boston harbor

Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area

The Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area is a National Recreation Area situated among the islands of Boston Harbor of Boston, Massachusetts. The area is made up of a collection of islands, together with a former island and a peninsula, many of which are open for public recreation and some of which are very small and best suited for wildlife. The area is run by the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership. It includes the Boston Harbor Islands State Park.

Attractions include hiking trails, beaches, the Civil War-era Fort Warren on Georges Island and Boston Light on Little Brewster Island, one of the oldest lighthouses in the nation. Georges Island and Spectacle Island are served seasonally by ferries to and from Boston and Quincy, connecting on weekends and summer weekdays with a shuttle boat to several other islands, Hull, and Hingham.


The Boston Harbor Islands National National Recreation Area is made up of a series of discrete islands and other places on and around Boston Harbor. These include:

Two islands (Castle Island and Spinnaker Island) in Boston Harbor are not part of the National Recreation Area, and two former islands (Apple Island and Governors Island) were obliterated by Logan International Airport before the area was designated.


The Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area is managed by the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership, a statutory body established as a federal operating committee by the park enabling legislation. The partnership consists of individual members who represent a range of federal, state, city, and nonprofit agencies, including:

Additionally the partnership includes members representing the Island Alliance, a fund-raising body dedicated to raising funds for the National Recreation Area, and the Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council. There are 13 members in total, together with 13 alternates. Apart from the representative for the Coast Guard, who is appointed by the Secretary of Homeland Security, all the members of the partnership are appointed by the Secretary of the Interior after consultation with the appropriate agency or other body.

In practice, day to day management of each individual island or other site is the responsibility of one of the partner agencies or other bodies. The partnership provides a consistency and coordination across the whole park.


Harbor Islands Express offers ferry service from Long Wharf at Christopher Columbus Park to Georges and Spectacle Islands. Free service to additional islands is available from Georges Island.



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