Exploring Boston by Sea: The Best Boat Tours in Beantown

A Large Sail Boat

Boston's rich maritime history and stunning harbor views make it an ideal city to explore from the water. Whether you're a history buff, nature lover, or simply looking for a unique perspective on the city, Boston's diverse boat tours offer something for everyone. Let's dive into some of the best boat tours available in the Hub.

Boston Harbor Cruises' Historic Sightseeing Cruise
For first-time visitors or those wanting a comprehensive overview of Boston's maritime landmarks, the Historic Sightseeing Cruise by Boston Harbor Cruises is hard to beat. This 90-minute tour takes you past key sites like the USS Constitution, Bunker Hill Monument, and the Boston Tea Party Ships. Knowledgeable guides provide engaging commentary on Boston's history and architecture, making this tour both entertaining and educational.

Charles Riverboat Company's Architecture Cruise
Architecture enthusiasts will appreciate this 90-minute cruise along the Charles River. The Architecture boat tour showcases Boston and Cambridge's stunning skylines, highlighting notable buildings and bridges. Expert guides discuss the area's architectural evolution, from colonial-era structures to cutting-edge modern designs. It's a visual feast and an excellent way to gain insight into the city's development over time.

Classic Harbor Line's Boston Harbor Islands Cruise
For nature lovers and those seeking to escape the urban hustle, the Boston Harbor Islands Cruise is a perfect choice. This longer tour (typically around 2-3 hours) takes you to some of the 34 islands and peninsulas comprising the Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park. You'll have the opportunity to disembark and explore islands like Georges or Spectacle, each with its own unique ecology and history.

Boston Harbor City Cruises' Whale Watching Tour
From spring through fall, the waters off Boston become a feeding ground for several whale species, including humpbacks, finbacks, and the critically endangered right whales. Boston Harbor City Cruises partners with the New England Aquarium to offer whale watching excursions led by trained naturalists. While sightings aren't guaranteed, the chance to see these majestic creatures in their natural habitat is truly unforgettable.

Liberty Fleet of Tall Ships' Day Sail
For a more hands-on nautical experience, consider a day sail aboard one of Liberty Fleet's tall ships. These beautiful schooners harken back to Boston's seafaring past, and passengers are encouraged to help raise the sails or even take a turn at the helm. It's an interactive and immersive way to experience Boston Harbor, perfect for those who want to feel like a true sailor for a day on this Tall Ships sailing experience.

Charles Riverboat Company's Sunset Cruise
There's something magical about watching the sun set over a city skyline, and Charles Riverboat Company's Sunset Cruise captures this beauty perfectly. As day turns to night, you'll witness Boston's transformation, with buildings gradually lighting up against the darkening sky. It's a photographer's dream and a peaceful way to end a day of sightseeing.

Boston Harbor Islands Ferry
While not a guided tour, the Boston Harbor Islands Ferry deserves mention for its affordability and flexibility. Operated by Boston Harbor City Cruises, this ferry service allows you to create your own island-hopping adventure. Visit Georges Island to explore Fort Warren, or head to Spectacle Island for hiking and beach activities. It's an excellent option for independent travelers who prefer to explore at their own pace.

Mass Bay Lines' Constitution Cruise
History buffs won't want to miss Mass Bay Lines' Constitution Cruise. This tour focuses on the USS Constitution, also known as "Old Ironsides," the world's oldest commissioned warship still afloat. You'll get up-close views of this historic vessel and learn about its significant role in American naval history. The tour also includes other important sites around the harbor, providing context for Boston's maritime heritage.

Choosing the Right Boston Harbor Boat Tour for You
With so many options available, selecting the right boat tour in Boston comes down to your interests, budget, and available time. Consider factors like tour duration, the specific sights you want to see, and whether you prefer a guided experience or more independent exploration.

Many tour companies offer combo packages or multi-day passes, which can be a cost-effective way to experience several different types of cruises. Additionally, booking in advance, especially during peak summer months, is always a good idea to ensure availability.

Regardless of which tour you choose, exploring Boston by water offers a unique and memorable perspective on our historic city. From educational tours that bring history to life, to romantic evening cruises and wildlife adventures, So hop aboard, feel the sea breeze, and discover why Boston is one of America's most beloved waterfront destinations.

Stay on Boston Harbor, with a Waterfront View
Book a room at The Battery Wharf Hotel Boston Waterfront to put yourself on the harborfront, the North End, Faneuil Hall and Downtown Boston.