Getting out of the house for a walk, even if it’s around the block twice, is about the healthiest and sanest activity any of us can partake in at this pandemic-induced homebound moment.
But if you need a change of scenery from your familiar streets, then the list of walking destinations below is a starting point of ideas for your on-foot journeys — as long as you agree to the new rules of the pedestrian road: a wide berth to everyone and only waves, no handshakes.
Not every outdoor walking space made this list. Check out Massachusetts-managed parks such as Borderland State Park in Easton-Sharon, Walden Pond in Concord, and The Fells just north of Boston as well as Trustees of Reservations sites for more strolling options.
See you — from about 6 feet away — out here:
World’s End, Hingham — We’ll start here simply because of its name and how it may trigger our collective warrior spirit that would like to punch this pandemic in its face. Short of that and a vaccine, the 251-acre spread offers a lovely place for a stroll along wide, wooded Frederick Law Olmsted-designed trails over not-too-hilly terrain. You can step onto the shore and take in Hingham Bay with a view of the Boston skyline, too.
Castle Island, South Boston — There will be fewer airplanes than usual landing and taking off, but this spit of land across the harbor from Logan Airport sitting on Pleasure Bay offers some of the best scenery and people-watching in the city. Wide-open green patches outside the walls of Fort Independence offer plenty of room to spread out a blanket and play with, or simply watch, your kids.
Neponset River Reservation and Trail, Dorchester — There are plenty of walkways and boardwalks along this expansive area that runs between Milton and Quincy. The stretch of Neponset Trail that runs by Lower Mills toward Quincy offers relatively open views of marshlands to the south-southeast.
Emerald Necklace, Boston-Brookline — Between Franklin Park and Boston Common, you have more than enough options to pick a spot: Circuit Drive in Franklin Park circles the scenic William J. Devine golf course; the Arnold Arboretum and its plethora of about-to-pop flora features wide walkways; Jamaica Pond with its recently widened and usually bike-free paths; the recently redone Muddy Water section near Landmark Center; the Commonwealth Avenue mall; and the Public Garden.
Revere Beach — If you’re the type who enjoys long walks along the beach, this historic beach is about 3 miles long and is just minutes from Boston.
Forest Hills Cemetery, Boston — For walkers, birders, and those curious enough to see where Lucy Stone, Anne Sexton, e.e. cummings, and Eugene O’Neill are buried on the sprawling 275-acre plot of land.
Charles River Reservation — Stretching for 21 miles from Newton through Watertown and Cambridge to the North End in Boston, pedestrians share the right of way with bikers, joggers, and rollerbladers. The Esplanade and the stretch near Harvard are only the best-known sections, not necessarily the best.
Southwest Corridor, Boston — Between Forest Hills and Back Bay, this stretch of state-protected parkway runs through Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, and the Back Bay parallel to, and sometimes atop, the Orange, Purple, and Amtrak train lines for more than 4 miles.
Skyline Trail, Blue Hills Reservation — Don’t try to do the whole thing at once unless you plan well — it’s 9 miles long. Or just find a section to scamper up and down for a good workout. It’s a mostly elevated, wooded yet rocky trail that runs along the spine of the 7,000-acre reservation. A few spots on the eastern half offer stunning views of Boston Harbor and the city.
Crane Beach on the Crane Estate, Ipswich — The beach with its dunes is one of the most sweeping and beautiful, and there are 5-plus miles of trails behind it that encompass an estuary as well as Crane Estate (closed). Afterward, if you need to replace burned calories, Woodman’s of Essex’s fried clams are not far away.