Weather :

Timings : 6:30 am to 7:00 pm

Parking : Free parking near Fort Independence, Metered parking along the beach

Admission Fee : None

Pets : Dogs not allowed between 1 May and 15 September

Key Monuments : Fort Independence, Donald McKay obelisk, South Boston Korean War Memorial

Walking Paths : Pleasure Bay Loop, Castle Island Loop

Facilities : Restrooms, rinsing showers, first aid station, lifeguard station

Accessibility : Accessibility restrooms and trails

Subway Line : Red line

Train : Framingham/ Worcester or Providence/ Stoughton

Bus : Number 7,9,10,11

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Castle Island, Boston Overview

An extremely popular attraction among locals and tourists alike, Castle Island, formerly known as Castle William Island, is an island turned peninsula on the Boston Harbor. The site of the historical Fort Independence, it’s quite close to the city centre and is the perfect destination for a day’s outing for people of all age groups. The beach, playground, scenic view, historical monuments and trails make it a fitting destination for an excursion.

Castle Island is located on the shore of Boston Harbor, in South Boston, and is a frequently visited destination just 15 minutes away from the main city. It was an island up until 1928, when it was joined to the mainland, thus becoming a peninsula. The home of Fort Independence, it is of great historical significance and is frequented by those who wish to be a part of the Castle Tours.

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Things to Do at Castle Island

There is plenty to do at Castle Island for people of all age groups:
  • Those who love to walk or hike can take advantage of the long shoreline, Castle Island Loop and Pleasure Bay Loop, trails that are also great for cycling and dog walking.
  • Swimming in the water can be quite a relaxing activity during the hot summer months while the sandy beach is suitable for laying under the sun, picnics or for different beach sports. It also offers visitors the chance to take a break from their busy lives and soak in the gorgeous view, which often includes watching planes at the Boston Logan Airport.
  • Sullivan’s is a visitor’s treat here, with there being a variety of edible treats like ice cream, crab rolls and fried clam, to turn the Island experience even more joyful.
  • The site of several prominent monuments like Fort Independence, Donald McKay obelisk and the South Boston Korean War Memorial, Castle Island is the perfect getaway for those enthusiastic about history and learning about the city in particular. The Fort tours add to the educational experience.

Things to Do for Children at Castle Island

Castle Island is not only fun for adults but also for children. The fenced playground is the perfect spot for them to play with other children on the swings or slides, or simply run around. The beach is great for them to play ball, throw around a frisbee, fly a kite or take a dip in the water. The Boston Logan Airport right across means that children can enjoy watching multiple airplanes takes off and land, while munching on some tasty fried food from Sullivan's.

Monuments at Castle Island

Castle Island boasts of historical appeal and houses some key structures like:
  • Fort Independence: It is a granite bastion fort that was used primarily for defending the Boston harbour and stands tall as one of the oldest continuously fortified establishments in the country. It was built between 1833 and 1851, and is now a state park that sometimes fires ceremonial salutes, like on 4 July. It is an ideal time to visit Castle Island around or after Memorial Day weekend (after May) because of the free educational tours. It is open on Thursday evenings in August for Twilight Skyline Viewing and is the only time when visitors can walk on its upper level.
  • The South Boston Korean War Memorial- It commemorates all those who lost their lives or went missing during the Korean War of 1950-53.
  • Donald McKay obelisk- It pays tribute to McKay, who built several ships including “Flying Cloud” and “Sovereign of the Seas.”

Fort Independence Tours

One of the focal areas of interest, Fort Independence on Castle Island offers visitors the chance to learn about the history of the Island as well as the Fort. Castle Island Association volunteers organise regular 30-minute tours (between noon and 3:30 pm) that highlight the major events associated with the Fort, the Island and thus Boston. These free tours usually begin towards the end of May, around Memorial Day. Moreover, the Fort is open to visitors Thursday evenings in August for Twilight Skyline Viewings, when people can actually go up to the upper level.

Where to Eat at Castle Island

A popular food joint here on Castle Island is Sullivan's, known for their delicious fried clams and ice cream, and lobster rolls. The restaurant opens for business around February or March and immediately attracts long queues of people waiting to taste their treats!

How to Get to Castle Island

Just 15 odd minutes away from the city centre, it is possible to get to Castle Island in a car, via the bus, Subway or the train. When it comes to the bus, Number 7,9,10,11 lead to the Island; board Number 9 at Copley or Number 7 at South Station and get off at City Point (final stop) and it is a short walk to the beach. The Red line of the Subway goes to the Island while it takes approximately 3-5 minutes to get there via the train; just hop on at South Station station.

History of Castle Island

It was in the 17th century that Fort Hill was chosen as a defense against attack, and a battery was constructed here in 1632. Subsequently, Boston wished to expand their defences to the harbour, a key source of supplies and communication. Having found Castle Island suitable, Governor Thomas Dudley along with other men decided to build a fortress, with Deputy Governor Roger Ludlow and Captain John Mason being the principal supervisors. Around 1635, in order to make the fortification known, cannons were fired at incoming vessels.

Initially known as Castle William, the fort was not only the first state prison in Massachusetts in the 18th century, it was also where privateer Maisonnat dit Baptise was imprisoned during the fight between the English and French. The current structure, renamed Fort Independence in 1797, was built between 1833-1851 and is the eight generation of forts.

A prominent fact about Castle Island is that the Fort was the site of the violent Siege of Boston during the American Revolution and was used by the British as their main military base as well as served as a refuge for Massachusetts royal administration leaders, their families and several loyalists. Since the structure was destroyed during the 1776 British Evacuation of Boston, the work on a new one began in 1801.

Originally an actual island, Castle Island was joined to the mainland by a narrow piece of land as part of a land reclamation project to expand port facilities. The Island is also where one would find the Donald McKay obelisk, a tribute to the man who built “Flying Cloud” and “Sovereign of the Seas,” both clipper ships, and the South Boston Korean War Memorial commemorating those who died or disappeared during the 1950-53 Korean War.

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