Looking for an excuse to get out and enjoy the great out­doors this summer, but don’t have time to make an entire weekend out of it? Check out some of our favorite spots for a day hike.

Blue Hills Reser­va­tion
Milton, MA
Why go? It’s amazing to think that this state park boasts 125 miles of beau­tiful hiking trails when it is located just south of the city limits. Blue Hills’ most pop­ular trail takes you up the 635-​​foot-​​high Great Blue Hill where you’ll enjoy a spec­tac­ular panoramic view of Boston.

Hale Reser­va­tion
West­wood, MA
Why go? A pri­vate orga­ni­za­tion man­ages the reservation’s 1,100+ acres of wood­lands, which include four ponds and more than 20 miles of trails that wind through the Boston sub­urbs of West­wood and Dover. Hale Reser­va­tion also boasts a pop­ular beach for mem­bers, as well as a number of summer activ­i­ties for chil­dren and fam­i­lies. All hiking trails are open to the public.

Lin­coln Land Con­ser­va­tion
Lin­coln, MA
Why go? Just a few miles north of Boston, the bucolic town of Lin­coln has some 75 miles of trail throughout its pri­vate land trust, main­tained by the Lin­coln Land Con­ser­va­tion for more than 50 years. Some trails are dog and bike friendly, too. As an added bonus, check out the DeCor­dova museum and sculp­ture park while you’re there.

Mid­dlesex Fells Reser­va­tion
Malden, Med­ford, Mel­rose, Stoneham and Win­chester, MA
Why go? That’s right — this 2,575-acre state park just north of Boston crosses through five towns. The Fells boasts hiking trails galore, as well as places to fish, moun­tain bike and rock climb. First explored by Gov­ernor Winthrop in 1632, the land has been a pop­ular refuge from urban life ever since. If a car is not an option, then take public transportation!

Mon­ad­nock State Park
Jaf­frey, NH
Why go? Believe it or not, this New Hamp­shire peak is among the most-​​hiked in the world. A great weekend day trip, Mon­ad­nock offers hikers a variety of rocky trail options and pro­vides those who choose to go all the way to the summit some incred­ible views. On a clear day, you’ll have no problem making out the Boston sky­line and even the Atlantic Ocean!

Mount Grey­lock State Reser­va­tion
Lanes­bor­ough, MA
Why go? Sure, you’ve got to tra­verse much of Mass­a­chu­setts to get to the state’s highest moun­tain, but the views from the 3,491-foot peak are totally worth it. The Mount Grey­lock State Reser­va­tion was named Mass­a­chu­setts’ first wilder­ness state park in 1898 — the same year North­eastern was founded — and remark­ably, little has changed since then.

Walden Pond State Reser­va­tion
Con­cord, MA
Why go? Channel your inner Henry David Thoreau and enjoy this public resource, which hikers take advan­tage of year-​​round. Take a picnic and eat on the shore of the pop­ular pond — but get there early, because parking for the pop­ular swim­ming des­ti­na­tion fills up quickly on hot summer days. Enjoy 462 acres of pro­tected open space, but leave your dog at home — this spot is open to humans only!