As summer approaches, nice weather, and sunny skies beckon us to the water. A fun way to explore large and small cities is by taking in the sites on a riverboat. Harkening back to when people and supplies traveled America’s rivers by paddleboat, there’s something special about a riverboat cruise.
Do you love sightseeing tours? Maybe you are looking for a special occasion lunch or dinner cruise? Does a moonlit tour for two tickle your fancy? How about a paddleboat excursion?
The Mississippi River may be best known for riverboats. However, several communities across the country offer outstanding tours of the rivers flowing through town. Here’s a look at six fantastic riverboat cruises the entire can enjoy.
Dutch Apple Cruises and Tours – Albany NY
New York’s state capital is home to several historical and cultural attractions. Exploring the Hudson River in a boat resembling the famous day-liners. These were known for carrying people to cities between Albany and New York. The Dutch Apple Cruises and Tours day-liner started running in 1986. The modern style foregoes the paddle wheels common among Mississippi Riverboats. The sightseeing cruise takes you on a 90-minute tour, offering unique views of the Albany skyline and Hudson River. The first half of the tour includes a live narration of interesting attractions along the way.
The last 45 minutes allow you to relax and enjoy the views. Keep an eye out for bald eagles and other wildlife along the way. Dutch Apple also offers sunset cruises.
Edelweiss Cruises and Boat Tours – Milwaukee WI
You get two water treats on one tour with Edelweiss I and II. In Milwaukee, take in the classic architecture and public art that downtown Milwaukee prides itself on. Then, head to Lake Michigan, where you’ll see the city’s skyline, including the sailboat-shaped Milwaukee Art Museum.
Pass the harbor with boats docked and watch boats on the Great Lake. Edelweiss Cruises has five boats for public and private tours, including pontoon cruises and private receptions.
Riverboats at the Gateway Arch – St. Louis MO
Riverboats at the Gateway Arch offer special views of the Gateway Arch and the St. Louis skyline. It also features narration by a National Park Service ranger or the captain. Imagine cruising upriver, taking in the sights from the Illinois and Missouri sides of the Mississippi River. Learn the paddle boat’s history along the country’s most famous river as you pass historic sections of St. Louis, such as Laclede’s Landing.
Keep an eye out for waterfowl and bald eagles. The Riverboats at the Gateway Arch also host special cruises, including dinner and music.
Explorer Riverboat Cruise – Pittsburgh PA
World’s first green energy riverboat, Explorer, takes you through Pittsburgh’s history. Did you know it is known as the “City of Bridges,” with nearly 450 bridges? You’ll see pieces of Pittsburgh’s blue-collar factory past through its transformation to an innovation haven.
The beauty of the city’s skyline will impress you! The Explorer meets LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) requirements as a green energy riverboat.
Belle of Louisville Riverboats – Louisville KY
Sit in the comfort of its temperature-controlled lower deck. Enjoy the fresh air and open views of the top deck as you explore Louisville’s sights aboard the Belle of Louisville or the Mary M. Miller. Each paddle boat offers outstanding skyline views and natural attractions along the tour.
Each boat features different sightseeing tours or themes, such as Miller’s daily public tours and Belle’s sunset cruises.
Lewis and Clark Riverboat Cruise – Bismarck ND
Located on the Missouri River – the country’s longest river – the Lewis and Clark Riverboat offers an impressive cruise, showcasing the area’s natural attractions. You’ll enjoy the fresh air and amazing views of the river and its shoreline. You can also see unique buildings along the shore. The sunset cruise may be the best time to explore the river as you sit aboard the upper deck as the colorful hues of the sunset take over the skyline.
Arrive about an hour before your cruise and check out the sculptures and attractions at Steamboat and Keelboat Parks.
Stillwater River Boats – Stillwater MN
Once a logging town, Stillwater loves celebrating its history. And that history is relived aboard the Stillwater River Boats as the paddle boats travel on the St. Croix River. Narrated tours showcase the logging industry’s use of the river to float logs downriver and View Stillwater’s cityscape. Each cruise comes with a meal. Sunday brunch cruises usually include jazz bands.
Traveling along the river, you relax on the enclosed lower deck or outside on the upper deck. The woods along the shoreline are a must-see during autumn, with their colors creating a beautiful painting.
Celebration Belle Riverboat Cruise – Moline IL
The Mississippi River’s riverboat cruise includes an outstanding look at the Quad Cities in Iowa and Illinois. Board the Celebration Belle in Moline to cruise the Mississippi River. You will also witness historic views like the Rock Island Arsenal and Col. Davenport’s Home.
Get a drink, sit back, and relax while going up and downriver, whether sitting on the lower deck or taking in the fresh air on the top deck.
Mark Twain Riverboat – Hannibal MO
You may half-expect to see Mark Twain sitting on the top deck, in his famous white suit, sitting in a chair sipping on an iced tea while cruising the Mark Twain Riverboat along the Missouri River in northeastern Missouri. Hannibal is all about Samuel Clemens, who grew up there and assumed the name Mark Twain as a writer. From his childhood home and a fence waiting to be whitewashed, the city embraces the famous author.
The riverboat offers one-hour sightseeing cruises. There, during which you’ll learn about the area’s history and unique attractions – including the Unsinkable Molly Brown’s childhood home. The riverboat cruise also offers dinner cruises and a Sunday brunch tour.
Steamboat Natchez – New Orleans LA
New Orleans perhaps has the most-famous boat on the Mississippi, the Steamboat Natchez. It is located near the mouth of the Mississippi River, which flows into the Gulf of Mexico. Joining the Natchez with the New Orleans Steamboat Company as the last steamboats on the river is the River Boat City of New Orleans, offering daily sightseeing cruises, jazz cruises, and dinner trips. Enjoy your view of the Big Easy, including the harbor.
Whether you want to dine aboard a riverboat cruise or enjoy a concert, riverboats are a fun and entertaining way to tour cities. You may consider reserving your spot on a riverboat on your next vacation.
What’s next? GO ON AN EPIC MIDWEST LEWIS AND CLARK EXPEDITION WITH YOUR FAMILY!