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Free Ferry Day Today

Enjoy visiting two Boston Harbor Islands at no cost


What could be better than taking a boat trip to an island to wile away a summer day? Getting there for free. Today the Boston Harbor Island Alliance is offering free ferry service all day to either Georges Island or Spectacle Island, two of the nearly three dozen islands and peninsulas in the Boston Harbor basin.

Free Ferry Day gives everyone a perfect excuse to get away from the concrete jungle of downtown Boston and spend quality time outdoors. Visit 28-acre Georges Island, with its ranger-guided tours and exceptional views of Boston Light. Be sure to check out the island’s historic Civil War–era Fort Warren, which housed Confederate prisoners of war and guarded Boston Harbor through World War II. Decommissioned in 1947, the fort is now a National Historic Landmark. With any luck, you might catch a glimpse of the fort’s rumored ghost, the Lady in Black. Afterward, go for a relaxing stroll around the island, or find a good spot to have a picnic lunch.

You might choose instead to visit the much larger Spectacle Island, where you can hike to the tallest hill on the Boston Harbor Islands for panoramic views of the harbor and the city. Open to the public since 2006, the island is believed to have been used as a fishing locale by early Native Americans. Today, Spectacle Island offers five miles of walking trails. It is also one of the few harbor islands with sandy beaches, so weather permitting, be sure to bring a bathing suit and some sunblock.

Ferries will run from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Because of high demand, tickets are on a first-come, first-served basis, so it’s best to get there early, especially if it’s a nice day. All tickets have a specific return time.

If you can’t make it to the islands today, mark your calendar for the next Free Ferry Day, Friday, August 9.

Free Ferry Day is today, Tuesday, June 18, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The ticket kiosk opens at 8 a.m. at Boston’s Best Cruises Long Wharf North Ferry Center, 190 Atlantic Ave., Boston. By public transportation, take the MBTA Blue Line to Aquarium, walk along Atlantic Avenue towards the waterfront, turn left and walk around or through the Long Wharf Marriott Hotel, and turn right to the Ferry Center. The Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion, on the Rose Kennedy Greenway, is holding free children’s activities.

Check out our things to do list on Foursquare for tips on other fun activities and events around the Boston area.

Irene Berman-Vaporis can be reached at imbv@bu.edu.

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