105-acre island offers panoramic views and multiple recreational opportunities
Just 20 minutes from downtown Boston by ferry, the 105-acre Spectacle Island, part of Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park, offers visitors miles of hiking trails, a sandy beach for swimming, and a 157-foot hill with panoramic views of the harbor and the city. And on Mondays through Labor Day guests can take free beginner-level kayaking lessons from National Park Service rangers. The hour-long classes are first-come, first-served and depart at 11 a.m. and 1 and 3 p.m. and are open to anyone 12 and older, but those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
The island is easily accessible by ferry, departing from Long Wharf North, next to Christopher Columbus Park, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Find the ferry schedule here.
Before and after wielding a paddle, visitors can explore Spectacle Island’s many other offerings. The green visitor center offer exhibitions about the island’s history and evolution, and guided tours around the island by rangers highlight how an area that was once home to a quarantine hospital, a garbage dump, and a grease reclamation plant has become a haven for plants and wildlife. The island has one of the few sandy beaches on any of the 34 islands that comprise the Boston Harbor Islands park, and trained lifeguards are on duty during summer months.
Be sure to check out the Seaglass Café, in the visitor’s center, open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hungry kayakers can snag grab-and-go lunches and drinks. A gift shop is also available.
Can’t make it to Spectacle Island on a Monday? Head out on a Saturday instead and take advantage of Island Om, an all-levels yoga class from 10:15 to 11:30…