Who wants ice cream? 17 sweet Buzzards Bay trails and beaches to visit before summer ends
Summer means salty days at the beach, long walks through leafy green woods, breezy evening sails on Buzzards Bay – and a cold, creamy cone of ice cream to cap it all off! Next time you’re craving a frosty treat after a big outdoor adventure, check out this list of perfect pairings: 17 parks, beaches, and trails that are a stone’s throw from some of the area’s favorite ice cream shops.
1. Westport Town Farm (Westport)
For a peaceful river view, visit the Trustees’ Westport Town Farm. This property along the East Branch of the Westport River was formerly a farm; its stone walls, hay fields, and wide cart paths offer a glimpse of how the land once looked. Enjoy the easy 1-mile loop walk, and see if you can spot the cows across the river. For a sweet treat after your walk, head to popular Handy Hill Creamery, just a mile away.
2. Cornell Farm & Frank Knowles/Little River Reserve (Dartmouth)
The Trustees’ Cornell Farm and DNRT’s adjoining Frank Knowles/Little River Reserve offer miles of natural beauty to explore. Journey through a working farm to reach sweeping salt marshes and an exciting suspension bridge across a wooded stream. All that adventure calls for a snack, and Salvadors Ice Cream is just the ticket: the distinctive milk urn building is located just down Smith Neck Road.
3. Apponagansett Park & Knowles Reserve (Dartmouth)
For another unique ice cream destination in Dartmouth, you’ll want to check out Gulf Hill Dairy Ice Cream, known simply as “The Bucket” by locals. The Bucket sits in scenic Apponagansett Park, which itself provides plenty of fun for families, including a beach and a playground. You can also venture across the road to DNRT’s Knowles Reserve for an easy walk in the woods.
4. West Beach, East Beach & Fort Taber Park (New Bedford)
Soak up the sun on the shores of New Bedford’s South End at one of three city beaches on the peninsula: West Beach, East Beach, or Fort Taber Park. These sandy beaches are lifeguarded in the summer, making them all great places for the whole family to splash and play. Wrap up your beach day with a trip for ice cream at nearby Clark’s Point Creamery, located within walking distance of all three beaches. Just a little further away, you’ll find Dairy Maid, a summer fixture for locals craving soft serve.
5. The Sawmill (Acushnet)
We might be biased, but we think The Sawmill is especially beautiful in summertime, when the wildflower fields bloom and birds gather by the Acushnet River. It’s a great spot to enjoy a picnic or a walk. For dessert, head over to Acushnet Creamery for some ice cream served in a delicious homemade waffle cone.
6. New Bedford Reservoir (Acushnet)
Better known as “Lake Street,” the New Bedford Reservoir is a favorite spot to take a break along the gentle headwaters of the Acushnet River. You can go fishing, paddling, or simply stop and enjoy the quiet. Bring a cup of ice cream from nearby Country Whip, and you can enjoy a treat while you watch for ducks, herons, and turtles from the river’s edge.
7. Pope Beach (Fairhaven)
Tucked into a residential neighborhood, Pope Beach is the perfect place to enjoy a panoramic view of outer New Bedford Harbor and the open waters of Buzzards Bay without facing the crowds of larger beaches. Go for a swim and explore the sandy shoreline for rocks, sea glass, and critters like horseshoe crabs. Pair your visit with a trip to Dorothy Cox’s Chocolate for home-made ice cream and other sweet surprises in the candy shop.
8. Ned’s Point Lighthouse (Mattapoisett)
Ned’s Point Lighthouse at Veterans Park provides a spectacular view of Mattapoisett Harbor and Buzzards Bay. It’s the perfect spot for a summer picnic! Get your provisions at Oxford Creamery, which serves ice cream, seafood, and more. Or bring your bike and pedal the mile between the lighthouse and the creamery – ice cream is a great reward after your ride.
9. Island Wharf (Marion)
Situated on beautiful Sippican Harbor, Island Wharf is a destination for boaters and kayakers to launch their vessels for a day on Buzzards Bay. But the park’s large, grassy lawn also attracts visitors who want to sit by the water and enjoy the view. We recommend heading there with a cone from nearby Sea Dips, which serves ice cream and candy treats.
10. Shoolman Preserve (Rochester)
Shoolman Preserve’s trails loop through pine forests to the peaceful Mattapoisett River. The well-marked trails are scenic and easy, and there’s even a picnic table where you can sit and enjoy a snack. Get one from Captain Bonney’s Creamery, located a quick skip down New Bedford Road.
11. Douglas Westgate Conservation Area (Wareham)
With cool, green woods lining the freshwater Weweantic River, Douglas Westgate Conservation Area is a refreshing place for a summer hike through the forest. After your walk, cruise over to The Robin’s Nest in Rochester, which has a large selection of ice cream flavors with fun names like “Rochester deer tracks.”
12. Myles Standish State Forest (Carver)
Myles Standish State Forest is a great destination for all types of outdoor activities, from hikes and bike rides to summer camping trips with family and friends. If you want to take a break from your tent, head down the road to Erickson’s Ice Cream, which has been serving ice cream to Carver and Plymouth since 1969.
13. Swifts Neck Beach (Wareham)
Whether you want to go for a swim or explore the nearby salt marsh with your kids, Swifts Neck Beach is a great summer spot for Wareham residents. It’s also a great setting for gorgeous sunsets over the Wareham River. After your beach day, visit Wareham’s famous Kool Kone for ice cream, seafood, and other summer treats.
14. Buzzards Bay Recreation Area (Bourne)
In addition to being a great picnicking and fishing spot, Buzzards Bay Recreation Area is your gateway to the Cape Cod Canal Bikeway. Ride, walk, or rollerblade the 7-mile paved path to Scusset Beach, or stop along the way at the Herring Run Recreation Area or Bournedale Scenic Trail. Once you return to Buzzards Bay village, visit nearby Betty Ann’s Dairy Freeze for soft serve.
15. Monument Beach (Bourne)
The wide, sandy shoreline at Monument Beach in Bourne is the perfect place for local families to enjoy the sunny days of summer. And with a bustling marina next door, kids will love watching boats bob and cruise on Phinneys Harbor. Switch gears at nearby Whistle Stop Ice Cream, where your kids can gaze at toy trains while they enjoy a sundae.
16. Chapoquoit Beach (Falmouth)
Chapoquoit Beach, or “Chappy,” is a popular sandy beach on a peninsula that juts out between the Bay and West Falmouth Harbor. Whether you relax on the sand, swim in the waves, or head across the road to explore the salt marsh on the harbor side, you’ll have a perfect beach day here. Just up West Falmouth Highway, Eulinda’s Ice Cream is the place to grab a frosty treat, best enjoyed outside in the adjacent garden.
17. Stony Beach (Falmouth)
Ditch the crowds and join the fun at Stony Beach, a hidden gem tucked away from the heart of Woods Hole Village. Grab a cone at Jimmy’s of Woods Hole, and then make your way through the neighboring community, home to the Marine Biological Laboratory, to find this small beach that embodies Woods Hole’s low-key style.