Going Ashore

It will be interesting to see how Spectacle develops. Of the islands open to the public, it's closest to downtown, with the best docks, an active ferry schedule, and the most facilities for visitors. Clearly the hope is that Spectacle will be an attraction in it's own right while serving as a gateway to the rest of the harbor islands.

The overlapping city, state, federal and private agencies that own, manage and fund the islands is a skein that's difficult to untangle. The result so far of this quirky structure is a park full of islands each retaining a unique identity. Spectacle adds a new dimension.

The man-made landscape and proximity to the city give Spectacle a transitional feel. It's not the mainland, but nor does it quite give you the half-wild, another-world feel of the outer islands, like the Brewsters or even Lovell.

Spectacle trail sign
Geoff Rand
Spectacle Island railing
Geoff Rand
Looking south from the visitors center towards Long Island.

One Hour Ashore

The ranger we spoke with said the single best attraction on the island is the view back to the city from the north drumlin. It's a 2.5 mile loop from the marina.

Off the Beaten Path

Walking the other way, towards the south drumlin, gets you views out towards the rest of the islands.

Maritime History

The visitors center has a nicely executed exhibit on the island's history. It's quick and it's free.

Favorite tidbit is that the north end of the island used to have a set of range lights marking the channel into the Inner Harbor.


  • Restrooms

The restrooms are inside the visitors center, as is the cafe.