Summer in Massachusetts sounds like an oxymoron. Since it’s below 60 degrees for three quarters of the year, it’s hard to imagine it ever being warm outside. You’ll be shocked to know, summer in Massachusetts actually exists. Here’s how you can make the most of the sunny weather in the Bay State, coming from a lifelong resident:
1. A Summer In Salem
Sure, Salem in the fall is a cauldron full of fun, but I feel like Salem in the summer is hugely overlooked. It’s just as witchy as it is in October, though with more open parking spaces. If you’re not a fan of crowds but have always wanted to visit, now is the time to go. There’s still a ton to do there, from strolling along the harbor to grabbing the best coffee ever at Jaho. For bookworms like me, I recommend dropping in at Wicked Good Books. It’s a quaint store with a huge selection! The Peabody Essex Museum is a must-visit, too, with exciting rotating exhibitions.
2. Hidden Gems of Boston
While these places are certainly popular, they’re not as big as Faneuil Hall or the New England Aquarium. Trident Booksellers, located on Newbury Street, is one of my favorite bookstores in Boston. It doesn’t just stop at books: Trident has an in-house cafe and frequent events, like trivia and open mic nights. Also on Newbury Street is The Bittersweet Shoppe. This coffee shop is far too underrated, especially for what amazing quality they have. Bittersweet Shoppe reimagines all your favorite food. On their menu: a banana cream latte, birthday cake iced coffee, Belgium waffles on a stick, and caramel apple grilled cheese (tried it, loved it). To end the night, go and catch a free outdoor movie at the Hatch Shell. Their summer movie nights have been a tradition of mine since I was a toddler.
3. Mini Golf
Maybe I’m biased, but have you noticed that Massachusetts has the best mini golf courses? Truly, it’s fun for all ages. Even as a 21-year-old I get way too competitive when I play. And what doesn’t say summer like a game of putt-putt? I think I speak for every person on the North Shore when I say that Richardson’s is the best. If not the best, it undoubtedly is one of the most popular places for mini golf. Kimball Farm is another great option, with additional activities like bumper boats and batting cages. Make sure to celebrate your hole in ones (or hole in nones) with some ice cream! Cookie dough will always reign supreme.
4. Visit A Beach Town
…Or an island, while you’re at it. Massachusetts has so many GORGEOUS spots by the ocean, like Newburyport, Marblehead, and Cape Cod. It’s impossible to see all of Cape Cod in one day, so if you plan to go, rent a place with friends. It may be pricier than a day trip, but the fun you’ll have is worth the extra money. Now I have to ask the age old question: Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket? There’s no wrong answer—both are beautiful. I’ve spent more time in Martha’s Vineyard, though I plan on returning to Nantucket this summer. Edgartown is a must-see, of course, but it’s also worth it to explore Oak Bluffs and Menemsha. Make it a priority to visit Vineyard Scoops in Edgartown. Soooo good.
5. Local Markets
Though markets aren’t exclusive to Massachusetts, they’re always nice to visit. Head to your nearest farmers market for some fresh produce, locally baked treats, and overall good vibes. It’s a more sustainable way of shopping, and far more exciting than going to the grocery store. If you’re looking for a larger scale market or food festival, try Lowell. Every summer, the city of Lowell hosts a folk festival, complete with food and music from around the world. The entrance fee is completely free and all the food is to die for. I also suggest checking out the Sowa Open Market. While they’ve reduced the amount of food trucks that stop by (sad), there are still a ton of booths to explore. You can find a little bit of everything there, from handcrafted jewelry to artisanal ice cream sandwiches.
6. Brunch, Brunch, Brunch!
Bostonians do a lot of things right, and one of them is brunch. Again, maybe I’m biased, but I’ve been to so many incredible breakfast places. My favorite has to be In A Pickle Restaurant, which you can find in Waltham. I almost went to school in this town, basing that decision off of this restaurant. It would have been dangerous if I did end up going to college there, as I would be at In A Pickle every day. When they do brunch, they do brunch BIG. Their cookie dough pancakes (they’re literally STUFFED with cookie dough…how??) and pumpkin french toast are two spectacular options. But I’ll never say no to the cookies and cream extreme pancakes. They aren’t kidding when they say “extreme”…these pancakes are massive. Even when I split this dish with another person, we end up having leftovers for days. Not that I’m complaining—I could eat those pancakes for every meal.
7. Spend Time On The Water
Once you get past how freezing the water is, it isn’t so bad. If you’d rather stay above sea level, there are still ways to enjoy the ocean. Go on a kayak trip with your friends! Kayaking is one of my favorite activities to do on the water. It’s indescribably therapeutic, plus you can stop on nearby land for a picnic. I’m not the most athletic person and am still fully capable of rowing. Paddle boarding is just as fun, though a bit more challenging to maneuver. If you’re interested in trying out paddle boarding, I recommend squatting before you stand. It’s easy to lose your balance on those (trust me, I’ve been there).
Though Massachusetts truly shines in the fall (talk about foliage), it’s still a lively state in the summer. I always feel like I’m in the movie Grown Ups when I stay at home for the season. Go outside and see what’s out there!
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