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Massachusetts was first colonized by principally English Europeans in the early 17th century, and became the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the 18th century. Prior to English colonization of the area, it was inhabited by a variety of mainly Algonquian-speaking indigenous tribes. The first permanent English settlement was established in 1620.
Massachusetts is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. Massachusetts is the 7th least extensive, but the 14th most populous and the 3rd most densely populated of the 50 United States. Massachusetts features two separate metropolitan areas: Greater Boston in the east and the Springfield metropolitan area in the west. Approximately two thirds of Massachusetts's population lives in Greater Boston, most of which is either urban or suburban. Western Massachusetts features one urban area – the Knowledge Corridor along the Connecticut River – and a mix of college towns and rural areas.
Massachusetts has a humid continental climate. Summers last from June to September and are nice and warm, between 25 °C and 30 °C during the day and between 15 °C and 20 °C at night. Summer temperatures are highest in the state's urban centers, due to the heat island effect. Boston's July temperature averages 27.6 °C, and the July temperature in the central Massachusetts city of Worcester averages 26.2 °C. By contrast, the coolest average summer temperatures occur in the Berkshires and on the state's offshore islands. The average temperature in August, the warmest month on Nantucket Island, is 20.4 °C. The average in July in Stockbridge is 20.5 °C. Both daily and seasonal variation in temperature are greatest in the western interior and lowest along the coast. The hottest temperature recorded was 108 degrees Fahrenheit (42.8 degrees Celsius).
Winters last from December to March and are cold, with average January temperatures below freezing nearly throughout the state. The hilly western interior of Massachusetts has the coldest winters. Stockbridge, in the Berkshires, has a January average temperature of -5.8 °C. Winters are more moderate along the eastern coast. Boston has the state's highest maximum January temperature 2 °C, but this temperature is elevated by an urban heat island. The average January temperature in Hingham, also on the coast but 20 kilometres to the southeast is -2.5 °C.
Precipitation is fairly evenly spread throughout the year in Massachusetts. Boston averages 1091 mm of precipitation annually, with a maximum monthly average of 109.2 mm in November and a minimum monthly average of 73.7 mm in July. Interior Massachusetts tends to have a summer precipitation maximum due to convection in air masses heated over the interior, which gives rise to frequent thunderstorms. These occur less frequently over the coast, due to the relative lack of convection over the cooler ocean waters. On the other hand, cold, dry air masses over the interior of the state tend to suppress winter precipitation. All of Massachusetts experiences substantial snowfall in a typical winter. Total annual snowfalls average 110.0 cm in Boston and 175.5 cm in Worcester.
Logan International Airport (BOS) is located in east Boston and is one of the busiest airports in the United States with over 27 million passengers a year. It is a major hub for American Airlines, Delta Airlines, US Airways and JetBlue Airways. There are many daily international flights and all major domestic cities have direct service from Boston.
Some of the main destinations served include Dublin, Toronto, Montreal, Paris, London, New York, Seattle, Rome, Aruba, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Amsterdam, Washington, D.C., Orlando, Bermuda, Minneapolis, Detroit, Memphis, Madrid, Reykjavik, Frankfurt, Munich, Lisbon, New Orleans, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Denver, Zürich, Cancun, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Nassau, Santo Domingo, Tampa and Philadelphia.
To/from the airport
There are a number of trains operated by Amtrak, that travel to and from Massachusetts.
All of the four trains operated by Amtrak travelling to Boston, Massachusetts, also stop in a several other cities in the state, but the The Lake Shore Limited has by far the most stops within Massachusetts.
Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.
For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.
Massachusetts has a number of National Scenic Byways which offer a great way to explore the state crossing beautiful landscapes. Mostly, there are lots of national parks, state parks or monuments along the way and it's generally a better alternative than the faster but boring Interstate Highways.
There are dozens of hotel and motel chains, ranging from budget to top end. Allthough they are not the most charming accommodations, they usually have a very decent midrange service with good rooms and are generally good value. At least you know what to expect and in some cases they are either the only or the best option in the area. Some of them include:
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