Dells boat tour

10 Best Wisconsin Boat Tours & Scenic Cruises (2024)

Wisconsin is known for its natural beauty, and one of the best ways to experience it is by boat.

That’s why we’ve put together a list of the 10 best Wisconsin boat tours and scenic cruises that will take you on a journey through the state’s picturesque lakes, rivers, and harbors.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing sightseeing tour or an action-packed adventure, there is a boat tour for everyone.

From the Milwaukee River to Lake Geneva, and the Wisconsin Dells to the Upper Mississippi, these tours offer breathtaking views and a unique way to experience Wisconsin’s natural beauty.

Read on to discover the best Wisconsin boat tours that should be on your bucket list!

1. Edelweiss Cruises

205 W Highland Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53203

Edelweiss Cruises in Milwaukee - harbor lady boat

Edelweiss cruises offer a variety of themed options and private charter opportunities along the Milwaukee River through downtown Milwaukee and on Lake Michigan. 

The City Skyline cruise features a DJ, but if you prefer live music you can opt for the Concert Cruise.

They also offer “Dinner With A View” dinner cruises that include a chef-prepared meal.

Other cruise themes Sunday Funday with mimosas, a Wisconsin Brat Cruise. For families, Edelweiss offers kiddie character cruises and an all you-can-eat taco cruise.

Looking for something smaller? Ask about their Pontiki pontoon boat cruise.

Find more fun boat tours in Milwaukee >>

2. Dells Boat Tours

Wisconsin Dells, WI

Dells boat tour through rocky formations

Dells Boat Tours offers visitors a chance to experience the natural beauty, wonder, and mystery of Wisconsin Dells through an a unique boating adventure.

The Upper Dells section of the river features towering high cliffs, winding river narrows, and dramatic rock formations, while the Lower Dells section boasts wider waters and tall sandstone cliffs. 

The tour includes two exclusive shore landings at Witches Gulch and Stand Rock, where visitors can explore hidden passages, take in the incredible sights, and learn about the history of the area.

Visitors can also opt for the Sunset Cruise, which offers a romantic torchlit stroll through Witches Gulch, delicious food, live music, and beautiful scenery. 

The company has a fleet of 17 all-steel boats and operates from late May to mid-September, departing from their Drinker Dock location. Reservations are required and can be made online.

3. Lake Geneva Cruise Line

Summer Harbor Office – Riviera Docks, 812 Wrigley Dr, Lake Geneva, WI 53147

Lake Geneva Cruise Line

Cruise in luxury and take in the stunning views of Lake Geneva aboard one of the many cruise options available.

Lake Geneva Cruise Line is a popular tourist attraction in Wisconsin that offers boat cruises on Lake Geneva.

Visitors can choose from a variety of tours, including the Geneva Bay Tour, Full Lake Tour, US Mailboat Tour, Black Point Tour, Ice Cream Social Tour, Cocktail Cruise, Luncheon Cruise, Sunday Brunch Buffet Cruise, Supper Club Dinner Cruises, and Jazz Dinner Cruises. 

The US Mailboat Tour offered by Lake Geneva Cruise Line is an especially unique experience. It takes visitors on a narrated tour of the lake while delivering mail to residents along the shoreline, just as it has been done for over a century.

The tour is one of the few places in the country where mail is still delivered by boat, making it a fascinating glimpse into a bygone era.

4. Apostle Islands Cruise Service

2 Front St, Bayfield, WI 54814

Apostle Islands Cruise

Experience the breathtaking natural wonders of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore on the Apostle Islands Cruise Service. 

Their Grand Tour is a 55-mile non-stop cruise featuring historic lighthouses, stunning sea caves, and marine wildlife. 

They also offer historic lighthouse tours, and overnight camping shuttles. 

5. Original Wisconsin Ducks

1890 Wisconsin Dells Pkwy, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965

Original wisconsin duck boat in wisconsin dells

Quack your way through an unforgettable adventure on the Original Wisconsin Ducks.

The Original Wisconsin Ducks is the original Duck tour, started in 1946, that offers the Classic Duck Tour on land and water in Wisconsin Dells. 

The tour takes place on an amphibious vehicle that was used during World War II and has been restored for tourism. 

You’ll pass through four miles of scenic wilderness trails, including the narrow walls of Red Bird Gorge and the exhilarating curves of Roller Coaster Hill. 

The boat tour also splashes into the Wisconsin River and Lake Delton, offering breathtaking views of towering sandstone cliffs and miles of wilderness trails. 

The experience lasts about an hour and runs daily from mid-March to mid-November.

6. La Crosse Queen Cruises

405 E Veterans Memorial Dr, La Crosse, WI 54601

La crosse queen cruise mississippi river

Cruise back in time and explore the Upper Mississippi with the La Crosse Queen, a modern-day replica of the grand river boats that plied the waters in the early 1900s.

The La Crosse Queen is a paddlewheel riverboat that operates out of La Crosse, Wisconsin, offering tours on the Upper Mississippi River. 

It is one of the few authentic paddlewheelers still in operation today. 

The boat has a split paddlewheel that is run by twin diesel engines powering hydraulic motors for propulsion, giving it greater maneuverability and dependability than other paddlewheelers. 

The boat offers a variety of different tours, including a pizza cruise, brunch cruises, as well as a sightseeing cruise with narration about the history and wildlife of the Mississippi River. Beer, wine, and liquor are available on every cruise.

The La Crosse Queen is rated as the #1 outdoor activity in La Crosse on TripAdvisor. Private charters for large groups and special occasions are also available for booking.

A bonus? Reviewers say there is abundant wildlife to see!

7. Lake Lawn Queen Boat Tours

2400 Geneva St, Delavan, WI 53115

Lake Lawn Queen Boat Tours

Step aboard the Lake Lawn Queen, Delavan Lake’s stunning two-level cruise boat, and prepare for a journey of historical discovery. 

With five Frank Lloyd Wright homes and other landmarks lining its shores, Delavan Lake offers a picturesque backdrop for the 76-foot Queen’s guided tours. 

Relax on the open-air top deck with lounge seating and breathtaking lake views or take refuge on the climate-controlled main level with panoramic windows. 

If you’re planning a group outing, consider chartering the Lake Lawn Queen for an unforgettable experience complete with catering, bar service, and live entertainment options. 

They offer the Queen Sunset Lake Tour, a scenic tour of Delavan Lake, and a luxurious Von Stiehl Winery Dinner Cruise.

8. St. Croix River Cruises

98 Walnut St, Hudson, WI 54016

St Croix River Cruises

St. Croix River Cruises offers scenic trips along the stunning shores of Minnesota and Wisconsin, with brunch, lunch, and dinner cruises available, and a cash bar on all of them. 

St Croix River Cruises has two boats for guests to enjoy. The Afton Princess is an 80′ cruiser that can accommodate up to 60-80 guests. It has a full bar, climate-controlled interior, and a 2nd level that’s perfect for ceremonies or casual setups. 

The Grand Duchess, on the other hand, is a mini ship that can seat up to 305 passengers, with two climate-controlled levels for dining and two outside levels for socializing and enjoying the views. The boat also has a full bar, dance floor, and can accommodate up to 300 guests.

You can hop aboard one of their public cruises, or charter a private cruise for your special event.

9. Sail Door County

10707 N Bay Shore Dr, Sister Bay, WI 54234

Sailboat in Door County Wisconsin

Looking for a memorable adventure on the sparkling green and blue waters of Door County? 

Sail Door County offers a range of experiences, including day sails, lighthouse tours, private charters, and sunset sails. 

Their 65-foot tall ship, the Edith M. Becker, offers a unique 18th century-inspired vessel experience with manually-raised sails, while their 40-foot sloop, the Passage North, provides a modern, fast, and sleek sailing experience for up to six passengers. 

Passengers are welcome to bring their own food and drink, making it the perfect outing for a picnic on the water.

10. The Milwaukee Boat Line

1124 N Doctor M.L.K. Jr Dr, Milwaukee, WI 53203

Milwaukee boat line on Milwaukee River

Explore Milwaukee’s beautiful rivers, harbors, and Lake Michigan aboard the double decker Vista King and Voyageur.

The Milwaukee Boat Line offers great options for cruises, including narrated history and architecture cruises (with one focused especially on historic shipwrecks), as well as cocktail cruises, a summer concert series with live music, and more.

Find more fun boat tours in Milwaukee >>

From the historic Milwaukee River to the breathtaking Wisconsin Dells and Lake Geneva, there is a boat tour for every taste and preference.

Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a solo adventure, Wisconsin’s boat tours offer something for everyone.

So grab your camera, sunscreen, and sense of adventure and set sail for a Wisconsin boat tour today!

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