15 Best Things to Do in Norfolk County, MA

Norfolk County, MA
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Part of Norfolk County's charm is its deep historical legacy that, until today, is one of the reasons many visitors—including me—come to this spot.

Named the County of Presidents, it has been the birthplace of four presidents of the United States, which are John and John Quincy Adams, George Bush, and John F. Kennedy.

It features 28 communities that all surround Boston from the west and the south.

But what attracted me to this county in eastern Massachusetts the most was its diversity and blend of rural and urban areas.

This meant that there was a place for me—and other visitors—with varying preferences for their vacation.

From outdoor parks and serene preserves to modern galleries and museums, I had a fun time exploring Norfolk County and its offerings.

I believe you should, too!

So, to help you on your trip, here are the 15 best things to do in Norfolk County, Massachusetts:

Start a Rock Climbing Venture at Quincy Quarries Reservation

The grounds of Quincy Quarries Reservation
Sswonk, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The coastal city of Quincy in Norfolk County is more than its beaches and water attractions, and I can attest to that.

Quincy Quarries Reservation proves this with its rock climbing opportunities.

This spot is where the country's largest granite quarry once stood.

Now, the quarry's steep walls have become a topline rock climbing stop that offers stunning vistas of the Boston skyline.

Rock formation at Quincy Quarries Reservation
Sswonk, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I loved that the site is also ideal for picnicking and public art spotting.

Its trails are a comfort for me, as is its graffiti everywhere, which only adds to the eccentricity of the site.

Free parking is also available, which I feel particularly grateful for.

Quincy Quarries Reservation welcomes its visitors to its fascinating natural features on Ricciuti Drive.

Meet Owls and Other Birds at Blue Hills Trailside Museum

Located off of Canton Avenue, Blue Hills Trailside Museum is a Milton landmark worth checking out if you're into nature.

Serving as the interpretive facility for the Blue Hills Reservation where it currently resides, it offers natural exhibits of all kinds.

It is home to many wildlife, including birds, foxes, otters, and more!

I personally loved that aside from the museum's sanctuary, there is also a universal trail visitors can traverse for more in-depth learning of the surrounding natural areas.

I also got a glimpse of Native American history that I appreciated.

I had a fun time browsing through its gift shop too, so better check it out if you're planning to visit this center.

Will you be adding Blue Hills Trailside Museum to your itinerary?

Savor Local Craft Beer at Trillium Brewing Company

Craft beer at Trillium Brewing Company
Walshc22, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Trillium Brewing Company has your craft beer preferences covered in Norfolk County.

I know it covered mine!

The facility's long list of craft beer options was intimidating, but whether you prefer your ale familiar or you want to try out new things with your alcohol, every beverage on the list is worth trying out.

Trillium Brewing Company's lounge and patio had a wholesome, welcoming atmosphere when I visited.

But nothing tops the outdoor beer garden's vast view of the Blue Hills at its backdrop.

Come by during Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, when the brewery has something special planned for every patron.

This brewery operates in various locations within Massachusetts and Connecticut.

But when you're in Norfolk County, you can find this brewing company on Royall Street in the town of Canton.

Experience a Magical Tour at the Enchanted Village

Looking for something magical to add to your Norfolk County excursion?

Let me present to you the Enchanted Village!

This seasonal attraction is one of New England's most-anticipated Christmas stops for families with children.

It features Jordan Marsh's restored vintage collection of attractions.

One of the features I liked about the village is its indoor skating rink where I truly felt the spirit of the holidays move me.

The place came to life with vibrant lights and jolly Christmas music.

There was also a polar express and an indoor tube slide.

Many children got to meet the Red Man himself, too.

The Enchanted Village is in the town of Avon, specifically on Stockwell Drive.

Hike and Spot Native Wildlife along Your Journey at Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary

A swan at Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary
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Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary is one of Norfolk's beloved sanctuaries accessible via a boardwalk.

At 107 acres, this preserve offers both land- and water-focused habitats.

This park is under the management of the Massachusetts Audubon Society and the Department of Conservation & Recreation.

Its two main loop trails were an enjoyable hike for me because of the presence of flora and fauna all around.

Boardwalk at Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary
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Its wide pathways made it easy for me to navigate the park's forests, wetlands, and open fields.

There's a marsh-viewing platform that I got to climb on for a bird's eye view of the place.

I had the time of my life exploring the native butterfly and bird garden, too.

Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary on North Street is a pleasant surprise for me and many tourists.

A great heron at Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary
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Start a Historical Tour of the Dedham Museum & Archive

Dedham, the county seat of Norfolk County, is notable for having the first canal in North America and a top-notch downtown district.

I got to know about all these and more at its admirable museum, the Dedham Museum & Archive.

The museum features exhibits and artifacts related to the town's past, including stone tools from the Indigenous People and rare clock antiques by Simon Willard.

Quaint but interesting, it offered a fun time for me and my inquisitive mind.

The Dedham Museum & Archive is on High Street, ready to introduce you to the town's heritage.

Learn a Thing or Two about History at the Forbes House Museum

Exterior of Forbes House Museum
Jameslwoodward, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Your historical venture across Norfolk County is never complete without a stop by the Forbes House Museum.

One of its charming points that left a lasting impression on me was its majestic views of Boston Harbor and the Neponset River marshland.

Founded in 1662, it was once the residence of a man named Thomas Hutchinson.

Over time, it got passed on to many generations and influential families, and for this reason, the mansion is an enigma of business pursuits and cultural proprieties.

I enjoyed my time exploring the furnishings, artworks, and novelties of the place.

On top of this, I got to marvel at the beauty presented within the garden areas of the property.

The 7-acre Forbes House Museum sits along Adams Street in the town of Milton.

Roam the Blossom-Filled Sanctuary at Wellesley College Botanic Gardens

Nothing could compare to the wave of colors of blossoming flowers at Wellesley College Botanic Gardens.

This Wellesley attraction extends to more than 20 acres of botanical extravaganza.

It had some of the most diverse plant collections I've seen in my life.

There was also a pond onsite and several shades that I enjoyed while I took in the sights and sounds of nature all around.

I traversed through different habitats while within the site, including swamps and meadows, and it was a delight!

It was definitely worth the trip.

So, I highly recommend coming by for a peak of the native blossoms.

Wellesley College Botanic Gardens offers a spectacular display of nature in all its glory on Central Street.

Check Out the Old Collection of Motorcars at Larz Anderson Auto Museum

Front view of Larz Anderson Auto Museum
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Are you a fan of motorcars?

Then, I recommend going to the Larz Anderson Auto Museum.

This eclectic museum holds one of the oldest car collections in America.

From motorbikes to four-wheelers, the museum has everything I had possibly hoped for in a car museum.

Side view of Larz Anderson Auto Museum
Anna Yeroshenko, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

What's more, the collection sits within an elegant Victorian carriage house that certainly added to the place's allure.

I found the tour of the place informative and fun.

For a more immersive dive into the cars on display at the museum, I suggest coming by during the site's planned lawn events.

Larz Anderson Auto Museum is one of Brookline's points of pride situated along Newton Street.

View the Unique Boulders at Whitney and Thayer Woods

A fairytale adventure was not what I expected when I visited Whitney and Thayer Woods.

A Cohasset staple, this preserve features 10 miles of hiking trails that I had fun trekking along.

What made the place a remarkable visit for me was its side track trails that added an ounce of uniqueness to my whole hike.

Its centerpieces are the glacial boulders that dot the property in erratic spots.

The woodlands all around offer an otherworldly pull to the whole site.

There's also a wild garden blooming with a variety of azaleas and rhododendrons.

Whitney and Thayer Woods is on Howes Lane.

Discover More about Sports History at The Patriots Hall of Fame

Exterior of The Patriots Hall of Fame
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The Patriots Hall of Fame is a must-visit if you're a fan of the football team Patriots.

But even if you're not, the place is just as pleasant for a sports-focused learning experience.

There were many exhibits to explore and view.

I loved that the museum incorporated technology and modern architecture to add interaction to its displays.

Building sign of The Patriots Hall of Fame
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I also got to watch a short film about one of the Patriots games in history and felt like I was in a football game myself by going through the Tunnel.

It’s definitely worthy of a second visit.

Located along Patriot Place, The Patriots Hall of Fame is in Foxborough.

Enjoy the Solitude of Nature at Wrentham State Forest

While in Norfolk County, I got the chance to channel my inner nature adventurer when I visited Wrentham State Forest.

This Wrentham stop is a hidden treasure.

Spanning about 1,000 acres, this preserve offers miles and miles of multi-use trails.

I loved the serenity of the place more than anything.

Nature is abundant, and I wasn't afraid of getting lost because the trails were all well-marked.

To fully experience the unbridled nature of the place, come during the fall season.

Wrentham State Forest is ideal for weekend getaways on Taunton Street.

Spend a Day out in the Sun at Lake Massapoag

The waters of Lake Massapoag
Adam Gladstone / Shutterstock.com

On Beach Street, Lake Massapoag overflows with a multitude of water-based activities.

At 392 acres, this lake sits at the heart of its town.

It's open for swimming, kayaking, sailing, and even picnicking.

Fishing is also a common pastime for those visiting.

Boats stacked at Lake Massapoag
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I got to enjoy my summer with a splash around this lake, and it continues to be one of my unforgettable moments within Norfolk County.

I also loved walking across the shore.

This lake is also the go-to event for many community events, so mark your calendars ahead if you don't want to miss out on a special program.

Lake Massapoag is one of the outstanding beaches in the town of Sharon.

Zoom Down Blue Hills Ski Area on Ski Poles

Winter in Norfolk County is always a fun matter because of Blue Hills Ski Area.

Since 1950, this ski area has been a hit among tourists and locals alike, and I can see why.

This site has been a welcoming place for me and other beginner skiers who had first-time qualms about skidding down the slopes.

I tried out night skiing at this place, and it was a glorious time.

The area was lit up with induction lights, and, paired with the multicolored skyline as sunset passed, it was a sight to behold.

See the place for yourself!

Blue Hills Ski Area sits on Washington Street in the town of Canton.

Bask in Climate Knowledge at Blue Hill Observatory & Science Center

Exterior of Blue Hill Observatory & Science Center
Andy Gregorowicz, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Blue Hill Observatory & Science Center is a weather observatory in the town of Milton.

With a variety of educational programs geared to students and the public, this center continues to be the oldest operating one of its kind throughout the whole nation.

I loved the exterior of the place—brimming with so much history within its castle-like architecture.

Since it resides atop a hill, I thought the hike up would be strenuous or boring, but I was in for a surprise.

The hike was enjoyable and I got to see views of nature all around.

Signing up for a tour was also the best decision of my life, as the educational programs offered satisfied my curiosity.

I even got to see scientific equipment used for weather information gathering, which was cool.

You can reach Blue Hill Observatory & Science Center when you head to Observatory Service Road.

Final Thoughts

Norfolk County gave me a taste of both modern entertainment and renewed heritage and history, all within one place!

With its eccentric nature attractions and informative museums and grounds, I know it can do the same for you, too.

So, what are you waiting for?

Be sure you've taken note of the best things to do in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, to make sure your trip is as memorable as you want it to be!

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