You're in Boston -- at some point you have to shove off land and get on some water.
That usually means heading down to Long Wharf -- a cacophonous, stress-inducing jumble of kiosks and sandwich boards. Too many flyers. "Barkers" who are either: aggressive, catch-your-eye engagers or bored, is-it-my-lunch-break-yet, I-hate-my-job minimal kiosk occupiers.
Your Boston Harbor options are more limited than you think
Here's one fact that may reduce your anxiety: one company, Boston Harbor Cruises, controls virtually all of the various boats: they own all the boats. They are The Man (even though, refreshingly, the company is run by a woman).
But there is a Boston Harbor Bargain
Basically, this is a collection of islands in Boston Harbor, managed by a consortium of national, state, and non-profit organizations.
Here's what's important to you: they have negotiated a good rate with Boston Harbor Cruises. If you take one of the Boston Harbor Islands boats to an island and back, it's half price or less than the cost of a Boston Harbor Cruises trip.
The price break
Your basic Boston Harbor Cruise at Long Wharf is $28.95 for adults; $24 for kids.
If you take a Harbor Island ferry, it drops to: $17 adults; $10 for kids. Nearly half price for adults; closer to 60% off for kids.
- Cost: Slightly more mental activity is required: you have to pick and island and choose your "to" and "from" boats.
- Benefit: Works best during the summer, when the ferries run often enough that you can just go out on one boat and easily hop on one back and hour later.
- Benefit: Why not stroll around on an island for a little bit?
Two final questions:
What about Codzilla?
You may want to combine your Boston Harbor experience with a thrill ride. Or there's someone in your party who can't abide the thought of a old-school, geriatric "boat cruise." In that case, you're destined for Codzilla
Don't the Duck Tours go in the water?
Yes, but just for a brief stretch in the Charles River. Boston Harbor is a much bigger experience.