BOSTON (SHNS) – Tall ships will return to Boston Harbor in 2026, adding another marquee event to a summer that already has public officials excited about the potential economic benefits of tourism to Massachusetts.
Sail Boston announced that international tall ships and other vessels of interest will gather in Boston from July 11 to July 16, 2026 as part of the Sail250 maritime celebration of the founding of the United States, or the nation’s semiquincentennial. Sail Boston Executive Director Dusty Rhodes said the event is expected to draw “hopefully 5 million” visitors.
“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. 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,” Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism Executive Director Kate Fox said. “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.”
House Ways and Means Chairman Aaron Michlewitz pointed out that the summer of 2026 is going to be a busy one in Massachusetts. In addition to the tall ships, the 2026 FIFA World Cup will stage matches at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough in June and/or July 2026.
“I will say, you know, 2026 is going to be some kind of year here in Boston,” he said at a press conference with Mayor Michelle Wu at the Boston Harbor Hotel. “We’ve got a lot going on, whether it’s with the tall ships, the World Cup, a lot of things going on. Mayor, we’re gonna have a lot to do, a lot of places to be. So I’m very excited about that.”
Sail Boston hosted similar events in 1992, 2000, 2009 and 2017. Michlewitz said he remembers the “pageantry” that came with the tall ship visits of his youth.
“I remember living in the North End and kind of the buzz that was around when it first happened. As time has gone on and I’ve grown into the position that I’m in today, as chair of Ways and Means, I care about the economic impact now a little more than I do the pageantry,” he said. “What this is going to do in terms of economic impact, to me, is something that’s very exciting, and I’m looking very much forward to seeing the revenue that comes in related to this thing, not just to the city but obviously to the state as well.”
Wu said having tall ships from around the world in Boston in 2026 will be “a reminder for all of us that Boston, at our heart, has always been about providing safe harbor to all.”
“Thinking and planning ahead for the the excitement and the national, international spotlight on Boston, it’s really an opportunity for us to get back to our roots as well, to tell the stories that maybe haven’t been told throughout our history, to lift up the experiences and communities that make us who we are today, and to make the most of this economic opportunity for Boston as well,” the mayor said. “So it’s incredibly fitting that the city where our democracy took its first steps will serve as the final stop on the Sail 250 regatta. 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.”