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Chart Your Own Course Along the Erie Canal This Summer

posted by Teresa Farrell at 2018-06-20 20:45:00

If you’re looking for fun things to see and do in nature this summer, you’ll find them flowing along the Erie Canal. Stretching for 524 miles from Albany to Buffalo, the Erie Canal cuts through the heart of New York State, connecting the Capital Region, Central New York and Western New York along the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. Since the canal is so close to so many areas throughout the state, there’s plenty to see and do in different places along its route. And while the weather is nice, it’s the perfect time to enjoy one of the most classic pastimes along the canal: boating. What makes it even better is that in honor of the Erie Canal’s centennial celebrations, boating along the entire New York State Canal System is free throughout the 2018 season.

Get on the water with a motor boat, kayak, or canoe to enjoy the tranquility of nature for an afternoon, or make it an extended stay. Plenty of boaters spend days or weeks traveling the full length of the canal, creating a summertime adventure of their own along the same route that mules and barges traversed a century ago. If you have your own boat, canoe, or kayak and want to spend the day exploring, it’s easy; just pick one of the many boat launch sites  along the way to set off from, and enjoy your time on the water.

If you’re looking for a longer trip and don’t have your own boat, or would like more spacious accommodations for your journey, you’re in luck; there are dozens of companies, especially boat tour companies, that will rent out furnished canal boats, from Waterford to Baldwinsville to Seneca Falls  and more. Amenities vary, but in general, the boats have a unique houseboat-type feel; accommodations include sleeping areas, a living area, a galley kitchen and a “head” (nautical term for bathroom).

As you travel the canal by boat, you can make your trip as jam-packed with activities or as low-key and relaxing as you want. Combine your love of nature and cycling on the scenic canal trails by going horseback riding, biking along the Erie Canalway Trail, or bird watching. Stop in one of the nearby towns  for a day of shopping, dining, and exploring. Visit one of the numerous canal parks along the route, which offer historic information, picnic areas, walking trails, and an up-close view of locks, dams and lift bridges  in action. These are ideal spots to stop and rest, enjoy a sunny afternoon, and often a perfect place to dock overnight, too. Explore local history  along the canal itself and in various museums along its route. Or maybe you’ll catch up with the Corning Museum’s GlassBarge  or the historic canal schooner Lois McClure  as they make their way along the waterway this summer. The choice is yours—you only have to decide when to set sail!


Canal System Welcome Sign photo credit Doug Kerr
Canal boat and bridge at sunset photo credit Mark Goebel
Lock 30 photo credit Bill Blevins
Lock and Kayak photo credit Alex Ranaldi
Van Rensselaer photo credit Gabe Palmer

posted at: 2018-06-20 20:45:00, last updated: 2018-07-01 21:02:55

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