The original plat of Massachusetts land that would eventually become the center of Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge was, in fact, called Great Meadows by the locals as far back as the 17th century. In a marshy region, this meadow went untouched for decades because it was deemed too difficult to farm.
A resident, Samuel Hoar, purchased that meadow parcel, which was around 250 acres, in the early 1900s to use as his personal hunting property, and then donated it to the state of Massachusetts in 1944. Realizing the potential for having a wildlife refuge, Massachusetts began quietly buying up land around the meadow and officially established it as Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.
The closest large town is Concord, about seven miles to the north. Concord is perhaps best known for its pivotal role in the American Revolution. It was the site of a conflict, the Battle of Lexington and Concord, also known as “the shot heard around the world,” which triggered the war.
Bring waders. Of 3,600 acres, roughly 85% (3,060) are wetlands that border Sudbury River. An ornithologist's heaven, birdwatchers have recorded over 200 distinct species of birds, a few of which are threatened or endangered, that either nest in Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge or stop in the park on their biannual migratory trips. A shortlist of waterfowls include mallards, black ducks, blue-winged teal, and wood ducks. Shorebirds commonly include sandpipers, killdeer, great egrets, and great blue herons. Canada geese also frequently stop in this region in autumn and spring.
Hunting is permitted only during the appropriate seasons. The Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is open to waterfowl hunting, and all hunters must have the appropriate licenses and permits. Bow-hunting of white-tailed deer is also allowed.
Adventurers seeking drier lands for hiking fun, head over to one of the nearby state parks or state forests. The Callahan State Park, which covers nearly a thousand acres, has close to 15 miles of trails that wind and weave through dense woods. These trails are open to horseback riding and mountain biking, too.
Camping at Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
A common reason people rent a travel trailer is to skip hotel stays and wake up surrounded by nature. Unfortunately, this close to Boston, there are many rules and policies that prohibit campgrounds and RV parks. There are a few options if one were to drive a little further out of the town.
One possible option is to RV camp in Littleton at the Boston Minuteman Campground. The campground boasts several amenities like full or partial hookups, WiFi, hot showers, and all sites come with a fire pit, perfect for roasting marshmallows over. Heads up: this campground is open only between May and October.
Another option is the Harold Parker State Forest RV campground. Near Andover, MA, the large campground has 89 sites, most of which are wooded, and restrooms with showers. Although there are no hookups, it does have an on-site dump station.
Exploring the Area
Boston is a natural destination for many visitors to Massachusetts and no wonder. Not only is the “Beantown” steeped in history, but there are also many modern art and cultural attractions to explore. The Museum of Fine Arts features a huge collection of art, ranging from neoclassical to contemporary American works. Stroll through the heart of Boston, where the founding fathers of the United States once walked.
The tradition of making beer, lagers, and ales is quite possibly one of the oldest in this country. There are several craft breweries in and around Boston. Quite possibly, the best-known brewery is Samual Adams, which was started in 1980 using a family recipe that was over a hundred years old. The Boston brewery facility is open to tours, and visitors can learn about the brewing process, as well as sample three beers.
The art of making wine, too, is an old tradition. There are several boutique wineries and vineyards on the fringes of Boston. Hop into an Airstream rental and find your favorite vintage. Nashoba Valley Winery in Bolton is an award-winning winery that has been producing fine varietals since the late 1980s. The winery is open to tastings and tours.
At the end of a long day of sightseeing and exploring, kick up your heels outside an RV rental, enjoy the warm, balmy evening by the crackle of a campfire, and the most amazing outdoor adventure you have ever had with friends and family.
Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, MA is the perfect spot to start your next road trip.
There are many popular rentals in Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Outdoorsy's Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge RV rental marketplace allows renters to choose from rental options from professional RV rental agencies as well as RVs for rent by owner.