Thursday, September 18, 2014
My Fascination With Water and Cruising On Rivers and Lakes
It's not that I don't like cruises. I hate big giant floating amusement parks that keep you busy, but make you miss the point of traveling in the first place. I just can't spend my time in the casino, or the club, or up on deck at the pool, or hovering over a buffet or bar. When I travel, I want to spend all or most of my time seeing where I am. It's who I am. Now, does this mean that I don't like cruises? No!
I love a good cruise. Ferries are some of my favorite boat modes of transportation. But, I could digress all day on the issues of ferry travel. I decided to mention some of my favorite river, lake and harbor cruises around the country. Maybe, if I have some time, I'll stop on this subject again and add some more exotic ones from around the world. Let's start with Chicago. That city is full of drawbridges and skyscrapers. That makes for interesting scenery to start off with. They also have some specialty tours which I've mentioned before like architecture tours and historical river tours. It's a one of a kind place to spend some time, and the scenery is truly impressive.
Before we leave Chicago, let's talk about the Spirit Cruises. They have them in Chicago and on the Hudson River, and many other places. These guys normally throw in a great meal to go along with the views around the cities. You can catch them in several cities around the country, especially Chicago.
Texas has a lot of coast, but it has the incredible San Antonio Riverwalk area, and the river cruises to enjoy them on. It's one of the prettiest and romantic riverfront areas in the country, and the cruise is the best way to see it.
Out west in Newport Beach, CA, you can catch a gondola ride. The canals there reminded the locals so much of Venice, Italy that they made gondolas their business as well. It's a great way to see the city and relaxing as well. There are also Venetian Gondola rides at the Venetian Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Those Gondoliers are actually from Italy. It's pretty cool.
If you miss the old days of paddlewheelers, you will be happy to hear that they're still all over the place. They run up and down the Mississippi, the Ohio, the lower Colorado, the Columbia and several other rivers. They also are found on lakes from Lake George, to Lake Michigan, to Lake Mead and beyond. They are an iconic piece of American history and they won't fade away any time soon.
If the hop on hop off style of tour isn't your thing in Washington DC, then you should try out the Patomic River Cruises. These guys take you around to get all the best vistas of the city. You can catch them on the waterfront anytime during the season.
But, the thing is, whether you're in Boston going out to look at whales, or taking a harbor cruise, or riding a jet boat in Niagara Falls, the water is a great way to see stuff and have fun. Jet boats are becoming more popular from Niagara to the Colorado, to the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Wisconsin Dells. It's great to go through the locks in Sault St. Marie. There are houseboats for rent on several big lakes around the country including Lake Powell of northern Arizona.
So, whether you're normally inclined to take a cruise or not, there are some great idea around this country. There are cruises of some kind on every navigable river. There are cruises of many kinds on every large lake in every corner of the country. They even have cruises in the desert. They have cruises in the north. They have them everywhere. You can even take a glacier viewing cruise in Alaska. It's a great way to add to a great vacation. Hey, who doesn't love telling their tale of nearly drowning while viewing Niagra Falls from the Maid of the Mist? It's fun. Do it.
I could have talked all day on this one, but visit the sites and see for yourself. They are everywhere and fun!