"Taku River Glacier Flightseeing" by Lee LeFever via Flickr Creative Commons

Glaciers, canals, canyons, waterfalls and even headless horseman make up a sweeping choice of North American routes. From the grandeur of the Grand Canyon, to the ole’ Mississippi, the Alaskan archipelago and Great Lakes – boat yourself silly.

  1. Paddlewheel Steamboats on the Lower Mississippi The deep South and land of Huck Finn is best explored via a steamboat on the Mississippi River. Enjoy the home of jazz and gospel and all the benefits of Cajun hospitality as you meander past the mansions of sugar and cane plantations, Civil War memorials, French-Acadian settlements and the bustling river ports of New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Memphis.
  2. Alaskan Inland Passage The Inland Passage in Southeast Alaska is a unique area of fjords, channels and waterways protected by islands and archipelagos. Highlights of the region include Glacier Bay National Park which is noted for its expansive glaciers and interesting wildlife, including whales.
  3. Panama Canal The “Crossroads of the World” was once a winding path through jungle rivers and is still an exotic place linking the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Today’s 50 mile short cut is still an engineering marvel as each vessel is raised 85 feet from Gatun Lake before being flushed into the sea with 52 million gallons of fresh water.
  4. Columbia River Gorge This impressive gorge offers spectacular cruising for 81 winding miles through the Cascade Mountains in the Pacific Northwest. River depths reach up to 4,000 feet and the river hugs an assortment of steep sided passages, evergreen forests and an incredible array of waterfalls at the western end.
  5. Colorado River This river is responsible for one of North America’s most amazing features, the Grand Canyon, which was sculpted by its seeping waters over the years. Few things are grander than this spectacular chasm, particularly when viewed from the river. Millions visit this desolate setting each year for the rugged contours of the gorges and pinnacles.
  6. The Great American Cruise Loop To be christened a “looper” you have to cover over 7,450 miles of Eastern North America’s waterways. It’s a boaters dream on a continuous series of waterways including the Atlantic and Gulf Intracoastal Waterways, the Great Lakes, the Canadian Heritage Canals and the inland rivers of America’s heartland. People have attempted this is anything from jet-skis to yachts; in fact the only thing that limits you is time.
  7. Rideau Waterway, Canada This historic waterway is the oldest continuously operating canal in North America. It has 45 locks connecting 123 miles of lakes and rivers running from the Ottawa River to Lake Ontario. Every year, 90,000 boats pass through its locks to explore the rivers, lakes and wetlands connected by the locks.
  8. Niagara Gorge The falls at Niagara aren’t necessarily high (167 feet) but they do pack a punch with an incredible amount of water gushing over a wide area. Cruise boats operate from boat docks on both sides of the falls but the most famous is the one that takes passengers into the whirlpools themselves.
  9. New York canals The 524 mile New York canal systems connect with hundreds of miles of lakes and rivers across the state, linking the Great Lakes with the majestic Hudson River and five waterways in Canada. Since 1825 these canals have operated through 25 counties and close to 200 villages, hamlets and towns.
  10. Hudson River The backdrop of Manhattan is unbeatable for a cruise on the Hudson that extends through the state past such legendary villages like Sleepy Hollow. Famed author Washington Irving made this area legend when he wrote about its headless horsemen but really the Hudson holds no other surprises than being a pleasure to punt and a good chance to see historic estates such as Rockefeller.

Click here for the Top 10 River or Canal Cruise Vacations in Latin America