Every week, we post one more thing you MUST do before you graduate Northeastern. Tag us in/tweet us a picture of you doing our thing of the week, and you could win some pretty awesome prizes (including your favorite Husky swag)! #NUbucketlist
NU Bucket List – #22
The Boston Harbor is a lot more than a great view; it’s home to the Boston Harbor Islands National & State Park, made up of 34 islands dotted across 50 square miles of water. While sadly not of the tropical variety, the islands are perfect for a mid-summer day trip when you’re itching to get off campus. Many of the islands offer tons of fun activities like hiking, kayaking, sailing, and camping (if you’re in the mood for a longer adventure).
Public ferry access to the islands resumes next week and to celebrate, we’ve got some of our favorite Harbor Islands spots! Ferry schedules and tickets for each of the islands can be found on the Harbor Islands Park website, along with more information about equipment rentals on-site.
Spectacle Island: Located just 20 minutes from downtown Boston, Spectacle is perfect for a shorter day trip and offers gorgeous views of the city skyline. A full beach faces Boston, and is served by full-time lifeguards and has beach equipment like shade shelters and a full changing room/shower complex…so it’s perfect for just relaxing in the sun. The island is also home to the Visitor’s Center, so it’s a good place to start if you’re looking to island-hop your way around the park.
Little Brewster Island: Starting on June 17th, you can hop on a boat out to Little Brewster Island to see the Boston Light, America’s oldest light station. You can climb to the top for an amazing view and chat with the US Coast Guard light-keeper who mans the station 24/7. Little Brewster acts as a gateway to the harbor for passing ships, so the journey there and back makes for a perfect tour of the entire park. Bring a picnic lunch!
Lovells Island: Like Spectacle, Lovells Island has gorgeous beaches, but is much more secluded and hosts a fraction of the tourists. Lovells was once home to Fort Standish, a WWI-era US Army encampment. Now decommissioned, the ruins of the fort are sprinkled across the island and make for some pretty interesting hikes! It’s the perfect spot for a longer excursion with exploring in mind, and even has a few campsites for the more experienced adventurer.
Peddocks Island: One of the largest and most diverse islands in the park, Peddocks is a great spot for campers, with more amenities that make it a bit easier to manage than Lovells (especially if you’re a beginner). We recommend reserving a “yurt,” or a large, pre-standing canvas tent constructed on a raised platform. Peddocks yurts come equipped with bunk beds and are much sturdier than your average tent, meaning your trip won’t be wrecked by rain or wind. Add full restrooms, picnic sites with grills, and plenty of hiking for all skill levels…and you’ve got yourself a hassle-free camping trip!
Grape Island: Just 5 minutes from Boston proper, Grape is the ideal spot for equipment rentals for a day of sea kayaking or canoeing. The island nearly doubles in size during low-tide, making it perfect for long walks along the beach. It’s also home to some short hikes and nature walks that are much less intimidating than some of those on the islands farther out in the harbor.