Thompson Island

Travel to Thompson Island and discover how its education center is impacting the lives of students.

A beautiful destination to visit, Thompson Island is perfect for exploring nature thanks to its salt marshes, herons, egrets, flowering meadows, and fruit trees. Prior to the development of Boston, the island functioned as a trading post between Native Americans and David Thompson. The island later became a farm and trade school for orphans from 1833 to 1975. Today, the island is home to Thompson Island Outward Bound, a non-profit education organization offering programs in leadership, environmental education, and youth empowerment.

Perfect for any outdoor event, including weddings and company outings, Thompson Island returns proceeds from private events to its education center. Plan a company outing, or enjoy a relaxing nature walk, during your next visit! Please note that public ferry service to the island is available only on weekends during the spring and summer months.

Public Access

Thompson Island has been an educational institution since 1833. It is privately owned and protected by a Conservation Restriction by Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the National Park Service (NPS). The conservation restriction conserves natural and historic resources and ensures opportunities for public access.

  • Public visitors are welcome to the Conservation Area, but not the Building Envelope, by scheduled ferry (see map)

To find out about Thompson Island Outward Bound programs and events, go to

How to visit Thompson Island:

  • By scheduled ferry – 2021 schedule coming soon
  • As a volunteer
  • By private boat – Private boater access is permitted year-round to the beach only

NOTE: Pedestrian beach access for fishing, fowling, or navigation is permitted by Massachusetts Colonial ordinance year-round via the sandbar (or ‘spit’) from Quincy Squaw Rock Park, and in accordance with state fishing and hunting laws and regulations.

  • CAUTION – The ‘spit’ area is underwater at high tide. Currents and shifting sand can be dangerous. Consult tide charts. Pass at your own risk.

Rules for public visitors to Thompson Island:

  • No access to buildings except for the public restrooms
  • Dogs on leash are permitted on the beach between Sept 15 – April 1st
  • The following items and activities are strictly prohibited:
    • Alcohol
    • Bicycles
    • Fires
    • Fireworks
    • Firearms and all other weapons
    • Camping
    • Disturbing or feeding wildlife
    • Littering
Thompson Marsh Dan Squire Amenities


  • Restrooms
  • Drinking Water
  • Hiking Trails
  • Picnic Areas
  • Event Tent
Thompson Marsh Exploration Dan Squire Activities

Recreation & Activities

  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Tidepooling
  • Bird watching
Park Rangers

Know Before You Go

Ferries to Thompson Island are on Saturdays and Sundays only. Ferries leave from the EDIC pier in South Boston and accept cash payments only. Click here for the full ferry schedule.

Mosquitos are common. Bring bug spray and check for ticks, which are commonly found in wooded areas and tall grass.

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