Top Ten Best Outdoor Experiences in Boston

A Boat Floating Along A River Next To A Body Of Water

Got spring fever? Time to get outdoors and experience some of Boston’s open-air recreational offerings while you enjoy the milder weather and the coming promise of summer! Read on for some great ideas for spending time outdoors. Public transit is available for asterisked locations.

Did you know there are islands in Boston Harbor*? In fact, there are 34 islands and peninsulas overseen by a partnership between several local, state, and federal entities. This is a unique place to spend a day, whether you’re a bird-watcher, want to stroll and enjoy the ocean breezes, go to the beach, or tour a historic fort. Little Brewster Island is home to the oldest continually operating light house, Boston Light, first illuminated in 1715. Some islands have amenities, while others offer a more rustic outdoor experience.  Tour boats leave from nearby Long Wharf.

The Massachusetts Whale Trail* includes several interesting stops, each with its own place in the state’s historical whaling industry. Better yet, it starts with the New England Aquarium Whale Watch which is also less than a mile from Battery Wharf Hotel Boston Waterfront. The New England Aquarium has teamed up with Boston City Cruises for an excursion to Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary which hosts diverse marine life, including whales and dolphins. 

Located in the heart of downtown Boston, the Rose Kennedy Greenway* is 1.5 miles of lush gardens, art exhibits, food trucks, beer gardens, and fountains. The park is ADA-compliant, as is the carousel. Visitors are charmed by the very unusual theme of this whirligig. Find out why!

Since the 19th century visitors and locals have enjoyed riding in the swan boats* at the Boston Public Garden, the first public botanical garden of its kind. Learn what makes these vessels so unique and enjoy the experience. 

Is street art your thing? Boston has just the place for you! Underground at Ink Block* is the result of a creative reimagining of unused space under highway overpasses. With eight acres, located at the the junction of South Boston and Boston’s South End, this urban playground features amenities like bike paths, a dog park, shopping, and libations. Underground at Ink Block is fully accessible, there is ample parking, and bike storage. 

Castle Island* is a fair weather favorite of Bostonians and visitors alike. With all the requisite family activities, visitors are sure to find some fun. The beach and the shady park areas are perfect for anyone who wants a low-key, relaxing day. This is an ideal spot to hike or bike, or to enjoy a picnic lunch under the large shade trees.

Franklin Park, the “Crown Jewel” of the Green Emerald Park System, was designed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. The 72-acre Franklin Park Zoo* has been part of the Green Emerald since 1912. Featured exhibits include animals from the Australian Outback, the Africa savannah, and tropical rainforests. Kids love the dedicated exhibits just for them, and the farm animals are always a hit. 

Day-tripping history lovers will enjoy the Battle Road Trail and Minuteman National Historical Park. Located in Lexington, just 20 miles north of Boston, Battle Road Trail is a five-mile trail connecting historic sites from Concord to Lexington. 

To the south of Boston, in the town of Hingham, lies World’s End, a Frederick Law Olmsted-designed park. The park features moderately vigorous hiking on 4.5 miles of footpaths and carriage paths with breathtaking views of the Boston skyline, the Weir River, and Hingham Harbor. 

Greater Boston’s most popular beach, Nantasket Beach* is located in Hull. This mile-long stretch of fine gray sand is typical of New England beaches.  Low tide leaves behind acres of tide pools, ripe for exploration. During the summer season visitors can enjoy concerts and public dance lessons. On-site amenities include a bathhouse, accessible restrooms, and a playground. Beach wheelchairs are available.

Book a room  with a waterview at the Battery Wharf Hotel Boston Waterfront. Our location is central to all of the above activities. You'll also be able to walk a few steps to Boston's Historic North End to see Little Italy and more.