One of the original 13 colonies and one of the six New England states, Massachusetts (officially called a commonwealth) is known as the landing place of the Mayflower and the Pilgrims.
English explorer and settler John Smith named the state for the Massachuset tribe. Boston, the state capital, was a hotbed of activity, including the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party, during the American Revolution.
In addition to its revolutionary spirit, the state is known for fueling the American Industrial Revolution with the growth of textile mills in Lowell, and for its large Irish-American population.
Massachusetts is a small state located in the Northeastern United States. It is bordered by Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. Massachusetts is the most populous state in New England and the third most densely populated state in the country.
The geography of Massachusetts can be divided into three main regions: the Eastern Coastal Plain, Central Lowlands, and Western Uplands. The Eastern Coastal Plain is characterized by a narrow strip of land along the Atlantic Ocean that includes Cape Cod Bay and Buzzards Bay. This region is home to many tourist attractions such as Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Island as well as many beaches and lighthouses. The Central Lowlands region includes much of eastern Massachusetts including Boston and Cambridge. This area contains rolling hills, lowlands, rivers, lakes, ponds, wetlands and forests making it an ideal place for outdoor recreation activities such as hiking, biking and boating. The Western Uplands region covers much of western Massachusetts including the Berkshires which are known for their beautiful mountain scenery. This area contains many parks such as Mount Greylock State Reservation which offer great views of the surrounding countryside.
The highest point in Massachusetts is Mount Greylock which stands at 3491 feet above sea level while the lowest point is sea level at Buzzards Bay on the coast of Cape Cod Bay. There are numerous rivers that flow through Massachusetts including Connecticut River which forms part of its border with Connecticut along with Charles River which flows through Boston before emptying into Boston Harbor. There are also over 3000 lakes in Massachusetts including Quabbin Reservoir which supplies drinking water to over 2 million people in Boston and surrounding towns.
Massachusetts has a mild climate with four distinct seasons but temperatures can vary greatly depending on location due to its size and topography. Summers are typically warm and humid while winters tend to be cold but snowfall varies greatly from one region to another with some areas receiving more than 100 inches each year while others get less than 40 inches annually on average.
Overall, Massachusetts has a varied geography due to its diverse terrain ranging from coastal plains to uplands mountains making it an ideal place for outdoor activities all year round no matter what your interests may be.
Cities in Massachusetts
Below are the top 15 cities by population in Massachusetts. For all cities and towns in the state, please see Massachusetts cities list.
Boston is the capital and largest city in Massachusetts, and its history dates back to the 17th century. Located on the Atlantic coast of the United States, Boston is a major cultural and economic center in New England. The city is home to some of the nation’s top universities, including Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Known as “The Cradle of Liberty,” Boston is a popular tourist destination with a wealth of attractions, including Fenway Park, The Freedom Trail, and the Museum of Fine Arts.
Cambridge, located just across the Charles River from Boston, is home to two world-renowned universities: Harvard University and MIT. With its vibrant student population and numerous cultural attractions, Cambridge has become a popular destination for visitors from all over the world. In addition to its academic institutions, Cambridge boasts a number of notable museums including The Harvard Art Museums, The MIT Museum of Science and Technology, and The Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology. Other popular local attractions include Harvard Square with its eclectic shops & restaurants; Central Square for its live music venues; Kendall Square for its tech scene; and Inman Square for its vibrant nightlife.
Counties in Massachusetts
The State of Massachusetts consists of 14counties. They are:
- Barnstable County, Massachusetts
- Berkshire County, Massachusetts
- Bristol County, Massachusetts
- Dukes County, Massachusetts
- Essex County, Massachusetts
- Franklin County, Massachusetts
- Hampden County, Massachusetts
- Hampshire County, Massachusetts
- Middlesex County, Massachusetts
- Nantucket County, Massachusetts
- Norfolk County, Massachusetts
- Plymouth County, Massachusetts
- Suffolk County, Massachusetts
- Worcester County, Massachusetts