Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Acton, MA

  • Published 2023/02/01

If you want to retreat to a small town and get away from the bustling urban life, head to the town of Acton in Massachusetts.

Incorporated in 1735, Acton is a historic town that has a couple of sites listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Residents of the town also played important roles in the past, including the American Revolution.

Just 21 miles away from Boston, Acton is the perfect small town to retreat to and find rest.

Today, it is home to over 20,000 people as of the July 2021 census.

Aside from historic sites, you’ll find beautiful parks, open spaces, museums, and cultural and entertainment centers at Acton.

Don’t pass up on this unique and charming town in Middlesex County!

Read on for the best things to do in Acton, Massachusetts.

Explore Nature at Acton Arboretum

Flowers at Acton Arboretum

Sergey and Marina Pyataev /

If you want to spend some time outdoors and get closer to nature, visit Acton Arboretum on Taylor Road.

It is open from sunrise to sunset, and the entrance to the area is free of charge.

The place features a garden where you may find different collections of plants, including herbs and flowers.

Monarch waystation at Acton Arboretum

quiggyt4 /

The Arboretum has a butterfly and pollinator garden, an herb garden, pond plantings, a wildflower garden, and a fragrance garden, to name a few.

You may walk the China Trail Garden to further explore and stay active as well.

All the gardens featured in Acton Arboretum are well taken care of and serve a horticultural and ecological significance that you may learn more about during your visit!

Spend Quality Family Time at Discovery Museum

Discovery Museum on Main Street is an interactive museum that focuses on nature, science, and play.

Here you can bring your kids and allow them to be hands-on and crafty with the museum’s attractions.

The museum also has an outdoor division called Discovery Woods, an accessible nature playscape with a treehouse.

It prioritizes learning science, technology, engineering, art, and math through the 4.5-acre campus.

It started in 1982 and eventually expanded into the two museums in 1987.

In 2018, it reopened as a newly renovated, single building.

Both adults and children can at the Discovery Museum.

Drop by and Tour the Hosmer House Museum

The Hosmer House Museum on Main Street is a restored saltbox farmhouse that is now run by the Acton Historical Society.

The old structure, which used to be known as the Todd House, was in a state of deterioration in 1976 before it was restored by the Society.

It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.

If you’re visiting, you may opt for a UniGuide Tour, an audio tour of the Hosmer House Museum using the UniGuide app.

Don’t forget to add the Hosmer House Museum to your list of places to visit when you’re in town!

Get a Glimpse of History at Faulkner Homestead

Exterior of Faulkner Homestead

John Phelan, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Learn the historical significance of the Faulkner Homestead on High Street and Main Street when you visit Acton.

Ephraim Jones, a textile and mill businessman in what would become the town of Acton, owned the house built in 1707.

A homestead of about six generations of the Faulkner family, it used to be the biggest house in the center of the settlement.

It then served as the local garrison in Massachusetts during Queen Anne’s War from 1702 to 1713.

It also became the home of Francis Faulkner, West Acton Militia Company commander, during the Revolutionary War.

In 1971, the place was listed in the National Register for Historic Places.

Find out more about the history and see the place for yourself when you visit the Faulkner Homestead.

Spend Your Day Outdoors at Nathaniel Allen Recreation Area Park

The Nathaniel Allen Recreation Area Park, or NARA Park, is one of Acton’s open spaces.

Here you may stay active by exploring its several trails, including the walking trail, the pond trail, and the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail.

Within NARA Park, you’ll also find a beach where you can go sunbathing or swimming!

For those who enjoy playing sports, you may bring your friends to the upper fields, the softball field, the volleyball courts, or the ice rink.

A picnic area and a playground are also available.

You won’t run out of things to do when you go to the Nathaniel Allen Recreation Area Park on Ledge Rock Way.

Book Your Tee Time at Quail Ridge Country Club

The Quail Ridge Country Club on Skyline Drive has a nine-hole golf course with a traditional and classic design that uses the natural beauty and ridges of the environment.

It was nominated for Golf Digest’s “Best new private golf courses in America” contest in 2006.

Surrounded by beautiful pine and hardwood trees, the country club has a serene and secluded appeal.

Aside from the golf course, Quail Ridge Country Club has a fitness center, pickleball and tennis courts, and a pool.

Kids who want to learn the sport may also enjoy the junior golf clinic!

Hike the Nashoba Brook Conservation Land

Stone chamber at Nashoba Brook Conservation Land

John Phelan, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

For adventure-seeking travelers, Nashoba Brook Conservation Land is a must-visit area.

The place is a part of Acton’s protected natural areas.

You will find scenic views here because of the well-preserved Nashoba Brook that runs through the area from north to south.

A wide variety of habitats may also be found here, including marshland, still water, and small rapids, where different kinds of species live.

Historic and prehistoric human artifacts have also been found on the property, making the Nashoba Brook Conservation Land a notable area for conservation studies.

Spend Some Quiet Time at the Acton Canoe Launch

If you like spending quiet time near the water, you should go to the Acton Canoe Launch on Powder Mill Road.

It has an access to the Assabet, Acton’s largest river, which runs through the southern part of town.

Another parcel of land under the town’s conservation, the launch is popular among those who enjoy fly fishing and kayaking.

Those who like enjoying a morning coffee by the waters also spend some time here just taking in the scenery and the cool water.

You may also go sightseeing here at the Acton Canoe Launch and find plenty of mallard ducks that frequent the water.

Pick Up Fresh Produce at Idylwilde Farms

The Idylwilde Farms is run by the Napoli family, who emigrated from Italy in 1898.

What started in 1930 as a door-to-door delivery cart of produce and eggs is now a huge and established farm in the town of Acton.

The farm grows various vegetables depending on the season, including beets, cabbage, broccoli, cucumbers, peppers, squash, sweet corn, and spinach, among many others.

The farm also produces freshly squeezed fruit juices.

Idylwilde Farm also has its grocery, bakery, and greenhouse.

If you’re looking for fresh produce, be sure to drop by Idylwilde Farms on Central Street.

Go to the Recreational Areas of Great Hill

The grounds of Great Hill

Swampyank, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Visit Great Hill’s recreational areas, which are widely used by the local community.

A large open area located behind the South Acton Fire Station has been developed for recreation.

It now has playing fields, picnic areas, and open spaces near a small pond where you may take your dogs for a walk.

A pond at Great Hill

Swampyank, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

On the western side of the space, a marsh had been dredged to create a small pond.

Here you may go skating during the winter or fishing during the summer season.

Be sure to add the Great Hill to your list of places to explore in the town of Acton.

Learn How to Ride a Horse at Shepley Hill Eventing

The facility of Shepley Hill Eventing provides horse care and horse riding experiences.

Run by horse trainer Lelo Reeves, the place welcomes all sorts of riders from beginner to advanced experience levels.

If you’ve always wanted to experience riding a horse, you may finally try to ride for recreation here.

Those who ride competitively may also train at Shepley Hill Eventing’s outdoor and indoor riding arenas.

Learn the craft of horse riding when you visit Shepley Hill Eventing on Liberty Street!

Play All Day at Acton Bowladrome and Arcade

Bring your friends along when you visit Acton Bowladrome and Arcade on Main Street, also known as The Drome.

Here you may spend all day playing at the arcade, which features 50 different games and winning prizes.

Bowling alleys are also available here, so you should reserve your lane in advance.

The Drome has been operating as a family-run business for almost 60 years, a testament to the community’s love for the place.

If you’re looking for a place where you can hold an event or celebrate a special day, give the Acton Bowladrome and Arcade a chance.

Catch a Live Show at Theater III

Exterior of Theater III

John Phelan, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Theatre III is a non-profit establishment on Central Street that promotes performing arts among the surrounding communities.

The theater provides performances that are reasonably priced and accessible to the residents.

The group running Theater III also gives people opportunities to join local theater productions, allowing them to share their talent with an audience.

The theater company has been in operation for at least 50 years now.

With an auditorium seating capacity of 170 to 200, the theater can host various big productions.

You may catch different shows, including musicals, dramas, and comedies, with at least three productions per regular season.

If you’re a theater fan, you can’t miss out on seeing the community’s talented performers at Theater III!

Stop by the Stonefield Farm

Another farm that you may find at Acton is Stonefield Farm.

It has been recently granted an Agricultural Preservation Restriction by the Boston Area Gleaners, securing the protection of the land.

Located in the southern part of the town, Stonefield Farm is considered a local treasure as it has been a source of vegetables and plants since 1929.

The 51.5-acre farm consists of land used in present agricultural operations as well as upland and wetland forests.

Be sure to stop by Stonefield Farm and see an important part of the town’s agriculture.

Visit the Animals of Bear Spot Farm

Bear Spot Farm is the caretaker of dressage and therapy horses as well as ponies.

The farm is a dedicated place that caters to the specific needs of horses, providing quality care and training to the animals.

The Bear Spot Foundation also provides children, adolescents, and adults Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy, so be sure to check it out if you’re ever interested.

Watch out for scheduled events on the farm, like shows, clinics, and performances.

Be sure to add the unique and world-class Bear Spot Farm to your list of places to visit when you find yourself in the area.

Final Thoughts

The town of Acton is a quaint town in Massachusetts that is filled with interesting places to explore on every corner.

History buffs will especially love touring the town and seeing the beauty in its well-preserved heritage.

From natural sceneries to heritage sites, you’ll find everything you need in a small town in Acton.

Don’t forget to save this list so you can have a reference for the best things to do in Acton, Massachusetts!

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