Boston August 16, 2017
7 Natural Hidden Gems In Boston Most People Don’t Know Even Exist
Boston may be “America’s Walking City,” but you don’t have to embark on a lengthy hike to enjoy the many green spaces around the city. Sometimes you just want to shut out the world – or at least mute it a little – and spend some time in nature. These 7 undiscovered nooks and crannies within Boston and the surrounding suburbs make a mini-escape possible.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. South Garden at the Prudential Center (Back Bay, Boston)
Many shoppers have no idea that this garden is nestled inside the Prudential Center complex. At a little over an acre, the petite oasis conceals water features and an open stretch of lawn. There are an unexpectedly frequent number of public events held here, like movie nights and exercise classes.
The Prudential Center is located at 800 Boylston Street in Boston.
2. Prospect Hill Park (Waltham)
This wooded city park covers 250 acres and includes a paved road that both vehicles and walkers can use, along with plenty of trails winding through the woods. Climb to the top for a scenic view of the Boston skyline!
Prospect Hill Park is located at 314 Totten Pond Road in Waltham. Enter from either Totten Pond Road or Prospect Hill Road.
3. Mount Auburn Cemetery (Cambridge/Watertown)
You’re probably well aware that Mount Auburn exists, but did you know that this cemetery is also a first-rate arboretum? There are close to 700 different species of trees here. Although it was the first "rural" cemetery in the country, the city has grown up around these 174-acres of greenery and it’s well worth exploring. Follow the pathways around the pond or climb up to Washington Tower for vistas like this.
Mount Auburn is located at 580 Mount Auburn Street in Cambridge.
4. Peddocks Island (Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area)
For a fun hiking spot full of history, consider heading out to Peddocks Island for your next trek. Due to its limited amenities, this Harbor Island doesn’t receive the same volume of visitors or attention as Georges Island or Spectacle Island; however, that's no reflection on its natural beauty. Trails here lead to a pond, marsh, and coastal forest. At 184-acres in size, Peddocks offers the longest shoreline of the Harbor Islands and varied landscapes. Here is the
5. Deer Island (Boston)
Despite the implications of its name, you can now reach Deer Island by land. Once there, stroll along the 2.6-mile long shoreline path for views of the city skyline and of the water. Despite the noise from the airplanes at Logan, this is a gem because it blends human infrastructure with natural preservation – a delicate balance. Take a moment to read the memorial to Judge A. David Mazzone, who was integral to cleaning up the Boston Harbor.
To reach this island, travel through Winthrop until you reach Deer Island Road.
6. Boston Nature Center (Mattapan)
This undiscovered spot includes meadows and wetlands, providing a habitat for 150 different species of birds, not to mention butterflies and abundant plant life. Amble along the trails and over the boardwalks on your own, or check out one of the special events where you can learn about anything from medicinal plants or take a nature walk (for a fee).
Boston Nature Center is located at 500 Walk Hill Street in Mattapan.
7. Torbet McDonald State Park (Medford)
The Charles River gets all the glory, but it’s not the only river running through Boston! Torbert MacDonald State Park abuts the Mystic River. It recently received an overhaul and is a great escape just outside of Boston proper.
Torbet McDonald State Park is located at 4253 Mystic Valley Parkway in Medford.
What park or reservation do you think deserves more recognition? Where’s your favorite little oasis to unwind?
If you appreciate the great outdoors, you may also be interested in our past article about
9 Epic Hiking Spots Around Boston.