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Misery Islands

What to Bring

Hat   All-terrain shoes
Binoculars   Water
Windbreaker   A good book
Insect repellent   Fleece vest
Snacks   Trash bag


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  Good to know in advance

Islands open year-round sunrise to sunset

  Boat schedule from June 15 to October 8:
Departures: 10:30 - 11:30 - 2:00 - 4:00
Island pickup: 11:50 - 2:20 - 4:50
Trustees of Reservations staff available on the island from late June through Labor Day
  Guided tour available when staff is present
  Composting toilets on Great Misery open mid-May–mid-Nov
  Free map on the boat and on Great Misery
  Arrive at least 15 minutes before boat departure time
  Dogs allowed on leash
  Be quiet to let others enjoy the place peacefully
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Misery Islands

ID Card

Overall rating: Three-Star Rating Three-Star Rating Three-Star Rating Three-Star Rating Three-Star Rating
Difficulty: 1/5
  Time from Boston: 1 1/4 hours
  Duration: Half day/full day

$12 per adult
$8 per child
(12 and under)

  Main activity:


  What do our ratings mean?
Two small rugged islands with great beaches and fewer visitors than the Boston Harbor Islands. No house, no power, no water . . . castaway atmosphere guaranteed!
The Great and Small Misery Islands lie in the Salem Sound. They are accessible by a 20-minute boat ride from Salem Willows Park (see boat schedule at left) or by personal craft (boat or kayak) from the mainland. These islands are relatively small, but they are also little known, making up a much more pleasant experience than the more famous Boston Harbor Islands. Here, no crowd, no long lines, and once on the islands, many places and vantage points where you can stay alone.

Great Misery Island is the landing point and the larger of the two islands. You can walk round it on the coastal trail (about an hour) and several other trails allow you to explore the place further. There are several nice places to sit and watch the ocean, gaze at the mainland or look at passing sailboats, as well as three beaches. It is impossible to get lost, so you will have time to climb the small hill on Great Misery to watch the shuttle boat slowing coming to pick you up at the end of the day. There are ruins scattered on the island, remains of a resort and various cottages built in the early years on the twentieth century.

Little Misery Island is accessible by foot only at very low tide from Great Misery Island, but you may also swim the small distance between both islands at higher tide. Little Misery is even smaller than Great Misery, but offers the same extraordinary vistas on the Salem Sound and the Atlantic ocean. The Islands are a great place to have a picnic with friends and family. In this case, the best option is to take the 11:30 am shuttle boat and to come back with the last boat at 4:50 pm. It is always a good idea to check the boat schedule before leaving – to do so call Sun Line Cruises at (978) 741-1900.
Please note members of the Trustees of Reservation get reduced prices:
$10 adults
$7.50 child (12 and under)

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