Which Boston Bus Tours Are the Best?

With a bus tour one can cover more ground and take in more sites, though the trade-off is that you will receive a more condensed version of the sites. If done the right way a bus tour will give you a good overview of much of the city, and if used in conjunction with one of our pay-what-you-wish walking tours, you will come away with a great education about the history and culture of the great city of Boston.

With so many options for bus tours in Boston the choices of bus tours can be a bit overwhelming.  So which to choose?  Depending what you are looking for the answer varies.  We have put together this list of Boston bus tours with some tips on who may benefit from each.  


Hop-on, Hop Off Trolley

Night Tours / Ghost Bus

Day Trips from Boston


 

Hop-on, Hop-off Boston Trolley Bus Tours

OLD TOWN TROLLEY

This company offers 20 hop-on and hop-off stops where you can get on and off as often as you wish (within your ticket time period).  Tours operate from 9 am – 5 pm from April through October and 9 am – 4 pm from November through March.  Stops are made at locations such as the USS Constitution, the Cheers Bar, Fenway Park, the Boston Convention Center and more.

Reviews:

Of all the trolley companies, Old Town Trolley is the best reviewed company of all the 4 trolley companies in Boston, but it is also the most expensive. Although there are a few negative comments here and there, this company has a 4 ½ star rating overall on TripAdvisor. Reviews for their hop-on, hop-off service are generally favorable, with most passengers reporting that this is a very good deal. A lot of guests enjoy the ability to hop off whenever they wish, exploring the city at their own pace.

Recommended for those looking for a premium hop-on, hop-off Boston bus service.

Prices:

Prices listed below are “online prices” for a 1 day hop-on, hop-off ticket.  Old Town Trolley is currently offering 50% for a second day ticket.  If you purchase a ticket on board, the prices are slightly more expensive.  You can also save some money on the purchase price by combining a trolley tour with a Duck Tour.

  • Adults – $36.86
  • Children (4-11) – $17.96
  • Children (under 4) – FREE
  • Students/Seniors/Military – $34.97
  • Purchase your tickets here.

 


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CITY VIEW TROLLEY:

This hop on hop off company offers tours year around and their first stop is at Long Wharf Boston. They also offer a free 45 minute harbor cruise with purchase of tickets.  Prices of the tickets below reflect City View Trolley’s “special price”, though we think that these prices below are their real prices.  Bus start running at 9 am from March – November and at 9:30 am from December – February.

Recommended for those on a budget, especially if you are considering the Go Boston Card, a tourist attraction discount card that pools together sites and can save you a lot of money.  This may be one of the cheapest options, and it doesn’t hurt that the company has a 4 ½ star rating on TripAdvisor. Most reviews for this service are very favorable, with some guests indicating that they do a good job of staying on schedule. Other comments suggest that this is a great way to discover the city before heading out on your own.

Prices:

1 Day Ticket:

2 Day Ticket:

They do appear to have a 2 day ticket through the Go Boston Card.  If you are considering a tourist discount pass for your time in Boston, then keep in mind that the Go Boston Card includes a 2 day ticket for free, or you could get 20% off the prices below if you combine this pass with just one other item.  Be sure to read our guide to Boston tourist attraction passes.

 


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BEANTOWN TROLLEY

Offered by Gray Line, this company provides hop-on, hop-off tours year round. With a total of 17 stops, a full circuit takes approximately 90 minutes. That being said, if you decide to hop off and enjoy the sites for a while, you could easily spend all day exploring some of the most notable locations in Boston! In addition, each ticket below includes a free 45 minute Boston Harbor cruise. This is a great way to enjoy two different tours and see as much of the city as possible in a short amount of time. Their TripAdvisor reviews are average at best.

Recommended for those who are also looking for a harbor cruise and/or to save money.

Prices:

Prices are listed below.

1 Day Ticket:

2 Day Ticket:

 


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UPPER DECK TROLLEY TOURS:

This company offers tours year around and with prices ranging in price from $19 (for children) to $37 (for adults). You can purchase either 1-day or 2-day tickets for their trolley tours, which visit at least 26 different locations. They also offer a Super Duck Tours which is much like the Boston Duck Tours and will take a short cruise in the Charles River. In addition to these options, they also provide spooky night tours that cover the haunted history of this very old city.

Boston Upper Deck Trolley has an overall rating of 4 ½ stars on TripAdvisor. Passengers who took advantage of their hop-on, hop-off service were typically very happy with their experience.

Some people appreciate that they will take you to Harvard, noting that this is one of the few companies to provide said service. Although it was noted that this may not be the cheapest option on the list, some reviewers have said that it is the best trolley company in the area.

 


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Duck/Amphibious Tours

BOSTON DUCK TOURS:

One of the most popular bus tours in this city is the famous Duck Tours of Boston. This company uses WWII era amphibious landing vehicles, which work surprisingly well for touring, to take the guests on a short water cruise of the Charles River. The Duck Tours are not a hop off/hop on tour like many of the other bus tours in the area, but in 90 minutes they cover a lot of ground and the guides are usually very knowledgeable as well as entertaining. In Boston, the duck tours leave at three different locations: one on the waterfront behind Faneuil Hall, another in the Back Bay behind the Prudential Center, and a third in Cambridge at the Museum of Science.

Recommended for: families

Reviews for Boston Duck Tours are pretty good, and the company has received an accumulated rating of 4 ½ stars on TripAdvisor. Over 3,000 guests have been pleased with their experience on this trip. Most of the people who go on this journey have a great time and learn a lot of valuable information about the city of Boston. Some reviewers have been on the tour multiple times, stating that it is always a lot of fun. Other comments indicate that this is a great way to discover the city before exploring it on your own.

Prices:

Tickets for the tour are not cheap.  However, there are several discounts available.  Tickets are included for free with the Go Boston Card from Smart Destinations.  You can also save some money on the purchase price by combining a trolley tour with a Duck Tour.

  • Adults – $36
  • Children (3-11) – $25
  • Children (under 3) – $10.50
  • Students/Seniors/Military – $29.99
  • All tickets include free admission to the Sports Museum located in Boston’s TD Garden.
  • Purchase your tickets here.

Additionally, if you are on a cruise ship for a quick stop over Boston, these companies have a stop at the Black Falcon Terminal where the ships dock and will shuttle  you to our tour meeting sites and will take you back to the Terminal when it is time to return to the ship .

 


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SUPER DUCK TOURS

Offered through the Boston Upper Deck Trolley company, this Duck tour is an excellent alternative to other competitors. Over the course of a 90 minute trip, you’ll explore Boston’s waterfront and harbor from the safety and comfort of an amphibious vehicle that functions as both a boat and a bus! You’ll see sights such as the Bunker Hill Monument and the USS Constitution as you drive and float by some of the most historic locations in the city.

Reviews for Super Duck Tours are very favorable. Hundreds of customers have given this service a 5 star rating on TripAdvisor. Many of them suggest that this is an excellent way to learn about the history of Boston from an interesting perspective. Several reviewers have said that this tour is both fun and informative, and some have even gone so far as to say that you should not miss the duck tour. Many guests seem to feel that this is a great way to discover Beantown.

Ticket Prices

  • $33.33 for Adults
  • $29.52 for Seniors/Students/Military
  • $21.90 for Children (3-11)
  • $11.43 for Children under 3

Super Duck Tours run from March – December. These trips are available rain or shine. All buses have heaters and windows that can be rolled down for your comfort. This company also provides a free convenience shuttle to and from the New England Aquarium.

 


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NIGHT BUS TOURS

Most of the bus tours that run at night in Boston are actually haunted bus tours. That being said, these trips can be a great opportunity to learn all about the spooky history behind Beantown. If you want to discover some of the more terrifyingly true events that took place in this city’s past, consider taking a journey with one of the following companies!

 


GHOST AND GRAVESTONES BUS TOUR

If you’re looking for a more spooky experience in Beantown, perhaps a haunted bus tour is in order. Hear about Boston’s dark side on this 90 minute ghost bus tour with numerous costumed guides. The tour covers 4 different haunted locations, which includes walks through two of the city’s oldest graveyards and sights related to the Boston Strangler. Discover some of the grisly history of this city on a fun and hair-raising bus trip. Tour takes place at 7 pm from April 2nd – November 15th.

Recommended for families with kids over 6.

Almost all of the reviews for this service are very positive, which has lead to the 4 ½ star rating that Ghosts and Gravestones Bus Tours has received on TripAdvisor. Many guests have said that the cast of tour guides on this trip are very entertaining and informative. Other comments suggest that this may in fact be the best tour in Boston, and that might be true if you’re interested in the haunted history of the city. According to hundreds of customers, this is a great experience for anyone who wants to learn about Beantown from a frightening perspective.

Prices:

 


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BOSTON NIGHT GHOST TOUR

Offered through Boston Upper Deck Trolley company, this tour is a fun and easy way to learn all about the haunted past of this nearly 400 year old city. Let these expert guides tell you centuries of historically accurate tales that will send a chill up your spine. Learn about the legends and lore that have become a part of Beantown’s culture over the course of this 90 minute excursion. The Night Ghost Tour runs from October 7th – November 26th, so it’s perfect for spooky Halloween trips!

This is a relatively new offering from Upper Deck Trolley company, so there aren’t any reviews specifically mentioning their Ghost tour. That being said, the tour company itself has received very high ratings and is a trusted service in the Boston area. Hundreds of passengers have enjoyed their experience on this trolley, describing the ride as both fun and informative. It stands to reason that their haunted bus tour will also be very highly regarded once customers actually have the opportunity to take this trip.

Ticket Prices

  • $40 for Adults
  • $34.29 for Seniors/Students/Military
  • $19.05 for Children (age 3-11)
  • Children under 3 ride for free

This tour will only be available on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm.  Space will be very limited, so you will want to book the tour ahead of time. This is a great alternative to other haunted bus tours in the area.

 


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BOSTON TV + MOVIE TOUR

On Location offers both a bus as well as a walking tour.  The bus tour is their main tour.  It runs daily from May 22 till Oct 31 and it lasts for approximately 2 + 1/2 hours.  It’s a comprehensive city tour that focuses on famous TV and movie locations for films, such as the Departed and Good Will Hunting as well as TV shows, such Cheers and Boston Legal.

Prices:

 


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DAY TRIPS FROM BOSTON

There are a lot of exciting activities and interesting historic locations both in and around the Boston area. If you’ve ever wanted to visit Martha’s Vineyard or get a good look at Cape Cod, a day trip from Beantown is an excellent idea. Why limit your exploration to just one city? If you’ve got the time, we highly recommend taking a ride out to some of the most notable sites in and around Massachusetts!

GRAY LINE

This company offers excursions out to Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod, Newport, Concord and several other locations around Boston. If you’ve got the time, their variety of excellent day trips are perfect for either locals or visitors from out of town. Prices are more than reasonable, ranging from $50-$90.

Cape Cod Excursion – Take a trip to the bay and enjoy a cruise for only $68.

Fabulous Newport – Discover the mansions of Newport and enjoy a free Trolley tour for $89.

Cambridge, Lexington and Concord – Learn the history of these areas for only $49.

Salem and Marblehead – Uncover the birthplace of the navy for $48.

Plymouth – Walk the Pilgrim’s path and watch history come to life for $72.

Whale Watching – Go looking for these majestic creatures in the waters nearby for $92.

Fall Foliage Spectacular – Take in the sights and sounds of New England in the fall for $68.

 


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COMBO PACKAGES AND DISCOUNTS

If you’re looking to partake in more than one tour during your visit to Beantown, a combo package could save you a lot of money. There are a variety of combo packages and discounts available for various attractions and tours. Here are a few options you might want to consider before booking two or more individual trips in and around the Boston area.

 


GO BOSTON CARD

If you’re going to be spending more than a few days in Boston, this could be an excellent opportunity to save money and experience a lot of the attractions and tours available in the area. The Go Boston Card offers an All Inclusive Pass, an Explorer Pass and a Build Your Own Pass with plenty of different tours and activities to enjoy. If you want to combine a Duck Tour or a Trolley Tour with tickets to one of the many wonderful locations in Beantown, consider picking up one of these passes!  Be sure to read our post, that compares all the different tourist attraction discount passes available in Boston.

 

 

Here are the Bus and Trolley tours available with the Go Boston Card:

Boston Duck Tour – Included with 3, 5, and 7 day All-Inclusive pass, Explorer pass and Build Your Own Pass.

Cityview Trolley Tour – Included with every All-Inclusive pass, Explorer Pass and Build Your Own Pass.

Liberty Ride Trolley Tour – Only included with the All-Inclusive pass.

 


TRUSTED TOURS AND ATTRACTIONS

This company offers pretty good discounts on a variety of activities and attractions. Several of their combo packages include trolley tours, so you can combine your trip around the city with more than one experience in Boston. They also offer discounts on activities such as walking tours, cruises and even tickets to popular tourist destinations. No matter what type of excursion you’re looking for, chances are that you’ll find a better price on it with Trusted Tours.

Aquarium Ticket and Old Town Trolley Tour – $60.95

Old Town Trolley and Freedom Trail Tour – $48.86

Old Town Trolley and Tea Party Tour – $56.95

2-Day Old Town Trolley Ticket and Tea Party Tour – $72.95

Boston Duck Tour and Old Town Trolley Ticket – $76.75

Old Town Trolley and Whale Watching Package – $82.00

Boston Day and Night Old Town Trolley Package – $72.00

 


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