Top Summertime Activities on Boston's Waterfront

A Body Of Water With Boats In It And A City In The Background

Boston’s waterfront has undergone numerous iterations over the centuries, starting in colonial times when people were dependent on Boston Harbor for imported goods of all kinds and as a source of food. When the city became industrialized, the ocean was used to dispose of unwanted waste. Fortunately the twentieth century brought with it an awareness that we are interconnected with the health of this iconic waterway. Today we enjoy loads of recreational activities for visitors and locals alike. 

Leader Bank Pavilion is the city’s most popular open-air harborside amphitheater and has a seating capacity of 5,000 The season runs from May through September and includes national acts in genres from country to rock to kid and family-friendly events. Upcoming events and tickets available here.  

Spectacle Island, 4 miles offshore, is part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. With a long and varied history, the island today is a public park with a marina, visitor center, cafe, lifeguarded swimming beach, five miles of walking trails, and is accessible year-round by ferries from Boston. On weekends and summer weekdays visitors board a shuttle boat to and from nearby islands. Check the website for events like the Soulful Bliss Arts & Music Festival or an authentic New England clambake.

Castle Island, Pleasure Bay, M Street Beach and Carson Beach
Technically no longer an island, South Boston’s Castle Island offers an accessible excursion for anyone looking for a wide array of outdoor activities. The home of historic Fort Independence also features 22 acres of trails for walking, biking, or running; fishing; educational programs, and of course, swimming! Enjoy picnicking and feel free to grill your lunch as you relax in the sunshine and cool ocean breezes. Visitors are invited to join free Saturday morning Tai Chi classes. Castle Island’s many amenities include restrooms, showers, and lifeguarded beaches. Free parking is available at Fort Independence, plus metered street parking. 

Another popular island retreat, Peddocks Island, is situated approximately 8 miles off Long Wharf. This is a decidedly less civilized island than some of the other Boston Harbor Islands, offering an authentic experience for campers, explorers, birders, and nature-lovers. Per the website, Peddocks is “Home to Fort Andrews and (was) active in harbor defense from 1904 to the end of World War II…26 structures remain, including guardhouses, prisoner-of-war barracks, stables, a gymnasium, and a firehouse.” The island is dotted with cottages, mostly off-limits due to safety concerns; however some are private residences. The island is accessible by park shuttle boat and has staff on hand for questions and assistance.

Boston Common is perhaps the most well-known bit of real estate in the city and a destination for visitors year-round. Once spring arrives with its explosion of brilliant color and lush greenery, we can be sure warm-weather pursuits are on the way. It’s time to trade in ice skates for swimsuits and board shorts and head to the spray pool at the Frog Pond! Take a ride or four on the Frog Pond Carousel and enjoy a snack at the Frog Pond Cafe. Thursdays bring free yoga classes from 6-7 pm. The Spray Pool is open daily from 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM.

Rainy Day Favorites
Boston Museum of Science: Planetarium, 4D films, live demonstrations, and adult events. 
New England Aquarium: the largest shark and ray touch tank on the East Coast and the giant four-story Ocean Tank featuring Myrtle the green sea turtle and hundreds of other Caribbean reef animals. Check out the visitor map before you go.

Stay At The Center Of It All
Battery Wharf Hotel, located in Boston’s historic North End, is convenient to innumerable attractions and recreational venues. Further afield, guests can find more entertainment options that are easily accessible with a short walk, Uber, or T ride. Book a room with a waterview now.