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Boston by Boat

Boston Light Tours

Immortalized by Benjamin Franklin, blasted by British forces in the Revolutionary War and staffed today by one of the nation’s last lighthouse keepers, the Boston Light has quite a history. The site of the first lighthouse ever built on American soil, the Boston Light continues to send 1.8 million-candlepower light for 27 miles into the Atlantic Ocean.

Groups can tour the 75-foot-high lighthouse during a Boston Light Tour, which run thanks to a partnership between the National Park Service and the U.S. Coast Guard. The three-and-a-half-hour tour takes guests to the outer reaches of Boston Harbor to Little Brewster Island.

Guides tell stories of the first lighthouse, which was built in 1716, as well as its destruction at the hands of the British and its reconstruction in 1783. Still standing today, the lighthouse walls are seven-and-a-half feet thick at the base.

Visitors learn these stories and more on a voyage through the Boston Harbor Islands National Park. The tour passes the park’s three lighthouses before climbing the 76 steps to the top of Boston Light.

“You can meet the U.S. Coast Guard light keeper who lives in the lighthouse,” said O’Donnell. “The view from the top of the lighthouse gives you a great view of Boston Harbor. It’s a great tour.”


Charles River Canoe Trip

Imagine paddling past historic buildings, forested parkland, pristine college campuses and views of the Boston skyline. If you feel an urge to stretch your legs, you can always pull over to the side of the river and walk through a park. If not, you can continue to explore as much of the Boston area as possible.

Charles River Canoe and Kayak offers these laid-back adventures from its Charles River location in Cambridge at Kendall Square. The one-way trip allows guests to float through calm water past MIT, Boston University and the Esplanade, and offers a panoramic view of Boston.

“The advantage of these tours is that you give people the freedom to go out and explore the river on their own,” said O’Donnell. “Once you get out on the water, people could do whatever they want.”

Canoe and kayak rentals come with a quick orientation for groups, which includes safety directives and suggested stops along the way. Esplanade, a state-owned Boston park, offers a shady place to pull over and take a short walk. The CambridgeSide Galleria also offers a shopping break with food options for the hungry.

Groups who want to paddle together can opt for the 10-person canoes or a guided tour, such as the outfitter’s Sunset Kayak Tour, the Barking Crab Kayak Tour and the Barbeque Kayak Tour.


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