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Castle Island

Castle Island is a 22-acre urban park located at the tip of the South Boston peninsula, offering panoramic views of Boston Harbor and the city skyline. Today, it is a popular recreational destination, boasting a rich history and a wide range of outdoor activities.


Castle Island’s history dates back to 1634 when it was used as a military fortification. The original fort, known as “The Castle,” was replaced in the 18th century by Fort Independence, which stands on the island today. Over the centuries, the fort has played various roles, including serving as a British stronghold during the American Revolution and later as a state prison.


  • Fort Independence: The centerpiece of Castle Island is Fort Independence, a pentagonal five-bastioned fort made of granite, which visitors can explore during the summer months.
  • Connected to Mainland: Although called an “island,” Castle Island has been connected to the mainland since the 1920s by a narrow strip of land.
  • Designation: It’s part of the Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Recreational Hub: The area is a beloved spot for jogging, strolling, fishing, and picnicking, with well-maintained paths and facilities.


Castle Island is situated at the end of William J. Day Blvd in the South Boston neighborhood. It’s accessible by car, public transportation, and bike paths.


For more information about Castle Island, including its history, events, and visitor guidelines, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation website is a valuable resource:

Opening Hours

The park is open year-round from dawn to dusk. Fort Independence typically offers tours on weekends from Memorial Day through Columbus Day.

Things to Do

  • Fort Tours: Explore the historic Fort Independence.
  • Walking and Jogging: Enjoy the 2.6-mile loop around the park and along the water’s edge.
  • Swimming and Sunbathing: Visit the adjacent Pleasure Bay Beach during the warmer months.
  • Fishing: Try your luck at fishing from the shore.
  • Picnicking: Utilize the numerous picnic tables and grills.
  • Kite Flying: Take advantage of the open space and sea breezes.
  • Sullivan’s: Stop by the famous Sullivan’s snack shack for classic New England food.

Tips For Visiting

  1. Check the Weather: Boston’s weather can be changeable, dress appropriately.
  2. Parking: Arrive early on summer weekends to secure a parking spot as it can get busy.
  3. Accessibility: The area is wheelchair accessible, with paved paths around the park.
  4. Restrooms: Public restrooms are available near Sullivan’s.
  5. Obey Rules: Follow posted signs, especially those related to swimming areas and dog restrictions.
  6. Historical Respect: When touring the fort, be respectful of its historical significance.
  7. Wildlife: Be mindful of local wildlife and do not disturb the natural habitats.


Castle Island is a cultural and historical treasure in Boston, offering a blend of past and present. With its scenic views, recreational activities, and the impressive Fort Independence, it provides a unique experience for all ages. Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or just seeking a peaceful place to relax, Castle Island has something to offer everyone. Its easy accessibility and variety of attractions make it an essential destination for anyone exploring the Boston area.

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