Geography of Norfolk County, Massachusetts

Norfolk County, located in the eastern part of the U.S. state of Massachusetts, is a region known for its diverse geography, rich history, and vibrant communities. Encompassing an area of approximately 444 square miles, Norfolk County is situated in the Greater Boston area and is characterized by its mix of urban, suburban, and rural landscapes. In this comprehensive overview, we’ll explore the geography, climate, rivers, lakes, and other significant features of Norfolk County. Check homethodology to learn more about the state of Massachusetts.


Norfolk County is bordered by Suffolk County to the north and east, Plymouth County to the south, and Worcester County to the west. The county’s geography is varied, with coastal areas along the Atlantic Ocean to the east, rolling hills and woodlands in the central and western parts, and urban and suburban developments in the northern and eastern regions. The county seat is the town of Dedham.


The climate of Norfolk County is classified as humid continental, with four distinct seasons characterized by warm summers, cold winters, and moderate precipitation throughout the year. The region experiences a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions, influenced by its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf Stream.

Summers in Norfolk County are typically warm and humid, with average high temperatures in the 70s°F to 80s°F range and occasional heatwaves bringing temperatures above 90°F. Winters are cold, with average low temperatures in the 20s°F to 30s°F range and occasional snowfall. Spring and fall are transitional seasons, with mild temperatures and variable weather patterns.


Norfolk County is intersected by several rivers and streams that flow through its landscape, providing habitat for wildlife and opportunities for outdoor recreation. These rivers and streams also play a vital role in the region’s economy, providing water for agriculture, industry, and municipal use. Some of the notable rivers in Norfolk County include:

  1. Charles River: The Charles River flows through the eastern part of Norfolk County, originating in Hopkinton and flowing northeastward to Boston Harbor. The river is popular for recreational activities such as boating, fishing, and kayaking and provides scenic views of the surrounding countryside.
  2. Neponset River: The Neponset River forms part of the southern boundary of Norfolk County, flowing from Foxborough to Boston Harbor. The river is known for its diverse ecosystem and provides opportunities for fishing, birdwatching, and hiking along its banks.
  3. Cochato River: The Cochato River flows through the central part of Norfolk County, originating in Sharon and flowing southeastward to the Taunton River. The river is popular for fishing and offers access to several parks and nature reserves along its course.


While Norfolk County is primarily known for its rivers and coastal areas, there are also several lakes and reservoirs within the county that offer opportunities for outdoor recreation and leisure. These lakes vary in size and depth and provide habitat for fish and other wildlife. Some of the notable lakes in Norfolk County include:

  1. Houghton’s Pond: Houghton’s Pond is a natural kettle pond located in the Blue Hills Reservation, near the town of Milton. The pond is popular for swimming, picnicking, and hiking and provides a peaceful retreat from the surrounding urban areas.
  2. Morse’s Pond: Morse’s Pond is a man-made reservoir located in the town of Wellesley. The pond is popular for fishing, boating, and swimming and offers scenic views of the surrounding woodlands and hills.

Blue Hills Reservation:

The Blue Hills Reservation is a large natural area located in Norfolk County, encompassing over 7,000 acres of woodlands, hills, and ponds. The reservation offers opportunities for hiking, picnicking, wildlife viewing, and other outdoor activities, as well as scenic overlooks with views of the Boston skyline and Massachusetts Bay.


While Norfolk County is predominantly suburban and urban, there are still areas of agricultural land scattered throughout the region. Agriculture in the county includes dairy farming, crop cultivation, and horticulture, with a focus on fresh produce, flowers, and nursery products. The county’s fertile soil, moderate climate, and proximity to urban markets make it ideal for farming and gardening.


In conclusion, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, is a region of diverse geography, rich history, and vibrant communities. From its coastal areas and rivers to its woodlands and hills, the county offers a variety of landscapes and ecosystems to explore and enjoy. Whether you’re hiking in the Blue Hills Reservation, fishing on the Charles River, or exploring the historic towns and villages of the county, Norfolk County has something for everyone to experience and appreciate in the great outdoors.