When planning a trip to Massachusetts, your first thought is likely to visit the city of Boston. Of course, this is a top New England destination for tourists and residents alike, but you may also want to explore Western Massachusetts as well (or on a separate trip).
Western Massachusetts is home to the beautiful Berkshires, which boasts outdoor activities ranging from skiing and snowboarding in the winter, to leaf peeping, hiking, mountain biking, and zip lining when the weather is nicer. The region is filled with quaint towns to explore, with historic bed and breakfasts and luxury wellness resorts for lodging.
Read on for our favorite things to do in Western Massachusetts.
One of the best places to see fall foliage in Massachusetts is along the Mohawk Trail on Route 2, which has been known as the first official scenic road in New England since 1914. On this drive, you'll view scenery including the Berkshire Mountains, Mount Greylock, and the Bridge of Flowers. These directions will help guide you along your drive.
Canyon Ranch Lenox, located in the Berkshires' town of Lenox, is a wellness resort that's been promising the ultimate relaxing spa weekend since 1989. While it comes with an expensive price tag, this is the type of all-inclusive experience that doesn't exist anywhere else in the area. The resort is in the former 1897 Bellefontaine Mansion, which has also functioned as a seminary and boarding school.
Included in your stay are all sorts of wellness experiences, from spa treatments to yoga classes, snowshoeing, and canoeing. You'll leave the Canyon Ranch Lenox feeling fully refreshed—and looking forward to your next visit.
Get Your Outdoor Adventuring in at the Mount Greylock State Reservation
Mount Greylock, the highest point in Massachusetts at nearly 3,500 feet, is where you'll want to go for all sorts of outdoor activities. Pick from hiking, camping, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, mountain biking, hunting, and more. If you plan on camping, it's $8 a night for Massachusetts residents and $10 for non-residents.
Six Flags New England is the region's largest and most popular amusement park, and it's the oldest under the Six Flags name. Located in Agawam, west of Springfield, this theme park offers everything from roller coasters and a water park to shopping and dining. Single day tickets start at $53, with several packages and passes available.
Even if you don't have kids, take a trip down memory lane at the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum in Springfield. Theodor Geisel—aka Dr. Seuss—was a Springfield resident, and this place is an interactive celebration of his iconic children's books. The museum will take you through Geisel's life, while also offering guests fun activities like the Giant Marble Maze, Whoville with Ball Wall and Light Wall, and the Lorax Recycle Game.
Tickets are $13 for kids ages 3 to 7 and $25 for adults. It's recommended that you get yours in advance given that this has become quite the popular attraction for those visiting the Springfield area.
Take Photos at the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls
The Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls has been curating beautiful floral scenes for more than 90 years. Initially started by the Shelburne Falls Area Women's Club, today it showcases a wide variety of flowers, plants, trees, and vines that are on display from early-April to late-October. What you'll see when you arrive depends on the time of year, but if you're looking for something in particular, check out the extensive list by time of year on the Bridge of Flowers website.
Another great destination for outdoor activities is the Berkshire East Mountain Resort in Charlemont. In the winter, you have your pick of options, including skiing, snowboarding, and tubing. When the weather gets warmer, you can ride at the Thunder Mountain Bike Park, test your fear of heights zip lining at the Aerial Adventure Park, or go on a white water rafting adventure.
The Tanglewood Music Center is home to a summer fellowship program for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, where talented musicians come to study and practice. The campus is on 529 acres in Lenox, and what has become a popular activity for those visiting the area is Tanglewood's annual Festival of Contemporary Music. Other concerts also take place here throughout the year; check the Boston Symphony Orchestra website for upcoming shows.
Recently celebrating its 125th anniversary, The Zoo in Forest Park & Educational Center in Springfield is where you'll find 735 acres of park filled with animals from North America and around the world. This non-profit is all about education, offering events and activities for all ages such as guided tours and other discovery programs.
Seasonal events include a Spooky Safari at the Zoo for Halloween and Zoo Night at Bright Lights leading up to the holidays. Other events, like Brew at the Zoo, help raise funds for the organization while providing guests with fun ways to learn.
This zoo is quite affordable, with children's tickets costing $2.50 and adults costing $5.
Also in Springfield is the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, a museum that sees almost 200,000 basketball fans each year. This Hall of Fame museum has inducted more than 400 players, and houses historic basketball memorabilia for attendees to learn about the past and present of the game.