colonial bell canal bridge cover

Rochester-Area Boat Tours

Discover the breathtaking beauty of Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, the Genesee River, the Erie Canal, and the Finger Lakes region on a boat tour. Enjoy stunning scenery, unique geology, and impressive waterfront homes. From the comfort of a boat, you’ll be able to spot local wildlife and learn about the rich history and culture of the area. Indulge in the serene atmosphere and breathe fresh air while enjoying a unique and unforgettable experience.

Contact cruise companies directly to learn about their unique amenities and accommodations. Some cruises may offer basic onboard comforts, such as restrooms and bottled water, while others may provide additional services like dinner, cash bars, and live music.

Best of Rochester - Day Trips Around Rochester book

Day Trips Around Rochester, New York

City of Rochester

The Riverie Rochester skyline
The Riverie

Riverie

The latest addition to Corn Hill Navigation’s fleet, the Riverie, launches from the waterfront center at Corn Hill Landing. Passengers can select from various themes, including a 90-minute trip along the river, a 2.5-hour journey to Lock E-33 in Henrietta, and specialty voyages like one-hour live music and sunset cruises. Tour fee. 280 Exchange Blvd., Rochester

Monroe County

Colonial Belle Fairport boat tours
Colonial Belle, Fairport

Colonial Belle

The Colonial Bell is the largest tour boat operating on the Erie Canal, with a capacity for 149 passengers. On the three-hour lock tour, you’ll experience firsthand the meaning of “Low bridge, everybody down!” The round trip covers nine miles, going west on the canal through Fairport, Bushnell’s Basin, Pittsford, and Lock 32 Canal Park before returning to Fairport. Tour fee. 400 Packett’s Landing, Fairport

Sam Patch boat tours
On board the Sam Patch

Sam Patch

Corn Hill Navigation’s 1800s packet boat replica, Sam Patch, offers leisurely 90-minute cruises along the canal through Lock E-32. Expert guides share stories about the canal’s commercial history, engineering innovations, and impact on current recreational use, highlighting interesting sights. Tour fee. 12 Schoen Place, Pittsford

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Sam Patch Erie Canal Tours

Sam Patch Erie Canal Tours are a great way to experience the canal and learn about its history along your narrated cruise.

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Greater Rochester

canandaigua lady boat
Canandaigua Lady

Canandaigua Lady

You can take this steamboat replica on a 90-minute narrated cruise along the north shore of Canandaigua Lake while relaxing and enjoying the scenery. Tour fee. 205 Lakeshore Drive, Canandaigua, Ontario County

Seager Marine

Enjoy a leisurely two-hour sunset cruise on Canandaigua Lake. Tour fee. 811 S. Main Street, Canandaigua, Ontario County

Surrounding Counties

Bianconi Tours

Enjoy a one-hour guided history cruise along Cayuga Lake. They also offer winery and sunset tours. Tour fee. 403 Main Street, Aurora, Cayuga County

Buffalo Harbor Cruises

The company offers narrated sightseeing tours along Lake Erie and the Buffalo River with varying departure times and durations depending on the theme. Tour fee. 329 Erie Street, Buffalo, Erie County

Buffalo River History Tours

Enjoy a narrated 90-minute tour of the Buffalo River. Tour fee. 44 Prime Street, Buffalo, Erie County

Seneca Legacy Watkins Glen boat tours
Seneca Legacy and Seneca Spirit

Captain Bill’s Cruises

Consider embarking on a 50-minute narrated Seneca Spirit sightseeing cruise for the best view of Hector Falls (165 feet tall), or relax on a 2.5-hour dinner cruise on the Seneca Legacy. Tour fee. 1 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen, Schuyler County

Pat II, Keuka Lake

Finger Lakes Boating Museum

Take part in a narrated boat tour of Keuka Lake onboard the Pat II. Tours depart daily from Depot Park from June to mid-October. The captain will share boating history and lake legends with you as you take in the beautiful surrounding landscape. The vessel has bench seating and can accommodate up to 16 passengers. For a comprehensive experience, consider visiting the museum before or after your tour. Tour fee. 7 Water Street, Hammondsport, Steuben County

Discover Cayuga Lake

There are various themes to choose from for cruise experiences, including public, sunset, night sky, eco-cruises, and specialized trips to the farmers’ market and Taughannock Falls. Tour fee. 805 Taughannock Boulevard, Ithaca, Tompkins County

Ithaca Boat Tours

Take a narrated tour of Cayuga Lake on the 49-passenger Patrick T. Kennedy. Tour fee. 708 W. Buffalo Street, Ithaca, Tompkins County

Niagara Falls Maid of the Mist boarding
Boarding the Maid of the Mist

Maid of the Mist

Get ready for a wet and wild adventure on the Niagara River cruise! Start your journey by taking the elevator from the observation tower and boarding the ship. You’ll cruise to the base of American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Horseshoe Falls to witness the power and beauty of these iconic waterfalls up close. Tour fee. 1 Prospect Street, Niagara Falls, Niagara County

Mid-Lakes Navigation boat tours
Mid-Lakes Navigation

Mid-Lakes Navigation

Take a 45-minute scenic cruise on Skaneateles Lake aboard the Judge Ben Wiles. For a truly unique experience, board the Barbara S. Wiles for a three-hour mail delivery trip to summer cottages and camps unreachable by road. Tour fee. 3 W. Genesee Street, Skaneateles, Onondaga County

Please note that the Barbara S. Wiles mailboat will not operate in 2024 while the vessel undergoes maintenance. However, you can still enjoy a Skaneateles Lake cruise onboard the Judge Ben Wiles.

Spirit of Buffalo

Experience the thrill of sailing on Lake Erie on this beautiful, red-sailed tall ship, a 73-foot topsail schooner. Themed sails typically last for two hours. Tour fee. 44 Prime Street, Buffalo, Erie County

True Love

Experience a scenic two-hour Seneca Lake tour with multiple daily departures, including a sunset cruise option. Tour fee. Harbor Park Pier, 1 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen, Schuyler County

Whirlpool State Park
Whirlpool State Park

Whirlpool Jet Boat

Take a thrilling 45-minute wet or dry jet-boat ride and experience the power of the Niagara River and Devil’s Hole whirlpool. Tour fee. 115 S. Water Street, Lewiston, Niagara County

Google Map of Locations

View the map separately here.

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Day-Trip Destinations

These day trips are filled with carefully chosen options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as memorable experiences and events.

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Explore New York’s Finger Lakes Region

The Finger Lakes region is a popular tourist destination, featuring 11 lakes, charming cities and villages, and scenic farmland.

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Explore The Lake Ontario Seaway Trail

The Lake Ontario Seaway Trail runs along the southern Lake Ontario shoreline, from Fort Niagara in Youngstown to Fort Ontario in Oswego.

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Exploring The Genesee River

At Genesee Valley Park, the river merges with the Erie Canal and continues north through Rochester before reaching Lake Ontario.

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Explore the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor

Nearly 80% of the upstate population lives within 25 miles of the Erie Canal. Explore the 115-mile stretch between the Cayuga-Seneca Canal and Niagara River.

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Do you have a favorite Rochester-area boat tour?

Your insights and experiences are valuable. Please share them in the comments.

Debi Bower, Day Trips Around Rochester NY

Debi Bower is the founder and creative director of daytrippingroc.com and author of the award-winning book Day Trips Around Rochester, New York.

People often ask me if I get free access to places while exploring. The answer is no unless I’m invited to previews or granted behind-the-scenes access as part of my media role. Generally, I don’t mention my project, Day Trips Around Rochester, NY, because I want the same experience you would have. I create and share content simply because it brings me joy. I would appreciate your support—a cup of coffee or two to help fuel future field trips—if you have found valuable information here that has helped you explore the Rochester area.

3 thoughts on “Rochester-Area Boat Tours”

  1. Chautauqua Belle https://269belle.com/
    Mayville or Jamestown, NY
    I went on this a couple of years ago on a bus tour. I really enjoyed it. Out of Jamestown, we spent a bunch of time on a river before going out on the lake but it was very enjoyable. Narrated. One of the few paddle-wheelers in service in the US.

    Lockport Locks & Erie Canal Cruise https://lockportlocks.com/
    This is NOT the same as the Lockport Cave & Underground Boat Ride. Lockport Locks & Erie Canal Cruise is all above ground, and on the Erie Canal. Narrated, relaxing. Goes through the locks & on the Erie Canal. Nice gift shop with lots of Erie Canal souvenirs & memorabilia.

    Captain Sam’s Boat Tours, Thousand Islands https://www.usboattours.com/
    Alexandria Bay, NY
    My favorite boat tour in the whole wide world. I’ve been on Uncle Sam’s more times than I can count. Very enjoyable.

    1. Hello Mike! I recommend contacting each boat operator directly because they are intimately knowledgable about their vessel, the dock, and the parking area. They’ll be able to provide you with specifics, as each boat presents unique challenges. In Monroe County, the new Riverie boat at Corn Hill Landing in Rochester is accessible. And the Colonial Belle in Fairport is accessible, though the restroom onboard is not. Next year, I plan to expand on the information I present here in this guide to include more details. If you’d like to share with me what you discover, I’d be thrilled to include your experiences.

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