New York State Trip – Group Travel | Atlas Obscura Trips
All Trips
Contact Us
close to home • 4 days, 3 nights

Afloat the Erie Canal: A Self-Led Houseboat Adventure

New York State
close to home • 4 days, 3 nights

Afloat the Erie Canal: A Self-Led Houseboat Adventure

New York State
See Dates
  • Group Size 4 People Maximum
  • Activity Level
  • Travel Style
    On the Water

We've got your back.

When you join one of our trips, we want you to have peace of mind. In response to COVID-19, we’ve:

  • Implemented expansive new safety protocols
  • Reduced trip deposits to just $100
  • Made it easier than ever to reschedule your trip
Learn More
Trip Overview

Float along the Erie Canal by private houseboat, tracing two centuries of history as you go. 

Stretching for 363 miles between America’s Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean, the canal offered the first direct water route from New York City to the Midwest, ushering in new waves of immigration and commerce. Aboard your houseboat, you’ll have the chance to delve into this history up-close, moving at your own pace and stopping to dock wherever your curiosity leads you. After an orientation equipping you with all you’ll need to pilot along the canal, the adventure will be yours to steer. Cruising along in the privacy of your floating home, this is slow travel (and social distancing) at its best.

Note on Safety

You’ll have a private houseboat for the duration of this experience. These boats are owned and operated by Erie Canal Adventures, which has implemented additional health and hygiene protocol. They ensure third-party cleaning services, professional laundry service, and a CleanStay Boat Seal placed on the entrance door, which indicates that no one has accessed the boat after its last cleaning. Their full commitment to safety is available on their website. Visit our Trips FAQ for more information, and feel free to contact us directly with any questions.

See here for New York State's most up-to-date policies for visitors traveling from out-of-state.

  • Travel and accommodations aboard a private houseboat
  • Private dinner at a local eatery
  • Musical performance from your houseboat deck
  • Welcome basket of local specialties


Itineraries and daily schedules are subject to change. We expect to do everything listed in the itinerary, though the order may be rearranged based on weather or other local conditions.
New York State

Additional Info


The total cost of this trip is $2,430, based on two participants. The Lockmaster 34 Foot houseboat can accommodate up to two adults and two kids (one full-size bed, one convertible bench, plus one pull-down bunk). Each additional participant will be $175, in order to cover their costs for the special programming. Note that there are two options for your houseboat. The current prices are for the Lockmaster 34 Foot. (See boat layout here.) Note that the Lockmaster 41 and 42 Foot are sold out for the remainder of the 2021 season.

If there’s something in the area of particular interest to you, let us know—we’d love to tailor the experience however possible. Please keep in mind that such arrangements will be subject to additional cost and availability. As local businesses will be responding to evolving health and safety protocol, plans can be subject to change.


Your houseboat will comfortably accommodate three adults or a family of four with two adults and two children. Your 34 foot Lockmaster will have one full-size bed which can accommodate two adults, one convertible bench to accommodate one adult or child, and one pull-down bunk good for a child. The boat is outfitted with a galley kitchen (including a small fridge), a toilet with a shower and hot water, and a deck with cushioned seats (which can also be used as an option to sleep under the stars). Two bicycles are also included with your rental and will be stored on the roof of your houseboat. You can take a closer look at the boat layouts and interiors here. Boats can be docked overnight at landings along the canal. Most town docks have a small overnight fee, which range from $7 to $40 per night, though in some cases, depending on where you tie up, there won’t be a fee at all.

Arrival & Departure

Your trip begins at 2 p.m. on Day 1 with a boat orientation at Erie Canal Adventures. We recommend you arrive in Macedon, New York by 1:30 p.m. in order to leave some time to check in. Your boat must be returned by 9 a.m. on the final morning. From there, return home or head to your next destination. If you’d like to extend your trip, we’re happy to provide suggestions for additional things to do and see in the area. You’ll notice that Macedon is less than a two-hour drive from Niagara Falls, three hours from Toronto, and 90 minutes from Mexico (the town, that is).

Activity Level

Since this is a boat trip, participants should be comfortable on and around water. Daily activity on land is entirely up to you, but we’d recommend that travelers feel comfortable walking two to three miles and spending time in nature in order to gain the most out of the experience.

  • Accommodation and transport throughout the trip in a comfortable, fully outfitted houseboat.
  • Gas for the houseboat.
  • Lock toll pass.
  • Arrangement of proposed activities.
  • Meals described in the itinerary.
  • Reading suggestions and materials.
  • 24/7 emergency assistance during your trip, provided by Global Rescue.
  • Two bicycles, on the roof of your houseboat (one-speed bikes with pedal brakes).
  • Special access to unique places and extraordinary experiences.
  • Transportation to and from Macedon, New York.
  • Docking fees (these vary from $7–$40 per night).
  • Liability coverage ($75).
  • Coverage for any rental damages; Erie Canal Adventures will keep a card on hold for a $500 damage deposit, though no charges will be made unless the boat is returned with damage or missing items.
  • Ground transportation during your trip (whether taxis, ride-sharing, or bike rentals).
  • Pre- and post-trip accommodations.
  • Travel insurance (recommended).
  • Meals and drinks outside of Atlas Obscura offerings, including most alcoholic beverages.
  • Applying for a U.S. visa, if applicable.
Get our newsletter and get updates on our latestnewest trips.

Trip FAQ

While helpful, it’s not necessary to have any boating experience to pilot one of these houseboats. (Note that they move very slowly!) Shortly after you arrive, the Erie Canal Adventures staff will train you on how to pilot the boat safely, travel through locks, and more. Part of this orientation takes place on the water, and will involve traveling through a nearby lock. Additionally, their team will be available for phone support during your journey. Once your booking is confirmed, we’ll send the Erie Canal Adventures rental agreement for your review and signature.

See All FAQ

Upcoming Departures

Choose your own dates
Inquire now about a custom departure for friends and family.

Customize This Trip

Go on your own dates, with your own group.

Learn More