15 Best Boston Boat Tours: Boston Cruises to Book in 2023

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When visiting a cool coastal city like Boston, one of the top things to do is always to get out and explore by sea! Whether you like taking narrated tours, sunset cruises, or whale watch excursions, there are Boston boat tours out there that will fit the bill.

Boston boat tours can be informative family outings, romantic date night ideas, or scenic ways to experience Boston in the fall. We’ve found some of the most popular and highest rated Boston boat tours for you to book during your next Boston vacation!

Don’t have time to read the whole post? These are our top recommendations:

Top Boston Boat Tour with Kids: Boston Duck Tour

Most Romantic Boston Cruise: Champagne Sunset Sail

Most Unique Boston Boat Ride: Codzilla High Speed Thrill Boat

Boston Boat Tours

One of the most popular Boat tours in Boston, a sunset cruise, is seen with a pink and purple sunset overhead reflecting off the water with the Boston skyline behind
Some of the best Boston boat tours are sunset tours… it’s not hard to see why!

Boston Harbor Sunset Yacht Cruise

Provided by popular Boston Harbor cruise company Classic Harbor Lights, this is a fantastic way to learn about some culturally significant Boston Harbor monuments with the gorgeous sunset as your backdrop.

This is one of the most popular sunset cruises in Boston, offering a cruise out to Fort Independence on Castle Island and a unique way to experience the cannon fire from USS Constitition at sunset!

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Downtown Boston Harbor Weekend Cruise with Brunch

Another popular offering from one of the most highly rated Boston boat tour companies, Classic Harbor Line Boston, the Downtown Boston Harbor Weekend Cruise with Brunch is pretty self-explanatory!

Not only do you get to take in a full 2-hour narrated cruise on the lovely 1920s style Northern Lights yacht, but guests rave about the brunch buffet offerings. Sipping on a mimosa or a bloody mary as you cruise through the Boston Harbor islands and along some of Boston’s most iconic coastal sights sounds like a lovely Boston brunch to me.

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Boston: Historical Sightseeing Cruise

Looking for a good historical Boston boat cruise? You might want to check out this historical sightseeing cruise by Boston Harbor City Cruises, where history comes alive as you get to match historical tales to the actual places they happened.

Highlights of this historical Boston tour include seeing the Bunker Hill Monument,  the historic USS Constitution, and Old North Church along the Freedom Trail as you hear tales that you’ve likely heard in school… and maybe some you haven’t! This cruise takes a little over an hour and refreshments are available for purchase on board.

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Buffet Lunch or Dinner Cruise on Boston Harbor

Operated by City Cruises, this Boston Harbor Cruise is on the Spirit of Boston. With a DJ pumping out the hits and a buffet lunch or dinner provided, this is one of those Boston boat tours that is the whole package!

There are three levels to this Boston cruise ship, and tours are typically 2-3 hours long, depending on whether you’ve opted for the lunch or dinner buffet. This is a popular Boston cruise, so get your tickets well in advance!

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Boston Harbor: Gourmet Brunch, Lunch, or Dinner Cruise

Another popular offering by City Cruises, this Boston Harbor brunch, lunch, or dinner cruise is aboard the luxury cruising vessel, Odyssey. Enjoy your meal then head to the dance floor! Who doesn’t love a brunch cruise with dancing?

The dinner cruise does have a dress requirement: jackets and cocktail wear are strongly encouraged, and there are no jeans allowed. If you’re looking for a little bit more elevated of a dinner cruise in Boston, this one would be a great choice!

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Boston Whale Watching Cruise by High-Speed Catamaran

The large black tail of a whale is seen splashing in the water from a whale watching tour in Boston
Whale watching in Boston.

Are you interested in whale watching in Boston? This is one of the highest rated whale watch cruises in Boston. These whale watch tours are guided by a New England Aquarium Naturalist, and they guarantee whale sightings or will give you a voucher for another cruise.

You’ll have the opportunity to see Right Whales, Humpbacks, Finbacks, and other marine wildlife on your whale watch cruise; this is a long one, taking about 3 ½ – 4 hours, so plan accordingly! Food and drinks are available for purchase on board.

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Downtown Harbor Sailing Cruise

Offered by Classic Harbor Line Boston, this Downtown Harbor Sailing Cruise is a great opportunity to set sail on a beautiful 80 foot schooner. This Boston cruise takes its passengers past local landmarks like Castle Island, Boston Fish Pier, Charleston Navy Yard, the New England Aquarium and more. Food is not served onboard, but soda is complimentary and a selection of beer and wine is available for purchase during this 1 ½ hour tour.

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Sunset Tall Ship Harbor Cruise

Would you like a sailing cruise in Boston where you can actually help hoist the sails? Then this might just be the Boston sailing tour for you! Choose between setting sail on a 67″ or 125″ two-masted tall ship, and you can not only help hoist the sails, but you can steer, too!

This sailing tour does not include food, but you can bring take out to have a little picnic at sea. Beverages are available for purchase on the ship.

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Guided City Tour with Boat Cruise

Available through See Sight Tours USA, this is one of those very tourist friendly Boston boat tours because pick up and drop off is from your hotel or any location downtown you arrange! Upon pickup, you go on a narrated city tour on land, followed by the boat cruise. 

This is a great option for tourists looking to combine a Boston tour on land and by sea!

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Boston Harbor Champagne Sunset Sail from Rowes Wharf

This is such a great option for those looking for romantic boat tours in Boston! Not only will this Boston Harbor cruise let you and yours relax with your favorite beer, wine, or champagne, but the vessel itself is very romantic!

You’ll be sailing on an elegant 80 foot classic schooner, taking in the historic scenic sights of Boston Harbor and the inner Harbor Islands. If you’re looking for date night Boston boat tours, add this one to the list!

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Boston Harbor Codzilla High Speed Thrill Boat

A high speed Boston tour boat is seen making large waves in the water with the city in the background
Editorial credit: Wirestock Creators / Shutterstock.com; this is a Boston boat tour for the daring!

Attention all adrenalin junkies! Boston Harbor City Cruises offers the Harbor Codzilla High Speed Thrill Boat ride for those who are looking for a boat ride that’s a little more stimulating than most!

Topping off at speeds of 40mph, this adrenaline-inducing boat ride in Boston Harbor alternates between hairpin turns and 360-degree spins, all designed to make you scream with delight. This one is not for the faint of heart or for those who do not want to come back from their Boston cruise soaking wet!

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Boston Harbor Sunset Cruise

One of the most popular offerings by Mass Bay Lines, the Boston Harbor Sunset Cruise is a beautiful tour of Boston by water as the sun sets beyond the cityscape. There is a full bar onboard this beautiful three level vessel, and since it’s only an hour and a half, it makes for a lovely start to the evening if you’re looking for a romantic way to start your date night in Boston.

This one sells out quickly, so book sooner rather than later!

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Boston Harbor: Fall Foliage Luncheon Cruise

If you’re looking for beautiful Boston boat tours during the fall, this Fall Foliage Luncheon Cruise could be perfect! Offered by Classic Harbor Line Boston, you’ll see some of the best sights in the area, like Thompson’s Island, Peacock’s Island, the Boston Light, the Long Island Head Light, and more, accentuated with Boston fall foliage. 

The buffet style lunch served during this 2 hour cruise is just icing on the cake!

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Guided Night Tour with Sunset Cruise

For a beautiful night out in Boston, consider this Guided Night Tour that begins with a cruise around Boston Harbor at sunset. Offered through See Sight Tours USA, you’ll love seeing the sunset over the iconic Boston cityscape, but you’ll especially love when you get off the boat to explore one of the most popular neighborhoods in the city, the historic North End.

The narrated walking tour stops outside the famous Skinny House, the narrowest house in Boston, taking you by the historic Old North Church, the Paul Revere House, and more before arriving at one of the best places to get cannoli in Boston: Mike’s Pastry!

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Boston Duck Tour: The Original and World-Famous

An amphibious vehicle that gives tours of Boston both in and out of the water is seen gliding through the water with the city in the background
Editorial credit: Marcio Jose Bastos Silva / Shutterstock.com; Boston Duck Tours are certainly a unique tour option!

Finally, on to the most iconic boat tour in Boston, the always popular Boston Duck Tour. Just like a duck, you’ll be able to tour Boston by land and by sea, seeing some of the most popular attractions in town before splashing into the Charles River!

This 80-minute Boston boat tour is one of the most popular city tours for families, so if you’re considering taking a Boston Duck Tour, don’t wait to book.

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There are lots of great Boston boat tours out there, so whichever one you choose, you’re likely to have a fantastic time exploring the city by sea!

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