Jamaica Pond
GOOD FOR: Ages 0-4

Source:Outdoors with Kids Boston (AMC Books)
Address:Jamaicaway and Perkins Street, Jamaica Plain, MA
Hours:All hours daily
Fee: Free

cityofboston.gov; 617-357-8300

Bathrooms: None
Water/Snacks: Water fountain by the bandstand

USGS Boston South

A charming and easy 1.5-mile loop around the pond offers plenty of chances for viewing waterfowl, fishing, walking dogs, and renting boats.

Jamaica Pond
Photo by: Kim Foley MacKinnon

Jamaica Pond is a beautiful oasis in a busy urban neighborhood. The 68-acre pond is a kettle hole that was formed by glaciers melting more than 10,000 years ago. It is part of Boston’s Emerald Necklace, the chain of parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. For nearby residents and visitors alike, the pond serves as a gathering place, a fishing hole, a jogging path, and a center of calm.

Families bring their children to stroll along the mostly smooth, flat, paved path that circles the pond or just to watch the ducks and turtles on its shores. From spring through fall, the nonprofit organization Courageous Sailing offers sailing classes on the pond in cooperation with the Boston Department of Parks & Recreation. (Call 617-522-5061 for information or visit courageoussailing. org.) Sailboats, rowboats, and kayaks are also available to rent. In snowy months, bring your snowshoes and traipse along the easy path. The “Bowl,” next to the pond, is a safe and fun place to sled.

Since the state stocks the pond with fish every year, many people come to try their hand at catching trout, pickerel, bass, and catfish. Children 15 and under don’t need a fishing permit, so feel free to have your child bring along a pole and some bait for an afternoon of fun.

The annual Jamaica Pond Lantern Parade, coordinated by Spontaneous Celebrations, is a fall staple for many families. The October festival draws thousands of people walking around the pond with candle lanterns in a parade of lights. Since it’s so close to Halloween, many kids come in costumes.

Remember: As tempting as it may be, don’t feed the ducks or any other wildlife you encounter. No private crafts are allowed on the pond, and neither is swimming, as the pond is a backup water reserve. Keep your dog on a leash and clean up after it.

Plan B:

If you want to stretch your legs further or find a little more green space with fewer people, the Arnold Arboretum (Trip 7) is a short walk south.

Where to Eat Nearby:

You can find a variety of restaurants (from pizza joints to sub shops to sit-down restaurants) on Centre Street.


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