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Maritime-Related National Parks in Massachusetts


Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor (also in RI)

  • The Blackstone River runs from Worcester, MA to Providence, RI. Its waters powered the Slater Mill in Pawtucket, RI, America's first successful cotton spinning mill. This creative spark began the nation's transformation from Farm to Factory. Today, the Blackstone River Valley is a special type of National Park: a living landscape containing thousands of natural and historic treasures.

Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park (also in RI)

  • The Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park was authorized by Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 2015 (Public Law 113-291), which President Obama signed into law on December 19, 2014. The new park will protect and interpret resources associated with the development of textile mills and other industries in the valley. It will be located within the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor.

Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area

  • Here is a place where you can walk a Civil War-era fort, visit historic lighthouses, explore tide pools, hike lush trails, camp under the stars, or relax while fishing, picnicking, or swimming—all within reach of downtown Boston. Youth programs, visitor services, research, wildlife management, and more are coordinated on the park's 34 islands and peninsulas by the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership.

Boston National Historical Park

  • Discover how one city could be the Cradle of Liberty, site of the first major battle of American Revolution, and home to many who espoused that freedom can be extended to all.

Cape Cod National Seashore

  • The great Outer Beach described by Henry David Thoreau in the 1800s is protected within the national seashore. Forty miles of pristine sandy beach, marshes, ponds, and uplands support diverse species. Lighthouses, cultural landscapes, and wild cranberry bogs offer a glimpse of Cape Cod's past and continuing ways of life. Swimming beaches and walking and biking trails beckon today's visitors.

Essex National Heritage Area

  • The Essex National Heritage Area begins just 10 miles north of Boston and covers 500 square miles of eastern Massachusetts to the New Hampshire border. The Area includes hundreds of historical sites, miles of intact landscapes, glistening coastal regions, and lifetimes of rich experiences that chronicle the history of our region and of our nation.

New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park

  • New Bedford's geographic location influenced its development into the world's foremost whaling port in the nineteenth century. The nature of a whaling voyage, requiring long separation from home and family, contributed to the development of unique cultures on shipboard and ashore. In pursuit of whales, New Bedford's fleet traveled the world's oceans and brought large numbers of Americans into contact with other cultures.

Salem Maritime National Historic Site

  • When the United States was young, ships from Salem, Massachusetts, helped to build the new nation's economy by carrying cargo back and forth from the West to Asia. The historic buildings, wharves, and reconstructed tall ship at this nine-acre national park tell the stories of the sailors, Revolutionary War privateers, and merchants who brought the riches of the world to America.


Are you interested in other historic maritime resources in Massachusetts? We have information about historic life-saving stations and historic lighthouses and light stations.