Day Trip: Spectacle Island
So you're in the city and summer is approaching. If you're like me and live in the city, you might not own a car because it's virtually impossible, a pure annoyance, or straight up un-affordable. Living in the city is so great, until you want to hit the beach, go for a hike or just get a change of scenery. In order to escape the city life, I recommend hopping on a ferry to one of eight Boston Harbor Islands. It could not be easier - the ferry launch is close to the New England Aquarium right off Long Wharf. It'll cost you $17 round trip, but the breezy 20 minute ferry ride there is well worth that money alone. It is a relaxing experience where you can sit back, enjoy views of the Boston skyline and learn some new history information along the way. My favorite island to visit is Spectacle Island, but if you wanted to check out any of the other 7 public islands it might require some research depending on the activity you're looking for. Each of the islands offer unique amenities such as camping, educational tours, large beaches, etc. You can search by island, or activity here.
Upon arrival to Spectacle, you'll notice the visitors center. There you'll find lots of historical information about the island, bathrooms, and a small cafe serving up some standard beach fare, such as burgers and hot dogs. The small beach at Spectacle can be a bit rocky, but it is nice to walk along, dip your toes in or throw a towel down to take in the unparalleled panoramic views. You'll notice the immense greenery surrounding you with about 4-5 miles of easy trails to explore. Hike on up and watch the 360 water and skyline views get better and better. At the top of the island, there is a large, open grassy area with a few picnic tables and a gondola to enjoy the fresh air. You are transported to a place of relaxation.
The greenery on Spectacle is well maintained and very beautiful. Since we went on opening day of the season, everything was still blooming and changing. Despite that, there was still a decent crowd however the island is large enough to where it almost felt private. It is hard to believe that this island used to be an overflowing, smelly city dump for over 30 thirty years, until it "re-opened" to the public in 2006. The great thing about Spectacle Island is you can easily spend an entire day here relaxing, exploring, fishing, playing frisbee, picnic-ing, whatever your heart desires while still technically being in the city of Boston. It's worth a note to keep an eye on their events calendar as well: on Saturdays they offer Island Yoga and on weekend nights in the summer they offer clambakes, just to name two. Before you go be sure to check out the ferry schedule, as it may change. Typically it runs every 2-3 hours, giving you plenty of time to discover all that the Boston Harbor Islands have to offer!
Live in the sunshine! bostonharborislands.org