Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Bristol County, MA

  • Published 2023/06/11

I’ve been residing in Bristol County for the past couple of years, and I can’t express how much I love this area of Massachusetts.

From different historical sites, museums, green spaces, and restaurants, we have something for every kind of traveler.

It’s also near Rhode Island, providing plenty of opportunities for cross-state adventure, although I recommend exploring more of what the county has to offer.

That said, let me take you through some of my recommended things to do in Bristol County, Massachusetts:

Discover the Eerie History Behind the Lizzie Borden House

Facade of the Lizzie Borden House

WanderRoamRove /

For true crime enthusiasts and fans of all things paranormal, I recommend visiting the famous Lizzie Borden House in Fall River.

For those who don’t know the house is the site of one of America’s greatest unsolved mysteries, the 1892 double murder of Lizzie’s father and stepmother.

Since then, the house has been said to be the location of several paranormal encounters, although I am fortunate that I didn’t experience such a thing when I toured the house.

Side view of the Lizzie Borden House

EQRoy /

The Lizzie Borden House has different kinds of tours, offering a unique perspective of the house, its history, and events.

I took the House Tour, which took me through the entire property, so I got to see all floors of the house and went to the rooms where her father and stepmother were found.

We also went to the basement, where the ax was apparently found, and to the most haunted place in the house, which I’ll keep a secret—you have to find it out for yourself!

Entrance to the Lizzie Borden House

James Kirkikis /

Walk Around Taunton Green

View of Taunton Green

Faina Gurevich /

With its strategic location, relaxing sights, and old-world charm, Taunton Green is perhaps my favorite park in Bristol County.

The park is situated at the heart of the Taunton Green Historic District, surrounded by commercial establishments, restaurants, and the towering Bristol County Courthouse Complex.

I always go to Taunton Green for a quick breather in the afternoon, or in the middle of my errands in town.

Church at Taunton Green

Faina Gurevich /

There are plenty of trees in the area and I learned a bit of history after checking out the statues and monuments around the park.

Christmastime is also one of my favorite seasons to visit the park since there are thousands of colorful lights and decor around the fountain.

On top of this, the festive atmosphere around the area makes it a must-see for those visiting Taunton.

Commercial buildings at Taunton Green

Yingna Cai /

Feast on Mexican Fare at Fiesta Mexican Restaurant

Bristol County has no shortage of good food, and Fiesta Mexican Restaurant is one of the dining establishments I highly recommend.

They have branches like Fall River, Dartmouth, Somerset, and Norton, so you can satisfy your Mexican food cravings from different areas around the county.

My favorites at Fiesta Mexican Restaurant include their Arroz con Pollo, Burrito de Chorizo, and Baja Fish Tacos.

I also like that we can be a bit creative with our dishes and create our Mexican combo, choosing between a burrito, taco, quesadilla, enchilada, or tostada with our choice of protein.

The restaurant is also famous for their margarita!

Aside from classic flavors like watermelon, strawberry, and pineapple margaritas, they offer unique ones like strawberry jalapeño and spicy pineapple margaritas.

Meet the Animals of Capron Park Zoo

Welcome sign at the entrance of the Capron Park Zoo

Kenneth C. Zirkel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re visiting Attleboro, don’t miss Capron Park Zoo, one of the city’s best recreational destinations.

Whenever my nieces, nephews, and friends with kids visit, I always take them to the zoo to meet hundreds and animals from different species.

The 8-acre zoo is grouped into different sections, so you can easily navigate around and check out each of the exhibits in an organized manner.

Landscape of the Capron Park Zoo

Joey Kleinowskis, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Our favorite part of the zoo is the nocturnal building, where you can see nocturnal animals without having to wait past sunset.

There’s also an indoor rainforest exhibit that captures the intrigue of a tropical rainforest where you’ll find sloths, fruit bats, porcupines, and other fascinating creatures.

Lions at the Capron Park Zoo

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

Take in the Views From Fort Phoenix State Reservation

Exterior view of the Fort Phoenix State Reservation

quiggyt4 /

Fort Phoenix State Reservation combines history with amazing views and fun activities, located in Fairhaven, Bristol County.

The former war-era fort was the site of the first naval battle of the American Revolution, surviving attacks and wars since then.

Cannons exhibited at Fort Phoenix State Reservation

quiggyt4 /

Although I’m not the biggest history buff, I still like to visit Fort Phoenix State Reservation every now and then to enjoy the views and soak up the sun.

I normally visit the park in summer and take a dip in the calm waters or lay down on a beach mat and do a little bit of sunbathing.

Otherwise, I just simply walk along the paved walkway for relaxing beachside views.

Shoreline at Fort Phoenix State Reservation

Yingna Cai /

Shop at Attleboro Farmers Market

Shopping at farmer’s markets is one of my favorite things to do, as I get to purchase fresh and organic goods while supporting local farmers and businesses.

I’ve been to many markets in Bristol County, but I always find myself coming back to Attleboro Farmers Market.

Located in Attleboro, the farmer’s market runs from mid-June to the first week of October, and showcases the city’s up-and-coming vendors and local growers.

From fresh fruits and vegetables to homemade products and baked goods, I never go home empty-handed whenever I visit Attleboro Farmers Market!

After checking out the stalls and buying one or two products, I usually buy a slice of pizza or pie, say hello to the dogs visiting, and take in the relaxed community vibe.

Tour the New Bedford Whaling Museum

Exterior view of the New Bedford Whaling Museum

Heidi Besen /

The New Bedford Whaling Museum is one of the must-see attractions in New Bedford and with good reason.

I visited the museum when I was new to Bristol County, and it gave me a deeper insight into whaling as a whole and the marine life in the area.

When I visited the New Bedford Whaling Museum, I found hundreds of scrimshaws and logbooks from old whaling ships and artwork from artists who lived in the area.

Interior view of the New Bedford Whaling Museum

James Kirkikis /

However, the highlight of the museum for me was seeing the massive whale skeletons and a half-scale model of Lagoda, a whaling ship.

If this will be your first time visiting New Bedford and even Bristol County, I highly recommend visiting the museum.

Sail boat at the New Bedford Whaling Museum

Found5dollar, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Treat Yourself to a Meal at The Aviary Restaurant

Whenever I feel like treating myself to a fancy meal, I always head to The Aviary Restaurant, a New American restaurant located in Swansea.

At first glance, the interiors exude a sense of warmth and elegance, with high ceilings, light-colored walls, and wooden furniture.

However, the star of The Aviary Restaurant is its food, featuring upscale cuisine made with farm-fresh food inspired by local flavors.

For the perfect start to my day, I go for the Crab Cakes with Aviary Benedict, a combination of an English muffin and crispy crab cakes topped with poached eggs and a creamy hollandaise sauce.

The outdoor patio is also perfect for relaxing brunch meals and romantic dinner dates sipping wine and other craft cocktails.

Soak up the Sun at Horseneck Beach State Reservation

Vibrant sunset at Horseneck Beach State Reservation

Micha Weber /

During the summer months, Horseneck Beach State Reservation is my go-to hangout!

Located in the southern end of Westport, this campground and recreational area offers two miles of pristine shores and campgrounds.

On my way to Horseneck Beach State Reservation, I was greeted with the sight of sparkling waters and the blue sky.

Dunes at the Horseneck Beach State Reservation

John Blottman /

At the park, there’s plenty of space to pitch a beach umbrella or lay down a beach mat.

After settling down, I go for a walk along the shore and do a bit of bird watching then lie down and bask under the warm summer sun.

I haven’t tried camping yet, but there are RV and tent campsites where you can spend the night under the stars.

Boardwalk at Horseneck Beach State Reservation

John Blottman /

Spend the Afternoon at North Attleboro WW1 Memorial Park and Zoo

A trip to a memorial park isn’t exactly the most exciting thing to do generally, but I recommend you check out North Attleboro WW1 Memorial Park and Zoo.

The park is situated in a quiet corner of North Attleboro, it’s perfect for relaxing afternoons or when you need a quick respite from the busy city life.

There are plenty of activities in the park, whether you’re visiting with your kids, or if you want an afternoon workout.

As someone who enjoys the outdoors, I love that North Attleboro WW1 Memorial Park and Zoo is surrounded by trees and is relatively quiet.

My nieces and nephews love the playgrounds and viewing the ducks, deer, llamas, donkeys, and more.

On the other hand, we grown-ups would usually hang out at the picnic areas and walk around the nature trails.

Explore Borderland State Park

Pond at the Borderland State Park

Yingna Cai /

Located between Bristol County and Norfolk County, Borderland State Park is one of the county’s hidden gems.

It has a historic mansion, playing courts, and plenty of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.

I discovered the park when I visited North Easton and I was surprised that the town had this quiet and serene escape.

Water flowing at the Borderland State Park

Yingna Cai /

I joined a tour of Ames Mansion and learned more about its history and the life of its owner, Blanche Ames, who was a famous artist, inventor, and activist.

We visited different parts of the mansion, including the two-story library, and got a closer look at its interiors.

After the tour, we were free to explore at our leisure, so I went for a walk around Leach Pond to enjoy peace and quiet.

Mansion at Borderland State Park

Yingna Cai /

Hit the Lanes at North Bowl Lanes

Whenever some of my friends or family visit, we always visit North Bowl Lanes in North Attleboro.

This is the area’s premier entertainment center, featuring an impressive 40-lane bowling area, a game room, a full-service bar, and restaurant.

With all these facilities, we’d spend hours at North Bowl Lanes challenging each other and playing several rounds of bowling!

Sometimes we’d stay past nighttime and enjoy the neon lights during Cosmic Bowling nights, creating a fun and retro-like ambiance.

In between games, we’d order food and drinks, including quesadillas, nachos, and their famous brick-oven pizza.

Marvel at the Ships of Battleship Cove

View of the Battleship Cove

Matthew Botelho /

Battleship Cove is one of Bristol County’s prized landmarks, showcasing the largest collection of World War II naval vessels in the world.

The museum dedicates itself to honoring the veterans who served the country and educating its visitors about the sacrifice and patriotism of the veterans.

Guns at the Battleship Cove

Mystic Stock Photography /

On my tour of Battleship Cove, I learned more about the history of America’s maritime culture through its rotating and permanent exhibits.

I also found memorials of different historical events, including the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the September 11 attacks.

However, the highlight of my museum visit was seeing warships like the Hiddensee and the USS Massachusetts in person and exploring a high-speed missile corvette.

Maritime Museum at Battleship Cove

EQRoy /

Enjoy Comfort Food at La Familia Restaurant

Can’t choose between Italian or American food? Dine at La Familia Restaurant, with branches in Taunton and Easton.

Since opening its first branch in Taunton, the restaurant has been a popular dining option, serving customers delicious food and exceptional service.

I visited the La Familia Restaurant branch in Taunton, conveniently located along Winthrop Street, and upon entering, I felt the warm and welcoming ambiance of the restaurant.

I tried the chicken parm, Portuguese calamari, and homemade bread pudding a la mode, and they didn’t disappoint!

The homemade marinara sauce perfectly complemented the crispy chicken breast and the angel hair pasta was cooked al dente, while the bread pudding had the right amount of whipped cream and sweet caramel sauce.

Follow the Trails at Freetown-Fall River State Forest

Signage of Freetown-Fall River State Forest

Kenneth C. Zirkel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Freetown-Fall River State Forest is a 5,000-acre forest in Assonet, boasting 25 miles of trails suited for hiking, trail running, horseback riding, and dirt biking.

Most trails here are unpaved, so those with mobility issues and who aren’t used to biking in this kind of terrain may want to sit this one out.

Regardless, it’s still a great place to spend time with nature and go on an adventure.

Picnic area at Freetown-Fall River State Forest

Kenneth C. Zirkel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

On my hike around Freetown-Fall River State Forest, I got to see woodland mammals like deer and chipmunks.

However, since these animals are in their natural habitat, I kept my distance and admired them from afar, something you should take note of if you plan on hiking here.

Kids playing in splash pad at Freetown-Fall River State Forest

Kenneth C. Zirkel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Final Thoughts

After living in Bristol County, I can fairly say that it’s one of the best places to visit in Massachusetts.

It has a good balance of natural wonders, historical sites, must-try dining options, and recreational places.

Every time I give a tour of the place to my friends and family, they always say that they’ll come back for more–and they do!

Check out this list of the best things to do in Bristol County, Massachusetts, and start planning your next trip!

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