Potomac River Tours

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From its source in West Virginia to where it empties out in Chesapeake Bay, the Potomac River is rich in American history, so much so that it's often called "the Nation's River." George Washington, the first president of the United States, was born along the river, and all of Washington, DC, the nation's capital city, lies within the watershed.

The Basics
Visitors to the DC area can experience the Potomac River right from the surface of the water aboard a river cruise. Hop aboard a water taxi, a Washington monuments cruise, a sunset dinner cruise, a DC duck tour, or even a cherry blossom sail in springtime. Those who prefer to keep their feet on solid ground can still enjoy views of the waterway from the Mount Vernon Trail (great for cycling) and from the East and West Potomac parks (separated by the Tidal Basin). The latter is home to several popular monuments (the Jefferson Memorial, the FDR Memorial, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial) and is a stop on many sightseeing tours of the nation's capital.
  • Well-timed visits will bring spectacular views of spring cherry blossoms and fall foliage.
  • Many boat tours are not wheelchair accessible; it's best double-check before you book.
  • Don't forget sunscreen and a hat when you're out on the water.
  • Keep in mind that some Potomac River activities are seasonal.

How to Get to the Potomac River
The Potomac River has many access points throughout the DC area, including in the East and West Potomac parks (both easily accessed on foot from the National Mall). For visitors riding the Washington Metro, the station nearest the river is Foggy Bottom/George Washington University. Various sightseeing cruises and boat tours on the river depart from the downtown waterfront, Georgetown, Alexandria, and Mount Vernon.

When to Get There
While the Potomac River is free to enjoy throughout the year, the views are arguably at their best during the spring cherry blossom season and in autumn when colorful leaves create a picturesque frame for the monuments on the shore. Expect temperatures in the upper 80s° F with high humidity from June to August.

Where to Get the Best Views of the Potomac
To get a feel for the Potomac, plan to see it from multiple locations. Besides downtown DC, the river flows through the National Zoological Park, Mount Vernon, and Great Falls, where the waterway cascades down a series of beautiful rapids. Public park land lines both sides of the river, offering ample places for a picnic.
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Address: Washington D.C., USA
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Admission: Free
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20 Tours & Activities to Experience

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Mount Vernon Bike Trail: Independent Tour with Optional Potomac River Cruise

Experience the beauty of the Potomac River and Old Town Alexandria on this independent bike tour along the Mount Vernon Trail. Check out the historic estate, which was once home to George Washington, and wander through the grounds, galleries and hallways of this stately mansion. Opt for a tour upgrade and kick back for your return trip on a narrated Potomac River cruise to Alexandria. This independent tour offers plenty of flexibility and is one of the best ways to explore Mount Vernon.
  • Duration: Flexible
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$48.00 USD
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  • Duration: Flexible
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$48.00 USD

Guided DC City Bus Tour Plus Potomac River Cruise

See the very best of Washington, DC with a 6-hour combination tour that takes in the city by bus, on foot and with a sightseeing cruise of the Potomac River (in season). Choose a longer tour for plenty of time to snap photos at the White House and U.S. Capitol Building, explore DC’s presidential memorials and moving war memorials and browse for souvenirs at the Pentagon City Shopping Mall. Finish the day onboard a Potomac River boat, which is the perfect way to get unobstructed views of key sites.
  • Duration: 6 hours
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$74.99 USD
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  • Duration: 6 hours
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$74.99 USD

Best of DC Including US Capitol, National Archives Reserved Access, White House and Lincoln Memorial

Beat the long entrance lines and experience some of the most popular attractions in Washington, DC like an insider on this full-day sightseeing tour. Enjoy priority entry into the United States Capitol, the home of Congress. Then visit the National Archives Building, where the original Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution are on display. In between, see the city’s most famous landmarks and monuments, like the White House, the Lincoln Memorial and more.
  • Duration: 8 hours
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$125.00 USD
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  • Duration: 8 hours
From
$125.00 USD

Day Trip to Mount Vernon from Washington DC

Mt Vernon is one of America's most historic and important sights, and this 4.5 hour Mt. Vernon tour takes you right to the heart of the country estate that President George Washington called home. From Washington DC you'll cross the Potomac and enter the state of Virginia, and seemingly travel back in time as you wander the 18th Century mansion's spectacular rooms and gardens. In the comfort of a luxurious, climate controlled coach you'll also visit the boyhood home of General Robert E Lee, as well old town Alexandria where Washington worshiped and dined.
  • Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes
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$56.00 USD
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  • Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes
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$56.00 USD

Washington DC After Dark Wonder Tour

Explore the famous monuments and war memorials of Washington, DC by the light of night on this guided, 3-hour sightseeing tour. Hop aboard an air-conditioned minivan and enjoy an educational and entertaining narrated history of our nation’s capital. Travel around and through the plethora of famous memorials and monuments, with stunning views of an illuminated Washington Monument, the White House and many other landmark locations. This is a truly unique look at the iconic monuments of Washington DC by night.
  • Duration: 3 hours
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$49.00 USD
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  • Duration: 3 hours
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$49.00 USD

Mount Vernon and Old Town Alexandria Day Trip from Washington DC

Explore some of the most famous landmark locations around Washington, DC on this guided, half-day sightseeing tour. Travel to Mount Vernon, George Washington's popular plantation in Virginia and one of the nation’s most beloved historic sites. Learn about his life and tour his home of more than 40 years. Then enjoy a guided bus trip around Old Town Alexandria. See the many historic 17th- and 18th-century homes, hear colorful stories about this founding father and discover little known facts about all the monuments, statues and buildings in the area.
  • Duration: 5 hours
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$78.99 USD
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  • Duration: 5 hours
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$78.99 USD

Washington DC in One Day: Guided Sightseeing Tour

Experience the sights and sounds of Washington, DC in one day on this guided, 6.5-hour, walking and riding sightseeing tour around the nation’s capital. Visit the city’s historic, iconic landmarks and monuments, like the White House, the United States Capitol, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Marine Corps War Memorial. See and learn about the memorials of famous American leaders who helped shape the United States, like Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Martin Luther King, Jr., to name a few. Includes a seasonal 1-hour Potomac River cruise.
  • Duration: 6 hours
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$74.00 USD
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  • Duration: 6 hours
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$74.00 USD

Washington DC Odyssey Dinner Cruise

Enjoy delicious cuisine and live entertainment with a view of Washington, DC on this 2.5-3 hour dinner cruise along the Potomac River. On board the elegant Odyssey cruise ship, choose from one of three exquisitely decorated glass atrium dining rooms or head to the open-air observation deck to admire the view. Dine on a delicious 3-course meal, then dance the night away or see the famous sites of the nation’s capital — like the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, Reagan National Airport and much more under a moonlit sky.
  • Duration: 3 hours
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$79.67 USD
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  • Duration: 3 hours
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$79.67 USD

Washington DC Night Tour with Hotel Pickup

Explore the monuments, war memorials and famous sites of Washington, DC by the light of night on this guided, 4-hour, small-group sightseeing tour. Enjoy an educational and entertaining narrated history of the US capital. Travel around and through the plethora of famous memorials and monuments, with stunning views of an illuminated Washington Monument, the White House and many other landmark locations. Also, see the Potomac River, Dupont Circle, Washington National Cathedral and much more. This is a truly unique look at Washington, DC by night.
  • Duration: 4 hours
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$50.00 USD
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  • Duration: 4 hours
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$50.00 USD

Spirit of Washington DC Scenic Lunch Cruise

Enjoy food, fun and entertainment with a view of Washington, DC on this narrated, 2-hour lunch cruise along the Potomac River. On board the elegant Spirit of Washington, choose to cruise from three air-conditioned interior decks or the rooftop lounge. Either way, the view is spectacular, there’s a delicious buffet lunch to enjoy and a DJ is spinning the latest Top 40 hits on spacious dance floors. Look and listen as the captain points out DC’s fascinating history while drifting past the Washington Monument, Reagan National Airport and much more.
  • Duration: 2 hours
From
$69.03 USD
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  • Duration: 2 hours
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$69.03 USD

Washington DC Odyssey Brunch Cruise

Sip champagne onboard a luxurious yacht on a 2-hour brunch cruise along Washington DC’s scenic shoreline. Cast off from Gangplank Marina then enjoy live jazz and a sumptuous brunch buffet. Capture unforgettable images of the DC skyline while relaxing at your private table, then savor coffee or tea as you enjoy views of the capital city’s elegant cityscape.
  • Duration: 2 hours
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$97.99 USD
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  • Duration: 2 hours
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$97.99 USD

Spirit of Washington DC Sunset Dinner Cruise with Buffet

Take in the city skyline during sunset in Washington DC on an all-you-can-eat buffet cruise. Board a luxury boat for a sightseeing cruise on the Potomac River with dinner and dancing while a DJ spins your favorite tunes. Pass by illuminated landmarks such as the Washington Monument and feast on a variety of delicious dishes during the 3-hour tour.
  • Duration: 3 hours
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$122.23 USD
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  • Duration: 3 hours
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$122.23 USD

Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour of Washington DC: Monuments, Landmarks and Memorials

Explore the most popular sites in Washington, DC on this hop-on hop-off bus tour. Visit many of the top attractions in the nation’s capital — like the White House, Washington Monument, the National Mall, historic Georgetown, Arlington National Cemetery and more. Select a 1- or 2-day pass, for access to three separate routes and get to know the city in custom fashion, with live and recorded narration.
  • Duration: Flexible
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$49.00 USD
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  • Duration: Flexible
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$49.00 USD

Washington by Water Monuments Cruise

See the famous monuments of Washington, DC from an entirely new perspective on this narrated, 2-hour sightseeing cruise. Hop aboard a riverboat and enjoy the breathtaking view of our nation’s capital on an afternoon or evening excursion. Travel along the Potomac River to see the plethora of famous monuments and landmarks, with stunning reflective views of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Washington Monument, Arlington Memorial Bridge, and more. This is a truly unique look at the iconic monuments of Washington, DC.
  • Duration: 2 hours
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$29.40 USD
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  • Duration: 2 hours
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$29.40 USD

Washington DC Photo Safari: Monuments and Memorials Tour

Want to know how to take better pictures while traveling? Want to become more familiar with a camera that may seem rather intimidating at times? Fear not, the answers to both can be found while exploring the sites and sounds of Washington, DC on this guided, small-group photo tour. Choose from a half- or full-day excursion, then visit the famous memorials and monuments of the US' capital while a professional photographer provides instruction and tips for taking better pictures. Transportation between locations and instruction materials on travel photography included.
  • Duration: 3 days 3 hours
From
$89.00 USD
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  • Duration: 3 days 3 hours
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$89.00 USD

Arlington Cemetery Plus DC Monuments Tour

Visit Arlington National Cemetery and explore some of the most famous monuments and memorials around Washington, DC on this guided, full-day sightseeing tour. At Arlington National, witness the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns, then stop at famous landmark locations like the Marine Corps War Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial and more. Additionally, see the Lincoln Memorial, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and many more — even the White House, the United States Capitol and the National Mall.
  • Duration: 8 hours
From
$135.00 USD
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  • Duration: 8 hours
From
$135.00 USD

Guided Tour of US Capitol and Monuments via Mini Coach

Explore the famous monuments and war memorials of Washington, DC on this comprehensive, guided, full-day sightseeing tour. Climb aboard a mini motor coach and enjoy an educational and entertaining narrated history of the US capital. Travel around and through the plethora of famous memorials and monuments, with stunning views of the United States Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the White House and many other landmark locations.
  • Duration: 8 hours
From
$135.00 USD
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  • Duration: 8 hours
From
$135.00 USD

Best of Washington DC E-Bike Tour

Cover more ground in less time on an electric bike tour of Washington D.C. This 5-hour e-bike adventure takes you to the famed monuments and memorials along the National Mall and the Tidal Basin. Then follow your guide across the Potomac River into Arlington and finish at Georgetown.
  • Duration: 5 hours
From
$79.00 USD
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  • Duration: 5 hours
From
$79.00 USD

Washington DC New Year's Eve Dinner Cruise

Celebrate the New Year in style with a 4-hour New Year’s Eve dinner cruise in Washington, DC, and enjoy an evening of live music, fine dining, and dancing on the Potomac River. You’ll have spectacular views of the DC monuments as you relax in a glassed-in dining room, stroll the open-air observation deck, dance to live music, then watch the sky light up with DC’s New Year’s Eve fireworks. This elegant dinner cruise includes a three-course plated dinner, coffee, and tea, and it’s the perfect way to kick off 2018.
  • Duration: 4 hours
From
$317.72 USD
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  • Duration: 4 hours
From
$317.72 USD

Georgetown Architecture Tour

With elegant mansions, churches, and a world class university, Georgetown is one of DC’s most fashionable neighborhoods. Get your bearings and explore Georgetown architecture on a 2-hour, small-group walking tour with a local guide, who will share Georgetown stories as you visit historic highlights and campus landmarks.
  • Duration: 2 hours
From
$40.00 USD
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  • Duration: 2 hours
From
$40.00 USD


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