BOSTON HARBOR ISLAND STATE PARK
This 17-island state park is part of the 34-island Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area. They are a wonderful natural resource, only 45 minutes by ferry from downtown Boston. Seventeen of the islands are managed the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). Six of the 17 islands, and Webb State Park, a 36-acre peninsula in Weymouth, are staffed and open for public use daily during the summer and weekends in the spring and fall.
Visitors to the park enjoy shell and slate beaches, easy hiking paths, old hay fields gone wild with bayberry, raspberry and elderberry, and old roadways to historic foundations and forts. Shade is found at picnic sites, trailside benches, and on wooded trails. There are many historic and scenic harbor vistas such as Dorchester, Quincy, Hull and Hingham Bays, the Blue Hills, Boston's skyline, 34 islands, and outward to Massachusetts Bay. Resident Park Managers/ Interpreters live on-island during the visiting season. They provide island supervision, give island tours, and offer ongoing educational programs and special events. Check Boston Harbor Islands for schedules of island openings and special event listings.
Visitors must use a carry in and carry out policy. There is no drinking water or food store available on the island. Please plan accordingly. Composting toilets are available. Pets are not allowed on any islands within the Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area. Day use permits are required for groups of 25 or more and may require a fee. Call the DCR park office at 781-740-1605 or 617-727-7676 for permits for Grape, Bumpkin, Great Brewster, Georges, Lovells and Peddocks islands.
Overnight camping is permited only on designated islands, including Grape, Bumpkin, Lovells and Peddocks, from late June to early September. Camping is by reservation only and a fee is charged. Camping on the islands is a primitive camping experience. Weather conditions are variable and temperatures in the harbor are usually cooler than those on the mainland. There is no water or food available on the islands, so please plan accordingly. See ferry information above for transportation to the islands. Camping on Grape, Bumpkin, Lovells and Peddocks: To reserve campsites on Grape, Bumpkin, Lovells or Peddocks Island call toll free 1-877-422-6762 or reserve on the web at www.reserveamerica.com.
1. Boston Harbor Island State Park offers various swimming options.
2. Spectacle and Lovells Islands have lifeguard-supervised beaches for safe family-friendly swimming.
3. Carson Beach is another popular spot, known for its clean water and sandy shorelines.
4. The park's islands are perfect spots to swim from if you're boating or kayaking around the harbor area.
5. Snorkeling is also an option in some areas of the park with clear waters teeming with marine life.
The park offers a variety of boating options for visitors. You can rent kayaks or paddleboards, join guided kayak tours to explore the islands, or take part in sailing programs available through local organizations. Private boat moorings are also offered on several islands within the park and there's ferry service from Boston's Long Wharf North that stops at Georges Island, Spectacle Island and other destinations upon request.
Fishing enthusiasts can enjoy saltwater fishing around the islands. Species include striped bass, bluefish, flounder and mackerel.
Anglers may fish from shorelines or boats for a variety of species including cod and haddock.
The park's waters are home to winter flounder - an excellent catch during spring months when they're most abundant.
Lobstering is also popular with permits; however it requires specific equipment and knowledge about local regulations.
For fly-fishers, there's opportunity to hook false albacore or bonito in late summer through fall seasons.
Remember that all anglers must adhere to Massachusetts state fishing laws regarding licensing requirements and bag limits.