When the Boston Mounted Police are out, their horses have access to the city streets and parks. However, this is not true for the average rider, so families in Boston have few selections and often have to travel outside of the city if they want just a place to ride and not lessons. This can make it difficult to have a casual half-day's ride. On the other hand, there are some gorgeous parks around Boston that not only allow horses, but also have many miles of easy bridle trails that families of riders can use together.
Blue Hills Reservation
695 Hillside St.
Milton, MA 02186
While the headquarters of the Blue Hills Reservation are in Milton, there are trails in several towns, as the reservation takes up more than 7,000 acres. Horseback riding is possible in many areas of the reservation with some being very easy dirt trails thanks to the years of carriage riding that took place on them. In other areas, the terrain is a little more difficult. Know the limits of every family member hitting the trails and the riding should be safe and fun for everyone. Get a free and complete trail map of the reservation on the website.
1 Franklin Park Road
Boston, MA 02121
Franklin Park is a more than 400-acre natural area that spans several Boston neighborhoods. It is famous for its zoo, but it is possible to get a short and relaxing horseback ride in with the family among the trees. The MIT Outing Club lists it as one of the green spaces in Boston to enjoy some outdoor exercise. There are about 15 miles of paths to explore, though it is a popular area for runners, hikers and other athletes, so horses must be manageable. Keep the family no more than two riders abreast and never galloping, as per Boston law.
Related: Boston's Best Parks To Walk Your Dog
Myles Standish State Forest
194 Cranberry Road
Carver, MA 02366
Roughly 50 miles south of Boston is one the largest state park on the South Shore of Massachusetts. With 35 miles of bridle trails, it is also one of the best places to ride a horse in the state. Because it has more than 30 horse campsites, it is easy to make a weekend out of it so the distance from the city is well worth it. Some of the sites are on ponds and all of the sites are near the many bridle trails. The family will also enjoy the several swimming areas in the huge park. Just be careful not to take the horses into areas that are ecologically sensitive to trampling. Signs are posted.
Charles River Link Trail
The Charles River Link Trail is a long trail that follows through six towns west of Boston and touches back with the Charles River five times. The trail is more than 16 miles, but riders can follow sections of the trail and double back to their entry points, of which there are many along the trail. They include Ware Paper Mill, Ouellet Playground, Pegan Hill and Longfellow Pond. Get a detailed map of the trail at the Wellesley website in order to stay clear of private property and obey town regulations for using the Charles River Link Trail.
Borderland State Park
259 Massapoag Ave.
Easton, MA 02356
Borderland State Park is perfect for the family that likes to feel like they are riding into a Jane Austen novel. The parking area is at the gorgeously aged Ames Nowell Mansion. Behind the mansion are trails, woods and water features that stretch for miles. Horses are part of the landscape at this park, so riders and their equine vehicles will feel right at home on the looping paths of this unusual state park. There are less than 30 miles between the city and this romantic location, so it is easy to take a weekend day to ride and get home by evening.
Related: Best Places For Horseback Riding North Of Boston