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  • Address: Washington D.C., USA
  • Admission: Free

Washington DC ATTRACTIONS See all

Potomac River Tours

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.

Tours & Tickets

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In the Footsteps of George Washington: Spirit Day Cruise to Mount Vernon, Washington DC, null
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 3

In the Footsteps of George Washington: Spirit Day Cruise to Mount Vernon

4.5 star rating: Recommended 293 Reviews

Veer from the standard Washington, DC, tourist path with this insightful 6.5-hour Mount Vernon cruise and tour. Your Mount Vernon boat tour kicks off with a ...  Read more

Location: Washington D.C., District of Columbia
Duration: 6 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $54.14
Mount Vernon Bike Trail: Independent Tour with Optional Potomac River Cruise, Washington DC, Day ... 
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

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

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 26 Reviews

On this independent bike tour from Old Town Alexandria, enjoy views of the Potomac River as you cycle along the scenic Mount Vernon Trail to historic Mount ...  Read more

Location: Washington D.C., District of Columbia
Duration: Flexible

From USD $48.00
Guided DC City Bus Tour Plus Potomac River Cruise, Washington DC, Bike & Mountain Bike Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Guided DC City Bus Tour Plus Potomac River Cruise

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 7 Reviews

Explore the best of Washington, DC with a guided, 6-hour bus and walking tour of the city's top sites. This exciting tour includes a (seasonal) 1 hour river ...  Read more

Location: Washington, District of Columbia
Duration: 6 hours (approx.)

From USD $69.99
Washington DC Night Tour with Hotel Pickup, Washington DC, City Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 2 ADMISSION : 5

Washington DC Night Tour with Hotel Pickup

4.5 star rating: Recommended 127 Reviews

See Washington D.C.'s most memorable sites with knowledgeable and passionate local guides, by night! This 4-hour tour uncovers the beauty of Washington D.C. ...  Read more

Location: Washington, District of Columbia
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $50.00
Washington DC Odyssey Dinner Cruise, Washington DC, Night Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 2 ADMISSION : 5

Washington DC Odyssey Dinner Cruise

4.5 star rating: Recommended 87 Reviews

Come aboard Washington's premier dining ship! This 2.5-3 hour dinner cruise takes you along the Potomac River for panoramic views of the nation's greatest ...  Read more

Location: Washington D.C., District of Columbia
Duration: Varies

From USD $79.67
Washington DC After Dark Wonder Tour, Washington DC, Dinner Cruises
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 2 ADMISSION : 5

Washington DC After Dark Wonder Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 33 Reviews

DC after dark wonder is a comprehensive tour with the guide directing you to all the monuments and memorials at a wonderful pace while giving you fascinating ...  Read more

Location: Washington, District of Columbia
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $49.00
Arlington Cemetery Plus DC Monuments Tour, Washington DC, Night Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 2 ADMISSION : 5

Arlington Cemetery Plus DC Monuments Tour

4 star rating: Recommended 9 Reviews

Explore Arlington National Cemetery and Washington DC's major monuments on this 8 hour guided tour bus and walking tour. Visit the grave of John F Kennedy and ...  Read more

Location: Washington, District of Columbia
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $135.00
Spirit of Washington DC Sunset Dinner Cruise with Buffet, Washington DC, Full-day Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 2 ADMISSION : 5

Spirit of Washington DC Sunset Dinner Cruise with Buffet

4 star rating: Recommended 41 Reviews

Experience the Potomac River on a sunset dinner, dancing and sightseeing cruise, where you'll see Washington DC’s famous skyline from a luxury boat. As your ...  Read more

Location: Washington D.C., District of Columbia
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $122.23
Spirit of Washington DC Scenic Lunch Cruise, Washington DC, Dinner Cruises
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 2 ADMISSION : 5

Spirit of Washington DC Scenic Lunch Cruise

4.5 star rating: Recommended 36 Reviews

Experience the nation's capital on a scenic lunch cruise! On this Washington DC cruise, not only will you indulge in an all-you-can-eat buffet, but there will ...  Read more

Location: Washington D.C., District of Columbia
Duration: 2 hours (approx.)

From USD $69.03
Guided Tour of US Capitol and Monuments via Mini Coach, Washington DC, Lunch Cruises
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 2 ADMISSION : 5

Guided Tour of US Capitol and Monuments via Mini Coach

4 star rating: Recommended 4 Reviews

Get the ultimate DC experience with a guided tour of the US Capitol and all the major sights and memorials with an expert tour guide on this 8 hour bus and ...  Read more

Location: Washington, District of Columbia
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $135.00

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