Boston activities for summer celebrate our warm but mostly comfortable weather, extensive city parks and paths, and our waterfront location. If you're visiting during the summer, you can combine some of these outdoor summer activities with your sightseeing to get a flavor of the "real" Boston slightly off the typical tourist path.
Boston's outdoor warm-weather activities that you can participate in as a visitor include sailing lessons, bike tours, outings to local beaches, walking along the Freedom Trail, exploring neighborhoods, and watching (or even competing in) the Boston Marathon, Dragon Boat races, the Head of the Charles Regatta - and more!
Boston Bike Tours
Get some exercise during your Boston sightseeing when you join a group tour led by avid cyclists who'll share details about the city's history and culture as you ride. Or rent a Hubway bike and tour the city on your own as you explore various bike paths and sightseeing routes. One of the best Boston activities for summer! More about biking in Boston
Boston's summer concert season moves outdoors to the waterfront Bank of America Pavilion, Fenway Park, and Gillette Stadium, with amazing shows by megastars - Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Aerosmith, Coldplay, the Beach Boys. Plus, you'll hear plenty of free concerts and jazz along the waterfront, in Copley Square, at the Hatch Shell, and plenty of other locations throughout the city. Check the Boston concert schedule to find out what's going on this summer.
Run of the Charles Kayak and Canoe Race
This annual April kayak and canoe race on the Charles River is the biggest in New England, attracting more than 1,500 paddlers and many more participants. Whether you're competing or just watching, it's the perfect excuse for enjoying a day on the river, and perhaps a weekend visit to Boston. More about the Run of the Charles
Celebrate Independence Day on July 4th
Boston's huge July Fourth celebration kicks off with Harborfest, a huge outdoor celebration lasting almost a week. The Boston Pops concerts on July 3rd and 4th at the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade draw huge crowds - but the biggest Independence Day celebration of all is the spectacular fireworks display over the Charles River. More about Boston fireworks and the Pops concerts
Sailing in Boston
Water surrounds Boston on 3 sides, making it one of the best spots on the East Coast for sailing. Of course, you can enjoy the water on one of the many Harbor cruises - but if you'd like more active involvement, spend a few days taking sailing lessons and you'll be addicted to this favorite local sport. Find out about Boston sailing lessons, charters, clubs.
Running and jogging
Forget your hotel gym - stay in shape during your Boston visit and enjoy spectacular waterfront views at the same time by running or jogging (or even walking) along the Boston Esplanade. Bridges connect the Boston and Cambridge sides of the river at multiple points, so you can set the length of your course to meet your needs. More about the Esplanade
Running in the world-famous Boston Marathon takes some planning and preparation, but for many people, it's the highlight of their Boston visit. Find out about Boston Marathon qualifying times. Meanwhile, get the Marathon date, and come watch for inspiration. Check for best watching spots along the Boston Marathon route. Or consider a shorter race - BAA's 10k race in June.
Although the Boston waterfront is a harbor, lined with wharfs and piers, several Boston and nearby beaches are easily accessible by public transportation and are perfect places to enjoy the sun and perhaps a swim or walk - a favorite Boston summer activity. True, they're not Cape Cod - but you can still have fun! More about Boston beaches, and one of our local favorites, Castle Island.
Cruise out to the Boston Harbor Islands
Hop on a ferry at Long Wharf, and head out to the Boston Harbor Islands for a day of hiking, exploring, swimming, photographing, and perhaps even a nap. Only 20 minutes from the city, you'll find long stretches of gorgeous sandy beaches, a Civil War fort, miles of hiking trails, picnic areas, and even camping grounds. More about Boston Harbor Islands
Boston has magnificent gardens, both public and private. Whether you're an avid gardener or just like flowers, garden tours in Boston and Cambridge from May to September let you view these special and sometimes hidden paradises - plus they provide a great way to explore the parts of the city where they're located - Beacon Hill, Fenway, the South End, Cambridge, and more. Find out more about these colorful garden tours.
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Another of the top Boston activities for summer is going on a whale-watching cruise out to a nearby coastal feeding ground for finback, humpback, and right whales, pluse many Although not right in the city, whale-watching cruises are among the biggest Boston attractions. Finback and humpback whales gather at nearby coastal feeding grounds. More about Boston whale watching cruises
Exploring Boston's Freedom Trail
Get some exercise and learn about Boston and American history at the same time when you walk the length of the 2.5 mile Freedom Trail, starting at Boston Common. The Trail takes you to 16 sites crucial to American liberty in historic downtown Boston, the North End, and Charlestown. Check out the Freedom Trail, as well as other Boston tours and trails
Shakespeare on the Common
On balmy July and August nights, it's easy to understand why dropping by to see a free Shakespeare on the Common production is a favorite Boston activity for summer as the grassy slopes of this centrally located city park transform into an amphitheater under the stars. More about Shakespeare on the Common
Food Truck Festivals
From June through October, these festivals on four wheels give you the chance to sample the favorite street food cuisine from 20-30 of Boston area gourmet food trucks, relax with friends and family, and enjoy some of the most scenic locations in and around Boston and Southern New England. More about the New England Food Truck festivals
Dragon Boat Festival
Watch the Dragon Boat races on the Charles River in June - or gather a group of friends and colleagues together to enter and complete. Boston's Dragon Boat races are the biggest and longest-running in the U.S, and whether you're racing or just watching, you'll find a lot to enjoy at the festival. Check the Boston Event Calendar for June for dates.
If you're visiting the city in June, this favorite Boston summer activity is a must-do event! Scooper Bowl lets you eat all the ice cream you want, and help support cancer research at the same time - a real win-win! Top local and New England ice cream makers donate all the ice cream, including some special flavors you'll never see in a store. More details on the Boston Event Calendar for June
Boston Swan Boats
Since 1877, the Swan Boats have glided across the tranquil waters of the lagoon in Boston's Public Garden, providing 15 minutes of delight for just a couple of dollars. The pedal-powered boats transport passengers from mid-April through mid-September. A swan boat ride is one of my personal favorite Boston activities during summer months. More about the Swan Boats
Head of the Charles Regatta
Almost 10 thousand elite athletes from Boston and around the world participate in this 2-day rowing event on the Charles River. Depending on the weather (like summer during some years, but sometimes more like winter), over 300,000 spectators line Boston's bridges and the banks of the river to watch the event. More about the Head of the Charles Regatta
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