Riverfront Canal Cruises

Riverfront Canal Cruises Opens for the 20th Season in 2019

Richmond’s canal system first started in 1789 after George Washington lobbied the General Assembly to proceed with his vision of a canal and turnpike system that would connect the harbors of the east to trade and market opportunities west, all the way to the Rocky Mountains.

Riverfront Canal Cruises features historically-narrated tours of the James River and Kanawha Canal designed by George Washington. Hear about centuries of Richmond’s history, from Chief Powhatan’s Chiefdom to the first commercially successful electric streetcar in the world, while traveling in authentic, covered, flat-bottomed boats. See the unique railroad Triple Crossing, tobacco warehouses that have been converted into trendy lofts, the Virginia Capital Trail, the Low Line gardens and James River wildlife.

The 40-minute boat tours travel along downtown Richmond's Canal Walk and depart every hour on the hour and accommodate up to 28 passengers. They operate seven days a week from May through September, with varying hours in April, October and November. Tours depart from the canal’s Turning Basin at 139 Virginia Street. Tickets are sold on a first come, first served basis. All boats are handicap accessible.

Hours of Operation

The 2019 season begins Friday, April 5 and ends Sunday, November 10.

April

  • Season starts Friday, April 5 at 12:00 p.m.
  • Friday and Saturday: Noon to 5 p.m.
  • Sunday: Noon to 7 p.m.

May – September

  • Monday through Friday: Noon to 7 p.m.
  • Saturday: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Sunday: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

October

  • Thursday through Saturday: Noon to 7 p.m.
  • Sunday: Noon to 5 p.m.

November

  • Friday through Sunday: Noon to 5 p.m.
  • Season closes on Sunday, November 10

*All tours are weather-dependent.

Pricing Information

Historic tours

Historic tours leave every hour on the hour and run on the seasonal schedule listed above. All boats are handicap accessible.

  • Adults: $10
  • Children (5-12 years old): $6
  • Seniors (65 years and older): $6
  • Children 4 and younger: Free

Questions? Call 804-649-2800 or email canal@venturerichmond.com

Directions

Maps Address: 139 Virginia St, Richmond, VA 23219

Google Maps Link

From the south

Take I-95N to Richmond. Exit onto the Downtown Expressway (I-195). Take the Canal Street to Route 60 exit. Turn right onto 10th Street, then right on East Cary Street. Continue on East Cary Street to Virginia Street (just before 14th Street). Turn right onto Virginia Street. Continue straight over Canal Street and, in a half block, the Turning Basin will be on your left.

From the north

Take I-95S to Richmond. Take Exit 74B (Franklin Street). Go straight through the light at the end of the ramp. At the next light, East Main Street, take a right. Then turn left at 14th Street (first light). At the second light, turn right onto Canal Street. Take an immediate left at Virginia Street (no street sign). The Turning Basin is just one block down under the bridge on Virginia Street.

From the east

Take I-64W toward Richmond. Take Exit 190, 5th Street/Downtown. Follow 5th Street to East Cary Street and turn left. Continue on East Cary Street to Virginia Street (just before 14th Street). Turn right onto Virginia Street. Continue straight over Canal Street and, in a half block, the Turning Basin will be on your left.

From the west

Take I-64E toward Richmond. Exit onto the Downtown Expressway (I-195). After the toll booth, take the 7th and 9th Street exit. Take a left onto 9th Street. Take a right on East Cary Street and continue to Virginia Street (just before 14th Street). Turn right onto Virginia Street and go straight. Continue straight over Canal Street and, in a half block, the Turning Basin will be on your left.

Private Charters & Onboard Dining

Canal boats can be chartered for $150 for one hour. This fee is discounted to $130 for nonprofit educational and seniors groups. A 15 percent gratuity for your boat driver is suggested, but not required. Additional boats and hours can also be added. The boats are handicap accessible.

Charters can be scheduled for any day and time you wish during the tour season, but they are dependent on weather conditions. Charters are scheduled on an individual basis, subject to boat and driver availability. Please call two weeks in advance to schedule a charter. Once a charter is scheduled, it can be canceled up until the day before the charter. A charter canceled on the scheduled day or groups who do not attend their scheduled charter will be subject to full payment.

Your charter boat(s) can be set up in one of three configurations:

  • Excursion style has chairs and benches, seating an approximate maximum of 30 passengers.
  • Dining style has tables and chairs, seating a maximum of 20 passengers (depending on the table size).
  • Cocktail style has chairs, benches and a small table, seating a maximum of 24 passengers.

We can provide a list of experienced caterers, or you can bring your own food and drink.

Our drivers provide a historical narration if you request, or you can play your own audio over the boat's sound system. All of the boats in our fleet are covered with a canopy, which provides shelter from sun or light rain.

For more information about private charters and onboard dining, please call (804) 649-2800 or email canal@venturerichmond.com

Parking Garage & Lot Locations

  • East Cary and Virginia Street parking deck (fronting Virginia Street)
  • 14th and East Cary Street surface parking lot
  • 14th and East Cary Street parking deck
  • 12th and Canal Street parking deck
  • Omni/James Center parking deck (underground, limited space) at 12th and East Cary streets
  • 15th and East Cary Street surface lots
Visit Riverfront Canal Cruises on Facebook

It was a beautiful boat ride and very informative, learned a lot about the area thanks to our tour guide, David. I would highly recommend taking the canal cruise.

Amy, June 2018

Our guide was very knowledgeable and personable. Learned a lot that isn't taught in schools. Definitely worth more than the $8 price. Best bargain we found in Richmond.

John, September 2017