The Best Biking Routes in Boston

Ditch the treadmill this summer and head out for a bike ride instead.


Taking a bike ride around the city is one of our favorite ways to get exercise during the summer. Biking photo via Shutterstock

If you’re like us, you’d rather spend your summer days relaxing and enjoying the sun than heading to the gym. But what if you could do both? Instead of abandoning your plans to work out and opting for lunch on Newbury Street instead, grab a bike and take it for a spin on a destination bike ride or around the city you’ll get a workout while relaxing and exploring. If you’re a member of Boston’s Hubway program, you can simply pick up a bike on your way down the street. If you need a bike and you don’t own one, there are plenty of rental shops around the city as well.

Not sure where to go biking in the city of Boston? Here are some of our favorite routes.

Arnold Arboretum

If you’ve never been to Arnold Arboretum, you should mark this ride as number one on your list. This arboretum, located in Jamaica Plain and Roslindale, is almost 150 years old and is the oldest public arboretum in North America. A route around the arboretum will take you in a loop that’s approximately 4.5 miles, but you can also take your bike along the paved main paths for a tree-lined, meandering route. At the southern tip of the park, you’ll find Peters Hill. Although you may have to walk up the last 200 feet of the hill, you’ll be rewarded with an amazing view of the city of Boston. You can also stop by the Roslindale Wetlands Urban Wild Park to see the maple swamp and go bird watching.

Minuteman Bikeway

This semi-secluded trail is 11 miles from start to finish and runs along an inactive railroad. You can either take the path there and back if you’re an expert biker looking for a workout, or you can have a friend come pick you up after reaching the end of the path. This trail is also a great pick for history buffs, as it roughly approximates Paul Revere’s famous midnight ride through Lexington and Arlington. Seriously, how much more Bostonian can you get?

Southwest Corridor Park

The Southwest Corridor Park is a popular commuter biking route from Back Bay to Forest Hills. It links the South End, Back Bay, Roxbury, and Jamaica Plain, and is a great route to leisurely ride along during a summer day. You’ll have to keep an eye out for other bikers, many of whom are speeding home from work during the summer months, but as you ride, you can stop and enjoy various activity centers. There are two spray pools, seven basketball courts, five tennis courts, two street hockey rinks, two amphitheaters, and jogging and walking paths along the route.

Stony Brook Reservation

The Stony Brook Reservation is 475 acres of ponds, parks, trails, and scenic landscapes. The Turtle Pond, our favorite part of the reservation, has sunfish and perch in its waters (so don’t forget your fishing rod!). The reservation also contains tennis courts, picnic areas, an iceskating rink during the winter months, and a pool, as well as 12 miles of hiking trails and bike paths. Located in West Roxbury, it’s a bit of a haul to get out there, but once you arrive you can spend an entire day exploring the beautiful grounds.

Charles River Bike Path

Yeah, yeah. We know you’ve been to the Charles before, and this might seem like an obvious choice, but this route takes you from the Museum of Science to Watertown Square and we doubt you’ve ever seen the city of Boston quite like this before. You’ll be able to tell where all of your favorite places are in relation to one another, plus there’s nothing better than spending time on the Charles on a beautiful summer day. Be careful of pedestrians and other bikers as you ride, but take it slow and enjoy your surroundings. If you’re hosting an out-of-towner, this is a great way for them to see the city while also getting some fresh air and exercise.

Charlestown Waterfront Bike Path

If you’re not in the mood for a long ride, the Charlestown Waterfront Bike path is a perfect option. This route is barely a mile long, but it takes you along the ocean and gives you a taste of Boston history while you ride. You’ll pass the Charlestown Navy Yard and the USS Constitution, and can also take a detour to the Bunker Hill Monument. If you’re bringing the kids along, stop for a picnic at the City Square Park or check out the Barry Playground.