Avoid Big Crowds At This Underrated New England City With The Same Vibes As Concord

Nestled within the lush pastoral setting of Worcester County, Massachusetts, Royalston is the epitome of an East Coast hidden gem. Engulfed in greenery, it's a coveted retreat for travelers looking for a quiet scenic spot with a blend of old English history and peaceful solitude. Home to only 1,461 residents (per Census Reporter), it's the quintessential charming small town. Royalston's alluring presence rivals Concord, Massachusetts, whose cobblestone streets are constantly bustling with crowds of tourists eager to explore the city's small-town treasures. Situated an hour from Concord and an hour and a half from Boston, Royalston's warm community and remote location on the northern tip of Massachusetts will make you feel like you just stepped into a real-life episode of "Gilmore Girls."

Royalston's cozy corner bookshops and coffee houses present a rustic-chic aesthetic, yet this town capitalizes on something superior to sipping coffee from a window seat on Main Street. The surrounding acreage is home to a captivating vista of cascading waterfalls, forests filled with hemlock and beech trees, and breathtaking freshwater lakes. It's the spirit of adventure that awaits travelers in Royalston, inviting wayfarers to explore the network of trails winding through the dense undergrowth. Summer is the best time to visit this hidden natural oasis, with temperatures hovering in the mid-60s to 70s and plenty of sunshine drenching the landscape in warmth and light. Between the gorgeous weather and the wealth of outdoor activities, a summer in Royalston is nothing short of a quaint, harmonious East Coast town.

Indulge in Royalston's scenic wilderness preserves

Whether you find yourself most enchanted by waterfalls that stream with no end or a scenic hiking route through a maze of flora and fauna, Royalston's enchanting terrain has it all! Royalston Falls, in particular, is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world. The falls were carved into the side of a granite gorge, formed over decades of spring water mingling with the rocky outcrop. This enamoring jewel is undoubtedly one of Massachusset's coveted gems. Situated 45 feet above Falls Brook, the ancient glacial falls date back to 17th-century European settlers and still stand as a marvelous piece of Royalston's backwoods serenity.

Royalston Falls isn't the only piece of enchanting heritage in this county. Doane's Falls, located just 16 minutes from Royalston Falls, tumbles out of the woods in a whitewater montage before feeding the neighboring Tully Lake. This exquisite waterfall was named after Amos Doane, a Royalston resident in the early 19th century, known for operating a series of mills along this same riverbank. Winding under a network of trolley bridges and over the rocky Lawrence Brook, travelers can parallel the banks along a picturesque trail network. With a large parking area at the top of the trailhead, it's an easy hike along the river bank that delivers breathtaking views of the falls and the surrounding forest — a true outdoor sanctuary in Royalston.

Trailblaze the backcountry of this scenic town

Fed by the seemingly endless water supply from Doane's Falls, Tully Lake is one of Royalston's most coveted gems, particularly in the summertime. Bordered by sea pines and penetrated by a crisp, freshwater breeze off the surface of the water, it's not hard to see why locals and tourists alike flock to this enamoring hot spot. With a host of shallow coves and wetland reservoirs, Tully Lake is a popular getaway for hiking, swimming, and boating. 

Situated on the lake's northern end, Tully Lake Campground calls for warm summer nights around a bonfire, toasting marshmallows and indulging in the warm weather while surrounded by the glow of fireflies and the freshest air in Royalston. The Tully Lake Trailhead is the best way to experience the natural bliss of this area. This 22-mile trail circles the lake and connects hikers to Doane's Falls; it even encompasses surrounding parts of Royalston.

Located a short distance north of Tully Lake, Jacob's Hill Preserve is the gateway to some of the best and brightest scenic vistas in all of Royalston. With views of Tully Mountain, Mount Grace, and the Berkshire Hills, the network of trails in this nature preserve encompasses a large concentration of tamarack and black spruce trees, complemented by the gentle flow of freshwater babbling brooks. However, Spirit Falls is the real gem inside this reservoir. The 30-foot waterfall is a multi-tiered masterpiece in Massachusetts and is accessible to hikers from the Tully Trail.