Boston Harbor Islands State Park
Camping out on the Boston Harbor Islands has been on our bucket list for years, but this year we actually wrote down our travel wishlist to help hold us accountable.
There are 4 island available for camping, each that offer their own set of unique features. Peddocks, Lovell, Grape and Bumpkin Islands offer stunning ocean and city views with approx. 30 campsite spread over all of them. We were a little late in the game for booking our campsite and had to settle for 2 nights in the middle of the week on Grape Island, which was not our first choice of dates or island. We recommend you keep an eye out in early Spring to find out when reservations open and book right away. After speaking with some of the Massachusetts DCR workers though, it appears that a lot of people book early but then never show for their reservations and there are almost always campsites available for last minute campers.
While Grape Island might not have initially been our first choice of islands, we still had an incredible stay on the island. Grape Island is very close to Hingham, MA - less then a 10 minute ferry ride and yet this was the most "rustic" camping we have done, if you can even call it that. There was no running water on the island, so we had to make sure to transport enough with us, and we did not have an option to run to the store if we forgot anything.
Both nights we were on the island, there were only 2 other groups staying overnight, therefore it was like we had our own island oasis in the middle of the harbor. The island doubles in size at low tide and we had a lot of fun searching the tide pools for fish, crabs, snails, hermit crabs, etc. We spent a majority of our time in the ocean, as we visited in the middle of a July heat wave. Stew spent a lot of time fishing off the dock and wading out in to the water at low tide. The beach is entirely made up of rocks and broken seashells and is impossible to navigate without water shoes.
On the second day we were there, some of our friends took the ferry out for a few hours and enjoyed exploring the island with us and picnicking under the shade of the trees. Thankfully they also brought us more water to drink. TIP: If is it hot weather during your stay, bring 1 gallon of water per person, per day!
There is an option of hopping from island to island on the ferry during your stay at the campsites, but since we have visited Georges and Spectacle Islands before, we opted to stay put on our own island this time. If we had stayed more than 2 nights we would have opted to explore some of the other islands in this State and National Park. This was such a unique experience for us, that we would recommend it to anyone.