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Fall Foliage Boat Cruises


Photo courtesy of Sunstone Tours & Cruises

If you’re seeking an authentic autumn experience, a fall foliage boat cruise is one of the most exhilarating ways to take in the breathtaking bejeweled landscape. After all, lakes and rivers are Mother Nature’s mirrors, and the reflections of the colorful foliage on the water’s surface amplify the beauty and tranquility that comes with the season. Additionally, many of the lakes and rivers featuring boat cruises are renowned for their charming communities, local cultural flavors, and outdoor recreational opportunities, all of which are especially appealing when the first nip of fall is in the air.

For a quick list of some of the top leaf-peeping regions, check out these fall foliage boat cruises and river cruise destinations. Many of these locales offer various boat cruises, so be sure to check your area for updated options and schedules to help you plan your fall foliage adventures on the water.

Lake Winnipesaukee, NH

Photo courtesy of Kindra Clineff via Yankee Magazine

Spectacular Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire’s largest lake, transforms into a brilliant scenic spectacle in the fall. Savor an afternoon boat cruise across these colorful lake waters to take in the area’s charming islands, wooded landscapes, and vibrant homes dotting the shoreline. An idyllic lake voyage offers an intimate and enchanting encounter with fall foliage like no other.

One such cruise offered by Champlain Tours will take you on an extraordinary journey to witness the very best of Lake Winnipesaukee’s stunning autumn beauty. The itinerary includes luxurious motor coach transportation from Northern Vermont to Weirs Beach in Laconia, NH, where you will board the Motor Ship Mount Washington. Additionally, you will enjoy a buffet lunch onboard before landing at America’s oldest summer resort in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. Guests will have time to disembark and experience this quaint setting before heading back home. For other tour options, visit Lake Winnipesaukee Boat Tours.

Upper Mississippi River Cruise

Photo courtesy of American Queen via Country Living

If you’ve ever dreamed of exploring the territory that was once Mark Twain’s muse, then a Mississippi River cruise gives you a perfect opportunity. The grand river’s upper reaches stretch north into a scenic countryside that is still as vibrantly untamed as it was during the writer’s lifetime. Today, the mighty Mississippi still flows vigorously with rivercraft, offering stunning adventures for those who embark on these historic waters.

Passengers can take in all the scenic beauty of the landscapes and quaint small towns dotting the river bends from the Deep South to the Midwest. American Queen Voyages offers an array of cruising options, including a luxurious nine-day sojourn through the Upper Mississippi. The itinerary features Mark Twain’s beloved Hannibal, Missouri, and winds all the way up to Red Wing, Minnesota, one of National Geographic’s most historic places. Visit American Queen Voyages for cruise destinations, dates, and booking information.

Lake Champlain, VT

Photo courtesy of

Nestled between New York and Vermont, the gorgeous Lake Champlain is renowned for its vibrant fall foliage and picturesque landscapes. A cruise on these majestic waters offers passengers awe-inspiring views of the Green Mountains and the Adirondacks, all ablaze with stunning autumn colors.

Visit Spirit of Ethan Allen to book one of their excellent tours, from scenic narrated cruises and lunch on the lake cruises to breathtaking sunset and dinner cruises.

Hudson River, NY

Photos courtesy of JeinPark/istockphoto via Cheapism

Glide across the Hudson River while enjoying the vibrant fall scenery against a backdrop of rolling hills, quaint towns, charming lighthouses, and iconic landmarks. This Classic Harbor Line‘s NYC Fall Foliage Cruise takes you north up the river during a 2.5-hour journey aboard the luxury yacht Manhattan.  

Breathe in the crisp autumn air as you drift past the George Washington Bridge, the Cloisters, the Palisades, the Little Red Light House, and the Tappan Zee Bridge.

Relax and sip on a soothing hot beverage as you take in this extraordinary and majestic seasonal cruise. For a 3.5-hour journey, you can hop aboard Classic Harbor Line’s Schooner Adirondack and enjoy a Grand Palisades Fall Foliage Sail. When it comes to rich fall foliage, the Hudson River’s brilliant display rivals that of the New England region, offering a breathtaking experience to both native New Yorkers and visitors alike.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan

Photo courtesy of Pictured Rocks Cruises

Discover the sublime beauty of Lake Superior from Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, nestled along Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Pictured Rocks Cruises offers a menu of three different tours that allow guests an intimate view of East Channel Lighthouse on Grand Island, Miners Castle, Lovers Leap, and other impressive landmarks. In addition, the Pictured Rocks Park area boasts beautiful natural dunes, beaches, stunning waterfalls, sea caves, and remarkable sandstone cliffs with spectacular mineral stain formations along the rock face. Incredibly vibrant in autumn, the crystal-clear waters of Lake Superior offer a pristine backdrop for its forested shoreline rich with jewel-tone hues.

Flathead Lake, MT

Photo courtesy of Stay Montana

Located in northwest Montana, Flathead Lake is surrounded by the majestic Rocky Mountains and offers stunning vistas of fall foliage against the backdrop of snow-capped peaks. Flathead Lake Boat Tours offers various excursions to suit every taste, from Morning and Evening Tours to a scenic Bay Cruise that features photograph-worthy views of the lake, surrounding bays, and Narrow Islands. Each extraordinary cruise takes you through serene waters, providing a peaceful and picturesque journey. Along the way, tour guides will give a fascinating history of the area and the ecological environment. So, prepare for an unforgettable journey where you can reconnect with Mother Nature’s vast beauty.

Coeur D’Alene Lake, ID

Photo courtesy of Coeur D’Alene

From the water to the mountains, Coeur d’Alene Lake is stunning in any season—especially in fall. The autumnal lake palette presents incredible hues, from vivid golds and reds to sage green and steel blue. With the season’s arrival, the sunsets illuminate the lake with magical glowing orange and purple displays.

So, now is the time to partake in an exhilarating boat cruise across the sparkling waters of Northwest Lake Coeur d’Alene. Offering daily adventures, Lake Coeur D’Alene Cruises boasts climate-controlled boats featuring double decks for sightseeing, indoor and outdoor options, experienced captains, and hospitable crews. Enjoy an intriguing mix of local history, scenery, and wildlife that delivers an unforgettable experience. From all of us at Lake Homes Realty, happy leaf peeping on the colorful autumn waters—and cheers to the lake life!


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