The sights of Boston don't end at the shoreline. With islands scattered throughout the harbor - and an active ferry system to serve them - locals and tourists alike can enjoy these islands for a natural getaway from the city. The islands are so well-loved that they've been turned into a Massachusetts state park.
Want to get the most of your next trip to Boston? Check out these three unforgettable islands just a short boat ride from the Boston docks:
Home to one of the major forts that protected Boston for most of its history, Georges Island is a living relic of history. The island is dominated by Fort Warren, a sprawling harbor fort that saw active use for much of the country's history. Stop by the visitor's center for a full history of the fort. Then, you can take a self-guided walking tour through the many nooks and crannies of this historical masterpiece.
To get here, catch an MBTA ferry from the main docks in Boston harbor. The ride takes about an hour, but you'll get wonderful views and even better sea breeze on the way out.
For the best luck, plan your trip ahead of time. Most times of the year, the ferry returns to Georges Island every two hours. If you miss it, you might be stuck for awhile. But with so much to explore on the island, it might be an unexpected chance to explore a bit deeper.
Looking for a camping getaway not far from the city? Peddocks Island is the place to be. This island offers several options for overnight stays, from rentable yurts to more primitive tent sites.
From there, you can explore the island on foot, checking out the coast and getting a full view of the Boston skyline. Perry and Portuguese coves offer a great view of the city, while you can check out Harry's Rock and view the Atlantic from the island's eastern shores.
Peddocks is well-loved by Bostonians as a place where time moves a bit slower than normal. It's a place for them to get out of the hustle-and-bustle of the city, and enjoy time with their family in a quiet, natural space.
If you're looking for a great place to hike not far from the city, Spectacle Island is where to go. The entire island is wrapped in trails. All are well-maintained and well-marked, meaning you won't have to worry about getting lost.
As its name suggests, Spectacle Island is a fantastic place to view the Boston Harbor. Take a walk along the shoreline for gorgeous views of Boston and the surrounding neighborhoods, and catch a different perspective on the other harbor islands.
Not to be confused with its New York counterpart, Boston's long island is a curious place to wander through some manmade ruins. This place combines the best of all the harbor islands - rugged shorelines, natural trails, and landmarks that made their way into history.
On Long Island, you'll find both the Long Island Head Light and Battery Hitchcock. The lighthouse provided safety for ships threading their way through the harbor islands, and the battery protected the coast from ships the residents didn't want to see. Put together, these landmarks give an excellent taste of local history.
Nature and city life aren't always as clear-cut as we expect. Sometimes, there are natural gems hidden right within our greatest metropolitan areas. Boston may be busy, but it's got space set aside to sit back and relax.
Which of these Boston Harbor islands are you looking forward to visiting?
Are you looking for history, nature, or a bit of both?
Whatever you choose, the Boston Harbor islands have more than enough adventure to keep you occupied. Add them in to your next adventure, because they're all a sight worthy to see.