Riverboat tours are great for two types of travelers: those who prefer not to fly and those with a fear of the open ocean. Not only do riverboat tours take passengers to wild areas that don’t usually make it onto an itinerary, but most tours also include a range of off-boat activities.
Around the world, riverboat cruises are popular for those looking to try something new. Europe, in particular, offers high-class options in some of the world’s most historical and breathtaking landscapes. Most come with specialized culinary menus and daily outings.
In the United States, one of the original purposes of riverboats was to welcome gaming fans. In certain states, laws prohibiting gaming were specific to land, which meant casinos could set up shop right on the river.
Today, most gamers opt for luxury cruise ship casinos when they’re in the mood for blackjack and an ocean breeze.
But in the past, most casino floors were located on stationary boats tied to the dock. Despite the fact that most casinos have now moved inland, riverboats remain a popular vacation idea for those living along larger rivers. Let’s take a look at five of the USA’s best riverboat tours.
Riverboat Tours Across the United States
Natchez, New Orleans – New Orleans Steamboat Company
The Natchez offers visitors to New Orleans a unique way to learn about local history and culture. The tour only lasts two hours, which means it’s a great way to supplement a stopover in New Orleans.
The steamboat is refinished with its historical character in mind, which adds to the tour. There are live narrations for visitors to follow along, as well as plenty of soft jazz playing in the background.
American Empress, Columbia & Snake River Cruises – American Queen Steamboat Company
Located on a luxury vessel (the largest west of the Mississippi), passengers will be treated equally to stunning views of the Pacific Northwest, as well as one of the finest luxury riverboats in the US. Those booking a package can also look into city stopovers (Portland and Spokane), as well as winery visits.
The American Empress is also a visually stunning vessel, as it retains the bright red paddlewheel. Inside, décor reflects local Pacific Northwestern culture, as well as 19th-century Russian themes.
Wilderness Adventurer, Alaska – Uncruise
Uncruise offers unique and highly rated riverboat tours all around the world, but their Alaska Cruise has the most variations and unique outing opportunities. In fact, those looking for a strict riverboat adventure may find that Uncruise offers too little time on board.
Their Alaska Cruise comes bundled with polar plunges, National Park outings, hiking, paddling, and plenty of close encounters with whales. The lucky few will even be treated to a peek at the Aurora Borealis.
American Constitution, New England Tour – American Cruise Lines
American Cruise Lines runs some of the best riverboat tours in the US—however, most of their tours include plenty of time along the coast. The company’s New England Tour is ideal for those with an interest in history, though there’s also a strong emphasis on highlighting natural wonders.
Those with a hankering for seafood will also have the opportunity to sample famous courses. Visitors who are looking for Maine lobster can check out the company’s Maine Coast and Harbors Cruise, which sees passengers around Penobscot Bay, where the famous invertebrates are from.
Special Edition: Everglades Fanboat Tour
This isn’t technically a riverboat tour—it’s a fanboat experience, and it takes place on a 100-mile stretch of wetlands. The Everglades is one of the world’s most unique ecosystems, home to alligators, flamingos, and everything in between.
Most airboat tours take you on a journey down the canal and through Everglades National Park, where you will have plenty of photo ops with animals in both the air and water.
Exciting options abound throughout the southern Florida area, so be sure to choose a package that fits your needs. Most can be accessed from hubs like Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
The Florida Everglades is a must-see for anyone looking to experience a dynamic, ever-changing landscape that is abundant in both flora and fauna—and has the distinction of being the biggest subtropical wilderness area in the country.
Home to many species that can’t be seen anywhere else, the Everglades also boasts many popular tourist activities and unique ways to explore this diverse and beautiful wetland area.
One of the best ways to explore the Everglades is by airboat, as it is a safe and immersive experience that lets you see all that this amazing area has to offer. Here’s what to expect if you book an airboat tour on your next trip.
So, if you’re looking for a little end of summer fun and you want to try something new, why not enjoy one of these US riverboat tours. Try your luck, have some laughs, and enjoy all the destination has to offer.