Twenty minutes outside the bustling city of Boston, time stands still and nature reigns supreme in historic Concord’s Walden Pond.  

Once you’re there, close your eyes and listen to the breeze gently lap the shore. Take a walk on any of the wooded trails and you’ll see why writers like Henry David Thoreau and his mentor Ralph Waldo Emerson made their homes there.

Now, the 334 pristine acres of Walden Pond State Reservation serve as a year-round retreat for residents and visitors to the Greater Boston Area.

Here are some quick tips to make your Walden Pond experience extra special:

Do some light reading
Your high school reading list may seem a little hazy now, but Thoreau’s home, the nearby museum and even some of the trails will be a lot more interesting after a few excerpts of Walden. The book actually helped to kickstart the conservation movement in the United States so it’s a pretty powerful piece worth revisiting. If you’re a procrastinator, you can pickup a copy in the gift shop and head to one of the more secluded areas of the pond to get lost in thought. 

Visit in the fall
Nothing beats New England in the fall. The radiant reds, yellows, and oranges of the leaves reflecting seem to set the entire pond ablaze, a sight that’s absolutely breathtaking. Although cold weather sets in by late November, you can still hike the wooded trails and kayak in early September and October.

Make a day of it and get there early
No matter what time of year you visit, Walden Pond has a strict 1,000 car limit. That means once the lot is full, you have to wait until someone leaves — which can be unbearable during a New England summer. Beat the rush and guarantee your spot in the lot and on the beach by getting there early, packing a few light snacks, and carpooling with friends or family for a truly unforgettable experience.