I got to thinking the other day, there’s a lot of really cool, unusual landmarks in and around Boston. Many of these you wouldn’t know unless you lived here for a while. For me, the best part of visiting these places is that you don’t have to fight with the pesky tourists (although you will have to fight with the locals which may not be any better). These places offer a unique experience that a visit to the Pru or getting a drink at Cheers can’t possibly provide. So, without further ado, here’s my list of unique outdoor places to visit in Boston (or within a short drive from Boston).
Outdoor Places to Visit in Boston
George’s Island. Boston Harbor
Home to the civil war-era Fort Warren, George’s Island is a great place to do some exploring or to have a picnic near the water. On this island you can find historic buildings with a gorgeous backdrop of ocean and Boston. The other islands in the harbor are also visible with some great views of Boston Light – the oldest lighthouse in the US. There are also guided tours of the facility as well as a museum. It’s one of the few outdoor places to visit in Boston that require you to take a ferry.
You can take a ferry provided by Boston Harbor Islands to the island, it runs daily.
Photo by vitorpamplona on Flickr
Castle Island, South Boston
Built in the mid-1800’s, Fort Independence is the most prominent feature on this island. The Fort is open from Memorial Day to Columbus Day, but Castle Island is home to more than that. There are also two beaches, a bay and lots of open space for pedestrians and bikers to enjoy. It is definitely one of the cooler outdoor places to visit in Boston and could double as a romantic setting for a great date.
2010 Day Boulevard
South Boston 02127
Deer Island, Boston Harbor
This island has a rich (and often bloody) history. In the past it was used as an internment camp during King Philip’s War, a quarantine Hospital for sick locals, a landing spot for the great Irish immigration and today there sits a water treatment facility. This checkered past makes it one of the most historical and unique outdoor places to visit in Boston.
The island is a great outdoor space for walking, sightseeing, running, picnicking and fishing.
190 Tafts Avenue
Winthrop, MA 02152
Photo source “2008 DeerIsland BostonHarbor DocSearls 2452880753” by Doc Searls from Santa Barbara, USA
Places around Boston
Fort Revere, Hull
Fort Revere Park in Hull, MA is a historic site that contains the remains of two forts and an old water tower. The forts offer a great escape from the hustle and bustle of normal life. Enjoy a picnic or a barbecue while looking out over the water or attend one of the many events put on inside of the park.
60 Farina Road
Hull, MA 02045
Open daily, sunrise to sunset
Photo source “Fort Revere park overlooking Allerton, Hull MA” by John Phelan
Quincy Quarries, Quincy
This is the site of one of the first large-scale granite quarries in the whole United States, in fact this site gave Quincy the nickname of the “Granite City”. This site offers a great space for hiking and rock climbing and connects to the Blue Hills Reservation.
Ricciuti Drive, West Quincy
(617) 727-4573 or (617) 698-1802
Open dawn to dusk
Borderland State Park, Easton
Borderland State Park in Easton, MA is a beautiful park with a giant stone mansion overlooking the park. In the warmer months, it’s a great place to go walking, horseback riding, canoeing, fishing and picnicking. In the colder months, everyone loves to ice skate and sled here. The park is free to enter, but there is a $2 parking fee if you choose to park on site.
Borderland State Park
259 Massapoag Avenue
North Easton, MA 02356
World’s End, Hingham
Tree-lined carriage paths and rocky shorelines that lead to sweeping Boston skyline views makes World’s End a great outdoor place near Boston to visit. It’s long, natural trails make it a great destination for a walk, picnic or horseback ride. In the winter, cross-country skiing is also very popular.
Hingham, MA 02043
Purgatory Chasm, Sutton
Purgatory Chasm is a 1/4 mile long chasm surrounded by 70 feet high granite walls. This site is full of interesting caves, paths and rock features that is perfect for any nature lover. Rock climbing, picnicking and hiking are popular activities here. This definitely ranks high on the list of most unique natural features in Massachusetts.
Entrance is free, but there is a $2 parking fee if you choose to park on site.
198 Purgatory Rd.
Sutton MA 01590
Halibut Point, Rockport
From this unique coastal seascape, you can get views of the Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts shoreline. Like Quincy Quarries above, this site was a granite quarry some years ago. This past has left behind a lot of interesting rock formations that make it a great place for hiking and climbing.
Entrance is free, but there is a $2 parking fee.
Rockport, MA 01966
Open daily, sunrise to sunset
Blue Hills Reservation, Milton
There’s nothing better than hiking up the iconic Blue Hills mountain and enjoying the beautiful views of Boston, the ocean and the surrounding towns. When we took the skyline trail, we got some great pictures and videos on top of the observation tower. It was a fairly physical hike and I highly recommend it.
Blue Hills Reservation
695 Hillside Street, Milton, MA 02186
Open daily from sunrise to sunset
What are some of your favorite outdoor places to visit in Boston (or in the Boston area)? Let me know below!