More often than not, when family or out-of-town guests come to visit, they all have the same to-do item on their list: a Boston Duck Tour. And the request ranges across all ages – Baby Boomer relatives, friends who are busy executives, artsy friends, friends who are parents to kids of all ages. I've even had repeat requests from visitors who had gone on the Duck Boats a few years prior, and want to do it again.
They all want to embrace their inner goofball and quack their way through Boston.
"I think it's something about driving into the river," a local friend recently weighed in, when we were discussing the Duck Boats' wide-ranging appeal. "It's just such a weird and unusual experience. Where else are you going to do that? And then the sightseeing and history through the rest of the tour is like an extra bonus."
It's true. And if you want to see Boston via a Duck Boat, you only have a few more weeks to do so: Tours run through the end of November before wrapping up for the season. So if you don't want to wait for spring, book a spot and follow my tips for making the most of your Boston Duck Tour.
Where to Pick Up
You've no doubt seen the Duck Boats' ubiquitous amphibious vehicles all around Boston, but there are only three places where you can pick them up for a tour: the Museum of Science, the New England Aquarium, and the Prudential Center.
Choose the one that's most convenient for your own home base and/or sightseeing itinerary; all are near major tourist attractions, T stations, and dining.
How to Save
Are your fellow Duck Boat riders a bunch of early risers? If so, make an online reservation for the 9 or 9:30 a.m. tours from either the Museum of Science or Prudential stops and get an Early Duck discount.
(Remember that online-only stipulation: If you show up in person to buy tickets for the early tours, you won't get the discount.)
There's also the Ride & Save program for those also planning to visit the Museum of Science and New England Aquarium: Show your Duck Boats ticket and get discounts off the museums' admission, café, gift shop, and theaters. You can also get a free tour of Harvard Square with your Duck Boats ticket, plus numerous discounts at the Prudential Center and other Boston restaurants and gift shops. So save that ticket stub and put it to work – you can save quite a lot!
How to Dress
Duck Boats tour in rain or shine, and they do drive in to the river (although, truth be told, the splash is pretty minimal). I always recommend that Duck Boat travelers wear layers – it can be breezy out on the water, and if it's rainy, a light raincoat is always a good idea. The Duck Boats are heated and have weather protection, but it's not quite like being enclosed within a typical car or truck, so plan accordingly.