Hop into the water vessel of your choice and prepare to discover a new side of the nation's capital.
As exciting waterfront destinations pull more visitors and locals closer and closer to the river, you might be surprised to know what’s waiting just beyond DC's shoreline. The area’s top boating and tour companies provide plenty of unique experiences on the water and there’s never been a better time to seek an off-land escape on the Potomac and Anacostia rivers.
Skip the traffic — reach your destination on a water taxi!
City Cruises by Hornblower's Potomac Water Taxi brings more connectivity to the waterfront than ever. From March through December, you can hop on or hop off at any docking in Alexandria, Georgetown, The Wharf or the National Mall.
Discover Washington’s monuments from a whole new perspective
From upscale and casual dining cruises to traditional waterfront sightseeing, one thing you can be sure of with any experience on this list is a view like nothing you’ll find on land. Monumental Boat Tours offers wonderful views of DC on its sightseeing cruises, as well as MD and VA.
Cap off the weekend with a Sunday brunch cruise (and bottomless mimosas)
Pin a stunning waterfront backdrop on a big day
Have something really big to celebrate this year? A birthday? Anniversary? A graduation? The perfect venue might just be a boat! If you want to plan an epic celebration on your own private yacht, check out what City Experiences by Hornblower has to offer. Potomac Riverboat Company also helps you charter the perfect party boat, with plenty of options.
Float along the C&O Canal
Back when Georgetown was a bustling tobacco port, the historic Chesapeake and Ohio Canal began its 184-mile route right here in Washington. These days, what remains is a serene, unhurried towpath that’s perfect for walking, running and cycling – or just taking in a quiet moment of peace. For the first time in more than a decade, visitors can also view this area of Georgetown from a unique vantage point thanks to a new Canal boat that offers one-hour guided tours of the first mile of the Canal. Learn about the fascinating history, technology and culture of the Canal, and the surprising stories of the people who lived, worked, and played here.
Embark on a privately captained, six-seater speed boat
One of the more unique ways to get out on the water, Embark DC boat cruises present fascinating experiences. Cruise captains are able to provide a narrated tour and they’ll happily accommodate any fishing, sightseeing, picnicking or custom-created adventure – that includes taking you wherever you want to go, from Mount Vernon to Old Town Alexandria to The Yards and more.
Visit a treasured national landmark and stay for a historical tour
Take your pup on a joy ride around the Alexandria Seaport
Sound the boat horn for the greatest Fourth of July fireworks show
There’s a reason catching the fireworks aboard a boat is among the top places to catch the Fourth of July fireworks. Fourth of July dinner cruises book months in advance, and with good reason. No vantage point in the city can really match the panoramic display you’ll find on the water.
Get active in a kayak, paddleboat or paddleboard
The Washington, DC area is full of fun water activities. Rent a kayak at any of the Boating in DC locations: Ballpark Boathouse in Capitol Riverfront, National Harbor, The Wharf Boathouse and Key Bridge Boathouse in Georgetown. The latter two options also conduct yoga classes on stand-up paddleboards. Learn how to row or scull at the Thompson Boat Center, located on the Potomac River near Georgetown or climb aboard a pedal boat in the Tidal Basin for a one-of-a-kind view of the monuments and memorials.
Paddle the Potomac on a booze cruise
The Potomac Tiki Club is DC’s first and only tiki boat bar on the Potomac River. Up to 18 people can enjoy the floating experience in Georgetown. The teal-blue bar operates with an engine and requires no pedaling to move. You can savor 90-minute cruises that include views of landmarks like Georgetown University, the Kennedy Center, the Watergate Hotel, the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. There's also the Potomac Paddle Club, a rain-or-shine pedal boat that accommodates up to 16 people. The boat has 10 pedal stations, but there is also a motor so passengers are not required to pedal for its hour-and-a-half voyages if they prefer not to. Good to know: You can turn your aquatic spin class into a booze cruise with beers, seltzers, and canned cocktails available for purchase on board as well as the option to bring your own wine or champagne for a small uncorking fee.