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5 Ways to Enjoy the Boston Harbor in Summer

Family Fun

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Posted by Katie Sagal, guest blogger of Smart Destinations

While winter tends to keep most Bostonians off the water, the onset of summer brings a bevvy of opportunities for enjoying the natural beauty and waterborne fun of Boston Harbor.

From seeing historic landmarks to roaring across the water at 40 m.p.h. in the one and only Codzilla, these activities are a great way to enjoy all that Boston’s iconic harbor has to offer.

Roam the Boston HarborWalk

A series of interconnected pathways that follow the Boston waterways from Quincy to Charlestown and through parts of East Boston, the Boston HaborWalk is the perfect place to stroll, bike, or run.

If you don’t have a bike, there are plenty of affordable rental options to hook you up, like Hubway or Urban AdvenTours.

Boston Bikes

Boston Bikes along the Charles River

The HarborWalk is often filled with families, pets, and all kinds of athletes, so it’s a convivial atmosphere, regardless of when you stroll.

Although portions of it are not yet complete, the Boston Harbor Association has plans to extend the path even more, so there’s something to look forward to in the coming seasons!

Hop Aboard a Cruise

Visitors more intrigued by the prospect of actually exploring the water will find a wide variety of cruise options in the warmer months, from whale watches to the USS Constitution Cruise and beyond.

There are even themed cruises, like those that feature the historic Tall Ships (schooners, for you boat nerds out there).

USS Constitution

Old Ironsides herself (better known as the U.S.S. Constitution, docked at the Charlestown Navy Yard)

Spring and summer whale watching cruises are the ideal excuse to head way out into the open ocean towards Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary, which is actually located quite far off the coast.

Like the USS Constitution Cruise or the Tall Ships, whale watches combine on-the-water excitement with some pretty informative tour narration. All of these activities are perfect for families, in my opinion.

Visit Historic Sites

Boston proper is chock full of historic buildings, monuments, and sites, but the Boston Harbor has more than its fair share of historical significance, too!

Remember that little thing called the Boston Tea Party? Today, you can visit the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum, which has received all kinds of rave reviews after a recent overhaul.

Boston Tea Party Museum

Which way to go? Depends what you’re looking for! Photo by Kindra Clineff.

Another historic option is the Charlestown Navy Yard, also known as Boston National Historic Park. Built in 1800 and fully functional until its closure in 1974, the Charlestown Navy Yard is a must-see for history lovers or military buffs.

Explore Museums

There are also plenty of other ways to keep the whole family in an educational, cultural frame of mind while still enjoying plenty of warm weather fun.

Visit one or more of the cultural institutions and museums located right along the Boston waterfront and you’ll be in for an afternoon of enjoyment and enlightenment.

MOS Facade

Museum of Science façade

 Your choices include the famous Boston Children’s Museum, the historic Boston Fire Museum, several art galleries in Fort Point, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum, the Museum of Science, the Institute of Contemporary Art, the New England Aquarium, and many more.

Paddle, Splash, and Sail

Then, of course, there’s the option of being a self-starter inside a canoe, paddleboat, rowboat, you name it – just get out on the water!

The Boston Rowing Center is a good place to rent rowboats and the Boston Sailing Center offers sailing lessons (or membership in their sailing club, for the more experienced sailors).

Charles River Sailing

Sailboats on the Charles River by Tim Grafft

If you’ve got multiple people in your party (especially kids), you might want to consider Charles River Canoe and Kayak for your rentals. You really can’t go wrong with any of these three, though, because they each have convenient, safe, and fun waterborne activities.

For more information and ideas about things to do on the Boston Harbor, visit the Boston Harbor Association website. Interested in visiting a lot of sites? Consider an all-inclusive Go Boston® Card and save up to 55% on combined admission prices when you visit a selection of the many of the suggested attractions above.

This post was submitted by Katie Sagal of Smart Destinations.

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  • Barbara H. Horter

    So much beauty….one can see and always wish to see again!

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