There are plenty of natural attractions in and around Boston that can be enjoyed throughout the year. Whether you’re looking to take a stroll in a park or do a day of fishing, there are lots of places in the region that can serve as ideal venues for outdoor activities. In fact, some of the area’s scenery is so beautiful that you might even wind up wanting to move there when you’re done seeing the sights. Here are the top 7 natural attractions that are in or near New England’s most populous city: 

1. Arnold Arboretum

Famous for being America’s oldest arboretum, this picturesque park located in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood is home to more than 15,000 kinds of plants and contains several scenic walking trails. The main trail is more than 2 miles long and is smoothly paved, making it ideal for cycling and stroller walking. There are also educational resources that will help you learn about the region’s native fauna and wildlife. The surrounding neighborhood is one of Boston’s nicest places to live, so if you’re new to the area, you could do some home or apartment shopping after your excursion. Try heading to Blueground’s site to find high quality fully-furnished and equipped apartments to rent in Boston without actually having to go door to door. It’s the best way to find chic and comfortable accommodation in Boston for mid to long-term stays.

2. Blue Hills Reservation

The Blue Hills State Reservation in Milton is located just minutes outside of downtown Boston, yet encompasses more than 7,000 acres of incredible scenery. This really is one of the most remarkable displays of natural beauty within close proximity to a sprawling urban center. The park’s main attraction – Great Blue Hill – stands at a height of more than 630 feet and is the highest of 22 hills that make up a chain known as the Blue Hills. 

3. Garden in the Woods

Garden in the Woods is located in Framingham and is one of New England’s most diverse wildflower gardens. It’s also the official headquarters and botanical garden for the New England Wildflower Society. Known as an “ever-changing, living museum,” the garden is home to more than a thousand plant species, including many endangered and rare specimens throughout. There’s even a Rare Plant Garden dedicated specifically to the garden’s rarest specimens. The gardens have recently increased the number of family-oriented events and activities as well. 

4. Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area

The Boston Harbor is home to a number of small islands, including Peddocks Island, Thompson Island, Dear Island, Georges Island, Spectacle Island, Bumpkin Island, Little Brewster Island, Great Brewster Island, Grape Island, and Lovells Island. You can take a ferry ride to any one of these islands by visiting the Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area. Be sure to stop by the Gateway Pavilion to check out a 2,000-square foot topographical map of the islands, which is a sight to see in itself. 

5. Charles River Esplanade

The Charles River Esplanade, also locally known as simply “the Esplanade” is a stretch of walking trails and recreation areas that span for 17 miles along the banks of the Charles River. This is one of the city’s most popular gathering places and it overlooks one of the region’s most prominent rivers. 

6. Walden Pond State Park

Widely considered to be the birthplace of the conservation movement, this natural and historical landmark was home to the famous author Henry David Thoreau during the 19th century. With more than 400 acres of parkland surrounding the pond, there are plenty of trails to be explored. This is easily one of the most beautiful sights in the Boston area during the fall because the colorful trees paint the pond’s reflection, turning it into a mosaic piece of art. 

7. Boston Common

No list of natural attractions in Boston would be complete without mentioning Boston Common – the city’s oldest park with roots dating back to the 1630’s. This 50-acre park provides a glimpse at what the center of Boston used to look like before being built up with all the skyscrapers and roads. The park is home to a frog pond, playground, ice-rink, fountain, and numerous walking & cycling trails.  It’s also within 15 minutes walking distance of major attractions like The Boston Public Garden, The Institute of Contemporary Arts, and the Boston Children’s Museum. 

Get an Annual Park Pass

With a Massachusetts Park Pass, you can gain access to discounted entrance and/or free parking for all of the state’s parks. This is a great option if you plan on staying in the area for a while and have the desire to explore more than just the 7 natural attractions listed above.