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  See the 4th of July from the river!
See the 4th of July from the river!

What to Bring

Sneakers   Camera
Flashlight   Whistle
Watch   Water
Snacks   Plastic bags for


To Boston/Cambridge location:
From Boston, take Storrow Drive west
After passing Harvard Business School
and Harvard Stadium on the left, bear left on
Soldiers Field Road – do not cross Eliot
Park at first or second parking lot on the
right – you will see the rotunda near the
To Newton location:
From Boston, take the MassPike to Exit 15 (Rt.128/I95/Rt.30)
Stay left through the toll (follow signs for
Rt.30) and make two right turns onto Rt.30 East
Pass through two sets of lights and cross the river (about 1/2 mile)
The brown boathouse is immediately after the river on the left
  Good to know in advance
For rental information, call Charles River
Canoe and Kayak: (617) 965-5110

Cost: from $65 (standard canoe) to $86
(large canoe)

Deposit required; between $1,000 and
$2,500 depending on type of boat
Rental includes a paddle and PFD for each paddler
The State Police requires that all boaters
display a white light, continuously lit and
visible from all directions, and carry a
noisemaker such as a whistle; these items will be included in your rental
Bring a photo ID when you pick up your
All rentals for July 4 are on a first-come,
first-served basis
Many boats will be on the river that night - stay on the right and watch for traffic
Do not harass wildlife (ducks, geese,
turtles, and birds) on and along the Charles
Do not trample vegetation if you land on the river banks
Follow all boat traffic rules provided by the staff

ID Card

Overall rating: Four-Star Rating Four-Star Rating Four-Star Rating Four-Star Rating Four-Star Rating
Difficulty: 3/5
  Time from Boston: 15 minutes
  Duration: 4-5 hours

From $65 per kayak

  Main activity:


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The best way to watch the 4th of July fireworks is really from the water, so go for a adventure on the Charles River and rent a kayak or a canoe for the evening!
Watching the fireworks from the Charles River is much easier than you think: the State Police welcome boaters, and access is only restricted immediately around the fireworks barge. Best of all, the view can't be beat…
You will live an experience like no other: first, paddling at night is a truly special experience (since the entire stretch of the river you will cover is in town and along brightly lit avenues and streets, there is actual ample lighting to paddle). Second, the Charles on the 4th is quite a sight, with more boats than you'll see in an entire year. The small size and flexibility of your canoe or kayak will allow you to sneak in the best spots, or paddle slowly along the shore and soak in the sights and sounds of the event.
Charles River Canoe and Kayak offers a special formula for the 4th:
Reserve a boat at their Newton or Boston locations (see directions in the side bar)
Pick it up at a scheduled time
Return it on July 5
Several types of boats are available:
Single kayaks: for 1 adult
Double kayaks: for 2 adults
Standard canoes: for 2-3 adults, or 2 adults and 2 kids
Large canoes: for 4-5 adults
The best option for launch will be from the Boston location, about a mile from Harvard Square in Cambridge, where there is ample free parking. Including the time to paddle down to the Esplanade, watch the fireworks, and come back, you should expect to spend several hours on the river, so be sure to bring in extra clothing, snacks and drinks.

(Picture courtesy of

Paddling Biking Mountaineering