Canal Cruises

Canal montage

Join Richmond Canal Cruises for an informative, 40-minute, historically narrated tour or private charter of the James River and Kanawha Canal along Richmond’s historic Canal Walk. Our covered boats, which accommodate up to 35 passengers, depart on the hour from the Turning Basin, located at the intersection of 14th and Dock streets on Virginia Street. 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 the trade and market opportunities west, all the way to the Rocky Mountains.

The canal cruises are located at 139 Virginia Street in Richmond’s historic Shockoe Slip. We are directly across from the intersection of 14th and Dock streets.

For information or private charter reservations, please call (804) 649-2800.

Hours of operation

The season begins the first Friday in April and ends the second week of November.

April

  • Friday and Saturday: Noon to 7 p.m.
  • Sunday: Noon to 5 p.m.

May

  • Thursday through Saturday: Noon to 7 p.m.
  • Sunday: Noon to 5 p.m.

June, July and August

  • Monday through Friday: Noon to 7 p.m.
  • Saturday: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Sunday: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

September

  • Wednesday through Saturday: Noon to 7 p.m.
  • Sunday: Noon to 5 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.

*All tours are weather-dependent.

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Pricing information

Historic tours

Historic tours leave every hour on the hour and run on the seasonal schedule listed above. All boats are handicap accessible.

  • Adults: $6
  • Children (5-12 years old): $5
  • Seniors (65 years and older): $5
  • Children 4 and younger: Free

Private charters and onboard dining

Canal boats may be chartered for $100 for one hour. This fee is discounted to $90 for nonprofit educational and seniors groups. A 15 percent gratuity for your boat driver is suggested, but not obligatory. Additional boats and hours may be added. The boats are handicap-accessible.

Charters may be scheduled for any day and time you wish during the tour season, but they are dependent on weather conditions. Charters are scheduled on an individual basis, subject to boat and driver availability. Please call two weeks in advance to schedule a charter. Once a charter is scheduled, it can be canceled up until the day before the charter. A charter canceled the scheduled day will be subject to full payment.

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

  • Excursion style has chairs and benches, seating a maximum of 35 passengers.
  • Dining style has tables and chairs, seating a maximum of 20 passengers (depending on the table size).
  • Cocktail style has chairs, benches and a small table, seating a maximum of 24 passengers.

We can provide a list of experienced caterers, or you may bring your own food and drink. Our drivers provide a historical narration if you request, or you may play your CDs over the boat’s sound system. All of the boats in our fleet are covered, which provides shelter from sun or light rain.

For more information about private charters and onboard dining, please call (804) 788-6459.

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Directions

From the south

Take I-95N to Richmond. Exit onto the Downtown Expressway (I-195). Take the Canal Street to Route 60 exit ($.25). 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.

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Parking garage/lot locations

  • East Cary and Virginia Street parking deck (fronting Virginia Street)
  • 14th and East Cary Street surface parking lot
  • 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

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