There’s no better way to explore the sights of the Boston Harbor than via the Boston Harborwalk, a nearly 50-mile public walkway that makes its way through eight distinct Boston neighborhoods – Dorchester, Charlestown, Deer Island, Downtown, the North End, South Boston, East Boston, and Fort Point Channel. It was the brainchild of the Boston Redevelopment Authority, along with the Harborpark Advisory Committee and The Boston Harbor Association. Along the way, pedestrians will experience various aspects of Boston’s culture and history, and will get to experience the many restaurants, beaches, and other attractions along the way.
Here’s a primer on what to expect in each neighborhood.
Dorchester: In the Harborwalk’s first neighborhood, discover the rolling walkways at Pope John II Park, a nice way to start out a morning. You’ll also find the rich history at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, as well as local beaches Malibu, Savin Hill, and Teanean. The UMass Boston/Arts on the Point stretch is one of the longest of the Harborwalk, offering spectacular views of the surrounding waters.
South Boston: Carson Beach is one of the better beaches in the neighborhood, a status given to it in no small part due to what is often ample parking. Up the road, find Castle Island, a historic location that features Fort Independence, a national landmark that was built in 1634 to help protect the Boston coast.
Fort Point Channel: Just on the outskirts of downtown, the Fort Point Channel is an emerging Boston neighborhood thanks to a lengthy revitalization. Here, pedestrians will find classic Boston attractions including the Children’s Museum, the Hood Milk Bottle, and the dazzling InterContinental Hotel.
Downtown: In the downtown stretch, pedestrians will walk past Rowes Wharf, the Boston Harbor Hotel, India Wharf, Long Wharf, and the New England Aquarium. This is one of the more visually-0stunning stretches along the Harborwalk.
North End: Harborwalk continues into the North End and through the bustling of Christopher Columbus Park, as well as Commercial and Lewis Wharf. Take a break at any of the wharfs here, and watch the boating activity, no matter what time of year.
Charlestown: Another one of the more interesting stretches along the way, the Charlestown portion winds its way past the USS Constitution, Paul Revere Park, and the Charlestown Navy Yard. Pedestrians can hop a ferry here to East Boston or the downtown area if they so choose.
East Boston: The East Boston stretch is also quite visually stunning and worth the time if only for a different view of the downtown area. Stop by LoPresti Park for a picnic, and make your way to the Hyatt Harborside Hotel, where you can catch a water taxi back to the downtown area.
Deer Island: Deer Island is a wonderful way to take a stroll, or simply have a picnic. The views of the city are outstanding here, and there is a nearly three-mile walking trail. The island is dominated by the state of the art wastewater treatment facility that was the biggest component in the cleanup of Boston Harbor.
Check out a complete map of the Boston Harborwalk, and complete details on all the attractions along the way.