Chattanooga is a city that prides itself on its river. Only a short trip from downtown, the Tennessee River Gorge is one of the most biologically diverse areas of the country. Over 200 bird species call the gorge home, nesting in the 27,000 acres of virtually undisturbed forest. And one of the best ways to see this wonder of nature is by riverboat. Conveniently, there's plenty of options for rolling on the river.
Chattanooga Cycleboats, a 14-passenger vessel, is a fun way to experience the beautiful Tennessee River. The Captains will tell you engaging facts of Chattanooga’s history and the river’s ecology. Each cruise lasts 1-2 hours. Passengers are allowed to bring any food and beverages they like. There are 10 pedaling stations and a 4-seat bench for those wanting to relax. Ticketing, loading, and unloading is at Ross’s Landing.
The Tennessee Aquarium built the River Gorge Explorer from the ground up to design a boat that could reach the gorge in half the time as traditional boats. Reaching speeds up to 56 mph, passengers can spend their time in the climate controlled cabin, watching the land zip by through large windows or from the observation deck. An aquarium naturalist ensures you don’t miss a thing, pointing out wildlife and history along the way.
The Southern Belle is designed to mimic the luxury riverboats that cruised Chattanooga’s waterways in the 1800s. This triple decker riverboat holds up to 500-passengers and cruising options abound. Short 1.5-hour sightseeing excursions are perfect for a downtown river view while longer journeys venture up the Tennessee River Gorge. The most popular options are the dinner cruises, which include live music, bingo and prizes.
Take a ride aboard the Chattanooga Ducks, authentic WWII amphibious landing craft built specifically for the D-Day invasion. This historic 1-hour tour takes you through the heart of downtown Chattanooga. Just when you think you've seen it all, the vehicle splashes into the Tennessee River for a historical and ecological tour of the river and the Chattanooga Riverfront.
No matter how you choose to navigate a Chattanooga riverboat vacation, chances are you’ll be singing its praises for years to come.