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newcomer1 Apr 7th, 2007 01:16 PM

Boston duck & walking tours
We're headed to Boston in July. Would taking both the duck tour and the guided walking tour of the Freedom Trail(or maybe its audio tour) be redundant? Also, has anyone taken the Beacon Hill or Back Bay walking tours? Thanks.

Colette Apr 7th, 2007 02:44 PM

Maybe there's a "duck" tour that I know nothing about......but I DID ride the swan boats in Boston Commons park......and then later I walked the Freedom Trail.....and found them both delightful! (and not redundant). So if you mean swans rather than ducks, I'd definitely do both! The swan boats were just a nice little float through a beautiful park, and the Freedom Trail is an actual historic walking trail through downtown Boston. Hope this helps!

capxxx Apr 7th, 2007 02:58 PM

There's a duck tour. It is on an amphibious vehicle that spends part of the tour on the street, part in the river. I have only taken the Freedom Trail tour, but I'm pretty sure it visits mostly different places than the duck tour. The Freedom trail hits all the historical sites, like Paul Revere's house and the old north church. The duck tour covers more area.

Anonymous Apr 7th, 2007 03:07 PM

The Freedom Trail was designed to be a self-guided tour. If you go by yourself, rather than on an organized tour, you'll have more options about how to spend your time, visiting cemeteries or the interiors of historic buildings. And where and when to eat.

The Swan Boats in the Public Garden are fun, but not nearly as much fun as the Duck Tours, which leave from two locations (Back Bay and near the Museum of Science) and over the past decade have become a must-do for many visitors. Their high spirits give a good overview of the city. Since the Duck Tour vehicles cannot navigate many of the streets in the oldest part of the city, they do not include the Freedom Trail sites. And since it's not a hop-on-hop-off tour, it doesn't include visiting the sites.

bigtyke Apr 7th, 2007 07:37 PM

I did both the duck and Freedom Trail and recommend doing both. You don't get off the Duck, while walking you can obviously stop anywhere and explore as much as you like.

KTtravel Apr 7th, 2007 08:58 PM

Our family did both the Duck Tour and Freedom Trail last summer and would highy recommend them. The tours are very different from each other (one historical, the other hysterical) and the areas they cover only overlap slightly. We did the free National Park tour of the Freedom Trial and found our guide to be excellent.

I'm afraid I can't give you any information about the Beacon Hill or Back Bay tours.

Have a great trip!

escargot Apr 8th, 2007 02:13 PM

The Duck Tours are fun and a nice overview - but definitely should not replace the Freedom Trail -
you can pick up self guide info near Park St station and prior to arriving, see the list of the 16 sites along the trail on their the web site - and where to get the info and begin -

this will help orient you to what you personally would or would not fit into one day, and on your own you can, as someone said, stop wherever you want, stay longer, take breaks,e tc -

they do have some great guided tours and some prefer those - keeps them moving, they don't get off the track, etc - sort of a personal decision -

The Swan Boats I would miss unless you have children - I would certainly walk through the Public Garden and watch them for awhile as they float around - but the ride is very short, the line often very long and to me, geared more for little ones, especially if they've read the Make way for Duckling books, are seeing those statues too, etc -

Many relatives of ours have also enjoyed going up to the Prudential Skywalk OBservatory which has some history and magnificent views if a clear day (and equally as gorgeous views, but different,at night)
many have enjoyed going at the end of their trip and looking out over the city and beyond -

Specific walking tours are excellent if you have a specific interest in one neighborhood area (South End, Back Bay, Beacon Hill, etc)

If you think you woul denjoy one of those and also like cooking/eating - the North End Market Tours with MIchele Topor - are a fun take - you can check those out on:

I have only odne the North End Market Tour and one in the South End, so I can not comment on the others.

escargot Apr 8th, 2007 02:20 PM

Newcomer1: one place to get the duck tours is at the Prudential Center, so if you got on there, you could also do the Skywalk at that time -

Also/ many confuse the Boston Common with the Boston Public Garden - the former is the oldest city park in the U.S. and where you will get the Freedom Trail info near Park Station, see the Frog Pond, and other historical sites, and the latter is where the Swan boats and Make Way for Ducking Statues, 9/11 memorial, and other things.

they both have their own websites online so you can check those and not miss anything on your walk through !

Keith Apr 9th, 2007 05:43 AM

I thought that the Boston Duck tour was only so-so. Enjoyed the Duck tour in Branson much more.

But perhaps it was just becaise of the particular drivers we had.


newcomer1 Apr 9th, 2007 07:32 AM

Thanks so much everyone! We will definitely do both the duck tour and the Freedom Walking Trail tour. I am thinking we will start with the Ranger-led walking tour for an overview; then we can always go back to places of particular interest on our own (we have 3 1/2 days). I will reserve the duck tour for later in the day when we are ready to sit!

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