Riverfront Canal Cruises

Riverfront Canal Cruises: Closed for the 2020 Season

For the safety of both our patrons and staff, and in accordance with the Governor’s “Stay at Home” order and phased approach to group gatherings and reopening businesses, we have made the very difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Riverfront Canal Cruises season.

Last year Riverfront Canal Cruises celebrated its 20th anniversary and we plan on being around for many more milestone anniversaries. However, the health of our visitors and staff are what is most important to us, and we believe that it will be too difficult to safely distance within the close quarters of a canal boat.

We appreciate your understanding and look forward to a banner year on the canal boats beginning April 2021. In the meantime, please stay safe and healthy, and enjoy a virtual tour (see just below)!

360° Virtual Field Trip Video

Riverfront Canal Cruises has released a new 360° video featuring a virtual canal boat tour with a historic narrative. The narration touches on the SOLs for Virginia Studies and U.S. History to 1865, assisting 4th and 5th graders as they complete the school year in a fun way!

Find more info about the 360° video here!

Riverfront Canal Cruises

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.

The Riverfront Canal Cruises in downtown Richmond 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 Canal Walk, 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 at the Turning Basin’s ticket kiosk or online 24 hours in advance. All boats are handicap accessible.

Hours of Operation

Closed for the 2020 season. Please see message above.

April

  • Season starts first Friday in April at 12:00 p.m.
  • Friday and Saturday: Noon to 7 p.m.
  • Sunday: Noon to 5 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 the first Sunday in November.

*All tours are weather-dependent.

Riverfront Canal Cruise Pricing Information

Experience Historic Tours on Richmond's Canal

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

Tickets are sold on a first come, first served basis at the Turning Basin’s ticket kiosk or online 24 hours in advance at the "Buy Tickets" link above.

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

Directions to the Riverfront Canal Cruise

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.

Riverfront Canal Cruise Private Charters

Riverfront Canal Cruise private charters are one-hour historically narrated tours of the James River and Kanawha Canal along Richmond’s historic Canal Walk. Some customers choose to forgo the historic narration and take in the sights while listening to light music over a provided speaker or conversing with shipmates. The boats can be outfitted with tables of various sizes that can accommodate light refreshments or a more formal catered meal.

Prices:

  • $150 per boat / per hour
  • $130 per boat / per hour for seniors and non-profit educational groups

Your chartered boat(s) may be set up in one of three configurations:

  • Dining style has tables and chairs, seating a maximum of 16-18 passengers.
  • Cocktail style has chairs, benches and a small table, seating a maximum of 23 passengers.
  • Excursion style has chairs and benches, seating a maximum of 28 passengers.

Private charters are a favorite for family reunions, celebrating birthdays, weddings, and engagements, corporate retreats, business groups, schools, churches, clubs, and so many more group outings.

The 32-foot long boats are covered with a canopy to protect riders from the weather, but we recommend that all passengers check the weather the day of and dress accordingly. The boats are handicapped accessible and can accommodate up to two wheelchairs.

Charters may be scheduled for any day and time you wish during the boat tour season (Apr.-Nov.), are dependent on weather conditions, and are scheduled on an individual basis, subject to boat and driver availability. Please book your charter at least two weeks in advance. Once scheduled, it can be canceled up to 24 hours in advance without penalty.

To book your private charter now, click “Buy Tickets” above, or call 804-649-2800. Questions? Email canal@venturerichmond.com

Parking Garage & Lot Locations Near Canal Cruises

  • East Cary and Virginia Street parking deck (fronting Virginia St)
  • Surface parking lot along the Flood Wall between Virginia Street and 12th Street
  • 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