Looking for a fresh perspective on one of America's oldest and most beloved cities? Kayaking around Boston might be the perfect activity for you. Boston attracts countless visitors every year and is well-known as a wonderful place to walk around, but many people are pleasantly surprised to learn that there are also plenty of opportunities for kayaking around Boston too. The Charles River, for instance, offers a myriad of water-based adventures, and various lakes can also be found in and around the city, opening the doors to all sorts of kayaking fun for friends, families, couples, and solo travelers. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.


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Kayaking, generally regarded as a super summer activity, can be enjoyed at any time of year, with Boston proving to be a veritable goldmine of kayaking opportunities. Whether you're looking for guided tours, kayak rentals, lessons, or something else, Boston has a whole lot to offer for people from all walks of life. In fact, Boston is one of the most exciting locations for kayakers due to its astonishing variety. The rivers provide the perfect backdrop for kayaking tours, but lakes are also available and a whole host of little islands are dotted off the shoreline, with the mighty Atlantic Ocean just beyond.

In line with the rising popularity of Boston kayaking, various companies have sprung up around the city. Offering a range of kayaking tours, kayak rentals, and kayaking classes, companies like Paddle Boston are covering all of the bases, providing every single kayaking service anyone could ask for in the Boston area. This all means that it’s never been easy to enjoy kayaking in Boston, so let’s take a look at some of the most recommended kayaking spots in and around the city.

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2.Charles River

Charles River
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A pretty slow-moving body of water that is mostly flat all the way along, the Charles River offers a lot of great kayaking opportunities in and around Boston. It's an ideal spot for beginner kayakers or those who don't want to do too much paddling and prefer to simply sit back, float along, and take in all of the beautiful scenery. Speaking of scenery, the Charles River offers a real myriad of backdrops for your kayaking adventures. Upstream, you can find lots of cute little parks with trees and wildlife to enjoy, while further downstream kayakers can take in magnificent views of the city itself.

There's also the Esplanade in the Back Bay area of Boston, again providing some beautiful views and offering a lot of different launch points. Accessibility is one of the biggest advantages of the Charles River; there's a lot of points up and down the river where kayakers can set off on their journeys, so it's no surprise to see so many people out on the water, especially on warm summer days. If you'd prefer a guided tour rather than a rental, companies like Paddle Boston run a variety of kayaking tours up and down the river all year long.

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3.Boston Harbor

Boston Harbor
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At the end of the Mystic and Charles rivers is Boston's famous harbor. Replete with beautiful boats, stunning views, and lots of little interesting islands to paddle around, the harbor is a kayaker's paradise. Paddle Boston runs several kayaking tours in this area, taking in all of the sights and landmarks like the Zakim Bridge, Spectacle Island, and Charlestown Navy Yard.

The open-water crossing to the Boston Harbor Islands is recommended for more experienced kayakers, but even beginners can enjoy a guided kayaking tour around the harbor, enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of the Atlantic Ocean in all its glory. Boston is a wonderful spot for kayaking in general, but the harbor might be its best spot of all and really lets you take in some of the city’s most historic locations from a new perspective.

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4.Mystic River

Mystic River
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Beginning in Lower Mystic Lake and running seven miles in total through various Boston communities, the Mystic River is the city's second biggest river and another great spot for kayaking. The Mystic River has sadly become known for pollution issues in recent years but clean-up projects are in effect and the river still offers a lot of lovely views and wildlife encounters for kayakers willing to test it out.

Again, Paddle Boston has a location in this area for kayak rentals, and the Mystic offers some really nice ways to take in the beautiful Boston skyline. Since its only seven miles long, it’s also very possible to paddle the whole thing in a single day and many kayakers do the Mystic River run on a regular basis to stay active and enjoy the city sights.

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Kayaking in Boston

  • Overview, Photo: kankankavee/stock.adobe.com
  • Charles River, Photo: David/stock.adobe.com
  • Boston Harbor, Photo: f11photo/stock.adobe.com
  • Mystic River, Photo: Henryk Sadura/stock.adobe.com
  • Cover Photo: Courtesy of A.Ruiz - Fotolia.com

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