WENDY, MEET BOSTON: Charles River offers students springtime boating activities in the city


Staff Columnist 

Courtesy of Cecilia Countryman 

Courtesy of Cecilia Countryman ’14

With warm spring weather finally starting to make an appearance in the Boston area, it’s the perfect time to make plans for study breaks or group outings that involve spending time in the fresh air and soaking up the sun. In particular, Boston offers a special benefit to outdoor activities with its proximity to water. With the Charles River running through the city and Boston’s location right on the harbor of the Atlantic, there is no shortage of beautiful water that you can take advantage of this spring season!

Starting with the Charles River, one really fun activity is kayaking or canoeing. A company that offers many different options for this sport is Charles River Canoe & Kayak. With five different locations along the river, this company offers rentals, guided tours and even classes for kayaking, canoeing and paddleboarding. A single kayak costs $15 per hour and $60 for the day, while a double kayak costs $20 per hour and $80 per day. Other pricing details can be found on their website, paddleboston.com. The Charles River Canoe & Kayak’s Cambridge location near Kendall Square will be opening for the season this Saturday and the Boston location will open on next Saturday. The other three locations are Waltham, Newton/Auburndale, and Nanhanton Park in Newton, and their seasonal schedules can be found online.

To make your experience with the Charles River Canoe & Kayak company even more unique, you can try out the Boston Harbor kayak tours. Starting at Kendall Square, a three-hour tour leads you along the Charles right into the harbor’s ocean waters. This event is a little pricier, at $75, but it is a great opportunity to take in the sights of the city from a unique vantage point while participating in a fun water sport.

Looking for a more leisurely, less sweat-breaking water activity? Then you might be interested in a boat tour. The Charles Riverboat Company offers a standard river sightseeing tour for $13 per student, an architectural tour for $20 per student and  a sunset cruise, either on the Boston Harbor or along the Charles, for $15 per student. You will unfortunately have to wait a little longer for this opportunity, as the river tours start May 10, the architectural tours on May 23 and the sunset cruises on May 24. But taking a cruise could be a great way to celebrate the end of the year and reward yourself for surviving finals!

If you’re a fan of the annual Head of the Charles regatta, but haven’t had the opportunity to try rowing for yourself, you may want to try out the old-fashioned Whitehall and Pilot gigs of Boston Rowing Center. If you’re like me and have never heard of these boats before, then you can learn a little boat history ahead of time by checking out the exhibits at the Hull Lifesaving Museum, which exhibits historical boats such as these. Getting there is a bit of a trip, as the museum is located in Hull, MA. However, you can row with these boats for free for the first three times. On your initial visit you’ll also receive a quick lesson that not only teaches you how to row, but also includes some rowing vocabulary and historical rowing facts. If you really love it or if you have some previous rowing experience, you may want to enter into one of their races. The next race, the Fort Point Channel Open, is set to take place on Saturday, May 17. The registration price is $20, and you don’t need your own boat to participate, as participants in the race will use the Hull Lifesaving Museum’s boats.

With these exciting options, and many more, it’s easy to get outside, enjoy the nice weather and take advantage of the beautiful water around Boston!

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