Boston Harbor Islands
781-740-1605 ext. 205
The Boston Harbor Islands national recreation area includes 34 islands and peninsulas spread over fifty square miles of bays, harbors, and rivers within the greater Boston Harbor basin. The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR, Mass Parks) is one of twelve managing partners and owns and manages more than half of the islands in the park.
Here is a place where you can walk a Civil War-era fort, visit historic lighthouses, explore tide pools, hike lush trails, camp under the stars, or relax while fishing, picnicking or swimming-all within reach of downtown Boston.
Resident staff live on the island during the visiting season. They provide island supervision, park and campground management, and offer island tours and educational programs.
of the Boston Harbor Islands
Things to know before you go
Trash: There are no trash receptacles on the islands. Visitors to all of the harbor islands must use a “Carry-In, Carry-Out” policy.
Food: Food service concessions are available on Georges and Spectacle Island. Picnic tables and small charcoal grills are available on a first come first served basis on Spectacle (no grills), Georges, Bumpkin, Grape, Lovells, and Peddocks Island.
Water: Potable water is available on Georges, Peddocks and Spectacle Island.
Rest Rooms: There are restroom facilities on Spectacle, Georges, and Peddocks Island. Grape, Bumpkin, and Lovells Island have composting toilets only.
Bringing a Group: Permits for normal day-use activities are required for groups of 25 people or more. Bring a Group to the Islands
Ferry Information: Spectacle, Georges, Grape, Bumpkin, Lovells and Peddocks Islands can only be accessed by boat. Passenger Ferries are located at Long Wharf North, the Fore River Shipyard in Quincy, and the Hingham Shipyard in Hingham. Click here for a Ferry Schedule or to Purchase Ferry Tickets. For more information call 617-223-8666
Private Boaters: Private boaters may use island floats and docks for loading and unloading located at Spectacle, Peddocks, Lovells, Bumpkin, and Grape Island. Dinghies are often available for access to anchored vessels. Kayak beach landings and small motor boat beach anchoring is welcome. Docking at Georges Island is not available to recreational boaters due to interim dock configuration however, a limited number of mooring balls are available along Georges, Peddocks and other Boston Harbor Islands. Call Mass. Maritime Academy on marine VHF Channel 9 or 508-830-5095 for Spectacle Island slips and moorings reservations.
The Boston Harbor Islands offer rustic camping within sight of downtown Boston. While you’re camping, you can see the sunrise over the harbor and experience the islands in a whole new light. Rustic camping means no flush toilets, showers, fresh water, electricity, telephones, or onsite supplies. So you’ll have to carry it all in, and carry it out.
The camping season generally runs from the end of June to Labor Day weekend. And the park ferry gets you and your camping gear to your island and back. Reservations are required for your campsite through ReserveAmerica . Individual sites can fit up to four people, while group sites have capacity for 25 people. Reserve a spot on one of the four camping islands—Grape, Bumpkin, Peddocks or Lovells. Also Reserve ferry seats in advance. See Getting Here above.
Yurts, individual and group campsites on Peddocks will be available for the 2013 summer season.
Call the Ranger Line for help in planning your trip: 617-223-8666
Georges Island is dominated by historic Fort Warren, a Civil War-era fort known for its graceful granite archways.
Spectacle Island is just 15 minutes away from downtown Boston and is ideal for hiking, swimming, boating, and learning.
Lovells Island is the best place to wade along a rocky beach or explore tidepools with views of the outer islands and Boston Light.
Bumpkin Island was home to American Indians, a fish-drying operation, tenant farmers, a naval training camp, a children’s hospital, and more.
Grape Island is great for for hiking, camping, picnicking, sea kayaking, and exploring nature.
Peddocks Island is one of the largest and most diverse islands in the harbor—featuring historic structures, hiking trails, and unique geologic features. Stay tuned for more information about the new yurt and tent area on the island.
Webb Memorial State Park is one of Weymouth’s best kept secrets with magnificent views and walking trails.
Other State Parks
Waquoit Bay National Research Estuarine also
offers island camping.
Wompatuck State Park, Union St., Hingham, 781 749-7160 – offers tent and RV camping close to Boston.