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Potomac River Tours

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Potomac River
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.
Address: Washington D.C., USA
Admission: Free
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28 Tours and Activities to Experience Potomac River

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Wharf Water Taxi to AlexandriaDay Cruises

Wharf Water Taxi to Alexandria

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Admire Washington DC's spectacular monuments and memorials from this boat cruise along the Potomac River. See the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and Arlington National Cemetery as you travel along the river. Take in panoramic views from the boat during your 30 minute afternoon or evening water taxi ride.
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  • 35 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From  
$21.00 
From  
$21.00 
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  • 35 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

Wharf Water Taxi to GeorgetownDay Cruises

Wharf Water Taxi to Georgetown

star-4.5
Admire Washington DC's spectacular monuments and memorials from this boat cruise along the Potomac River. See the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and Arlington National Cemetery as you travel along the river. Take in panoramic views from the boat during your 2-hour afternoon or evening sightseeing cruise.
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  • 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From  
$18.90 
From  
$18.90 
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  • 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

George Washington's Mount Vernon by Potomac Riverboat Day Cruises

George Washington's Mount Vernon by Potomac Riverboat

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Cruise on the Potomac River to Mount Vernon on this day trip from Alexandria. Listen to informative narration on board the boat, and then take a self-guided tour of George and Martha Washington's estate. Admission is included.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From  
$50.00 
From  
$50.00 
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

Arlington Cemetery Including Monument Tour w/Washington Monument AdmissionFull-day Tours

Arlington Cemetery Including Monument Tour w/Washington Monument Admission

This unforgettable, fun 8.5 hour day starts with a walking tour of Arlington National Cemetery followed by a bus tour around DC's most important monuments, with stops to walk and take pictures in the company of our top-rated live guides.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$99.00 
From  
$99.00 
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation