If you are interested in getting out to enjoy the great outdoors in the Boston area, you may be surprised to learn that there are many options available from which you can choose. In fact, here are just a few wonderful sanctuaries, refuges and other outdoor areas you might want to explore this summer.
Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary
Located in nearby Norfolk, the Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary features an extensive boardwalk system that passes through wetlands, fields and forest. Covering 102 acres of space, the sanctuary features two miles of universally accessible trails. Some of the sanctuary highlights include a boardwalk that ends in a marsh-viewing platform, a nature play area, native butterfly and bird gardens, natural history exhibits and a gift shop with nature-oriented items. The sanctuary is also located adjacent to the 140-acre Bristol Blake State Reservation.
Boston Harbor Islands: Georges Island
Located just 7 miles from Boston, Georges Island might as well be in a world of its own. A short ferry ride away, the island boasts a fort to explore complete with dungeons and a drawbridge. The island also offers plenty of space on its 53 acres to enjoy the outdoors.
Habitat Education Center and Wildlife Sanctuary
Located in Belmont, the Habitat Education Center and Wildlife Sanctuary boasts 88 acres of nature with 2.5 miles of trails that wind through deciduous and evergreen forests, around ponds and across meadows. Highlights include Turtle Pond, the Habitat Intergenerational Program, the Weeks Pond Trail and the Western Greenway Trail.
Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
Located in Concord, the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is just a 20 mile drive from Boston. Boasting 3,800 acres of space, approximately 85 percent of the refuge is comprised of freshwater wetlands that stretch along 12 miles of the Concord and Sudbury Rivers. The refuge is protected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a nesting, feeding and resting habitat for wildlife, particularly migratory birds.
Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary
Located in Natick, Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary offers 624 acres of space and 9 miles of trails. Running along Indian Brook and the Charles River, the sanctuary offers opportunity to see otters, turtles and more than 150 species of birds. Trails lead through mature woodlands and along marshlands, streams and ponds. The sanctuary is also home to the Saltonstall Nature Center, which is a renovated 1911 horse barn featuring a four-season outdoor pavilion, a welcome center and classrooms.
Halibut Point State Park
Located in Rockport, Halibut Point State Park is a year-round park open from sunrise to sunset each day. Boasting a beautiful coastal seascape, the park is a popular location for scrambling over rocks and checking out tidal pools.
Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
Located in Newburyport, the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge is a barrier island that serves as a haven for birds. Established in 1941, the refuge is comprised of more than 4700 acres of diverse habitat including cranberry bog, sandy beach, maritime forest and freshwater marsh.