Washington DC Sightseeing Cruises

A Complete Guide to Boat Tours in Washington, DC

Arlington Memorial Bridge Night View
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    Boat Tours Along the Potomac River

    Washington, DC sightseeing cruises are a nice way to relax and capture great photographs of the nation’s capital along the Potomac River. These boat tours are most fun during the warmer months of the year when you can get out on the deck to see panoramic views of some of the region’s most popular landmarks, such as the Kennedy Center, the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial, the Washington Navy Yard, and more. A variety of types of cruises are available and depart from Georgetown, the Southwest Waterfront, Alexandria, Mount Vernon, and National Harbor.

    Themed cruises and special promotions are available seasonally for Valentine’s Day, Cherry Blossom season, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, 4th of July, New Year’s Eve, and more. 

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    Riverboat Rides on the Potomac

    Water Taxi on Potomac
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    Riverboat cruises are the most affordable excursions on the Potomac River and travel past some of the Washington DC area’s most famous landmarks. Cruises run several times a day, weather permitting.

    Capitol River Cruises - Departing from Georgetown’s Washington Harbour, the cruise company offers 45-minute narrated boat rides as well as private charters and crab feast tours.

    DC Cruises - Departing from Georgetown’s Washington Harbour, the cruises include Sunset/Happy Hour Tours, Monuments By Moonlight, DJ Nights, and special events like crab feasts, fall foliage cruises, and cherry blossom tours. Cruises run rain or shine. This company provides water taxi service between Georgetown and the National Mall and to Nationals Park throughout the baseball season.

    Potomac Riverboat Company - Based in Alexandria, VA, the tour company has a fleet of unique boats including the authentic split sternwheeler The Cherry Blossom, the Admiral Tilp, The Matthew Hayes, the Miss Christin, and the Miss...MORE Mallory. Excursions include The Washington Monuments Cruise, Alexandria Seaport Cruise, Mount Vernon Cruise, Pirates Cruise, and Canine Cruise. This company also provides water taxi service between Alexandria, VA, the National Mall, and National Harbor, MD. Potomac Riverboat Company operates the Baseball Boat to provide transportation from Alexandria to Nationals Park during the baseball season.

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    Lunch and Dinner Cruises in Washington, DC

    Ferris wheel on the Potomac at National Harbor
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    Lunch and dinner cruises include a gourmet meal and live entertainment aboard a luxury vessel. Passengers enjoy beautiful views of Washington, DC’s monuments and famous landmarks. Cruises depart from the Gangplank Marina at 6th and Water Streets or from National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Reservations are recommended. These two- or three-hour cruises provide popular venues for parties and corporate events. 

    Odyssey Cruises - The glass enclosed ship offers panoramic views and the most upscale experience of the region’s cruises. Dinners are a three-course seated meal (buffet for larger groups). A live band performs. Larger groups can reserve a private deck. The cruise departs from Southwest DC and can sail from National Harbor for an additional fee.  

    Spirit Cruises - The cruise includes a buffet, DJ, dancing, and monumental views. Larger groups can reserve a private deck. The Spirit of Washington departs from Southwest DC and can sail from National Harbor for an additional fee. The...MORE Spirit of Mount Vernon provides round-trip transportation with a discounted admission to Mount Vernon. Boxed lunch is available for purchase. Private charter is also available (including buffet). 

    DC Cruises - Crab Feasts - These excursions for groups of 25-75 people include bushels of crabs and shrimp picked up fresh at the seafood wharf just before the cruise. The ship departs from Georgetown’s Washington Harbour. Large groups may depart from SW Washington DC, Alexandria, and National Harbor for an extra charge. Public crab cruises are also available.

    Dandy Restaurant Cruise Ships - Departing from Old Town Alexandria, the company operates two vessels, Nina’s Dandy and Dandy, offering a fine dining experience with outstanding views. Nina’s Dandy is available year-round for individual reservations, group, and private cruises. The Dandy is available for private and semi-private events.

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    Schooner Sailing on the Potomac River

    American Spirit
    ••• Courtesy of DC Sail

    DC Sail -  Departing from the Gangplank Marina in SW Washington DC, DC Sail provides sailing opportunities on its 65-foot schooner, the American Spirit, including Cherry Blossom Cruises, sunset sails, Boating & Baseball Excursions, and July 4th Fireworks Cruises. DC Sail also provides educational, recreational, and competitive sailing programs for all ages. As a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, DC Sail relies upon the proceeds from American Spirit programming to help support their youth scholarship program for at-risk children in the DC area.

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    Private Yacht Charters in Washington DC

    Alexandria Cherry Blossom Boat
    ••• Rachel Cooper

    A variety of private charter cruises are available in Washington, DC. You can customize your own excursion for a private party, wedding, or corporate event.

    Elite Private Yachts - Charters for groups of 25 to 100 depart from Washington DC and National Harbor. The Capital Elite and the National Elite are luxury yachts that can accommodate large groups.

    Potomac Riverboat Company - Based in Alexandria, VA, the tour company has a fleet of unique boats that are available for private charter: The Cherry Blossom, the Admiral Tilp, The Matthew Hayes, the Miss Christin, and the Miss Mallory.

    Potomac Belle - Departing out of Alexandria, the Potomac Belle is a private charter yacht comfortable for up to 35 guests. In the cooler months, using the main salon only, 15-20 guests is recommended. 

    American Spirit - The National Maritime Heritage Foundation offers sailboat charters along the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers. Boats depart from the Gangplank Marina in SW Washington, DC.