Boston Harbor Islands
By Susan M. Keenan © 2007
Boston Harbor Islands, the newest national park in the country, includes 34 islands and currently offers 13 islands for exploration and fun. Visitors can get to the islands on passenger ferries, tour boats, or shuttle boats. The ferry begins at Long Wharf in Boston and takes passengers to Georges Island. From there, other ferries travel to the other islands.
Private boats can also be used for transport to the islands. However, there is limited docking space at Georges Island. Passengers can be dropped off at some of the islands including Lovells, Bumpkin, Peddocks, and Grape. The boats can then be anchored offshore.
Many exciting activities are available on the islands including swimming, boating, hiking, fishing, camping, picnicking, exploring, and bird watching. Sea kayaking is also available and is another great way to explore the islands. However, the harbor remains active and extreme caution must be exercised. Highlights of each of the actively visited islands are presented.
Spectacle Island - 105 acres that offer a life-guarded beach, marina, visitor center, café, and 5 miles of walking trails.
Thompson Island - offers sailing, wildlife, salt marsh, clambakes, and wedding facilities.
Deer Island - offers parks, walking paths, jogging trails, picnic areas, and fishing. The Deer Island Waste Water Treatment Plant is located here to maintain and protect against contamination in this area.
Lovells Island -includes the remains of Fort Standish for exploration.
Great Brewster Island - located in Boston’s Outer Harbor, walking trails, remains of military post, tidal pools, salt marsh, seagull breeding grounds, and private boating.
Little Brewster Island -the home of Boston Light, the country’s oldest lighthouse, is open for private boating, and group tours.
Georges Island - features picnic areas, walking paths, parade grounds, dock, snack bar, and tours. Home to historic Fort Warren with guided tours available.
Peddocks Island - one of the largest islands with 184 acres that offers a new pier, pond, coastal forests, hiking trails, and Fort Andrew.
Gallops Island - features picnic areas, sandy beach, hiking trails, remains of historic buildings, and walking tours.
Grape Island - offers camping, walking trails, hiking trails, picnic areas, tours, and bird watching.
Bumpkin Island - features shell beaches, walking trails, gorgeous wildflowers, picnic areas, camping facilities, tours, and historic remains.
World’s End is a 244 acre peninsula offering beaches, rock formations, salt marsh, walking paths, cross country skiing, and horseback riding.
Webb State Park offers natural land formations, picnic areas, fishing, walking paths, and pavilion.