Outdoor Fun in the Boston Sun

boston harbor walk(Image via Thinkstock)

The transition from winter to summer may have been nonexistent — did we get any snow this year? — but Boston is finally serving up outdoor events and activities to match the summertime temperatures.

Hit the Beach
What’s more classically summertime than spending afternoons lounging in the sun and going for a swim? Greater Boston is home to nearly 20 urban saltwater beaches, some of which were recently ranked among the nation’s cleanest. At the top of that list sits Nantasket Beach in Hull, which scored a 100 percent. The top five Boston beaches rounded out with four South Boston plots at M Street, City Point, Carson, and Pleasure Bay. Up for more than a chill beach day? Charles River Canoe and Kayak Company rents out a variety of vessels, and for all you sailors out there, Community Boating is the place to raise mast and catch wind.
Charles River Canoe and Kayak Company: 1071 Soldier’s Field Road, Allston, (617) 965-5110, paddleboston.com. $60 per day or $15 per hour.
Community Boating: 21 David Mugar Way, (617) 523-1038, community-boating.org. Prices vary.

Strut the HarborWalk
Stretching a staggering 47 miles of coastal turf, Boston’s waterfront offers a handful of sweeping skyline views, as well as access to restaurants and shopping galore. Go just for the walk, or pop in at a number of must-see museums: the Boston Children’s Museum, the Institute of Contemporary Art, and the New England Aquarium, to name a few.
Boston Children’s Museum: 308 Congress Street, (617) 426-6500, bostonkids.org. $12 GA.
ICA: 100 Northern Avenue, (617) 478-3100, icaboston.org. $15 GA, $13 seniors (60+), $10 students., FREE ages 17 and under.
New England Aquarium: 1 Central Wharf, (617) 973-5266, neaq.org. $22.95 GA, $20.95 seniors, $15.95 children (3-11).

Celebrate 30 Years of Worldwide Pride
Boston’s Pride Week, just knighted by CNN as one the world’s best Pride festivals, is one of the most cheerful, bright, and enthusiastic events to come through Boston, there’s no excuse to miss out on this annual call for diversity, unity, visibility, and dignity. The week-long celebration comes to a jubilant close Saturday, June 9, with the Boston Pride Parade and Sunday, June 10, with blowout block parties in Jamaica Plain and Back Bay.
June 1-10, 617-262-9405, bostonpride.org. Event tickets available at bostonpride.org/tickets.

Fill Up on Food Trucks
This summer will see a number of local food truck festivities from June through October, but none quite as grand as next week’s inaugural event, the Boston Food Truck Festival. Held at UMass Boston’s Campus Center on June 10, the festival features nearly 30 food trucks — all in one place.
June 10, 12-4 p.m., 100 Morrissey Boulevard, Dorchester, (617) 782-7117, foodtruckfestivalsofne.com. Tickets available online ($30-45).

Lunch-Break Entertainment
Last week marked the much-anticipated return of Boston Public Library’s Concerts in the Courtyard series. Every Friday, lunchtime guests of the Central Public Library will enjoy the sounds of Boston’s finest musicians, including Celia Slattery, Driftwood, and Annie Sharkey. Check out the full line-up here. From jazz to classical, from folk to funk, this summer’s courtyard series is sure to delight.
June 1- August 31, Fridays at 12:30 p.m., 700 Boylston Street, (617) 536-5400, bpl.org. Free admission; limited seating.

Fanny Pack Fashion
Boston may be a hub of the modern world, but it’s also a cornerstone of American history. Did you know the Mather School in Dorchester was the first public school in the United States? Or that our beloved T was the nation’s first subway system? And need I mention our Revolutionary roots? Study up on the city you love! Take a Duck Boat tour. Walk the Freedom Trail. Be a tourist.
Duck Tours: Departs daily from the Museum of Science (1 Science Park), the Prudential Center (53 Huntington Avenue), and the New England Aquarium (1 Central Wharf); (617) 267-DUCK; bostonducktours.com. $32.99 GA; discounts for students, seniors, military, and children.
The Freedom Trail: Departs daily from Boston Common Visitor Information Center (139 Tremont Street) and Faneuil Hall, (617) 357-8300, thefreedomtrail.org. $15 GA, $12 seniors/students, $9 children.

Venture to the Boston Harbor Islands
A brief ride on the ferry from Long Wharf-North will get you to the Boston Harbor Islands. Thousands pay visit to this dozen-island conglomerate each year to hike, kayak, swim, and camp. Whether drawn by their rich history — Georges Island played a major role in the American Civil War — or by their natural serenity, the Harbor Islands are well worth a day’s time and a ferry’s fare.
(617) 223-8666, bostonharborislands.org. Ferry departs daily at Long Wharf-North Pier (66 Long Wharf, Boston), $15 adults, $11 seniors (65+), $9 children (4-11).

Wish Upon a Star
Every Wednesday, the Coit Observatory at Boston University hosts its free Public Open Night at the Observatory. From 8:30-9:30 p.m., all are welcome to bask in the majesty of the night sky — a sight seldom seen in the bright lights of Boston. With the telescopes provided, BU experts guide the crowd through a series of standout stars and planets. Be sure to call ahead of time, as the Open Night is subject to canceling during inclement weather.
725 Commonwealth Avenue, (617) 353-2630, bu.edu. Free admission.

Boston Tee Party
Thanks to the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, Boston boasts two public golf courses: the George Wright Golf Course — named a Best of Boston winner in 2011 — and the William J. Devine Golf Course. With cozy residential locations at Hyde Park and Franklin Park, these two courses will help you get your 18-hole fix without paying country club prices.
George Wright Golf Course: 420 West Street, Hyde Park, (617) 361-8313, cityofbostongolf.com.
William Devine Golf Course: 1 Circuit Drive, Dorchester, (617) 265-4084, cityofbostongolf.com.