Tall ships will return to Boston in 2026

Travel

Organizers hope the event will attract 5 million visitors to Boston.

The tall ships parade of sails in Sail Boston 2017. John Tlumacki / The Boston Globe

Tall ships are returning to Boston Harbor in 2026.

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Sail Boston announced on Wednesday that tall ships will sail into Boston in July of 2026 as part of Sail250, a global gathering of tall ships to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States — also known as the nation’s semiquincentennial.

Organizers are hoping the ships will attract 5 million visitors to the city, said Dusty Rhodes, executive director of Sail Boston, during a press conference Wednesday at Boston Harbor.

Mayor Michelle Wu called the event “a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience where everyone will be celebrating our nation in its hometown harbor.”

Kate Fox, executive director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, called the news “extremely exciting.”

“Tall ship visits have been a natural fit for Boston as a way to pay homage to its rich maritime history, and tall ship and military ship gatherings have been a beloved Massachusetts tradition since the bicentennial in 1976,” said Fox. “The visiting ships and their crews will be a fitting addition to the celebration and commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the American Revolution in 2026. The parade of sail will provide direct spending in Boston and beyond. As residents and visitors travel to see the ships in port, visitors will generate hotel stays, restaurant visits, museum and attraction ticket sales, and retail sales, and this direct spending will be a boost to our economy. It will support jobs and will ensure Boston is even more vibrant than normal during the summer of 2026.”

Events like the tall ships, which draw national and international exposure, cement Boston as a world class destination, said Cindy Brown, CEO of Boston Duck Tours.

“Events like this are so impactful,” Brown said. “Tour operators will want to bring busloads of people to our region. They’ll see the tall ships but they’ll also visit our regional areas, they’ll do the attractions.”

Sail Boston hosted similar events in 1992, 2000, 2009, and 2017, Rhodes noted.

Mayor Wu remembered her own child’s reaction to the tall ships in the past.

“There was nothing like watching his eyes pop so wide to see all of the incredible ships and to be able to see and touch and feel,” she recalled.

She said the event is a reminder that Boston has always been about providing a safe harbor to all.

“It’s incredibly fitting that the city where our democracy took its first steps will serve as the final stop on the Sail250 Regatta,” Wu said. “It was right here in this harbor that General George Washington forced General Howe and the British from Boston on the day we now celebrate as Evacuation Day. And to be able to connect that legacy and that story of our revolution to the many, many important conversations that we continue to have today about how to build a better democracy for all, we are looking forward to welcoming tall ships back to Boston.”

Tall ships will return to Boston July 11-16, 2026.


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