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Spectacle Island, Boston

4.1
#3 of 7 in Nature in Boston
Island Nature / Park
Spectacle Island is a 105-acre island in Boston Harbor, 4mi offshore of downtown Boston, Massachusetts. It is part of the city of Boston. The island has a varied history, and today is a public park with a marina, visitor center, cafe, lifeguarded swimming beach, and five miles of walking trails, forming part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. It is served all year by ferries from Boston, and on weekends and summer weekdays by a shuttle boat to and from nearby islands.TopographyThe island was initially composed of two small drumlins connected by a spit, with an approximate size of 49acre. The name is believed to derive from its then-resemblance to a pair of spectacles. However, dumping of trash and dirt, together with subsequent landscaping, have resulted in a significantly larger island with a permanent size of 85acre, plus an intertidal zone of a further 28acre.The island is now composed of two artificial earth mounds, terraced with retaining walls, roads and newly planted vegetation. With a height above sea level of 157ft, Spectacle Island is now one of the highest points on Boston Harbor. The island's inner harbor acreage is 114, with 85.5 upland acres and 28.4 intertidal acres.HistoryStarting in the early 19th century, the island was used exclusively for its relative remoteness from Boston. Two hotels were built in 1847, only to be closed by police ten years later when it was discovered they were used for gambling and other illicit activities.
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Where to stay in Boston

To stay close to where most of Boston's tourist action is, book a room at one of the many hotels located downtown, near the center of the city and state governments, businesses, and shopping. For a more affordable option, consider a budget-friendly boutique hotel or small bed and breakfast in one of the city's diverse residential neighborhoods. If you plan to stay longer and need a real home away from home, explore Boston's short-term rental options, which include private villas, waterfront lofts, and luxury apartments scattered across the city's historical districts.
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  • We went there because we wanted to visit one of the islands. When we got there we learned that it was formerly used as a trash site. The 'park rangers' are well educated and offer tours, there's also ...  more »
  • You can only get there by boat. Bring lunch, hike the island, enjoy the views. Please note what ever you bring over, you must bring back.  more »
  • We thoroughly enjoyed our half day trip to Spectacle Island - leaving on the 10:30 BHC ferry and returning at 3:30. On the outgoing trip a guide explained the sights in the Boston Harbor and talked ab...  more »