Get on the Charles
by Alexia Simitian
Photography by Michaela Johnston
Living in Boston, we only see a small part of the Charles River. There i almost 80 more miles of river that we can’t see from the Esplanade. Before it empties into the Atlantic Ocean, the Charles River passes through 23 different communities and contains 33 lakes and ponds, most of which are man-made. The calm waters make it easier for anyone to enjoy a day out on the water. There are various places to rent gear for kayaking and paddle boarding, or even take a sailing lesson.
It is the perfect way to spend an afternoon with friends soaking up the sun before the air starts to get colder. Summer may be coming to a close, but this heat and humidity isn’t going anywhere. You can keep cool out on the Charles River. But if you’re confused about how to make your aquatic fantasies a reality, the Buzz is here to show you unique ways you can on the Charles River.
The closest and most accessible option is the Boston University Sailing Pavilion. It is a great choice for Boston University students, location wise and price wise if you are a member of BU’s Fitness and Recreation Center. Located on the BU side of the Charles next to the BU Bridge, the BU Sailing Pavilion offers the Recreational Sailing card, where pass holders have access to sailboats, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards.
“I have been renting from here since before I started coming to BU,” said junior Madeline Domenichella (CAS ’18). Everyone is super easygoing and the equipment works great.”
The daily pass is $20 for FitRec members and $35 for non-members, as the Sailing Pavilion is open to the entire BU community and the general public.
Charles River Canoe & Kayak is another popular option because of its variety of equipment and locations. It has four different sites along the Charles River in Allston, Cambridge, Newton and Waltham, allowing you to get a full look at Boston’s famous landmark. During the summer, the outfitter rents kayaks, canoes and other gear out for a one-way ride between Soldiers Field Road in Allston to Kendall Square in Cambridge—and vice versa. The journey is about five miles each way and is available to individuals with any range of experience. A short tutorial and safety precaution is given before every boat sets out. With very little wind, the trip from one place to the other gives a worry-free journey with the simple task of just following the river and enjoying the view.
The one-way trip cost starts at $10 plus the boat charge that varies with each type of rental. A single kayak totals $15, while canoes are $20 and stand up paddleboards are $18. In addition to rentals, Charles River Canoe & Kayak offers guided tours along the river and a paddling school. These guided tours range from Skyline and Sunset Tours to Boston Harbor Tours to Eco Tours, which is more nature oriented. The paddling school offers everyone, no matter the age or size, the chance to go out and enjoy what the Charles River has to offer through kayak classes, stand up paddle boarding classes and canoeing classes.
Paddling along the calm Charles River directly through the constant rush of the city surrounding from both sides is uniquely peaceful. On this journey, you will pass the likes of BU, MIT and Harvard, in addition to the Museum of Science, the Hatch Shell and the Boston Skyline. There are countless places to stop for lunch or a snack along the Esplanade and you will see your fair share of birds and fish, as well as crew teams and Duck Tours.
“It’s important for people, especially BU students, to get out on the river and see the beautiful nature Boston has to offer,” said Luis Castro (COM ’18), a member of the BU Outing Club. “The fours years go by so fast, you don’t want to miss your opportunity.” The Charles allows you to experience the city that we call home each year from a new perspective.