Chattanooga River Cruises and Boat Tours

Southern Belle Riverboat

If you’re planning to spend time in the Chattanooga area, you may be interested in experiencing one of the many river cruises in the area. Chattanooga is the perfect place to enjoy a river cruise or boat tour since the Scenic City is full of natural beauty and impressive architectural creations. Whether you’re interested in sightseeing cruises or fishing expeditions, we have created a list of the best Chattanooga boat tours and river cruises in the area.

The river cruising options below include family friendly experiences, dinner cruises, and full all-inclusive packages. So, no matter what your adventure level is, you’re sure to find a Chattanooga boat tour that’s right for you! If you’re looking for fun things to do in Chattanooga, check out our full list below of the best river cruises and boat tours in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Best Boat Tours in Chattanooga

Visitors and families in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area often search for fun outdoor attractions to enjoy. From popular spots like Rock City and Ruby Falls to the Chattanooga Zoo, the Scenic City offers all kinds of amazing places to visit.

Southern Belle Riverboat in Chattanooga on Tennessee River

Those who are looking for more unique opportunities of things to do in Chattanooga can check the local river cruises and boat tours. These are our top picks for the best boat tours in Chattanooga:

Southern Belle Riverboat

If you have ever spent time in downtown Chattanooga, you’ve probably noticed that it’s hard to miss the gigantic Southern Belle Riverboat. Guests can climb aboard the riverboat for amazing views of the beautiful Tennessee River and of the downtown Chattanooga area. The Southern Belle Riverboat is available for private tours and events, including weddings, reunions, and birthday parties. Additionally, the Southern Belle Riverboat offers two different river cruises year-round for guests to enjoy:

  • Sightseeing Cruise – The Sightseeing Cruise onboard the Southern Belle Riverboat is a narrated cruise with views of some of the most popular sights in Chattanooga. Guests can enjoy views of popular places like Lookout Mountain and the Tennessee Aquarium.
  • Sunset Cruise – The Southern Belle Riverboat’s Sunset Cruise features live music and incredible views of the sunset as guests cruise along the Tennessee River in Chattanooga. This tour is roughly a 1.5-hour cruise.

If you’re visiting Chattanooga during the holidays, the Southern Belle Riverboat often features special holiday themed cruises and dinner cruises with great service. These include unique cruises for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s. In addition, if you are planning to enjoy the Chattanooga riverboat with kids, we highly recommend checking out the Christmas and Easter cruises. Guests can enjoy breakfast with Santa, a dinner boat cruise with carolers, or a meal with the Easter Bunny.

River Gorge Excursions

Chattanooga’s River Gorge Explorer is a double-decker pontoon boat tour through the TN River Gorge. The two-hour tour boasts amazing views of the scenic Tennessee River Gorge. In addition to this standard boat tour, River Gorge Excursions also offers a brunch cruise along with private tours for guests.

riverboat with text overlay 6 Best River Cruises Chattanooga

Furthermore, those interested in helping clean up the river to preserve the natural beauty of Chattanooga should check out River Gorge Excursions for their volunteer opportunities. Finally, if you’re looking for boat rentals in Chattanooga Tennessee, River Gorge Excursions features several pontoon boats for guests to rent and enjoy on the Tennessee River.

American Queen Voyages

If you’re interested in the full cruising experience, American Queen Voyages offers river cruises between Memphis and Chattanooga. These river cruises make several stops along the way at popular places like:

  • Cape Girardeau in Missouri
  • Decatur in Northern Alabama
  • Nashville, TN

Guests onboard the American Queen Voyages can also visit Savannah, Tennessee to tour historical Civil War battlegrounds like Shiloh National Military Park. The American Queen Voyages are all-inclusive with meals, drinks, and transportation all included in your cruise fare.

Additionally, American Queen Voyages adds to their great guest experiences by featuring onboard live entertainment, including really talented musicians. While these river cruises are typically lengthy (a week or longer) in total duration, they are a great option for those visitors who are willing and able to invest the time and money into a truly special experience.

Chattanooga Ducks

The Chattanooga Ducks tour is an eye-opening experience into the history of the city of Chattanooga. It’s also one of the most fun boat tours in Chattanooga! We even added it to our list of the best things to do in Chattanooga with kids. Guests board the Chattanooga Ducks in the heart of Chattanooga and ride along the streets of downtown until the reach the Tennessee River.

Walnut Street Bridge over TN River

Once the boat takes the (super fun) plunge into the water, guests can enjoy even more beautiful views of the city. This narrated boat tour is really entertaining and informative. You’ll learn all about the history behind the Walnut Street Bridge, Maclellan Island, Coolidge Park, and some of the historic homes in the Scenic City. The Chattanooga Ducks’ captains have even been known to let the kids take turns driving the duck boat while in the river.

Scenic City Fishing Charters

For those who are really wanting to get in on the action, Scenic City Fishing offers boat charters for visitors in the Tennessee River Valley. You can book a fishing expedition with one of the many boat crew members who specialize in fishing for catfish, bass, and more. Scenic City Fishing Charters is a great option for those visitors who are interested in spending time on the Tennessee River in Chattanooga while actively participating in the fun.

Tennessee River in Chattanooga

Where to Stay before Your River Cruise

If you’re visiting the Chattanooga area from out of town, you may be wondering which hotels are the most conveniently located to the river cruising opportunities in our list. Since many of these Chattanooga boat tours are located in and around downtown area attractions, visitors will have no problem finding suitable accommodations nearby. We have compiled a list of our top picks for the best hotels in Chattanooga. These are our top choices:

Not only are the hotels above located near the Tennessee River, but they’re also close to popular entertainment options and restaurants in the Chattanooga area.

Final Thoughts on Chattanooga Boat Tours

If you’re looking for a great guest experience of Chattanooga and its surrounding area, we highly recommend trying one of the river cruises or boat tours in our list above. With spectacular views of downtown Chattanooga, the boat tours offer the perfect way to enjoy the beauty of the river and the historic downtown area. On your next visit to Chattanooga Tennessee, check out one of the exciting boat tours from our list.

riverboat with text overlay 6 Best Boat Tours Chattanooga

Whether you’re looking for a dinner cruise experience or a narrated tour of the Chattanooga area, you can find all sorts of options from our top picks in this post. Maybe you’ll even choose to experience multiple boat tours in Chattanooga. If so, you won’t be disappointed you did!

You may also like our post on the Best Beaches near Chattanooga, TN. In that post, we discuss local lakes with sandy beaches plus the closest ocean beaches to Chattanooga! So, what do you think? What is your favorite boat tour in Chattanooga? Comment below to share it with us!

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