Boston Outdoor Activities

Boston Outdoor ActivitiesAlong with its numerous historical attractions, Boston is home to quite a few places where you can enjoy nature and outdoor fun. From the parks of the Emerald Necklace and beyond, our list will take you to the best places to get a breath of fresh air in Beantown.

The Arnold Arboretum
Enjoy the natural beauty of the area at Arnold Arboretum. The arboretum is part of Boston's Emerald Necklace park system, and at 265 acres, it's the second largest part of the “necklace”. Throughout the park, you'll see a variety of plant species and animals like turtles, racoons, white-tailed deer, squirrels, and a variety of birds and insects. There are a number of tours to choose from, leaving you with plenty of options for exploring this outdoor destination.

Address: 125 Arborway, Boston, MA 02130 - MAP
Phone: (617) 524-1718
Web: arboretum.harvard.edu

Charles River Esplanade
See the beauty of the city in Boston's backyard at the Charles River Esplanade. This outdoor destination stretches along three miles of the Charles River and is a popular place for walking, jogging, bicycling, bird watching, and much more. The park hosts a number of programs like free fitness programs, and Sunday Fun in the Park, which is great for families.

Phone: (617) 227-0365
Web: www.esplanadeassociation.org

Boston Common
Spend some time hanging out in the country's oldest park. The 50-acre Boston Common is the anchor for the Emerald Necklace park system and is the starting place of the famous Freedom Trail. There are quite a few monuments throughout the park, and several outdoor events take place in the Common throughout the year.

Address: Boston, MA 02108 - MAP
Phone: (617) 720-5557
Web: www.cityofboston.gov

Franklin Park Zoo
Hang out with some of nature's most fascinating creatures at the Franklin Park Zoo. You'll see animals like tigers, kangaroos, leopards, lions, zebras, gorillas and more, throughout exhibits like Serengeti Crossing, Outback Trail, Tiger Tales, and Kalahari Kingdom. In all, there are over 1,000 animals living at the zoo.

Address: One Franklin Park Rd., Boston, MA 02121 - MAP
Phone: (617) 541-5466
Web: www.zoonewengland.org

Crane Beach
Dig your toes into the sand at Crane Beach, one of the East Coast's premier beaches. Swimming, sunbathing, beachcombing, hiking and more, are a few outdoor activities you can enjoy while hanging out on the seashore. This is the perfect destination for those who like to explore, as there are over five miles of trails that venture into the dunes and North Shore forestry.

Address: 290 Argilla Rd., Ipswich, MA 01938 - MAP
Phone: (978) 356-4354
Web: www.thetrustees.org

Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area
There's plenty to do at the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. There are over 34 islands to explore, with wetlands, tide pools, hiking trails, and more. Along with natural attractions, the islands boast other features like historic lighthouses and Fort Warren, a Civil War fortress. Nature, history, and outdoor fun are all part of the allure of the Boston Harbor Islands.

Phone: (617) 223-8666
Web: www.nps.gov

New England Aquarium
Dive deep into ocean exploration at the New England Aquarium. You'll see a variety of sea creatures living in simulated versions of their natural habitats through exhibits like the Amazon Rainforest, the Gulf of Maine, the Pacific Reef Community, the Edge of the Sea, and many others. A few of the animals you will see include sharks, sting rays, sea turtles, seals, jelly fish, penguins, octopuses, and dolphins.

Address: Central Wharf, Boston, MA 02110 - MAP
Phone: (617) 973-5200
Web: www.neaq.org

Adams National Historical Park
Explore the lives and times of two important American figures at the Adams National Historical Park. The park was home to two U.S. Presidents: John Adams and John Quincy Adams; this park was established to sustain the land, homes and personal property of four generations of the Adams family. Important sights to see within the park include the birthplaces of both men, the Adams residence, and the Stone Library. Tours of the grounds are available so you can view the outdoor beauty surrounding the significant history here.

Address: 133 Franklin St., Quincy, MA 02169 - MAP
Phone: (617) 770-1175
Web: www.nps.gov

Jamaica Pond
Enjoy another facet of Boston's Emerald Necklace, and spend a day outdoors at Jamaica Pond. The pond is the largest body of water within the “necklace” park system and proves to be a beautiful destination to absorb the surrounding natural scenery. The pond is a favorite destination for hiking and dog walking, as well as sailing and fishing.

Address: 507 Jamaicaway, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130 - MAP
Phone: (617) 635-4505
Web: www.emeraldnecklace.org

Back Bay Fens
Head to the Back Bay Fens and hang out next to a beautiful freshwater marsh. Along with the marsh, this link in the Emerald Necklace park system is home to ball fields, a wartime “Victory Garden” that was established in 1941, and the popular Kelleher Rose Garden, among other outdoor attractions. While you're exploring the park, be sure to pay respects at the World War II, Vietnam, and Korean War memorials that reside in the park.

Address: Boston, MA 02215 - MAP
Phone: (617) 635-4505
Web: www.emeraldnecklace.org

The Riverway
The Riverway is a parkway that connects the Back Bay Fens and Olmsted Park, making it an important piece of the Emerald Necklace park system. Throughout the park, there are several historic bridges and hiking and walking paths, including the Bridle Path that was used by equestrians to cross the river. The Riverway offers a nice outdoor escape from the hustle and bustle of Brookline Avenue.

Address: Brookline, MA 02445 - MAP
Web: www.emeraldnecklace.org

Olmstead Park
Woodlands, ponds, and exploratory paths are just a few things you'll find at Olmsted Park. This piece of the Emerald Necklace has several trails for you to explore while hiking and biking through Boston's outdoor landscape. If you want to fish, you'll have the best luck at Wards Pond.

Web: www.emeraldnecklace.org

Franklin Park
There's much to do outdoors at Boston's Franklin Park. The park has been coined as the “jewel” of the Emerald Necklace, boasting natural attractions like a beautiful pond and over 200 acres of forest. Other amenities of Franklin Park include an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, baseball fields, playgrounds, a 2.5-mile loop path, and the Franklin Park Zoo.

Web: www.franklinparkcoalition.org

Rose F. Kennedy Greenway
For a day outdoors, the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway is the perfect place to hang out. The greenway is comprised of 1.5 miles of park space, meaning there's plenty of opportunity for recreational fun in nature. Public art, gardens and fountains can be found throughout the greenway. This incredible stretch of land is also surrounded by some of the city's most important neighborhoods, including the Wharf District and Chinatown.

Web: www.rosekennedygreenway.org

Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park
Soak up some sun at the Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park. Boston's first waterfront park offers a gorgeous view of the harbor, along with playgrounds, fountains, public art and monuments, space to run, and places to lay out and bask in the beauty of nature. You'll enjoy time spent outdoors here.

Phone: (617) 635-4505
Web: www.bostonharborwalk.com

Boston Nature Center
The Boston Nature Center presents the perfect definition of an urban oasis. Explore meadows and wetlands on foot, trekking over two miles of trails and boardwalks. Along with lush greenery, you have the chance to see wild animals like coyotes and a wide variety of birds. While you're spending time outdoors at the nature center, be sure to check out the Clark-Cooper Community Gardens.

Web: www.massaudubon.org