The 10 Best Boat Tours in Connecticut!

Take advantage of Connecticut’s 253 gorgeous miles of shoreline while on a river or Long Island Sound cruise. These ten cruises take guests through some of the most picturesque parts of Connecticut, providing unique vantage points of well-known attractions from the comfort of the vessel. In addition to learning more about the history of the ship and coastal sights, several of these cruises offer encounters with Connecticut’s wildlife.

1. RiverQuest, Haddam, CT

This is the ultimate nature and scenic tour of Connecticut. Float along the Connecticut River with RiverQuest, while the knowledgeable staff point out water birds, such as ospreys, cormorants, and Bald Eagles, as well as famous sights along the lower Connecticut River. Tours vary depending on the season, but numerous offerings are available from February through October, with options for sunset cruises, family-friendly tours, fall foliage viewings, and nature-focused outings.

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2. Project Oceanology, Groton, CT

Kids and adults alike will get a taste of being a marine biologist with a public boat cruise run by Project O. Summertime cruises allow participants to use oceanographic equipment to monitor the waters of the Long Island Sound, while spring cruises take you to watch the Harbor Seals near Fishers Island. Project O also offers excellent summer camps for children interested in learning more about the environment.

3. Sabino Steamboat, Mystic Seaport, Mystic, CT

See the Mystic Seaport and downtown Mystic from a different vantage point by taking a cruise down the Mystic River on this historic 1908 steamboat. This ship is considered a National Historic Landmark as it is one of the last operating coal-fired steamboats, making any cruise even more special for visitors. Scenic cruises are offered six days per week, weather permitting, with both afternoon and evening time slots available.

4. Mystic Whaler Cruises, New London, CT

Ride along in the Whaler, a reproduction of a 19th century cargo schooner. This luxury reproduction will have you enjoying a calm, scenic tour through the New London harbor and along the Connecticut coastline. Numerous scenic cruises are available, with many cruises offering a meal along with the price. And remember that cruises are BYOB.

5. Spirit of the Sound, Maritime Aquarium, Norwalk, CT

Run by the Maritime Aquarium, the Spirit of the Sound is a 64-foot-long catamaran that runs on electric power. Cruise along the Long Island Sound to learn about marine life or enjoy an evening sunset cruise. A variety of other cruising options are available including several history-focused tours that head to New London for Sailest.

6. Connecticut River Museum, Essex, CT

After viewing the collections and learning about the history of the Connecticut River through the museum’s exhibits, sign up for a cruise along the Connecticut River. Enjoy unrivaled views of the river from aboard the Onrust, a replica of one of the earliest western-style ships built in America. The boat is a marvel in itself, so be sure to view snap a few photos while aboard! In addition to cruises offered five days per week in the summertime, winter cruises are also available for those who are willing to brave cold weather to see Bald Eagles. These winter cruises are operated by RiverQuest, the first cruising company listed in this article.

7. Argia Mystic, Mystic, CT

Hop aboard the 81-foot Argia schooner for a tour of the scenic Mystic River, from which you’ll enjoy views of downtown Mystic, Mystic Seaport, and quaint lighthouses. If you want to get in on the action while aboard, you can help the crew with the sails. Tours are offered daily and run for approximately two hours. Senior citizen and child prices are also available, lowering the cost for family trips.

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8. Thimble Islands Cruise, Branford, CT

Learn about the history of the Thimble Islands with a 45-minute tour aboard the Sea Mist. Over the summer, public cruises depart numerous times per day, allowing a cruise to fit into your schedule no matter the duration of your stay in the area. In the Sea Mist, you’ll also cruise in comfort, as ample indoor and outdoor seating is available; a bar and bathroom are both available too.

9. Sheffield Island Cruise, Norwalk, CT

On a Sheffield Island Cruise, you’ll learn about the history of the island as well as the 150-year-old Sheffield Island Lighthouse, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. And don’t forget to bring along your camera to take photographs of the beautiful Connecticut coastline and the lighthouse. Numerous cruise types are available from acoustic cruises with live music to romantic sunset cruises.

10. Mystic River Cruises, Mystic, CT

Coast along the Mystic River in a luxury speedboat to enjoy downtown Mystic and the Mystic River Bascule Bridge from a unique vantage point. Snap photos that will get hundreds of likes on Facebook and Instagram, particularly those taken during the sunset cruise. Breakfast and lunch cruises are also available, during which you’re provided a meal to be enjoyed while watching the scenic area float by.

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