Hingham Harbor, on the South Shore of Massachusetts, is ideally situated for boaters seeking fast, convenient access to Boston Harbor, the beautiful 251-acre World’s End reservation and the many islands of the Boston Harbor Islands National Park. However, the town itself contains plenty to do and see (Eleanor Roosevelt once described Hingham’s Main Street as the most beautiful she’d ever seen). There are many good restaurants and shops near the waterfront, and the quaint downtown area is just a short walk from the harbor. A bit farther west, near the Weymouth border, you’ll find a sprawling mixed-use complex at the Hingham Shipyard Marinas and Village on Hewitts Cove.
The small cove on the east side of World’s End once served as a popular anchorage, offering depths of 7′ and excellent holding ground, but was made off-limits by the town in 2010 to make room for town-managed moorings (available for $35 per night). However, there are numerous places to beach a small boat and go ashore for a stroll or picnic on the peninsula.
For a truly unique boating experience, consider camping on Grape or Bumpkin Islands (and in 2013 Lovells Island), part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Park. Boaters can arrange for a mooring or anchor just offshore, then access the wooded interior and hiking trails via the Park’s complementary dinghy. You can also beach a dinghy or kayak along the shore. Both Grape and Bumpkin have campsites with picnic tables and are staffed by rangers from Memorial Day to Labor Day. With planes roaring overhead on their approach to Logan Airport and phenomenal views of the Boston skyline, harbor camping is pretty surreal, but it’s an adventure you won’t forget! You can make campsite reservations and get more information online through the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.
By the way, most of the islands in the Harbor Islands Park—including Slate, Button, Ragged and Langlee off Hingham—are open to the public. There is excellent inshore fishing throughout the islands as well.
Other good daytrip options out of Hingham include a visit to Fort Warren on Georges Island, or the Harbor Islands Education Center and marina on Spectacle Island.
Hingham has a large boating community, and the local waters can be quite busy in season. Transients can generally find a mooring in the harbor, except on busy weekends, by contacting the harbormaster. (Anchoring room is virtually non-existent except for shallow-draft vessels.)
West of Hingham Harbor, but still within the town of Hingham, is Hewitts Cove, home to the aforementioned Hingham Shipyard Marinas and Village. The Marina Village is a 27-acre complex of apartments, condos and townhouses set among restaurants, a marina, a movie theater, shops, a grocery store, miles of walking and bike paths, and an outdoor amphitheater.
Hingham Shipyard Marinas (formerly the Hewitts Cove Marina and Landfall Marina) offers 500 slips and 100 moorings, slips, service, fuel and transient dockage for almost any size vessel.
Small-boaters and paddlers can also venture south to explore the protected Back River, which begins just west of Hewitts Cove and Stodders Neck (a nature preserve and park) and forms the border between Hingham and Weymouth. Pass under the Route 3A span and you’ll see Bare Cove Park to port. On the right is Weymouth’s Great Esker Park, featuring trails and a nature center.