Way over in the west-west-westernmost part of Massachusetts lies a region rich in cultural activities, natural beauty, and year-round fun. Summer is a great time to visit the Berkshires — there are tons of activities for grownups and kids alike. Just a couple hours (OK, two and a half) from the Boston area, this region is a great summer weekend destination for the whole family.
Arts and Culture
Tanglewood :: Located in Lenox, Tanglewood is the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The Tanglewood lawn is the perfect place to set up a picnic, enjoy views of the Berkshire mountains and Stockbridge bowl, and hear some of the finest musicians in the world. Tanglewood lawn tickets are free for children 17 and younger, while adult lawn tickets range from $10-$26, depending on the performance (and student tickets for ages 18 and older are 50% off). This is an affordable option to experience world-class music in an iconic venue!
Mass MoCA :: The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA) in North Adams is one of the largest centers for contemporary visual and performing arts in the country. With an ever-changing array of immersive art installations, as well as interactive family areas like the Artbar and Kidzone, there’s something for everybody at Mass MoCA.
Hancock Shaker Village :: Hancock Shaker Village, located in Pittsfield, is an open-air museum and historical landmark that features unique historic buildings, a working farm, and several hiking trails and gardens. Kids love the Discovery Barn for its interactive exhibits exploring the daily lives of the Shakers — and for checking out the baby animals in the iconic 1826 Round Stone Barn.
Norman Rockwell Museum :: The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge is home to hundreds of original Norman Rockwell works, as well as a variety of special exhibitions dedicated to American illustration art. You’ll surely see some works you recognize here — and enjoy new ones — both indoors and outdoors. Norman Rockwell’s studio also sits on the museum campus and can be explored as well.
Ramblewild :: Ramblewild is an aerial adventure park in Lanesboro with a ropes course and hiking trails. The Ramblewild staff provides a fun and safe environment for kids as young as 4 (and for adults!), with a variety of courses and trails. Be sure to book your trip to Ramblewild ahead of time, pack a picnic, and dress for an outdoor adventure!
Mount Greylock :: The summit of Mount Greylock, the highest peak in Massachusetts, sits in Adams, Massachusetts. Hiking trails of all difficulty levels, including parts of the Appalachian Trail, are maintained all over the mountain. Even if you aren’t a hiker, the drive to the top is not to be missed. From the Veteran’s War Memorial Tower at the summit you can see in all directions and to four different states!
Ashuwillticook Rail Trail :: The Ashuwillticook Rail Trail runs for 12.7 miles through the towns of Lanesboro, Cheshire, and Adams, with free parking and restrooms along the way. With beautiful views of the Cheshire Reservoir and Hoosic River, this is a great trail for biking, skating, walking, and running. There are plenty of places to stop and rest along this flat, paved trail that offers opportunities for fishing, picnicking, and wildlife watching.
Fun for Kids and Kids at Heart
Pittsfield Suns at Wahconah Park :: It wouldn’t be summer without a night at the ballpark! From June to August, the Pittsfield Suns of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League play their home games at Wahconah Park, featuring a roster of top Division I collegiate baseball players from all over the country. Tickets start at just $4, and many nights feature fireworks and other special events as part of the game.
Ioka Valley Farm :: If you’re looking for an opportunity to see, feed, and pet some farm animals, look no further than Ioka Valley Farm in Hancock. Kids can enjoy the farm-themed playground, huge sandboxes, and hay tunnels. Don’t forget to pick up some locally made maple syrup!
Berkshire Scenic Railroad Museum :: With both a museum in Lenox and train rides departing from Adams, the Berkshire Scenic Railroad is a reason to explore both northern and southern Berkshire County. Check out restored locomotives and learn about railway life on Saturdays at the museum, and then head north to catch a one-hour, 10-mile round-trip ride on a restored 1955 passenger car on the historic Adams branch railway.
The Berkshires is a great place for a quick family getaway this summer — or anytime throughout the year! With lots of activities suitable for the whole family, there really is something for everyone. With so much to do all in one place, you’ll be sure to come back to check out the Berkshires in the fall, winter, and spring as well!