Hazy, hot, and humid have returned to Boston. Hope you enjoyed that week of spring we got this year—three days longer than normal!

Along with the muggies, there’s another sign that summer in Boston is just about here: ferry service to the Boston Harbor Islands starts on Saturday, May 8. Through June 18, ferries will run daily from Long Wharf in Boston to Georges and Spectacle Islands. Click here for the ferry schedule, and click here to purchase tickets online. There is no change to the ferry fares this year. They remain at $14 for adults; $10 for seniors; $8 for children (ages 3-18).

While ticket prices haven’t budged, there are some exciting changes going on with the Boston Harbor Islands that will improve the visitor experience:

New web site. The Boston Harbor Islands web site has gotten a great makeover. It’s a lot easier to navigate and more engaging. The web site will help you plan your trip, and you’ll find maps and information on the islands. Make sure you check back often to monitor the calendar of events, which have some really interesting programs listed. You can also print out the 2010 visitor brochure, which has a compact listing of the season’s events. There’s also a great FAQ for any question you have about the islands.

Greenway pavilion. Ground has just been broken on a Boston Harbor Islands pavilion on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. The pavilion, located near the Boston Long Wharf Marriott, will be a gateway for visitors to learn more about the national park area and will be a welcome upgrade over the small hut that’s now outside the New England Aquarium. It’s hoped that the pavilion will be operational for the 2011 season.

Georges Island visitor center. Visitors to Georges Island in the early part of the season will see construction ongoing as work is being done to improve the island’s landscaping, maintenance facility, and visitors center. The new visitors center, expected to be completed later in 2010, will include an interactive exhibit area, a gift shop, improved food service facilities, and conference space.

In coming weeks, ferry service will begin from the Fore River Shipyard in Quincy and the Hingham Shipyard Marina, and routes will run to Lovells, Peddocks, Grape, and Bumpkin Islands.

So get out there, visit the islands, and see Boston in a whole different light. And be sure to tote along your copy of Discovering the Boston Harbor Islands to be your handy guide to all the isles have to offer.