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Potomac River Tours

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1,046 Reviews
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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22 Tours and Activities to Experience Potomac River

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Best of DC Tour - With Access to US Capitol & National Archives Buildings

Best of DC Tour - With Access to US Capitol & National Archives Buildings

star-4.5
Beat the long entrance lines and experience some of the most popular attractions in Washington, DC like an insider on this full-day sightseeing tour. Enjoy priority entry into the United States Capitol, the home of Congress. Then visit the National Archives Building, where the original Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution are on display. In between, see the city’s most famous landmarks and monuments, like the White House, the Lincoln Memorial and more.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$125.00
From
$125.00
Taking safety measures

Mount Vernon and Old Town Alexandria Day Trip from Washington DC

Mount Vernon and Old Town Alexandria Day Trip from Washington DC

star-3.5
Explore some of the most famous landmark locations around Washington, DC on this guided, half-day sightseeing tour. Travel to Mount Vernon, George Washington's popular plantation in Virginia and one of the nation’s most beloved historic sites. Learn about his life and tour his home of more than 40 years. Then enjoy a guided bus trip around Old Town Alexandria. See the many historic 17th- and 18th-century homes, hear colorful stories about this founding father and discover little known facts about all the monuments, statues and buildings in the area.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$81.17
From
$81.17
Taking safety measures

Half-Day Grand Tour of Washington DC

Half-Day Grand Tour of Washington DC

star-4
Get a panoramic look at Washington DC on this sightseeing tour that provides a comprehensive introduction to the United States capital and its historical and cultural landmarks. Listen to live narration as you see dozens of attractions, such as Lincoln Memorial, the exterior of the White House, Washington Monument and the National Mall, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, and the Smithsonian buildings.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$53.42
From
$53.42

Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour of Washington DC: Monuments, Landmarks and Memorials

Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour of Washington DC: Monuments, Landmarks and Memorials

star-2.5
Explore the most popular sites in Washington, DC on this hop-on hop-off bus tour. Visit many of the top attractions in the nation’s capital — like the White House, Washington Monument, the National Mall, historic Georgetown, Arlington National Cemetery and more. Select a 1- or 2-day pass, for access to three separate routes and get to know the city in custom fashion, with live and recorded narration.
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  • 1 hour to 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$49.00
From
$49.00

The Washington DC Sightseeing Day Pass: Save Big at 15+ Monumental Attractions

The Washington DC Sightseeing Day Pass: Save Big at 15+ Monumental Attractions

star-3
Discover the highlights of DC with a sightseeing pass that includes convenient hop-on hop-off bus transportation and the chance to visit more than 15 different attractions. There is so much to see in DC, it can be hard for travelers who are short on time to fit it all in. However, with this pass, you can experience everything without worrying about wasting time getting from one place to the next.
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  • 1 to 3 days
  • Free Cancellation
From
$89.00
From
$89.00

Washington DC After Dark

Washington DC After Dark

star-3.5
There's a certain magic to Washington DC that can only be experienced at night. It's a time when the powerful Lincoln Memorial is bathed in soft white light, and the Washington Monument, Capitol, and White House appear even more grandiose. Along with a knowledgeable local guide, take a tour of Washington DC well after the sun has gone down, and feel the buzz, magic, and pulse of America's capital by night.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$53.03
From
$53.03

The Washington DC Sightseeing Flex Pass: Capital Savings at 15+ Attractions

The Washington DC Sightseeing Flex Pass: Capital Savings at 15+ Attractions

star-4
See Washington DC your own way with the Washington DC Sightseeing Pass, which lets you choose between 1, 2, or 4 attractions, museums, and tours that you can visit at your own pace over a 7-day period. The pass includes entrance to some of DC's top attractions such as the International Spy Museum, as well as access to niche tours (think ghost walks and historical tours), and discounts at DC restaurants.
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  • 30 days
  • Free Cancellation
From
$52.00
From
$52.00

Historic Georgetown Architecture Tour

Historic Georgetown Architecture Tour

star-5
With elegant mansions, churches, and a world class university, Georgetown is one of DC’s most fashionable neighborhoods. Get your bearings and explore Georgetown architecture on a 2-hour, small-group walking tour with a local guide, who will share Georgetown stories as you visit historic highlights and campus landmarks.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$40.00
From
$40.00
Taking safety measures

Washington DC Odyssey Dinner Cruise

Washington DC Odyssey Dinner Cruise

star-4
Enjoy delicious cuisine and live entertainment with a view of Washington, DC on this 2.5-3 hour dinner cruise along the Potomac River. On board the elegant Odyssey cruise ship, choose from one of three exquisitely decorated glass atrium dining rooms or head to the open-air observation deck to admire the view. Dine on a delicious 3-course meal, then dance the night away or see the famous sites of the nation’s capital — like the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, Reagan National Airport and much more under a moonlit sky.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$99.62
From
$99.62
Taking safety measures

Day Trip to Mount Vernon from Washington DC

Day Trip to Mount Vernon from Washington DC

star-4.5
Mt. Vernon is one of America's most historic and important sights, and this tour takes you right to the heart of the country estate that President George Washington called home. From Washington DC you'll cross the Potomac and enter the state of Virginia, and seemingly travel back in time as you wander the 18th Century mansion's spectacular rooms and gardens. In the comfort of a luxurious, climate controlled coach you'll also visit the boyhood home of General Robert E Lee, as well old town Alexandria where Washington worshiped and dined.
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  • 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$56.00
From
$56.00

Spirit of Washington DC Scenic Lunch Cruise

Spirit of Washington DC Scenic Lunch Cruise

star-4.5
Enjoy food, fun, and entertainment with a view of Washington DC on this narrated lunch cruise along the Potomac River. Onboard the elegant Spirit of Washington, choose to cruise from three air-conditioned interior decks or the rooftop lounge. Either way, the view is spectacular, there’s a delicious buffet lunch to enjoy and a DJ is spinning the latest Top 40 hits on spacious dance floors. Look and listen as the captain points out DC’s fascinating history while drifting past the Washington Monument, Reagan National Airport and much more.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$79.67
From
$79.67
Taking safety measures

Spirit of Washington DC Sunset Dinner Cruise with Buffet

Spirit of Washington DC Sunset Dinner Cruise with Buffet

star-4
Take in the city skyline during sunset in Washington DC on an all-you-can-eat buffet cruise. Board a luxury boat for a sightseeing cruise on the Potomac River with dinner and dancing while a DJ spins your favorite tunes. Pass by illuminated landmarks such as the Washington Monument and feast on a variety of delicious dishes during the cruise.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$98.29
From
$98.29
Taking safety measures

Washington DC Odyssey Brunch Cruise

Washington DC Odyssey Brunch Cruise

star-4.5
Sip champagne onboard a luxurious yacht on a 2-hour brunch cruise along Washington DC’s scenic shoreline. Cast off from Gangplank Marina then enjoy live jazz and a sumptuous brunch buffet. Capture unforgettable images of the DC skyline while relaxing at your private table, then savor coffee or tea as you enjoy views of the capital city’s elegant cityscape.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$106.27
From
$106.27
Taking safety measures

Private Tour of Washington DC

Private Tour of Washington DC

star-5
Crown Limo Service provide extensive tour of Washington DC at affordable rates. ​ Our professionally trained tour guides will take you to explore the beauty of DC. Experience the best tour service with exotic limos at lowest rates. We are #1 Rated tour operator in Washington DC.
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  • 3 to 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$383.57
per group
From
$383.57
per group
Taking safety measures

Visit Mount Vernon by Bike: Self-guided Ride with Optional Boat Cruise Return

Visit Mount Vernon by Bike: Self-guided Ride with Optional Boat Cruise Return

star-4.5
Experience the beauty of the Potomac River and Old Town Alexandria on this independent bike tour along the Mount Vernon Trail. Check out the historic estate, which was once home to George Washington, and wander through the grounds, galleries, and hallways of this stately mansion. Opt for a tour upgrade and kick back for your return trip on a narrated Potomac River cruise to Alexandria. This independent tour offers plenty of flexibility and is one of the best ways to explore Mount Vernon.
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  • 4 to 7 hours
From
$50.00
From
$50.00

Arlington Cemetery, DC Monuments Tour Plus Washington Monument Admission

Arlington Cemetery, DC Monuments Tour Plus Washington Monument Admission

star-4
Visit Arlington National Cemetery and explore some of the most famous monuments and memorials around Washington, DC on this guided, full-day sightseeing tour. At Arlington National, witness the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns, then stop at famous landmark locations like the Marine Corps War Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial and more. Additionally, see the Lincoln Memorial, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and many more — even the White House, the United States Capitol and the National Mall.
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  • 8 hours
From
$110.00
From
$110.00

1-Day Tour Washington D.C. Cherry Blossom (DC Departure) CDC1

1-Day Tour Washington D.C. Cherry Blossom (DC Departure) CDC1

1. Enjoying amazing blossom views of thousands of cherry trees. 2. Taking in the panoramic view of the capital city on DC sightseeing cruise going through Potomac River.
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  • 8 hours
From
$65.00
From
$65.00

Extended Monuments & Memorials Tour

Extended Monuments & Memorials Tour

star-5
You can see all Washington DC Monuments and Memorials, the White House and the Capitol at your own pace, with no bus-filled crowding or walking — and no waiting. You'll be protected from the weather, including rain, snow and sun. Kid friendly and your dogs are most welcome! This is the best option for anyone with a mobility impairment. Our most popular tour is the Monuments and Memorials tour. We have done this tour 100+ different ways, depending on our guest's wishes. This is a tour of the entire National Mall on tricycle and includes the Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, FDR Memorial, MLK Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Korean, Vietnam and WWII War Memorials, and the White House, as well as other memorials. We also conduct night tours, which usually include all the amazing lit-up sights (our favorites at night are The White House, World War II, Lincoln, Jefferson, Roosevelt and the Capitol).
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  • 4 hours 45 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$780.28
per group
From
$780.28
per group

Water Taxi from Wharf or National Harbor

Water Taxi from Wharf or National Harbor

star-4
See the famous monuments of Washington, DC from an entirely new perspective on this narrated sightseeing cruise. Hop aboard a riverboat and enjoy the breathtaking view of our nation’s capital on an afternoon or evening excursion. Travel along the Potomac River to see the plethora of famous monuments and landmarks, with stunning reflective views of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Washington Monument, Arlington Memorial Bridge, and more. This is a truly unique look at the iconic monuments of Washington, DC.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$21.00
From
$21.00
Taking safety measures

Water Taxi from Wharf or Old Town Alexandria

Water Taxi from Wharf or Old Town Alexandria

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 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
Taking safety measures

Water Taxi from Wharf or Georgetown

Water Taxi from Wharf or Georgetown

star-4.5
Take in panoramic views from the boat during your 45 minute afternoon or evening sightseeing cruise. Choose to depart from the District Wharf or Georgetown! Enjoy engaging narration about DC's most famous landmarks on this relaxing water taxi. 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. Then take a stroll into the streets of the District Wharf or Georgetown. Visit trendy restaurants, cool boutiques and rich history! When you are ready to go, avoid the DC traffic and hop back on this roundtrip water taxi ride back home!
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  • 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$21.00
From
$21.00
Taking safety measures

George Washington's Mount Vernon by Potomac Riverboat

George Washington's Mount Vernon by Potomac Riverboat

star-4
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
Taking safety measures

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What's the best way to experience Potomac River?