Found in Bristol County, Massachusetts, Westport is a popular tourist destination for its beaches, fishing, and boating.
In 1670, the first English colonists settled the area.
It gets its name from its location on the westernmost port of the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay.
History buffs will love the town.
The Westport Point Historic District, a well-known tourist destination, has preserved historic homes from the 1700s that illustrate the significant role whaling played in its history.
Moreover, the town of Westport produced Paul Cuffe, a Native American-African American Quaker businessman and patriot.
Cuffe lived from 1759 to 1817, becoming the most famous resident in Westport.
At the time, Cuffe was one of the wealthiest black men in the United States.
He made considerable efforts to free black slaves and send them to the colony of Sierra Leone.
Westport lets you enjoy the outdoors or learn more about American history.
Here are the best things to do in Westport, Massachusetts:
Enjoy the Water Activities on the Westport River
The jewel-blue water of the Westport River flows into Buzzards Bay, and it's one of the main reasons why tourists flock to this town.
The Westport River is ideal for swimming, fishing, sailing, and kayaking.
Pack your swimsuit and sunscreen if you visit during summer.
Several boat tours will take you around the river and provide interesting facts about the area's history and ecosystem.
Westport River is also well-known for about 300 osprey nests.
It's a perfect spot for birdwatching, so don't forget to bring your binoculars.
The Westport River divides into two branches.
The West Branch, the smaller of the two streams of the Westport River, is about seven miles long.
It originates near the Rhode Island community of Adamsville.
The extended East Branch rises at the town border between Westport and Dartmouth at Lake Noquochoke.
It's also approximately 11.5 miles long.
Both branches are excellent fishing; you can even drop a line from the shore in some areas.
Tour the Dedee Shattuck Gallery
The Dedee Shattuck Gallery is a contemporary art gallery that embodies the owner's passion for art and the environment.
Dedee Shattuck Gallery offers engaging exhibits, enlightening cultural activities, and a venue for exchanging original ideas and critical dialogue about the arts.
Since it opened, the gallery has become a premier destination for contemporary art in Southeastern Massachusetts.
This gallery also features the Front Room, a store selling curated ceramics, jewelry, metal items, and wood crafts.
The Dedee Shattuck Gallery is also an ideal venue for weddings, rehearsal dinners, and cocktail parties.
Travel Back in Time at Westport Point Historic District
The Westport Point Historic District is a National Historic Landmark located at the meeting point of two branches of the tide-dependent Westport River.
It is known for its rich architectural heritage from the late 18th to the early 20th centuries.
Before the completion of Massachusetts Route 88 in the 1960s, the Main Road served as the primary historic thoroughfare in Westport Point.
The area extends down Main Road for about a mile until essentially ending at Charles Street.
At the Westport Point Historic District, you'll find several historic homes dating back to the 1700s.
Likewise, you can find a working church, a windmill, and a schoolhouse from the 19th century.
The well-preserved buildings in the Westport Point Historic District will bring you back in time.
They reflect the town's whaling history, reminiscent of the Greek Revival styles.
A walking area tour is the best way to take in all the sights.
A visit to the Westport Point Historic District is an excellent way to learn more about the town's history and see how residents lived in the past.
Discover the Quiet Charm of the Westport Town Farm
Along the East Branch of the Westport River, Westport Town Farm is an idyllic sight.
Witness animals grazing on its spacious fields.
This picturesque working farm that operated as a "poor farm" and a hospital for almost a century also feature an old farmhouse, dairy barn, corn mill, and Colonial-era brick walls.
Visitors can explore these fascinating surroundings.
It is just an easy one-mile walk from the barn leading you through stonewall-lined farm fields.
Continuing through the trail, you'll pass a ten-acre hayfield before returning to the barn.
A fantastic view of the East Branch of the Westport River will welcome you back where you started.
Not only is Westport Town Farm breathtaking, but it also has historical and ecological significance.
Seagulls, ospreys, and bald eagles soar overhead in this beautiful coastal area.
The farm's dual legacy of helping those in need and cultivating produce and farm animals interweave together.
Enjoy the Outdoors at the Horseneck Beach State Reservation
One of the town's most famous attractions offering varied recreational activities is the Horseneck Beach State Reservation.
It boasts a beach that spans over 600 acres and offers stunning views of Buzzards Bay.
Horseneck Beach State Reservation is a great place to swim, sunbathe, go for a walk, or relax and enjoy the incredible scenery.
Horseneck Beach State Reservation also features an adult playground, tennis court, and exercise areas.
Likewise, it has a campsite with more than 60 sites, if you would like to camp out.
Also, hiking trails offer beautiful views of the beach and the surrounding landscape.
Sip Fine Wine at the Westport Rivers Winery
The Westport Rivers Winery is one of the most famous attractions in Westport.
The Westport Rivers Winery produces various wines.
Visitors can tour the facility, taste the wines, and purchase bottles to take home.
For those who love music, you can join the Sunset Music Series at the winery, held every Wednesday.
The series features local and regional musicians performing a variety of genres, including jazz, folk, rock, and blues.
The Westport Rivers Winery is the ideal location for relaxing amid breathtaking views.
Go Hiking at Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary
Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary covers hundreds of acres of protected coastline, fields, forests, ponds, and marsh.
Kindhearted families who wanted to preserve the land established the sanctuary.
Large trail networks allow for a full day of walking and bird watching, with views of the coast and ponds from numerous vantage points.
Located on Horseneck Road, Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary is perfect for a day trip or a weekend getaway.
Visitors can choose from any of the three trailheads to start their adventure.
They can either start at 786 E. Horseneck Road, at the Allens Neck Road, or Field Station, also on Horseneck Road.
Birdwatchers may also have a grand time at the Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary.
There are 300 species of birds recorded at the Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary, including piping plovers.
Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary's Butterfly Garden is also a treat for the senses, with rare butterflies that you can only find here.
Spend a Day Out at the Camara Conservation Area
The Camara Conservation Area is a great place to spend a day outdoors.
The 43-acre property along the South Watuppa Pond has a diverse hardwood forest and nearby freshwater marsh.
The Camara Conservation Area features hiking trails that wind through dense woods and open meadows.
It has an informational kiosk so visitors will know Camara Conservation Area's history and mission.
When you get tired of the trails, you can try fishing at the South Watuppa Pond, a trumpet-shaped pond with a length of about three kilometers.
It also has a big cove on the Westport side.
Large concentrations of smallmouth and largemouth bass live in South Watuppa Pond, a favorite location for bass fishing competitions.
This pond makes for a suitable smallmouth bass habitat due to its size, plenty of structure, and moderate fertility.
Enjoy the Gorgeous Views at the Gooseberry Island
Gooseberry Island is one of Westport's most beloved tourist destinations, thanks to its unique location at the mouth of Buzzards Bay.
Gooseberry Island offers stunning views of the river, Buzzards Bay, and gorgeous sandy beaches.
A concrete World War II-era observation tower on Gooseberry Island also draws crowds.
Due to its location near Buzzards Bay, Gooseberry Island has become a haven for birdwatchers.
Migratory birds use it as a thoroughfare as they fly up and down the Atlantic flyway.
This area also has an unpaved shoreline boat ramp where kayakers, tiny dinghies, and other small boats pass due to its extremely shallowness and rocky surrounding.
The half-mile-long, broad, sandy path at Gooseberry Island lets you spend more time exploring because you can take photos, run, or stroll along the trail.
Get a Taste of Local History at the Westport Historical Society
To better understand Westport's history, visit the Westport Historical Society.
Westport Historical Society Museum conducts various events and walking tours to promote the town's history.
These events include the Wooly Mammoth History Walk, inside the Cadman White Handy House.
Westport Historical Society Museum also holds events at the Cadman White Handy House.
The society also manages the house, featuring exhibits such as "The Wedding Dress Retrospective" and "Kids Make History."
If you want to know how the people in the 1700s lived, explore the "Infinite Details: Reshaping Everyday Life 1700 - 1850" exhibits.
These exhibits feature archaeological discoveries still in Cadman White Handy House.
If you like architecture, you can also tour the Cadman White Handy House, an exquisite example of 18th-century architecture.
Likewise, it's one of Westport's oldest standing houses.
Take a Break at Old Harbor Wildlife Refuge
Thanks to the kindness of surrounding landowners, the Old Harbor Wildlife Refuge has developed a substantial trail network.
The landowners graciously allowed the extension of this route network onto their privately conserved lands.
These wooded pathways in the Old Harbor Wildlife Refuge offer attractive opportunities for peaceful strolls across stunning upland and marsh ecosystems.
At Old Harbor Wildlife Refuge, you can stroll through lush, green woodlands and marvel at the spring ponds teeming with life.
The red trail leaves the parking area and follows old stone walls before crossing a brief section of boardwalk across swampy bottoms.
The trail splits off at the boardwalk's end.
Follow the blue route that will take you onto private property and past an area of productive wetlands.
Otherwise, turn left to continue on the red track through the woods.
It's no wonder Old Harbor Wildlife Refuge has become a favorite destination for visitors.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Go Off-Roading at the Freetown-Fall River State Forest
If you're raring for an adventure, you can go to the Freetown Fall River State Forest in Assonet, Massachusetts.
It's 25 minutes away from Westport.
The forest offers more than 50 miles of unpaved roads and paths for horseback riding, walking, biking, cross-country skiing, and dog sledding.
Visitors can find a picnic area near the main entrance with a wading pool, sports grounds, and restrooms.
Watch out for chipmunks and deer moving through the forest.
Visit in the spring to see salamanders, frogs, and turtles enlivening the wetlands along Mother's Brook and Doctor's Mill Pond.
Rattlesnake Brook is perfect for those who love freshwater fishing for its brook trout.
Bring your family to the Freetown-Fall River State Forest!
Relish the Serenity at the Goosewing Beach Preserve
Goosewing Beach Preserve is a beautiful place to delight in the outdoors.
You can find it in Little Compton, Rhode Island, 18 minutes from Westport.
The 75-acre Goosewing Beach Preserve is one of the state's most beautiful locations.
In 1989, the Nature Conservancy acquired the property, together with other groups.
The Goosewing Beach Preserve is a wilderness shaped by glaciers.
Keep calm as you gaze at the gorgeous secluded beach while walking on the shore.
The Nature Conservancy preserves Goosewing Beach Preserve as essential habitat for birds and other wildlife.
Visitors can spend the afternoon swimming, appreciating the exquisiteness of the beach, or fishing along the shoreline, dotted with the glaciers' stones.
You can also stroll along the trails across Quicksand Pond's southern end.
See grassy dunes and big skies or visit the seasonal Benjamin Family Environmental Center to learn more about this unique protected area.
Explore the Demarest Lloyd State Park
Demarest Lloyd State Park is just 13 minutes from Westport.
It's also one of the best-hidden gems of the area.
You can find the park in Dartmouth, Massachusetts.
The Demarest Lloyd State Park has a stunning 1,800-foot saltwater beach amid grassy picnic areas under rolling hills of beach grass.
With a stunning view of Buzzards Bay, Demarest Lloyd State Park is also perfect for families with young children to relish the incredible scenery.
Aside from the ocean beach, the 200-acre park also features luscious seaside marshlands near the mouth of the Slocums River.
Demarest Lloyd State Park is also perfect for birdwatching, with species like ospreys, egrets, and herons flying about the area.
The park also has picnic tables, BBQ grills, and a playground for visitors.
Bond with Your Friends at the South Shore Beach
Enjoy panoramic views of the ocean at Little Compton's South Shore Beach.
Just 19 minutes from Westport, visitors can take a long walk down the shoreline near the Buzzards Bay entrance or relax along the shore.
However, this beach isn't only a summertime vacation spot.
People visit South Shore Beach year-round for its breathtaking sunsets.
Anglers also flock to South Shore Beach to catch fish during autumn and spring, as the fish move in and out of Buzzards Bay.
Tourists can continue strolling to the beach's eastern end and enter Goosewing Beach Preserve.
Take a long quiet walk or look for unusual birds.
Visitors also marvel at the stunning detail of the South Shore Beach's Nature Conservancy Preserve, an important bird sanctuary.
Westport is the perfect destination if you're looking for a fun weekend getaway.
This charming town offers some of the best things to do in the county, from dining to exploring its history and natural beauty.
Plenty of activities will keep you busy once you step foot in this quaint historic town, whether traveling solo, with friends, or with family.
Book your trip today and experience the many best things to do in Westport!