Belle Isle Marsh Reservation
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids Boston (AMC Books)
Address:Bennington Street, East Boston, MA
Hours:9 a.m. to dusk daily
Fee: Free
Bathrooms: None
Water/Snacks: None

USGS Boston Marblehead South

Belle Isle Marsh offers an easy walk through Boston’s last remaining salt marsh and a two-story observation tower to climb.

Children love spotting the birds and butterflies that flock to Belle Isle.
Photo by: Jerry & Marcy Monkman

The 152-acre Belle Isle Marsh Reservation offers easy walks that take you through Boston’s last remaining salt marsh. The reservation is a critical habitat for many salt-marsh plants and wildlife now rare to the region. Salt marshes used to be common along the shore of Massachusetts, but development destroyed most of them, so the area is a living time capsule and needs to be protected.

The Massachusetts Department of Recreation and Conservation (DCR) maintains 28 acres of landscaped park, perfect for families. Paved pathways are stroller-friendly and benches are available for resting. Paddlers will enjoy launching their canoe or kayak in the marsh. Kids will enjoy climbing the observation tower.

Boardwalks built over the marsh allow you to catch glimpses of fish in the water below. Birds and butterflies flock here, so it is a great place to spot herons, egrets, and other winged creatures. The Friends of Belle Isle Marsh group ( offers a current bird sighting list on its website, which details the hundreds of different birds that visit and where they were spotted. It’s worth downloading the list and checking it out with your child before you go so that on your visit you can make a game of spotting some of the same birds.

On occasion, the DCR offers guided walks that cover the natural and cultural history of Belle Isle. Check the website for details. The Friends of Belle Isle Marsh group offers fun family programs, such as canoeing on Father’s Day. Remember: Restrooms are not available at Belle Isle. You can find some public restrooms at Revere Beach. You can rent kayaks at the Belle Isle Boat Yard and the Winthrop Town Landing.

Plan B:

Revere Beach, America’s oldest public beach, is a short drive away. Walk along miles of beach or visit the playground.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Several places to eat are along Chelsea Street, which is a ten-minute drive from Belle Isle.


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