Boston Lighthouse, Boston Harbor, Massachusetts.

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Boston Harbor Islands


Designated a National Recreation Area, the Boston Harbor Islands consist of 34 islands with sandy beaches and hiking trails. Since the massive cleanup of Boston Harbor in the 1990s, these once-polluted islands – just a 45-minute boat ride from downtown Boston – have been transformed into sparkling natural assets.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Massachusetts attractions

1. Lovells Island

1.04 MILES

With camping and picnicking facilities, Lovells is one of the most popular Harbor Islands destinations. Two deadly shipwrecks may bode badly for seafarers…

2. Georges Island

1.15 MILES

Georges Island is one of the transportation hubs for the Boston Harbor Islands. It is also the site of Fort Warren, a 19th-century fort and Civil War…

3. Deer Island

1.83 MILES

Funny thing about Deer Island: it’s not actually an island. A hurricane in 1938 created the causeway that now connects the ‘island’ to the mainland. The…

4. Spectacle Island

1.98 MILES

A Harbor Islands hub, Spectacle Island has a large marina, a solar-powered visitor center, a healthy snack bar and sandy, supervised beaches. Five miles…

5. Peddocks Island

2.26 MILES

One of the largest Harbor Islands, Peddocks consists of four headlands connected by sandbars. Hiking trails wander through marsh, pond and coastal…

6. Little Brewster Island

2.95 MILES

Little Brewster is the country’s oldest light station and site of the iconic Boston Light, dating from 1783. To visit Little Brewster, you must take an…

7. Thompson Island

3.25 MILES

Thompson Island was settled as early as 1626 by a Scotsman, David Thompson, who set up a trading post to do business with the Neponset Indians. Today this…

8. Castle Island & Fort Independence

3.37 MILES

The 19th-century Fort Independence sits on 22 acres of parkland called Castle Island (a misnomer, as it’s connected to the mainland). A paved pathway…