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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.

This year I’m thinking of trying something new in my quest for perfect fall foliage.  Floating down a river on a comfortable cruise so that I can relax and enjoy myself as we make our way through gorgeous waterways, stopping at various cities and town.  A big benefit of these smaller ships is that they can reach destinations/ports that the mega cruise ships can’t, and they 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 Fall Colors Cruise

This cruise begins and ends in New York City.  The main attraction is the fall colors in their full splendor, however, you’ll appreciate exploring the historic Northeast without taking any cabs or running into traffic.  Pack your camera to capture the gorgeous waterways and make sure you get some great photos in Catskill, Poughkeepsie, Sleepy Hollow, Kingston, Troy/Albany and West Point, NY.  Historic sites include Washington Irving’s country home “Sunnyside,” the Military Academy at West Point, the birthplace of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt (Springwood Estate),   Millionaires Row (Kingston) and  the New York State Museum.


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 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, 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, all 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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