“Dance with the waves, move with the sea. Let the rhythm of the water set your soul free.”
– Christy Ann Martine
Whether you fancy a leisurely cruise aboard a steamboat or a thrilling ride in the Florida Everglades, there are many boat tours across the country that meet every interest and pace. Below we have compiled our favorite boat tours in the nation.
Alexandria Bay, NY
Uncle Sam has been providing scenic cruises of the Thousand Islands for over 85 years! From its downtown Alexandria Bay, NY location, it’s one of the most popular cruises. The Two Nation Tour, a 22-mile round-trip cruise departing from its home port of Alexandria Bay. As passengers cruise on the emerald green waters of the strong St. Lawrence River, narrators will describe the historic and scenic wonders in both American and Canadian waters. Your tour guide will even point out the exact location of the international boundary line between the U.S. and Canada! At the end of each trip, there is an optional stop at Boldt Castle on Heart Island. Here you can take a self-guided tour.
Winter Park, FL
Located on Lake Osceola less than 5 minutes from Park Avenue, Central Florida´s upscale shopping district, the Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour offers hour-long, guided cruises through three of the seven lakes on the tranquil Winter Park chain. Guides navigate passengers through two, narrow manmade canals and knowledgeable guides shed light on the historic homes and people (…including Mr. Rogers!) who have lived on the chain.
See the windy city and its impressive architecture like never before aboard Chicago’s First Lady Cruises. Rated as the number one choice of a tour of the city, the 90-minute daily Chicago river tour features indoor and outdoor seating, a full-service bar aboard each vessel and is consistently recognized by locals and visitors alike as the best way to see Chicago. A portion of each ticket supports architecture education provided by CAF.
Lake Wales, FL
Welcome to Lake Wales, where getting out of the major cities and theme park means experiencing natural Florida on the water. Unlike other tours that pack on the passengers, the Alligator Cover Airboat Nature Tour carries a maximum of eight passengers at a time as it hovers above the twists and turns of the Kissimmee basin underneath. During summer months, you’ll catch glimpses of the alligators lounging in the water or under vegetation to stay cool. During the cold nights of winter, you are more likely to find them laying on the shore or nesting from the brush.
This boat features family-friendly tours along the famous Klamath River, California’s second longest river. The experienced captain and narrator will describe the river’s rich history and local Native American culture, and thriving wildlife. Jetting 45 miles up the river, guides will explain the culture and wildlife of the area while passengers catch glimpses of bears, osprey, hawks, bald eagles, deer and more in real time. The 2-hour trip combines abundant wildlife and whitewater rapids for long-lasting memories.
Niagara Falls, NY
Seeking a fun way to “explore the roar” of Niagara Falls State Park? For more than 150 years, this tour has been characterized as a bucket list item for thrill seekers near and afar. The Maid of the Mist boat voyage begins at the Observation Tower, where guests are given a souvenir rain poncho to wear as they board the double-deck Maid of the Mist tour boat. From there, the boat ferries past the base of the American Falls, and onto the basin of Horseshoe Falls–the dramatic passage demonstrates the power and grandeur of Niagara Falls as guests are led through the waterfall whitewater and massive rock formations surrounding them.
What’s your favorite boat tour? We would love to hear from you! Share your most memorable experiences in the comment section below.