Summer is here, and that means it’s time to pack a bag with books or snacks and head outside. Here are 10 parks to put on your list of go-to summer destinations. Note: Some of these places have started (or stopped) charging minimal fees for parking. It’s a good idea to keep a few dollars on hand during the summer for just this purpose.

Here they are in alphabetical order:

Bigelow Hollow State Park
275-287 Bigelow Hollow Rd
Union, CT 06076

Known for its great swim spot and lovely, warm water, this park should be on your “must see” list for this summer. With a beautiful, peaceful green setting, it has been compared to Lord of the Rings (and we assume this is not a reference to any of the famous fight scenes). Take a picnic. Bring your canoe. Enjoy an afternoon away from the crowds in a setting that is hard to beat.

Blackstone River & Canal State Park
287 Oak St
Uxbridge, MA 01569

This scenic park contains open fields and beautiful rivers, as well as a dirt trail for walking and places to picnic. Basically, it has everything the outdoor adventurer needs. Enjoy the old restored mill and the sights, sounds and smells of Mother Nature. Note: This park comes alive with color in the fall.

Boynton Park
Mower St
Paxton, MA 01612

Known as a dog park, this is a perfect place to take your pets! Typically speaking, there are other visitors with dogs present, so be forewarned if your dog isn’t particularly interested in being social. With an open field surrounded by centuries-old trees and babbling brooks, you’ll have to pinch yourself to remember it isn’t actually heaven.

Dean Park
805 Main St
Shrewsbury, MA 01545

This park is a happening place. With a large playground, several sports fields, and a fountain known for coordinating radio music during warm summer months, this is the place to be if you want to enjoy the sights and sounds of the outdoors. Note: Turtles are known to congregate in a corner of the pond.

Dr. Robert H Goddard Park
51 Auburn St
Auburn, MA 01501

This is a unique park, plain and simply. Located behind the fire station and across the road from a shopping center, it is known for its full-size replica of a rocket. Why? Dr. Robert H. Goddard is called “the father of the liquid fueled rocket.” Come see the rocket and enjoy the scenery.

Elm Park
107-119 Russell St
Worcester, MA 01609

This beautiful, clean park is known for its bridges. With a nice walking path (complete with benches for quick moments of rest and rejuvenation), it is perfect for exercise in the great outdoors. The nearby playground means it’s also ideal for taking the grandkids. Note: Come back during the winter for ice skating!

Green Hill Park
Green Hill Pkwy
Worcester, MA 01614

This park has a little bit of everything! With plenty of green space, some walking trails, a few lakes, a concert area, and a little zoo, you truly can’t go wrong visiting Green Hill on a summer day. Better still? The park has a Vietnam Memorial that will make the trip impactful in addition to relaxing. Come see it for yourself!

Moore State Park
1 Sawmill Rd
Paxton, MA 01612

Visitors have called this the greatest place on the earth to spend a lazy afternoon. The dirt trails, picnic areas, and beautiful rhododendrons are only outmatched by the waterfalls. Yes, waterfalls! There is little reason to wonder why people travel from all around to visit this park.

Purgatory Chasm State Reservation
190 Purgatory Rd
Sutton, MA 01590

Don’t let this park’s name fool you. There is nothing here that feels like punishment. With huge rocks (big enough to walk through!) and carefully mapped trails and a visitor’s center, it is easy to spend a day here and not see half of what it has to offer. (Which means there is always something new to explore on every visit.) With picnic tables, outdoor grills, and a big playground, it is the perfect setting for a group event. Note: Geocaching available here!

Quinsigamond State Park
10 N Lake Ave
Worcester, MA 01604

Pronouncing the name might be a challenge, but relaxing at this park is a breeze! Come enjoy a day at the lake. Rent a boat or lounge on the beach. Note: Be sure to bring your own food as no concessions are available, (though the local ice cream truck has been known to drop by).

Tell us. What did we leave off the list? What state parks do YOU recommend?

Enjoy Life at The Overlook

Here at The Overlook, we want you to enjoy retirement to its fullest. Situated in spectacular surroundings (where the scenery is as impressive as a summer park setting), we offer everything from independent living, to assisted living, to rehabilitation services. Basically, we have whatever you need to thrive in whatever season you find yourself. Located a short drive from three major cities, our community enjoys the best of both worlds–relaxed retirement with access to city life. Come visit our peaceful scenery and elegant residences. Enjoy the dining options, heated pool, or Performing Arts Center. Get in touch – we’d love to discuss how easily you would fit in with our vibrant community.

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