Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area

Audio Available:

OVERVIEW: About this audio-described brochure

Welcome to the audio-described version of Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area's official print brochure. Through text and audio descriptions of photos, illustrations, and maps, this version interprets the two-sided color brochure that visitors receive. The brochure explores the history of the park, some of its highlights, and information for planning your visit. This audio version lasts about 41 minutes. 

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OVERVIEW: Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area

Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, located in Massachusetts, is part of the National Park Service, within the Department of the Interior. The 1,500 acre park is situated within the Boston Harbor off the coast of Boston, Massachusetts. This park, established in 1996, is the newest of the national parks in the Boston area. Each year, over half a million visitors come to enjoy the unique experiences that only can be had at Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. We invite you to explore the park's 34 islands seated on the coast of Boston and the surrounding area. 

Officially legislated as Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, promoted mainly as Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park.

For those seeking to learn more about the park during their visit to the Boston Harbor Islands Welcome Center, call 617-223-8666, or go to To find out more about what resources might be available or to contact the park directly, visit the "Accessibility" and "More Information" sections at the end of this audio-described brochure.

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OVERVIEW: Front side of brochure

The front side of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area brochure starts off with a brief history of the area, then has images of different island attractions, finally at the bottom of the brochure is an arrangement of wildlife and plants that can be found throughout the entire recreation area. 

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IMAGE and TEXT: Boston Harbor Islands

DESCRIPTION: The image is the Boston skyline during sunset with yellow and pink skies. Moving from left to right, the picture has the Boston skyline in the far distance with the sun almost touching the land. In the foreground of the image to the center-right there is an island with four buildings all with darker colored roofs. On the center of the island is a single lighthouse. The bottom of the image is the ocean with many ripples reflecting the sunset. 

CREDIT: Brian Tague

RELATED TEXT: “Methinks an island would be the most desirable of landed property, for it seems like a little world by itself; and the water may answer for the atmosphere that surrounds planets.”

—Nathaniel Hawthorne

HAWTHORNE caught the essence of this urban archipelago while visiting Thompson Island in 1837. Each island has its own natural environment, evokes a distinct mood, and tells its story of the past. Yet each shares the unusual quality of being both a place apart and a facet of the city’s maritime character. Together these 34 islands and peninsulas encompass a broad swath of the Boston area’s cultural and natural history. 

American Indians sought out the islands for food, ritual, and recreation long before Europeans arrived. Since the 1600s newcomers have used them for everything from fishing settlements to harbor defense sites. Today, after a determined partnership effort to restore the health of the harbor and reclaim the islands from exploitation, they abound with things to do, ways to learn, and places to explore.

These Boston Harbor Islands, scattered across the expansive, bustling harbor they help to define, offer historical landscapes where structures from the 1800s can pull you back to an earlier time. They offer refuge where you can turn from the clock and immerse yourself in natural settings ranging from the dramatic to the intimate—each special, each “a little world by itself.”  

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IMAGE and TEXT: Boston Islands Partnerships

DESCRIPTION: The image is of the Boston Harbor Islands logo. The logo is a vertical rectangle with a white boarder. In the center of the picture there is a white lighthouse with a shorter horizontal building with a red roof. The sky is blue with two birds flying to the right of the lighthouse. There is a cloud that is placed behind the lighthouse. The lighthouse is on the edge of the rocky shores leading into the water. Below the water is the lettering Boston Harbor Island in all capitol letters. The words Boston and Island are in white and the word Harbor is in red. 

CREDIT: Boston Harbor Partnership Cover Photo

RELATED TEXT: THE BOSTON HARBOR ISLANDS PARTNERSHIP, a group of federal, state, city, and non-profit organizations, manages Boston Harbor Islands. The members have a long record of protection of natural and cultural resources. The Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council advises the Partnership on park planning and operations. The Partnership also works with educational and for-profit groups to promote citizen stewardship of the islands. 

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IMAGE: Fort Warren

DESCRIPTION: Long rectangular building on the water. The right side of the building has a row of windows facing the right side of the image and a smoke stack on the left side of the building. In the front of the building in the water is a sail boat and steam boat in the distance. 

CAPTION: Fort Warren, on Georges Island, guarded major shipping channels. 

CREDIT: Harpers Weekly Illustrated

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IMAGE: Soldiers

DESCRIPTION: Group of Confederate soldiers sitting and standing in front of an entrance way of a building. 

CAPTION: Its soldiers guarded Confederate POWS during the civil war. 

CREDIT: Naval Historical Foundation

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IMAGE: Harbor

DESCRIPTION: The black and white landscape image depicts a water scene in the Boston Harbor. In the center water is visible between boats that are both in the foreground and back of the picture. There are people on each of the boats. Building like structures can be seen in the far distance.  

CAPTION: The harbor in the early 1800s. Then as now, windmill blades turned above the water. 

CREDIT: Library of Congress

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IMAGES: Islands

IMAGE 1 of 2: Spectacle Island Lights

DESCRIPTION: Landscape image of a water scene. The top of the image is a blue sky with many white fluffy clouds. Moving down the image is a long and flat building with two smoke stacks on the left side. Continuing down, the water changes from a pink to green. On the right foreground is a sailboat with a large white sail that is placed on a brown wooden boat.

CAPTION: Early depiction of Spectacle Island Lights

CREDIT: Jeremy D'entremont

IMAGE 2 of 2: Long Island

DESCRIPTION: Dark landscape image of an island that spans the entirety of the picture. The island has a slight upward curve however gradually gets lower till it reaches the water. On the left side of the picture is a small boat with a larger one on the right. 

CAPTION: Long Island's classic drumlin shape. 

CREDIT: Kellscraft Studio

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IMAGE: Man Looking at Water

DESCRIPTION: Landscape image of a person in the left foreground looking out onto the Boston skyline. Surrounding the person is tall yellow and green grass, with dark blue water in front of them separating the person from the Boston skyline. The person is wearing a white short sleeve shirt and long pants with a red baseball style hat. On their back is a red backpack.

CREDIT: Judith Jango-Cohen

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IMAGE and TEXT: The Drumlin

DESCRIPTION: Vertical image of a body of dark blue water with an island in the distance with two pieces of green elevated land shifted to different sides of the island. The left side is round and larger than the right side that has a relatively flat top. The top of the image is a light blue sky with text sitting on top.  

CREDIT: Eliot Cohen

RELATED TEXT: Most of the Boston Harbor islands are glacial drumlins. Great Brewster (below) is a good example of their typical in verted spoon shape. These formations were created between 100,000 and 15,000 years ago when glaciers moved across the region. Deposits of glacial till beneath the ice were left behind as elongated hills when the glaciers retreated.

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TEXT: On a drowned drumlin field they built lighthouses, forts, and harbor homes

When you look over Boston Harbor, you’re seeing a drowned drumlin field, hills built during the last ice age and later covered by rising seas. Those whose tops remained above water are the Boston Harbor Islands. The harbor’s great tidal swings and moderate salinity create environments hosting an array of land and marine wildlife: rabbits, raccoons, and other small mammals on the islands, harbor seals resting on the rocks of the outer islands, dozens of bird species perched on pilings, wheeling in the air, or feeding in the salt marshes.

For millennia Northeast coastal Indians fished, farmed, and hunted on the islands, and European settlers used them for much the same purpose. The large natural harbor and New England’s transportation network have made Boston a thriving seaport since the 1600s. The port has its share of sea tales, as ships plying the harbor’s sea-lanes attracted pirates. Boston has also been a port of entry for early settlers and later immigrants seeking a better life in a new world.

These islands have historically been places where society has set apart unwelcome institutions and people on the margins. American Indians were interned on Deer Island during King Philip’s War in 1675. Other islands were used to isolate quarantined immigrants, prisoners of war, and mental patients. They provided refuge in places like the Boston Asylum and Farm School for Indigent Boys on Thompson Island, visited by Hawthorne on the trip that prompted his hymn to island life.

Because the harbor was strategically important during conflicts from the Revolution to World War II, you will find remains of forts, gun batteries, and other military installations on the islands. Notoriously tricky shipping channels bristle with hazards, and buoys, range lights, and lighthouses still dot the harbor— most famously Boston Light on Little Brewster. Today Boston Harbor is a vibrant place alive with gliding gulls, sunning cormorants, and vessels ranging from ponderous container ships to tiny sailboats slipping out to see the islands.

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IMAGE: Beaded Shells

DESCRIPTION: This image is a beaded necklace made from shells that were shaved down to become flat donut-like shaped beads. The string of beads are different shades of white, ranging from bright white to tan. None of the beads are evenly sized, some are longer and others are chipped on the edges.

CAPTION: Northeast Indians used beaded shells as currency.

CREDIT: Peabody Essex Museum

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TEXT: We come now for renewal

For over 300 years human activities have reshaped island terrain, degraded ecosystems, and polluted the harbor—once called the dirtiest in the nation. In 1995 the Commonwealth of Massachusetts took on the job of cleaning it up, with the help of Deer Island’s Wastewater Treatment Plant. The opening of parkland on Spectacle Island is another symbol of the harbor’s renewal.

Local American Indian tribes, who have always seen the islands’ ancient burial grounds and other sacred sites as vital links to their past, played an important role in their preservation. Commemorative events and park educational programs on American Indian culture help sustain the bond.

The revitalization of the harbor and continuing efforts to restore and preserve island habitats through biological research, green technologies, and public stewardship have again made them destinations for those seeking recreation, another perspective on the world, or solitude.

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IMAGES: Boston Islands

IMAGE 1 of 9: Thompson Island

DESCRIPTION: Small image of a marsh scene. Green and brown grass like plants with a channel of water separating two small areas of the grass. In the distance is a larger island that stands tall. 

CAPTION: Thompson Island


IMAGE 2 of 9: Bumpkin Island

DESCRIPTION: From the bottom of the image moving to the top is a white wooden walkway with railing of both sides. In the middle of the image is a cube like building with no walls allowing for a person to walk underneath. On both sides is green trees and bushes.  

CAPTION: Bumpkin Island


IMAGE 3 of 9: Lovells Island

DESCRIPTION: The image shows four people standing around a tent set up under a tree. In the distance is a body of water.  

CAPTION: Lovells Island

CREDIT: Kindra Clineff/DCR

IMAGE 4 of 9: Peddocks Island

DESCRIPTION: The image is mostly brown grass with two kayaks moving horizontally through the image. In the distance is a white building with with a point on one end. There are trees surrounding the back of the building. 

CAPTION: Peddocks Island


IMAGE 5 of 9: Grape Island

DESCRIPTION: Two people sitting on a picnic bench. They are sitting under a bridge of green vines, with wooden posts holding the plants up.

CAPTION: Grape Island


IMAGE 6 of 9: Spectacle Island

DESCRIPTION: The image shows three boats on the water with people in the boats. In the distance is a building on the shore. This building has many windows. Behind the building is a large green hill going from left to right of the image.

CAPTION: Spectacle Island


IMAGE 7 of 9: Little Brewster Island

DESCRIPTION: Large white light house with two small white buildings with black roofs. All three buildings are on top of a large rock. There are people standing on the rocks in front of the buildings. 

CAPTION: Little Brewster Island

CREDIT: Paul Rezendes

IMAGE 8 of 9: Georges Islands

DESCRIPTION: The majority of the image is an open field. In the foreground of the image is a old military canon. The military canon has two wheels on either side and a straight post resting in a parallel direction. In the far back of the image is a single story flat building with two sets of two windows. Between each window is a door way. 

CAPTION: Georges Island

CREDIT: Eliot Cohen

IMAGE 9 of 9: Worlds End

DESCRIPTION: Green grass field with a path in the center of the image with two lines  of brown creating a trail. On either sides of the path is tall brown trees with green leaves. There is a white building in the background on the right side with a triangular roof. 

CAPTION: Worlds End

CREDIT: Marc Hurwitz Travel Guide of America

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TEXT: Waterbound Habitats

Minutes from a major urban area, the islands host a surprising array of plant and animal species.

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COLLAGE: Boston Wildlife

IMAGE 1 of 14: Harbor Seal 

DESCRIPTION: The Harbor Seal is a round, elongated sphere bodied mammal. The seal has two flippers towards the front of the body that can be compared to arms and a pointed trail, allowing it to swim in the ocean. It's coloration is white with brown spots. The seal is sitting with it's upper and lower half of it's body off the ground.   

CAPTION: Harbor Seal 

CREDIT: Ken Canning/StockPhoto

IMAGE 2 of 14: Double crested cormorant

DESCRIPTION: The Double Crested Cormorant is a medium to large black bird that is perched on a post of sorts. The cormorant has longer tail feathers that are more grey than black. The feathers on it's back resembles scales on a fish. This bird has an orange beak and is covering part of it's face with a wing. Surrounding the top of the eyes are white feathers that stick straight up. 

CAPTION: Double crested cormorant

CREDIT: Len Blumin

IMAGE 3 of 14: Glasswort

DESCRIPTION: The glasswort is a bright green fleshy succulent plant. The plant branches off from the center stem and then separates again off of those stems. Each branch is made up of multiple segments. The image has multiple glassworts growing next to each other but not touching.

CAPTION: Glasswort

CREDIT: Hans Reinhard/Photoshot

IMAGE 4 of 14: American oystercatcher

DESCRIPTION: The American oystercatcher is a relatively small bird. The stomach is white, the back is brown, and the head is black with orange eyes and beak. This bird has skinny, narrow orange legs with three toes on each foot. The American oystercatcher is holding an open oyster in it's mouth. 

CAPTION: American oystercatcher

CREDIT: Marie Read

IMAGE 5 of 14: Monarch Butterfly

DESCRIPTION: The Monarch Butterfly is depicted in mid-flight. This butterfly is orange and black. Monarch's have a set of four wings with polka dots towards the ends of the upper two wings and stripes throughout the remainder of the wings.

CAPTION: Monarch Butterfly

CREDIT: Stephen Ausmus, USDA/ARS

IMAGE 6 of 14: Black-crowned night-heron

DESCRIPTION: The Black-crowned night-heron is a small to medium sized bird. The night-heron is standing on a rock. This bird has a white stomach and neck. The side of the bird is grey with the back and head being black. The bird has a red eye with an off-white beak that is slightly larger than it's head.

CAPTION: Black-crowned night-heron

CREDIT: T. Beth Kinsey

IMAGE 7 of 14: Red-winged black bird

DESCRIPTION: The red-winged black bird is a medium size black bird. This bird has red on the top of the wing where it's shoulder would be. The black bird is perched on a stick facing the left. It has black eyes and a black beak that is half the size of it's head. 

CAPTION: Red-winged black bird

CREDIT: Marie Read

IMAGE 8 of 14: Cattails

DESCRIPTION: The cattail is a tall skinny plant that resembles a green needle. At the top of the needle has a thicker brown part that can be compared to a sponge. The image has six cattails all clustered together. 

CAPTION: Cattails

CREDIT: Bet Zimmerman

IMAGE 9 of 14: Broad-winged skipper

DESCRIPTION: The Broad-winged skipper is a yellowish-orange month. It sits on a purple flower with two petals. The skipper has a long, thick body that is visible below the wings.  

CAPTION: Broad-winged skipper

CREDIT: Randy Emmit

IMAGE 10 of 14: Glossy ibis

DESCRIPTION: The Glossy Ibis is a large bird with skinny long legs. The bird itself is purplish-black on the back half and maroon on the front half. The ibis's head is skinny with a long pointy beak and curves downwards. 

CAPTION: Glossy ibis

CREDIT: Steve Baranoff

IMAGE 11 of 14: Snowy egret

DESCRIPTION: The Snowy Egret is a large white bird that stands much higher than the glossy ibis. The egret has long white feather that stick up on it's head. Around the eye is yellow with a long black beak. 

CAPTION: Snowy egret

CREDIT: David Madden

IMAGE 12 of 14: Muskrat

DESCRIPTION: The muskrat is a large brown rodent. It has a small nose and ears with long whiskers. The muskrat has wet fur, some hairs sticking straight up and others laying flat. 

CAPTION: Muskrat

CREDIT: Scott Nielsen

 IMAGE 13 of 14: Staghorn sumac

DESCRIPTION: The Staghorn sumac is a plant that is made up of multiple stems with leaves that grow out opposite one another. Some of the stems have sets of eight leaves and others have sets of twelve leaves. In the enter of the plant there is a red upside down cone line flower. 

CAPTION: Staghorn sumac

CREDIT: Jiri Bohdal/Naturfoto

IMAGE 14 of 14: Eastern cottontail

DESCRIPTION: The Eastern Cottontail is a brown rabbit with a white fluffy tail. The rabbit has two rounded big ears. The Eastern Cottontail is sitting on it's back legs with its front half in the air. 

CAPTION: Eastern cottontail

CREDIT: John White

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OVERVIEW: Back side of brochure

The backside of the Boston Harbor Island National Recreation Area brochure is a detailed map of the different islands, harbors, and attractions. It is noted not to use this map for navigation purposes. The bottom of the brochure goes over ferry information, accessibility, camping, helpful hints, and education/volunteer opportunities within the park. 

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MAP: Boston Islands

DESCRIPTION: A map of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area with the locations of visitor centers, education centers, light houses, ferry departures, subway stations with routes, information centers, ranger stations, restrooms, picnic areas, hiking trails, campgrounds, swimming areas, and refreshments. The range of islands span from Boston Harbor into numerous bays, channels, roads, and harbors. This national recreation area is made up of 34 islands spanning 1,500 acres of land and water. The map includes information on the mainland of Massachusetts ranging from Winthrop to Hull which makes a hook shape. 

The Boston Harbor Islands Welcome Center is located in the center of Boston, sitting on the shores that leads to the Inner Boston Harbor. There are two visitor centers. One is on Spectacle Island which is approximately four miles east off the shore of Boston. The second visitor center is on George Island which is approximately seven mile east of Boston, closer to the point of Hull.  On Thompson Island there is the Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center which is approximately four miles south east from Boston.  

The map includes the Boston African American National Historic Site, Boston Historic National Park, Adams National Historic Park, along with other local attractions. 

All amenities are noted in the Islands and Amenities section. 

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MAP: Legend

The legend is placed in the top center of the map beginning with the words:

Note: Do not use this map for navigation. 

There is a North arrow pointing to the top of the map. Beside that is a distance scale depicting two Kilometres and two Miles. 

There are 18 pictographs describing different aspects of the map including: Boston Harbor Islands area in green, ferry or tour boat departures, public dock on islands, public mooring near islands, selected subway station, subway routes, information, ranger station, parking, restrooms, picnic area, hiking trails, campground, mainland public boat launch, lifeguarded swimming area, unsupervised swimming, island marina, and refreshments. 

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MAP: Islands and Amenities

There is 34 islands, spanning 1,500 acres, that make up the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. This description is a list of the islands by location and the amenities that can be found on each prospective island. 

Islands located in Winthrop: Snake Island.

  • Snake Island is a small three acre island that is in the shape of the letter O  with a small opening on the top left. 

Islands located in Boston: Calf Island, Deer Island, Gallops Island, Georges Island, The Graves, Great Brewster Island, Green Island, Little Brewster Island, Little Calf Island, Long Island, Lovells Island, Middle Brewster Island, Nixes Mate, Outer Brewster Island, Rainsford Island, Shag Rocks, Spectacle Island, and Thompson Island.

  • Calf Island is a 35 acre island that is shaped as an elongated oval moving from north to south. 
  • Deer Island includes restrooms, hiking trails, and parking. Along with the Deer Island Wastewater Treatment Plant and wind turbines. This island is one of the largest spanning 265 acres. 
  • Gallops Island includes a public mooring station or docking station near and on the island, however it is noted that the island is temporarily closed. Gallops Island is 50 acres in the shape of a ducks head.
  • Georges Island includes a visitor center, an information station, restrooms, picnic areas, hiking trails, refreshments, public mooring stations near and on the island, and an island marina. Fort Warren is on the north east corner of the island. George Island is 53 acres and in the shape of a circle with wavy edges. 
  • The Graves includes Graves Light. This island is made up of multiple small islands spanning 1.8 acres. 
  • Great Brewster Island is a 68 acre island in the shape of a rectangle with no straight edges. 
  • Green Island is 17 acres, made up of three small parcels of land. 
  • Little Brewster Island includes Boston Lighthouse. This island makes up seven acres of land. 
  • Little Calf Island is 34 acres and made up of three small parcels of land.
  • Long Island includes public mooring stations near the island, Long Island Head Light, Fort Strong, and Camp Harbor View. This island is long and narrow in shape covering 225.2 acres. 
  • Lovells Island includes a ranger station, restrooms, picnic areas, hiking trails, campgrounds, unsupervised swimming areas, and a public docking station on the island. Fort Standish is located in the center of the island on the east side. Lovells is a 61 acre island that spans from north west to south east.
  • Middle Brewster Island is 13.6 acres and centered between Great Brewster Island and Outer Brewster Island. 
  • Nixes Mate has no acreage as it is a day marker. 
  • Outer Brewster Island is 20.1 acres and one of the farthest east islands in the national recreation area. 
  • Rainsford Island includes public mooring stations near the island. This island is 21.6 acres and in the shape of a dolphin. 
  • Shag Rocks is an 1.6 acre island made up of multiple small islands. 
  • Spectacle Island includes a visitor center, an information station, restrooms, picnic areas, hiking trails, refreshments, lifeguarded swimming areas, public mooring stations on the island, and an island marina. This island is 114 acres and in the shape of a mushroom. 
  • Thompson Island includes restrooms, picnic areas, hiking trails, and the Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center. This island is 170 acres in the shape of an upside down hook.

Islands located in Quincy: Hangman Island, Moon Island, Nut Island, and Raccoon Island. 

  • Hangman Island is made up of six acres of land. 
  • Moon Island is connected to Squantum. This island is 45.7 acres in the shape of a triangle  with the bottom rounded. 
  • Nut Island is 20 acres off the point of Houghs Neck near Quincy. 
  • Raccoon Island is 3.6 acres in the shape of a tear drop. 

Islands in Weymouth: Sheep Island, Slate Island, Grape Island and Webb Memorial Park. 

  • Sheep Island is 3.2 acres in a boomerang shape. 
  • Slate Island is 12.7 acres in the shape of a small bison. 
  • Grape Island includes a ranger station, restrooms, picnic areas, hiking trails, and campgrounds. This island is 101 acres in the shape of a bean. 
  • Webb Memorial Park is a state park that includes parking, restrooms, picnic areas, and hiking trails. This parcel of land is 36 acres sitting on the outskirts of Weymouth Back River. 

Island located in Hull: Peddocks Island.

  • Peddocks Island includes camping areas, a ranger station, restrooms, picnic areas, hiking trails, both docking stations on and near the island, and Fort Andrews which is located in the north east corner of the island. This island is 210 acres, the north of the island is round and the south half of the island makes an upside down letter V. 

Islands located in Hingham: Bumpkin Island, Button Island, Langlee Island, Ragged Island, Sarah Island, and World's End.

  • Bumpkin Island includes a ranger station, restrooms, picnic areas, hiking trails, and campgrounds. This island is 62 acres in the shape of a leaf. 
  • Button Island is 116 acres in Hingham Harbor closest to the shore. 
  • Langlee Island is eight acres directly to the west of World's End. 
  • Ragged Island is 4.1 acres in the shape of a submarine. 
  • Sarah Island is 4.2 acres with a flat bottom and a rounded top. 
  • World's End includes a ranger station, restrooms, and hiking trails. This part of the national recreation area is 274 acres is the in the shape of two round areas of land connected by a narrow piece of land. 

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MAP: Waterways

The section of Massachusetts that is depicted in the map is in the shape of the letter C with the 34 islands sitting within the center of the letter.  

At the top of the letter C is Belle Isle Marsh Reservoir in Winthrop. Continuing west is the Mystic River that traveling into Boston from the north west and meets up with the Charles River that diverges from the south west. They meet in the Boston Inner Harbor that continues into the Boston Harbor. Moving south is Pleasure Bay that is located in South Boston on Castle Island that is attached to the land. Below is Old Harbor then Neponset River traveling north east into Dorchester Bay. Continuing around is Quincy Bay. Next is Town River that leads into Town River Bay and Rock Island Cove combining into Weymouth Fore River flowing into Hingham Bay. 

Moving east is Waymouth Back River into Hewitts Cover leading into Hingham Bay. Heading northwest is Hingham Harbor then more north is Weir River. Weir River is fed through Straits Pond which sits within Cohasset. Traveling north is Hull Bay which wraps around Hull in the Hull Gut leading into the Nantasket Roads. In the north east of the center of the letter C is President Roads leading into Hypocrite Channel. South from President Roads is The Narrows which sits between Gallops Island and Lovells Island. Below Lovells Island is the Black Rock Channel.  

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MAP: Transportation

There is three forms of transportation shown throughout the map. 

1. Highways moving from north to south and east to west.

Starting in the center of Boston heading north west is route 93, moving straight north is route 1, and route 1A and 145 heading north east. Moving south route 1, 93, and 3 all go south. Route 90 heads west and 3A moves east. 

2. Train routes depicted in five different colors, the lines begin in downtown Boston and diverge off into further cities. 

The blue line starts in Boston and heads north east through East Boston and continues through Winthrop. 

The orange line travels from north west of Charlestown into downtown Boston, then heads south west out of Boston. 

The green line starts in south eastern Charlestown traveling to downtown Boston and travels west out of the city. 

The red line starts west of downtown Boston then moves through the city traveling south. Below South Boston, the line splits into two. One line heads through Dorchester and south west. The other line travels through Dorchester then south east through Quincy where it passes through Adams National Historic Park.

The silver line starts at Logan International Airport then travels south approximately two miles then making a sharp turn north west towards downtown Boston. From there the line travels south west. 

3. Ferries or boat tours are offered along the coast with seven different boat departures. In Boston there is the Long Wharf North, Fan Pier, Seaport District EDIC Pier, and Fallon State Pier. Further south in Quincy is the Quincy Fore River Shipyard. In Hingham is Hingham Shipyard. Finally, in Hull is Pemberton Point. 

Public docks are identified under the Islands and Amenities section. 

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MAP: Boston, Surrounding Areas, Beaches, and Points of Interest

Starting in the top center of the map is Winthrop Beach in Winthrop. Moving west is Constitution Beach in East Boston, south of here is Logan International Airport and East Boston Piers Park. On the far edge of the left side of the map is Charlestown with Charlestown Navy Yard USS Constitution on the shore closest to Boston. 

South of Charlestown is Boston. In downtown Boston one can find the Boston African American National Historic Site, Boston National Historic Park Visitor Center, the Boston Harbor Islands Welcome Center, Faneuil Hall Marketplace, New England Aquarium, Boston Commons, Boston Children's Museum, Institute of Contemporary Art, and approximately two miles south east is the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal (now known as Flynn Cruiseport Boston). Continuing south is South Boston, on the eastern coast is Castle Island where Marine Park circles Pleasure Bay on the left and Fort Independence on the right. South of Castle Island is Old Harbor, the north part of the harbor is M Street Beach and west of the harbor is Carson Beach. Moving south is the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum along with UMASS Boston. 

Below Boston is Dorchester. In northern Dorchester is Savin Hill Beach and Malibu Beach, both surrounding a small portion of Dorchester Bay. Between Dorchester and Squantum, which is east of Dorchester, is Tenean Beach. On the western coast of Squantum is Squantum Point Park. South of Squantum is Wollaston with Wollaston Beach on the eastern coast. South west of Wollaston is Milton. East of Milton is Quincy. North east in Quincy is Merrymount Park and Caddy Park. In eastern Quincy is Adams National Historic Park. North east of Quincy is Houghs Neck and directly east is Weymouth where Great Hill Park and Abigail Adams Park can be found. 

Continuing east is Hingham and then Cohasset. Moving north from Cohasset is Hull which the two are separated by Nantasket Beach. Approximately five miles north into Hull the land takes a 90 degree turn west. Moving from east to west is Hull Lifesaving Museum, Fort Revere, Historic Water Tower, and a US Coast Guard Station. Within the Hull Bay is Spinnaker Island. 

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IMAGE: Great black-backed gull

DESCRIPTION: Medium size white bird with black wings and black tail feathers. The gull has a yellow beak with an orangish, red dot on the bottom beak. It has two legs that are a pale orange. 

CAPTION: Great black-backed gull

CREDIT: Martin Olsson

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MAP: Boston Harbor

DESCRIPTION: The map is small and rectangular, placed in the top right corner of the larger map. This map indicates the location of the Boston Harbor Islands on a map of the eastern coast from New Hampshire down to Rhode Island with labeled highways throughout. On the left side of the map is the mainland and on the right side of the map is the Atlantic Ocean. Massachusetts is in the shape of a hook. The entire edge of the state is Massachusetts Bay. Below the hook which is Cape Cod is Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Island. 

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MAP: Legend

There is a North arrow pointing to the top of the map. Beside that is a distance scale depicting 50 Kilometres and 50 Miles.

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TEXT: Regulations

Visitors must comply with all posted park regulations and obey park rangers. Alcoholic beverages, fireworks, pets, and disorderly conduct are prohibited.

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TEXT: Park Partner

The Boston Harbor Islands Partnership includes Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council, Boston Harbor Now, Boston Planning and Development Agency, City of Boston, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, Massachusetts Port Authority, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, National Park Service, Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center, The Trustees of Reservations, and the United States Coast Guard. 

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TEXT: Stepping Ashore

Six islands (Bumpkin, Georges, Grape, Lovells, Peddocks, and Spectacle) are open to the public seasonally for free. Commercial ferry fees apply.  Park staff and volunteers provide information, guided tours, and programs. Islands are open daily 9 am to sunset, late June to Labor Day. Spring and fall hours are shortened. Groups of 25 or more require a day-use permit. Boston Light on Little Brewster Island, managed by the US Coast Guard, is open for ranger-led tours from late June to October. Contact or 617-223-8666 for tour and recreation information. Thompson Island, managed by the Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center, is open to the public via park boats on weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day. For more information on Thompson Island programs and private functions call 617-328-3900 or visit

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TEXT: Worlds Ends, Deer Island, Nut Island, and Webb Memorial State Park

Worlds End, Deer Island, Nut Island, and Webb Memorial State Park can be visited year-round by car. A fee is charged at Worlds End, part of The Trustees of Reservations. To arrange a tour of the wastewater treatment plant on Deer Island, call the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority at 617-660-7607.

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TEXT: Helpful Hints

Allow at least a half day to see one island and a full day to see more. We don’t recommend trying to see more than two islands in a day. Only Georges and Spectacle have food. Georges, Spectacle, and Peddocks have fresh water and restrooms. Other islands have composting toilets. For your comfort and safety bring sunscreen, a jacket, a hat, insect repellent, and plenty of water. There are no trash receptacles; pack out what you pack in.

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TEXT: Ferry Information

Visitors can reach Georges and Spectacle islands by commercial ferries that operate between May and October from Long Wharf North in Boston and Hingham Shipyard in Hingham. Additional ferries connect to the other islands between late June and Labor Day. Call 617-223-8666 or visit for schedules, fares, and additional ferry services.

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TEXT: Camping

You can camp in a yurt on Peddocks Island and with a tent on Bumpkin, Grape, Peddocks, or Lovells islands, late June to Labor Day. Other islands require a backcountry permit. Only Peddocks has fresh water, flush toilets, and electricity. None of the camping islands have showers, telephones, or stores. There are fees for camping. To make reservations contact Reserve America at 877-620-2267or www.reservea­

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TEXT: Education and Volunteering Opportunities

Volunteers play a critical role as stewards of park resources. They help through citizen science activities, education programs, and visitor services. For information on class visits, lesson plans, educational activities, and how to get involved, visit

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OVERVIEW: Accessibility

We strive to make our facilities, services, and programs accessible to all. For more information go to a visitor center, ask a ranger, call, or check our website. 

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OVERVIEW: More Information

Boston Harbor Islands, A National Park Area is one of 400 parks in the National Park System. To learn more about parks and National Park Service programs, visit

Visit the Boston Harbor Islands Welcome Center, cell 617-223-8666 or go to

Boston Harbor Islands Partnership

15 State Street, Suite 1100, Boston, MA 02109


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