Great Brook Farm State Park
GOOD FOR: Ages 0-4

Source:Outdoors with Kids Boston (AMC Books)
Address:984 Lowell Street, Carlisle, MA
Hours:Dawn to dusk daily
Fee: Parking lot: $2 per vehicle
Contact:; 978-369-6312

Bathrooms: At the interpretive center near the parking lot
Water/Snacks: Water fountain near restrooms; ice cream shop at farm

Explore a big network of wide, flat trails and visit the animals at this working dairy farm in summer; visit for skiing in winter.

Gravel trails at Great Brook Farm wind around grassy hills and through the woods.
Photo by: Kim Foley MacKinnon

Great Brook Farm is definitely a favorite with toddlers, who will enjoy seeing the farm animals, but 20 miles of trails also offer hiking, biking, and skiing as well. From the parking lot, walk up the grassy hill to the farm buildings. Trails branch off from here. Look for signs of seventeenth-century cellar holes along the trails in the 1,000-acre park. Meadow Pond has a canoe launch, and you can fish there. One of the farm buildings has been converted to a ski rental concession.

The active dairy farm operates year-round, and guided barn tours are available from May to October. For the last 60 years, Holstein cattle have been raised at the farm. You can feed the sheep and goats through fences (bring quarters to buy feed), or you can go into the pens when part of a tour. Right next to the barnyard is the seasonal ice cream shop, which looks onto the old milking area of the barn. The farmers now use a more modern milking system, which you can see as part of a tour. A beehive and lots of information about cows and milk are inside the shop.

The number and variety of trails (many groomed for biking and skiing) in combination with farm animals and ice cream for the littler kids make this a unique property. Once they outgrow the farm, the kids are probably ready to hit the trails.

Remember: Bring cash if you want to indulge the kids with ice cream—the shop doesn’t accept credit cards.

Plan B:

Head to Concord to enjoy historic sites, such as the North Bridge and the Old Manse (Trip 40).

Where to Eat Nearby:

Some chain restaurants are along MA 4. A few other food options are in Bedford’s town center on MA 4.


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