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Charles River Tours

Charles River
The Charles River meanders 80 miles (129 kilometers) through eastern Massachusetts, including Boston and Cambridge, before emptying into the Atlantic. The Charles, as it’s often called, plays a role in the daily lives of many Bostonians, especially walkers, joggers, cyclists, kayakers, and those who love to quietly relax by the water.

The Basics
The Esplanade, a 3-mile (4.8-kilometer) green path that runs along the Boston side of the river, is the best option for a relaxing stroll. Simply start near the Museum of Science and continue west to the Boston University Bridge. Along the way, you’ll pass plenty of joggers, wild geese, lemonade stands, and boat rental opportunities. Alternatively, join a guided bike tour of Boston or Cambridge, which includes a ride across and along the river.

Things to Know Before You Go
  • The Charles River is a must for all first-time visitors to Boston and Cambridge, as well as families with small kids and outdoor and exercise enthusiasts.
  • Stand-up paddleboard, canoe, and kayak rentals are available on the Boston and Cambridge sides of the river.
  • Concerts, movies, and performances take place at the Hatch Shell, located by Massachusetts Avenue near the Esplanade.
  • There are pedestrian bridges that cross Storrow Drive in order to reach the river and Esplanade.
  • Public bathrooms are located behind the Hatch Shell and at the Dartmouth Street facility.
  • The Arthur Fiedler footbridge at Arlington Street, located near the Hatch Shell, is accessible to wheelchair users, as is the Esplanade.

How to Get There
The Charles River runs through a sizable portion of Boston and Cambridge. Via the T, take the green line to the Arlington stop or the red line to the Charles/MGH stop. If driving, free and paid metered parking options are available along the river; there is limited parking along Storrow Drive.

When to Get There
The Charles River area is lovely year-round, but may be at its best for the city’s annual Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular. This is the defining Fourth of July event in New England, drawing more than half a million people to the riverbanks each year. The event is headlined with a performance by the world-famous Boston Pops Symphony Orchestra.

Harvard University
Located in Cambridge, just north of Boston, this Ivy League university boasts a campus filled with historical buildings, monuments, classic architecture, scenic green spaces, and plenty of museums. Free guided tours, as well as a self-guided option, are available. Plus, many guided city tours of Boston include a stop at the school.
Address: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
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Bus & Minivan Tours

American History Bus Tour: Boston to Cambridge, Concord, and Lexington

Experience the best of greater Boston’s top attractions in one morning on this American history tour around the neighboring towns of Cambridge, Lexington and Concord. Learn about the area’s role in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Ride along the historic Battle Road Trail, following the same path Paul Revere took on his legendary midnight ride in 1775.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$65.00
From  
US$65.00
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Day Cruises

70-Minute Charles River Sightseeing Cruise

Experience Boston and Cambridge on a narrated morning or afternoon cruise. After boarding at Lechmere Canal Park, embark on a journey down the Charles River and check out Beacon Hill, Esplanade Park, the Back Bay, Boston University, Fenway Park, M.I.T., Harvard, and other important landmarks. Hear entertaining stories about the region from your captain and crew and enjoy a snack or drink on board.
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  • 1 hour 10 minutes
From  
US$20.48
From  
US$20.48
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  • 1 hour 10 minutes

Day Trips

Excursión a Boston desde Nueva York 1 día $95 Dólares

Explore the best of the East Coast, from New York City to Boston, on this guided tour. Explore one of the nation's oldest cities and check out its many top attractions and landmarks, like Beacon Hill, the Freedom Trail, Harvard University, Fenway Park, Faneuil Hall, and much more. Along the way, learn about Beantown's history, architecture, and traditions from a Spanish-speaking guide.
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  • 14 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$95.00
From  
US$95.00
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  • 14 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Bike & Mountain Bike Tours

Tour de Cambridge Guided Bicycle Tour

Experience the charms of Cambridge on this bicycle tour. Sometimes referred to as “Boston’s Left Bank,” Cambridge is a celebrated hub for academia, technology, and culture. Ride across the gleaming waters of the Charles River and visit Harvard Square, MIT, the Stata Center designed by Frank Gehry, and more. Over the course of 2.5 to 3 hours, you’ll cover 11-13 miles in this bike-friendly area.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$57.75
From  
US$57.75
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Bike & Mountain Bike Tours

Tour de Boston Bike Tour (Great for families)

Take a leisurely ride through Boston on the on this 2.5-hour cycling tour. Take in the Boston skyline, ride along the banks of the Charles River, and learn about Cambridge and Boston's history through your guide's commentary. Suitable for families with young children, this tour includes use of bike and helmet.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$57.75
From  
US$57.75
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Bike & Mountain Bike Tours

Boston Sunsets Guided Bicycle Tour

Explore Boston by moonbeams on this nighttime bike tour of the city built around Boston's famed waterfront. Cruise by city sights lit up at night, including Long Wharf and the Federal Courthouse, while keeping an eye out for after-dark hangout for later in the evening.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$57.75
From  
US$57.75
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Private Sightseeing Tours

Private Group Boston Trolley Tour with Guide

Sample the best of Boston and nearby Cambridge during this private guided sightseeing trip customized just for you. Discover top universities like Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, check out Fenway Park (home of the Red Sox), explore charming Beacon Hill, or customize the itinerary of sites to your preferences.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$1,200.00
From  
US$1,200.00
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Day Cruises

90 Minute Architecture Cruise on the Charles River

Take a cruise along the Charles River for a chance to see some of Boston’s most beautiful historic and contemporary architecture. Pass important landmarks such as Marriott’s Custom House, the Prudential Building, and the Hancock tower and listen to live commentary onboard about the history, architecture, and design of these buildings.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
From  
US$33.08
From  
US$33.08
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes


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