Several Week River Trips in America in Private Boat

I'm looking for great river trips anywhere in america, where I can

take a boat, purchased or rented, on a several week trip. The boat

would have three bedrooms, I'm looking for beautiful, safe and

interesting. Not looking for Minn. or Lake Powell Houseboats for week

vacation, but more of a real journey through America. And, I'm looking

for best time of year. Just took a long boat trip through Holland and

it was fantastic. Want to recreate something like that for my family,

while we experience geography and culture

One thought on “Several Week River Trips in America in Private Boat

  1. Rembrandt —

    There are three obvious river trips to take in the U.S. and I'm going

    to extend the definition by suggesting a Great Lakes tour as an

    option. Though it's not exactly a river (some would suggest that

    Lakes Erie, Ontario and Huron have enough flow to qualify), they offer

    tremendous insights into American history.

    For example, did you know that Beaver Island in Lake Michigan had a

    king, the only royalty ever granted a position in an American


    Central Michigan University Libraries

    Strangite Mormons

    North of the Mason-Dixon Line, the best months are July through

    September. This is particularly true on the Great Lakes where weather

    AND water doesn't start to warm until July 1. The southern cruise

    mentioned here extends the season by several months, but the

    June-November hurricane season makes it vulnerable to lots of rain.



    There are three good options to see a range of the country:

    The Mississippi

    The Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, most often called the Tenn-Tom

    The Erie Canal and Hudson River

    The other large rivers, the Colorado, Columbia and Missouri don't

    offer the range of historical options or are not quite as amenable to

    a houseboat or other large craft.



    The Mississippi is used throughout its length for recreation but also

    for heavy barge traffic, which makes it a bit tougher. Anchorages on

    islands have to be carefully chosen due to the bow wave of passing


    There's an excellent article on houseboating on the upper Mississippi

    here, and it includes links to four books that would be useful sources

    for research:

    "Huck's Houseboating Vacations" (2001)



    The Erie Canal system is so extensive that it encompasses not just the

    canal but the Finger Lakes and Lake Champlain. Of course the canal

    was built to connect Lake Erie and the Hudson River, opening up the

    Northwest Territories so that people like my great-great grandparents

    could profitably get Ohio farm products to market:

    NY State Canal System Map

    The home page for the New York State Canal System is here:

    Houseboat Magazine has run a series of articles over the last several

    years on this canal system, including:

    Houseboat Magazine

    "175 and Running Strong" (January, 2000)

    "History of the Erie Canal" January, 2000)

    "Fun Facts About the NY Canal System" January, 2000)

    "Erie Adventures" (July, 2001)

    3. TENN-TOM


    The Tennesse-Tombigbee is the canal that connects the two rivers in

    its name, so the entire waterway really encompasses the mouth of the

    Tennesse — at Paducah, KY — all of the way to Mobile, AL on the Gulf

    Coast. It a very interesting waterway for fishing and local

    recreation; also for boats from the Great Lakes which are headed south

    for the winter because it doesn't have the heavy commercial traffic

    found on the Mississippi. The waterway runs north-south, but also

    includes cities up-river (and east) of Huntsville, Chattanooga and


    We also have a book on the shelf here, "The Cruising Guide to the

    Tennesse River, Tenn-Tom Waterway, and Lower Tombigbee River," by

    Thomas Marian and W.J. Rumsey. Written 12 years ago (and published in

    paperback in 1995), it's an excellent cruising guide to the waterway

    in detail. You'll find this book referenced widely on (and

    other sources) and may want to note other cruising guides to boating

    in the United States.

    And Houseboat Magazine also has an article on the waterway:


    "Tenn-Tom 2" (May 8, 2000)



    We have sailed extensively on Lake Michigan and would recommend it or

    any of the Great Lakes for an interesting experience. The population

    gets sparser as you move north, away from large cities like Chicago

    and Milwaukee, but the lakes have a strong historical perspective. It

    was the mines and forests of Michigan that built (and rebuilt after

    the Chicago Fire) the cities of the Midwest. You'll find dozens of

    interesting historical footnotes as you go from harbor-to-harbor in

    any of the lakes (including the fact that there were MORE boats plying

    these waters in the 1890s than there are today).

    How to prepare?

    There are some interesting videos on touring the Great Lakes:

    Online Marine

    "The Great Lakes Video Cruising Guide Series"

    And cruising guides and chartbooks for each of the lakes:

    Bluewater Books and Charts

    "Great Lakes Cruising Guides"

    Google search strategy:

    "Tenn-Tom" + charter + houseboat

    This search can be repeated for any of the great rivers, including the

    Mississippi, Columbia and Missouri

    Note that a Google search with the following terms warns of the

    hazards of commercial traffic on the lower portion of the Mississippi:

    "lower Mississippi" + houseboat

    "Great Lakes" + "cruising guides"

    Best regards,


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