Boston beaches provide wonderful escapes from the city without the need to actually leave it - but they fall into the "hidden secrets" category because Cape Cod beaches, Nantucket, and Martha's Vineyard are so much better known.

True, these Boston beaches may not rival the justly-famous beaches on Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, or Nantucket, nor are they as beautiful as Crane's Beach in Ipswich, the rugged shores of Gloucester, or sandy ocean-front beaches in nearby New Hampshire, Maine, or Rhode Island.

However, if you want a place to swim, feel sand between your toes, and relax while soaking up some sun without leaving the city, you'll find a lot to love at these convenient city beaches.

Plus, they offer something that those more famous beaches do not: you can get to them easily and quickly from Boston. Hop on the "T" (Boston's subway), bus, or ferry, and you'll be lying on a blanket on the sand in well under an hour

Here's a roundup of the best, what they offer, and how to reach them on public transportation from Boston.

Boston whale watching cruises give you with the opportunity to see some of the ocean's most fascinating creatures up close and in action. You'll be just a short distance from the city - but immersed in another world.

You'll watch the whales splash in the water, see pods of dolphins playing nearby, and observe many species of sea birds and other marine life. You'll quickly understand why cruise passengers sometimes call this "the experience of a lifetime."

How many whales will you see? Usually anywhere from 3-4 to 10 or more. How many more? Occasionally, 50 or more are spotted.

You'll quickly see why Boston offers the perfect combination of sports, culture, and lots of fun outdoor things to do on land and water.

Use our guide to find Boston's best summer activities: sailing, whale watching cruises, outdoor concerts, bike tours, local beaches, Red Sox games at Fenway Park, outdoor dining at our top restaurants, Shakespeare on Boston Common, and lots more!

Summer Concerts in Boston - Find the Best Outdoor Venues

As soon as warm weather hints at summer's arrival, Boston concerts move to outdoor venues, where you can experience memorable performances by megastars, emerging artists, and popular favorites.

Check out lineups for Boston's four top outdoor concert venues:

Gillette Stadium Concert Schedule

Water surrounds Boston on 3 sides, making it one of the best spots on the East Coast for sailing.

Of course, you can enjoy the water on one of the many Harbor cruises - but if you'd like more active involvement, spend a few days taking sailing lessons and you'll be addicted to this favorite local sport.

Get some exercise and learn about Boston and American history at the same time when you walk the length of the 2.5 mile Freedom Trail, starting at Boston Common.

The Trail takes you to 16 sites crucial to American liberty in historic downtown Boston, the North End, and Charlestown.

Boston's magnificent gardens, both public and private, burst into bloom in late spring and continue their spectacular displays throughout the summer.

Whether you're an avid gardener or just like flowers, garden tours in Boston and Cambridge from May to September let you view these special and sometimes hidden paradises - plus they provide a great way to explore the parts of the city where they're located: Beacon Hill, Fenway, the South End, Cambridge, and more.

Combine exercise with Boston sightseeing when you join a group tour led by avid cyclists who'll share details about the city's history and culture as you ride.

Tours accommodate all skill levels and most are for kids as well as adults. One of the most popular summer activities in Boston!

Showcase Cinemas Randolph , Randolph , 781-963-5600, $$
The Showcase Cinemas in Randolph, MA are an excellent way to spend a rainy day or even a summer day that is just too hot! The stadium seating allows for much roomier seats than your average theater.

5 WITS Interactive Adventures , Foxboro , (508) 698-1600, $$
A 5 Wits adventure will fully immerse you in multi-media experience unlike anything you've ever experienced before! You'll have to solve puzzles, explore new spaces and discover the details of your unique story.

Adams Academy/Quincy Historical Society , Quincy , (617) 773-1144, $
Built on the site of the birthplace of legendary patriot John Hancock - and funded by an endowment left by John Adams - Adams Academy began its life in 1872 as a boys' preparatory school, which operated until 1908.

Adams National Historical Park , Quincy , (617) 770-1175, $
Travel back in time at the Adams National Historical Park, where you'll visit the birthplaces of not one, but two U.S. presidents: John Adams and his son, John Quincy Adams.

Animal World Experience , Stoughton , (781) 436-5400, $$
Animal World Experience offers fun, interactive, and educational traveling animal programs servicing all of Massachusetts and beyond. We bring a variety of animals to your location of choice for a hands-on and close up experience that is guaranteed to be fun for all ages!

Attleboro Arts Museum , Attleboro , 508-222-2644, Free
The Attleboro Arts Museum involves audiences of all ages and backgrounds in the visual arts through diverse and engaging arts experiences and education.

BattlegroundZ Paintball & Arcade , Attleboro , 508-399-7700, $$$
The Battlegroundz complex delivers an action-packed adventure for the whole family. From State of the art Lazer Tag arena to Paintball, they have you covered.

Battleship Cove Birthday Parties , Fall River , (508) 678-1100, $$
Create a unique and exciting birthday party for your child and invited guests at Battleship Cove. They supply everything but the gifts!

Battleship Cove Education School & Group Programs , Fall River , 508-678-1905, $
Battleship Cove offers historic naval ships including a submarine, military exhibits, and related memorabilia that tell the stories of brave sailors and their proud fighting days.

Battleship Cove Naval Ship Museum , Fall River , 508-678-1905, $$
Historic naval ships, military exhibits, and related memorabilia tell the stories of brave sailors and their proud fighting days. Explore the Battleship Massachusetts' nine decks (great for kids!)

Battleship Cove Tours , Fall River , 800-533-3194, $
Explore the Battleship Massachusetts, a submarine, a PT boat, a Japanese suicide boat and more among the fleet of six vessels open to the public.

Blue Hills Observatory & Science Center , Milton , (617) 696-0562, $
Learn the history of the oldest continually operating weather observatory in the country. Enjoy weekend observatory tours, & a great view from the summit.

Blue Hills Ski Area , Canton , (781) 828-5070, $$
Blue Hills is a small area just south of Boston with lots of recent updates! It is an inexpensive convenient venue for families with children, and for those living in Boston on on the South Shore.

Blue Hills State Reservation , Milton , (617) 698-1802, Free
With its scenic views, varied terrain and 125 miles of trails, the Blue Hills Reservation offers year-round enjoyment for the outdoor enthusiast. Great trails for any level.

Blue Hills Trailside Museum , Milton , (617) 333-0690, $
The Blue Hills Trailside Museum is the interpretive center for the 7,000-acre Blue Hills Reservation and is managed by the Massachusetts Audubon Society.

Bonkerz Party Zone , Yarmouth , 508-775-1010
Kids ages 0-12 can bounce, roll, climb & slide until they're exhausted at this spacious indoor playground which also offers various classes & events, a full snack bar and coloring rooms.

Boston Ballet Birthday Parties , Norwell , (617) 456-6214, $$
Celebrate your child's special day in our studios! Birthday parties include a 45 minute ballet or creative movement class, goodie bags, craft activity, and use of tables, chairs and dance props.

Brockton Rox Minor League Baseball , Brockton , (508) 559-7070, $
Help teach kids about teamwork and enjoy the action and excitement of minor league baseball with the Brockton Rox at Campanelli Stadium.

Build A Bear - Birthday Parties , Attleboro , (508) 643-3443, $$$
Build a Bear Workshop Parties are fun and creative. Best of all, each guest goes home with a new best friend - a cute stuffed animal that they make!

Build A Bear - Birthday Parties , Braintree , (781) 356-8400, $$$
Build a Bear Workshop Parties are fun and creative. Best of all, each guest goes home with a new best friend - a cute stuffed animal that they make!

Buttonwood Park Zoo , New Bedford , (508) 991-6178, $
Nearly 200 species of animals are represented in the Buttonwood Park Zoo, ranging from tiny frogs to enormous elephants. Pony & Train Rides as well as a weekly music hour.

Cape Cod Children's Museum , Mashpee , (508) 539-8788, $$
A non-profit organization, the Cape Cod Children's Museum is a place where families an children can learn and play together. Have fun exploring the Pirate Ship, see the stars at the indoor planetarium, or create your own stories at the Puppet Theatre.

Cape Cod Inflatable Park , Yarmouth , (508) 771-6060, $$
Whether you like adrenaline-filled challenges, exciting water rides or just bouncing around, you'll find thrills from mild to wild at the Cape Cod Inflatable Park.

Cape Cod Melody Tent , Hyannis , (781) 383-9860, $$$
For more than 50 years, the South Shore Music Circus and it's sister venue, the Cape Cod Melody Tent, have been presenting world-class entertainment in the scenic Massachusetts coastal communities of Cohasset and Hyannis.

Cape Cod Museum of Natural History , Cape Cod , (508) 896-3867, $$
The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History has interactive displays on crustaceans, mollusks, fish, frogs, turtles and snakes. There are natural trails behind the museum.

Cape Cod National Seashore , Cape Cod , (508)487-1256, $$
The Cape Cod Seashore offers six swimming beaches, eleven self-guiding nature trails, and a variety of picnic areas and scenic overlooks.

Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory , Hyannis , 508- 775-3358, Free
For the Boston day trip with the most crunch, you can't beat The Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory. From a glass-enclosed corridor, watch chip makers at work.

Cape Cod Scenic Railroad , Cape Cod , (888) 797-RAIL, $$$
All aboard! The Scenic Excursion Train winds past cranberry bogs, lush marshes, and natural woodlands on it two-hour journey between Hyannis and the Cape Cod Canal.

Cape Playhouse Children's Theatre , Dennis , (508) 385-3911, $
The CCCA brings you classic tales, zany humor, beloved stories and lively music - each production a wonderful way to introduce young people to the joys of theatre.

Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge , , (508) 627-7689, $
Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge is a wildlife refuge on Chappaquiddick Island (Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts) owned and managed by The Trustees of Reservations. The refuge consists of 516 acres and includes the 1893 Cape Poge Lighthouse.

Capron Park & Zoo , Attleboro , (508) 222-6202, $
The Capron Park Zoo is a great place to bring the entire family. This zoo is a small park with plenty of animals to see. The river otters offer plenty of entertainment with their tricks and performances that they seem to do endlessly!

Ceramics a la Carte , Canton , 781-828-6660, $$
Fun for all ages...anyone can choose from our wide selection of ceramic pieces, grab a brush, some paint and create a work of art. Come alone, bring a friend, plan for your next party and we'll supply the fun! We look forward to helping you achieve your creative goals.

Ceramics a la Carte Birthday Parties , Canton , 781-828-6660, $$
Fun for all ages...anyone can choose from our wide selection of ceramic pieces, grab a brush, some paint and create a work of art. Come alone, bring a friend, plan for your next party and we'll supply the fun! We look forward to helping you achieve your creative goals.

Children's Museum in Easton , Easton , (508) 230-3789, $$
Housed in the Old Fire Station in Easton, MA, the Museum offers interactive exhibits in the arts and sciences for children and families to explore together.

Chuck E. Cheese , Attleboro , (508) 399-8445, $$
Chuck E. Cheese kid's arcade host birthday parties that include 90 minutes of table time, food, drinks, cake and playtime with tokens for games.

Chuck E. Cheese , Dartmouth , (508) 993-9969, $$
Chuck E. Cheese kid's arcade host birthday parties that include 90 minutes of table time, food, drinks, cake and playtime with tokens for games.

CLOSED Kidz Wurld, Inc. , North Attleboro , 508-695-1674, $$
This 6,000 square foot parent supervised playcenter is geared toward providing stimulating, interactive physical activity for children up to 10. Highlights include several interactive inflatables, rock climbing wall, roller coasters, an enclosed infant soft play area for the little ones, and an arcade area.

Coast Guard Heritage Museum , Barnstable , 508-362-8521, $
USCG history, the Oldest Wooden Jail in America and the Village Blacksmith Shop.

Dalby Farm , Scituate , 781-545-4952, $
Dalby Farm's tours, programs and events are interactive learning experiences that expose youngsters and adults to animals, plants and the importance of nature in a safe, positive way.

Dave & Buster's , Braintree , 781-519-7900, $$
Dave & Buster's is a gigantic family-friendly game room where “of age” players can drink and gamble, and youngsters trade in their ski ball tickets for glitzy prizes. Minors must be accompanied by an adult over 25.

DropZone Plymouth - Aerial Adventure Park , Plymouth , 508-958-9323, $$
Zip Lines - High Ropes Course - Quick Jump - Climbing Wall - Mini Golf - RC Track

Duxbury Beach Park , Duxbury , (781) 837-3112
Two beaches in one (Inner Beach and Outer Beach) as the beach is sort of a thin penninsula with a parking lot in the middle. Overall, the beach is a long thin stretch that is somewhat 'stoney' along the shore.

Edaville Family Theme Park , Carver , (508) 866-8190, $$
Edaville Family Theme Park is bigger and better than ever. Now featuring Edaville,Thomas Land, Dino Land (seasonal) and Christmas Festival of Lights (seasonal), including 90+ rides & attractions. The park is located at 5 Pine Street in South Carver, Massachusetts.


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