The Charles River winds its way through 23 towns in Massachusetts, the longest river wholly within the state. In Boston and Cambridge, there are plenty of activities to take part in on its waters and on its banks, from a ride with the city’s famous Duck Tours to a simple picnic along the Esplanade.
Boston Duck Tours
Kids especially will love this fun, fully narrated sight-seeing activity. Get picked up in one of the iconic green car-boats at the New England Aquarium, Prudential Center or Museum of Science and then take in a full historical tour of the city from a gregarious guide, before exploring the Charles River in a scenic boat ride.
Paddle Boston Harbor Tour
Kayak through the Charles River Locks into the Boston Harbor on this three-hour guided tour. The tour starts at Kendall Square in Cambridge and glides through the original Charles River Dam and under the Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge into the inner harbor. From there, marvel at USS Constitution, as well as the amazing skyline views, before heading back toward the Esplanade.
Sailing with Community Boating
“Sailing for all” is the motto for Community Boating, the oldest continuously running public sailing center in the country. The season runs from 1 April to 31 October, and though it mostly caters to members, visitors can rent stand-up paddleboards, kayaks and even sailboats (if experienced) by the day.
Architecture Tour with Charles Riverboat Company
Architecture fans will love this 90-minute tour narrated by a knowledgeable guide from Boston by Foot. Learn about the history of iconic Boston buildings like the Custom House, the Hancock Tower and the Prudential Building, as well as newer design marvels. The views are stunning and enjoyed even more with a glass of wine from the boat’s cash bar.
Charles River Esplanade
This 17-mile stretch of land along the banks of the Charles River is the city’s pride and joy, with running, hiking and biking trails, playgrounds, and the Hatch Shell venue for summer concerts, Fourth of July fireworks celebration, and much more. On sunny days, it feels like the entire city is outside enjoying the Esplanade.