by Kezia Bacon, Correspondent

Do you enjoy spending time outdoors? If you’re reading this column, your answer is probably “Yes.” Do you have favorite spots? The ones you return to week after week, or month after month? Most of us do. Are you looking for ways to diversify your outdoor experience? NSRWA can help!

The Get Outdoors section of our website lists 550+ South Shore properties that welcome the public for walking, fishing, paddling, or otherwise enjoying nature. Some are parks or playgrounds, while others are beaches, boat launches, or historical sites. More than 200 of them offer trails. We’ve visited them all, and we hope you will do the same.

That’s going to take some time, of course! This month’s Nature column offers some strategies for expanding your territory so you can experience more of the South Shore’s natural beauty. No plans for the next school break? This could be your roadmap!

365 Nature Places to Know

Every year our Explore South Shore program has a new theme. For 2024, it’s “365 Nature Places to Know.” We’ve selected a year’s worth of nature spots that we think you’ll want to know about. Is that too large a number? Don’t fear – each day has a category. Mondays are family-friendly locales, while Tuesdays are accessible for people with disabilities. Wednesdays are all about water access, while Thursdays offer a mix of themes – birding, mountain biking, herring runs, and more. Factoid Fridays are for history buffs, while weekends feature trails for long and short walks. Join us and check them out!

Striar Conservancy, Halifax

Wildlands Trust Properties

Would you prefer a shorter list? How about visiting all of the properties on the South Shore that are overseen by the Wildlands Trust? Seventeen in total, these are gorgeous spots – some sprawling, some small – with well-tended trails and parking areas. Some of our favorites include Willow Brook Farm Preserve in Pembroke, the Striar Conservancy in Halifax and the Hoyt-Hall Preserve in Marshfield. Wildlands Trust offers real time trail conditions on their website.

Mass Audubon Properties

Still too many? How about visiting all four of the South Shore’s wildlife sanctuaries owned by Mass Audubon? There are two in Marshfield – North River and Daniel Webster. There’s also one in Duxbury – North Hill Marsh. And one in Plymouth – Tidmarsh. For more info, visit Mass Audubon South East.

Weir River Farm

Trustees Lands

Another very manageable goal is the six properties owned by the land trust known as The Trustees. Check out Hingham’s World’s End and Weir River Farm, Cohasset’s Whitney & Thayer Woods, and the Norris Reservation in Norwell. Also, Marshfield’s Two Mile Farm, and the Holmes Reservation in Plymouth. For more info, visit The Trustees website.

Bay Circuit Trail

Another approach to seeing some different places is to hike a regional trail, such as the Bay Circuit, which extends from Kingston to Marlborough to Newburyport. The South Shore section alone will take some time, and you’ll visit numerous properties in Duxbury, Pembroke and Hanson, such as the Lansing Bennett Forest, Tubbs Meadow Conservation Area, and the Alton J. Smith Reserve.

Indian Head River Loop

If you’re up for a hike of 6 miles or so, you could hit all seven of the properties clustered around the Indian Head River in Hanover, Hanson and Pembroke. A loop trail extends from Ludden’s Ford Park in Pembroke, through the Tucker Preserve into Hanson’s Rocky Run Conservation Area. Cross the river and pick up Hanover’s Indian Head River Trail, which connects to Hanover’s half of Ludden’s Ford. Continue a short distance down Indian Head Drive where you can pick up the Mattakeeset Trail first, and then the lovely loop trail at Chapman’s Landing and Iron Mine Brook.

Osprey Overlook Park, Weymouth, Back River

Back River Trail

Another long-ish walk that you can do in a single day is the Back River Trail in Weymouth, which currently extends for about 4 miles through Great Esker Park and Osprey Overlook Park. There are plans for expanding this paved trail to other properties in the future. In the meantime, the following are only a short distance away: Lovell Field, Stephen Rennie Herring Run Park, Herring Run Pool Park, and Iron Hill Park in one direction, and Abigail Adams State Park, the Kibby Property, George Lane Beach, and Webb Memorial State Park in the other.

Kezia Bacon’s articles appear courtesy of the North and South Rivers Watershed Association, a local non-profit organization devoted to protecting our waters. For membership information and a copy of their latest newsletter, contact NSRWA at (781) 659-8168 or visit You will also find 27+ years of Kezia’s Nature columns there. For more information about the Explore South Shore 2024 Challenge, visit