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City Cruises by Hornblower

The best boating and on the water experiences in and around Washington, DC - Fourth of July fireworks over the Potomac River and National Mall

10 Amazing Boating Experiences You Need to Try on the Water in Washington, DC



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.

01

Skip the traffic — reach your destination on a water taxi!

The expansion of Potomac Riverboat Company’s water taxi service 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, National Harbor or National Mall. An annual pass grants guests unlimited departures all season.

02

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.

03

Cap off the weekend with a Sunday brunch cruise (and bottomless mimosas)

With a variety of year-round dining cruises to choose from, City Cruises’ bottomless mimosa brunch is not to be missed. Two hours aboard the stunning fully glass-enclosed vessel will leave you speechless.

04

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.

05

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.

06

Visit a treasured national landmark and stay for a historical tour

Potomac Riverboat Company offers an excursion to George Washington's Mount Vernon, March through October, with different experience options. One offers great sightseeing, while the other includes biking AND boating.

07

Take your pup on a joy ride around the Alexandria Seaport

Alexandria boat tours are a highlight of the warmer months, usually beginning in May and running through the start of fall. Choose from an array of routes that offer views of Old Town Alexandria, Founders Park, Jones Point Lighthouse and more. There's also a a canine cruise on the Potomac that you can book for your pup!

08

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.

09

Get active in a kayak, paddleboat or paddleboard

Destination DC

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.

10

Paddle the Potomac on a booze cruise

Potomac Paddle Club is rain-or-shine pedal boat that accommodates up to 16 people and has 10 pedal stations for its hour-and-a-half voyages. Good to know: You can turn your aquatic spin class into a booze cruise with the BYOB policy – the vessel provides ice, coolers and cup holders. There is also a motor on board in case your legs grow too tired as you cruise down the Potomac. Individual seats can only be purchased Monday through Thursday, and group trips can be purchased on Fridays through Sundays. Once you book your trip, you can embark on your journey from the Georgetown Docks near The Washington Harbour.

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