Best Tours and Excursions in Boston

Walk, Ride the Waves or Relax on Wheels in Boston

Explore all that Boston has to offer from land or sea. A walkable city, Boston tours are often on foot, allowing you to get up close and personal with the past that makes Boston so special. Add Boston's unique location along the Atlantic, and with a river running through it, giving visitors the ability to utilize these waterways to see all that contributes to the beauty of Boston.  

Those who prefer to be active while exploring should make time to walk the Freedom Trail in its entirety. This walkable tour has a map permanently imprinted along the city streets and sidewalks, letting visitors roam the trail, guide free if they choose, without fear of ever getting lost.

For those who want to take to the water there are quite a few tours and excursions just for you. Quack your way around the city streets before plunging into the Charles River on a Duck Tour where an amphibious vehicle that will give you an overview of historical sites as well as an amazing view of the city all the while having fun. 

If you'd rather man your own vessel, book a tour on Boston Mini Speedboats where you'll captain you're vehicle and fly out of the harbor for a look at the city from the sea. 

Whatever tour or excursions you choose, the 10best will bring Boston sites, culture and past to life. 


Bully Boy Distillers
Photo courtesy of Jessica Polizzotti

Bully Boy Distillers is an inner city manufacturing facility that offers tours you can book ahead on their website. Owned by brothers Will and Dave Willis you'll find a lot of love in this family brand that focuses on recycling their waste by bringing to to their farm for repurposing. Spawned from a bit of family history (their grandfather operated a speakeasy in their Sherborne farm during prohibition), these brothers left successful careers to pursue their dream. See where the product is made and learn about the process that takes the ingredients you'll see in their warehouse to what you find in the bottles. After your tour you'll enjoy a few sips of the finished product while chatting about what you're tasting.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: Bully Boy is a local purveyor of quality alcohol located in Boston that offers tours and tastings.

Jessica's expert tip: Tours must be booked in advance.

Read more about Bully Boy Distillers →

Taza chocolate is a local brand with a large following. Sold in many retail locations, Taza's fame comes from the high quality of the stone ground, organic chocolate that is guaranteed to impress in every bite. Get behind the scenes at Taza chocolate and learn the process behind making this artisinal chocolate. Offering tours of the facility along with tastings and even wine and beer pairings, a visit to taxa is a true experience that opens up the world of manufacturing a product special to Boston to its visitors. Offered daily, tours of Taza are 45 minutes of fun-filled learning.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: Tours of Taza allow you to see and taste a bit of what is manufactured in Boston.

Jessica's expert tip: Although children under 3 a re free, you must reserve a spot for them.

Read more about Taza Chocolate →

Take your tour to a new level by doing it on a bike at Urban AdvenTours. These environmentally friendly tours keep your heart rate up while you participate in a guided tour. Bicycle rentals are available for those who don't have their own, and safety is of the utmost importance. You can take a City View Tour, Tour de Boston, Tour de Cambridge, tour of the Emerald Necklace or enjoy their Bikes at Night excursion. If you'd rather leave the guide behind you can simply rent a bike, grab a map and do the tour yourself. Running between $40 and $75.00 for a guided tour for a one and a half to four hour tour, you can pick the ride that's right for you.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: Boston Urban AdvenTours is a tour and a bike ride in one, enjoy exploring Boston while pedaling around on a guided tour.

Jessica's expert tip: Tours take place year round, be sure to dress for the weather: sunscreen in the summer and lots of layers in the winter will keep you comfortable while exploring Boston.

Read more about Urban AdvenTours →


Boston's only 3-hour Whale Watch departs from the Harbor for a 3 hour tour on super fast, super comfortable catamarans. Cutting down on time getting to the whales and allowing you more time to check them out. With 3 exterior viewing decks, there is plenty of room to gawk at the giant ocean life below. For those looking to take a break from the elements, the cabins are climate controlled, have ample seating, and snacks for sale. A good place to linger en-route to the whales. Tours are narrated by actual researchers from the Whale Center of New England, ensuring you get the best information out there.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: Few cities offer the chance to enjoy a Harbor Cruise and Whale Watching; head out to catch a glimpse of whales off of Boston's coast.

Jessica's expert tip: Boston Harbor Cruises- Whale Watching guarantees that you see a whale or gives you a ticket to return again at no cost.

Read more about Boston Harbor Cruises - Whale Watching →

Boston Mini Speedboats
Photo courtesy of Joe Polizzotti

Hop aboard a Boston Mini Speed Boat Tour and be the captain of your own boat. This sightseeing tour mixes with a fast flying adventure to get your heart rate up and your adrenaline pumping as you fly around Boston Harbor on your very own boat. The hour and half excursions are both informative and fun, lead by tour guides who keep the history brief, the information clear and the tour moving along. See many of Boston's best sites from an entirely different angle as you float alongside at the helm of your own boat. Follow your guide out into the Harbor where you'll enjoy the feeling of total freedom while pushing your boat to its limits and speeding around. Grab a friend and share the time on this tour of a lifetime.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: Boston Mini Speed Boats is a fun tour for the adrenaline junkie who wants to sightsee but needs some action.

Jessica's expert tip: No need to fight of the wheel, you can switch drivers halfway through the tour.

Read more about Boston Mini Speedboats →

Learn about Harvard's 400 year history from costumed guides who will entertain as they purvey the little know details of Harvard's past as well as some of the silly stories that make Harvard unique. Lacking an affiliation with Harvard, you'll get an unbiased look at the oldest venue of higher learning in the United States. Spend an hour viewing popular spots on campus including the Harvard Lampoon, Widener Memorial Library and the statue of John Harvard himself. Kids will get a kick out the casual storytelling style of the guides and adults will enjoy learning new bits of trivia to share.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: The Historical, Hysterical Tour of Harvard is a comical look at the history of America's oldest university.

Jessica's expert tip: Tours are held seasonally and times change based on time of year; reserve your spot online.

Read more about The Historical, Hysterical Tour of Harvard →

The Boston Harbor Islands are unique part of the National Park system. 12 ready to explore islands offer a variety of activities for an active island adventure like checking out historic sites, spotting wildlife, taking a hike, getting in the water on a kayak or for a swim, sharing a picnic, doing some fishing and even camping. The islands can easily be explored on your own, but to enhance your visit you may want to partake in one the programs or tours offered on each. A short boat ride is all it takes to spend your day off the coast of Boston having your own island adventure.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: A Visit to the Boston Harbor Islands is an exciting look at the uses these islands played in Boston's past.

Jessica's expert tip: Each of the Boston Harbor Islands has something different to offer; check what each has before choosing your adventure.

Read more about Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area →

Outside the City

Plimoth Plantation attracts quite a few visitors, and for good reason, this living history "museum" brings 17th Century America life. See what day to day living was like for the Pilgrims and meet the Native Americans they met upon arrival. You'll be placed in a time you have only previously read about as you enjoy your day living amongst those who settled America. Hoards of school kids visit each year as there truly is no better way to experience the tale of the first settlers than to see it here. Dining options reflect a style of food you may have found during that time period.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: About an hour from Boston, Plimoth Plantation offers tours that take you back in time to when the pilgrims first discovered America.

Jessica's expert tip: The Patuxet Cafe is quite the dining experience, make time for a meal here and eat like the Pilgrims and Native Americans.

Read more about Plimoth Plantation →

Board a WWII-style amphibious landing vehicle, and get ready for a thrilling ride that's sure to make a splash. Adults and children of all ages will love learning about Beantown from a knowledgeable "ConDUCKtor" who will spout off quacks between explanations of what you're seeing. The tour covers historical sites of the city and then plunges into the Charles River for a unique view of Boston. Kids aren't the only ones who will enjoy quacking at passersby and the chance to drive the DUCK; you'll see adults fighting over the helm of the vehicle as well. Departing from various locations throughout the city, Duck Tours take various routes allowing you to try each for a more complete exploration of Boston.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: Boston Duck Tours allow you to explore Boston by land and river, giving you a unique view of Boston landmarks.

Jessica's expert tip: The tour the locals love is a MUST for visitors. ConDUCKtors are fun, and make sure you enjoy the ride. You may even get a turn a wheel while in the water.

Read more about Boston Duck Tours →

Boston's Freedom Trail
Photo courtesy of iStock / diegogrand

Starting at the Boston Common, The Freedom Trail can easily be picked up at any point along the way, and done solo. The Freedom Trail offers historical insight into the city and its surroundings giving you one tour that offers a lot of information to those looking to learn about Boston's history. Easy to hop on and off, the Freedom Trail weaves throughout the city and highlights some of Boston's most special places. Some of the included sites are Boston Common, Granary Burial Ground, Old South Meeting House, Old North Church, Paul Revere House, Faneuil Hall, Massachusetts State House, USS Constitution, and Bunker Hill Monument. Enjoy all or part of this "map" of the city. Guided tours are available for a fee, and can be quite entertaining, especially when the guides are dressed in period attire.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: The Freedom Trail is one tour that gives you the chance to explore seventeen of Boston's most historical sites.

Jessica's expert tip: Put on your walking shoes; this tour will have you all over the city.

Read more about Boston's Freedom Trail →


Meet Jessica Polizzotti

Born and raised in Boston, Jessica knows her city like the back of her hand.  Always looking to uncover something new, Jessica keeps up on the latest and greatest Boston offerings. 

Although...  More About Jessica