When you think about the city of Boston, Massachusetts, you may think of the many important historical events that occurred around the city before and during the Revolutionary War or the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Park. Maybe you’re dying to try the famous Boston Baked Beans or simply stop by Cheers to see if they really do know your name?
However, in honor of National Parks Week we’d like to highlight the many registered historic sites and parks in the Boston area. With the ability to book a direct flight from St. Louis to Boston, we hope this post helps get your travel juices flowing and gives you some ideas for a fun summer vacation.
As you consider a trip to Boston, know that the city offers plenty of options for public transportation. In fact, our nation’s very first subway system began in Boston and more people in Boston walk to work or for daily errands than anywhere else in the country. Additionally, with all of the historic sites around Boston, walking is the best way to see the city.
There are numerous sites that are registered with the National Park Service. Here are some of the primary sites around the Boston area:
Longfellow House/Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site (temporarily closed due to COVID-19)
John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site (renovations are underway and this site will be open in the Spring of 2022)
Just visiting these sites could easily take up a number of days in Boston. Combining your visits or simply planning a walking route through the city to take in as many sites as possible is advised.
The Boston National Historical Park includes a number of NPS sites, as well as several interesting partner sites. This park is actually a trail of individual sites related to the Revolutionary War. To see most of the sites that make up the park, you’ll want to follow the 2.5 mile Freedom Trail. The trail begins at Faneuil Hall (the National Park Service’s main visitor center is located here, too) and includes 16 historic sites, such as historic buildings, ships, churches, and historic event sites.
Though the National Park Service operates some of the 16 sites, such as the Bunker Hill Monument and Museum and the First Public School Site, many sites along the Freedom Trail are operated as partner sites, including the following:
Some of these partner sites have a fee to enter and others charge fees for tours. We have linked the websites for these partner sites above so you can do a little research as you make your plan.
The other historic trail with 14 important sites is the 1.6 mile Black Heritage Trail that winds through the Beacon Hill neighborhood and that is part of the Boston African American National Historic Site.
The Black Heritage Trail includes a number of sites that played a key part in the struggle and efforts of Boston’s Black community for equal rights before, during, and after the American Civil War. Many sites along the trail are private residences, but the Abiel Smith School and the African Meeting House are part of the Museum of African American History and are open to the public.
The Boston African American National Historic Site focuses on educating visitors about the importance Boston played as part of the Underground Railroad, as well as the 54th Infantry Regiment, which was composed of black Soldiers who served during the Civil War. The Robert Grould Shaw and Massachusetts 54th Regiment Memorial pays homage to the service of these brave Soldiers who were recruited by Frederick Douglass and Lewis Hayden.
To help you plan your visit and ensure you are able to see all sites on the trail, you may want to take the virtual tour offered through the National Park Service website.
If you’re looking to get out of the city and explore some of the other area historic or recreational sites, we highly recommend taking a day trip to the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area or the Adams National Historical Park. The Boston Harbor Islands lets you experience the incredible biodiversity of the area. Not only will you be able to check out some of the wildlife, such as unique bird species, but you can enjoy the hiking trails and even camp on the islands. It’s a great way to add in some relaxing nature with a mostly city-focused vacation.
Additionally, if you’re headed back to the city after visiting the islands, we recommend making a stop at the Adams National Historical Park. A visit to this historic park will allow you to meet the Adams family and better understand how our nation’s earliest statesmen and “learned women” helped shape separate colonies into what became known as America.
With so much history, a trip to Boston should definitely be on your bucket list. There are also a number of other attractions in Boston to fill your time. If you love the theater and arts, you have your choice of theaters and Broadway-quality performances. Families and children enjoy numerous hands-on museums, many public parks, fun ship-focused museums, a walk along the Boston Harborwalk, and of course, a ride on the Greenway Carousel.
We hope this helps you begin your plans for a fun trip to Boston! We can’t wait to see you at the airport as you head out to this incredible destination.