Know Before You Go

Visiting the Park Safely and Responsibly During COVID-19

Know Before You Go!


Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park is excited to welcome visitors to Spectacle and Georges Islands in 2021! The park is currently operating with some modifications to prioritize visitor safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Boston Harbor Islands Partnership is operating in accordance with guidance set forth by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the City of Boston to help you have a safe and enjoyable trip to the park. Please take time to familiarize yourself with the guidelines below before you embark on your next island visit.

Planning Your Trip

    • This season, park ferries will serve both Spectacle Island and Georges Island. Spectacle Island service begins operating 3 days a week on May 21; service to both Spectacle and Georges Islands begins operating 7 days a week on June 25. Visit the ferry schedule page for more information on schedules and planning your trip.
    • Advance ticket purchase is strongly recommended. Visit the ferry tickets page to reserve your seat and enjoy touchless ticketing on your mobile phone once you arrive at the gate. Tickets can also be purchased in-person at the Boston Harbor City Cruises ferry center on Long Wharf North.
    • Pack any food you will need for your trip along with a reusable water bottle; there are no concessions currently open on the island. Food and beverage are available for purchase aboard park ferries.
    • Visitors must bring a face covering in order to travel to the park via public ferry. Face coverings are required while traveling aboard park ferries, in both indoor and outdoor seating areas.
    • If you or anyone in your party feels unwell, or has been exposed to COVID-19, please visit us at another time.

    On the Ferry

    • Visitors are required to wear a face covering while boarding and at all times while aboard park ferries. This requirement includes both indoor and outdoor seating areas, and applies to all visitors over the age of 5 regardless of vaccination status.
    • Both indoor and outdoor seating areas are available.
    • Revised boarding procedures and touchless ticketing have been implemented for your safety and comfort. Always plan to arrive 20-30 minutes before your scheduled departure time to allow time for ticketing and boarding.
    • Food, water, and snacks are available for purchase onboard the ferry. This is your last chance to purchase concessions before your island visit.

    On the Island

    • Both Spectacle Island and Georges Island will be open for visitation in the 2021 park season! Both islands have modified operations to support visitor safety.
    • Effective May 29, masks are no longer required for fully vaccinated individuals indoors or outdoors. Unvaccinated individuals are advised to continue to wear a mask wherever social distancing is not possible.
    • Restrooms will be available on both Spectacle and Georges Islands during ferry operation hours.
    • Visitor Centers will re-open on Friday, May 29. Park staff are available to help answer any questions you have during your trip.
    • The Spectacle Island beach is unguarded. Swimming is at your own risk. Swimming is only permitted at the west beach, to the left of the pier as you walk onto the island from the ferry.
    • All groups of 25 people or more should arrange for a Recreational Use Permit before arrival. Visit the groups page to learn more.
    • As always, the Boston Harbor Islands are a carry-on, carry-off park. Please remember to “leave no trace” by taking home any trash that you generate during your visit.

    More About 2021 Park Access

    • In the 2021 season, public ferry service will run between Spectacle Island (3 days a week in spring, 7 days a week in summer) and Georges Island (7 days a week in summer). Due to circumstances around COVID-19, no other islands will be served by public ferries this season.
    • Both ferry routes depart from Long Wharf North in downtown Boston. Visitors from the South shore can access this point by taking the MBTA ferry from Hingham to Long Wharf.
    • Visitors traveling with their own boats can visit the Access and Hours page and the Boating page to learn more about planning their trip to the park, including information about reserving public moorings.
    • Visitors arriving by private vessel are advised that there are no restrooms and no water available on any islands not currently being served by public ferry.
    • All camping on the islands is currently suspended. Visit to search for other nearby campgrounds.

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