River Cruising in the USA

Posted by: Carol Lehman on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 at 8:00:00 am


River cruising in the USA has become popular for many reasons. For those that want the appeal of a European river cruise without leaving the USA, this is ideal. Also, no passport is required.

The mighty Mississippi River flows for over 2,500 miles and borders or flows through ten states. Classic sternwheelers cruise these waterways as we envision Mark Twain writing the words to “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”.  No doubt, you will find copies of his book in the ship library. Several of the cruises on the Mississippi are focused on themes such as Civil War battlefields, blues music and jazz or vast Southern plantations. Cruises during Mardi Gras are full of fun and give you the opportunity to taste some true Cajun food.

American Cruise Lines and American Queen Steamboat Company are the two main cruise lines with riverboats on the Mississippi.

The second most popular rivers for cruising in the USA are on the Columbia and Snake Rivers in the Pacific Northwest. Lewis and Clark with their guide Sacajawea explored these waterways with majestic mountains, deep canyons, waterfalls and forests. Some of the natural landmarks along the way include Columbia River Gorge, Hells Canyon, Mount Hood and Multnomah Falls. 


The Pacific Northwest has become a growing wine region with river cruise excursions to local vineyards and onboard wine tastings. Some are specialty wine cruises with an emphasis on the areas of the wineries.

Ohio and Tennessee River cruises begin in larger cities but take you to small towns to get a feel of true Americana. Although the Ohio River is a tributary of the mighty Mississippi, it offers its own special scenery and interests. Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett and various Indian tribes roamed these lands. The current sights and sounds of Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky and Nashville, Tennessee’s Grand Ole Opry may be an excursion from a river boat on the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers. An exciting specialty cruise is through Kentucky’s bourbon region, visiting the unique distilleries with arranged bourbon tastings.  

Cruises on America’s rivers are for history buffs, nature lovers and those looking for a cultural experience.  Luxury paddlewheel river boats and itineraries ensure you will find adventure and inspiration along the way!


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