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3 River Cruises for Fall Foliage

It’s still plenty warm outside, but you can feel the slightest hints of fall starting to settle in.  School is back in session, and the nights are cool and clear.  I think it’s the best time of year when you can enjoy a special look at nature’s glory as the warm days usher in the winter season.  When many think of fall, they think of a road trip through one of our country’s mountain regions, like the Blue Ridge Mountains or Skyline Drive.

But what about a cruise? Imagine it: Floating down a river on a comfortable cruise relaxing as you go through gorgeous waterways, stopping at various cities and towns.  A big benefit of these smaller ships is that they can reach destinations/ports that mega cruise ships can’t and are much less crowded.  While you may go to see the stunning fall colors, you’ll enjoy the rich history, culture, and scenery along the way. Here are a few to consider:

Hudson River Cruises

Surrounded by the Catskill Mountains, the Hudson River is rich in both history and beauty, a fun experience for nature and history lovers alike. The cities and towns along the river date back to Dutch and English rule and feature some of the most magnificent architecture in America. Expect to be awed by historic sites such as the Vanderbilt Mansion, the home of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and so much more. Love small-town charm?  One of the stops includes the riverside town of Sleepy Hollow, made famous by the great American writer Washington Irving. So make sure to bring your camera to capture the beautiful colors and scenery.

Fall Foliage on the Mississippi 

The American Queen, one of the largest steamboats ever built, is your vessel for this autumn adventure through America’s heartland.  You’ll begin in St. Louis and start your journey north toward St. Paul, MN. There are many historic and cultural stops along the way.  From Mark Twain’s boyhood home in Hannibal, MO, to the “Masterpiece on the Mississippi” in Dubuque, IA, you’ll marvel at the richness and depth that make this region one of America’s greatest attractions.


Columbia and Snake Rivers

Once on board, you’ll experience the rugged beauty of the legendary Columbia and Snake Rivers during the peak autumn season.  Departing from Portland, OR, or Clarkston, WA, this cruise takes you on an adventure that includes history, food, and local cuisine.  Explore the pathways of Lewis & Clark, and soak in views of Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, and Mt. St. Helens.  As you head down the Snake River, you’ll marvel at Hells Canyon, known for its untouched wilderness and awe-inspiring scenery.  Of course, throughout Oregon and Washington, you’ll find delicious food and wine throughout the many towns, including the Columbia River Valley wine region.


Where do you go in search of perfect fall foliage?

Read more:

My Favorite Fall Drive

Frank and Foliage

Fall Music Festivals

Anticipating Autumn

This Post Has One Comment

  1. We have such beautiful fall foliage in the Sonoma County wine country in Northern California I don’t usually make a special trip anywhere. The grapes turn different colors depending on the varietal, and the trees all join in the mix, making it a spectacular array of color along the Gravenstein Highway through Sebastopol and across the Dry Creek Valley through Healdsburg. I would love to take the cruise on the Columbia River though; we have driven along it and it is rugged and beautiful all at once. Thanks for the inspiration!

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