Massachusetts coastline overview
Massachusetts has been a boating destination ever since the Mayflower arrived on its shores in 1620. Its 1,516 miles of coastline pack a lot to do.
History buffs should visit Newburyport, Marblehead, Salem, and Boston for that perfect blend of quaint New England charm and well-preserved history. Anglers will feel right at home amongst the fishing fleets in Gloucester and New Bedford. Beach bums should make their way to Cape Cod for all things fun in the sun, plus all you can eat seafood and ice cream. And those looking to escape the mainland, best venture to sought after islands like Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.
Whatever harbor you visit in Massachusetts, expect hospitable marinas, excellent lobstah rolls and chowdah, and a wicked awesome time.
Best time to visit Massachusetts marinas by boat
Peak boating season in Massachusetts kicks off Memorial Day weekend and usually wraps up by early September. This time of year you can expect long, sunny days with an average temperature in the mid 80’s. While the humidity will be high on the mainland, you’ll feel very comfortable out on the water.
The season is at its peak in July and August. If you visit during this period and want to be where the action is, we recommend finding a marina on Cape Cod or the Islands. Most locals flock to these destinations for vacation and because of that, there’s a ton going on. You’ll love the beaches, lively but charming villages, and of course the seafood.
And if you don’t mind the colder weather, we recommend visiting in late September. This is the beginning of fall which is every Massachusettsan's favorite time of year. While the temperature can dip to the mid 50’s at night, the tradeoff is worth it. Fall foliage in Massachusetts is unbelievably beautiful.
Some fun things to do along the Massachusetts shoreline
Visit the islands
Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard have fantastic shops and restaurants. Nantucket, known to have more of a button-up vibe, has a fantastic downtown right next to their marinas and mooring fields. High-end clothing stores, seafood restaurants, candy shops, and ice cream parlors line its cobblestone streets.
Martha’s Vineyard being a bit bigger, has two “downtowns” worth visiting: Edgartown and Oaks Bluff. A bit-more laid back, you’ll fit right in with shorts and flip flops. There are numerous mom-and-pop gift shops, antique galleries, and seafood shanties to choose from.
Boston Freedom Trail
Being one of America’s oldest cities, Boston has a number of historical attractions worth visiting. The best and easiest way to visit all of them is by following the 2.5 mile path known as the Freedom Trail. This red-bricked trail will take you past 16 historically significant locations. The list includes the Boston Common, Old State House, Faneuil Hall, Paul Revere’s House, and the USS Constitution.
Salem witches & maritime history
Salem is famous for its tragic 1692 Witch Trials, when several locals were accused of practicing witchcraft. Today, many people view Salem as the unofficial Halloween Capital of the World. There’s plenty of spooky things to do in Salem like visit the Witch House or old Burying Point Cemetery. And while Halloween is the main draw, many boaters will appreciate Salem’s rich maritime history.
Cape Cod Rail Trail
Originally a former railway, the 22-mile long Cape Cod Rail Trail is a great way to explore Cape Cod. The trail passes through the towns of Yarmouth, Dennis, Harwich, Brewster, Orleans, Eastham, and Wellfleet. Short side trips off the trail lead to beautiful beaches and quaint Cape Cod villages. If you’re a boater that brings a bike, this is the perfect activity for you.