Sunday, December 7, 2014

Castle Island: South Boston, MA

Directions: Click here for Google map

Castle Island, located in Dorchester Bay, is an amazing piece of history for Bostonians and visitors to explore and it's a wonderful area for dog walking.  With 22 acres of harbor walkways, grassy parks, sandy beaches, playgrounds, picnic tables, a giant fort, and plenty of free parking, it is easily considered to be one of Boston's best parks.  The areas of Pleasure Bay, M Street Beach and Carson Beach make up a 3-mile segment of parkland along the shoreline.  You can walk in a loop from the shore to Fort Independence (via a pedestrian causeway) and back.  You'll love the beautiful views of the Harbor Islands and commercial airliners flying into nearby Logan Airport.  And don't forget to stop at Sullivan's Restaurant for a lobster roll and an ice cream cone!  

Once a half mile offshore, Castle Island was connected to the mainland in 1930 in order to bring bathers to Pleasure Bay by streetcar.  The prominent feature of Castle Island is Fort Independence, a pentagonal five-bastioned, granite fort built between 1834 and 1851.  Castle Island is the oldest continuously fortified site in British North America, having had a military presence from 1634 through WWII.  The current Fort Independence is the eighth fort to occupy this site.  The fort is open to visitors in the summer months, offering free tours (but doggies aren't allowed inside).  Castle Island and Fort Independence are listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.

For more information about Fort Independence, click here.  
For more information about Castle Island and a trail map, click here.  
For more information about the Boston Harborwalk, click here.

Dogs are required to be leashed in the park.  Dogs are not allowed on the sandy beaches from May to September.

Information sources: Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, Boston Harbor Association, Castle Island Association

Here are the positive features:
  • Miles of waterfront walkways next to and over Boston Harbor
  • Wheelchair / stroller accessible walkways
  • Nearly unlimited free parking in lots and along the street
  • Restrooms available (closed for winter)
  • Picnic tables and park benches
  • Playgrounds and swimming areas
  • Dogs can run around on the beaches during the off-season
  • Open year-round (but the restaurant closes for the winter)
  • Trash barrels and water bubblers (bring a bowl for your pup)
  • I didn't notice any bugs or ticks!
Negative features:
  • No doggie bags are provided, so plan to bring your own

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