Tour a Tall Ship
List Of Tall Ships You Can Tour
Ahoy! Here you'll find information on tall ships around the world that are open for the public to tour. All ships are grouped by region of the world so that you can easily find a tall ship near you or your next travel destination.
Touring a tall ship is an exciting experience that gives you an appreciation of history, the adventure of sailing and what life was like for the crews that sailed these great old sailing ships. It's a fun and educational activity the whole family can enjoy.
This site lists tall ships that are stationary exhibits most of the time, usually as part of a larger maritime museum. Some do set sail occasionally so please check each ship's website for specifics.
That's the USS Constellation pictured above in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. It's my favorite tall ship to tour.
What's A Tall Ship?
A Tall Ship is a wind powered ship with tall masts and sails. The term typically refers to large sailing vessels that were the warships, freighters and ocean liners of their day before the use of modern engines.
A tall ship does not have to be built entirely of wood, most built in the late 19th and early 20th century had wrought iron or steel hulls and masts.
Tall ships are classified according to their rig (the number of masts and configuration of the sails). Basic rigs include full-rigged ship, brig, barque, brigantine and barquentine.
Tall Ships to Tour in North America - East Coast
USS Constitution "Old Ironsides"
Tour the world's oldest commissioned warship still afloat at Charlestown Navy Yard in Massachusetts. Christened in 1797, this warship was a critical part of the early history of the United States, including extensive action during the War of 1812.
The USS Constellation is the last all sail warship built by the US Navy. She is also the last US Civil War era vessel still afloat and is open to the public as a museum in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
A four-masted barque with its mainmast rising to a height of 170 feet, the Peking is one of the largest sailing vessels ever built and is said to be the largest preserved by a museum (New York's South Street Seaport Museum).
Built in 1885, the Wavertree is the largest full-rigged sailing ship built of wrought iron still afloat. She is also berthed at the South Street Seaport Museum in New York City, NY.
This replica ship was built by MGM studios in 1960 for the filming of the movie, Mutiny on the Bounty, using the drawings of the original ship built over 200 years ago. HMS Bounty was also in the movie, Pirates of the Caribbean II. Sadly, in 2012, the HMS Bounty was lost at sea during Hurricane Sandy. She was the first tall ship I toured and her name remains here as a memorial.
Charles W. Morgan
Built in 1841, the Charles W. Morgan is said to be the world's last remaining wooden whaling ship. She is a designated National Historic Landmark and is berthed at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut. The ship is back in the water after a 5 year restoration project.
Elissa is an iron hulled barque built in 1877 that transported cargo around the world for over 90 years. She continues to sail annually in the Gulf of Mexico and is berthed at the Texas Seaport Museum in Galveston, Texas.
The original Friendship was built in 1797. The three masted "East Indiaman" made 15 voyages around the world before being captured by the British sloop of war HMS Rosamond during the War of 1812. This replica of the Friendship was completed in 1998 and is part of the Salem Maritime National Historic Site in Salem, Massachusetts.
US Brig Niagara
The original Niagara was built in 1813 during the War of 1812. Under the command of Commodore Perry, she was a key part of the American victory over the British in the Battle of Lake Erie. This replica was built in 1988 and includes some of the timbers from the original ship. She serves as a Sailing School Vessel during the summer but can be toured at the Erie Maritime Museum the rest of the year.
S/V Denis Sullivan
The Denis Sullivan is a reproduction of a 19th century Great Lakes three masted cargo schooner. She is "Wisconsin's Flagship" and serves as an educational and nautical training vessel, promoting the state's rich maritime heritage. She is available for tours and day sails in her home port of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
This replica of the original Mayflower that carried the Pilgrims to the New World in 1620 was built in England in 1955 as close to the original ship's design as possible. The Mayflower II recreated that famous voyage across the Atlantic in 1957. She is available for tour at the Plimoth Plantation museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
The original Kalmar Nyckel made four trips from Sweden to the New World in the 1600s to populate the colony of New Sweden (present day Delaware). This replica of that historic pinnace was launched in 1997 and is now available for dockside tours, day sails and other events. Her home port is Wilmington, Delaware.
Support Your Tall Ships
Many tall ships are owned and maintained by non-profit organizations. These historic ships require a lot of work and money to restore and keep afloat.
Please remember that your admission ticket only covers a portion of these costs. There is usually a donation box onsite or you can find donor information on the ship's website.
Making a purchase in the museum gift shop or at the snack bar also helps.
Tall Ships to Tour in North America - West Coast
HMS Rose (aka HMS Surprise)
This replica ship played the role of HMS Surprise in the Oscar winning movie Master and Commander - The Far Side of the World. She is docked in San Diego, CA, at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
Star of India
Built in 1863, this barque was originally a full-rigged ship until converted in 1901. She still sets sail at least once a year, is one of the world's oldest active ships and part of the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
This replica of the 1847 Revenue Cutter C.W. Lawrence was built at San Diego in 1984. She is the official tall ship of the State of California. When not out sailing her annual tour of the California coast, she can be found in San Diego.
The Balclutha first set sail in 1887. She has the distiction of being the last vessel to fly the flag of the Hawaiian Kingdom and is now a National Historic Landmark. The National Park Service acquired her in 1978 and she is part of the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park.
My Favorite Tall Ship Movie
Party On A Tall Ship!
How cool would it be to celebrate your next birthday, graduation, wedding, anniversary, corporate function or any other event on the deck of a tall ship?
Well, you're in luck. Most tall ships are available for private parties and event rentals. Check their website for details.
Tall Ships to Tour in Europe
The Victory is most famous for serving as Lord Nelson's flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar. Launched in 1765 and still serving as the flagship of the Second Sea Lord, this ship carries a formidable 100 guns and is the world's oldest commissioned warship. When not performing official functions, she is open to the public at No2 Dry Dock at the Royal Naval Dockyard in Portsmouth, England, UK.
This ship, built in 1860, was Great Britain's first iron hulled, armored battleship and used both sail and steam power. She is now berthed at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, England, UK.
Built in Glasgow in 1896, the Glenlee is a three masted, steel hulled barque that originally served as a bulk cargo carrier before being purchased by the Spanish navy for use as a sail training vessel. She is now back home in Glasgow Harbour and is "one of the cheapest days out in Glasgow".
This wooden barque was built in 1919 and is one of the original exhibits at the German Maritime Museum (Deutsches Schiffahrtsmuseum - DSM) in Bremerhaven, Germany.
One of the world's most famous ships and last of the tea clippers. She is open to the public in Greenwich, England, UK.
Built in 1845, the original Dunbrody was a three masted barque that is most well known for carrying emigrants from Ireland to the US and Canada during the Irish Famine from 1845 to 1851. This sea-going replica was completed in 2001 and is open to the public in New Ross, Ireland. Visitors to the museum can also access a database of emigrant information.
The Pommern is a 4 masted barque built in 1903 that sailed the globe as a cargo ship until the outbreak of WWII. She is open for tours from May to September in the town of Mariehamn, Åland Islands, Finland.
Launched in 1817, the Trincomalee is a Leda class frigate that was built in Bombay out of teak due to a shortage of oak in England. She served the Royal Navy throughout the 19th century. Restoration was completed in 2001 and the ship is now available to tour in Hartlepool, England, UK.
At the time of her launch in 1628, the Swedish Vasa was the mightiest warship in the world with 64 guns. Unfortunately, she sank on her maiden voyage in Stockholm harbor. In 1961, the Vasa was salvaged intact from a depth of 30m and is now the centerpiece of the Vasa museum in Stockholm, Sweden.
SS Great Britain
Built in 1843 by IK Brunel, the Great Britain is the world's first iron hulled, steam powered ocean going ship and was 100ft longer than any ship in the world at the time. Equipped with 4 masts, she served as a passenger liner, troop transport, windjammer and coal ship. She has been restored and is a permanent exhibit in Bristol, England, UK.
The three masted Schulschiff Deutschland was launched in 1927 and served as a merchant training ship. She is open for tours and overnight stays at her berth in Bremen-Vegesack, Germany. Note: The web site is in German only.
Launched in 1878, this Royal Navy sloop was powered by both sail and steam. She served in the Pacific Ocean, Mediterranean and Red Seas. You can tour her at The Historic Dockyard in Chatham, Kent, England.
Tall Ships to Tour in Australia
This barque was built in 1874 and rounded Cape Horn 23 times during her career. A 20 year long restoration project was completed in 2001. In addition to daily guided tours, her frequent weekend cruises are also open to the public and small groups. The James Craig is berthed at Wharf 7, Pyrmont, NSW.
Serve On A Tall Ship
and help keep history alive.
Since many tall ships are owned by non-profit organizations and press gangs are no longer in fashion (or legal), they are often looking for volunteers to help maintain, guide tours and occasionally sail them.
If you have experience, would like to learn some new skills or just want to help keep history alive, then consider volunteering. Check the website of the ship you're interested in or ask when you visit for more information.
Tall Ships to Tour in Asia
This four masted vessel was built in 1930 and served as a training vessel. She is now berthed at Yokohama, Japan, at the Yokohama Port Museum.
Tall Ships to Tour in South America
ARA Presidente Sarmiento
This frigate, launched in 1897, was present at the coronations of King Edward VII of Great Britain, King Alfonso XII of Spain and King George V of Great Britain. She also attended the 100th Anniversary of Mexico's Independence and the opening of the Panama Canal. She was decommissioned from her training ship duties in 1961 and is now on exhibit in Buenos Aries, Argentina.
Tall Ships Is Our Middle Name
Other tall ship related sites...
- Tall Ship Tracking Map
This very cool website maps the location of several tall ships as they sail across the globe using weather and ham radio reports. It also provides the ability to plot each ship's course over time.
- Traditional Boats & Tall Ships magazine
A tall ship focused magazine published in the UK. Their site is full of information, links and photos.
- The American Sail Training Association (ASTA)
A nonprofit organization focused on youth education, leadership development and the preservation of the maritime heritage of North America. This organization also organizes the annual TALL SHIPS CHALLENGEÂ® race series.
- Sail A Tall Ship
For those who want more than just a tour in port, here is a guide to ships around the world that you can actually sail as a trainee. Many of these ships are also available for charter cruises.
- Privateers in the American Revolution
An informative article on privateering and its role in the American Revolution.
- The Glamorous Six Masters
This site contains info and photos of the six and seven masted schooners built in the US during the early 1900s.
- The Model Shipyard
Designers and builders of the STEPHENS & KENAU(TM) range of museum quality Historic Sailing Ship Models. Check out the site, the pics of these models are amazing. Each model takes between 400 and 950 man-hours to build.
Races and Events
- Tall Ships' Races
Each summer, Sail Training International organizes a series of races in Europe that includes 70 to 100 vessels from all over the globe.
Tall Ship Movies and Films
Tall Ship Movies
From swashbuckling pirates to action packed naval battles, tall ship movies rock! Below is a directory of tall ship movies and documentaries that might interest...
Master and Commander - The Far Side of the World
A captivating movie based on the even better "Master and Commander" book series written by the late Patrick O'Brian. This movie stars Russell Crowe...
Museums With Tall Ships
- South Street Seaport Museum
Manhattan, New York, USA
- Maritime Museum of San Diego
San Diego, California, USA
- German Maritime Museum
- Mystic Seaport
Mystic, Connecticut, USA
- San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park
San Francisco, California, USA
- Yokohama Maritime Museum
- New Zealand National Maritime Museum
Viaduct Harbour, Auckland, New Zealand
- Texas Seaport Museum
Galveston, Texas, USA
- Erie Maritime Museum
Erie, Pennsylvania, USA
For a tall ship
If you live near the coast, keep on eye on your local news or community events calendar.
There are always tall ships sailing the seas and making ports of call. When they do, there is usually an opportunity to see them in action and possibly even take a tour while they're in port.
To find the current location of a ship at sea, check out the Tall Ship Tracking Map.
Tall Ship Photo & Other Credits
Except where otherwise noted, the tall ship photos on this site are used under Creative Commons from their respective owners.
USS Constitution in the public domain at the United States Navy.
I also want to credit the Advertising Slogan Generator which was used to name some of the modules on this lens. It's a great tool for those of us who are creative writing challenged.
Thanks for visiting!
Please leave a comment below if this directory was helpful to you or if there is any other tall ship info or links that you would like to see here. Thanks!