Boston Harbor Islands National Park is comprised of 34 islands, sprinkled throughout the Boston Harbor. These islands – many of which are open for trail walking, bird-watching, fishing, and swimming – offer a range of ecosystems. On a visit to this park, you’ll encounter sandy beaches, rocky cliffs, fresh and saltwater marsh, and forested trails. Best of all, the islands are only 45 minutes from downtown Boston.
Georges Island is not only one of the transportation hubs for the islands, it is also the site of the 19th century Fort Warren. Spectacle Island, another transportation hub, has walking trails and hosts many special events like live jazz concerts and festivals. Lovells Island draws boaters, swimmers, and sunbathers to its lovely rocky beaches. Here you can catch an afternoon shuttle to Grape Island, where you can pick raspberries, bayberries, and elderberries, all growing wild amid the island’s scrubby wooded trails.
Peddocks Island, one of the park’s largest, consists of hiking trails that wander through marsh, pond, and coastal environs. Little Brewster is the country’s oldest light station and the site of the iconic Boston Light. Birders should head to Deer Island or Thompson Island, which has plenty of parkland perfect for bird-watching.
To reach Boston Harbor Islands National Park, take the seasonal ferry service from Long Wharf. Purchase a round-trip ticket to Georges Island or Spectacle Island, where you can catch the inter-island water shuttle to the smaller islands.
Keep in mind that only Georges and Spectacle Islands have food and water, so if you’re planning to visit other islands, you may want to pack a picnic lunch. A full day will enable you to visit and enjoy two or three islands; more than that will consist of more time on the shuttle. Be sure to plan your day accordingly.