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Best Places for Families with Kids to Hike Near Boston

Whether your kids are in a backpack or old enough to hike alongside you, there are plenty of fun and scenic trails throughout the Boston area to enjoy. Here are some recommended spots nearby to take in the great outdoors with kids on foot.

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Arnold ArboretumJamaica Plain, Free
The Arnold Arboretum is one of the area's truly great places to get away during the spring, summer and fall. The two-mile-long main walking trail is paved and allows for leisurely stroller walks. Plant, flower and...
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Blue Hills State ReservationMilton, Free
With its scenic views, varied terrain and 125 miles of trails, the Blue Hills Reservation offers year-round enjoyment for the outdoor enthusiast. Great trails for any level.
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Boston Harbor IslandsBoston, $$
The Boston Harbor Islands are a part of history - and a part of the great outdoors. So, if you are looking for an easy, exciting, half-day trip, the islands offer plenty of choices for individuals and families -...
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Breakheart ReservationSaugus, Free
Breakheart Reservation is a 640-acre hardwood forest with an extensive trail system, year-round ranger programs, and summer fishing and swimming.
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Castle Island and Fort IndependenceBoston, Free
Often missed by tourists, Castle Island is a great place to walk or scooter along Boston Harbor. This 22 acre land-bound island (it's the site of an old armory), features a number of interesting and entertaining sites.
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Garden In The Woods: New England Wild Flower SocietyFramingham, $$
This ever-changing living museum — New England's premier wildflower garden — has more than 1600 kinds of plants, and beautiful walking trails.
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Massachusetts DCR State ParksMassachusetts, $
Start discovering all the beauty and adventure of DCR's Parks today. From hiking & camping to kayaking and fishing - you are sure to find something for everyone.
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Purgatory Chasm State ReservationSutton, Free
This unique natural landmark, Purgatory Chasm is different than any other state park around. Instead of just walking through the woods, it's about climbing rocks big and small. Lots of free parking. Grills and picnic...
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Walden Pond State ParkConcord, Free
Henry David Thoreau lived for two years at Walden Pond in the mid-nineteenth century and wrote of his experiences in the well-known book Walden. The area offers swimming, hiking, fishing, boating for car-top boats and...
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Appleton FarmsIpswich, Free
Wander among crop fields and livestock pastures, wetlands and forest, at America’s oldest, continuously operating farm. Family and dog friendly, easy hiking and cross-country skiing in a beautiful location.
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Charles River ParklandsMassachusetts, Free
The “ribbon of green and blue” of the Charles River parklands defines the center of Boston's metropolitan area, giving residents and visitors alike an enduring sense of place and a refuge for recreation, contemplation,...
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Elm Bank at Mass Horticultural SocietyWellesley, $
Mass Hort’s 36-acre hands-on horticulture center offers adults and children the opportunity to experience, enjoy and learn about plants and the environment. Perfect for walking, running, hiking, playing, picnicking,...
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Fruitlands Museum Walking TrailsHarvard, Free
Take a morning stroll over the land of Fruitlands Museum. Enjoy a peaceful walk through Fruitlands' varied landscapes on 3.2 miles of well-marked walking trails.
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Great Brook Farm State ParkCarlisle, Free
The park is open year round from sunrise to sunset and is available to the public free of charge. The ice cream stand, and daily barn tours are available throug
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Horn PondWoburn, Free
Horn Pond is a great area to visit for nature, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, sunset watching, birdwatching, dog walking, a place to take the kids, hill climbing or just relaxing. There is a large network of walking...
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Agassiz RocksManchester-by-the-Sea, Free
Ascend a small hill to where a massive granite monolith juts into the sky, then pass a swamp where another huge boulder has sat as silent witness for millennia. Big and Little Agassiz Rocks are dramatic examples of...
Boston Nature CenterMattapan, $$
This urban sanctuary, located on the grounds of the former Boston State Hospital, offers public programs year-round. Through its Boston Schools Initiative, the Boston Nature Center provides environmental education programs to Boston elementary schools weekly.
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Broadmoor Wildlife SanctuaryNatick, $
Nine miles of walking trails guide you through a variety of field, woodland, and wetland habitats. See beavers, otters, and wood ducks in the marsh.
Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge2 Locations, Free
Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is located just 20 miles west of Boston. Roughly 85 percent of the refuge's 3,600 acres is comprised of valuable freshwater wetlands stretching along 12 miles of the Concord and Sudbury Rivers. There is an easy walking loop less...
Habitat Education Center & Wildlife SanctuaryBelmont, $
Just 6 miles from downtown Boston, Habitat is an 88-acre Mass. Audubon urban oasis devoted to environmental education. Over 2.5 miles of gentle trails wind through deciduous and evergreen forests, across meadows, around 2 ponds, and along a wetland containing a vernal pool.
Ipswich River Wildlife SanctuaryTopsfield, $$
Ipswich River, Mass Audubon’s largest sanctuary, offers more than 10 miles of interconnecting trails that invite you to explore the forests, meadows, and wetlands.
Joppa Flats Education Center & Wildlife SanctuaryNewburyport, $
The Joppa Flats Education Center is located at the gateway to the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge and the Plum Island estuary. Come see and learn about the many species of birds that utilize the area’s extensive salt marshes, mudflats, rivers, bays, and coastal...
Massachusetts State ParksMassachusetts, $
Start discovering DCR's Parks today!
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Maudslay State ParkNewburyport, Free
An exquisite place for walking, biking, and informal picnics. Walk through fragrant evergreens and keep your eyes peeled for the wishing well and the pet cemetery, hidden in the magnificent rhododendron forest.
Misery Islands, SalemSalem, Free
A system of trails provides access to most parts of The Trustees' Great Misery Island, including spectacular overlooks, stony beaches, and grassy fields. Little Misery Island is accessible from Great Misery Island by wading across a narrow, shallow channel at very low tide.
Parker River National Wildlife RefugeNewburyport, $
Parker River National Wildlife Refuge occupies in part, the southern 3/4ths of Plum Island, an 8 mile (12.9 kilometer) barrier island, and offers excellent wildlife-oriented recreational and educational opportunities with visitor facilities and programs provided to enhance...
Ravenswood ParkGloucester, Free
Long treasured by residents of Gloucester and neighboring towns, Ravenswood Park offers a tranquil wooded setting for walking, cross-country skiing, or snowshoeing along almost ten miles of trails and carriage paths.
Rock MeadowBelmont, Free
Lots of green fields, community gardents,and easy terrain trails in the woods lets you make believe that you have a little bit of the country nearby.
Storybook Trail at Wolbach FarmSudbury, Free
Visitors of all ages now have opportunity to combine the joy of reading with a pleasant outing in the woods. The trail will feature a different book every few months, so you can enjoy a new adventure with each passing season.
Sudbury Valley TrusteesMassachusetts, Free
Join SVT staff and volunteers in exploring the Concord, Assabet and Sudbury watershed in a variety of locations through a variety of land and water-based activities
The BerkshiresWestern Mass
Mountains, major cultural institutions and gorgeous fall foliage make the Berkshires an attractive destination for a weekend getaway from Boston.
Volkssport Walking ClubMassachusetts, Free
Walks are designed to include historic sites, scenic vistas, downtown areas, woodland trails, parks, or other points of interest. Check the website frequently for walks. Each walk is free.

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