This should be a short thread. I’ve been asking around to see if anyone has camped out on the Boston Harbor Islands during the off season. The park is officially closed now, they’ve put large cable locks around the latrined on the islands I’ve been out to since the park closed. I’m pretty sure the official line is that you can’t camp out there during the off season, but . . . the harbor’s gonna be beautiful for the next few weeks. Anybody ever stay out there late in the season? Will they kick you off if they catch you? Seems like you could just drag the yaks into the brush and nobody would ever know. Any thoughts?

I dont think they would be to happy if you were discovered, Id rather keep it legal, and not risk a fine

What you’re comtemplating and asking (some of us who live near you) is feedback on what is clearly verbotem.

Think real low key, low drag, low visibility, minimal impact if you follow through… Do a clambake with a bonfire and we’ll all see you from the mainland shore in the dimming light.


Thank you
Well, you’ve confirmed my suspicions. I won’t risk it. I was considering it because I know somewhere along the line, early last spring, I read a trip report from someone who was obviously off season, so I wasn’t sure how common that was. I thought perhaps it was one of those fuzzy rules, like closing time at a Southie pub. But, I’ld rather just pack up to the mountains for a weekend than have a ranger boot me off an island after dark and give me a hefty fine. Thanks again for your thoughts.


On the islands on the Missouri or Mississippi (and i suspect others) rivers, one is allowed to live freely up to 14 consecutive days on any one island… only needing to move for 24 hrs before returning for another 14…

i have no input on the Boston Harbor Islands tho

If You Want To Kayak Camp
go up to western ME, either Lake Umbagog or Lake Richardson. Both having camping sites. This time of year, they are pretty much deserted. These are BIG lakes, surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery and maybe some foliage left…


not all rivers
Check before you camp. It varies from state to state. Here in IA we have what are called meandered and non-meandered streams. Meandered streams allow public camping within its banks, Non-meandered is private bank and river bottom (state still owns the water so you can paddle it).

To the original poster, I’m glad you won’t risk it. “They” setup rules and regs for a reason, when people don’t abide by them, then they get worse for the rest of us.

Disappointing news.
I too was thinking of staying overnight out in the harbor later in the fall, but it does seem that camping requires official reservation and has a limited season. I won’t take a chance with doing it illegally (I’m going to start illegal paddling the day I retire, when I plan to toss a kayak over the fence at Fresh Pond in Cambridge, which I’ve lived near for 12 years and walked/biked/skateboarded around a zillion times, but which is off-limits to boats). But I will check with DCR about getting a special permit to go no-trace and off-season.


Keep me posted

– Last Updated: Oct-14-05 11:16 AM EST –


That sounds like a good plan, please let me know what they tell you. I looked for info at both the Harbor Island web pages, didn't occur to me to pick up the phone. I was thinking about Grape or Peddocks, but any one of them would be fun.