You can’t live in or visit Boston or Cambridge without spending a few hours on the Charles River. All throughout the year, you’ll find people all along the river—but the Charles really comes to life during the summer months, when both residents and tourists head to the river to enjoy beautiful city views, get some fresh air and exercise, or simply relax.
We love the Charles because it offers great fun-filled activities for kids and families to enjoy. On both sides of the river, there are miles and miles of trails to explore for free! On any given day, there are hundreds of people walking, running, or biking on these paths, or crisscrossing the numerous bridges connecting Boston and Cambridge. As an extra bonus, a big section of Memorial Drive—starting from Western Avenue until the JFK bridge—is closed to cars on Sundays in the summer time. So you can take your walk or ride to the streets!
Head to the Boston side of the river and you’ll enjoy one of the most beloved locations in the city: the Charles River Esplanade. The Esplanade is a state-owned park on the banks of the Charles in Back Bay—and it’s a Boston landmark too! It spans for three miles along the Boston shore, starting from the Boston Museum of Science to the Boston University Bridge.
A lot of fun family activities can be found along those three miles. The Esplanade is home to various playgrounds, ball fields, tree-lined walking paths (over five miles!), and even the iconic Hatch Memorial Shell, a performance stage with many free events during the summer. There are also piers that allow you to sit out on the river and take in the Boston or Cambridge skyline or have a nice family picnic. In short, you and your family won’t be bored!
The Esplanade is easily accessible from almost any part of Boston. Just hop on the T or a bus and you’ll be there in no time. So grab a pair of comfy shoes, sunscreen, and some healthy snacks and enjoy some active fun in the sun on the Charles today!
Photo courtesy of TripAdvisor