Leave the navigation to someone else when you climb aboard these boats and explore Iowa's rivers and lakes.

1. Riverboat Twilight


Riverboat Twilight, Le Claire, Iowa

Designed as a replica of a Victorian steamboat, the Riverboat Twilight has three decks, dining areas and sundecks. Take a short 1.5 hour sightseeing cruise on select dates, with Le Claire as your port of call. Want a true getaway? Two-day cruises depart from Le Claire to Dubuque and include all meals, lodging, on-board entertainment and admission to the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium. One-day cruises run from Dubuque to Guttenberg. Operates Memorial Day weekend through October. Admission fee applies. Reservations strongly encouraged.

2. Celebration River Cruises


Celebration River Cruises, Iowa

For more than 30 years, the Celebration Belle has sailed the mighty Mississippi River with ports in Le Claire, Dubuque and the Quad Cities. The 770-passenger paddlewheel boat, the largest non-gaming riverboat on the Upper Mississippi, offers casual sightseeing, lunch, dinner and day-long cruises. Operates April through October. Admission fee applies.

3. Blue Heron Eco-Cruises


Blue Heron Eco-Cruises, Camanche, Iowa
Photo Courtesy Clinton County Conservation Board

Departing from Camanche, the 26-passenger Blue Heron pontoon boat provides an up close and personal look at the backwaters, sloughs and main channel of the Mississippi River. Public sunset cruises are offered Thursday evenings and some Saturday mornings out of Rock Creek Marina and Campground, May to October. Saturday morning cruises operate from May to Labor Day. Public cruises are free of charge and reservations are recommended.

4. Channel Cat Water Taxi


Channel Cat Water Taxi, Quad Cities, Iowa

Hop aboard this open-air boat that sails between several ports on both the Iowa and Illinois sides of the river in the Quad Cities. The ferry boat is part of the Quad Cities metro transit system and operates daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

5. Maiden Voyage Tours


Maiden Voyage Tours, McGregor, Iowa

In addition to a two hour long daily open boarding cruise, Maiden Voyage Tours in McGregor offers several charter options including the Tom Sawyer Adventure and Bird Eco Tours. Captain Robert, a former clammer, tells about the “hunters and gatherers of the Upper Mississippi” with clarity and humor – he’s a crowd favorite! Operates Memorial Day weekend through October. Admission fee applies.

6. American Lady River Cruises


American Lady River Cruises, Dubuque, Iowa

Choose a lunch, happy hour or sunset dinner cruise aboard this 80-foot Skipperliner yacht based in Dubuque.

7. Queen II


Queen II Excursions, Okoboji, Iowa

An Okoboji icon for more than 30 years, the Queen II provides a 60-minute narrated excursion around West Lake Okoboji. The steamboat can accommodate 200 people on its open-air upper deck and enclosed lower deck. Operates Memorial Day through Labor Day. Admission fee applies.

8. Lady of the Lake


Lady of the Lake, Clear Lake, Iowa

Enjoy a “boatload of fun” aboard the Lady of the Lake in Clear Lake. The authentic sternwheel paddleboat will take you on a 90-minute cruise around the natural, spring-fed Clear Lake. They also offer specialty cruises including the 4th of July fireworks cruise or annual Pirate Party cruises. Operates Memorial Day weekend through September. Admission fee applies.

9. Scenic City Empress


Scenic City Empress, Iowa Falls, Iowa

Climb aboard the Scenic City Empress and you’ll see why Iowa Falls earned the nickname “The Scenic City.” The double-decker riverboat with an enclosed lower level cruises the Iowa River, offering beautiful views of limestone bluffs. Operates Memorial Day weekend through October. Admission fee applies.