Charles River Recreation

The Charles River and its surrounding areas offer up a ton of summer time activities for locals and tourists alike. When you think of the Charles River, sailing is often what comes to mind. Whether you’re an experienced sailor or a total novice, there are a number of organizations and companies that teach sailing and rent out boats – check out our top picks here!

In addition to sailing, we recommend hopping in a kayak, paddleboard, or canoe to fully appreciate the feeling of being out on the Charles. Paddle Boston. offers rentals as well as lessons for various ages and abilities. They have five different locations, three of which offering river access - Allston/Brighton, Cambridge, and Waltham. You should definitely check out their guided tours, including the Moonlight Canoe Tour and the Skyline and Sunset Tour – very cool!  

The Charles Riverboat Company offers sightseeing and sunset tours, as well as private events and charters on the Charles. Their unique architecture tour is the only boat tour in the city that highlights the buildings and architecture of Boston and Cambridge.

Walking, biking, running, and rollerblading along the river are excellent ways to get in some exercise, do some people watching, and take in the gorgeous scenery. The Charles River Reservation begins at the Boston Harbor and stretches for 20 miles making for a wonderful way to see parts of the city and beyond.

The Hatch Memorial Shell, located on the Charles River Esplanade, is an outdoor concert venue best known for hosting the Boston Pops every Fourth of July. There are events and happenings taking place at the Hatch Shell all summer long; check out their events calendar here. One of our favorites is the Free Friday Flicks, a family-friendly sunset movie screening.

The Museum of Science, overlooking the Charles River Dam, offers something for all ages with its varied and informative exhibits. From its shores, you can easily catch a Boston Duck Tour - a no-brainer for newbies and returning riders alike. Starting on land and ending in the Charles River, the Duck Tour offers an hour plus of beautiful views, interesting history, and cool factoids about Boston and Cambridge.