When you live next to the ocean you learn to respect it, not just for its power but for all it can teach us about ourselves and our history. Living in the Greater Boston area the Boston Harbor Islands have long been a part of my personal narrative and in my humble opinion, they are an often an under-appreciated part of our national legacy. I have spent countless hours staring out across the skyline and feeling the salty ocean spray as I ride out over the waves to explore the different islands that make up this local treasure.
The Boston Harbor Island National and State Park is made up of 34 islands and parks that include the various Boston Harbor islands and peninsulas sprinkled through the Greater Boston area along with parts of the North and South shore. Looked after by the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership which is made up of eleven different agencies These islands are home to a wide variety of native plant life, people, and are also home to a number of historical buildings such as Fort Warren, Fort Andrew, Nixes Mate and Boston Light that play an important role in our local history.
With some of the islands open to the public and a generous amount of natural beauty to beckon, the Boston Harbor Islands are a short ferry ride from Downtown Boston and a popular day trip for locals and travelers a like. One of the most popular locations, but not the only location, to visit in the Boston Harbor Islands is George’s Island, a 53 Acre island about 7 miles from Boston. Complete with a colourful history and a decommissioned Civil War era fort, there are lots of paths to roam, plenty of picnic areas to enjoy, incredible views of Boston Harbor and you might even catch a glimpse of a ghost. It is easily one of the most family friendly visits and a refreshing way to spend a hot summer afternoon.
Although the park does not charge an admission fee you do have to pay to ride over on the ferry. In recent years, the Boston Harbor Islands have expanded their offerings to include not just natural and historical points of interest but they have also occasionally offered a selection of cultural programming that includes performances, art installations and family based activities and reenactments for curious guests.
Although I am not on the water as much as I used to be there is so much to gain from this type of travel experience. Visiting the islands was always a highlight of the summer when I was growing up. It was the whole package from the excitement of being on the boat, the salt water in your hair, exploring the ruins, learning about all the plants, having a picnic, swimming in the ocean and scaring my friends with “Ghost” sightings, the Boston Harbor Islands will always have a special place in my heart. Visiting every summer, when I can, I am always pleasantly reminded that to find treasure sometimes all we have to do is look in our own back yard.
Please check the The Boston Harbor Islands Website and social media for any announcements, openings and closings, weather advisories and changes in Ferry service and pricing.
Getting There: There have been some changes made to visiting policies for the Boston Harbor Islands for the 2021 season in order to provide a safe visit for all and adhere to the guidance provided by the City of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Please visit the Boston Harbor Island website for updated visiting guidelines, policies, ticket purchases and ferry information prior to your trip.
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