Hull’s past is as salty as its name. Occupying a 5-mile-long peninsula that forms a protective arm around Hull and Hingham Bays, the town has a rich seafaring history. And how could it not, being almost entirely surrounded by water? Some of this history can be glimpsed on Hull’s western tip, known as Windmill Point, home to a red-roofed, former Coast Guard building now used by the Hull Lifesaving Museum to store traditional wooden rowing craft of the type once used in the 1880s by members of the Point Allerton Lifesaving Station. The museum uses these boats for rowing programs available to local residents and inner-city youth. It also holds several rowing events throughout the year, including the annual Snow Row, a popular race held on Boston Harbor each March.
In the late 1960s, Station Point Allerton was eventually relocated to the opposite side of the peninsula, where it continues to serve as one of the largest and busiest Coast Guard Stations in the Northeast.
While Hull may not rank high on the “must-see” list of many modern boaters, keeping a boat here offers certain advantages, such as close proximity to the city of Boston. Hull is also within easy striking distance of other daytrip destinations, such as Cohasset, Hingham, Scituate, Marblehead, Salem and even Provincetown. And Stellwagen Bank, famous for its whales and fishing, is roughly 20 miles east.
But you don’t have to travel that far to enjoy the waters off Hull. The scenic, protected Weir River estuary is a kayaking paradise, and you can paddle deep into the tidal marshes of the river as it winds into Hingham and Cohasset. World’s End, a Trustees of Reservations property on the Hingham side of the river, features several gravel beaches where you can beach a kayak or small boat to swim, fish, picnic or stroll the magnificent park. And of course, there’s the Boston Harbor Islands National Park—an incredible resource for boaters. Many of the islands in and around the harbor are open to the public, and you can even camp on Bumpkin, Grape, Lovells and, in 2013, Peddocks Island.
Servicing Hull boaters are 2 marinas—Steamboat Wharf and Sunset Bay. The former is located on the Weir River, at the southern end of the Hull peninsula. Purchased in 2005 by partners Justin Gould and Andy Spinale, the facility is named for the passenger vessels that once used the wharf to drop off visitors to Nantasket Beach and Paragon Park.
Today, Steamboat Wharf offers 106 slips for boats up to 50’ (transients welcome). It also has an onsite seafood market—Lobster Express—that also sells huge lobster rolls and other prepared food, and can arrange lobster and clam bakes for large groups. Next door to the marina is Jake’s, a popular seafood restaurant, market and bar overlooking the water. While you might be tempted to dock along the seawall here at high tide, but don’t try it, or you could find yourself stuck on the large mud flat in front of the restaurant. Better to tie up at Steamboat Wharf, which offers short-term dockage for $5 to $14 per hour, depending on vessel size.
By the way, a kayak- and SUP-rental center—Nantasket Kayaks—also operates out of Steamboat Wharf Marina, offering quick, convenient access to the Weir River, Bumpkin Island and World’s End.
Just across the street from Steamboat is sprawling Nantasket Beach and “The Strip”, where you’ll find an arcade, a pizza parlor, gift shops and a wonderful antique carousel that kids will love.
Sunset Bay Marina is located a few miles north along the peninsula, and is the only place in Hull to fuel up (the next closest fuel dock is at Hingham Shipyard Marinas). It is also closer to The Gut, the main thoroughfare between Hull Bay and Massachusetts Bay. Sunset Bay is home to the Sea Dog Brew Pub, which serves food and beverages and features a large deck overlooking Hull Bay. Sea Dog patrons can dock at the marina for $10 (lunch) or $20 (dinner).
Video Quick Tour: