Want to enjoy gorgeous spring flowers or colorful fall foliage, throw a frisbee or kick a soccer ball around a grassy field, or experience nature while strolling along winding paths and countless statues and monuments? Or maybe just soak up some sun while sitting on a bench overlooking the water?
Boston's parks give you plenty of space to do that - and lots more. Our parks cover about 20% of the city - and that's just the ones on land.
As you no doubt know, Boston is a waterfront city.
So along with all the lush green spaces within the city itself, there are even larger "blue spaces" for you to explore.
For example, you might picnic on one of the islands in the marine recreational area in Boston Harbor. All you have to do is hop on a ferry from a downtown wharf, and you'll be setting foot on the closest island in only about 14 minutes.
Or for a truly memorable experience that many Boston visitors say is the highpoint of their trip, cruise out to a truly special marine sanctuary just beyond the Harbor and watch whales, dolphins, sea birds - it's a whole different world. Best of all, you can hop on a boat
This article highlights 10 of Boston's most spectacular parks on land and water for you to explore, whether you live in the area or are just visiting. In addition to giving you beautiful spots to enjoy nature, they also include some popular attractions: carousels, Make Way for Ducklings and other statues, seasonal beer gardens, occasional concerts and movies, festivals, tours, and cruises.
And once you get your fill of Boston's most famous parks (which will probably take quite awhile), there's lots more to discover outdoors: Boston also has lots of "secret" gardens and parks and city beaches - undiscovered by most visitors and little-known even to many locals, but well worth exploring.
Top Photo: Golden tulips blooming in Boston's Public Garden in early May
Boston's Most Famous Parks on Land & Water
1. Boston Common
Not only is Boston Common the country's oldest park, but it's the heart and pulse of the city - a true "people's park," as it's sometimes called.
The Common is packed with attractions, entertainment, and events - plus plenty of benches where you can sit and relax, grassy areas for picnics or naps, and even a dog park. Here are highlights of what to do and see on the Common:
Just across Charles Street from Boston Common is the Victorian-era Public Garden, known for its formal plantings that change with the seasons, a picturesque lagoon, and perhaps the city's top children's attraction.
The Rose Kennedy Greenway stretches like a ribbon from the North End down to Chinatown, punctuated by beautiful gardens and splash fountains, entertainment areas, revolving art displays, a carousel and grassy lawns for picnics and frisbee, food trucks and farmers markets, and even a seasonal beer garden.
Harborwalk winds along the waterfront from Charlestown to South Boston, opening up a panorama of harbor views.
Along the way, you'll find pocket gardens, benches for sitting, massive sculptures, the site of the Boston Tea Party, top attractions such as the New England Aquarium, and wharfs where you can take a Harbor cruise.
The small plaza offers you a little of everything - a reflecting pool for cooling your feet on steamy summer days, a seasonal farmer's market, plenty of places to sit, and occasional concerts and festivals.
More Parks to Explore: Boston's "Insider Secret" Parks
From the famous Fenway Victory Gardens to small pocket gardens known only to locals, Boston is filled with "secret" parks and gardens just waiting for you to discover.
You won't find most, if any of them mentioned in travel guides - but we'll tell you where to find them and why you'll enjoy a visit.