Close of Public Ferry Season

Public ferry service has ended for the 2022 season. Visit the park calendar to learn about special cruises and opportunities to visit the islands in the off season.

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 thompsonisland.org.

How to visit Thompson Island:

  • By scheduled ferry
  • 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
Thompson Marsh Dan Squire Amenities

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. Tickets must be reserved in advance. Click here to learn more about ferry access.
  • Private boaters may access the beach area only year round. Building access is limited to public restroom use only.  Dogs are permitted on beach Sept 15 – April 1.
  • The spit between Thompson Island and Quincy is submerged at high tide. Consult tide charts and use extreme caution if traveling across the spit.

Sign Up for the Boston Harbor Islands Newsletter!