Potomac River Cruises in Washington D.C.



Cruises on the Potomac River are a popular way to experience Washington D.C., especially with travelers who are visiting the city. There are several companies that offer day and evening cruises. Although you won’t find traditional overnight cruises, you might be able to find companies that offer private boat rentals or charters. 

The city of Washington, D.C. is also the capital of the United States. It’s a city that exists independently and does not belong to any one state. With land that was donated by both Maryland and Virginia, the city covers nearly 70 square miles.


View of Washington D.C. from the Potomac River

By Billy Hathorn (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons


Cruises on the Potomac River depart from Washington, D.C.; Alexandria; Georgetown; Mount Vernon and National Harbor. You’ll find day, evening, scenic, special occasion and themed cruises that range in length from 45 minutes to 6 hours. Some suppliers offer cruises year-round, while others have availability from March through November.


Potomac River Facts

The Potomac River is considered to have two sources. One source is located in West Virginia, and the other is located in Virginia. Both rivers meet to form a confluence near Green Spring, West Virginia. It is considered to be the fourth largest river along the Atlantic coast in terms of geographical size. The river flows for 405 miles until it reaches its mouth at the Chesapeake Bay.

Along its course, the Potomac flows through the states of West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia and the capital of the United States - Washington D.C. It forms a border between Maryland and Washington D.C. and also between Virginia and West Virginia.


Potomac River Cruise Destinations

If you decide to take a cruise on the Potomac River, you’ll have a few different options. It just depends where you want to go and what you want to see. Cruises on the Potomac depart from a few different locations in Washington, D.C. and Alexandria, Virginia.


Washington Harbor on the Potomac River

By AgnosticPreachersKid (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


A cruise on the Potomac River between Alexandria and Georgetown will take you past many historical sites in Washington, D.C. From the river boat you’ll be able to see famous landmarks, such as the Washington Monument, the U.S. Capitol, the Jefferson Memorial, the Watergate Complex and the Memorial Bridge. This is a cruise you can enjoy during the day as a sightseeing tour or in the evening as a more relaxed dinner cruise.

You might want to visit the home of George and Martha Washington in Alexandria, Virginia. Mount Vernon includes the family house and 50 acres of plantations. It is located on the Potomac River about 16 miles south of Washington D.C. Tours are self-guided, so you will be free to explore the things that interest you. This cruise generally lasts about 6 hours; although, most of the time is spen on land. Availability is typically from April through October.

There are also Potomac River cruises available to and Alexandria, Virginia where you’ll be able to explore Old Town Alexandria. A few of the sites you might see include - Founders Park, Old Town Yacht Basin, Admiral’s row, Jones Point Lighthouse. Cruises are also generally available from April through October.


Additional Information

Cruises available on the Potomac River

Day Cruises available on the Potomac River

Evening Cruises available on the Potomac River


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Lauri Wakefield is a travel writer who specializes in  river cruises in Europe and the U.S. Connect with her on Twitter and Google+.

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