From Boston’s historic homes to the bustling waterfront, it can be a little overwhelming to make sure you hit all of the city’s most noteworthy sites. But there isn’t much of a better way to fit everything in than the Boston Duck Tours.
Since 1994, the “duck” boats have been a staple in the Massachusetts capital, carrying thousands of passengers in peak season across the city. Today, the fleet consists of 28 replica World War II amphibious landing vehicles that take you through Boston and into the Charles River. Here’s everything you need to know about one of Boston’s most popular tours.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Hit numerous sites in 80 minutes
With tours taking place every day from the end of March through the end of November, the Boston Duck Tours run every 20-30 minutes (depending on departure area) from 9am to about an hour before sunset. Passengers have the ability to get tickets and board at three locations, including the Prudential Center, Museum of Science and the New England Aquarium.
Once onboard, local drivers take guests on an 80-minute tour of the city, hitting numerous historical and significant sites along the way. You’ll slow down to see the Boston Public Gardens, Beacon Hill, JFK Residence, the Old State House and more than 20 other sites.
During the ride, the quirky ConDUCKtors spew out historical facts and interesting tidbits. Each guide takes on a different persona, bringing a unique – and often humorous – twist to the tour. There’s Bobby Oar, Vincent Van Duck, Robin the Riveter, Lenient Louis the Plunderless Privateer, Captain Super Swift and a crew of many other characters.
While the New England Aquarium boats take a slightly different route than the Prudential Center and Museum of Science rides, they see most of the same places. The Prudential Center and Museum of Science boats are also equipped to give tours in nine different languages and are wheelchair accessible.
Get on the Charles River
One of the more popular locations along the ride puts visitors right into the Charles. At different points on the trip (depending on your boarding spot), the “Duck” turns from truck to boat, and the drivers take passengers on a 20-minute glide over the river.
Entering the river around the Museum of Science, participants see Boston’s West End and Beacon Hill neighborhoods from the water before cruising under the famous Longfellow Bridge. The excursion gives wide, sweeping views of the Boston and Cambridge skylines and intimately displays the Back Bay, including the beautiful Esplanade, before turning back.
If you’re lucky, you’ll be one of the several passengers picked to drive the boat along the river portion of the tour.
Ride in a little piece of history
While the present-day boats are all replicas, the Boston Duck Tours started with an original fleet of World War II amphibious landing vehicles that were converted for passengers. Code-named “DUKW” (which is where the current name comes from), the last original WWII vehicle was taken out of the fleet in 2014, but the company still owns one for special occasions.
The replicas are known as “truck ducks.” First built in Kansas, these models were purposely made for tourism and have a stronger hull with an enclosed top. The oldest boat dates back to 2006 with the newest being from 2014.
To localize the fleet, the company named each of the 28 duck boats after a Boston landmark or neighborhood, with the name painted along the side of the vehicle. Boats include Back Bay Bertha, Beacon Hilda, Espla Nadia, Olga Ironsides, Symphony Hal, Fenway Fanny and many others.
Ride in the same boats as Boston’s champions
Starting in 2002 with the New England Patriots’ first Super Bowl win, Boston Duck Tours and its boats became the “Official ChampionSHIP” of Boston’s four major sports teams. Whenever one of Boston’s teams wins a championship, the company sends out its “Rolling Rally,” a parade that consists of almost the whole fleet and welcomes the players onboard to travel around the city among crowds of cheering fans.
The duck boats have hosted the championship parade a total of 12 times between all four sports teams since 2002, including six times for the Patriots, four times for the Red Sox and one each for the Bruins and Celtics.
On the day of the championship parade, the summer tours are shut down, and all the boats go towards hosting the rally. In the case of the Patriots, whose Super Bowl parade is in the winter, the fleet is brought back into service for one day in February to celebrate. After you’ve experienced Boston Duck Tours, why not check out our list of the must-visit attractions in Boston.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.