travel

May– Oct ferries sail from Long Wharf to Georges Island where there’s a shuttle service to other islands (call 617 223 8666)


Islands are open 9am to sunset daily, closed in winter. Camping is permitted on Grape, Bumpkin, and Lovells by special permit


  1. Georges Island

    As the terminal for the harbor islands ferry and water shuttles to other islands, Georges Island is the gateway to the Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area. This undeveloped archipelago of 30 islands consists of 1,200 acres (485 ha) spread over 50 sq miles (80 sq km) and is made up primarily of drumlins, or piles of glacial debris. The prime attraction on Georges Island is the massive Fort Warren, a prison for Confederate soldiers during the Civil War.

    • Islands open May–Oct (information booths at Fan Pier and Long Wharf)

    • 617 223 8666

    • www.bostonislands.org

    Fort Warren, Georges Island
  2. Grape & Bumpkin Islands

    Both these islands are naturalist’s delights – Bumpkin for its wildflowers, raspberries, and bayberries, Grape for its wild roses and bird life. On Bumpkin Island, hiking trails pass the ruins of a farmhouse and 19th-century children’s hospital, which also housed German prisoners rescued from Boston Harbor in World War I.

  3. Lovells Island

    Known for its extensive dunes, Lovells also has a supervised swimming beach. Extensive hiking trails lead across dunes and through woodlands. The remains of Fort Standish, which was active during the Spanish American War and World War I, can also be explored.

  4. Peddocks Island

    Peddocks is one of Boston Harbor’s largest and most diverse islands. Hiking trails circle a pond, salt marsh, and coastal forest and pass numerous buildings of interest including Fort Andrews, active in harbor defense from 1904 through to World War II. The island is known for its black crowned night herons and for the beach plums and wild roses which bloom profusely in the dunes.

    Peddocks Island
  5. Deer Island

    Accessed by a causeway attaching the island to the mainland, 60 acres (24 ha) of the island were recently opened for recreation and walking – with dramatic views of the Boston skyline. Deer Island is also known for its impressive, state-of-the-art $3.8 billion sewage treatment plant. Distinguished by 12 gigantic egg-shaped digesters, it was key to cleaning up Boston Harbor.

    View of Deer Island from Georges Island
  6. Spectacle Island

    Vastly enlarged by fill from the Big Dig, Spectacle Island has some of the highest peaks of the harbor islands and the best Boston skyline view. The construction of a new café and visitor center has made it one of the most popular of the harbor islands. Visitors enjoy 5 miles (8 km) of trails and swimming beaches with lifeguards.

  7. Little Brewster Island

    Boston Light, the first US lighthouse, was constructed here in 1716 and it remains the last staffed offshore lighthouse in the country. Limited tours visit the small museum and lead visitors up the 76 spiral steps and two ladders to reach the top.

    • Island accessible by tour only Jun–mid-Oct: Thu–Sun

    • Call for schedule

    • Reservations essential 617 223 8666

    • Adm

    Boston Light, Little Brewster Island
  8. Gallops Island

    Once the site of a popular summer resort, Gallops also served as quarters for Civil War soldiers, including the Massachusetts 54th Regiment. The island has an extensive sandy beach, a picnic area, hiking paths, and historic ruins of a former quarantine and immigration station. The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation has closed the island indefinitely for a thorough environmental clean up.

  9. Thompson Island

    A learning center since the 1830s, Thompson is the site of an Outward Bound program serving more than 5,000 students annually. The island’s diverse geography includes rocky and sandy shores, a large salt marsh, and a hardwood forest. Killdeer, herons, and shorebirds abound.

    • Open Jun–Aug: Sat

    • 617 328 3900 ext. 918 for guided tours

    • Ferries depart from EDIC Pier on Summer Street

    • Adm

  10. World’s End

    This 244-acre (99 ha) peninsula overlooking Hingham Bay is a geological sibling of the harbor islands, with its two glacial drumlins, rocky beaches, ledges, cliffs, and both salt and freshwater marshes. Frederick Law Olmsted laid out the grounds for a homestead development here in the late 19th century. The homes were never built, but paths, formal plantings, and hedgerows remain. World’s End is accessed by road by driving through Hingham.

    • Operated by Trustees of Reservations: 1 781 740 6665

    • Adm to non-members

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