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Favorite Outdoor Spaces to Enjoy this Spring on the South Shore

April 1, 2021

Spring has sprung! After a long winter of being confined indoors, missing out on holiday parties, and working from home when possible, it’s time to get outdoors and enjoy the natural beauty of the South Shore. It’s good for your health!

Photo credit: Pete Marotta

There are many benefits to safely spending time outdoors including getting fresh air, boosting Vitamin D, relieving stress and getting exercise. Being in nature can calm your nervous system and exposure to sunlight helps boost the serotonin levels in your brain which raises your energy and keeps your mood calm, positive, and focused. Our South Shore communities are full of beautiful places to visit.

World’s End in Hingham: World’s End is a 251-acre property with tree-lined carriage paths, rocky shorelines, open fields ringed by woodlands, and sweeping views of the Boston skyline which is only 15 miles away. The tree-lined carriage paths were designed by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and make pleasant walking trails. The property is ideal for walking, jogging, bird watching, or simply enjoying nature and the outdoors.

The four drumlins that comprise World’s End were created by a retreating glacier that helped create the islands of Boston Harbor. World’s End was once an island at high tide, but farmers in colonial times dammed the salt marsh to grow hay. Wealthy Boston businessman John Brewer built a farming estate in the 1880s and in 1890, he hired Frederick Law Olmsted to design a large subdivision. The homes of the subdivision were never built, but four miles of carriage roads remain. In 1967, dedicated residents from Hingham and surrounding communities along with The Trustees were able to preserve this special place from development.

World’s End is currently open in a controlled manner to limit overcrowding and reserved Time/Day Passes are required in advance. For more information on getting passes to visit World’s End, check The Trustees website.

Norris Reservation in Norwell: On this lovely property along the North River, you can hike along carriage roads, stroll past a former mill pond, explore a pine forest or find your way to the boathouse. There are several loop or out-and-back routes along the carriage roads from which you can reach the bank of the tidal North River, a National Natural Landmark and a Commonwealth of Massachusetts Scenic River. You can stop at the boathouse or at an overlook bench to bird watch or spot the occasional boater passing by.

In the 1920s, Albert and Eleanor Norris began purchasing land along the North River which was the center of Colonial-era shipbuilding in New England. The couple eventually built a cottage, cut a trail system, opened up the shady forest to attract wildflowers and ferns. The property has become a haven for woodland and riverside wildlife, where forested areas combine with salt marsh and a millpond.

The 129-acre Norris Reservation is free to all and open daily from sunrise to sunset.

Nantasket Beach in Hull: Nantasket Beach is a public beach which includes a mile of the Atlantic shoreline located on the peninsula of the Town of Hull. It is part of the Nantasket Beach Reservation, administered by the state Department of Conservation and Recreation. The shore has fine, light gray sand and is one of the busiest beaches in Greater Boston. At low tide, there are acres of tide pools. The beach is open dawn to dusk and lifeguards on duty from late June to early September. The bathhouse and restrooms are currently closed to aid in the prevention of spreading COVID-19.

Visit the nearby Paragon Carousel and Museum. The Paragon Carousel has been operating in Nantasket Beach for 90 years. It is the last remaining attraction from the Paragon Park amusement park on Nantasket Beach, which was active from 1905 to 1984. The Carousel is a hand-carved wooden merry-go-round, one of the last of its kind still operating in the country.

The Paragon Carousel will be open starting Saturday May 8, 2021 and the Carousel Creamery will be open starting Memorial Day Weekend.

Webb Memorial State Park is a scenic peninsula at the end of River Street which extends half a mile into Hingham Bay with scenic views of Boston’s harbor and skyline. Recreational activities for visitors include fishing, picnicking, and walking. The main trail provides a one-mile loop for hiking. According to the Massachusetts State Park website, the main parking area is closed to aid in the prevention of spreading Covid-19.

The glacial hills and connecting lowland that form Weymouth Neck and Webb Memorial State Park have been sculpted by both natural and human forces for thousands of years. Native Americans utilized the area for its wealth of shellfish, finfish, and wild fruits. European settlers used the area for agriculture through the end of the nineteenth century.

Quincy Shores Reservation on Quincy Shore Drive in Quincy provides 2.3 miles of beach. The area is popular for its jogging and biking trail. Free on-site parking is available.

Caddy Park on the southern end of the beach has more than fifteen acres of fields and marsh, and includes a play area, lookout tower, and picnic tables. To the north is Moswetuset Hummock, a National Historic Site, which was a summer campsite for the Massachusett tribe in the 1600’s. Now a mix of woodland trails and marshland, Moswetuset Hummock offers a short loop trail with views of Quincy Bay and Squantum Marsh.

Quincy Quarries Reservation in Quincy is where America’s large scale granite quarrying industry was born and became famous for being the source of stone used for the Bunker Hill Monument and. The quarry is now a state park and has become a popular area for rock climbing and picnicking. The steep walls of the quarry are perfect for topline rock climbing. The quarry is open from dawn to dusk and free parking is available on-site.

Squantum Point Park in Quincy was once a Naval airfield and is now a beautiful waterfront park. Squantum Point on the Squantum Peninsula in North Quincy offers great views of the Boston Skyline across the harbor and is a popular spot for birdwatching. Accessible trails provide opportunities for walking and running, and the access to water affords fishing, canoeing and kayaking. The park is open dawn to dusk with metered parking nearby.

The Quincy RiverWalk, part of the Neponset River Reservation, provides a 2-mile trail from Squantum Point Park to the Gazebo at Adams Inn, providing spectacular views of the estuary. The RiverWalk includes a natural beach from which canoes and kayaks may be launched and landed located behind the Boston Scientific facility on Commander Shea Boulevard in Quincy. Free parking is available a few hundred feet from the launch.

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