If you share my kindred love for nature, this list is for you. The National Audubon Society has preserves, sanctuaries and centers in nearly every state and even some US territories. Their mission to conserve America’s natural wildlife is breathtaking, not only in their extensive effort but the sights their parks offer. The Massachusetts Audubon is one-step removed from its national brethren, providing a local stomping-ground for the state’s residents with specialized rewards for its members. I was practically raised on these timeless sanctuaries, spotting animals through the brush and calling out bird names after their sweet songs. As a product of an Audubon wedding and a current employee, it seemed fitting to post my top five Mass Audubon locations.
Welfleet Bay, Welfleet – This prime Cape Cod sanctuary takes the top spot for its winding trails that snake visitors through a seaside forest before breaking into a magnificent seascape of the bay. The low tide estuaries harbor extensive sea life begging for a closer look, and the hide tide observation platform offers a glimpse into a hidden world.
Stony Brook, Norfolk – There is slight favoritism being played here since this is my second home during the spring and summer months. Located south-east of Boston, Stony Brook provides a central pond with accompanying marshes that are easily navigable. Crossing through three habitats on your walk, spotting a variety of animals on the short walk is commonplace.
Joppa Flats, Newburyport – Unusual terrain is not often as accessible as this Newburyport landmark. Nestled along the ocean’s edge, this north shore sanctuary draws you along placid salt-marshes and through living mudflats to the best location in Massachusetts for birding elusive birds and waterfowl.
Drumlin Farm, Lincoln – The name itself is indicative of its unmatched excellence for entertaining children. Its namesake farm houses grazing animals and the ageless hayride. Moreover, the compact loop of zoo-style exhibits allow for an interactive trail: the aviary is a personal favorite as is the underground room, giving a covert insight to burrowing animals. This sanctuary is a must-visit for young nature-lovers.
Broadmoor, Natick – Vast fields and a beautiful inland marsh provide the tranquil backdrop for a secluded walk. Patrons can traverse the paths while leaving their daily worries behind. Broadmoor is a wonderful viewing station for the transition of the seasons. Each cyclic visit opens new passageways to inspiration and reflection. After all, the bend in the boardwalk was the site of my parent’s wedding.
This list is only one review of the dozens of options available. Explore and make your own list! Outdoorsman, or not, the Mass Audubon houses such a vibrant collection of sights that people from all walks of life can find the right walk for them.