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Canal Boats

Places you can cruise on our historic canals

Illinois

Chicago: Several boats conduct sightseeing tours along the Chicago River and through the Chicago Lock into Lake Michigan. For further information, do an internet search on "Chicago Cruises."

LaSalle: A canal boat, "The Volunteer", was introduced in 2008 for the watered section of the  Illinois & Michigan Canal at LaSalle. 2011 Season May-October, open Tuesday-Saturday and occasional Sundays for holiday weekends Daily Boat Schedule: 10:30AM, 1:00PM, 2:30PM. Fares: Adults: $14, Seniors (65+): $12, Youth 16 and under: $ 8, Children under 3: Free, The LaSalle Canal Boat is accessible for non-motorized wheelchairs. To reserve online visit www.lasallecanalboat.org or call 815-220-1848 to book by phone.  Reservations are strongly encouraged. All tickets must be picked up in the Lock 16 Visitor Center.  Please plan to arrive at least 20 minutes before scheduled departure.

"The Volunteer" at LaSalle, IL

Photo taken 7/7/09

Ottawa: A replica canal boat, constructed for the 2006 Scott Ackman film "Prairie Tides", has been taken out of storage and is on display next to the Toll House in Ottawa. The boat has now been renamed "The Rail Splitter".

Dick Stokes Photo
5/22/10

 

The replica canal boat in Ottawa, IL

Dick Stokes Photo
5/24/10

View south at Columbus St. in Ottawa, IL.
The I & M Canal runs left to right in the foreground with the restored toll house on the south bank.
The replica boat is installed just to the right.

 

7/24/10

The replica boat installed on the dry canal just west of Columbus Street, Ottawa, IL

Indiana

Delphi: The replica canal boat Delphi is being dedicated June 20, 2009 on the watered section of the Wabash & Erie Canal at Delphi.  After June 20th, the boat rides will be full-length narrated cruises and the following fares will apply: $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and students, and $2 for pre-school. Cruises will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturdays and at 2:00 p.m. on Sundays. The boat is handicap accessible. The Canal Information Center has many interesting exhibits and is highly recommended. Web Site: www.wabashanderiecanal.org

The "Delphi" on the canal at Delphi, IN

The "Delphi" in front of its boat house (warehouse).

Metamora: This is a historic canal village with lots of shops and exhibits located along a watered section of the Whitewater Canal in the Whitewater Canal State Historic Site.   Included is a restored lock with a waterwheel used to power a grist mill, the only intact covered, wooden aqueduct in the US, and the mule drawn, replica canal boat "Ben Franklin III" drawn by two Belgian draft horses though the covered bridge aqueduct. Web site: http://www.metamoraindiana.com

"Ben Franklin III" at Metamora, IN on a fall cruise

The boat is 75' long, 12' wide, holds 80 passengers, with its design based on a typical line boat of the canal era.. Season: May 1-Oct 31, Wednesdays-Sunday, 12:00 noon to 4:00 PM, boats leaving every hour. Closed Monday except holidays. The one-mile ride takes 25-minutes, with a docent lecture of canal history. Rates: adults, $4.00; seniors, $3.5; children three to twelve, $2.00; children under three or over 90, free; School groups $1.00 per activity. Phone (765) 647-6512. (Updated 10/15/10)

Maryland

Great Falls: On September 9, 2006, a new tour boat, the "Charles F. Mercer", was launched into the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal at Great Falls, MD.  This is a 57 foot long,  aluminum hulled replica boat with a wooden superstructure and two decks. The boat was financed by local and private donations. Current schedule is 11 AM - 3 PM, Wed, Thurs, Fri, and 11 Am, 1:30 PM, and 3 PM on weekends. Rides are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors over 62, and $3 for children 5 - 14.  (Photo updated 11/18/08) link to web site with photo & information'

National Park Service photo

"Charles F. Mercer" at Great Falls, MD

Cumberland: While not a floating boat, a full sized replica of a Chesapeake & Ohio Canal freight boat, the "Cumberland" is on display just east of the restored terminal basin in Cumberland. There is also a National Park visitors' center with exhibits in the Western Maryland Railroad station. Web Site: http://canalplace.org  

Replica boat "Cumberland" on east edge of canal basin, Cumberland, MD

Massachusetts

Lowell: Boat tours at Lowell National Historical Park are $8 for adults, $7 for seniors (62+), $6 for students and youths (age 6-16), and free for children 5 and under. The "Full Works" boat tour is an additional $2 for each category; this comprehensive tour of Lowell’s waterpower system shows the visitor the relationships between the canals, the mills, and the workers. Explore Lowell's many waterways, gatehouses, and mill complexes.

For boat tours, visitors arrive at the Visitor Center, 246 Market Street at least 15 minutes before tour start time to buy tickets. Boat tours are on an open-topped boat and run rain or shine. 978-970-5000. www.nps.gov/lowe  Link 

Also, there are raft trips on the lower Concord River ending at Lowell. To exit the river, the rafts are locked up at Lower Locks.

Onset: Hy-Line Cruises operates cruises through the Cape Cod Canal from the town pier.  For information, see their web site.  Link

Michigan

Sault Ste. Marie: The Soo Locks have been referred to as one of the great wonders of the world, and it is still the largest waterway traffic system on earth. Your boat will travel along the international shoreline of the lower harbor, letting you experience all the sights, sounds, and excitement of Michigan’s oldest city, Sault Ste. Marie. Soo Locks Boat Tours is one of Michigan's top attractions. Many departure times are available.

St. Mary’s River Lighthouse Tours: Enjoy riding through the Soo Locks and navigating in the St. Mary’s River. Explore this important water-way and see the variety of navigation markers leading ships to the Soo Locks from Lake Superior.

Soo Locks Dinner Cruise with a twist: Enjoy a delicious, themed dinner as you cruise the beautiful St. Mary’s River. Your 2½-hour tour departs at 5:30 p.m. from Soo Locks Boat Tours Dock #1 at 1157 East Portage Ave. Your evening includes locking through the famous Soo Locks and seeing all the sights along the waterfronts of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and Ontario. Soo Locks Boat Tours, P.O. Box 739, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan 49783 Dock #1, 1157 E. Portage Ave. Dock #2, 515 E. Portage Ave. (800) 432-6301; 906-632-6301 sales@soolocks.com.   Link   (Revised 3/19/13)

From the company's web site

Minnesota

Minneapolis: The paddleboat, Mississippi Queen provides cruises along the Mississippi River and through the Upper St. Anthony Falls lock.  See the company's web site.   Link  (Added 10/22/10)

New York

Boonville:  While not a floating boat, the Black River Canal Museum at Boonville has built a full sized replica of a freight canal boat at its museum. The boat is named the "Walter C. Pratt". The dedication was July 5, 2008. Link   (Photos added 9/20/08)

"Walter C. Pratt" at the Boonville Black River Canal Museum

Brockport - Spencerport:  The tour boat "Rose Lummis" provides public tours and private charters on the Erie Canal. For information, see their web site. Link

"Rose Lummis" on the Erie Canal

Camillus: Sunday & dinner cruises are offered on a restored section of the Enlarged Erie Canal in Camillus, NY, just west of Syracuse.  For information, see their web site.  Link   In the fall of 2009, the Sunday cruises now cross the restored, Nine Mile Creek Aqueduct.

"Ontario" @ Camillus, NY

Fairport: The "Colonial Belle", the largest cruise boat on the Erie Canal offers daily cruises.  See the web site for more details.   Link

Fairport & Seneca Falls: Erie Canal Cruises operates 12' wide x 42' long canal boats from these two bases. See their web site for more details.  Link

Herkimer: At the Herkimer exit of the thruway and along the canalized Mohawk River is a restaurant and the new (2012) cruise boat "Lil' Diamond III".  See their web site for more details.  Link

Lil' Diamond III @ Herkimer, NY on the Erie Canal

Lockport: Lockport Locks and Erie Canal Cruises. During the summer, regular sight-seeing cruises along the canal at Lockport are offered several times daily (usually at 10A.M., 12:30 P.M., and 3 P.M.). The departure point at 210 Market Street, north of the downtown area at the foot of the hill, is a restored old warehouse with a most interesting display and reception area. Items of a Lockport nature are offered for sale. A modest food and refreshment bar is available with plenty of outside and inside seating. The narrated boat tour is informative and well done. It takes about 2 hours. $12.50/person; $8 for children 10 and under,. For information call (716) 433-6155. Season opens (on a limited schedule) May 7th. A cruise boat departs daily during the Spring and Fall at 12:30 and 3:00, (10:00, 12:30 and 3:00 on Saturdays) and during the summer departures are daily at 10, 12:30, 3 and 7PM.   Link

Lockview V at Lockport, NY on the Erie Canal

Pittsford: Corn Hill Navigation operates an Erie Canal packet boat "Sam Patch" on the historic Erie Canal from Schoen Place in Pittsford, NY and the historic wooden vessel "Mary Jemison" on the Genesee River arm of the Erie Canal from Rochester, NY. Season: May - October daily. Offering daily cruises and charters Daily cruises 12:00 PM, 2:00 PM, 4:00 PM and weekend dinner cruises at 6:30 PM. Allnoon cruises offer a luncheon option at addition cost. Rates: adults $13, students and seniors (65+), $10, children 3 - 12, $6. Phone (585) 262-5661 for information and reservations, website http://samandmary.org

"Sam Patch" at Pittsford, NY on the Erie Canal

"Mary Jemison" on the Genesee River with Rochester, NY and the Court Street Dam in the background

Rome: West of Rome is the historic Erie Canal Village with many exhibits of early American life and buildings. Included is a watered section of the enlarged Erie Canal with the horse drawn replica of a typical Erie Canal packet boat, The Chief Engineer,  named after the first boat on the original Erie Canal (This boat was originally called the Independence). It is 70 feet long, mule-drawn, carries 125 passengers on two decks and has an on-board docent. Cruise is one mile and 40 minutes. Season: Memorial Day through Labor Day, Wed-Sat, 10:00-5:00 PM, Sun, noon to 5:00 PM. September, weekends only, noon to 5:00 PM. General admission to the Village: adults, $15, students $12, children 5-12, $10, children under 5 free. Boat ride only: $6 ages 5 and up. Phone (888) 374-3226 or (315) 337-3999, website http://www.eriecanalvillage.net/

   

"The Chief Engineer" at Rome, NY

Schuylerville: On the Champlain Canal, just above modern Lock 5, Champlain Canal Tours operates two cruise boats.  See their web site for more information.  Link

Spencerport: On the Erie Canal at Spencerport, NY, Low Bridge Charters operates  a Lockmaster boat (built by Mid-Lakes) on half week and one week rentals on the Erie Canal. For more information, see their web site.    Link

"Sunflower"

Troy, Syracuse, Tonawanda: Mid-Lakes Navigation Company operates 2 and 3 day cruises on all the canals of New York on the canal boat Emita II.  All meals are on board while nights are spent in hotels ashore.   Mid-Lakes also operates a fleet of Lockmaster rental boats from two bases near Syracuse and Rochester.  For more information, see their web site.  Link 

Waterford: Erie - Champlain Boat Company, Inc operates five 41 foot, Lockmaster boats (built by Mid-Lakes) on one week rentals on the Erie & Champlain Canals. For more information, see their web site.  Link 

"Canvass White" on the Champlain Canal

For listings of other rental boats and multi-day cruises in New York, see the state web site.   Link

Ohio

Canal Fulton: The horse- drawn, Ohio freight style replica canal boat, St. Helena III, is operated by the Canal Fulton Heritage Society on a 1-1/4 mile stretch of the Ohio & Erie Canal daily June through August, and weekends only in May, Sept, and Oct. It is 60 feet long and carries about 50 passengers. Ride is about 45 minutes, with a turn-around at restored Lock #4. Historical information is presented during ride. Season: May and September, weekends only at 1:00. 2:00 and 3:00 PM; June, July, August, every day except Monday at 1:00, 2:00 and 3:00 PM. Tickets: $6.60 adults, $5:50 seniors, and $4.50, children. Charters and dinner cruises at other times including evenings may also be arranged. Also on display on land is the restored wooden replica boat St. Helena II near a small canal museum (free with boat ride) and gift shop. Phone: (800) helena3, website: link

"St. Helena III" at Canal Fulton, OH

Millersport: The Ohio & Erie Canal is watered and used by power boats through Buckeye Lake (former the summit reservoir) and south about a mile to Millersport.   You have to supply your own powered boat, but canoe rentals are available at Millersport.  (Added 6/29/08)

Piqua: Just north of town, is the historic John Johnson Farm and a museum telling the story of the Eastern Woodland Indians of Ohio in the Piqua Historical Site. A mule-drawn historic replica in the style of a typical 1840 Ohio freight boat, the General Harrison of Piqua, is in operation. It is 70' long and 13 1/2' wide, and can carry 75 passengers on a 40-minute, one-mile ride on a section of the Miami & Erie Canal. Season: Memorial Day to Labor Day, Wed through Sun, rides at 12:30 PM, 2:30 PM and 4:00 PM, and also Sat-Sun in Sept and Oct. Rates are $7 for adults, $3 for students. Ages five and under are free. Phone (800) 752-2619, website, http://www.ohiohistory.org/places/piqua/canalboat.html

"General Harrison of Piqua" being launched

Providence: A mule drawn, replica of an Ohio freight canal boat, The Volunteer, is operated as part of Providence Metropark along the Miami & Erie Canal from a parking area, south through a working Lock #44 next to the restored and working Ludwig Grist Mill. The boat is 60' long, carries 75, and follows the style of an Ohio freight boat. Trips are 45 minutes, with a ten-minute stop to travel through a working lock. Season: Memorial Day to Labor Day and Labor Day through Oct, noon to 4 p.m. weekends and holidays; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday-Friday. Boat tickets: adults, $5, seniors $4, children 3-12, $3, children under two, free. Mill tours are free. Phone (419) 407-9700, website http://www.metroparkstoledo.com/metroparks/providence/

"Volunteer" at Providence, OH Metropark

Roscoe Village: This is a restored canal village with hotel, restaurants, and gift shops. North of the village, the packet-style replica Ohio canal boat Monticello III cruises the Ohio & Erie Canal daily in summer months. Drawn by two horses, it is 74' long by 14 ' wide and carries 100 passengers along a 1-1/2 mile, 45-minute ride. Season: Memorial Day to Labor Day, the boat runs Tues-Sunday on the hour, 1:00 PM-5:00 PM, on the hour, and on weekends only until mid-Oct. Rates are $6 for adults, ages 5-12, $3, and children under 4, free. (Rides are free as part of a tour ticket for all attractions in the village). Phone (800) 877-1830 or (740) 622-7528, website http://www.roscoevillage.com/

"Monticello III", north of Roscoe Village, OH

St. Marys: Canal boat replica Belle of St. Marys is located on concrete and steel supports in the "short level" of the Miami & Erie Canal in a park between Locks 12 (covered by a parking lot) and Lock 13 in the center of the town.

Belle of St. Marys in Troy, OH

Troy: The canal boat replica Marguerite II is parked at Lock 15 south in Troy.

Canal boat replica Marguerite II parked at Lock 15 south, Troy, OH

Pennsylvania

Easton: The mule drawn replica of a canal freight barge, Josiah White II operates along section eight of the Lehigh Canal as part of the Hugh Moore Historical Park and Museums in conjunction with the National Canal Museum in downtown Easton. Boat is 50 feet long and carries 120 passengers on two decks for a 1-1/2-mile ride. The canal boat will be open Wednesday through Sunday, closed Monday and Tuesday.  Ride times are Wednesday thru Saturday – Noon, 1,2,3,4, pm and Sunday 1,2,3,4, pm.  The boat season will end on September 7, 2009.  Prices are $9 for adults, $8.50 for seniors and $6.50 for children (3-15). Children 2 and under are free.  The phone number for charters is 610-559-6613. Website--http://www.canals.org/   Updated 6/18/09

"Josiah White II" on the canal in Hugh Moore Park, Easton, PA

Lebanon: The Lebanon County Historical Society owns and operates Union Canal Tunnel Park located just off of Rte. 72 at the northwest corner of the city. The park includes a watered section of the canal extending through and on both sides of the tunnel and the Union Canal Tunnel,  the oldest transportation tunnel in the US and also the only operating canal tunnel. Boat rides on the canal and through the tunnel are available at a nominal fee every Sunday, as weather permits, during the months of June through October, beginning at 12:30 PM. Groups can make reservations for rides at other times.  Link   Revised 6/21/09

Union Canal Tunnel, Lebanon, PA with early boat   5/17/97

Lewistown: An outboard powered pontoon boat is operated on the Pennsylvania Main Line Canal at the Locust Campground west of town.  Prior reservations are needed

New Hope: Steel, mule drawn craft formerly operated along the Delaware Canal from New Hope northward. These are currently out of service.

"Priscilla Jean Pitcher" with crew and mules at New Hope, PA

Also at New Hope, the steamboat "Splash" operates on the Delaware River. There are proposals to operated this boat nearby on the Delaware & Raritan Canal Feeder.

 

Vermont / New York / Quebec

Burlington, VT:  The passenger yacht, Moonlight Lady, (formerly the Bonny Blue from the Dismal Swamp Canal) now operates overnight cruises for sixteen passengers on Lake Champlain in both Vermont and New York and up the Chambly Canal to Montreal. For more information, see their web site .  Link   (Added 10/18/10)


The Moonlight Lady from the company's web site

Virginia / North Carolina

Richmond, VA: Richmond Canal Cruises conducts 35 minute tours along the historic James River & Kanawha Canal in covered boats from a dock at the Turning Basin between 14th and Virginia Streets.  For more information, see their web site.   Link 

Washington, DC

Georgetown: The National Park Service previously operated a mule drawn, replica of a C&O canal freight boat, the Georgetown, along a section of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal from Georgetown west along the Potomac River and through an operating lock. Boat was 87 feet long. This boat is now out of service or dismantled.

"Georgetown" on the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal at Georgetown, Washington, DC

National Park Service photo

(See also Maryland)

Eastern US

Blount Small Ship Adventures operates several "small ships" in the Caribbean during the winter months.  In warmer weather, these ships travel the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, the Tenn - Tom Waterway, the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, the Great Lakes, the Erie and other New York Canals, the Hudson River, and the St. Lawrence River. These are multiple day cruises with accommodations and meals on board.   For more information, see their web site. Link   (Revised 10/18/10)

Central US

In the central US, original and new steamboats have been operated on the Mississippi River and its tributaries.  While some of these cruises were on the lower river below St. Louis, others traveled the upper river and its locks as well was the Ohio and other tributaries. However many of these companies have gone out of business in the recession. A further search on the internet is necessary to discover these tours.

Northwestern US

Several replica steamboats are operated on the Columbia, Snake, and Williamette Rivers in the northwest. For more information, see the web site.   Link    (Revised 10/18/10)

Ontario, Canada

Trent - Severn and Rideau: Ontario Waterway Cruises operates the Kawartha Voyageur on five day cruises on the Trent - Severn Waterway and the Rideau Canal.  This is the largest vessel on these waterways.  Accommodations are in two person staterooms with total capacity of 45 passengers.  All meals are on board.  The boat ties up at night and makes some stops during the day.  For more information, see their web site.   Link  (Photo updated 9/20/08)

"Kawartha Voyageur" on the Rideau Canal @ Smith Falls

St. Lawrence & Ottawa Rivers: St. Lawrence Cruise Lines operates the Canadian Empress, a replica of a steamboat on overnight cruises on the St. Lawrence River (Lake Ontario to Montreal) and the Ottawa River (Montreal to Ottawa) through the Seaway and river locks. For more information, see their web site.  Link  

St. Lawrence Seaway & Great Lakes: The Great Lakes Cruising Company operates and links to several small ships cruising the St. Lawrence Seaway, the Welland Canal, and the Great Lakes in season. These small ships also travel south in the winter. These are luxury cruises and priced accordingly. The vessels include Grande Caribe, Grand Mariner, Niagara Prince, Clelia II, MV Columbus, and Canadian Empress. For more information, see their web site  Link

Future Sites

Any boat operator not listed above or person knowing of a canal cruise operation not listed above is encouraged to email the appropriate information to Dave Barber at dgbarber@cs.com

Revised 10/22/10