Park Update:

Island concessions have ended for the season. Visitors are encouraged to pack a lunch when visiting the islands or purchase food aboard the island ferry.


Activities, ranger tours, and most programs are included with your ferry ticket.

Thompson Island Unescorted Public Access with Special NPS Bird Tours

Explore the diverse habitats and scenery of Thompson Island alongside park staff on a mid-morning birding and natural history walk through meadows, woodlands, salt marsh, and beaches.

We will look for both migrating and resident songbirds, shorebirds, and raptors while observing seasonal changes throughout the natural communities of the island. No previous birding experience is necessary and all skill levels are welcome for mutual learning and enjoyment!

Note: Registration with Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center is required to visit Thompson Island. Round-trip tickets for UPA (Unescorted Public Access) will be available at a discounted rate of $10.00 per person. Children 11 and under visit Thompson Island for Free.

Please reserve ferry tickets here and refer to the Thompson Island Outward Bound rules of conduct, including current COVID-19 guidelines. Capacity is limited to 40 passengers.

All adult ticket-holders must provide proof of being fully vaccinated (age 12 and up), and show an ID or proof of residence to board the UPA Ferry. Ticket holders 18 and up will also complete an app-based COVID symptom and contact screening process (Clear to Go). For accompanying minors, the responsible adult must complete Clear to Go including the minors in their party.


Departure will be from EDIC pier in South Boston. The dock is a short walk from multiple public transit stops (namely the Silver Line and the Red Line, with bus routes nearby as well). There are also public paid parking garages nearby (for example, Marine Park Garage), and people occasionally find free street parking down Summer Street across the bridge.

What to Bring:

Binoculars, water bottle, snacks, lunch (optional), sunscreen and hat, bug spray, comfortable walking shoes, and long sleeve layers. Additional water is available on the island. We will have a limited number of binoculars available if you do not have your own. Participants should expect approximately two hours of walking on unpaved roads and trails with some hilly sections.

For questions, please contact Alex van Boer at (617) 702-6324 or

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