Thompson Island is a 204-acre island in Boston Harbor, and is part of the 33-island Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area.  Thompson is the closest island to the mainland, sitting about four miles offshore from downtown Boston.  Its terrain is a mixture of woods, open meadows, and salt marshes.  It has sandy beaches, a swimming area, and stunning views of the harbor and the Boston skyline.  Sunrises and sunsets are particularly beautiful as seen from the island.

There has been a school or educational institution on the island continuously since 1834.   Today the Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center occupies a small campus of attractive Colonial-style red brick buildings surrounding a central quadrangle.  This campus was mostly built during the 1930s to house the Boston Farm and Trades School, which was then based on the island, and also contains several newer buildings.  In addition, the island has several outdoor venues where performances and gatherings can be held.  Outward Bound runs youth programs on the island but uses the campus primarily as a conference center for corporate team-building and other programs for paying guests (such as us).  The island is closed to the public except during established visiting hours.

Thompson Island is a pleasant 25-minute boat ride from Boston.  It is served by its own ferry, the Outward Bound, which leaves from the EDIC dock near the Black Falcon cruise ship terminal in South Boston.  During the summer the ferry operates on a regular schedule, which will be posted on this website when available.  Water taxi service is available (though expensive) for unscheduled trips to and from the island.

Campers traveling to BHSFS on Sunday, August 12 should plan to be on the dock by 9:00 a.m. for a 9:30 a.m. departure.  There will be two return trips on Saturday, August 18, the first at 9:30 a.m. and another at 11:00 a.m.

More information about the island can be found at

Directions to Ferry

Parking Information

Arriving by Air

Ferry Schedule

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