know where and how to look. This self-guided Trip-Tip takes you on a beaver lodge discovery tour in two parks to find lodges in four different locations. Sharpen your skills of observation as you look for signs that are hidden in plain sight—things that a lot of people just don’t see. Your journey will take you to Bradley Palmer State Park in Topsfield and Harold Parker State Forest in North Andover, two forested parks that are about 30 minutes apart. Suitable for all ages. No parking fees apply.

Explore Spring Bird Migration at the Shore

Location:     Revere Beach Reservation, Revere Beach Boulevard, Revere

Belle Isle Marsh Reservation, 1399 Bennington Street, East Boston

Explore history and nature on the shore this spring! This self-guided Trip-Tip features two DCR parks that are located along a scenic ocean drive: Revere Beach Reservation and Belle Isle Marsh Reservation. Activities include viewing some late winter species at the coastal water’s edge, searching for and photographing noteworthy buildings and structures that grace the shoreline, and exploring a saltmarsh filled with a variety of spring birds including the American Black Duck, Brant and, Great Blue Heron at Belle Isle Marsh Reservation. Don’t forget to bring along your binoculars, spotting scope, camera, and sketch pad! Suitable for all ages. No parking fees apply.

Suggested Hikes

Enjoy spring temps, fresh air and exercise! Take an easy, moderate or challenging hike at over 70 locations statewide.

Check out our Know Before You Go Spring reminders for a safe and successful hike.

Ashland State Park

Ashuwillticook Rail Trail

Great Falls Discovery Center October Mountain State Forest
Beartown State Forest Greylock Glen Otter River State Forest
Beaver Brook Reservation Halibut Point State Park Pearl Hill State Park
Blackstone River & Canal Heritage State Park Harold Parker State Forest Pittsfield State Forest
Blue Hills Reservation Hopkinton State Park

Quabbin Reservoir

Quinsigamond State Park

Blue Hills Reservation Recommended Hikes from Houghton’s Pond J. Harry Rich State Forest Salisbury Beach State Reservation

Borderland State Park

Boston Harbor Islands

 

Jug End Reservation Sandisfield State Forest
Bradley Palmer State Park Kenneth Dubuque Memorial State Forest

Savoy Mountain State Forest

Skinner State Park

Breakheart Reservation

Leominster State Forest

 

Tolland State Forest
Brimfield State Forest Mount Greylock State Reservation Upper Charles River Reservation
Callahan State Park Manuel F. Correllus State Forest Upton State Forest
Charles River Reservation / Esplanade Massasoit State Park Wachusett Mountain State Reservation
Chester-Blandford State Forest Maudslay State Park Walden Pond State Reservation
Chestnut Hill Reservation Middlesex Fells Reservation Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Chicopee Memorial State Park Mohawk Trail State Forest Wells State Park
Clarksburg State Park Mt Grace State Forest Wendell State Forest
Conn River Greenway State Park Mt. Sugarloaf State Reservation Willard Brook State Forest
DAR State Forest Mt. Holyoke Range State Park Wompatuck State Park
Douglas State Forest Mount Washington State Forest  
Erving State Forest Mt. Tom State Reservation  
F. Gilbert State Forest Mt Watatic State Reservation  
Fountain Pond State Park Myles Standish State Forest  
Freetown-Fall River State Forest Nashua River Rail Trail  
Granville State Forest Nickerson State Park  
Great Brook Farm State Park Norwottuck Rail Trail  

 

Fun in Nature

Investigate! Fun in Nature  downloadable activities to enhance your experience at any DCR park!    Activities include seek and find scavenger hunts to awaken all of your senses, a conversation starter set to encourage talks along the trail and creating your own story cube to inspire story- telling!

Sampling

Additional Resources

Earth Day Activities

earth day sheet

To support Earth Day 2021, we’ve compiled activities, resources and stories to help kids, families, and teachers learn about sustainability issues, climate science, and actions they can take this Earth Day 2021 and every day.

Visit DCR Earth Day for more info.

Additional Resources

StoryWalk®

DCR Parks open books for you to read. Enjoy a nature-themed picture book while you hike! Or Walk along the trail and read the story, step-by-step and page-by-page!

StoryWalk® Survey

Self-guided Opportunities - Boston Area

Self-Guided Opportunities - Central MA

Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park

 

Brimfield State Forest

 

Callahan State Park

 

Douglas State Forest

 

Erving State Forest

 

Hopkinton State Park

 

J. Harry Rich

 

Leominster State Forest

 

Moore State Park

 

Mount Grace State Forest

 

Mount Watatic State Reservation

 

Nashua River Rail Trail

 

Otter River State Forest

 

Pearl Hill State Forest

 

Quabbin Park & Reservoir

 

Upton State Forest

 

Wachusett Mountain State Reservation

 

Wells State Park

 

Wendell State Forest

 

Willard Brook State Forest

Self-Guided Opportunities - Northeast MA

Ashland State Park

 

Bradley Palmer State Park

 

Breakheart Reservation

  • Stories in Stone   - There are five stops along this self-guided route. Each station has stone artifacts which correspond to an episode in the history of Breakheart Reservation. The map and written directions will help you find each location.
  • Suggested Hikes & Rides

 

Great Brook Farm State Park

 

Halibut Point State Park

 

Harold Parker State Forest

 

Maudslay State Park

 

Middlesex Fells State Reservation

 

Salisbury Beach State Reservation

  • Nature Trail Introductory Walk -Although less than a mile, the self-guided nature trail offers opportunities to explore the barrier beach and salt marsh environments. Trail extends from near the dump station and parallels “Z” St., ending near the boat ramp.

 

Walden Pond State Reservation

Self-Guided Opportunities - Southeast MA

Self-Guided Opportunities - Western MA

Beartown State Forest

 

Chester-Blandford State Forest

 

Chicopee Memorial State Park

 

Clarksburg State Park

 

Connecticut River Greenway State Park

 

DAR State Forest

 

Fountain Pond State Park

 

Granville State Forest

 

Great Falls Discovery Center

 

Greylock Glen

 

Jug End State Reservation

 

Kenneth Dubuque State Forest

 

Mount Greylock State Reservation

 

Mount Holyoke Range State Park

 

Mount Sugarloaf State Reservation

 

Mount Tom State Reservation

 

Mount Washington State Forest

 

Mohawk Trail State Forest

 

Norwottuck Rail Trail

 

October Mountain State Forest

 

Pittsfield State Forest

 

Sandisfield State Fores (York Lake)

 

Savoy Mountain State Forest

 

Tolland State Forest

Accessible Trails

There are many different types of accessible trails in Massachusetts state parks. Any rail trail offers you a paved, level experience for access to natural areas and exercise. Several parks also offer accessibly-designed hiking trails in scenic, natural settings. These accessible trails are either paved or made from stone dust and are usually under a mile long.

Visit the DCR Universal Access Program Accessible Trails for more information

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