5 U.S. River Cruises That Are Just as Majestic as Anything in Europe
You follow no fewer than 42 travel bloggers on Instagram. So it’s no wonder you forget just how good we have it stateside. We’re talking purple mountain majesties, amber waves of grain and basically every Hudson River School landscape painting come to life. So grab your copy of Huck Finn; We’re going on our own American waterway adventure—this time, with your own private bathroom (and so much more).
New Orleans to Memphis with American Queen Steamboat Company
If you’ve been dying to eat grits, drink iced tea and say “y’all” as much as you possibly can, a voyage through the Mississippi Delta on an actual steamboat probably sounds just right. You’ll depart from NoLa (giving you ample time to sample some beignets) and from there, explore the romantic antebellum South, visiting historic mansions and towns as you head up to Memphis (say “hi” to Elvis for us).
9 days; fares from $2,999
Columbia and Snake Rivers Cruise with American Cruise Lines
Lewis and Clark did it 200 years ago, and now it’s your turn to see what the explorers saw on this epic route—well, we doubt they had a pit stop at a local winery. You’ll take off from Portland, and visit places like Astoria, Oregon (the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies); Mount St. Helens in Washington; and the incredible Columbia River Gorge, ultimately ending your voyage along the pristine Snake River. Still, our favorite part of the trip might be the onboard musicians performing maritime songs and sea shanties—ya know, to get you in the Lewis and Clark mind-set.
8 days; fares from $3,725
Southeast Alaska Cruise from American Cruise Lines
Bald eagles, blue glaciers, humpback whales—this is the ideal eight-day vacation for wildlife lovers. That is, wildlife lovers who want to see it all from their own private balcony. Of course, if you choose to leave your luxe quarters, the American Constellation has naturalists and historians on hand to answer all the questions you possibly could have on salmon (we know you have a lot).
8 days; fares from $5,135; sails June through September
Great American Waterways with Blount Small Ship Adventures
You’ve heard about the Erie Canal one billion times, but you’ve never actually seen it with your own eyes. Well, Blount’s boats are small enough that you finally can. This scenic, and under-appreciated, route stretches across the Great Lakes to the Erie Canal over a 16-day adventure starting in Chicago and ending in New York. Keep an eye out for the lighthouses dotting the shorelines.
16 days; fares from $4,999; limited dates in June and August
Hudson River with USA River Cruises
No, we’re not just circling around Lady Liberty; we’re boarding in NYC and heading north through the Catskill Mountains. You’ll stop in historic towns like West Point, Kingston and Sleepy Hollow, taking in the sweeping views of the majestic Hudson River Valley (so bring your watercolors). This cruise is perfect for anyone who’s forgotten New York was more than the Manhattan skyline.
8 days; fares from $4,415; sails September through October