Rooms off this tunnel housed runaway slaves for the night

Salem: 90-Minute Above-ground Smuggling Tunnels Tour

Product ID: 38039

From US$11 per person

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Key Details
90 minutes
Mobile Voucher Accepted
Printed Voucher Accepted
Live Guide
Wheelchair Accessible

Select date and participants:


What You'll Do
  • Take a unique walking tour of Salem that highlights past underground smuggling activities
  • Learn about the connection between the founding fathers and big business in the 19th century
  • Hear how the tunnels were used in the Underground Railroad and during Prohibition
Take an eye-opening tour above the tunnels built in 1801 by the son of America’s first millionaire, to help federal politicians avoid paying taxes. See the wharfs, homes, stores, and banks connected to the tunnels and learn about Salem’s past secrets.
What to Expect
Take a 90-minute tour above the smuggling tunnels built underneath Salem at the beginning of the 19th century, used to help prominent politicians avoid paying taxes!

Salem is home to several museums and libraries that were sanctuaries for America’s most learned men and authors. These sanctuaries are filled with items that arrived secretly through the tunnels.

A Justice of the Superior Court, a Secretary of the Navy, senators, congressmen, Masons, and pirates convinced the son of America’s first millionaire to extend the tunnels that link the town with the wealthiest port in the nation so they could avoid paying custom duties.

These are tunnels that U.S. presidents John Quincy Adams and James Monroe walked through.

Imagine tourists buying trinkets in souvenir shops unaware that beneath them these tunnels were traversed not so long ago by carts filled with mojo bags from African witch doctors, tikis from Polynesian medicine men, shrunken heads, fingers of Saint John the Baptist, Romanov crown jewels, Blackbeard's skull, and more.

So bring along your family, friends, or colleagues and learn how this sleepy seafront town shaped American history, for good or bad.
What's Included
  • Above-ground tour of the tunnel route
What's Not Included
  • Admission to the tunnels
  • Tips
Cancellation Policy
Cancel up to 1 day in advance for a full refund
Meeting Point

Friday through Monday, the 15:00 Downtown Tour meets at 32 Derby Square at Old Town Hall facing Front Street on the stairs. On Thursday, the Downtown Tour meets at 20:00 at the same location. Friday through Monday, the 20:00 Historic Commons Tour meets on the Salem Common entrance closest to the Hawthorne Hotel. Thursdays it meets at the same location at 15:00. (Open in Google Maps)

Know Before You Go
There are no refunds available.

From US$11 per person

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Salem Tunnel Tour

Product ID: 38039