Boston and Cambridge are rich with state and local parks with fun activities all yearBoston’s got year-round fun and activity starting with a string of urban parks along the Charles River for walking, biking, paddling, bird watching and boating. The Charles River basin offers bicycling and running paths including a 20-mile loop from Science Park to Watertown Square There are picnic grounds, boat launches, recreation centers, ice skating rinks and swimming pools. Plan a romantic getaway or take an affordable vacation and get out into the fresh air.
Islands in Boston Harbor, and easy ferry ride from downtown. Swimming, hiking, picnicking. A fun day trip
Season & Hours: Mid-May to mid-October; see ferry schedule
Learn about camping, hiking, fishing, swimming, and attractions at this park.
String of urban parks along Charles River offers walking, biking, paddling, boat ramps
The part of the reservation from downtown Boston is the Charles River Basin, which includes the Esplanade on the Boston side. The esplanade is the location of the July Fourth concert. The Upper Charles River section begins at Watertown Square and extends to Riverdale Park in West Roxbury.
Map of Charles River Basin (PDF)
43 Commonwealth Road Natick, MA Phone: 508-653-9641
Day-use park for water sports; some sports are allowed or prohibited on the 3 sections of the lake
Activities include boating, swimming, and fishing on its three large lakes. Picnicking, swimming, and boat launching are limited to the middle lake, where the main body of the park is located. Boaters may gain access to the other lakes through channels under roadways. Jet skis are not allowed.
On heavy-use weekends, the parking area can reach capacity, requiring temporary closing of the parking lot. For closure updates, follow Twitter at @MassDCR or call the state Department of Conservation and Recreation at 617.626.4973.
Daily parking fee: $8 for Massachusetts vehicle; $10 for out-of-state vehicle
Off Mystic Valley Parkway Medford, Somerville, Everett, MA Phone: 617-727-5380
Series of parks and green spaces along Mystic River; accessible by MBTA trains; walking, biking, picnicking, swimming
The Reservation is accessible by commuter trains. Take the MBTA to W. Medford or Wedgemere stations for access to Mystic Lakes. Take the Orange line to Wellington Station for access to Mystic River. Bus lines to Medford Square provide access to the bike path.
Open year round, dawn to dusk.
William J. Day Blvd. South Boston, MA Phone: 617-727-5290
Bayside string of parks and beaches easily accessible to Boston; walking, swimming, fishing
Season & Hours: Open year-round.
Learn about hiking and fishing at this park.