Go for a Family Walk in Massachusetts

For a low-cost adventure, plan a family walk in an urban area. You won’t have to sit in traffic, you’ll have time to talk with your kids, and there are many things to see once you’re out and about. Plus, it’s fun to stop for a special meal or treat along the way.




• By far the most popular and most famous walk in Boston is the Freedom Trail, marked by a two-and-a-half-mile, red-painted line that stretches from Boston Common to the Bunker Hill Monument in neighboring Charlestown. The trail weaves past 16 official sites, including Paul Revere’s House and Faneuil Hall. Admission fees are collected at some of the sites.


• Walk part or all of the Freedom Trail by yourselves or, since the trail is within Boston National Historic Park, join a free 90-minute walking tour led by a National Park Service (NPS) ranger. The tour begins at the NPS Visitor Center, 15 State St., next to the Old State House. Before the tour, pick up the Junior Ranger Handbook. Your children will be able to complete the activities inside and get their booklets stamped at each trail location to receive a Junior Ranger badge. 617-242-5642;


• Boston by Foot offers a one-hour Boston by Little Feet tour of the Freedom Trail designed especially for ages 6 to 12. Tour guides point out landmarks, such as Shem’s grasshopper, the Democratic donkey, the royal lion and unicorn, and Benjamin Franklin flying a kite. 617-367-2345;


Concord and Lexington


• Bone up on the local history of the American Revolution with a trip to Minute Man National Historical Park. Walk part or all of the 5.5-mile Battle Road Trail, which goes from Meriam Corner in Concord to Fiske Hill in neighboring Lexington. NPS rangers offer guided walks, and there’s plenty to explore in both towns.


Contact Concord Guides Walking Tours to create a tour around Concord tailored to the interests and ages of your group. 978-287-0897;




• Join a costumed Pilgrim who guides you on a Colonial Lantern Tour of Plymouth. On this 90-minute evening stroll, you’ll learn about the Native Americans and Pilgrims, with stops at statues and monuments in the historic district. 617-982-8124;




• Find your own way along the three-mile, red-painted Salem Heritage Trail, which connects a number of historic sites along the city’s waterfront. Pick up a map and begin at the Visitor Center in the center of town at 2 New Liberty St.


• Meet up with the Histrionic Academy’s tour guides to learn about the city’s founding in 1626, the notorious witch trials of 1692 and Salem’s golden age of sail. 978-741-1170;


Robin Chalmers Mason is a freelance writer in Bedford.

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18 Dec 2014

By Robin Chalmers Mason