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Massachusetts science centers and nature preserves thrill visitors

Science and nature are underfoot, in the air and water, indoors and out all year long. Explore fresh water and inland ecosystems, salt marshes and swamps, forest and grasslands. Walk footpaths and trails for to observe wildlife in their native habitats. An observatory can take you to the stars while farms, sanctuaries, refuges, and preserves can bring you up close to native plants, animals, and marine life feeding, resting, nesting and spawning. See 500 butterflies of 50 species from around the world and dinosaur footprints and bones from local sites. Nature centers and trail side museums offer hands on exhibits and programs. Resort lodgings are your own nearby refuge.

One Franklin Park Road Boston, MA, 02121 Phone: 617-541-5466

Discover wildlife from around the world

Take off on a wonderful science and nature adventure at Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo. You’ll find programs and classes for adults, families, youth and teens, school groups and camps, behind the scene tours and teacher resources for use in the classroom. Discover wildlife from around the world including African lion, Masai giraffe, Grevy’s zebra, plus lowland gorillas, lemurs, mandrills and more. Explore the Tropical Forest, the Kalahari Kingdom and the Giraffe Savannah. The Aussie Aviary is home to hundreds of brightly colored budgies and offers an amazing free-flight, interactive bird adventure. Before leaving don't forget to stop by the Things Wild Gift Shoppe for some great souvenir items or clothing.

149 Pond Street Stoneham, MA, 02180 Phone: 617-541-5466

Discover animal wonders from around the world

Here’s a fun and educational day out. Started in 1905 as a small local attraction it featured elephants, giraffes, zebras, pigmy hippopotami and sea lions. Located on 26 acres near the Spot Pond reservoir, you’ll find “Major” the polar bear that inspired the popular black bear exhibit. Discover Greater Boston’s only white-cheeked gibbon exhibit, home to monkeys, lynxes, snow leopards, Mexican gray wolves, river otters, and the mysterious capybara. Windows to the Wild offers a large free-flight aviary while Treasures of the Sierra Madre features jaguars, cougars, coyotes, and Gila monsters. The zoo runs a program to breed endangered species, is itself run by Zoo New England, and is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

301 Brown Avenue Seekonk, MA, 02771 Phone: 508-761-8230

Caratunk Refuge, operated by the Audubon Society of Rhode Island, provides a protected habitat for native plants and animals as well as many educational programs. Camp is held here in the summer for children and public programs concerning the environment are held year-round for concerned citizens of all ages.

222 Harrington Way Worcester, MA, 01604 Phone: 508-929-2700

Inspiring a Passion for Science and Nature

At the EcoTarium in Worcester, experience hands-on science and nature exhibits and get up close to a variety of live animals. You can also watch exciting shows in the Alden Digital Planetarium: A National Geographic Theater, explore the extreme weather of Mount Washington, and then head outdoors for an easy hike along nature trails that include pond, meadow and forest environments. While you are there, take a trek through the treetops on the Tree Canopy Walkway (seasonal) and enjoy endless play in the expansive outdoor exhibit, Nature Explore®. Rain or shine, summer or winter, there’s always something fun for the whole family to discover at the EcoTarium!

Visit the EcoTarium website for directions, events calendar, exhibit information and more.

Visitor Center, 6 Plum Island Tpk. Newburyport, MA Phone: 508-465-5753

Parker River National Wildlife Refuge provides feeding, resting, and nesting habitat for migratory birds. Located on the barrier beach of Plum Island, the refuge is comprised of more than 4,700 acres of sandy beach and dune, cranberry bog, maritime forest and shrub land, and freshwater marsh.
Visitors can drive the 6.5 mile long Wildlife Drive and view a variety of habitats including salt marsh, dune, and maritime forest. The Hellcat Interpretive Trail boardwalk includes both a marsh and dune loop. A number of other boardwalks provide access to the refuge’s ocean beach. Note: beaches are closed April 1 through late summer to protect piping plovers). Two observation towers, the handicap accessible Pine Trail, the Bill Forward Bird Blind, and a number of other wildlife viewing areas provide places to see the refuge and its animals.
The refuge visitor center is open every from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It has exhibits, an auditorium with an introductory video about the refuge, and The Plover’s Nest gift shop. Refuge map.

The Butterfly Place

120 Tyngsboro Road Westford, MA, 01886 Phone: 978-392-0955

Massive glass atrium building contains up to 500 butterflies of 50 species from around the world. Display cases in the observation area contain butterflies at various stages of development. This area also includes a 15-minute video describing the life cycle of a butterfly. At the Show & Tell Bench, staff members discuss these fascinating creatures. Gift shop features Papillon Hatching Kits.

Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail

This relatively short trail takes longer than you'd expect because the half-mile return is through soft sand. Start at the Salt Pond Visitor Center, reached by taking Route 6 to Eastham, where the site is well marked with National Park signs. (There are restrooms here, as well as abundant interpretive information. Note that the center is closed from mid-January to mid-March.) The trail is well marked; it drops through a stunted oak and pine forest into a mature woodland, then takes a boardwalk loop through the cedar swamp. In summer, be sure to use insect repellent. You'll enrich the experience of this trail if you soak up information at the visitor site first, to learn about the wildlife and vegetation ahead. Expect to spend 45 minutes on this ramble.

Wolf Hollow

98 Essex Road Ipswich, MA Phone: 508-356-0216

Nature center focusing on the American gray wolf, its role in the ecosystem and the environment around it. There is an admission charge.

Arnold Arboretum

125 Arborway Jamaica Plain, MA, 02130 Phone: 617-524-1718

Research plant biology in the arboretum's library or listen to scientists talk about Asian flora; if you're looking for New England's center of plant science, you've found it. See full description of Arnold Arboretum

Taylor-Bray Farm

Bray Farm Road Yarmouth Port, MA Phone: 508-398-2231 Ext - 29

Picnic tables and walking trails offer you the chance to spend a leisurely afternoon. The farm was established in the late 1700s. It continues to be a working farm and is listed on the National Register of Historical Places. Open throughout the summer.

Robert S. Peabody Foundation for Archaeology

Phillips Academy, Phillips and Main Streets Andover, MA Phone: 508-364-4201

Exhibits focus on prehistoric archaeology and anthropology.

Jacobs Lane Norwell, MA Phone: 617-659-2559

Nature trails are the focal point of this site, which includes a trail for the visually impaired. Exhibits and programs are scheduled here daily.

Loines Observatory of the Maria Mitchell Association

Milk Street Extension Nantucket, MA, 02554 Phone: 508-228-9273

Open: Seasonally; call for hours.

Astronomy is the order of the day here. Programs include astronomy classes for children and lectures by astronomers of the Maria Mitchell Association. Open nights for telescope viewing are held year-round on Friday nights. There is an admission fee.

Gay Head Cliffs

Lighthouse Road Gay Head, MA Phone:

This national landmark is a must-see for any Martha's Vineyard visitor. The cliffs, formed by glaciers, offer an almost other-worldly, multi-colored view.

Cedar Tree Neck Wildlife Sanctuary

Indian Hill Road West Tisbury, MA Phone:

This preserve along the Martha's Vineyard north shore features several trails with numerous scenic views.

McLaughlin State Fish Hatchery

East Street, Route 9 Belchertown, MA Phone: 413-323-7632

Learn about the raising of fish at one of the largest hatcheries on the East Coast. Wildlife area covers 1,400 acres. Open seven days a week.

Cape Cod Bay Marine Life Cruise

This sanctuary comprises 1,100 acres of salt marsh, sandy beach, pine woodland, and freshwater pond, and is home to a wide array of wildlife. For fun and healthful activities, families can begin at the new Nature Center, visit the butterfly and hummingbird garden, and then wander along the five miles of trails. Indoor and outdoor educational activities for kids and adults, including walks, lectures, and cruises.

Salt Pond Visitor Center at Nauset Road and Route 6 Eastham, MA, 02642 Phone: 508-255-3421

Magnificent national park encompasses all shoreline and interior features of Cape Cod

Cape Cod is a peninsula extending five dozen miles into the Atlantic. It was created by glaciers that pushed and dropped rocky debris in a broad curved shape, creating and embracing Cape Cod Bay. At the tip of the peninsula, you can face westward and watch the sun set over the mainland. The seashore embraces a huge mixture of marine, salt meadow, fresh water, and inland ecosystems. Marine and estuary systems include beaches, sand and tidal flats, and salt marshes. Freshwater systems include kettle ponds, spring pools, bogs, and swamps. Visitors also find pitch pine and oak forests, dunes, and grasslands.
See full description for Cape Cod National Seashore.

Crocker Neck Conservation Area

Ninety-seven acres of salt marsh to the east and a freshwater marsh to the south. Located on Popponesset Bay.

Indian Lands and Conservation Nature Trails

Scargo Hill Road East Dennis, MA Phone:

You'll find a plethora of Mid-Cape flora, marshlands, and views of Bass River along several trails. A 2½-mile round-trip trail to Cape Cod Bay at Crow's Pasture will take you past wild apple and cherry trees, honeysuckle, and beach plum. Don't miss Scargo Tower with views of Cape Cod Bay and beyond. A very romantic place. Follow Scargo Hill Road to the tower.

Bearskin Neck

Off Dock Street Rockport, MA Phone:

Scenic shoreline wonder. No admission charge.

793 Main Street Hampden, MA Phone: 413-566-8034

The 18th century house owned by children’s author Thornton Burgess highlights the 354 acres of walking trails and natural beauty. A library and exhibits offered.

198 Purgatory Road Sutton, MA Phone: 508-234-3733

Purgatory Chasm is a split between granite walls rising as high as 70 feet. It is a quarter-mile in length. Enjoyed by picnickers and rock-climbers. The Chasm was formed by the release of glacial meltwater about 14,000 years ago. Trails lead to a wide variety of rock formations, like The Corn Crib, The Coffin, The Pulpit, Lovers' Leap and Fat Man's Misery. Restrooms are wheelchair accessible.

Maria Mitchell Association Natural Science Museum

7 Milk Street Nantucket, MA, 02554 Phone: 508-228-0898

The historic Hinchman House property features a museum of natural history, focusing on plant and animal life on Nantucket. A cross between a classic natural history museum, a zoo, and a science center, the Maria Mitchell Natural Science Museum is a great place to learn about the plants, animals, and birds of Nantucket. Classes, lectures, nature walks and other events are scheduled throughout the season. Gift shop. Hours: Open in summer, but science activities are offered year-round. Admission: Adults, $5; children, $4. Information: www.mmo.org/science-museum.html

Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary

280 Eliot Street Natick, MA Phone: 508-655-2296

At this sanctuary, visitors can enjoy nine miles of hiking trails, in addition to lectures and other programs in a renovated horse barn.

McCauley Road, off Rte. 8 North Adams, MA Phone: 413-663-6392 or 413-49

Remarkable structures in white marble formed by natural forces

Park rangers are available in summer to guide visitors through this park, with the only naturally formed white marble arch and man-made white marble dam in North America. The park has a beautiful deep gorge formed the Hudson Brook and an abandoned marble quarry. There is a walkway above and through the chasm. See full description of Natural Bridge State Park.

Stony Brook Nature Center

North Street Norfolk, MA Phone: 508-528-3140

This nature center includes a self-guided hiking trail. An extensive boardwalk system lets you walk along the edge of Teal Marsh.

Botanical Trails of the Historical Society of Old Yarmouth

Route 6A Yarmouth Port, MA Phone:

Stroll through outdoor splendor of 50 acres with oak and pine woods, berry plants, rhododendrons and other Cape flora. Located behind the post office on Route 6A, the trails are open throughout the year during daylight hours.

Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center

99 Millers Falls Road Northfield, MA Phone: 800-859-2960

Enjoy hiking, rock climbing, viewing and photographing birds and wildflowers. There's a fishway for viewing of migrating fish in the spring. See full description of Northfield Mountain Recreational and Environmental Center

Sandy Neck Trail

A 4.8-mile round-trip marked trail at takes you past salt marshes and dunes, leading to the beach. The views of Cape Cod Bay are awesome.

Nash Dinosaur Tracks

Amherst Road South Hadley, MA Phone: 413-467-9566

A display of dinosaur footprints and bones that were found on the site. Open seasonally.

Ashumet Holly Wildlife Sanctuary

Off Nathan Ellis Hwy. East Falmouth, MA, 02536 Phone: 508-362-7475 Toll-Free: 800-AUDUBON

Rare wildflowers line the eight-acre coastal plain pond; there are 65 kinds of holly trees here, along with vernal pools and migrating birds. More than 30 species of dragonfly can be found at Ashumet Holly. See full description of Ashumet Holly Wildlife Sanctuary.

Lloyd Center for Environmental Studies

430 Potomska Road South Dartmouth, MA Phone: 508-990-0505

Visitors can enjoy walking trails and exhibits at this nature preserve, set on 55 acres.

Turners Falls Fish Ladder

Turners Falls Bridge Turners Falls, MA Phone: 413-659-3714

Visitors to this site can observe salmon as they swim upstream to spawn at a power company dam. Open only in the spring. There is an admission charge.

Stony Brook Reservation

Turtle Pond Parkway Hyde Park, MA Phone: 617-698-1802

A 475-acre park and wildlife refuge, featuring fishing areas, biking and hiking trails, public swimming, and picnic areas. Programs are scheduled there throughout the year.

Lobster Hatchery and Brush Pond

Shirley Road Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard, MA Phone: 508-696-0552

Learn more about the natural habitat and propagation of lobsters. The hatchery is open daily. Found just off County Road.

Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

Route 6 and West Road South Wellfleet, MA, 02663 Phone: 508-349-2615

This nature center offers a variety of educational programs for children and adults, including walks and workshops. Enjoy a naturalist-led bird walk on our property or listen to an evening lecture. This sanctuary has a nature center, walking trails, trail to Goose Pond, seasonal classroom, gardens, and a campground. Picnicking, birdwatching, restrooms, wheelchair accessible. Of particular interest is the boardwalk trail through the salt marsh.

Webster Lake

Other than being a nice lake to visit, this lake is notable for an unusual reason--it's native American name is Lake Chargoggagomanchaugagochaubunagungamaug. The translation: "I fish on my side, you fish on yours, and no one fishes in between us."

Blue Hills Trailside Museum

1904 Canton Avenue Milton, MA Phone: 617-333-0690

Museum offers hiking trails, live animals and regularly scheduled programs. There is an admission charge.

Parker River Wildlife Refuge, Refuge Road Ipswich, MA Phone: 508-462-4481

Beautiful barrier island and ocean beach for walking, birdwatching

This barrier island and ocean beach at the end of Sandy Point are a beautiful place for walking and observing nature, particularly the aquatic bird life. The piping plover and least tern make their home and nest here. Visitors must enter through the adjacent Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. Parking lots are available. Pedestrians may enter the beach but muse avoid fenced areas to protect birds and dunes. Open sunrise to sunset.

Race Point

This beach walk is at the tip of the Cape. From the ranger station to Race Point Light is a two-mile westward ramble along the shore. Seasoned hikers may sniff at such a distance, but by the time you reach the lighthouse, you'll have sampled the extra labor of walking in sand and be glad for a lunch break! Return the same way, but by now the tide will have changed the look of things, and you've got a fresh view, out into the Atlantic, to keep you in awe of the water and weather. Be prepared for stiff breezes, and wear sun block.

There are walking tour maps available at the Provincetown Heritage Museum (% 508-487-0666) at Commercial Street and Center Street. It's open from mid-June to mid-October. Or just do it on your own by walking up and down Commercial Street, poking your nose into the harbor at MacMillan Wharf, and heading uphill to the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum.

Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary

293 Moose Hill Street Sharon, MA Phone: 617-784-5691

The Massachusetts Audubon Society operates this nature center, the oldest in the state founded in 1916. There is an admission charge.

Quinaquisset Avenue and Meetinghouse Road Mashpee, MA Phone: 508-679-2115

Open: Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset

Two miles of trails wind through Mashpee River Reservation to a pristine shoreline. Natural spawning areas and excellent water quality make the Mashpee River one of Massachusetts' finest sources of sea-run brook trout. The Reservation's woodland and shoreline trails form a link in the Cape Cod Pathways trail system, and offer excellent opportunities for bird watching and cross-country skiing.

Wauwinet Road Wauwinet (on the island of Nantucket), MA, 02554 Phone: 508-228-5646

Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge is known for its historic lighthouse, white sand beaches, and world-class fishing. Rolling maritime dunes cover more than 200 acres. Refuge includes 16 miles of over-sand vehicle and walking trails and beach front. Gray and harbor seals feed in the Great Point riptide. Facilities include public restrooms between the Wauwinet Gatehouse and Great Point Lighthouse and at the lighthouse. Both are open May 1 to October 31. Bike rack at the Wauwinet Gatehouse. Seasonal tours of the Great Point Lighthouse and the natural wonders of the refuge. Hours: Year-round, daily, 24 hours (10 p.m.-5 a.m. - fishing access only). Cost: Free to all pedestrians and boaters.

Gott Avenue Rockport, MA Phone: 508-546-2997

Sea views; bird watching; good for walking and picnics

Beautiful property above the Atlanic and Ipswich Bay. Enjoy watching shore birds and exploring wildflower areas. This was formerly a granite-quarrying area. On summer weekends, tours of the quarry are offered; these include a demonstration of granite cutting. There are wildflower walks and tide pool education programs in the summer and bird observation tours in the winter.
See full description Halibut Point State Park.

Routes 102 and 183 Stockbridge, MA, 01262 Phone: 413-298-3926

This very old and respect botanical garden is a place of learning as well as pleasure. Classes and lectures are offered on many aspects of gardening and horticulture.
See full listing for Berkshire Botanical Gardens.

Central Sanctuaries

226 Union Street Leominster, MA Phone: 781-259-9500 Toll-Free: 800-AUDUBON

Maintained by the Massachusetts Audubon Society, these four separate preserves offer visitors ample opportunity for wildlife observation and study. Nature programs are scheduled throughout the year. There is an admission charge.

Peck Road Wales, MA Phone: 413-267-9654

There are guided spring wildflower walks at this 3,000-acre site, which features three miles of nature trails and two museums.

Great Island Trail

Chequesset Neck Road Wellfleet, MA Phone:

This is on the Outer Cape, on the Cape Cod Bay side (west). The shifting sands have built a pathway out to Great Island, which is restricted to walkers and boaters. Old guidebooks extend the hike southward to Jeremy Point, but there's no longer enough exposed sand to go this far safely. If you've just got to investigate, talk with the rangers out at Race Point in Provincetown about conditions and timing for the tides. Sometimes there are ranger-led trips to Jeremy Point, considerably safer than trying to guesstimate the risk yourself. To reach the start of the trail, take Route 6 to Wellfleet and follow signs to the town pier. Turn right onto Kendrick Road, then left onto Chequessset Neck Road, which follows the coast westward. There's a parking lot at the end of the road. Note that this trail is somewhat strenuous, as it loops through woods, dunes, and swamps, and during high tide may be wet in places, especially after August. Expect to spend nearly four hours if you walk the full length of the well-marked trails. Don't forget tick precautions, and look out for poison ivy in the brush!

525 South Pleasant Street Amherst, MA Phone: 413-256-6006

Exhibits, programs and nature trails focus on the environment, ecology, and natural history. There is also a library on the property.

Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary

Route 117, South Great Road Lincoln, MA Phone: 617-259-9807

Visitors to this nature preserve will enjoy hiking trails, live farm animals and hayrides. During the winter season sleighrides are offered.

127 Combs Road Easthampton, MA Phone: 413-584-3009

The nature center features 25 acres of varied terrain, with five miles of trails and an observation tower. The 700-acre sanctuary includes a floodplain forest, marshes, and a grassland habitat.

Maria Mitchell Association Aquarium

28 Washington Street Nantucket, MA, 02554 Phone: 508-228-5387

Open: Seasonally; call for hours.

Satwater and freshwater tank exhibition and a gift shop with unique gifts for all ages. The aquarium is the starting point for marine ecology field trips led by staff members. There is an admission fee.

Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary

Perkins Row Topsfield, MA Phone: 508-887-9264

10 miles of trails and an observation tower are set in this natural preserve.

Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary

West Mountain Road Lenox, MA Phone: 413-637-0320

Visitors will enjoy seven miles of walking trails covering nearly 1,400 acres and featuring beaver ponds and a hummingbird garden. Public programs are offered. Open year-round.

Beneski Museum of Natural History, Amherst College

Amherst College, 11 Barrett Hill Road Amherst, MA, 01002 Phone: 413-542-2165

Exhibits at this museum focus on dinosaurs, minerals, and crystals. The 80,000 holdings cover historical and scientific topics.

Botanic Garden of Smith College

15 College Lane Northampton, MA, 01063 Phone: 413-585-2740

Stroll through a floral wonderland of thousands of plants! Specialty gardens and pressed flowers await plant lovers in the herbarium, and this is the prime place to learn about gardens, conservation, and science.
See full description of Botanic Garden of Smith College

Off Long Point Road West Tisbury (on the island of Martha's Vineyard), MA Phone: 508-693-7662

At more than 600 acres, Long Point is one of the largest publicly accessible properties on Martha's Vineyard. It encompasses beach, dune, and woodland. Popular in summer, the property is also an off-season treasure, especially for birders and other nature-watchers. The property has 2.1 miles of flat trails through woods and open areas, plus beachfront. Easy walking. Hours: Mid-June to mid-September, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (gate closes at 6 p.m.). Mid-September to mid-June, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of two hours. Facilities: Public restrooms. Picnic tables. Bike rack. Small visitor center.

Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge

Accessible only by boat, this refuge is home to more than 250 bird species. Visitors are also permitted to surfcast in certain areas. Commercial boats provide transport to the refuge in season.

North Road, Chilmark Martha’s Vineyard, MA Phone: 508-693-3678

The highlight of Menemsha Hills is Prospect Hill, one of the highest points on Martha's Vineyard, whose spectacular view includes the village of Menemsha, the Elizabeth Islands, and Gay Head Light. Former woods roads and footpaths pass through several distinct ecosystems, including perched wetlands. At Menemsha Hills bluffs, a view of the Great Sand Bank provides a reminder of the Vineyard's glacial origin. Views are spectacular.
Directions: Starting from State Road in West Tisbury, turn right onto North Road heading westerly toward Chilmark and follow for five miles. Entrance, with parking spaces, is just past Tabor House Road, at right.

Garden in the Woods

180 Hemenway Road Framingham, MA, 01701 Phone: 508-877-7630

This enchanting "hidden" forest is full of a rich ecosystem, including many rare species of flora. You can even purchase some of the plants to root your own magic garden at home. See full description of Garden in the Woods

Fisher Museum of Forestry

Route 32 Petersham, MA Phone: 508-724-3302

This unique museum focuses on the topography of New England's countryside and how it has been affected throughout the 18th, 19th and, 20th centuries. Hiking trails lead from the center out into the forest. There is an admission fee.

180 Hemenway Road Framingham, MA, 01701 Phone: 508-877-7630

The magnificent native plant botanical museum, Garden in the Woods, displays over 1,000 native plant species including over 150 rare and endangered species on 45 acres. Hours: April 15- October 31, Tuesday through Sunday plus Holiday Mondays 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. April 15-July 3, extended hours Thursday and Friday evenings until 7 p.m. After October, trails close for the season. Fee charged.

Shellfish Hatchery

Winyah Lane Vineyard Haven, Martha's Vineyard, MA Phone:

A marine research and propagation center. Stairs lead down to the lagoon and a dock.

Bass Hole Boardwalk

Once the site of a schooner shipyard, the boardwalk will take you past marshlands to Gray's Beach. At the end of the boardwalk are benches overlooking Dennis's Chapin Beach.

Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary

Edgartown Road Edgartown, MA Phone: 508-627-4850

Vistors to this nature center will find plenty of self-guided trails, as well as live native birds. Of particular interest are ospreys nesting in their natural environment. There is an admission fee.

Sandy Neck Great Salt Marsh Conservation Area

Sandy Neck Road Barnstable, MA Phone:

This is the largest salt marsh on the East Coast, some 4,000 acres, and there's a nine-mile (round trip) trail to Beach Point that takes about four hours to complete. Summer birders have a chance to see the nests of the endangered piping plovers in the sand. But it's best hiked in the cooler seasons, as this is a vigorous trek. Reach the area in Barnstable by heading to the end of Sandy Neck Road, where there's a parking lot.

Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge

Weir Hill Road Sudbury, MA Phone: 978-443-4661

At this sanctuary, visitors can enjoy nine miles of hiking trails, in addition to lectures and other programs in a renovated horse barn.