Rock climbing at Central Rock Gym, birdwatching at New England Falconry, and exploring Hadley Farm Museum. Yes, I can list all the activities straight away. No explanation, no finesse, no enjoyment.
But you know that’s not how we do it here at Tourist Lookup. We’ve got to lead you into it. And you can surely expect that a post about enjoyable things to do in Hadley, MA, would have to be enjoyable at the very least.
So sit back, relax, and enjoy the journey. It’s an adventure within an adventure, so you’ve got to relish every moment of it. Every word. Every walk. Everywhere!
Now before we go on, there are some fun things you should know about Hadley. Sure, it is not your typical vacation spot, at least not in the way Bora Bora or Hawai is (you should check that out if beaches are your thing), but Hadley has its own strengths. Strengths that make it one of the best places to visit when passing through Massachusetts.
First of all, Hadley is technically a town. It’s in Hampshire County and has a cozy population of about five thousand people. So picture it; a close-knit community, everyone saying hello to everyone —including tall trees waving at each other— a splash of rural beauty and a bucket of cultural heritage. It is a different kind of vacation.
Of course, you can’t mention Hadley without shining a considerable amount of the spotlight on the Holyoke Dam (popularly known as the Hadley Falls).
The sounds of the water crashing down on themselves, the smell of the wet air, the beautiful sights of foamy water, and the sprinkles of well-maintained exotic trees around the dam makes standing beside the viewing fence and taking it all in one of the best things to do in Hadley MA.
We’ve got more things to explore, so let’s just dive right into it. I’ll also include some fancy places to eat –for all my proud foodies—and, as a strong fan of romance, some spots to fan the flames of passion with your partner.
So without further ado, here you go:
20 Fun & Enjoyable Things to do In Hadley, MA
1. Visit Hadley Falls.
Technically, Hadley Falls is not actually located in Hadley. It is in Holyoke City, which is just a 10 minutes drive from South Hadley. But we’re not here to sweat the details, are we? We’re here to have fun. And last I checked, having small droplets of foamy water splash on your face wantonly is fun.
So yes, visiting Hadley Falls is one of the most fun things to do in South Hadley, MA. (I went ahead to put South for you.)
2. Take a leisurely stroll through the scenic Hadley Farm Museum.
If you’ve read any of my work on here before, you’d be able to predict that I would list strolling as one of the free things to do in Hadley. And while admission is not free at the museum, it costs just five bucks.
Now I may not be a farmer, but parting with five bucks is somewhat convenient to see the kind of vehicles and equipment they used in English farms over 300 years ago!
3. Explore the Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum and learn about the town’s history.
Still on museums, you can head down to 130 River Drive to catch a picturesque glimpse into Hadley’s history. You’re first welcomed into a beautifully preserved colonial-era home. Then you’ll get knocked with tours, artifacts, artworks, and folk-like tales.
It is only open from May to October, so keep that in mind.
4. Enjoy a picnic or hike along the Pocumtuc Ridge Trail.
Something to keep in mind when traveling is that picnics are the bomb. If you travel a lot, you should have a ready picnic pack because the right environment plus a picnic mat equals magic.
And it doesn’t get more right than Pocumtuc Ridge Trail. It’s quiet, green, and smells like serenity had a child with relaxation. Of course you can choose to hike it, but I think it pairs better with a glass of Moët & Chandon on a well-laid mat.
5. Spend a day at Barstow’s Longview Farm.
Now you may start wondering if I am actually a farmer, but believe me when I say that this is one of the most fun activities in Hadley.
You can join an interesting tour of the farm, where you’ll be greeted by fascinating farming sights, including a milking robot and a very cute calf barn.
End the tour with a large bowl of freshly made sundaes with a creamy hot fudge topping, whipped cream, and a popping cherry.
6. Attend a concert or performance at the Fine Arts Center at UMass Amherst.
Now we’re really getting into the fun activities in Hadley. Well, ‘technically’ near Hadley. The Fine Arts Center is about 13 minutes from the town, but from its Jazz in July to its Magic Triangle to its Asian arts and culture program, it spells so much fun that it can’t possibly be ignored.
7. Indulge in delicious asparagus at Atkins’ Farmstand and Restaurant.
The good thing about having a dainty town that is big on agriculture (I’m sure you can tell that by now) is that you get to have a lot of farm-to-table options, like the sundae you get at Barstow’s or the asparagus you can enjoy here at Atkins’.
8. Have a fun-filled day rock Climbing at Central Rock Gym.
I present the largest indoor rock climbing gym in the universe. Well, actually, the largest in Massachusetts. But still, twenty-four thousand square feet of climbing terrain is quite an impressive feat for an indoor rock climbing space.
And they’ve got a 42 feet tall wall, yoga classes, and exercise equipment? Why don’t we just crown them already!
9. Explore the scenic views of Mount Holyoke Range State Park.
If you’re traveling with your pet, then this is one of the most pet-friendly things to do in Hadley. And by pet, I actually just mean your dog. You can trek the trails for a relaxing time or go on the Metacomett-Monadnock Trail (Section 7) for a more challenging 10-mile hike.
10. Enjoy a fine lunch at The Quarters.
This is by far one of the best places to eat in Hadley. There’s something on the menu called the ‘Umami Dearest Burger’. That already sounds like it’s writing a love letter to your palate. Need I say more?
11. Take a scenic drive along the Connecticut River and enjoy the breathtaking views.
One of the best ways to take in a small, beautiful town like Hadley is to drive around it. The Connecticut River offers stunning views of the water, especially if you’re determined enough to explore the roads at sunrise.
12. Have fun at Funhub Action Park.
If a park has ‘fun’ in its name, chances are it will be fun. If you are traveling with kids and you want to tire them out, try the trampoline, then the bumper cars, then the VR arena, then the arcade center, and then the ninja course.
If they still want more, don’t worry. That’s only half of the attractions there.
13. Enjoy a romantic dinner at Esselon Café.
You must have been waiting for this, right? Well, I intentionally delayed the romance a bit to allow you to enjoy other things first.
But seriously, Esselon’s is one the most romantic places to eat in Hadley. It offers both indoor and outdoor dining, and frankly, I can’t tell which is better. Whether it’s the seamless blend of trees and flowers outdoors or the cozy indoor dim lights, you can be sure your passion flame will be adequately fanned.
14. Go shopping at the Yankee Candle Village.
Still in the mood for romance? Well, one of the most discreet romantic things to do in Hadley is to get some sweet-smelling candles at Yankee Candle Village.
Now, while you may think candle shopping is not romantic, when you set your mind on what you’ll be doing with the candles later on, it is.
15. Visit the New England Falconry.
Hawks are one of the most majestic birds of prey, and they are worth every minute you decide to spend at New England Falconry.
What’s more fun than the extraordinary opportunity to handle and free-fly a trained hawk?
16. Spend a relaxing afternoon at Skinner State Park.
The view from Skinner State Park is quite amazing, with tall, thick green trees, bold-looking rocks, and a picturesque view of the Connecticut River valley.
Apart from hiking, you can also go mountain biking or horseback riding.
17. Take your palate on a treat at Flayvors of Cook Farm.
Flayvors of Cook Farm stands as one of the best places to eat in Hadley —to eat dessert, I mean. From the Black Raspberry Chip to the Chocolate Almond Chip to the Cookie Dough to the insanely good Orange Pineapple, you (well, I) can spend all day here.
18. Attend a live performance or film screening at the historic Hadley Cinemark Theater.
If you are lucky enough to catch a film screening at the theatre, then you’ll be experiencing one of the most fun activities in Hadley.
Other than that, it is a great place to catch a movie, with private screening options and enough food options that you don’t need to step out for lunch.
19. Enjoy a peaceful day of fishing or boating on the Connecticut River.
One of the best ways to enjoy Hadley is to go fishing. You may not catch a 42-pound Carp (19kg) like Michael Hudak did in 2012, but you’re sure to have a relaxing time.
20. Take a scenic hot air balloon ride and soar above the beautiful landscapes of Hadley.
What better way to end the tour of Hadley than to enjoy a relaxing hot air balloon ride over the cozy town?
While I am tempted to say “romantic”, the truth is, it’s absolutely wonderful whether you’re alone or with your partner. Check out Spirit Ballooning or any other balloon ride service, and be sure to take loads of pictures.
Hadley is a perfect blend of nature, agriculture, fun, and culture. Whether you’re into hiking or you’re crazy for ice cream, there’s a lot of fun to be had in this cozy town.