With the weather finally warming up, it’s time to head outdoors and enjoy the sunshine! Need some inspiration? Here are some suggestions for the best Massachusetts outdoor activities from the Yankee Magazine 2012 editors’ picks for the Best of New England. Share your picks in the comments!
BEST SKY TRAILS
Berkshire East Canopy Tours, Charlemont
Few ziplines have the range of the canopy tours offered here. Begin with a simple two-line course and work your way up to the “Valley Jumping Tour,” which starts with four lines of more than 1,000 feet and concludes with two more of nearly a half-mile that let you reach 50 mph.
66 South River Road.413-339-6618; berkshireeast.com
BEST RETRO ECOTOUR
Art’s Dune Tours, Provincetown
The windblown heaps of sand beside Route 6 as you approach town seem almost like a little piece of the Sahara come to New England. Art’s has been driving folks into these dunes since 1946, and no one offers such a colorful, historical, and ecologically sensitive experience of the fragile ecosystem.
4 Standish St. 508-487-1950; artsdunetours.com
BEST CETACEAN VIEWING
7 Seas Whale Watch, Gloucester
Cape Ann juts into the Atlantic between Stellwagen Bank and Jeffries Ledge–two of the chief feeding grounds for whales on the East Coast. That means that boats from Gloucester don’t have to travel as far to reach whales and dolphins and can spend more time among them. The boats of 7 Seas are spacious and clean, and there’s always a marine biologist on board.
63 Rogers St. 888-283-1776, 978-283-1776; 7seas-whalewatch.com
BEST ABS WORKOUT
Osprey Sea Kayak Adventures, Westport
The gentle waves near Westport make it easier to learn stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), a fast-growing hybrid sport that combines paddling with the core fitness and balance skills of surfing. Osprey offers classes at all levels, from introductory lessons to river and coastal group excursions. After a full day on the water, you’ll know why paddleboarders have the tightest abs of almost any athletes. Traditional sea kayaking, tours, and instruction also offered.
489 Old County Road. 508-636-0300; ospreyseakayak.com
BEST RIDE THROUGH HISTORY
Minuteman Bikeway, Cambridge to Bedford
On two wheels is just possibly the best way to explore the terrain of the April 1775 Battles of Lexington and Concord, which marked the opening salvo of the American Revolution. This 11-mile bikeway on a former rail line covers much of the route that British soldiers followed in their running retreat back to their Boston barracks. Because one end connects to the Alewife T station, many suburban commuters pedal to their mass-transit commute.