Spectacle Island-Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park

Boston, Massachusetts 02112

Spectacle Island-Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park

Spectacle Island-Boston Harbor Islands National & State Park Professional Review and Guide

"Once a landfill for the city of Boston, the beautiful, windswept Spectacle Island is now a true gem. The trail circumnavigating it offers dramatic views of Boston Harbor and the Boston skyline.

Getting to Spectacle Island couldn’t be easier, but you can’t drive or hike there. Catch a ferry at Marriott Long Wharf. The ferry ticket office and dock are on the left side of the hotel when looking out to the harbor. Be sure to check the schedule, as there is a summer schedule and a spring/fall schedule. After the 25-minute or so ferry ride, you’ll pull up to the massive dock on the west side of the island."

More Spectacle Island-Boston Harbor Islands National & State Park Professional Reviews and Guides

"Once a landfill, Spectacle Island offers amazing views of Boston and the coast from the highest point in Boston Harbor. The main ferry departure points are Long Wharf in Boston and the Hingham Shipyard. The former offers more flexible times and is closer to attraction in Boston, while the latter is easy to reach by car.

This hike explores Spectacle Island, which has been revitalized after serving as a landfill for many years. This route climbs the North Drumlin, then follows a portion of the island's perimeter trail (which is 1.8 miles long and ADA accessible) as it loops back to the pier."

"One of Boston’s greatest gems is its collection of 34 small islands scattered throughout the harbor. Many of these outcroppings provided excellent protection for the harbor, and you can still visit forts—some crumbling, others well preserved—that dot the harbor. Some of the islands have also been used for less savory purposes: garbage dumps, grazing pastures, and factories for rendering dead horses.

Be warned against walking barefoot here; the oaks and elms lining Memorial Dr. drop acorns and sticks that make the grass treacherous. The upside is that the park is planted with indigenous plants and flowers that bloom in May, around Kennedy’s birthday. Continue on JFK St. across the Larz Anderson Bridge, and stop for a moment to watch the crew teams go by. If you’re on this walk during the third full weekend
in October, you may be sharing your perch with thousands of college kids gathering for the annual Head of the Charles Regatta—the largest two-day rowing event in the world."

Spectacle Island-Boston Harbor Islands National & State Park Reviews

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Trail Information

Boston
Nearby City
Dog-friendly
Accessibility
2.5
Distance
Loop/Lollipop
Trail Type
Moderate
Skill Level
45 minutes
Duration
Late June–Labor Day
Season
Views
Features
Boston Harbor Islands, bostonharborislands.org/spectacle-island, 617-223-8666
Local Contacts
Available at visitor center
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018