Escape the City and Explore Nature in Boston
Boston's park system offers a variety of options from running trails to concert pavilions to playgrounds and splashpads. Explore the parks at Boston Commons, the Kennedy Greenway, and Arnold Arboretum. If you just want a place to relax, one of Boston's many parks can be found just around the corner, as some of the best are also close to the tourist attractions.
Boston Common is a famous central park in downtown Boston. It's also the oldest city park in the country, dating back to 1634. The park spans 50 acres and has a botanical garden and a pond where you can enjoy the iconic experience of taking a Swan paddleboat. Visitors can also find a playground and other fun activities for kids. During the winter months, an ice skating rink is set up, and a huge Christmas tree and other decorations adorn the park.
167 Tremont Street, Beacon Hill, Boston, Massachusetts, 02108
Boston Public Garden
The Boston Public Garden, dating back to 1837, was the first botanical garden in the country. It is heavily influenced by the Victorian era with seasonally flowers that change regularly. The Boston Public Garden is an iconic park in the city with its famous Swan Boats that you can use to paddle around the pond. There are flower beds that line the paths and many places to enjoy a leisurely stroll. Boston Public Garden is a relaxed and romantic setting and you'll often see weddings or wedding pictures being taken in the park.
4 Charles St., Beacon Hill, Boston, MA, 02116
Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park
At the north end of the Waterfront district and the southern side of North End, this large park is a great place to relax, have a picnic, and enjoy the weather. Here you'll find a ship-themed playground for the kids, a rose garden, a gorgeous trellis, fountains, and some open lawn areas along with benches for lounging. If you're looking for a place to rest or relax before going on a whale watching cruise or into the aquarium, this is a convenient spot.
110 Atlantic Ave, Waterfront, Boston, Massachusetts
Rose Kennedy Greenway
This stretch of interconnected parks running through Downtown Boston is a great spot for a walk, run, or even a bike ride - or for just exploring the city. Starting at the north in North End near the Haymarket T station, the connected parks and trails run south through the Waterfront and Downtown areas until they reach Chinatown Park. Along the way, visitors will find smaller parks, interactive fountains, a carousel, gardens, public restrooms, restaurants and cafes, and more. If you're wandering along the path, it's quite easy to make short detours to explore the various attractions and historical spots of Boston.
John F. Fitzgerald Expressway, Waterfront, Boston, Massachusetts, 02110
Located about 5 miles from downtown Boston, Revere Beach is about 3 miles long. The beach is popular, in part, because it can be reached on the MBTA Blue Line. The beach hosts a number of events including a sand sculpting competition.
320 Revere Beach Boulevard, Revere, Massachusetts, 02151
Charles River Reservation
This 17 mile long public recreation area runs along the Charles River, passing through Boston, Cambridge, Watertown, and Newton. It offers a number of activities including bike paths, boating, picnic areas, and sport fields.
840 Memorial Drive, Cambridgeport, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02139
Back Bay Fens
Where Back Bay merges into Fenway, this large green space has a variety of interesting things to do and see. In addition to walking and biking trails, visitors can explore the rose garden and World War II memorial. Also here is an area of community gardens, a playground for the kids, and ball fields.
73 Park Dr, Back Bay, Boston, Massachusetts
The Arnold Arboretum spreads out over 281 acres and is a major horticultural research institution. The arboretum was designed by C.S. Sargent working with Frederick Law Olmsted. It was designed with a less formal intent than most botanical gardens and today it offers a relaxing place to explore and enjoy nature.
125 Arborway, Jamaica Plain, Boston, MA, 02130
Moakley Park and Carson Beach
Located in South Boston, this large park sits on the shore and has a beach and a kids playground, along with ball fields, too. The Dorothy Curran Playground has a terrific nautical theme that can keep your kids entertained for hours (and it also has a spray area in the summer months). Or, stroll over to either Carson Beach, L Street Beach, or M Street Beach on the other side of the field for some fun in the sand. The South Boston Bark Park at the upper end of the park will keep the dogs happy, too. Tennis courts, basketball courts, ball fields, and more can be found here, too. And finally, this is a good spot to hop on the trail that runs along the waterfront for your walk, run, or bike ride.
1005 Columbia Rd, South Boston, Boston, Massachusetts
Boston Nature Center
The Boston Nature Center is divided into three sections. There's the pollinator garden, which is designed to attract butterflies and other insects, the Clark-Cooper Community Gardens, which is a public garden for Boston residence, and the Boston Food Forest Coalition, which features edible plants. There's also a sensory trail and many birds throughout the grounds.
500 Walk Hill St, Mattapan, MA, 02126
North Point Park
Located on the river, this park has a playground, jogging and biking trails, a dock for boats and stand-up-paddleboards, and some nice lawn space for relaxing. It also has great views of the water and the skyline.
1 North Point Blvd, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Castle Island Park & Fort Independence
Located in South Boston, this is part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. There's a nice white sand beach where you can relax. Fort Independence is a granite fort dating back to 1851. Within the park there are two walking and running trails. For the easiest and shortest option, try the Castle Island Loop. The longer trail is the Pleasure Bay Loop. There are also great areas where you can enjoy a picnic and a nice playground that is perfect for kids who like to climb, jump, and run.
2010 William J Day Blvd, South Boston, Boston, MA, 02127
Mount Auburn Cemetery
Mount Auburn Cemetery is a public park and also a cemetery, arboretum, and wildlife sanctuary. It's a National Historic Landmark and spans 72 acres with a number of different types of wildlife present including foxes, wild turkeys, and birds. This is a popular place for locals who want to escape the city. There are a number of events held here and for the best viewpoint, climb Washington Tower and you'll enjoy views over the city.
580 Mt Auburn St, Cambridge, MA, 02138
Constitution Beach is a man-made beach in the HarborView part of East Boston. It has a swimming area, bathrooms, and a snack stand. There's also a large playground that's great for the kids as well as tennis courts. It's fun to watch the planes fly overhead from Logan Airport, or look for ships sailing by in the Boston Harbor.
0 Barnes Ave, East Boston, Boston, MA, 02128
The Esplanade is a riverside park in the Back Bay neighborhood. It has a number of charming footbridges including Arthur Fiedler Footbridge. Within the park you'll also find the Hatch Shell
bandstand, which is where the Boston Pops Orchestra holds its annual Fourth of July celebration. There are also a number of movies and concerts in the park during the warmer months. The park is a nice place to explore with a number of nice running trails, or you could enjoy a walk beside the river. Also here is the Esplanade Playground
for kids which is quite large.
Back Bay, Boston, MA
deCordova Sculpture Park & Museum
This 30 acres outdoor park and museum offers a peaceful place to explore with fields, gardens, lawns, forests, and terraces. It's located about 20 miles to the west of Boston, so if you're looking for a peaceful place to escape the city, this is a nice option.
51 Sandy Pond Rd, Lincoln, MA, 01773
Where to Stay in Boston