The 122nd running of the Boston Marathon gets going on Monday, April 16. Thousands of runners will line up in Hopkinton and make their way into Boston, traversing through the Metrowest suburban towns of Ashland, Framingham, and Natick – all great towns to watch the runners go by along with scores of other spectators. In addition to hosting segments of the marathon, each town is home to a Massachusetts state park that offers outdoor recreation opportunities on the cheap. Each of the parks offer parking, restroom facilities and opportunities for swimming and boating. A variety of boats are available for daily rental in Hopkinton and Natick, as are season passes for unlimited rentals, class discounts and more. See Boating in Boston for more information and prices. Parking fees for Massachusetts residents is $8; $15 for non-residents.
- Hopkinton is home to more than just the start of the marathon. For outdoor recreation – swimming, fishing and boating top the list – check out Hopkinton State Park, a 1,500 acre park with a lake, picnic areas, hiking trails, beaches and seasonal boat and stand-up paddle board rentals.
- Ashland is the original location for the start of the marathon – Hopkinton became the host town in 1924. Yet like Hopkinton, Ashland has an eponymous state park. Ashland State Park is a 470-acre preserve with a reservoir suitable for swimming, hiking, biking and boating during the season.
- In Natick, where runners travel right through a bustling downtown, Cochituate State Park in the north part of town has three linked lakes perfect for boating. Kayaks, canoes, sailboats and paddle boats are available for rent, and a small public beach welcomes swimming. South Lake is for power boat activities including water skiing and tubing.