American Queen Steamboat Company is one of several river cruise lines offering itineraries that showcase the natural beauty of fall. // © 2014 American Queen Steamboat Company
Albert Camus described fall as “a second spring where every leaf is a flower.” Fall foliage cruises on U.S. rivers give passengers a front-row view of the spectacular colors and much more.
Many towns along American rivers host harvest festivals and special events that celebrate the season and serve up seasonal foods and beverages. Wildlife can often be seen at the riverside, and warm days with an invigorating nip in the air add a special spice to the journey.
River cruisers can actually follow fall colors down the Mississippi River on American Queen Steamboat Company’s nine-day fall foliage cruise from St. Paul, Minn., to St. Louis. Fall foliage cruises depart Sept. 5 and Sept. 19; there’s also a nine-day sailing that departs on Oct. 10 and travels from St. Louis to Nashville, Tenn. In the western U.S., the line offers an Oct. 25 week-long sailing onboard American Empress. The boat sails from Clarkston, Wash. to Portland, Ore., and combines fall foliage viewing with Halloween festivities.
Un-Cruise offers a music-themed itinerary called Legacy of Discovery on the Columbia River. Passengers will travel round-trip from Portland, Ore., onboard the Legacy, departing Oct. 11. The trees around the Portland area will be changing color then, and deciduous trees add fall touches up through the Columbia River Gorge.
In addition to its Heartland cruises, American Cruise Lines offers fall foliage cruises on the Hudson River, including a seven-day round-trip New York cruise on the 100-passenger American Star, departing Oct. 18. In the Pacific Northwest, American Cruise Lines also has an Oct. 11 departure for a seven-day cruise onboard the Queen of the West, sailing from Portland, Ore., to Clarkston, Wash.