Experience a Classic New England Day on this South Shore Day Trip
Need an excuse to road-trip down to the famous Island Creek Oysters farm for a few shuckable delights? Try getting your steps in with a quiet walk in the woods across from a Duxbury cranberry bog, or pointing your bike toward a leafy trail in Marshfield. Then break out the oyster knife and enjoy the sweet taste of summer on the South Shore.
Approximate Drive Time From Boston: 35 minutes
Wompatuck State Park, Hingham
Forty miles of trails increase your chances of finding solitude as you wander amid acres of wetlands, ponds, streams, and forest. Refill your water bottle at Mount Blue Spring, which has been slaking thirsts since the 19th century, and remember the bug spray and the sunscreen.
Whiton Woods, Duxbury
Shh—don’t tell anyone else about this wooded reservation set back from the road and across from a working cranberry bog. Less well-trod than other Duxbury destinations, the wide trails (the remains of colonial cart paths) allow for safe social distancing over the course of 1 to 4 miles, and the birdwatching is top-notch.
World’s End, Hingham
Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, this coastal Trustees of the Reservations property was originally laid out as a rural subdivision, with broad carriage routes that make for excellent hiking, whether you want to amble around or scramble up and down its four drumlins. Exquisite views of the Boston skyline and Harbor Islands and a postcard-pretty shoreline make it a gem for picnics, as well.
Bridle Trail and Rail Trail, Marshfield
Looking for a ride the whole family will enjoy? Throw the bikes onto the roof rack and head south to check out this wide, evenly paved route, which runs along an old railway bed and skirts the Marshfield Fairgrounds as well as Pratt Farm, a town-owned conservation area. Navigate several road crossings and cut over the South River until you get to Dandelion Park, a perfect spot for sandwiches and a cool drink.
Hingham to Hull
The 7.9 miles from Hingham’s twee downtown to the end of the peninsula at Hull is a stunning seaside ride. The route passes through Weir River estuary, the largest saltwater marsh system in the area, and offers views of undulating grasses in untouched wetlands and the vast blue expanse of Massachusetts Bay. Itching to jump in? Park your wheels and cool off at Nantasket Beach along the way.
Myles Standish State Forest, Carver
Mountain bikers will be in hog heaven with 20 miles of trails winding through pine barrens and woodland. Beginners should find the East Head Reservoir and Bentley loop trails fairly easy at roughly 3 to 4 miles each, while the 13.6-mile-long Plymouth Wishbone trail is recommended only for experts. Either way, you’ll be rewarded with stunning vistas of ponds and pine forest.
Call ahead to the Catered Affair in Rockland, which provides victuals for Boston’s most elegant events, for a to-go fried chicken meal for two with potato salad and coleslaw. Bring along a bottle of rosé and you have the perfect al fresco lunch.
BEST PLACE TO…
Purchase an Edible Souvenir
No trip to the South Shore is complete without a stop at the Island Creek Oysters farm in Duxbury to pick up a dozen (or three) fresh oysters to shuck at home—the ideal starter, or main course, after a day in the sun.
REASONS TO PULL OVER ALONG THE WAY
Unlike most ultra-wealthy enclaves, the imposing mansions along Jerusalem Road in Cohasset are easily visible from the street and deliver a glimpse into a Gatsby-esque world. The Myles Standish Homestead site in Duxbury may be little more than a stone foundation, but it’s worth a gander for its historical (and scenic) merit. Minots Ledge Light in Scituate, meanwhile, is quintessential New England.