Summer is finally here! This is truly the best time to be in Boston. Why not play hooky (or be responsible and schedule a vacation day) and head to a nearby park or beach for some serious R&R? Go ahead, grab some sunblock and a pair of shades and head to one of these sunny spots in Boston.

Picnic at Christopher Columbus Park (Credit, Cameron Bruns)

Christopher Columbus Park
Atlantic Ave. and Richmond St.
Boston, MA 02110
(781) 639-6002

Conveniently located on the waterfront between Boston’s North End and the New England Aquarium, Christopher Columbus Park is one of the most scenic places to sunbathe. With sailboats drifting through the harbor on one side and the city skyline on the other, there is no better place to sit, relax and let your mind wander. Plus, if you get too hot, the park is located a short walk to some of the best gelato shops in town. In July and August, free movies are shown outside at the park, so keep your eye out for this year’s film schedule.

Common Green at Marina Park
Marina Park Drive and Northern Ave.
Boston, MA 02210

One of Boston’s most lovely summer activities is the Harborwalk. If you follow the walk all the way down to the Institute of Contemporary Art in the Fort Point District, you will find a beautiful new green space. Marina Park claims harbor views and a Hubway station, and is a quick walk to seaport hotspots like Jerry Remy’s and Legal Harborside. And since the park is located right outside of the museum, its also the perfect place to take guests from out of town.

Bunker Hill Monument
Monument Square
Charlestown, MA 02129
(617) 242-5641

If you live in or near Charlestown, the park surrounding the Bunker Hill Monument is a lovely place to have a picnic and catch some rays. Plus, if you want to get a little exercise and enjoy a great view of the city, you can climb the monument. The grassy area surrounding the monument is quiet and open, making it the perfect place for families and people with dogs. The park is a 15- to 20-minute walk from the MBTA Community College stop on the Orange Line, or is also easily accessible by Hubway.

Related: Perfect Pair: Best Craft Beers To Serve At Your Summer BBQ

The Esplanade (Credit, Cameron Bruns)

The Esplanade
Charles River Esplandade
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 227-0365

The Esplanade is one of Boston’s most popular parks, and for good reason. The lush property has gorgeous views of the Charles River and is perfect for sun-lovers and shade-seekers alike. There is really no better place to relax in the sun and watch the sail boats go by. It is also the perfect place to take a long walk, especially in the summer months when walking by the water feels a bit cooler than walking down the city streets.

File image (Credit: iStockphoto)

File image (Credit: iStockphoto)

M Street Beach
Day Blvd.
South Boston, MA 02127

Summer isn’t summer without some serious beach time. M Street Beach in South Boston is the perfect compromise for beach lovers because it is close by, easily accessible via public transportation, but still has a pretty, sandy shoreline. Popular with twenty-somethings, this beach gets crowded on hot days, so pack your cooler and head out early.

Related: Boston’s Best Parks to Walk Your Dog

Cameron Bruns is the founder of and co-author of Just Us Gals Boston. She lives in Boston’s North End, where her goal is to promote ethical, stylish, and sustainable lifestyle choices to all Boston residents. Her work can be found on