As one might expect of a state that has the nickname “The Bay State”, the ocean is a prominent feature of Massachusetts’ geography. Massachusetts has roughly 1,500 miles of coastline that stretches from the New Hampshire border in the north, to the border of Rhode Island in the south. Along the way you move through the following distinct areas:
- The North Shore – The coastal area from the New Hampshire border to Boston.
- Boston / Boston Harbor
- The South Shore – The coastal area from south of Boston to the Cape Cod.
- Cape Cod
- The Island of Martha’s Vineyard
- The Island of Nantucket
Along the Massachusetts coast you will encounter many wonderful coastal attractions including:
- Numerous beaches such as Crane Beach in Ipswich, or Nantasket Beach in Hull, or the very popular Horseneck Beach State Reservation in Westport, or the Cape Code National Seashore with 40 miles of sandy beach, marshes, and ponds.
- Over 60 lighthouses including Boston Light, the oldest lighthouse station in the United States.
- Beautiful harbors such as Boston Harbor, Edgartown Harbor and Salem Harbor; and quaint seaside communities such as Rockport, Scituate, and Hyannis.
- The Gloucester Fisherman’s Memorial.
- Famous ships such as the USS Constitution in Charlestown, the USS Salem in Quincy, the Mayflower II in Plymouth, the USS Massachusetts in Fall River, and the Schooner Ernestina in New Bedford.
- A couple of National Park Service sites – the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park and the Salem Maritime National Historic Site.
- The Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area consisting of 34 islands and peninsulas all within easy reach of downtown Boston.
- Maritime museums such as the Marine Museum at Fall River, New Bedford Whaling Museum the Whaling Museum of the Nantucket Historical Association, and the Pilgrim Monument & Provincetown Museum.
- The New England Aquarium in Boston.
- Whale watching.
In Massachusetts coastal communities you will also find arts, entertainment, fabulous seafood, historical and numerous other attractions. There is so much to see and do that the National Park Service has even created a National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary – Maritime History of Massachusetts.
Photo credits: The picture of Cape Cod Bay is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. The picture of the Gloucester Fisherman Memorial is from Wikipedia. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License.