Fall in New England…as the days get shorter, the nights get longer…but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. The coast remains alive with activities—sunset fishing, stargazing, searching for ghosts of pirate’s past (yar!), and so much more. Discover all there is to do at night in maritime Massachusetts and fall in love with fall!
Options to Explore
Fishing - The Parker River National Wildlife Refuge offers some spectacular surf fishing, including sunset and “after hours” options through the end of October (for details and information on proper permits, see the Refuge’s Recreational Fishing Information sheet [PDF, 90 KB]). If tidal flats and hooking fish aren’t for you, check their Visitor Activity page for other ideas.
Haunted Happenings - When you think about Halloween in Massachusetts, Salem is typically the first place that comes to mind. The city, including the waterfront, is rumored to be home to some spooky specters. Draw your own conclusions by checking out the tours and events from Salem Haunted Happenings. For a chance to see other seaside apparitions, check out the ghost tour listing from massvacation.com for tours in Boston, Charlestown, Nantucket, and Plymouth, and Haunted Cape Cod from CapeCodTravel.com for ghost-spotting ideas in Barnstable, Hyannisport, and Orleans.
Battleship Camping? - Spend the night exploring Fall River’s Battleship Cove Fleet with Nautical Nights: America’s Original Maritime Camping Program. This year-round opportunity for youth groups allows you to sleep aboard one of the fleet’s ships and dive deep into military maritime history.
Outdoor Coastal Camping - If you would rather be surrounded by fresh air while you slumber, the Trustees of Reservation’s Dunes’ Edge Campground located at the tip of Cape Cod in Provincetown lets you camp out until the end of September, when crowds are less of an issue. Many Massachusetts State Parks also allow fall camping at beautiful coastal sites, such as Nickerson State Park in Brewster and Horseneck Beach State Reservation in Westport. See the MassParks Campground Schedule (PDF, 135 KB) for a listing of amenities, number of campsites, open and close dates, and other important information.
Stargazing - The shore is the perfect place to stare up at the sky in search of stars. According to one astronomer, Nantucket is an ideal spot to search the cosmos. (See CBSBoston article: Nantucket Considered One of Best Stargazing Spots on East Coast.) For a listing of other shoreside locations, check out the Massachusetts Parks and Recreation Areas with Star Gazing list from parksandcampgrounds.com (with information on seeing stars from Boston Harbor Islands, Cape Cod National Seashore, and Salem Maritime National Historic Site) and Boston Area’s Best Places for Stargazing from CBSBoston (which covers Boston Harbor Islands, Castle Island, Singing Beach, and more). Blankets are recommended after Labor Day! If you prefer to gaze in the city, the Museum of Science offers free opportunities to see the constellations fishermen used in the Days of Yore, but with the aid of modern day state-of-the-art equipment. See Astronomy After Hours for details.
Sunset and Moonrise Kayak Trips and More! - Visit Mass Audubon’s Program Catalog to search for evening events in the fall and then head to some of these sanctuaries to partake in all that nature offers at night.
Sails Aren't Just for Summer - It’s not too late, or too dark, to take one of the Boston Community Boating evening classes. Regular courses in “Shore School,” as well as Keel Boating and Windsurfing, go through November. Check their Public Calendar and see if you are interested in going seaward.