A panoramic view of the full Boston skyline with the Charles River full of sailboats as sunset approaches

Defining the entire northern border of Boston (barring Charlestown), the Charles River is a local destination like no other. And with summer winding down, there’s extra pressure to take advantage of the sunny weather, especially out on the water. For some of our favorite ways to enjoy the outdoors in Boston, here’s a short guide to watersports on the Charles River.

Stand Up Paddleboarding

This trendy activity is easy to adopt for people with all levels of athletic ability. A solid core workout and inexplicably serene experience, stand up paddle boarding in Boston offers people the chance to stand on the water and cruise past landmarks like the Hatch Shell and Kendall Square.

Check out Paddle Boston for Stand Up Paddleboard tours and rentals.


Whether you want to rent a kayak with a friend or go on a guided expedition, there’s plenty of opportunity to sit and paddle on the Charles. Paddle Boston offers skyline and sunset tours, guided outings to the Boston Harbor, and eco-tours out to Nahanton Park.


Similar to the last option, canoe rentals on the Charles River offer explorers a manageable yet rigorous chance to explore the city from its most central body of water. Moonlight Canoe tours take place a short ten-minute drive from Boston on the Lakes District of the Charles, offering spectacular views of the water and surrounding nature.


There’s nothing quite like having the wind shoot down the river and take you on a cruise along the Boston skyline and Esplanade. Those who know their way around a schooner can rent a keel Cape Cod Mercury for a full day for just $79 from Boston’s Community Boating Inc.