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Picnic Areas, Outdoor Lunch Spots Around Boston

If you are a picnic lover, chances are you have had at least one picnic lunch along the Charles River in Cambridge or Boston (or both!). And if you are a hiker, you have probably eaten at least one sandwich at the top of Great Blue Hill on the Canton/Milton line. But what if you like to have a picnic or an outdoor lunch at a spot that is a bit more unique or different, and perhaps has few crowds? Well, there are many such places in the Boston area, some of which we have included below. These areas range from the easily accessible Piers Park in East Boston to a rather difficult-to-find peninsula at Walden Pond in Lynn. Read on to check out some of these places, and have fun relaxing outdoors with some good food! (Note: This picnic/outdoor lunch spots page is part of our restaurant features section.)


Picnic/Outdoor Spots Near Boston
Building 114
Castle Island
Constellation Wharf
Corey Hill Park
Deer Island
Hemlock Hill
Piers Park
Picnic/Outdoor Spots North of Boston
Castle Rock
Chandler Hovey Park
Crocker Park
Forty Steps Beach
Halibut Point
Horn Pond
Walden Pond
Wenepoykin Hill
Picnic/Outdoor Spots West of Boston
Acton Arboretum
Cat Rock
Meadow Pond
Menotomy Rocks Park
Noanet Peak
Powissett Pond
Picnic/Outdoor Spots South of Boston
Great Dome
Heron Pond
Hull Gut
Kitchamakin Hill
Nut Island
Heron Pond
Ponkapoag Pond
Planter's Hill
Sunset Lake

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Picnic/Outdoor Eating Spots Near Boston

Building 114
Charlestown, MA
Access: easy
Views: water
Amenities: tables, benches, rest rooms
Picnic blanket friendly? no
Location: 16th Street, at the northern tip of the Charlestown waterfront

A scenic spot with a drab name, Building 114 is the last spot on the Harborwalk in Charlestown. Located a bit east of the Mystic Tobin Bridge, Building 114 is an historic structure that is now open to the public and includes an outdoor area out back where people can relax and enjoy the views of the bridge and the Mystic River.
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Castle Island
South Boston, MA
Access: easy
Views: water
Amenities: tables, benches, rest rooms
Picnic blanket friendly? yes
Location: end of Day Boulevard, at the eastern tip of South Boston

Popular with folks who live in South Boston but otherwise little-known, Castle Island is a peninsula that juts out into Boston Harbor from the tip of Southie. In addition to having a walkway that loops out into the ocean and back again, Castle Island also has plenty of grassy areas that overlook the water and are perfect places for having a picnic on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
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Constellation Wharf
Charlestown, MA
Access: easy
Views: water
Amenities: benches
Picnic blanket friendly? no
Location: along the Charlestown waterfront, a few piers north of the USS Constitution

Constellation Wharf is a confusing place, as it is part of the Harborwalk, but the signage makes it also appear to be private. But the viewing area at the end of the wharf is indeed public, and it feels like you are halfway out into the harbor when you reach it. Constellation Wharf is a gated community, so don't go overboard with a picnic in the viewing area, but it is indeed a nice place to sit on a bench and eat a sandwich while watching the boats go by.
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Corey Hill Park
Brookline, MA
Access: easy
Views: hilltop
Amenities: tables, benches
Picnic blanket friendly? yes
Location: Summit Avenue, off of Beacon Street near Coolidge Corner

Also known to some as Summit Avenue Park, Corey Hill Park is at the top of an improbably steep road just off Beacon Street near Coolidge Corner in Brookline. Spectacular views of the Boston area can be had from the small green space at the top of the hill, and even though much of the park is on a downward slope, there are a few areas where you can put a blanket.
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Deer Island
Boston, MA
Access: easy
Views: water
Amenities: benches
Picnic blanket friendly? yes
Location: off of Shirley Street, near the southeast tip of Winthrop

At the tip of a peninsula that is also home to the town of Winthrop, Deer Island is part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Historic Park. A number of walkways can be found here in addition to areas for picnicking. The views from Deer Island are nothing short of incredible, but be forewarned; there is very little shade here, so bring a beach umbrella if you don't like the sun!
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Hemlock Hill
Jamaica Plain, MA
Access: moderate
Views: hilltop
Amenities: none
Picnic blanket friendly? yes
Location: eastern section of Arnold Arboretum, near South Street

Picnics are not allowed in the Arnold Arboretum, but if you happen to bring a sandwich and a bottle of water up the relatively remote Hemlock Hill and eat discreetly, you should be ok. The views from Hemlock Hill are very fine, especially considering that the hill--and the arboretum--are within the city limits of Boston, and the handful of shade trees at the top of the hill help make for a nice spot on a hot summer day.
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Piers Park
East Boston, MA
Access: easy
Views: water
Amenities: benches, rest rooms
Picnic blanket friendly? yes
Location: Marginal Street, East Boston waterfront

Piers Park, which is just south of Logan Airport in East Boston, is a true hidden gem among Boston's city parks. The benches out toward the tip of the park afford some of the most spectacular skyline views of Boston anywhere, and the small grassy areas out on the tip allow for limited picnicking. And there is plenty more room for having a picnic near the entrance to the park, though that area is a bit away from the best water views.
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Picnic/Outdoor Eating Spots North of Boston

Castle Rock
Saugus, MA
Access: difficult
Views: hilltop
Amenities: none
Picnic blanket friendly? no
Location: western edge of Breakheart Reservation, near Farm Street/Main Street

The highest point in Saugus's Breakheart Reservation and one of the most scenic spots inside Route 128, Castle Rock is a rugged, rocky outcropping that is just under 300 feet above sea level. Views of Boston's skyline, as well as Wakefield Center (and on a clear day, the mountains of central Massachusetts and New Hampshire) can be had from Castle Rock. Please note, however, that this is more of a place to eat a sandwich while sitting on a rock than a true picnic spot.
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Chandler Hovey Park
Marblehead, MA
Access: easy
Views: water
Amenities: tables, benches
Picnic blanket friendly? somewhat
Location: off Ocean Avenue, at northern tip of Marblehead Neck

Chandler Hovey Park is a mostly little-known place on the rocky coast of Marblehead Neck. The park has a lighthouse, rocky ledges overlooking Marblehead Harbor and the old section of town, and a few tiny sandy areas down by the water. The views from this park are spectacular (especially around sunset, as you look west over the water), and there are a few flat areas where you can spread out a picnic blanket.
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Crocker Park
Marblehead, MA
Access: easy
Views: water
Amenities: tables, benches
Picnic blanket friendly? somewhat
Location: Front Street, Old Town Marblehead

Across the water from Chandler Hovey Park in the historic Old Town section of Marblehead, this park is situated high above Marblehead Harbor with memorable views of Marblehead Neck and the water below. Many people come here to read or eat lunch while sitting at one of the several benches and tables overlooking the harbor.
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Forty Steps Beach
Nahant, MA
Access: difficult
Views: water
Amenities: none
Picnic blanket friendly? somewhat
Location: near intersection of Nahant Road and Cliff Street

Completely obscured from view even though it is just below the main road in Nahant, Forty Steps Beach is a great place to go if you like to relax by the water without having to deal with the crowds. It is a somewhat rocky area, but picnic-friendly, and is much quieter than Nahant Beach, which is only a couple of miles away. Please note that there is no parking here, so you either have to walk or bike quite a ways to get to it, as Nahant very little legal parking at all in the town.
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Halibut Point
Rockport, MA
Access: easy
Views: water
Amenities: benches
Picnic blanket friendly? somewhat
Location: Route 127, near Lanesville and the Rockport/Gloucester border

Perhaps looking more like the rocky Maine coast than the coast of Massachusetts, Halibut Point State Park is a former quarry area that affords views of Ipswich Bay, Crane Beach, and even parts of New Hampshire and Maine on a clear day. There are plenty of nooks and crannies around the old quarry area where people can relax with a sandwich or a book. And for those who decide to walk down to the ocean, there are plenty of tidal pools and rocky areas along the water to explore.
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Horn Pond
Woburn, MA
Access: easy
Views: water, hilltop
Amenities: benches, rest rooms
Picnic blanket friendly? somewhat
Location: Lake Avenue/Pond Street, near Winchester border

Horn Pond is a mostly unspoiled area on the Woburn/Winchester line that is a favorite among everyone from photographers to botanists to mountain bikers to fishermen. The walkway around the pond is used by joggers and walkers, and the trails that lead up to Horn Pond Mountain have some truly unforgettable views. For those who are looking to picnic, there is a small beach near the northwest side of the pond and a few shaded areas at the top of the hill.
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Walden Pond
Lynn, MA
Access: difficult
Views: water
Amenities: none
Picnic blanket friendly? somewhat
Location: Near western end of Lynn Woods

Yes, there is another Walden Pond in Massachusetts (the more famous one in Concord being the other), but in some ways, this Walden Pond is more scenic and more peaceful than the other one. And if you hike to the far end of the pond (near the southwest part Walden Pond, a bit north of the Penny Bridge), you will find a peninsula that is both peaceful and beautiful, and is a perfect place to take a lunch break while hiking in the area. (Note that the peninsula is actually in Saugus, just over the Lynn line.)
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Wenepoykin Hill
Medford, MA
Access: difficult
Views: hilltop
Amenities: none
Picnic blanket friendly? somewhat
Location: eastern edge of Western Fells, just south of Sheepfold

Say what? Wenepoykin Hill? Yes, there is actually a place in the Middlesex Fells with this name, and although there is almost no information on this spot anywhere on the Internet, Wenepoykin Hill is indeed a great place for a lunch break--if you are willing to walk a ways. Both the Sheepfold and the Bellevue Pond parking areas are a bit of a distance from this spot (which is on the Skyline Trail), but the hill, which overlooks the Boston Skyline on one side, has a bucolic overview of much of the Fells on the other side, and a large, flat area of both rock and dirt that can be used for enjoying a quick lunch while hiking the Skyline.
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Picnic/Outdoor Eating Spots West of Boston

Acton Arboretum
Acton, MA
Access: easy
Views: meadows, woods
Amenities: tables, benches
Picnic blanket friendly? yes
Location: Route 27, just south of Acton Center

Although smaller than the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain, this spot is one of the Greater Boston area's hidden gems, with trails through meadows, woods, and wetlands and a few benches scattered about the area. The part of the arboretum that is near the parking lot is perfect for a picnic, with flat, grassy areas and shade trees allowing for a place to relax and enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of this unspoiled area.
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Cat Rock
Weston, MA
Access: moderate
Views: hilltop
Amenities: none
Picnic blanket friendly? somewhat
Location: near Route 117, between Bradford Road and Drabbington Way

The town of Weston has a network of trails through its conservation areas, with perhaps no trail having more scenic views than the one that goes up Cat Rock. Formerly a ski area, Cat Rock is now a steep, grassy hillside with views of Waltham and beyond, and a few sections near the top that are flat enough (and shady enough) for a picnic lunch. And although the spot is hilly and steep, there is a road that ends near the top of the hill, allowing for fairly easy access.
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Meadow Pond
Carlisle, MA
Access: moderate
Views: water
Amenities: none
Picnic blanket friendly? yes
Location: North Road, north of Carlisle Center

Located in the heart of Great Brook Farm State Park in Carlisle, parts of Meadow Pond have the feel of a remote body of water somewhere in Northern New England. At the southwest edge of the pond (by the boathouse) are a couple of placid tree-shaded areas that are perfect for an afternoon picnic or a lunch stop while hiking, and it is close enough to the parking lot so that the walk isn't excessively long.
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Menotomy Rocks Park
Arlington, MA
Access: easy
Views: water, woods
Amenities: tables, benches
Picnic blanket friendly? yes
Location: Jason Street, just southwest of Arlington Center

A good-sized town park with everything from rocky ledges to deep woods to fields to a pond, Menotomy Rocks Park is one of the most picturesque parts of Arlington. An open field near the back of the park (coming from the Jason Street entrance) has picnic tables along the edge under the pine trees, and is a nice spot for a good book and a sandwich or two.
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Noanet Peak
Dover, MA
Access: difficult
Views: hilltop
Amenities: none
Picnic blanket friendly? somewhat
Location: Noanet Woodlands, east of Dover Center

Maintained by the Trustee of Reservations and adjacent to the Hale Reservation, the Noanet Woodlands are a mostly flat to rolling area of deep woods, bubbling brooks, and tiny ponds. But there is one hill in the area, and it is a fairly big one; Noanet Peak, which is just under 400 feet in height, is steep in spots and rocky at the top, and has terrific views of the Boston skyline. This is more of a stopping point for hikers than folks looking to picnic, but is an excellent stop for anyone who enjoys rugged scenery near Boston.
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Powissett Pond
Westwood, MA
Access: moderate
Views: water
Amenities: cabins, tables, benches
Picnic blanket friendly? somewhat
Location: just west of Carby Street/Hill Street, Hale Reservation

Hale Reservation, in combination with the adjacent Noanet Woodlands, is one of the largest unspoiled outdoor areas in the Greater Boston area. Hale has a large network of trails that lead to waterfront areas, including one overlook at the northeast corner of Powissett Pond near the Westwood/Dover line that is the site of a primitive lodge. Hikers sometimes use the outdoor deck of the lodge as a lunch spot, though it is a bit of a hike to get there. (If you wish to go to a spot that is more picnic-friendly, the beach on the other side of Powissett Pond might be a better bet.)
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Picnic/Outdoor Eating Spots South of Boston

Great Dome
Quincy, MA
Access: difficult
Views: hilltop
Amenities: none
Picnic blanket friendly? somewhat
Location: eastern Blue Hills, just west of Wampatuck Road

Great Dome is one of two spots in the Blue Hills Reservation where it is possible to get sweeping views without seeing any form of civilization down below. Located on the more rugged and remote east side of the reservation, Great Dome isn't all that hard a hike, but is far enough from the parking lot to keep it from being a true picnic spot. But it is an excellent place to have lunch while hiking in the Blue Hills.
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Heron Pond
Cohasset/Hingham, MA
Access: difficult
Views: water
Amenities: none
Picnic blanket friendly? no
Location: eastern end of Wompatuck State park, at Cohasset/Hingham line

Wompatuck State Park is a sprawling wooded area that is mostly in Hingham and is popular with bikers, walkers, and joggers. Inside the park are several ponds, with Heron Pond being one of the most remote (and scenic). The overlooks of Heron Pond are mainly rocky and not particularly good for putting out a picnic blanket, but the rocky outcroppings are perfect for a more bare-bones lunch break. (Note that half of the pond is in Cohasset and the other half is in Hingham, with the Cohasset part being near the main trail.)
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Hull Gut
Hull, MA
Access: easy
Views: water
Amenities: none
Picnic blanket friendly? no
Location: northern tip of Hull, at end of Main Street

Half of the fun of Hull Gut is getting there, as it is at the very end of the main road through Hull, and is so far out into the ocean that you can almost touch some of the Boston Harbor Islands from this spectacular spot. Many people do a simple form of tailgating at sunset, backing their cars into parking spots and setting up food and drink on tables or in the back of their vehicles. The sunsets here can be absolutely amazing, making it well-worth checking out on a warm summer night.
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Kitchamakin Hill
Milton, MA
Access: difficult
Views: hilltop
Amenities: none
Picnic blanket friendly? somewhat
Location: east-central Blue Hills, south of Chickatawbut Overlook

An impossibly remote area near Boston, Kitchamakin Hill is very tough to find, but is really one of the best spots for a lunch break in all of the Boston area. From the rocky ledges near the top of this hill, one can see nothing but trees, trees, and more trees in the valley below, with absolutely no sign of houses or buildings anywhere. If you can find this spot, definitely don't miss this one.
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Nut Island
Quincy, MA
Access: easy
Views: water
Amenities: benches
Picnic blanket friendly? no
Location: near end of Sea Street, Hough's Neck

Nut Island isn't really an island, but is more of a peninsula in the Hough's Neck section of Quincy. But it is indeed part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Park, and has some incredibly beautiful views of the Boston skyline and some of the nearby islands. Nut Island isn't the most picnic-friendly spot in the area, but there are benches that are good spots for having lunch and/or reading a book.
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Pond Meadow
Braintree, MA
Access: moderate
Views: water
Amenities: tables, benches
Picnic blanket friendly? somewhat
Location: between Liberty Street and Summer Street, Braintree/Weymouth line

Mostly unknown to folks outside of Braintree and Weymouth, Pond Meadow is a nice spot with everything from woods to meadows to views of the water. There is a tree-shaded area with picnic tables along the water in one section of the park that is a good spot for lunch, as well as a number of benches along the main walkway that loops through the park.
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Ponkapoag Pond
Canton, MA
Access: easy
Views: water
Amenities: tables, benches, rest rooms
Picnic blanket friendly? somewhat
Location: Blue Hills, south of Route 128

Imagine a dock sticking out into an unspoiled pond with a steep trail above the dock leading to cabins and picnic tables in a deeply wooded setting. Now imagine this place being only about 10 miles south of Boston. Yes, Ponkapoag Pond is a special place, with a number of trails for hikers as well as nearby parking areas for folks looking to picnic or to stay in the cabins.
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Planter's Hill
Hingham, MA
Access: moderate
Views: hilltop, water
Amenities: benches
Picnic blanket friendly? yes
Location: Martins Lane, off Route 3A

World's End in Hingham is quite an interesting area, with a network of tree-lined trails winding around several coastal drumlins (elongated hills) that allow for terrific views of Boston Harbor, Hingham Harbor, the town of Hull, and the skyline of Boston. And perhaps the most scenic of the drumlins--Planter's Hill--is also one of the closest to the parking area. The hill is mostly made up of grasslands and fields, which allows for unimpeded views from every direction.
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Sunset Lake
Braintree, MA
Access: easy
Views: water
Amenities: tables, benches, rest rooms
Picnic blanket friendly? yes
Location: Route 37 and Pond Street, just west of South Braintree Square

Yes, Sunset Lake is located just outside of the center of South Braintree, and yes, a couple of busy roads wind their way past the south and east sides of the lake, but it is still a very nice spot for swimming, picnicking, and even hearing music (Braintree has a concert series at the lake during the summer). Fishing is also allowed here, as are canoes and kayaks.
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